When budgeting a PC setup, how much do you allocate for a new chair? Probably a lot less than you spend on the graphics card, but consider how integral the chair is to the overall experience. GPUs will come and go, but a good chair can last you a decade, and you’re not going to be upgrading to spine 2.0 anytime soon. It makes sense to look after the vanilla model. With that in mind, I set out to find the best chairs for long gaming sessions by talking to an ergonomist, and spending three months researching and testing chairs with the rest of the PC Gamer staff.
Our recommended PC gaming chair
OFFICE MASTER OM5
On the face of it, the Office Master OM5 (~$500 in shops) sounds like the snake oil of seating. The marketing materials describe it as “a self weighing chair that intuitively responds to a wide range of body weights and sizes without the need for manual tension.” Essentially: don’t worry about all those levers and knobs on the other chairs, this one will magically work out what your butt and back need, no problemo. My skepticism didn’t last long, though, because when it comes to the OM5, sitting is believing.
These are the elements of the OM5 which are adjustable: the height (self explanatory), the front seat “waterfall” lip, which you can curl forwards if your thighs want the extra space, and the armrests, which can be slid back and forth, and be rotated towards your body. Where all the smart stuff happens is around your hips. Lean back, apply a little forward pressure, and the seat pan shifts forwards while the backrest reclines in response, articulating smoothly thanks to wheels on runners that function much like the ones in desk draw sliders. It takes a little getting used to, but transitioning from upright work mode to relaxing whilst playing or watching swiftly becomes a cinch.
Our recommended budget chair
OFFICE STAR PROGRID BACK MANAGERS CHAIR
Perhaps you’ve already blown the kids’ college fund on bleeding edge GPU whizzbangery and now have limited funds with which to purchase a new gaming throne. The budget section beckons, and truth be told it’s an intimidating place, full of generic-looking chairs with underwhelming customer reviews. However, there are bargains to be found, though you’re going to have to accept the odd flaw in your gem.
Office Star’s range of chairs don’t look noteworthy at first glance, but the customer reviews are consistently good. I like the ProGrid Back Managers Chair (~$180 with arms) a lot because it offers the kind of tweakability usually only found on much more expensive models. Using its daunting array of levers, you can adjust the height and tilt of the chair, plus slide the seat pan forwards or backwards. The backrest can also be shifted up or down, and the armrests raised or lowered and slid back and forth until you find the perfect position.
Our recommended high-end chair
The Steelcase Leap is one of the most iconic modern chairs, with a price to match its performance. The Wirecutter named it the best office chair a couple of years ago, but I prefer the newer Steelcase Gesture ($1014, specced as pictured) for a number of reasons. Foremost of which is, holy smoke, it feels good. If your eyes are still watering at the cost, know this: much as I enjoyed the other chairs singled out here, every minute that I spent in them I was secretly wishing I was in the Gesture. Imagine your butt and back being perfectly cupped by the giant ever-loving hand of the deity of your choice. That’s what the Gesture is like. Or, as it became known amongst us testing it: ‘the dream chair.’
According to Steelcase, the Gesture was designed as the result of research that showed the influx of new devices in the workplace had led to people sitting in all sorts of cockamamie new positions. (Nine of them, if their Joy Of Sitting-style infographic is to be believed.) The solution here is similar to the one offered by the OM5: A backrest and seat which articulate in response to how you move around in the chair. However, whereas the OM5 travels through a single curve between fully upright and reclined, the Gesture’s backrest can also tilt in and out as it moves backwards.
Source: PC Gamer