Gaming Chairs vs Office Chairs: which seat is right for your setup

An office chair opposite a gaming chair on a blue and tan background
(Image credit: Future)

Choosing the right chair is an important way to make sure that you’re both comfortable while working or gaming and that you don’t damage yourself while you do it. Sitting with the correct posture is vital, but not all chairs are created equal and some are better at making you sit properly than others.

And some are just way more comfortable. Or look great. You’re unlikely to be able to check every box with even the best gaming chairs or the best office chairs, but knowing which characteristics office chairs and gaming chairs tend to have will help inform your decision.

We’ll run you through the main similarities (there aren’t many) and differences (there are some important ones) between the two camps so you can choose the right one for you. We’ll start with the one that people tend to gravitate towards first — price.

Gaming Chairs vs Office Chairs: Price & Availability

Office Chair

(Image credit: Hof India)

If you’re looking for the very cheapest chair available, it’s likely to be an office chair. They’re often built with a budget in mind so companies can fill rooms with them without spending a fortune. Unfortunately, that often means that they aren’t very good, either.

Office chairs can start at around $50, whereas your entry-level gaming chair will normally start at around $100, but those prices can both rise pretty quickly.

At the bottom of those price ranges, you can expect minimal cushioning, if any, as well as fewer ways to adjust your chair to get it just right. But if it’s all about just getting something to park yourself on, office chairs are where it’s at. That being said, you can easily spend thousands of dollars on high-end office chairs, too. The better gaming chairs tend to sit in the mid-hundreds.

  • Winner: Office chairs

Gaming Chairs vs Office Chairs: Design

Gaming chair

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

You might think that the design of a chair is pretty set in stone and to some degree, you’d be right. You’re obviously going to need somewhere to actually sit and then there’s a backrest as well. If you’re lucky, there’s somewhere for your arms, too.

These days almost every chair comes with armrests, although some office chairs at the bottom of the price range might be missing that luxury. Where things really differ between an office chair and a gaming chair is the general setup.

Most gaming chairs are bigger in general than their office-based counterparts. They’re built to resemble bucket seats in a sports car, which makes them larger, curvier, and more rounded. You can normally expect more padding, and the setup often has you sat in a more reclined position. That’s good for initial comfort, but terrible for ergonomics.

Gaming chairs, because of the target market, are often just more “out there” as a result. You’ll find colorful designs, sometimes with movie or game tie-ins. You might even find LED lights, too. It’s a veritable smörgåsbord board of gaming cliches out there.

Office chairs, by contrast, are normally built with ergonomics in mind. Unless you pay considerably more money, expect something that looks much more functional than a gaming chair. You won’t find any colorful cushions here, but you’ll most likely be able to sit with the right posture more easily and there are tons of ergonomic chairs to choose from.

Ultimately, it will all come down to what you’re looking for in terms of aesthetics and comfort here. You can get some gorgeous office chairs if you’re willing to spend the money, and some gaming chairs let you adjust just about everything to find the right position, too.

  • Winner: Tie

Gaming Chairs vs Office Chairs: Performance

Pink AutoFull gaming chair

(Image credit: AutoFull)

No matter what chair you choose, it’ll do a job in that it will let you sit on it and get important work or serious gaming done. But the devil is in the details.

As teased earlier, gaming chairs often have more positional options in terms of the backrest, armrests, and height. Armrests in particular can be articulated in various ways depending on the model you choose from. Even the cheaper options let you move them backward and forward as well as vertically to make sure you’re sat correctly. Unless you’re willing to spend more than that $50 starting price, office chairs can be sadly lacking here.

Whereas a gaming chair might let you move your armrests closer to you as well as further away, office chairs often don’t. That means the former can sometimes offer more flexibility for different body types, for example. Larger seats and adjustable lumbar support, like the Secretlab Titan, are also worth keeping your eyes peeled for.

One notable benefit of office chairs is the ergonomics mentioned earlier. They tend to be built to ensure that no company using them will find itself on the end of a lawsuit, so they almost force you into sitting correctly. Whether that also means you’ll be sat comfortably is another matter, but your back might thank you in the long run.

The same goes for your hips, with office chairs normally flowing down at the front to ensure your knees are at the right height to avoid putting strain on your hips and back. Again, it might not feel comfortable at first, but it’s the best way to sit if you don’t want to be in pain when you try to get back up again. You’ll just look cooler when you do it from a gaming chair!

  • Winner: Tie

Gaming Chairs vs Office Chairs: which is right for you?

Office chairs

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

In case it hasn’t become obvious yet, there is no right chair for everyone. Which one is best for you will definitely depend on who you are, your body type, how long you’ll be sitting in the chair, and more.

It’ll also come down to aesthetics. People gaming in a room full of LEDs and whatnot might want something a little more gamer-themed, but those working in a home office with plants and perfectly-curated artwork might choose something entirely different. If it’s style you’re looking for, the Branch Verve is hard to beat — but you’ll definitely pay for it.

If you have the choice, try different chairs out for yourself and see which suits you and your aesthetic the best. That might not be easy in a world of online ordering, so check returns policies just in case you change your mind.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back.