Is a Gaming chair better than an Office chair?

is a gaming chair better than an office chair

There are plenty of gaming chairs for sale in South Africa, with options that range from cheap to very expensive. Is a gaming chair better than an office chair? Are you uncertain whether to get a gaming chair or an office chair? Which will enhance your gaming experience, specifically for long gaming sessions? Does either chair type provide greater comfort and ergonomics?

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.

Before we start, we will first give you a broad definition of each category.

1. Gaming Chairs

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

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.

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, they may even incorporate speakers in the backrest to provide users a superior playing experience.

In general, gaming chairs available in South Africa and elsewhere, are designed primarily to ‘look cool’. Although many are comfortable, they often lack the variety of adjustability functions that are found on a comparatively priced office chair. One of the defining features of these chairs is their ‘bucket-type’ seat. If your body shape matches, or fits into the bucket seat, then this type of seat can be extremely comfortable. The sale price of a typical gaming chair can vary from cheap (approx. R2500), to expensive (R6000 or more).

Common Design Elements of Gaming Chairs:

  • Bucket-type Seat
  • Fixed Headrest with moveable pillow
  • Lumbar pillow
  • Wing-type backrest with significant recline feature
  • Flashy Colours

2. Office Chairs

The primary function of an office chair is to provide an ergonomically comfortable seat.

Alya Executive Office Chair
Alya Executive office chair

Office chairs are continually evolving to provide greater comfort and adjustability. A typical office chair will have several adjustment features that will allow you to adjust the chair to accommodate your specific body shape and your workstation setup. 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 Alya Executive Chair.

Common Design Elements of ergonomic office chairs:

  • Contoured ergonomic seat to accommodate a broad spectrum of users
  • Adjustable Headrest (often optional)
  • Adjustable Lumbar support
  • Mesh backrest
  • Seat and backrest tilt adjustment that provides dynamic sitting.

3. The comfort of any chair is subjective

In terms of comfort and ergonomics, the answer is not simple and clear-cut. You cannot say that office chairs are more comfortable than gaming chairs – it really depends on the user and the application.

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. Some people will find a specific chair wonderfully comfortable, while others will think the exact opposite.

When it comes to chairs, there is no, and never will be, a one-size-fits-all.

4. Feature comparison

The easiest way to understand the different features of office and gaming chairs, 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.

FeatureBudget Gaming
Chair (R2500)
Budget Office
Chair (R2500)
Mid-Range Gaming Chair (R3700)Mid-Range Office Chair (R3700)High-End Gaming Chair
High-End Office Chair (R5600)
Elara ExecutiveLeila ExecutiveFirefly Executive
Weight Rating120kg120kg150kg120kg120kg150kg
Warranty1 year5 years1 year5 years1 year10 years
Backrest TypeWing, vinyl
MeshWing, vinyl
MeshWing, vinyl
HeadrestAdjustable pillowHeight adjustableAdjustable pillowHeight adjustableAdjustable pillowHeight adjustable
Extra Lumbar SupportAdjustable pillowNoneAdjustable pillowYes, adjustableAdjustable pillowYes, adjustable
Backrest TiltIndependent from seatSyncho tilting
mechanism linked to seat
Independent from seatSyncho tilting
mechanism linked to seat
Independent from seatSyncho tilting
mechanism linked to seat
Seat TypeBucketMouldedBucketMouldedBucketMoulded
Seat Depth
Tilt MechanismStandard swivel &
SynchroStandard swivel &
SynchroStandard swivel &
fixed height
Height adjustableHeight adjustableHeight adjustable3D adjustable3D adjustable

5. Is a gaming chair better than an office chair?

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 a few additional factors to consider:

  • 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 counterproductive and result 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 gaming chair with a snugly fitting bucket seat is restrictive and prevents you from doing so. This can become uncomfortable.
  • Even at the lower-end, cheap office chairs generally offer greater ergonomic adjustability than gaming chairs. As you move upwards in price, the difference between the two gets greater.
  • The warranty on office chairs is significantly better than any comparable gaming chair. One would therefore expect that office chairs are far more durable than gaming chairs.
  • 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.

6. Conclusion

When it comes to chairs, there is no, and never will be, one-size-fits-all.

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 office chair. Whichever chair you choose, it should include durable components and have an extended warranty to allow you to use it for a long period of time.

Author: Mike Karle
Director at Karo Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd
23 Feb 2021 (rev2)

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