So, you have been thinking about investing in a gaming chair. You start doing your research, and you suddenly realize it’s a challenge to find a good chair for under $200. Even then, that’s the price you would pay for an entry-level one.
If you were holding out for a high-end Secretlab or a Maxnomic you can easily spend $400+ without breaking a sweat.
You are now probably asking yourself why are gaming chairs so expensive? What makes a gaming chair special? These are good questions. After all, you could easily go to IKEA and get an office chair for a fraction of this price.
What makes a gaming chair special?
The problem with that IKEA chair is that it won’t give you the support that a serious gamer, or anyone who is spending numerous hours sitting down, needs. This will almost definitely lead to back and joint problems in the long run.
The main thing that makes a gaming chair unique from almost every other chair is its high backrest.
While it looks really cool, it also serves a purpose. It is designed to add support to your shoulders and upper back. The more support your upper body receives, the more it encourages you to maintain a healthy sitting position.
Why are Gaming Chairs so Expensive?
The Short Answer: Gaming chairs are expensive because they are designed to be highly comfortable and adjustable compared to a typical desk chair.
The long answer: When you boil it down, there are three key reasons why you will probably spend more money on a gaming chair.
Reason 1: Comfort Comes At A Price
Would you believe me if I told you that sitting is actually bad for you? Sounds crazy right?
Believe it or not, our bodies aren’t designed to sit down for extended periods of time. Walking, running, lying down are all-natural movements that our bodies are designed for, but evolution didn’t count on us sitting down for hours every day.
Gaming chairs are designed for comfort first and foremost. Countless hours of research and millions of dollars are spent in testing and designing features that benefit our spinal development and maintain a healthy posture.
When gaming chairs were first introduced in 2006, they were seen as a novelty, something very few people wanted, and even less needed. But over the last decade, more people are starting to see the benefits of gaming chairs, with desk workers and YouTubers seeing the ergonomic benefits.
And to make your chair as comfortable as possible, certain degrees of adjustability are needed. Even the most basic gaming chairs give you the ability to adjust the seat height, backrest angle, armrest positions, tilt lock and many more custom positions.
All that comfort comes at a price, as these chairs are loaded with mechanical components and hydraulics, all of which are expensive to make and design.
Reason 2: Quality & Durability
Another main reason why gaming chairs are so expensive is because of their superior quality. It’s simple really, better quality materials equal a higher price.
If you have already been doing some research on chairs, you will have noticed that PU leather upholstery is common on most budget options. PU, or polyurethane, leather is an artificial material that is made by coating a thin layer of fabric in a thermoplastic polymer.
And while it is cheaper to produce, it is unquestionably less quality material than the real deal. You will find that the PU leather will wear considerably faster than real leather and won’t deliver the soft and breathable properties natural leather is known for.
The effect on the price PU leather vs real leather has can be seen in the customization of a Secretlab Omega 2020 series. The standard PU leather version will cost $419, while the natural leather costs $749, a whole $330 more.
Another material that contributes to a higher-priced chair is the interior foam. Cold cure foam is THE choice of padding for quality furniture.
Sure, using higher quality materials has a big effect on the price, but more importantly, it has a big impact on the lifespan of the products. This is the exact reason why manufacturers like Secretlab and Maxnomic are able to offer 5 year + warranties. They know that because of the quality materials they have used, their chairs will last years to come.
Reason 3: The Brand
While the comfort and quality of materials certainly play a role in the pricing of these chairs, we cannot overlook the fact that branding plays a part in the pricing of some chairs.
A handful of companies have positioned themselves in the luxury range of the market, so it only makes sense that their prices match this position.
Should I buy a cheap gaming chair?
Just because a chair is on the more wallet-friendly end of the price scale, doesn’t mean that it’s a bad one. Budget chairs start at about the $200 mark, and on rare occasions, you can even find a chair closer to $100. We recently published our JL Comfurni gaming chair review, one of our favorite budget chairs currently on the market.
But if a cheap chair is going to guarantee you anything, it’s that they will always have the no-frills options when it comes to those comfort and quality attributes we were talking about earlier.
So, how do you know if your budget chair isn’t a dud? Here are a few things you want to look out for before buying a cheap gaming chair:
- Armrests – Ideally 2D or higher
- Backrest – Adjustable with at least 140° recline
- Cover – PU Leather or fabric
- Lumbar Support – Either a cushion or built-in support
The saying “you get what you pay” for is something I have found to be true in most walks of life and it’s no different when it comes to gaming.
While it’s certainly possible to find a bargain buy, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. For an entry-level chair, be prepared to spend at least $200 if you want a chair that will last longer than your next life on Warzone.