In a computer-driven world, spending copious amounts of time behind a screen has become the norm for everyone, whether at work or at home.
In turn, this means we spend most of our day sat at a desk, hunched over or slouched and in some cases in pain, our necks and backs stiffening and spasming after spending weeks and years locked in woeful positions.
Sadly, this is having quite a detrimental effect on our health, as not only does it scupper any natural exercise through basic movement but our terrible postures are also transforming us into a race of strange hunchback people.
We’re becoming the evolution of man diagrams inverted and something has to change.
An extreme remedy to this would be to quit our jobs, or perhaps give up on our gaming obsessions, but as previously stated – this is a computer-driven world, and we aren’t getting up and out of our chairs anytime soon.
In response then, furniture boffins have devised the ergonomic chair, designed to align perfectly with our spines, provide extra support to areas that need it and also offer mobility, balance and focus.
Given that the two people who need these chairs most are gamers and office workers, their creation has also led to a splitting of ways in terms of design, with office chairs and gaming chairs being remarkably different in terms of style and features.
But what are those differences and is one chair noticeably better than the other?
Gaming Chairs Vs. Office Chairs: What’s The Difference?
When comparing the standard gaming chair to the standard office chair, the differences are fairly stark.
While there is no definitive design for either type of chair, most tend to follow a basic model they rarely stray away from…
Gaming chairs look like something an F1 or rally car driver might sit in, as they utilise a chunky bucket seat design, with a fixed headrest and winged backrest.
This large design means they provide cushioning for your entire back with additional support provided by armrests and pillows at the neck and lower back.
Their most unique features are advanced backrest reclining and occasionally multi-directional armrests, ensuring they offer a high amount of adjustability.
Standard office chairs can vary slightly in their ergonomic qualities, with many common designs featuring fixed armrests and backrests which offer little adjustability.
Instead, they mainly provide seat height adjustment and a rocking tension that allows you to recline or lean forward at will.
In terms of shape, they are fairly flat or circular in design, with the backrest sometimes only offering support to the upper back.
A new class of ergonomic office chair has seen this style updated slightly though, offering lumbar support rests, reclining backrest and usually an adjustable headrest. These are the office chairs that most closely resemble gaming chairs in terms of their features.
Gaming Chairs Vs. Office Chairs – Which Is Best For You?
When choosing an ergonomic chair, it’s important to weigh up the features and factors that make gaming and office chairs different.
To help you make the right pick, we’ve compared the two in several key areas, so you can find the chair that best suits your personal needs.
Design & Aesthetic
In terms of design, you can’t miss a gaming chair, as their brash, racing car seat design makes them stand out like a sore thumb compared to understated and simple office chairs.
They also tend to come in more garish colours, as they are of course designed you the young gamers market, meaning they’re often a better fit aesthetically speaking inside a teenager’s room.
Office chairs on the other hand, particular high-grade leather ones, usually offer a classier, contemporary look that blends in with other furniture, home offices and living rooms.
In short, they look more professional.
You can find gaming chairs with more toned-down colour schemes, but they will always feature that garish racing car shape, meaning for some people, they’re always going to be a big no-no.
WINNER: Office Chair
For this one, we’re going to have to go with the office chair in terms of its versatility, as you can more than likely slot it into any room or environment without it creating a clash in your coronas.
However, the gaming seat style is undoubtedly impressive and cool in design, so if you’re looking for a chair to liven up your room or complete a gaming station – it’s obviously the perfect choice.
Although appearance is probably the first thing people look for in furniture, comfort is undoubtedly the most important thing, as there’s no point spending hundreds of pounds on a snazzy seat if it feels like you’re taking a pew on the electric chair.
For short periods of time, office chairs usually excel at providing maximum comfort for the user, featuring padded or cushioned material that supports the back, with fixed armrests to help take your weight.
The design of the seat itself is also usually more comfortable than gaming chairs as there is no breaking-in period, and the seats tend to be basic shapes with ‘waterfall’ seat lips that allow the legs to slope down at a comfortable angle.
Gaming chairs on the other hand can feel awkward for first-time users.
Their bucket style seats can feel restricting and the raised seat lips mean there can sometimes be elevated pressure under the thighs, making getting that perfect knee slope angle a little tricky.
But while gaming chairs can take some time to get used too, the comfort levels it eventually offers far outweigh the standard office chair – especially if you’re someone who spends most of their day behind a desk.
This is because gaming chairs are designed to support your body for longer periods of time, by offering a fully reclining backrest with a fixed headrest, neck and lumbar pillow supports and extra padding and cushioning for comfort.
When a chair does not provide support for your entire back and head like this, sitting up straight for several hours can be incredibly taxing on the back muscles and spine, as it’s down to them to keep your shoulders neck and head upright and aligned.
This means office chairs without reclining features and sufficient backrests often lead to fidgeting, slouching and repeated adjustments in your chair, as your body will begin to tire and ache as it fights to keep your body sat up straight.
Eventually, of course, you tend to just give in, consciously or unconsciously, which is why standard office chairs are a great threat to our posture and physical health!
Given that many forms of ergonomic office chair still don’t offer headrests or full-length backrests, it’s no wonder that some home workers and uncomfy office staff our turning to the supportive ways of the gaming chair!
WINNER: Gaming Chairs
We think gaming chairs have the edge here, as not only do they offer optional pillow support, but they also provide extra padding, headrests and more back support. This makes them far superior when it comes to long engagements at a computer screen, as your less likely to get restless or develop any aches or strains.
However, if you’re someone who only spends a couple of hours or so at a desk each day, a standard office chair should easily provide for your needs and their classic structures means there’s no awkward breaking-in stage or period of adjustment!
Ergonomics & Adjustability
Human beings weren’t built to slouch in a chair for umpteen hours a day, yet that is exactly what the majority of us will spend our lives doing.
This is why hunting down an ergonomic chair has become incredibly important for gamers and office workers, as finding the perfect fit will help improve posture, concentration, comfort and output!
While great ergonomic chairs often start with a supportive shape and style, it’s their adjustment features and extras which truly separate the wheat from the chaff.
Gaming chairs are famed for their adjustment features and in particular their fully reclining backrests, which allow you to alter your angle without ever tarnishing the straight alignment of your spine.
This kind of feature is important when sitting for long periods, as experts recommend maintaining good posture with an occasional motion to help circulate blood flow and ensure different muscles in the back are being used throughout the day. Some gaming chairs will also offer a seat tilt mechanism to echo the same principle without moving the backrest.
In terms of shape, gaming chairs also provide one of the most ergonomic structures for your back, as the backrest encompasses the entire spine and head, while optional support pillows can be positioned to fit into the natural curves of the neck and lower back.
The adjustable height and armrest features also make them more viable for computer work and gaming, as they allow you to sync up perfectly with your desk, keeping good eye level with the screen and avoiding any strain on the arms and wrists.
Standard office chairs lack many of these features, meaning adjusting them to your work or gaming station can be notoriously difficult and even ergonomic office chairs often lack the support pillows or tilt features required for good posture in motion!
WINNER: Gaming Chair
It’s got to be the gaming chair hasn’t it? Almost endlessly adjustable, it’s pretty impossible not to customise a gaming chair until it perfectly suits your personal needs, all the while giving you a great posture, plus improved concentration and output!
You might occasionally find an ergonomic office chair that can compete, but make sure it offers pretty much all the features of a standard gaming chair before you decide it’s of an equal ergonomic status!
Assembly & Accessories
Office chairs are all about being classy and free of fuss, meaning they’re often short on accessories and fairly easy to assemble!
Gaming chairs on the other hand can sometimes take up to an hour to put together, particularly if they feature complicated adjustment mechanisms for you to try and solve.
They usually come in much heavier packages and also come with extras like support pillows and occasionally things like footrests or immersive vibration/ massage systems.
This makes them much more complex to figure out and a bit frustrating if you get something wrong or aren’t a dab hand with an Allen key!
WINNER: Office Chairs
The fuss is obviously worth it all in the end, but if you’re seriously not one for DIY and hate following instructions, a gaming chair might just not be worth the hassle!
Office chairs are alternatively accessory and relatively feature free, meaning assembly can be completed in a very short time frame
Depending on the quality of chair you’re plumping for, both gaming chairs and office chairs can be incredibly expensive, often stretching to as much as £400 or more in price.
In general though, the cheapest office chairs are usually much less costly than the cheapest gaming chairs, which will usually set you back £100 at a minimum.
However, given that gaming chairs tend to offer better upholstery, comfort and back support, we say that they’re entirely worth the extra, as they’ll offer you more in longevity, quality and comfort!
WINNER: Gaming Chair
If you’re someone who lives that sedentary lifestyle, it’s worth forking out a little extra for the gaming chair, as you can’t put a price on extra comfort!
Gaming chairs also tend to offer more warranty and lifespan than an office chair, meaning they’re much better value for what is often a very meagre difference in price tag!
Conclusion: Which To Pick
If you need a chair that will keep your productivity and posture up for several hours a day, the gaming chair is undoubtedly your best option, as it offers the most ergonomic features to help ensure your comfort and focus on the task in front of you.
If the style of gaming chairs is still off-putting to you though, you should only be considering an ergonomic office chair design that can match the gaming chair in features – namely a full-length reclining back and headrest, seat-tilt mechanisms, support pillows and adaptable armrests.
If an office chair lacks any of those features, it simply can’t compete ergonomically with the gaming chair!
For those who don’t work behind a desk or spend long periods of time gaming though, there’s no need to splash out, as for short periods of time, a standard office chair can function perfectly fine in terms of comfort and quality!