Gaming chairs – are they worth it?

Let me start off with two disclaimers:

  1. I’m not sponsored by any companies –> all thoughts are my own with no monetary benefits from reviewing the products
  2. I’ve been sitting in a tiny, sup-optimal $50 Ikea chair for the last three years. This likely adds some bias to my view on chairs.
What I’m used to sitting in during gaming sessions
How I Made My Decision

I heard about the term ‘gaming chair’ about 5 years ago when I started watching streams of The Last of Us. At the time, I thought this was marketing hype to allow manufacturers to jack up the price of seats. So I got to work on my research.

Using a combination of YouTube videos, written reviews, and chatting with friends, I decided that I didn’t need to spend a bunch of money on a chair.

Over the last couple years, I saw even more gaming chairs in my life. Social media targeted ads know me well enough to show me anything gaming related. Every few weeks I would see a caption stating “best gaming chair ever”. On top of that, with the rise of Fortnite, we heard new streamers praising their sponsored chairs. 

The issue is there are dozens of companies out there building top-of-the-line racing style office chairs. Within a given price range, it seemed there was very little difference between the products. 

I was still skeptical that spending hundreds of dollars on a chair would improve my gaming experience. The internet is also littered with people proclaiming that gamers should just pick up a decent office chair for the half the price.

Then, Black Friday 2k18 happened.

For funsies, I had added a gaming chair placeholder in my wishlist for this year, just in case I saw a great deal on a great product. Apparently, the gaming lords heard my ask and showed me a deal from SecretLab. Shortly after, I would be swiping my credit card.

The Last Stretch of Research

Similar to many of it’s competitors, Secretlab promised to deliver an unparalleled experience to its customers. The founders of the company are gamers so that instantly increased their credibility in my eyes. A simple message of SIT COMFORTABLY greets you at the top of their website. It sounded like they were speaking to me.

I know sitting down for extended periods is pretty bad for humans, so I decided to look at this as an investment in my health. This justification also helped to distract my brain from the large price tag.

Through all the YouTubing, one message was consistent from the reviewers: Secretlab chairs are hella comfy.

The company offers three different chairs, with the price increasing the bigger the chair gets. This makes sense, but I was a little sad to read that I’m too large for the cheapest option.

The last thing I had to find out was about the customer service. With large purchases like this, I want to be sure that if something goes wrong, I can get assistance easily. Secretlab also checked all the boxes for CX with thousands of 5-star ratings.

I was good to go.

Assembly was a Breeze

I ordered the chair on November 25th. Two days later, the box was at my apartment. +5 points for surprisingly fast shipping.

The package was about as large as I expected it to be. The slipper in the picture is about a foot in length, for reference.

The team at Secretlab e-mail me this handy assembly video with the delivery confirmation. Even without the video, the instructions are large and clear enough that IKEA should be taking notes from them.

One of the first things I noticed was how nicely everything was packaged in the box. I’ve got a few years of shipping/logistics experience and was very impressed by the thoughtfulness of the packaging. It felt as though I was opening something produced by Apple.

It took me all of 50 minutes to assemble the chair on my own. 10 minutes of this was spent trying to get the 5th caster to fit into the base of the chair. I tried standing on it, hitting it with a rubber hammer and crying back out to the gaming gods for strength. Nothing.

One of the four casters that went in with a reasonable amount of force
That fifth, annoying caster that just does its own thing, just because

Thankfully, the Secretlab support team is as great as the reviews I read. They responded quickly to my e-mail with troubleshooting options. When those fixes didn’t work, they shipped me replacement casters and a base. 

Shoutout to Kayla @secretlabchairs for being awesome ?? fixing problems like a boss!

— Fred Twum-Acheampong (@Fredertainment) December 4, 2018

The finished product looked great! Plus, you can’t really beat that fresh leathery smell.

Now came the true test…would the chair actually be as comfortable as the claims?

Another Level of Comfort

As a said at the top of the post, I was upgrading from a tiny piece of plastic which pretended to be a chair. 

Now, I have a real chair.

Beginning with the customization options, it’s astounding how much you can modify the chair to meet your needs.

Of course, you have the standard height control of the chair. Reclining features are also pretty standard.

Where things start to get sophisticated are in the arms of the chair. You have the ability to adjust these in FOUR different dimensions:

  • Up/Down
  • Left/Right
  • Forward/Backward
  • Swivel in/out

After the initial excitement over this functionality, I experimented to find the proper fit. My only tweak would be to allow the arms to move inward closer to my body. The seat itself is pretty wide, which I like, but it feels like my elbows are still too spread apart when gaming with a controller. The material inside the seat bottom and back are extremely comfortable. It is sturdy and slightly absorbs my body weight. I’m also happy with the lumbar support that the Titan provides. I opted out of purchasing the additional ‘lumbar pillow’ and am glad I saved the cash.

Surprisingly, the thing that makes this chair so awesome is the included head pillow! My old chair wasn’t high enough to even put a regular pillow behind my neck so I never realized what I was missing. 

The way the back of my head rests against the pillow, it made me more aware of how I used to sit at my desk. No longer during gaming sessions do I feel a strain on my neck from leaning my head forward.

 

The Final Verdict

There are a crazy number of options out there for furniture to rest your butt on. Gaming chairs typically have a high premium attached the price tag  and not all of them will be worth it.

In a perfect world, I would have tested 4-5 chairs and been able to compare them against each other. From my sample size of one, I can confidently say that this was a great purchase for me. It doesn’t hurt that I took advantage of a good sale. 

My body feels so relaxed in this seat, and I haven’t even reclined it into sleepy-time mode yet!

The Titan looks great and seems to have high quality parts. If the armrests could move in a little more, I’d give this chair a perfect score.

OVERALL: 9.5 out of 10

I’m glad I went with Secretlab as my first choice and will definitely go back to them in the future.

Have you been considering making the leap to gaming chairs? Do you own one and have thoughts to share? Leave a comment below!

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