How to Game In Comfort: Choosing the Right Chair For Under $100
Are you ready to throw out that old gaming chair? The one with the worn-down cushion? Of course, you are.
Whether you're a PC gamer or a console gamer, it's time for you to play in comfort and style again -- all without breaking the bank.
Since sitting for hours on end comes with the territory, a comfy chair can easily make or break a gaming session. After recently going through a purchase to replace my own five-year-old gaming chair (and doing it on a budget), here are a few tips that helped me get a great chair and an even better deal.
If you want a chair that's going to last for a long time, you need to first choose the right material, since cheap material can easily fray, rip, or separate from the chair itself. And that's not to mention it just might not feel right.
So, it's best to do your research. If you have to spend a few extra dollars because the racer chair is made of higher quality materials than the generic PC gaming chair, then follow your heart and pay those few extra dollars and make a solid investment.
The best way to do this is to find a chair in-store. Being physically able to see and assess chairs provides a significant edge because you can get hands-on with the chair. If you can't find on in-store and have to resort to buying online, read as many reviews as you can and compare specs on official websites.
Materials available for gaming chairs mostly break down into two categories: leather and fabric. These days, you can obtain both material types in a $100 budget chair with decent quality, making the choice mostly personal.
However, there are some things that you can consider when making your choice.
Leather is ideal for people who love to pair their game time with a beverage as it can easily be wiped down after a spill, etc. Meanwhile, fabric shines in hot and humid climates where it will reduce sweating (and sticking) for those longer gaming sessions.
Both are susceptible to frays or tears with time making longevity a draw for similarly priced materials. Personally, due to where I live, I value fabric over leather and haven't looked back after making the switch.
Speaking from experience, if you are a hardcore gamer, you will be sitting in your chair for dozens of hours -- at least. Nothing is worse than coming out of your game world to double over in pain because of a sore back. Similarly, you don't want to be uncomfortable for the whole session, constantly moving from side to side.
As comfort can be extremely hard to judge (especially for online purchases), you want to look for reviews on comfort and, if possible, visit a local retailer that stocks your ideal chair (or one of similar make) and take a seat for a few minutes.
The other main comfort elements to consider are: Do you want a neck/headrest? Or, do you want curved or flat armrests?
If you're tall, having a headrest will increase the ergonomic quality of the chair, giving your head something to rest on -- or if you prefer to play in a reclined position.
Armrests are important for keeping your wrists healthy depending on your setup and height. If you're a PC gamer, armrests will be more important (based on your desk height, for example) than for a console gamer. The wrong armrests can even increase the likelihood of conditions such as carpal tunnel and lead to back and neck pain.
Those shopping outside the $100 budget range will have the luxury of buying a chair with more levers to customize seat depth and even armrests. In our proposed $100 price range, these features are more limited in our proposed $100 price range. And although they are achievable, you'll have a harder time finding them and your selection will be much more limited.
In addition to the chair, the physical aspects of the space you have is actually a vital consideration. A recent move left me with a chair that was too large for the space I had, making it awkward to get into and sit in.
You want to measure how much space you have in your gaming area. If you are dealing with a small area, it might be best not to spring on a huge chair with a wide profile. You want to be able to sit far enough away from your television or computer without giving yourself a migraine, hurt your eyes, or cramp your legs, the latter of which can negate all of the positive ergonomic effects of your new chair.
You also have to think about getting your chair in the room/building it in the room you want it in. It might be a pain to do this if the space you're putting it in is too small to accommodate the chair. And obviously, this can lead to other injuries not even associated directly with the chair.
Comfy Gaming Chair Recommendations
With these factors in mind, here are a few good chairs for gaming that continually came up while I was doing research. Some of these can serve as a good starting point for your own research.
Intex Inflatable Ultra Lounge Chair
This is a fairly cheap option, running around $24. This makes it one of the cheapest gaming chairs money can buy at the moment. It's comfortable and comes with an inflatable ottoman for you to prop your feet on while you game.
If that doesn't sell it, it has a cup holder as well. Obviously, the design is intended for the console player and perfect for a temporary solution, such as a dorm room or similar.
You can buy it on Amazon for $70.96
Crew Furniture 512090
This is a chair in the Rocker series of gaming chairs that is actually fairly inexpensive and an option for someone wanting leather. It's good for your budget and goes right on the floor, making it good for comfortable console gaming.
If you prefer to have your arms free as a console gamer, it's lack of armrests can cater to your requirements. Of course, this floor-based design makes it completely useless for computer gaming.
You can buy it on Amazon for ~$45
Merax High Back Gaming Chair
This chair will run you about $100 and is more suited to the PC gamer. It's fairly inexpensive for the quality it provides, and it helps you maintain a comfortable, proper posture while you play.
It gives you support all the way to your spine to keep pressure off your back and neck. Overall, it's a sleek and stylish option for the gamer that prefers to sit back and relax on a leather chair.
You can buy it on Amazon for ~$100
Modern Luxe Reclining Fabric Racing Chair
Finally, this is the gaming chair I ended up selecting to ensure I'm comfortable playing Fortnite and eventually Fallout 76. It helps that it met all my criteria: it comes in under $100; it's fabric-based; and it has flat armrests. It's extremely similar to the Merax featured above, and comes with neck and headrests, adjustable armrests, and overall great body support.
This is really the minimum I'd consider these days for a gaming chair since gone are the days of office chairs being used for gaming when amazing comfort is available at prices less than $100.
You can buy it on Amazon for $99.90
There's no reason to keep that old clunky chair with these inexpensive options on the market. You shouldn't have to suffer from a sore back or general discomfort from your current chair any longer. Alternatively, if your chair is simply falling apart or not ideal for your current gaming lifestyle, it's also time to look for an upgrade.
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