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Gaming Chair vs. Office Chair: Know the Difference, Save Your Back

gaming chair vs office chair
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Updated May 5, 2024

Who would have ever thought a chair can make all the difference in the world? But if you stop and think about how many hours you spend in an office chair, or relaxing through multiple rounds of gaming, then you may quickly realize there’s a need for picking the right one for whatever task is at hand.

If you spend any amount of time working from home, but you also enjoy gaming with your friends, you may be torn between a gaming chair versus an office chair. Both chairs were designed for sitting for extended periods of time, but each has its own unique qualities and one may be better suited for your body type and tasks than others.

Gaming chair vs office chair: What's the difference?

While they may look similar to some, gaming chairs and office chairs serve two very different purposes and include varying design features. Gaming chair design typically focuses on style, sleek aesthetics, and ergonomic support. They’re made for enhanced comfort during prolonged gaming sessions and usually incorporate vibrant colors or gaming-themed details in the design.

Office chairs, on the other hand, prioritize practicality and professional appearance over bold design choices. The goal of an office chair is providing comfort for extended work hours while maintaining a more understated design suitable for office environments or video conferencing.

Gaming chair features

Gaming chairs include features not only focused on aesthetics, but also comfort for longer gaming sessions. A highly-featured gaming chair might include:

  • High backrest for full spine support
  • Adjustable recline angle for varied seating positions
  • Adjustable armrests for customized arm support
  • Lumbar and neck cushions for additional comfort
  • Bolstered side cushions for a "racing" look and feel
  • Vibrant and bold color options with gaming-themed designs
  • Bucket seat design for a sporty aesthetic
  • Often made with faux leather or breathable fabric
  • Tilt and swivel functionality for dynamic movement
  • Integrated audio systems and built-in speakers in some models
  • Sturdy construction with a focus on durability
  • May include footrests for relaxation or other accessories

Office chair features

Office chairs focus on functionality too, with an emphasis on comfort for longer, all-day support and especially promoting good posture and reducing strain. While not all office chairs include these features, you may find the following in a well-constructed office chair:

  • Adjustable seat height and backrest angle for personalized comfort
  • Lumbar support for maintaining proper lower back alignment
  • Adjustable or fixed armrests, designed for comfort during desk work
  • Neutral and professional color options, appropriate for a work setting
  • Swivel and tilt mechanisms you can easily make adjustments to
  • Breathable and durable upholstery materials for extended use
  • Casters or wheels for mobility around the workspace
  • Task-oriented functionality for desk work and computer use
  • Often conforms to industry standards for ergonomic office furniture

Gaming chair vs office chair: Comfort

Both a gaming chair and office chair offer their own distinct levels of comfort, but the areas of focus vary because of the different tasks at hand.

A gaming chair offers extra padding and lumbar support for extended periods of activity. It also typically features adjustable armrests and a reclining function, so you can have a little more freedom of movement while gaming. You can also find models with footrests.

For office chairs, you typically don’t have the added pillows and padding, but you can get an adjustable lumbar support system, which offers added comfort.

Gaming chair vs. office chair: Ergonomics

One of a gaming chair’s signature features is the raised front lip of the seat. This slightly inclines the legs, similar to how your legs raise up slightly in a real car.

An office chair doesn’t feature the raised front lip. Instead, it has a 90 degree angle (called a waterfall edge), so your feet remain flat on the ground, or even on a footrest. This offers better ergonomics for anyone sitting for a longer period of time.

Another signature feature of a gaming chair is the inclusion of lumbar and head pillows. Both offer additional support for the spine and neck, but the best pillows are those you can easily adjust to allow for more personal contouring.

Most office chairs do not include additional pillows and instead come with fixed or adjustable lumbar support, depending on the model. An ergonomic office chair, however, would be designed with these features in mind.

Gaming chair vs. office chair: Style

Style is likely one of the biggest differentiating factors between a gaming chair versus an office chair. Gaming chairs often include bold colors and eye-catching designs, with some even having added design elements like LED lighting. (Some manufacturers of gaming chairs also make coordinating headphones or gaming headsets.)

Gaming chairs almost always have high backs, bucket seats, and winged backrests, for even more comfort while gaming.

Office chairs may have a short or high back, but generally have flat seats and wingless backrests. Most office chairs only come in standard colors, although you can occasionally find a bold color choice for an office chair.

Gaming chair vs. office chair: Durability

Many gaming chairs—no matter what the budget is—are made of highly durable faux leather materials. As you go higher with the budget, you may find the material is even more durable.

This doesn’t mean office chairs aren’t built to last, though. While many of them feature more breathable, mesh materials, you can find office chairs offering superior durability. As you go higher in the budget, office chairs will often include higher-quality casters, sturdier bases, better lifting mechanisms, and numerous other features for improved durability.

Gaming chair vs. office chair: Adjustability

Both gaming chairs and office chairs offer adjustability, but it’s typically in different focus areas. For gaming chairs, you can find some models with adjustable armrests. You can also find models made for a high degree of reclining, which is a fun feature when you need to relax but still feel physically immersed in your game. And of course, you should have the option to adjust the height of the seat.

Office chairs offer some of the same adjustability features, such as adjustable armrests and height adjustment. However, you may find an added feature of an adjustable headrest, for further neck support, whereas most gaming chairs do not offer an adjustable headrest. Office chairs recline, too, but the recliner is typically lower on the backrest, compared to the high degree of recline on a gaming chair.

Gaming chair vs. office chair: Price

Price may be the area where both a gaming chair and office chair are most similar. This is simply because you can find almost any type of chair to fit almost any budget, both for gaming and office chairs. You can find options as low as $35 for office chairs and up to several hundred dollars, while gaming chairs start around $75 and also go up to several hundred dollars.

Should you buy a gaming chair or an office chair?

The largest determining factor in choosing between a gaming chair versus an office chair is whichever one you will likely use the most. Plus, it depends on what means the most to you, such as style versus ergonomics, or durability versus adjustability.

Personally speaking, I can attest to trying to use a gaming chair as an office chair because I didn’t think it would make too much of a difference with my home office setup. I quickly found out that a gaming chair is not built for easily moving around a desk area, or for a full eight hour work day. If you work at a computer for an extended period of time, an office chair is likely a better choice because it’s built for all-day comfort.

A gaming chair works great for sitting for a few hours at a time, but you most likely won’t find it comfortable enough for all-day sitting. One of the main points to remember about either chair is comfort is the name of the game. Everybody has a unique body type, so it’s best to read as many reviews as possible or even test the chairs out locally if you can.

Dowinx Gaming Chair Fabric with Adjustable Cushion, Ergonomic Computer Chair

Dowinx Gaming Chair Fabric with Adjustable Cushion, Ergonomic Computer Chair

Marvel Avengers Gaming Chair Desk Office Computer Racing Chairs

Marvel Avengers Gaming Chair Desk Office Computer Racing Chairs

Vonesse Gaming Chair Adults Gaming Chair with Footrest Reclining Computer Chair

Vonesse Gaming Chair Adults Gaming Chair with Footrest Reclining Computer Chair

Office Chair, Ergonomic Desk Chair with Adjustable Lumbar Support

Office Chair, Ergonomic Desk Chair with Adjustable Lumbar Support

Ergonomic Office Chair - Mesh Office Chair High Back, Rolling Desk Chair

Ergonomic Office Chair - Mesh Office Chair High Back, Rolling Desk Chair

Ergonomic Office Desk Chair - Adjustable Height Home Mesh Computer Chair

Ergonomic Office Desk Chair - Adjustable Height Home Mesh Computer Chair

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Are gaming chairs as good as office chairs?

Gaming chairs work great for what they’re intended for, i.e., gaming. They’re designed for use for a few hours at a time, with some comfort features and perhaps cool additions such as LED lights and built-in speakers. Sometimes they’re less expensive than an office chair, too. However, office chairs were designed for sitting for longer periods of time.

Is an office chair better than a gaming chair for work?

The design and functionality of an office chair makes it more suitable for all-day comfort, versus a gaming chair. The best office chairs feature multiple adjustable points, such as the back and arms, and neck support. There may be other features too, such as footrests and lumbar support, that you might not find in a gaming chair.

Why get a gaming chair over an office chair?

If you enjoy gaming and find yourself playing for a few hours at a time, a gaming chair may be a better choice. However, if you need a chair designed specifically for all day comfort, then an office chair is likely the better choice.

Are gaming chairs good for back pain?

Some gaming chairs come with lumbar and neck support, usually in the form of extra padding and pillows. It depends on the exact chair and brand, though, as to how much support it actually provides for your back.

Which chair is best for long periods of sitting?

The design of a quality, well-made office chair lends itself to sitting for longer periods of time. If you’re wondering how to choose the right office chair for all-day comfort, look to ones that feature more ergonomic support.

Related: Best Office Chairs for Back Pain

Which is the most comfortable office chair for gaming?

This is a matter of opinion, but if you want a chair comfortable enough for both office work and gaming for a few hours, then choose a chair where you can easily adjust both the arms and height. Plus, if you can find one that reclines and offers neck support, such as this model, then you can use it for both office work and gaming.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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