Gaming Chair vs Ergonomic Office Chair – Which is Best?

Are you uncertain whether to get a gaming chair or an ergonomic office chair? What are the benefits of each type of chair, and which is better?

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“Gaming chair vs ergonomic office chair” is a question that is often asked by gamers in South Africa. With so many options available ranging from cheap to very expensive, is a gaming chair better than an ergonomic office chair? Are you uncertain about which option to buy? Which one will enhance your gaming experience, specifically for long gaming sessions? Which chair is more durable and provides greater ergonomic comfort?

aragon thunder gaming chair
Aragon Thunder Gaming Chair

Gaming Chair vs Ergonomic Office Chair

The names of these two chair types can be misleading. You can, of course, use an office chair for gaming, and a gaming chair in your office.

In this guide, we will highlight the differences between the two chair types so that you have a better idea of which option is best for you.

Fenix Ergonomic Office Chair

User testimonials – Karo Gaming Office Chairs

1. What is a Gaming Chair?

The main function of a gaming chair is to ‘look super cool’.

Gaming chairs are characterised by their bright colours, bucket-type seats, racing stripes, and an overall cool look. They often have adjustable armrests and a backrest that can recline far in excess of a standard office chair – in some cases up to 180 degrees. At the upper end of the spectrum, the sale of gaming chairs may even incorporate speakers in the backrest to provide a superior playing experience.

In general, gaming chairs available in South Africa and elsewhere are primarily designed to ‘look cool’. Although many are comfortable, they often lack the adjustability of a comparatively priced office chair.

One of the defining features of a typical gaming chair is the ‘bucket-type’ seat. If your body shape matches, or fits into the bucket seat, then this type of seat can be extremely comfortable. If not, then the opposite is true. The sale price of a typical gaming chair can vary from cheap (approx. R2500), to expensive (R7000 or more).

DXRacer gaming chair

The first gaming chair was created in 2006 by DXRacer. This company mainly manufactured seats for luxury racing cars, which is probably why most of them look like racing car seats.

Since then, and in conjunction with the surge in online gaming, these chairs have become a ‘hit’ in South Africa and around the world.

Common Design Elements of Gaming Chairs:

aragon meta gaming chair
Aragon META gaming chair

2. Ergonomic Office Chairs

The primary function of an ergonomic office chair is to improve your sitting posture and wellbeing while you work.

Ergonomic office chairs are continually evolving to provide greater comfort and adjustability. Typically, these chairs will have several adjustment features that will allow you to adjust the chair to accommodate your specific body shape and your workstation setup.

Neo GTX Gaming Office Chair

A good office chair is designed primarily to provide ergonomic comfort, while the secondary function is to ‘look cool’. There are of course many office chairs that are ‘cool looking’, like the Herman Miller Aeron or the Neo GTX.

Chair Design – Important Factors to Consider

Common Design Elements of ergonomic office chairs:

Fenix ergonomic office chair

3. The comfort of any chair is subjective

The comfort of any chair, whether it is an office chair, dining chair, car seat or casino chair, is extremely subjective and depends on the individual. People have different body types and preferences. When you compare a gaming chair vs an ergonomic office chair, some people will find a certain chair wonderfully comfortable, while others will think the exact opposite.

Is a gaming chair more comfortable than an ergonomic office chair? It depends on the user and the application.
When it comes to chairs, there is no, and never will be a “one-size-fits-all.

Read our article on what is the best ergonomic office chair for me?

4. Feature comparison

The easiest way to compare a gaming chair vs an ergonomic office chair, is to compare comparatively priced products that are available for sale in South Africa. For the purposes of this exercise, we will compare the features of low, mid and high-end chairs.

Feature Budget Gaming Chair (R2500) Budget Office Chair (R2500)
Elara Ergonomic Chair
Weight Rating 120kg 120kg
Warranty 1 year 5 years
Backrest Type Wing, vinyl upholstery Mesh
Headrest Adjustable pillow Height adjustable
Extra Lumbar Support Adjustable pillow None
Backrest Tilt Separate from seat Synchro tilting mechanism linked to seat
Seat Type Bucket Moulded
Seat depth adjustment No No
Tilt Mechanism Standard swivel & tilt Synchro
Armrests Retractable fixed height Height adjustable
Certified No No
Feature Budget Gaming Chair (R2500) Budget Office Chair (R2500) Mid-Range Gaming Chair (R3700) Mid-Range Office Chair (R3700) High-End Gaming Chair (R5900) High-End Office Chair (R5600)
Elara ergonomic chair Nitro ZF Stealth X-1
Weight Rating 120kg 120kg 120kg 120kg 120kg 150kg
Warranty 1 year 5 years 1 year 5 years 1 year 10 years
Backrest Type Wing, vinyl upholstery Mesh Wing, vinyl upholstery Mesh Wing, vinyl upholstery Mesh
Headrest Adjustable pillow Height adjustable Adjustable pillow Height adjustable Adjustable pillow Height adjustable
Extra Lumbar Support Adjustable pillow None Adjustable pillow Yes, adjustable Adjustable pillow Yes, adjustable
Backrest Tilt Separate from seat Synchro tilting mechanism linked to seat Separate from seat Synchro tilting mechanism linked to seat Separate from seat Synchro tilting mechanism linked to seat
Seat Type Bucket Moulded Bucket Moulded Bucket Moulded
Seat depth adjustment No No No Yes No Yes
Tilt Mechanism Standard swivel & tilt Synchro Standard swivel & tilt Synchro Standard swivel & tilt Synchro
Armrests Retractable fixed height Height adjustable Height adjustable Height adjustable 3D adjustable 3D adjustable
Certified No No No BIFMA No BIFMA
Feature Mid-Range Gaming Chair (R3700) Mid-Range Office Chair (R3700)
Nitro ZF
Weight Rating 120kg 120kg
Warranty 1 year 5 years
Backrest Type Wing, vinyl upholstery Mesh
Headrest Adjustable pillow Height adjustable
Extra Lumbar Support Adjustable pillow Yes, adjustable
Backrest Tilt Separate from seat Synchro tilting mechanism linked to seat
Seat Type Bucket Moulded
Seat depth adjustment No Yes
Tilt Mechanism Standard swivel & tilt Synchro
Armrests Height adjustable Height adjustable
Certified No BIFMA
Feature High-End Gaming Chair (R5900) High-End Office Chair (R5600)
Stealth X-1
Weight Rating 120kg 150kg
Warranty 1 year 10 years
Backrest Type Wing, vinyl upholstery Mesh
Headrest Adjustable pillow Height adjustable
Extra Lumbar Support Adjustable pillow Yes, adjustable
Backrest Tilt Separate from seat Synchro tilting mechanism linked to seat
Seat Type Bucket Moulded
Seat depth adjustment No Yes
Tilt Mechanism Standard swivel & tilt Synchro
Armrests 3D adjustable 3D adjustable
Certified No BIFMA

5. Gaming chair vs ergonomic office chair - which is better?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer….it depends on the user. You can draw your own conclusions based on the above table and here are 5 additional factors to consider:

5.1 Bucket seats

Bucket seats and winged backrests on gaming chairs may not match your specific body shape or size. Should this be the case, these features can be counter-productive, resulting in an uncomfortable seat. If you spend many hours sitting in front of a computer, you will usually shift around and change your seated position. A chair with a snugly fitting bucket seat is more restrictive than a conventional office chair with a flatter seat.

5.2 Adjustability

Even at the lower-end, cheap office chairs in South Africa generally offer greater ergonomic adjustability than gaming chairs. As you move upwards in price, the difference between the two is more pronounced. How important is a fully adjustable chair? For example, modern office chairs usually have a fully adjustable lumbar support, whereas gaming chairs typically have a loose cushion or pillow. How important is back support on an office chair?

5.3 Warranty

The warranty on any office chair is significantly better than any comparable gaming chair for sale in South Africa. One would therefore expect that office chairs are far more durable than gaming chairs. Karo Quality Philosophy and Product Warranty.

5.4 Swivel mechanism

Good office chairs have synchronous swivel & tilt mechanisms that promote dynamic sitting. Gaming chairs use simpler swivel & tilt mechanisms coupled with an independently reclining backrest. From an ergonomic perspective, office chair mechanisms are far superior to their gaming chair counterparts. What is the difference between office chair mechanisms?

5.5 Mesh vs Vinyl backrest upholstery

Modern office chairs have a mesh backrest as opposed to the vinyl upholstered back of many gaming chairs. In addition to being breathable, mesh backrests ‘mould’ themselves into the shape of your back and so provide better support. This is a crucial aspect for any gamer who spends long hours in front of a PC. In many instances, the cheap vinyl upholstery used on gaming chairs for sale in South Africa, is not as durable as the mesh/fabric upholstery typically found on office chairs.

Conclusion

In the gaming chair vs ergonomic office chair debate, there is no ‘right’ answer.
As far as chairs are concerned,
there is no, and never will be, a one-size-fits-all.

Ergonomic office chairs and gaming chairs are designed for two specific types of users. If you are a gamer and you like the racing-style cool look of a gaming chair, then select one that best matches your body shape. Alternatively, if you prefer the adjustability of an office chair and do not care about the racing style design, then go with an ergonomic office chair. Whether you choose a cheap or high-end gaming or office chair, ensure that it includes durable components and has an extended warranty to allow you to use it for a long period of time. How to choose the right ergonomic desk chair.

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