Gaming Chair vs Ergonomic Office Chair: Buyers Guide 2021

So, you finally decided to get rid of the old office chair you had for years! Kudos! Now that you want an ergonomic chair and comfortable simultaneously, you are at a crossroads! What to go for? A gaming chair that looks comfortable and stylish from the first look or a standard ergonomic chair or is the same with a few differences in marketing gimmicks? Confused much? Then you’re on the right page. 

There is a vast difference between a gaming chair and an ergonomic office chair rather than just how they look. People often feel they are the same and end up buying something that they end up regretting. Gaming chairs were first launched in 2006 for a concentrated group of people, the gamers. On the other hand, ergonomic office chairs are a product of years of upgrades and improvements over the classical office chairs of the 80s. Apart from the targeted customers, there are several other drastic differences between these two classes of chairs. Let’s see them one by one!

Difference between a gaming chair and an office chair

1. Overall look: Which has better looks gaming chair or office chair?

Gaming Chairs: Right from the first gaming chair in 2006 by DXRacer, the overall look of gaming chairs haven’t changed much. It seems as if some unwritten codes or guidelines that all gaming chairs must follow when it comes to the look. They all look like the seat of racing cars.

 The subtle idea behind this apparent universal design is to mimic the purpose of a real racing car seat that protects the driver while they are doing some serious job on the tracks. This means gaming chairs are designed to provide solid support and comfort to the users (primarily gamers) without letting any unnecessary movements. At the same time, they are focused on their games for hours. 

This might seem advantageous at first, but the fact that the chair limits the user’s movement to certain positions makes it difficult to adjust for other tasks except gaming. If you were to use a gaming chair for office use where there is more than just typing or using your computer, you would face many mobility restrictions.

 Thus gaming chairs are not entirely ergonomic

Ergonomic Office Chairs: Ergonomic office chairs are much less pompous and flashy than gaming chairs. They come with a minimalistic design (most of them!) and tons of adjustability features. 

There are certain features in gaming chairs that have no ergonomic purpose and are purely for looks. Well, ergonomic office chairs don’t have such qualities and include only those that will serve a purpose instead.

Ergonomic office chairs don’t follow a streamlined design pattern. There are different designs and concepts when it comes to office ergo chairs, and all of them have their theory of how to be ergonomic to the fullest.

2. The Seat Design: Which chair has a better seat design? Gaming chair or office chair.

Gaming chairs: Gaming chairs mostly come with a bucket seat design. Inspired by the seats of a racing car, the two sides of the chair are raised. In a real racing scenario, these raised sides help drivers stay in their position and keep the body safe when they shift from one direction to another. But, for gamers or users of gaming chairs, these bucket seats provide no functional advantage over any other regular seat. They instead become an obstruction when the user or gamer tries to adjust or change the sitting position for better comfort. People who seat with crossed legs will find it challenging to do that with the raised bucket seats as it restricts the blood flow to the legs.

With the bucket seat design, the seat depth adjustability is limited. This means if the seat doesn’t fit your size exactly, it becomes either shallow or deep for you. With the shallowness of the seat, the thighs suffer due to restricted blood supply to the legs. With excessive depth, the lower lumbar support is compromised.

The seat material on most of the gaming chairs is either PU or real leather. Sure, the leather looks fantastic, and PU leather is durable when the quality is high, but there is an issue with this. The leather material is not breathable. It is not an issue if you spend a couple of hours on the chair. But for heavy gamers and taskers who spend 8 to 10 hours on their desk, this can be a severe issue as the back, and the bottoms get warm and sweaty. And since leather doesn’t provide ventilation, this can be an awful sticky feeling. The body too fails to cool as there is no way to discard the warmth.

Ergonomic Office Chairs: Truly ergonomic office chairs come with a waterfall seat with curved front edges resembling a rock smoothed by the water currents. This downward flowing design helps relieve pressure on the back of the thigh region and maintains proper blood supply to the legs. This further allows the user to work for extended hours without any pain or numbness in the legs.

Ergonomic office chairs are in demand and appreciated for their high level of customization options. They are designed with multiple adjustment points, and thus adjusting each feature is an easy and smooth experience. Seat height and depth adjustment are essential features that make office ergo chairs better for health than gaming chairs. These features allow the user to find their sweet sitting position that optimally supports their lumbar and hips without inducing any pain.

Ergo, office chairs come with options for seat material. The seat can be mesh, fabric, or high-quality leather. Cheap ergo office chairs come with knockoffs of these materials, and one should be careful enough to identify the good from the worst. High-quality mesh-like pellicle on Herman Miller chairs and Softweave fabric on TITAN are some excellent materials for seats. These materials are comfortable against the skin, and the meshes are breathable. This allows the user to lose body heat without getting all sweaty and sticky.

3. The headrest: Which chair has a better headrest? Office Chair or Gaming Chair

Gaming chairs: A typical gaming chair comes with pillow support for the head and the cervical rather than an adjustable headrest. These pillows are often fixed or very little flexible, making gaming chairs not an excellent option for all kinds of users. Since neither the position nor the angle of the pillow is adjustable to the fullest, users might sit too high or too low depending on their height. This will keep their head in a difficult position, leading to stiffness in the cervical region and increasing the risk of spondylitis.

Ergonomic Office chairs: A low to a mid-budget office chair, ergo at least has a height-adjustable headrest. High-end ergo office chairs like the Balt Butterfly and Steelcase come with headrests that allow adjustment for the angles and protrusion levels. This will provide a more firm and contoured support to the neck and the shoulders. This is possible only if you fit the T shape. Else you can always buy office chairs from Herman Miller or ErgoTune Classic, which come without a headrest but with great support for the lumbar and lower back that your neck is free from any stiffness.

4. Lumbar Support: Which Chair has better Lumbar Support? Office Chair or Gaming Chair.

Gaming chairs: Most of the gaming chairs come with a lumbar pillow that is detachable and is usually filled with memory foam which mimics the natural curvature of your spine and provides excellent cushioning to the lower back. Look out for lumbar supports with single-strap designs as they are not sturdy enough and are flimsy when supporting your back. While lumbar pillows are better than having nothing to keep your back, there is an issue with them. The padding in these pillows is fixed, and you might end up buying either too soft or too hard padding. Both of these will do more harm than good to your backbone and will elevate the discomfort.

Ergonomic Office Chairs: A good ergo office chair comes with an in-built lumbar support system that is adjustable according to the user’s need. This allows the user to fine-tune the settings and find their specific lumbar support. High-end chairs come with lumbar support that automatically adjusts to the shape of the backbone and maintains that position regardless of the user’s movement. These trademark features will often cost you more than an average chair, but again they provide the support that will keep you healthy and happy for years to come. 

5. Armrests: Which chair offers a better armrest? Office Chair or Gaming Chair.

Gaming chairs: armrests on a standard gaming chair are much more versatile and adjustable than ergo office chairs. This is basically to cater to the gamers’ steady hand and arm movement for playing different games or using different gaming shapes of gaming controllers. Gaming chairs come with 3D or 4D armrests. This means that the armrests can be moved in all directions without any hindrances. They can be swiveled sideways and moved forward or backward.

Ergonomic Office Chairs: budget or even mid-range ergo office chairs come with armrests that can be moved only in the vertical direction. To get an office chair with highly mobile armrests, you need to shell out extra money and get yourself a premium $1000 chair that has a 4D or even 5D range of motion.

6. Backrest: Which chair offers a better backrest? Gaming Chair or Office Chair.

Gaming chairs: A typical gaming chair has a winged backrest, again akin to a racing car seat. This allows the racer to remain in the seat during the sudden turns and other vigorous motions. But for everyday Joe, this is another obstacle in their work. Even for gamers not playing racing games like NFS or Mario kart, the winged backrest might be counterproductive.

The material on the backrest is mostly leather or PU leather. Both of these are not breathable and will get sticky due to sweat. They might feel great to the skin, though.

Ergonomic office chairs: The ergonomic backrest on the ergo office chairs are designed to support the spine rather than following a redundant design pattern. They provide support and freedom to the user at the same time. Most of the backrests on good office chairs embrace the back ultimately to provide the best support. The user can move and swivel without changing the position of the back.

The material on the backrests is either mesh, fabric, or a hybrid of mesh and textile. Thus the breathability and comfort boxes are ticked.

7. Backrest recline: Which Chair offers Better Backrest Recline?

Gaming Chairs: This is another segment where gaming chairs crush the ergo office chairs. Gaming chairs can recline to 180 degrees offering a position of complete relaxation. Experts suggest that a break like reclining to degrees180 degrees is excellent to counter lower back pain. People with scoliosis and other spinal problems should take a break by reclining to decompress the vertebral or spinal discs once in a while during heavy tasking.

Ergonomic office chairs: Most of the chairs in this category recline up to an angle of 120 degrees, while some go up to 135 degrees or more. There are often tension and tilt levels provided with these chairs for different angles of recline. Some chairs like Herman Miller Aeron come with a feature of forward tilt, which is excellent for blood circulation and relieving the pressure off the thighs. But again, the cost is too high for such premium chairs.

Final Verdict: Which chair is better? Office ergonomic Chair or Gaming Chair?

➔ The chair market is flooded with cheap ergo chairs that claim to be comfortable and great but are junks in reality. So if you’re low on a budget, say below $400, then you can get a great gaming chair that will provide more comfort and ergonomic features than ergo office chairs.

➔ In a true sense, an ergonomic office chair beats the best gaming chairs when it comes to comfort and relieving back pains. They also offer a high level of mobility compared to gaming chairs.

➔ If looks matter to you and you are trying to set up a gaming den with everything perfectly matching the decor, then a gaming chair is the way to go. You should not worry about the limitations if the sole purpose of the chair is for gaming and nothing except working with computers.

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