Gaming chairs — those sleek, high-backed race-car-cockpit–styled seats — have finally gone mainstream. Now available in styles from the flashy to the professional and with some costing less than a decent headset, the gamer-focused furniture can now be appreciated by anyone who wants more upper back and shoulder support than the average task chair can provide — whether they’re gaming or just spending more time in front of a desk.
To help you make the best choice no matter what your budget, we’ve done the leg (and lumbar) work, testing out seven of the most popular offerings through marathon gaming sessions and lengthy workdays. After all that, we picked out three great chairs that’ll help you enjoy your favorite pastime without abusing your back.
Best gaming chair overall: Razer Enki
$399.99 at Razer
While Razer’s first gaming chair — the Razer Iskur — just launched in 2020, it seems the company’s a quick study. Its latest effort, the Razer Enki, not only improves on its predecessor but easily keeps pace with the higher-priced competition.
For starters, the Enki’s easy on the eyes. Despite Razer’s penchant for lighting up its products like Christmas trees, the Enki sports an appealing, surprisingly understated aesthetic. Its logos and green accents make it instantly recognizable as a Razer product, but their subtle placement and reserved presentation won’t distract during a work-from-home business meeting.
What does stand out — in the best way — is the chair’s dual-textured seat and back, delivering a unique style that looks as good as it feels. Speaking of which, the Enki also receives high marks for all-around comfort. The seat and back nail the sweet spot between spongy and firm, while the built-in lumbar arch did right by our posture. One caveat here: The Enki doesn’t include a lumbar pillow, nor does it allow for any sort of lumbar support adjustment. We felt the fixed arch was properly crafted to fit us and should work for a wide range of people, but if you’re particular about lumbar support you’ll likely want to try the Enki before you buy.
Adjustments are otherwise plentiful, with lots of customization options for height, tilt, tension and recline. The 4D armrests — supporting adjustments for height and angle as well as forward-and-backward and side-to-side positioning — are an especially nice feature, one typically reserved for pricier gaming chairs. We also appreciated the steep, 152-degree recline when it was time to relax or lean way back for some portable gaming on our Nintendo Switch.
These moments were made all the comfier — sometimes morphing game time into nap time — by the removable memory foam pillow. If we had any gripe here, it’d be that the chair’s recline controls have a slightly rigid, mechanical feel and the seat back can spring up rather forcefully when you’re getting out of the reclining position.
The Enki’s steel frame and aluminum base give it a solid build, and assembling the Enki is a breeze, as all parts are clearly marked — with screws prepositioned in their respective holes — and packed with care. Along with simple-to-follow instructions printed on a large poster and an included assortment of quality tools, you can be gaming in the Enki within 30 minutes. During our two-plus weeks of testing, Razer’s latest gaming chair easily stood up to our lengthiest play sessions, but its respectable three-year warranty suggests we’ll be able to enjoy it a lot longer than that.
Best budget gaming chair: Devoko Gaming Chair
$119.99 $99.99 at Amazon
The Devoko gaming chair is an affordable option that features many of the same benefits of a premium-priced chair at a fraction of the cost. Sporting a sturdy build and a comfort level that leans toward the firmer side, the Devoko doubles down on its “racing-style,” gaming-specific aesthetic, with a bold red-and-black design that extends from the rimmed wheels all the way up to the logo emblazoned on the headrest. It’s perfect for gaming, but if you’re looking for something that does double duty for work, you may not want to attend a professional meeting in a seat that looks like it was ripped right from a race car. That said, if you prefer a slightly more reserved style, the black-and-white Homall Gaming Chair is essentially the same chair in a different color scheme.
The Devoko’s recline and seat height adjustments are more than serviceable. The controls and mechanics don’t feature the buttery smooth feel of some of the pricier chairs we tested, but they easily get the job done. The Devoko cuts costs by forgoing any sort of premium lumbar features in favor of a simple pillow made from the same PU leather as the rest of the chair. It uses a no-frills adjustment system, allowing you to position the cushion using a pair of straps. We found the system surprisingly effective. In fact, after fiddling with some of the other chairs’ fancier lumbar features, we longed for the old-school simplicity and precision of the Devoko.
The chair’s seat and back are surprisingly comfortable, whether you’re saddling up for a quick Fortnite match or settling in for a long night of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but the obviously low-budget hard plastic armrests (which are common to the budget gaming chairs we looked at) don’t offer any adjustment at all. We would’ve appreciated the option to adjust the armrests, though the absence of this feature is far from a deal breaker; they aren’t luxurious, but they more than get the job done without causing any discomfort.
We also feel the packaging and instructions leave a lot to be desired. A blister pack full of hardware comes buried in a box full of parts that seem to have been packed with little rhyme or reason. It’s still a simple build but one that’s more akin to unboxing and assembling an Ikea product than a more premium piece of furniture. The assembly isn’t that big a deal; you only need to do it once, and the fully built chair was solid. Overall, our minor gripes with the Devoko were outweighed by what it gets right, including its incredibly wallet-friendly price tag.
Best high-end gaming chair: Logitech G x Herman Miller Embody
$1,795 at Herman Miller
Herman Miller’s high-priced take on the gaming chair looks much more like an office chair than a seat you’d take to frag your friends in Fortnite. That’s by design, however, as the Logitech G x Herman Miller Embody puts an updated, gamer-focused spin on the latter company’s standard Embody chair.
Of course, there’s nothing standard about either version. The company takes great pride in its “science of seating,” proprietary technology and engineering that justifies its products’ premium pricing. Scan this chair’s official site, and you’ll find plenty of buzzwords (such as PostureFit and BackFit) followed by descriptions that wouldn’t look out of place in a medical journal.
Without breaking down the jargon or diving into all the references to our sacrum, we’ll say this “science of seating” results in the closest experience we had to sitting on a cloud. It admittedly takes some serious tweaking to get the chair’s ergonomics optimally tailored to your body type and preferences, but once you do, you’ll have trouble returning to whatever seat you were previously using.
The Embody offers a level of adjustability that significantly separates it from the other chairs we tested, with controls that have a futuristic look and feel, from the joystick-like lever that adjusts the seat’s height to the way the back conforms to your spine like some sort of sci-fi body-modding procedure. It allows you to dial in your precise support level rather than settling for a one-size-fits-most option. You can also precisely adjust the Embody’s seat depth, a feature we didn’t encounter in the other chairs we tested and which you won’t find on most gaming chairs. Beyond the pleasing aesthetics and tactile experience, though, these systems perform with a fluidity you wouldn’t expect from a piece of furniture. Armrest adjustments are a bit clicky, but everything else is remarkably seamless and silent.
The Logitech G x Herman Miller Embody does lack the ability to lock its recline position, a standard feature on even budget gaming chairs. That said, the recline tension can be adjusted to the point where it won’t push back against your weight, so in practice this was not a setback. In a bigger departure from traditional gaming chairs, the Embody also doesn’t extend past shoulder level, so there’s nothing in the way of head or neck support. That said, we didn’t really miss the option to rest our head or neck, a testament to the chair’s ability to properly align our back and promote better posture. In fact, after two weeks of testing, minor aches and pains we’d become resigned to were far less prevalent. The Embody may take a different approach, but the results speak for themselves.
It’s hard not to fall in love with this chair, but it’s admittedly more difficult to swallow its extravagant price tag. Herman Miller somewhat softens the blow to your bank account by delivering the chair fully assembled and backing it with a 12-year warranty. If you can get past the steep price — and you work (from home) as hard as you play — the Logitech G x Herman Miller Embody is a worthwhile investment.
How we tested
Testing gaming chairs isn’t just about playing hours of video games while cradling our backsides in comfort (though that’s a big part of it). Before the sitting and playing commenced, we unboxed and assembled each chair, noting the pros and cons of both activities.
Once set up, we tested each chair for multiple days, for several hours a day — from 30-minute mobile gaming sessions to marathons that’d stretch from from dusk till dawn. While testing, we’d frequently tweak and adjust any available features, including seat height, armrests, recline, lumbar support (both pillows and built-in systems) while regularly changing positions.
Of course, while we paid close attention to how well these features were implemented and worked, we were especially focused on how they complemented — or detracted from — the chair’s ability to deliver overall comfort. In fact, this quest for comfort provided the driving force behind all our tests; a chair can be brimming with bells and whistles, but what good is it if it leaves your back feeling as stiff as the cardboard box it was packaged in?
Beyond ensuring a chair was as comfortable when we were positioned in front of our PC as it was when we were fully reclined, Nintendo Switch in hand, we also looked at other important factors, including durability, design aesthetics and warranty length. But in the end, we primarily tested for comfort, then worked from the top down to determine how everything else, from the initial unboxing experience to the final, 12-hour Horizon Forbidden West session, left our body feeling.
Other gaming chairs we tested
$549 $519 at Secretlab
If you spend any amount of time on Twitch, you’ve likely spied the Secretlab logo peaking from behind your favorite streamers’ shoulders. A frequent favorite of content creators, the company’s practically become synonymous with premium gaming chairs. And with good reason. From design and comfort to features and durability, Secretlab’s chairs scream “top of the line.” In fact, both the brand’s Titan Evo 2022 and Omega 2020 weren’t very far behind our best overall pick. The former’s comfortable, feature-packed and backed by a three-year warranty and great customer service. That said, its $500-plus price is partly justified by features we didn’t absolutely love, like a built-in lumbar support system that can be awkward to adjust, and a magnetic neck pillow that we frequently knocked to the floor during some of our more heated gaming sessions.
$499 $399 at Amazon
If Bruce Wayne had a gaming chair, it would be the DXRacer Master. Big, black and built like a tank, it could provide a commanding presence in the boardroom while also looking right at home in the bat cave. The latter point is further cemented by its affinity for gadget-like features, like its adjustable rail-mounted headrest and swappable parts and upgrades. While the option to add a cup holder and leg rest, or change out your seat cushion, is undoubtedly cool, it does feel a bit like you’re paying for the privilege to mod your chair. It’s a great (albeit bulky) chair with plenty of premium features, but if you don’t care about the potential upgrades, some of its competitors offer equal or better comfort at a lower price.
$449 $409 at Secretlab
This 2020 offering from Secretlab was just narrowly edged out of the top spot by Razer’s newest entry. It packs most of the same premium features, long-lasting comfort and support, and also rests on Secretlab’s more established reputation in the space. The major differences are the inclusion of a lumbar support pillow versus Enki’s built-in arch, as well as the Omega sporting fabric rather than PU leather. Our main knock against the latter — based on personal experience — is that it attracts pet hair almost as well as it works as a cat scratcher. (A very expensive cat scratcher.) But even without that kitty caveat, the Enki’s stylish, comfy, dual-textured design (and $40 less price point) still beats its closest competitor.
$149.99 $129.99 at Amazon
You’d be hard-pressed to find any significant differences between Homall’s and Devoko’s chairs. The former’s black-and-white design is slightly more reserved than the latter’s eye-popping red and white, and their respective logos — located on the headrests — are obviously different. But they’re otherwise identical. The features, build and unmistakable racer style are all the same. The only real differences we could identify were the price (the Devoko is about $36 less) and the fact the Homall’s plastic piston sleeve arrived with an unfortunate crack in it.