5 common mistakes people make when buying a gaming chair

5 common mistakes people make when buying a gaming chair
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Parilov)

Buying a gaming chair presents some unique challenges. Some of those include the fact that, unlike a laptop, there are not a lot of specs to go on so you can’t upgrade in the same way. Instead of going from an 8 to 16 GB or an Intel Core i5 to an i7, upgrades come in the form of different materials such as leather or mesh and different add-ons such as a neck pillow. Those upgrades are not categorically better. They’re just a matter of preference that happen to be more expensive.

Since furniture is the last, and for some the least important, aspect when it comes to building a gaming rig, not as much thought or research goes into gaming chairs. It doesn’t help that the established brands are often drowned out by cheap knock-offs littering the pages of retailers like Amazon. It’s no wonder then that people make plenty of mistakes when on the lookout for the best gaming chair.

To help you avoid some of those pitfalls, we’ve rounded them up here. Hopefully, knowing what to avoid will help you find a comfortable chair the first time around, and you don’t have to upgrade in six months when your lower back starts to hurt.

Gamers are right to be weary of gaming peripherals. But, that skepticism often runs a bit too deep. Yes, the gamer tax exists to an extent. You pay a little more for gaming variants of headphones, mice, and keyboards. But, they also come with unique features that non-gaming versions typically don’t have. And, their core performance is often much better than many presume.

Just like all those peripherals, there are plenty of gaming chairs that are worth consideration. And, a lot of them are more comfortable than you might think. It’s just harder to differentiate which ones are good online. Sitting in them would be the best way to find the right one for you but you probably won’t find a Mavix storefront at your local mall. 

If you’re considering the Secretlab Titan Gaming Chair, for example, you have to order it. And, depending on the company, you might have a limited time to return it, if at all. Plus, returning furniture is difficult, especially when it’s something that needs to be disassembled for shipping.

Your next best bet is reviews, forums, and online research. However, gaming chairs haven’t been around in large quantities for very long. And, well-known brands are few and far between with many of them, like Razer and Corsair, known more for other peripherals. But, there are many more unknown brands on Amazon and eBay that are much cheaper. In the end, a lot of people have tried out a lot of crappy chairs because they went cheap. And, plenty more have been bothered by the prices that accompany some of the better chairs.

Mistake 2: Not considering your own unique needs

5 common mistakes people make when buying a gaming chair

(Image credit: Shutterstock / SeventyFour)

Shopping for chairs is not a one-size-fits-all type of scenario. It might seem like it is, considering that you can’t go to IKEA, look at a chair, and ask if they have it in large. But, people come in all different shapes and sizes. And, since you’ll most likely be spending hours at a time gaming, you want something that’s comforting to you.

Thankfully, gaming chairs are available in different sizes. Some actually do come in large or small while others include different size cylinders to accommodate different height needs. Any decent brand will have this information available so you can find out if the chair you’re considering will fit you.

In the same vein, comfort is more than just getting the right size. Beyond the base comfort, there are certain factors that can enhance your sitting experience. Some models come with neck pillows. Most come with headrests. And, just about all the decent chairs come with some kind of lumbar support, which can take different forms such as an additional pillow to sit at the lower back or mesh stretched across an ergonomically molded backrest.

Mistake 3: Not taking a closer look at adjustability

In a similar vein, you want to take stock of the adjustability of a chair. Cheaper ones will typically have less options. So, unless you just want to be able to adjust the chair’s height, you’ll want to upgrade to something more adjustable. Take the Razer Enki for example. This is a mid-range gaming chair that’s actually light on adjustability, yet it offers up to 152 degrees of incline and four different ways of adjusting the armrest to get you properly situated. That blows away what you get out of a basic office chair.

And, many gaming chairs can do even more. The Herman Miller X Logitech Embody can adjust the lumbar support for example while many others, like the Cougar Argo, lets you adjust the headrest.

Consider then what kind of adjustments you need to be comfortable and where your current chair might be inflicting pain before going on the hunt for that next chair.

Mistake 4: Focusing just on price

Price will always be a factor as budgets vary and not everyone can afford something like Mavix M9, which is a very nice but very expensive option. However, once you’ve determined the range of what you can afford, you should focus on what’s best in that range.

Going for the cheapest might end either in discomfort or you buying a replacement when it breaks in six months. However, there are good budget options like the Andaseat Jungle 2, which will set you back $300 / £250. Not a bargain bin price tag but relatively low compared to most gaming chairs.

On the flip side, if you just get the most expensive, you might be wasting money on too much chair. You’re much less likely to end up with something terrible. But, unless you won the lottery, saving a couple hundred dollars by getting something that’s right for you but not necessarily top of the line is still worth the savings.

Mistake 5: Assuming an office chair can’t be a good gaming chair

You don’t necessarily need a gaming chair to game in. You just need something comfortable. So, if you’re seeing a deal on a solid office chair that does more than a basic model does like the Branch Verve, know that it might work just as well. You’ll miss out on certain things you’re more likely to find in a gaming chair, such as additional support pillows, but it will still support you through hours of use. And, at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing. Just make sure that it still offers the kind of adjustability and fit that you need.

After all, one of the main things that sets gaming chairs apart is their gaming aesthetic. They look snazzier and more appropriate for people building out a game room. However, some people, like this author, work and play at the same desk. And, like this author, some people don’t like to lean into the gaming aesthetic either out of shame (ahem…) or because they want a classier or more formal looking setup.

Just be aware that you’ll have to invest as much in a quality office chair as you would a gaming chair. To a certain degree, you get what you pay for.

James Holland
Freelance writer

James Holland loves audio gear! So much so that he covers all the ins and outs, good and bad for TechRadar and T3. Where does that so-called expertise come from? Not only is he a lifelong music-lover but he also works in the music industry and is a musician. When not testing headphones or listening to music, he loves to travel, rage at the latest PC games, and eat off-the-beaten-path but not too off-the-beaten-path food.