Judging by my Twitter feed, it seems like everyone is considering buying a new chair these days. When social distancing around the COVID-19 pandemic led to an influx of people working from home for the first time, it also led to an influx of people realizing that they don’t own a single chair that they comfortably can sit in for hours on end. (I’m writing this from a beautiful-but-not-especially-ergonomic antique armchair, and my lower back is killing me.)
Enter the not-so-humble gaming chair. Often maligned for their flashy aesthetics and general extra-ness, these chairs are now calling out to us. The promise of back and wrist support is too good to pass up. Plus, there are plenty of more subtle options if you’d prefer not to look like you’re piloting a spaceship during your Zoom meetings.
As you might imagine, Polygon staffers spend a lot of time in their home office chairs, whether gaming, writing, or editing. Many of them are smarter than I am and have invested in quality chairs. Check out a few of their recommendations for the best gaming and office chairs below. — Emily Heller
Autonomous ErgoChair Pro+
My relationship with home office furniture has been a journey. In the end, I learned that if you can afford comfort, the payoff is always worth the cost.
When I began working from home in 2018, I used a padded folding chair for an embarrassingly long time. I eventually upgraded to an all-black version of the Secretlab Omega gaming chair. While I loved the price, two years of constant use and two cats didn’t help it last.
After moving out of New York City and into a new apartment, I decided to refresh my entire home office decor. This was in the middle of the pandemic, and I knew that the only way I’d get a nice chair again would be if I invested in one.
Since my job revolves around researching and coming up with the best answer to people’s needs, I applied that methodology to my own chair search. I wanted to find something that split the difference between relative affordability, long-term comfort, a great warranty, and most importantly, something cat-proof.
I settled on the Autonomous ErgoChair Pro+.
The chair’s unique nature-inspired design and approach to managing comfort with flexible thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) drew my attention. I found that typical padded chairs lose their comfort and shape after a few years — plus those chairs are just cat claw magnets. The soft, yet firm and environmentally-friendly TPE makes for a longer-lasting and durable chair that my cats have yet to put a scratch on. Not only that, but I’m always hot, so the mesh design keeps me cool no matter how long I sit in the chair. — Jeff Ramos
Killabee Gaming Chair
I walked by my husband’s desk one day only to notice that his chair was broken: The back was cracked and leaning much further backward than it should have been. My husband, who is notoriously frugal, insisted he didn’t need another chair. I made an executive override, but to compromise, I got a chair on the cheaper end of the continuum.
I picked up the Killabee massage gaming chair, which is extremely gamer in terms of aesthetics but also incredibly comfortable. The armrests are padded, the chair offers excellent back support, it comes equipped with a nice luxury: a USB-charged massage pillow. When I walk by my husband’s desk, I often hear it whirring away. It’s loud, but it does a good job.
This chair looks a little silly, and I wouldn’t place it in an office, but it’s a dang good gaming chair in terms of comfort and price. —Cass Marshall
The massaging version of this chair is sold out, but a Killabee ergonomic gaming chair sans massage pillow is currently on sale. Pair it with a back massager designed to fit in an office chair.
Anda Seat Dark Knight
I had contented myself with a cheap gaming chair for some time. I didn’t want to splash out on something too expensive. When a couple of those cheap chairs broke, I decided to just make an investment and get something that would last. I landed on the Anda Seat Dark Knight gaming chair, which looks positively professional. I wouldn’t blink an eye if I saw this in an office. There’s nary a racing stripe in sight.
The Dark Knight is comfortable, offering a lot of upper back support, and is also equipped to handle up to 400 pounds. It’s durable, holding up to my long routines of writing and gaming. It definitely feels like a well-constructed product without being so heavy that it’s difficult to move or maneuver in.
The Dark Knight gaming chair doesn’t have much in the ways of bells and whistles, but it’s a big comfy chair that holds up to day-to-day stress. —Cass Marshall
Herman Miller High-Back Cosm Chair
Sure, fine, yes, everything’s obvious in hindsight, but it still feels like it took way too long for me to admit that the chair in front of my (standing) desk is almost certainly the most important piece of furniture in my house.
Instead, here’s what I thought: I should buy something cheap. I mean, this isn’t a couch over here. This isn’t for my family room. I’m not buying a bed. Ease up there, Mr. Rockefeller.
And thus began years of elbow bruising, back tweaking, unevenly wearing pleather on maladjusted cheap office chairs. If my goal was to waste money and slightly annoy myself for like a decade, then I succeeded beautifully.
Then here’s what I thought one day, and I’ve never been able to talk myself out of it: My office chair is quite literally where I spend most of my day. Why on earth wouldn’t I treat it as super important?
It still took me a couple of years to talk myself into something I wish I’d done sooner.
Point is, I’m writing this from the comfort and support of my Herman Miller High-Back Cosm Chair chair. And here’s why I like it:
- It’s comfortable and ergonomic at the same time, which means I’m not trashing my body every day.
- It looks cool (they call the color Glacier), and that makes me smile.
- It’s simple, by which I mean it has exactly one adjustment — height — which is important because I know myself well enough to know that if it had half a dozen knobs and dials and levers, I’d consign myself to an eternity of fiddling.
Yes, it’s a lot of money. No, I didn’t pay full price. Yes, I saved up. Yes, it took me a long time to talk myself into it. No, I have not regretted it for a moment. Hell yes, I wish I’d done it sooner. —Dave Tach