GROUP TEST: Gaming chairs
Don’t overlook your chair as part of a gaming PC. Jim Martin explains what to look for and review the best gaming chairs you can buy in the UK
You’ve probably spent time and money buying the right gaming keyboard and mouse for your PC, and maybe even have other accessories that you hope will give you the edge. Few people put much thought into their chair, though. Gaming chairs are becoming increasingly popular, and we’ve rounded up a small selection of the latest models.
In most respects, gaming chairs are no different to a regular desk swivel chair. They have height adjustment, castors for smooth movement across the floor and arm rests. However, as with a lot of gaming hardware, gaming chairs are more stylish than your standard office chair and typically take inspiration from the bucket seats in racing cars. What is and isn’t stylish is down to your personal taste, but what should you look for when buying a gaming chair?
Basic chairs tend to have only height adjustment, but it’s well worth going for a chair that has an reclining back and adjustable arm rests, too. Ergonomics are important, so you need a chair that supports your spine properly and offers enough adjustment to fit your body, rather than forcing it into a bad posture.
Best gaming chairs
Almost all chairs are ‘one size fits all’, so it’s crucial to make sure the seat height adjustment range will suit you. You won’t necessarily get a more ergonomic chair if you spend more, so good ergonomics don’t have to be expensive. Some chairs come with removable cushions for lumbar (back support) or for a head rest. An ergonomic chair shouldn’t need these, but some people might find they’re needed for the best fit and comfort.
What you will get if you spend more is better quality materials and build. Although the
price of some chairs may make you wince, a good-quality chair should last years, if not a decade or more.
At the entry level, cheap foam may feel okay to start with (some manufacturers use recycled foam scraps), but might lose its structure and therefore its support before long, while high-quality foam will retain its shape and also support heavier users. A chair’s specifications should always state the maximum weight they can handle.
Talking of materials, the most common is PU leather, also known as faux leather or vegan leather. In essence, it’s plastic with a leather-like texture. It’s not a bad choice: it’s reasonably hard wearing, easy to clean and not expensive. Real leather costs a lot, but should last considerably longer. Some chairs use a suede-like material. This isn’t as easy to clean, but has a softer feel.
Since gaming chairs have a gas strut for height adjustment, plus other moving parts, it’s feasible that something might fail. Obviously a longer warranty is better, but always check what the warranty covers.