Best PC Chairs for Office or Gaming Uses
The secret has been out for some time now that sitting down for too long is detrimental to your spine and leads to back injuries. Let us reiterate that! Sitting for too long is harmful to your spinal column, and it doesn’t just put you at higher risk of developing back problems. No, it leads to back problems ABSOLUTELY.
You may have seen an uptick, in the sales of stand up desks, or desk accessories that allow you to go from sitting to standing while still doing your work. This is directly related to studies (like this one from Texas A&M) show a positive correlation between employee production and the act of standing up.
You might think, why should I be worried about these results? I don’t want to be standing all day, that is why I’m looking for a chair.
Well, you would be right, except that: when you review this information further, it turns out that it’s not really the standing that makes you more productive; instead, it’s your posture.
Your posture dictates your mood (see embodied cognition), and I don’t think it is at all controversial to say that your mood dictates your production. But also, and maybe more importantly, your posture dictates your health (I’m sure you’ve seen someone in their later years of life struggling to get around, so much of that is because of back problems).
Back to computer chairs…
We’re not saying that you should throw out sitting down while gaming or working at your desk. What we’re saying is, now more than ever before, we recognize the importance of having a chair that is ergonomically sound, and keeps us at the perfect posture for whatever activity we are engaged in at the time.
What is an Ergonomic chair?
Ergonomic office chairs help you to keep your body in a neutral position while you are working. They help you to maintain the most natural sitting positions, regardless of what type of working posture you are sitting in.
There are four neutral working postures that you can utilize by making small adjustments to your ergonomic chair. These postures are the upright sitting posture, declined sitting posture, reclined sitting posture. Having multiple options is important because staying in one position for too long is just as detrimental to having bad working posture.
Obviously, no chair you can buy will help your standing posture, because you’re not in the chair. But a quality ergonomic chair will help you to maintain perfect working postures without having to exert any additional force to do so.
Why Use an Ergonomic Chair?
We touched on this somewhat earlier in the article, but being ergonomically sound and having the proper posture can set you up for a better lifestyle as you start to age. Bad posture isn’t really something that you feel the effects of immediately, but as you age, it becomes (quite literally) painfully apparent that your poor posture earlier in life is going to cause significant problems for you in the future.
Ergonomically designed chairs fix your posture on the spot and reduce the stress that sitting at a desk all day puts on your spine. And until we come with the technology to be able to upgrade our vertebrae, upgrading your PC chair is a worthwhile investment.
What to look for in an ergonomic chair
There are several things you should look for when purchasing an ergonomic chair; each aspect is equally important.
This is something that just about every PC chair has already which should tell us that this is the absolute most important aspect. But what makes it so important? Keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground allows you to keep unnecessary pressure off your legs. We’ve all had the experience of our legs going numb from sitting too long, that’s because you’re feet weren’t bearing any of the load, but instead, all your body weight rested on your legs.
Lumbar pains are the most common complaints that doctors receive when patients express that they are having back pains. Getting a chair that can adjust to your back keeps your spine in a neutral position, keeping pressure off of your lower back.
Chair arms should be right near your elbows so that you can rest on your arms. Armrests should also be out of the way so you can move your arms freely.
Adjustable Seat Pan
Having a chair with an adjustable seat pan is the most overlooked aspect of a chair. You should be able to adjust the angle that you are sitting at, as well as how close or how far you want the seat away from the backrest.
What Should You Expect to Pay for a PC Chair?
When budgeting for our PC setups obviously we put a lot of effort into the computer build that we want. But we also often spend so much time, and money on the desk we want/need, completely forgetting about the chair and ultimately just getting the cheapest one we can find so as not to go over budget.
This is the wrong way to go about your setup. Remember, you will be spending several hours per day in this thing, so make sure you get one that will fit your needs perfectly.
A good ergonomic chair can run anywhere from $100 to $400, and some models will even go into the high hundreds to low thousands depending on what kind of fabric you want. Today we will stay in the sweet spot of one to four hundred dollar price tags though.
We should also state that what you should expect from a PC chair is not necessarily what you should be looking for in a gaming chair. With that said let’s talk about office vs. gaming chairs.
Difference Between PC and Gaming Chairs
Office chairs will typically be smaller than a gaming chair, they often have more neutral colors, to keep a professional appearance, Whereas a gaming chair is generally quite large, with vibrant colors and has the look of a race car seat.
Gaming chairs usually have a high back for head and neck support, even having a pillow where the head should rest for added comfort.
The most immediate difference you’ll see in gaming versus PC chairs is the price tag for them. A middle of the road gaming chair is often about the same price as a top of the line PC chair. Both serve an express purpose, and both have their pro’s and cons to them.
Shall we dive a bit deeper into the specifics?
PC (or office) chairs are designed with people who work in front of a computer all day. Sure it sounds like it may be a silly thing to say, but when you’re working at the computer all day you have entirely different needs in an office chair.
First of all, you probably don’t want a giant pillowy seat cushion that your body will sink into immediately upon sitting in it. Comfort, of course, is a priority but you also need to have some structural support; otherwise, you’ll be riddled with back pains inside of an hour.
Second, if you spend all day at a computer, then you’ll need some help keeping your body in a comfortable, stable position that won’t lead down that road of carpal tunnel and musculoskeletal injuries. PC/office chairs are built with this exact thing in mind, deter long-term issues of working while sitting at a desk.
They accomplish this by designing the chairs to kind of propel your body to the computer. They should tilt forward a bit so that your spine can remain in a neutral position while performing your tasks on the computer.
You’ll also notice that the top-tiered chairs offer you the ability to adjust every part of the chair to suit your body specifications. This includes not just the height of the chair itself, but also the height of the backrest and armrests.
Office Chair Setup to Maximize Comfort and Performance
If you’ve sat in an office chair for any significant amount of time, you are probably well aware of the tendency to lean forward and slouch while working after a while. If you do this, it is perhaps because your chair isn’t set up correctly.
Note: The first step is to adjust the desk/workstation to the height that fits you.
Lower Back Support
When you set your rear on the back of your chair, there should be enough cushion that your back arches just enough to keep you from slumping forward, but not so far that you strain your back.
Put your armrests in a position, so it slightly raises your arms at the shoulders, taking pressure off of the upper spine and shoulders.
Rest your hands on the desk to make sure that your elbows are at a comfortable level with your upper arms parallel to your spine. This also helps relieve forearm pain and carpal tunnel symptoms.
When you are learning how to shoot one of the things they teach you is to close your eyes, take a breath and then open them. Wherever you’re aiming at when you open your eyes, is considered your natural point of aim.
Do the same thing for your chair. When you sit in your chair; close your eyes, rest your head comfortably, then open your eyes. Wherever you’re looking at is your natural point of aim, adjust the chair so that your natural point of aim is directed toward the screen.
Following this setup should help you to keep excellent posture, and stay pain-free throughout your time at the desk
Gaming chairs are designed for the avid gamers that are spending several hours at a time sitting in front of their monitors. These chairs are in an entirely different category as PC chairs. Although PC chairs can also be used as gaming chairs, you probably should not use gaming chairs as a PC chair.
Even though all gaming chairs allow you to sit and game for long sessions without experiencing fatigue, they are not all made the same. Some chairs are better for sitting at a desk while you’re gaming, while others are better for gaming in front of a TV.
Different types of gaming chairs
Racing Seat office chair: Very similar to a standard PC chair, they have toggles that allow you to make adjustments to just about every part of the chair. They come in a variety of colors and (as the name would suggest) look like racing seats.
Rocker Gaming Chairs: Excellent for sitting near floor levels. They are very comfortable and allow you to stay in motion by rocking. Some of them come with built-in speakers.
What to look for in a gaming chair
The absolute first thing to look for in your gaming chair is how comfortable it is (for very long gaming sessions). If you are an avid gamer you know, for a fact, that you will be spending several hours in this chair, this is not a place to penny pinch and go for the cheap chair if you can afford a quality chair.
Some gaming chairs and these are on the expensive side, have wireless receivers and transmitters that let you connect to your console, blasting in-game sound right next to you, so you don’t have to bother those who live with you.
You should also look at the material your chair is made from. A good gaming chair will have a metal frame to support the countless hours you’ll be sitting on it. Also decide whether you want leather, fabric, or mesh (do the testing before your purchase).
Make sure the chair you choose can adjust all of the essential areas: heigh, arms, back, and seat pan
Wrap – Up on Computer Chairs
In today’s world, we probably spend more time in front of computer monitors than we do anywhere else. That much sitting can cause severe problems if you don’t have a chair that supports your entire body adequately. So please, make sure you get a chair that fits your needs, and for god sake, do not take the cheap way out. A good chair will last you upwards of a decade if treated right, so don’t be afraid to make the investment necessary to get a high-quality ergonomic PC/gaming chair.