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Best gaming chair for 2021

Best gaming chair for 2021

One of the best ways to improve your gaming experience is to invest in a high-quality gaming chair. But if you’re searching online, you’ll probably find that it’s not easy to tell whether a gamer chair is comfortable and ergonomic. Complicating your search is that many PC gaming chairs look pretty much the same and offer a dizzying array of features: lumbar support pillow, padded armrest, footrest, bucket seat, and the list goes on. And a chair is something you need firsthand (well, maybe not -hand…) experience to judge.

Our picks for the best gaming chair should eliminate some of the guesswork during your search. The chairs we’ve rounded up here (and most of the ones we researched) share a lot of similarities, like caster wheels and seat padding for extra comfort and ergonomic gaming. Other similarities include adjustable spider bases and 3D/4D armrests that move up and down, forward, backward, and rotate inward and out. All of them would be suitable as an office chair as well. 

Beyond that, in your search for the best gaming chair, having a good backrest and lumbar support are essential — you should look for a video game chair that’s sturdy and suits your size. Here are our picks for the best gaming chair. We’ll update this list periodically.

Joseph Kaminski

A fully loaded DXRacer Master Modular gaming chair looks like it’s straight out of a sci-fi movie… or a dentist’s office. Appearances aside, this chair is extremely comfortable and useful, especially if you use multiple devices while you game and work.

The chair — available in black, maroon and brown — is covered in microfiber leather and has an aluminum base that supports people up to 275 pounds. It’s ideal for someone 6 feet tall but can accommodate up to 6 feet, 6 inches. The chair itself comes in at just under 70 pounds. 

The Master Series has internal lumbar support, which is a plus for me since it means there’s no need to fidget with a pillow. The same goes for the rail-mounted headrest that keeps the cushion in place. Padded 4D locking armrests are not only comfortable but stay in place if you use them to help you get out of the chair. The stock seat cushion is comfortable and tapers slightly upward on the ends making it easier for wider bottoms. DXRacer also offers a mesh seat cushion for those looking to stay cool with more ventilation. And that’s just the start of the customizations.

This chair separates itself from the rest with the addition of a cup holder (no more desk spills) and two arms that support a few different devices. One arm can hold a laptop and the other a tablet or mobile phone. The icing on the cake is its integrated leg rest that slides underneath the base. All modular add-ons are sold separately. 

The chair ships with all the tools needed to assemble it. Due to its unique design, it is heavier than a traditional gaming chair and may require some help while building it. That said, once built, the chair is so satisfying to sit in and great for a situation like mine, where I have my personal computer occupying my desk and the Master Series arm for my work laptop. 

For anyone wanting to revert the chair back, the accessories are easy to remove. — Joseph Kaminski

Razer

There are a few good reasons to pick the Razer Iskur over others on this list. For instance, if you love the Razer brand, it’s a no-brainer. From its glowing green stitching to its three-headed snake logo to the snake-belly pattern on the back support, this is a chair for Gamers, by Gamers.

The chair is covered in a multilayered synthetic leather that Razer says will withstand the peeling that’s typical of standard polyurethane leather. It feels close to leather, which is nice, but it also creaks and squeaks like it, too. Regardless, if it holds up better than your typical PU chair, it’s worth it.

The Iskur is designed for gamers weighing up to 299 pounds (136 kg) with a height of 5 feet, 6 inches to 6 feet, 2 inches (170 cm to 190 cm). I’m a little over 200 pounds and 6 feet, 2 inches tall, and it feels just about perfect. The seat cushion is firm and supportive, which is what you want when you’re gaming or working at a desk. If you’re looking for a puffy recliner on wheels, this ain’t it. Likewise, the angled sides of the seat cushion hug your hips, giving you a little extra support out to the sides. I like it, but if you prefer a flat, open seat design or have wide hips, you might not like the feel.

The armrests are wide and lightly cushioned. The height can be adjusted with paddles under the outside edge, while buttons on the inside let you slide the rests left and right. Press the buttons on the front inside edge of the rests themselves and you can slide them forward and backward as well as rotate them in and out. Basically, you can dial in the exact position you want. The chair itself has a height adjustment. The back reclines and the whole chair tilts so you can lean back and dream of all the ways you’ll defeat your enemies. 

However, the biggest feature that sets this chair apart from the pack is its lumbar support. Unlike competing models at this price, the Iskur doesn’t rely on an attachable pillow that needs constant adjustment. Instead, you lift a paddle under the chair and a sculpted support lifts forward like a snake with a belly full of mouse.

The chair is covered by a three-year warranty and you can get tech support if you need it. Plus, if you buy direct from Razer, you get 14 days to return it risk-free. — Josh Goldman

ErgoCentric

There are chairs that are labeled ergonomic and then there’s the tCentric Hybrid from ErgoCentric. It’s not a one-size-fits-all chair or even one you buy strictly by size. Instead, the Canadian-based company helps you build a chair that’s a perfect fit for your body. The company even has an ergonomist on staff you can video chat with.

To simplify the build process, ErgoCentric created an online chair fitting tool. Just answer some simple questions, enter a handful of basic body measurements and upload optional front-facing and profile photos of yourself in a chair. Within 24 hours you’ll have a recommendation. A custom chair ships within five days and is ready to use out of the box — no assembly required. And if you change your mind once it arrives, you can return it for a full refund.

The tCentric Hybrid I tested was fitted with the company’s Synchro Glide system, which links the backrest movement with the seat so that when you lean back the seat tilts back as well. Combined with the chair’s independent back-angle adjustment, the whole chair feels like it’s moving with you, supporting you no matter how you sit.

The height of the backrest is adjustable up to 5 inches, too, so the lumbar support is in the correct spot. And there’s an optional air-filled lumbar support that you can inflate while you sit in the chair. In fact, everything can be adjusted without standing and the handles all have different shapes to cut down on those sudden accidental seat height drops. 

The armrests have height, lateral and swivel adjustments. The seat depth is adjustable up to 2.5 inches and uses a unique airless cushion made from soft rubber. It works with the mesh to help give you the extra support that you don’t get with other mesh chairs and you don’t end up sitting on the chair frame under you. 

However, if you’d rather have an upholstered foam seat with a mesh back, you can get that (it’s where the Hybrid in the name comes from). I tested the full mesh version, which kept me cool and the airless cushion gave me just enough support to keep me comfortable throughout my workday and into a night of gaming. Also, if you’re going to splurge on any of the extras this chair is available with, the headrest is a must-have. It adjusts at three different pivot points to support your head and neck in any position or you can move it entirely out of the way.

There are a lot of things to like about this chair but in the end, it’s all about the support it gives you. For myself, it means relief from intense neck and shoulder pain caused by spinal stenosis. Having a chair that keeps me properly supported and comfortable all day makes it worth the expense. Plus, the tCentric Hybrid is covered with a 12-year warranty and covers everything — from the casters to the headrest and all of the chair’s moving mechanisms. — Josh Goldman

Herman Miller

Spending as much on an office chair as you might on a midrange gaming laptop might seem ridiculous, but when many of us are spending more and more time at home, it’s not unreasonable for home-office-bound gamers to consider making a serious investment in their comfort, regardless of what’s happening onscreen. Whether you’re scanning spreadsheets or laser-focused on your next target, the $1,495 Embody Gaming Chair will give you excellent back and shoulder support.

Herman Miller’s Embody design has been for sale as a high-end desk chair since 2011. The only specifically “gamer-y” thing about this version, aside from the marketing done in partnership with Logitech, is the color scheme, which adds ocean blue accents to the back panel and the height adjustment switches for the seat and the armrests. The $1,495 price tag is the same for the gamer version as it is for the entry-level standard office model. If you’re not crazy about the blue, you can find the Embody in other colors for the same price or even a bit higher, depending on your preference. Every version of the chair includes Herman Miller’s 12-year warranty, giving you exceptional protection for such a major investment.

The chair’s back support is where it shines. A tension adjustment knob on the right side lets you dial in the support to your back and shoulders across a wide range of motion. Combined with the three-position tilt adjustment, you can tailor the chair to your preferred sitting position to a very fine degree. Its porous, layered upholstery, which Herman Miller calls “pixelated support,” helps ensure the chair breathes well, and I never felt too warm during the three weeks I spent using it at work and while gaming. A lifetime seated at a computer has done some interesting things to my back and shoulders; I won’t say the chair is a miracle cure, but I will attest to the fact that it let me adjust my sitting position throughout the day. At every point, I felt as if it bolstered my back exactly where I wanted it to. I can’t say the same about any other desk chair I’ve used in the past. — Rich Brown

Joseph Kaminski/CNET

The X-Chair X3’s design might not look like a gaming chair, but it doesn’t skip the features you’d expect from one. 

One of the special features is what X-Chair calls the Dynamic Variable Lumbar, which moves as you do to give you the same amount of support all the time. The headrest can be raised and lowered as well as tilted for better head and neck support. It also has highly adjustable arm rests with 4 degrees of movement. 

What I especially like are the tabs to slide the foam seat base forward and back. And the mesh backrest allows for better airflow than you get in a typical gaming chair. If my back is to the window, I can still feel a breeze.

The model I tested came with both standard wheels and clear X-wheel Active X premium wheels — the latter are like inline-skate wheels that glide across the floor quietly without damaging it or marking it up. There’s an option to add locking wheels to the chair, too.

The X3 is covered in a multilayered nylon that claims to be both responsive and supportive in addition to water-, spill- and stain-resistant. The standard chair can support people up to 350 pounds and up to 6 feet, 3 inches tall, but X-Chair also offers a larger cylinder for taller people. — Joseph Kaminski

The Maingear Forma is functional, flexible and sturdy — basically a solid middle-of-the-road choice if you’re looking for a good gaming chair with comfortable foam cushion pillow. 

You can swivel 360 degrees and lean back nearly 180 degrees in it and not tip over, providing a safe gaming experience for the overly enthusiastic. 

With a weight limit of 330 pounds, this budget gaming chair is also the gaming chair most suited for heavier gamers.

The chair includes a nice memory foam head pillow (to support the neck) and lumbar pillow backrest. In terms of overall comfort, I’d rate it slightly behind the high-end Secretlab chair. The Forma is covered in faux leather over a steel frame with an aluminum alloy base, so it would work well as an ergonomic office chair, too. The casters are ultraquiet, and this quality gaming chair has an adjustable seat height, from 14.2 to 18.1 inches. — Joseph Kaminski

We asked our sample sitters which they thought was the best gaming chair overall, and they almost unanimously agreed that the best gaming chair was the Secretlab Titan 2020 Series. This ergonomic gaming chair has a large backrest with a wide lumbar pillow cushion, and it supports people who are up to 6 feet, 7 inches and weigh 290 pounds. It also has style. This gaming recliner isn’t just a place to sit, it lets you lie back almost fully, and the high-density foam head pillow is generously sized for a top-notch gaming experience. The internal lumbar cushion is adjustable, as are the armrests. In fact, each adjustable armrest can swivel backward and forward, rotate in and out, up and down and slide wider and narrower for extra comfort.

Secretlab has special edition models available, ranging from Batman to Game of Thrones themes — maybe not what you would want for an office chair, but who’s judging? — Joseph Kaminski

Joseph Kaminski/CNET

The Secretlab Omega is a gamer’s all-day dream chair, with two memory foam pillows — one for lumbar support, the other for the headrest. Matched with a full-length backrest and a seat cushion that rises on its sides, gamers sit snugly in place. 

The model I tested was covered in polyurethane-coated leather, but the chair also comes in the company’s SoftWeave fabric and napa leather. If you’re trying to choose between the Omega and Titan, I’d say the Omega has a slight edge in terms of the seat cushion comfort level. That said, this added comfort comes with a narrower seat base. The Omega was designed for gamers up to 5 feet, 11 inches tall and up to 240 pounds. However, I’m 6 feet tall and found the chair easy to sit in all day.

Like its Titan sibling, the Omega has all the bells and whistles including the Secretlab’s 4D armrests, solid base and tilt radius. Setup time was also about 15 minutes, and tools are also included.

The Omega also comes in a Cyberpunk 2077 edition as well as a few other pop-culture favorites. Check out some of the other Secretlab Omega special editions and collaborations. — Joseph Kaminski

At least DXRacer was upfront in stating that this racing-style gaming chair is for people under 6 feet, with a weight capacity of 225 pounds or less. It’s not a suitable seat for big and tall users. Still, I was able to get my 6-foot, 225-plus-pound frame into it reasonably well. This sturdy swivel chair is covered in a polyurethane faux leather over a metal frame, with a tilt radius of 135 degrees and adjustable armrests. The high-back quality chair itself weighs approximately 55 pounds and comes with both an adjustable foam headrest pillow and a lumbar support cushion backrest pillow. The best gaming chair for the consummate color coordinator, the Valkyrie racing chair comes in black with four different highlight color options: green, blue, red and yellow. — Joseph Kaminski

The DXRacer Drifting Series has a weight capacity of 220 pounds or less, so it’s not the best gaming chair for anyone who has a big and tall frame and needs a bit of extra room in their seat. It is a comfortable gaming chair, though. It is ergonomically designed with a height-adjustable lumbar support cushion and a headrest pillow and can be tilted back to 135 degrees, making comfortable reclining easy even if you’re sitting for a long time. Despite the weight limitations, we liked that it took up a little less room and, with its casters, could easily be used as an ergonomic office chair. — Joseph Kaminski

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