Are you in the market for a gaming chair? Take a seat and let us do the hard yards for you.
Pre-2006, the notion of a purpose-built chair for gaming was, by and large, unheard of. While office chairs were reconstituted by PC gamers to fit the task, console gamers would settle for anything from a beanbag to a barstool to a couch. It was DXRacer, a company that specialises in luxury sports car seating, that rolled out the first bespoke gaming chair 14 years ago. A premium product both in design and cost, the appetite for games-focused furniture would remain a niche market. That was, of course, until the streaming platform Twitch began to gain traction; when streamers went on camera, they wanted their gear to look the part.
In 2020, gaming chairs are big business, with a wide range of designs and purposes available at JB. So where do you start if you decide to upgrade on that threadbare, food-stained old faithful? Read on!
Why do I need a gaming chair?
In short, ask yourself this question: whether you’re a PC gamer or ply your skills on a console, do you spend long periods of time in front of a screen playing games? If the answer is yes, then it makes sense to invest in furniture that no only gives you good overall support for your body but also comfort for those all night gaming sessions. It stands to reason that while you probably wouldn’t think twice in upgrading keyboards, headsets or mice to enhance your gaming performance, the same should apply to the seat that you’re gaming in.
Are gaming chairs all the same?
Not at all. While PC gamers are at the forefront of most designer’s minds, console gamers are well catered for too, so you can lob that filthy dog-slobber-covered beanbag into the bin. You can roughly break the styles down into four categories: PC gaming chairs, racer chairs, rockers and pedestal chairs.
PC Gaming Chairs – Not too dissimilar to an office chair in appearance and functionality, the PC variety generally has a higher back and many different positions that can be adjusted for comfort and support.
Racer Chair – As the name suggests, this one is designed to be used for gamers who have a preference for racing titles. Not a huge departure from the PC chair DNA, the seat resembles – and indeed feels like – a top end sports car bucket seat.
Rockers – One for the console gamers here. Again, the perfect excuse for slinging out the beanbag, the rocker parks you on the floor in a seat right before your screen. But here’s the kicker – it’s a full functioning multimedia gaming chair often complete with speakers for full game immersion.
Pedestal – This hybrid incorporates the swivel and tilt function of the PC and racer chairs with the compactness and multimedia options afforded by the rocker chairs.
Do your research
After spending years parked in a variety of gaming chairs from many different manufacturers, the one constant we have taken from this experience is no one chair fits all. What does that mean? Well, if you’re 6ft 4 and weigh 98kgs, not all choices are going to be suitable, so it’s important to ascertain that your height and weight is catered for with the chair you buy. There are plenty of options available.
Comfort and support
Designers are well aware that gamers can effectively stay seated for 12-16 hour sessions, so comfort is an essential component to any chair and you’ll notice this the minute you drop into one. Thick padding on the seating areas, the ability to tilt and lock in any position, and full 360˚ swivel access in the base and arm rests that can be raised to any height and angled to suit arm positions. The chairs come with the all-important additional lumbar support options to ensure that your posture is kept in good order for long periods of time. A comfortable gamer is a happy gamer.
For many gamers, particularly those that stream or content create, style is a big factor in purchase. Yes, comfort is imperative but if you’re on camera – or just looking to impress your friends when they come around to peruse your gaming space – having a sharp, eye-catching seat design is of paramount importance. First impressions count!
Gaming chairs come in a range of materials, from leather and PVC to mesh and cloth. Like anything though, if you want it to last you have to look after it. If you’re going to be eating in your chair (this is highly likely) then perhaps look at a leather or PVC covered model that can be easily wiped down. Are you a heavy sweater? Maybe a mesh chair is more suitable.
Gaming chairs don’t come cheap. If you’re entering the market for the first time or even upgrading from an existing one, you’re going to have to fork out a fair bit of moolah on your purchase. Our advice is to go for the best you can afford from a reputable manufacturer. Cost cutting for a cheap entry model will invariably mean upgrading at some point sooner than expected, but if you go for a quality gaming seat that could even potentially double as an office chair (that’s us!), you’ll be sat in it for many, many years to come.
We reached out to a handful of gaming chair companies that supply JB Hi-Fi and asked them to send us some chairs to review. When they arrived, scenes in the office were reminiscent of a Black Friday sale, although fortunately no one was hurt! Once the dust had settled we got down to the business of actually testing them out, and this is what we discovered…
Anda AD 12XL-03
Far out! The first thing you need to consider when taking delivery of the AD 12XL is that you have someone with you to get it into the house; it’s a weighty chair. Assembly is a cinch and it takes a little over 15 minutes of Allen key wrangling to put it all together. Once it’s complete, the AD 12XL commands a formidable presence in the room and lives up to the XL letters in the title.
Given the moniker of Dark Knight in reference to the Batman armour-like design, the Anda 12XL resembles an amalgamation of the Caped Crusader, Darth Vader and a B-2 stealth bomber, with a high back rising like the Iron Throne. This is a wide chair coming in at 23” – that’s wider than the average Business Class seat on an aircraft. Mould shaping foam contours perfectly around the bum, and the padding is very comfortable.
The seat is a PVC leatherette material that purports to be highly stain-resistant and can be easily cleaned with a cloth and warm water. A sturdy beast with a steel framework, the chair can recline to 160 degrees and features armrests that are adjustable in four directions. It can support a load of up to 182kg.
Like any chair that you spend a lot of time in, lumbar support is essential not only for spine health but good posture. Here, it’s not just the lumbar support but also the neck pillow that proves invaluable. Both provide essential cushioning and support over long periods of time. The Anda AD 12XL is one of the most comfortable gaming chairs we’ve had the pleasure of sitting in. It’s a perfect fit for both larger frames and those who just like a lot of wiggle room in their seats.
ZQ Racing V6 Racer
When pulling the components of the V6 out of the box, you can instantly tell that this is a well-crafted product. Made in Australia, the ZQ Racing range encompasses a broad selection of gaming chairs to cater for all needs. Again, assembly time is around the 15-minute mark, although we’ve have put together a lot of flat pack furniture over the years, so we’re quite the professional.
We were sent the black chair with red stripes, and in full build it is a beautiful sight to behold. The PU leather is joined with sumptuous stitching, the overall design lending itself to a top range sports car bucket seat. The Racer comes under ZQ Racing’s Classic Fit range and is thus suited for slim to average height and weight and will support 150kgs.
Users can recline to 165 degrees turning the V6 into a veritable dentist’s chair. Armrests can be locked at different heights and are well padded for bony elbows. When seated, the high end cushioning foam makes for an extremely comfortable fit, with the turned up edges on the seat, hips and shoulders offering total containment and adding to that sports car vibe. Removable lumbar and neck cushions complete the fit, offering vital support for the spine and promoting good posture over those marathon gaming nights.
The V6 Racer is a high calibre gaming seat that would look just as good in front of Project Cars session as it would creating content for your loyal community.
Omen by HP Citadel Gaming Chair
Not only does the Omen brand sport the coolest logo in gaming, its products come with an assured benchmark of quality, and this extends to the Omen by HP Citadel Gaming Chair. Almost disappointingly for the office Allen key wielders, the Citadel turned up pre-built. Like the two previous gaming chairs, this one has a fair bit of weight to it, necessitating assistance to get it up the stairs in the office.
The Citadel is another chair that leans towards a racer design but like the Anda 12XL, it features a wide seat with extra padding for additional comfort. A high back helps keep the posture in check. The seat’s height is adjustable as is the back rest for gamers who like to recline while they play. Adjustable arm rests can be set for height and can move forwards and backwards, in and out, and angled left and right offering complete customisation. Lumbar and neck cushions offer good support for long play periods.
Finished in excellent PU leather, what Omen have created here is a gaming chair that combines practicality with comfort. When you sit in it you can feel the build quality – it’s a gaming chair that will handle just about everything you throw at it.
X Rocker Torque 2.1 Gaming Chair
The X Rocker Torque pedestal gaming chair is a force to be reckoned with and is the perfect accompaniment for the console gamer. In fact, this multimedia chair isn’t just limited to gamers – this is a good fit for movie and music fans. Why is that? Well, in short, the chair has everything you could possibly want for full entertainment immersion.
Not only are you dealing with an extremely comfortable chair with extra padding, sturdy (and padded) armrests, and pedestal suspension, the chair is also fitted with a 2.1 audio system – two speakers are mounted in the top sides of the chair and a proper sub woofer bass anchored in the back, which will drive quality sound right through your spine and out your chest. Playing through the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare single-player (again) while sat in the Torque delivers a whole new experience; the audio here is really quite good.
A panel situated on the righthand side features a headphone jack and allows volume, vibration and bass to be controlled, and the audio connects easily via a receiver that you plug into the headphone jack on your TV. A compact gaming chair slung low to the ground, the X Rocker Torque is the complete package for the home entertainment enthusiast.
X Rocker Shadow 2.0 Rocker
While we’ve dedicated most of this feature to talking about gaming chairs more suited for older gamers (although there’s nothing wrong with younger gamers using the aforementioned chairs), X Rocker have one catering specifically for the junior button mashers.
This is a comfortable rocker that has a control panel to the right with volume for the two wired headrest speakers, and audio in and out jacks. The Shadow is covered in an easy to wipe clean PVC material for any inevitable drink and food accidents.
The Shadow is foldable, too – a neat feature that will certainly appeal to homes where storage is an issue. Compatible with all consoles from the PS3 and Xbox 360 onwards, the Shadow is a solid performer across the board.