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If you've always pined for a great gaming chair to take your gaming setup to the next level, but you were never quite sure where to start, this roundup should eliminate some of the guesswork in your search. The best gaming chair for your needs should be both comfortable and have an ergonomic design, and that's not exactly easy to judge when you're looking online.

One problem is that a lot of PC gaming chairs look pretty much the same. They also offer a dizzying array of features: mesh, breathable mesh, faux leather, lumbar support pillow, tilt mechanism, gaming recliner, adjustable backrest, padded armrest, footrest, bucket seat, rocker and more. And a chair is something you need first-hand (well, maybe not hand...) experience to judge.

49-gaming-chairs
Sarah Tew/CNET

The chairs tested here (and most of the ones we researched) share a lot of similarities: caster wheels and seat padding for extra comfort and ergonomic gaming. Other similarities include adjustable spider bases and 3D/4D armrests that move forward, backward, up and down, and rotate inward and out. All of them would be suitable as an office chair as well. Beyond that, in your search for the best gaming chair, having a lumbar support and a good backrest are essential -- you should look for a video game chair that's sturdy, suits your size and has the lumbar support you need.

Joseph Kaminski

With the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 game coming this fall, Secretlab teamed up with CD Projekt Red (developer of The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077) to create this custom $489 limited-edition chair. This special edition design will be available for both the company's Titan and Omega chair series. 

The Titan is the larger of the two, making it more comfortable for larger and taller gamers with its seat height and full-length backrest. Its wide seat base doesn't feel restrictive and allows for more freedom to move about, something I do a lot. The leather seat has an ergonomic deign with internal lumbar support and memory foam pillow with cooling gel for the headrest.  

The attention to detail and construction is top-notch, right down to the embroidered logo -- so much detail without compromising on comfort. Just like past Titan chairs, this one is comfortable and still sports the 4D armrests (up, down, forward, back, twist in and out as well as sliding in and out). The 10.6-inch armrests feel spacious and supportive. I find myself constantly fidgeting in my seat but no matter how I lean, stretch or slouch, the chair is solid under me. 

The chair is designed for gamers 5 feet, 9 inches, to 6 feet, 7 inches tall and supports up to 290 pounds. The Titan ships with all the necessary tools to put it together. Assembling it was simple, taking about 15 minutes. Check out some of the other Secretlab Titan special editions and collaborations.

Herman Miller

Spending as much for an office chair as you might for a midrange gaming laptop might seem ridiculous, but when many of us are spending more and more time at home, it's not unreasonable for home office-bound gamers to consider making a serious investment in their comfort, regardless of what's happening onscreen. Whether you're scanning spreadsheets or laser-focused on your next target, the $1,495 Embody Gaming Chair will give you excellent back and shoulder support.

Herman Miller's Embody design has been for sale as a high-end desk chair since 2011. The only specifically "gamer-y" thing about this version, aside from the marketing done in partnership with Logitech, is the color scheme, which adds ocean blue accents to the back panel and the height adjustment switches for the seat and the armrests. The $1,495 price tag is the same for the gamer version as it is for the entry-level standard office model. If you're not crazy about the blue, you can find the Embody in other colors for the same price or even a bit higher, depending on your preference. Every version of the chair includes Herman Miller's 12-year warranty, giving you exceptional protection for such a major investment.

The chair's back support is where it shines. A tension adjustment knob on the right side lets you dial in the support to your back and shoulders across a wide range of motion. Combined with the three-position tilt adjustment, you can tailor the chair to your preferred sitting position to a very fine degree. Its porous, layered upholstery, which Herman Miller calls "pixelated support," helps ensure the chair breathes well, and I never felt too warm during the three weeks I spent using it at work and while gaming. A lifetime seated at a computer has done some interesting things to my back and shoulders; I won't say the chair is a miracle cure, but I will attest to the fact that it let me adjust my sitting position throughout the day. At every point, I felt as if it bolstered my back exactly where I wanted it to. I can't say the same about any other desk chair I've used in the past. -- Rich Brown

Joseph Kaminski

The X-Chair X3's design might not look like a gaming chair, but it doesn't skip the features you'd expect from one. 

One of the special features is what X-Chair calls the Dynamic Variable Lumbar, which moves as you do to give you the same amount of support all the time. The headrest can be raised and lowered as well as tilted for better head and neck support. It also has highly adjustable arm rests with four degrees of movement. 

What I especially like are the tabs to slide the foam seat base forward and back. And the mesh backrest allows for better airflow compared to a typical gaming chair. If my back is to the window, I can still feel a breeze.  

The model I tested came with both standard wheels and clear X-wheel Active X premium wheels -- the latter are like inline-skate wheels that glide across the floor quietly without damaging it or marking it up. There's an option to add locking wheels to the chair, too. 

The X3 is covered in a multilayered nylon that claims to be both responsive and supportive in addition to water-, spill- and stain-resistant. The standard chair can support people up to 350 pounds and up to 6 feet, 3 inches tall, but X-Chair also offers a larger cylinder for taller people. 

Joseph Kaminski

The Secretlab Omega is a gamer's all-day, dream chair, with two memory foam pillows -- one for lumbar support, the other for the headrest. Matched with a full-length backrest and a seat cushion that rises on its sides, gamers sit snug in place. 

The model I tested was covered in polyurethane-coated leather, but the chair also comes in the company's SoftWeave fabric and napa leather. If you're trying to choose between the Omega and Titan, I'd give a slight edge to the Omega in terms of the seat cushion comfort level. That said, this added comfort comes with a narrower seat base. The Omega was designed for gamers up to 5 feet, 11 inches tall and up to 240 pounds. However, I'm 6 feet tall and found the chair easy to sit in all day.

Just like its Titan sibling, the Omega has all the bells and whistles including the Secretlab's 4D armrests, solid base and tilt radius. Setup time was also about 15 minutes, and tools are also included.

The Omega also comes in a Cyberpunk 2077 edition as well as a few other pop culture favorites. Check out some of the other Secretlab Omega special editions and collaborations.

The Maingear Forma is functional, flexible and sturdy -- basically a solid middle-of-the-road choice if you're looking for a good gaming chair with comfortable foam cushion pillow. 

You can swivel 360 degrees and lean back nearly 180 degrees in it and not tip over, key for a safe gaming experience for the overly enthusiastic. 

With a weight limit of 330 pounds, this budget gaming chair is also the gaming chair most suited for, let's say, "big and tall" inactive gamer types.  

The chair includes a nice memory foam head pillow (to support the neck) and lumbar pillow backrest. In terms of overall comfort, I'd rate it slightly behind the high-end Secretlab chair. The Forma is covered in faux leather over a steel frame with an aluminum alloy base, so it would work well as an ergonomic office chair, too. The casters are ultraquiet, and this quality gaming chair has an adjustable seat height, from 14.2 to 18.1 inches.

At least DXRacer was upfront in stating this racing-style gaming chair is for people under 6 feet, with a weight capacity of 225 pounds or less. It's not a suitable seat for big and tall users. Still, I was able to get my 6-foot, 225-plus-pound frame in it reasonably well. This sturdy swivel chair is covered in a polyurethane faux leather over a metal frame, with a tilt radius of 135 degrees and adjustable armrests. The high-back quality chair itself weighs approximately 55 pounds and comes with both an adjustable foam headrest pillow and a lumbar support cushion backrest pillow. The best gaming chair for the consummate color coordinator, the Valkyrie racing chair comes in black with four different highlight color options: green, blue, red and yellow.

The DXRacer Drifting Series has a weight capacity of 220 pounds or less, so it's not the best gaming chair for anyone who has a big and tall frame and needs a bit of extra room in their seat. It is a comfortable gaming chair, though. It is ergonomically designed with a height-adjustable lumbar support cushion and a headrest pillow and can be tilted back to 135 degrees, making comfortable reclining easy even if you're sitting for a long time. Despite the weight limitations, we liked that it took up a little less room and with its casters, could easily be used as an ergonomic office chair.

We asked our sample sitters which they thought was the best gaming chair overall, and they almost unanimously agreed that the best gaming chair was the Secretlab Titan 2020 Series. This ergonomic gaming chair has a large backrest with a wide lumbar pillow cushion, and it supports people who are up to 6 feet, 7 inches and weigh 290 pounds. It also has style. This gaming recliner isn't just a place to sit, it lets you lie back almost fully, and the high-density foam head pillow is generously sized for a top-notch gaming experience. The internal lumbar cushion is adjustable, as are the armrests. In fact, each adjustable armrest can swivel backward and forward, rotate in and out, up and down and slide wider and narrower for extra comfort.

Secretlab has special edition models available, ranging from Batman to Game of Thrones themes -- maybe not what you would want for an office chair, but who's judging?

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