Gaming chairs, whatcha recommend?

bork bork bork?

I am your height and size. I use a steel case leap. Mine is old and the seat padding is gonners. I just put this heavy gel rubber pillow on it.

I just want to say I also have the problem with bones poking me when I sit, so appreciate the butt talk. I used a Leap v2 at work, and have the ikea gaming chair at home as a temporary fix. Mainly the bird uses it. Also a hand me down Lay-Z-Boy chair which is great on the bones because it’s padded up the wazoo!

Reminded me to find the rubber thingy. Physical therapist recommended it when I had a hernia. It forces you to move around so it’s a form of exercise. Basically a flat yoga ball.

How does the Leap v2 work for you? Is it comfortable for both your back and butt?

It’ll probably be awhile before I play with in the big leagues of fancy chairs, but I just replaced my AmazonBasics Office Chair and its slowly shedding pleather with a Union & Scale (Staples) Hyken. I wasn’t sure how I felt about switching to mesh, but at least I don’t need to worry about that, and with the lumbar support and solid seat it looks like I don’t need to bring over my replacement seat cushion (an old memory foam pillow) and lumbar support attachment I got for my old chair. The Hyken is a good fit for me (and at $169 it’s definitely in the little leagues of chairs), but I can see if you’re much taller than me (I’m 5’9") it would quickly become an issue. The biggest thing I’m trying to figure out is the headrest since my old chair didn’t have that - I have no idea what is comfortable in terms of positioning. Just having it there seems to make me want to lean back and take a nap though so I guess I like it - I guess if I ever find a super comfortable setting I’ll just end up sleeping in the chair all day! Which also indicates that the tilt backwards is solid - far better than my old chair, where the tilt was felt as though it would unbalance the chair.

Edit: I got the chair mainly on the recommendation that it was a cheap build quality substitute to real chairs like the Aeron, and reviews like the one from TechLead that put it as a solid practical chair.

I loved it and had no problems with back or butt – however, this was like 3 years ago; my butt has gotten bonier* and my back is killing me – so I don’t know if it would still work well. If you try it, tell me what you think! It’s funny, I’ll spend $$$ on physical therapy but not a chair.

. * ads tell me this is called “desk chair derrière”

Friend ended up getting a Steelcase Leap v2 due to the employee discount he has access to.

I’m still trying to find a place here where I can test it out. Steelcase is literally right here but they shut down their showrooms and all the certified sellers don’t have them either.

There’s literally a Steelcase Learning and Innovation Ctr in Grand Rapids!


There is a “Dexley” model that is apparently better for taller or wider folks, though has a shortcoming or two that the Hyken doesn’t (and I can’t for the life of me remember what - tilt lock, maybe?).

I haven’t driven a Dexley but from reviews for that vs confirming the Hyken features on my chair:

  • Dexley can only lock in a single upright position. Hyken has can lock in a couple different positions - I think there are four - I can confirm there is a full upright, full recline, and at least one intermediate from fiddling around with mine. Turns out I’m actually really happy with the resistance with the unlocked position though so this isn’t much of an issue with me. It’s solid enough that it pushes me back into good posture when I’m working, and if I need to recline I just fully relax back and settles in a stable full recline without locking.
  • Dexley armrests are larger and softer. Both only offer vertical adjustment - the Hyken definitely only locks at specific vertical increments
  • Hyken has very (very) limited lumbar support vertical adjustment - I have it at full vertical so I can’t imagine it being in the right spot if you are taller.
    I considered putting it at fully lowered and moving over my old strap-on lumbar cushion but I think the built-in one is solid and seems to be working fine so far - no back pain so far. Reviews I read said that the lumbar is maybe more adjustable in the Dexley but not stable so folks talk about removing it.
  • The Hyken headrest has a tiny amount of vertical adjustment (small enough that a lot of reviews don’t notice it) and a bit of tilt adjustment - it’s basically a fairly solid bumper to rest your head. The Dexley design looks like it has a lot more vertical adjustment and looks to be more of a cup to hold your head maybe?

The headrest is a firm mesh and I’m not sure if I’ve adjusted it properly - any suggestions as to what to target for the headrest adjust? I have it kind of working for when I recline by targeting it to fit just under the back my head when I’m leaning back right at the bend - I’d rate it as not uncomfortable but also not pillowy comfort when reclining. It’s therefore also not quite in the right position when I’m upright (ends up a bit lower so more right behind my neck) - I can lean on it but I’ll want to straighten rather than lay there, which does work with getting me to sit up properly. I think I’ve been overall sleepier in this seat though which bodes well for the recline and headrest comfort - all these mesh bits are pretty firm so if they were more pillowy comfortable I might just end up sleeping all day instead of working in this chair.

  • There’s technically a little bit of width adjustment - when you mount the armrests there’s some leeway in the position but you’d have to unscrew to change it. I made sure to mount them at max width and that ended up being comfortable for me.

I suspect the Dexley might have worked for me, but then again it’s a pretty fine line between things working and completely unacceptable. I can swallow the $30 difference since I did it without test driving either chair in advance and this choice worked out (so far knock on wood, I recycled the box!)

Edit: I also saw a review mention that the Dexley has larger/better wheels. The casters on the Hyken look pretty much the same as the AmazonBasics chair and they roll about the same = move with a bit of effort.

Today I decided to just drive to the Steelcase headquarters and hope they’d let me in and try some chairs. After waiting a while as the front desk attended to more important business she found someone in sales who was very considerate and took time out of his day to take me to try out some chairs in their office. I sat in both the Leap v2 and the Gesture and they were both far more comfortable for my bony frame over the Herman Miller Aeron and Embody. I really loved how the Gesture moves with you, it’s fantastic support, and it felt very relaxing to sit in. But the seat was not as comfortable as the Leap. The Leap v2 was also really nice. Not quite as relaxing, and not quite the back support, but the way it contoured to my butt was extremely comfortable. Could not feel my butt bones at all for once.

So now I don’t know which to go with. This Aeron is going back for sure, and I now have to decide between the two Steelcase variants of more relaxing/better back support vs. more comfortable butt.

I have a new Gesture and while I like the chair overall I do find the seat too firm. I definitely have more mass than you at about 200 lbs, so I don’t know if that makes it more or less likely to be uncomfortable for you.

I found it a little too firm as well. Better than the Aeron or Embody though. Did you ever try the Leap?

I’ve now bought a second Secret Lab chair; just adore them (one for my workspace, one for my gaming/personal PC). Wish they were cheaper, but I don’t regret the purchases.

I didn’t. I bought from Amazon because I didn’t have a Steelcase dealer around here.

One friend’s employee discount off Steelcase Leap v2 ended up being nearly 30% and the other got a Hawthorn Fern.

Thanks for the breakdown! I still have my other Staples chair which has been just fine for 3 years now, but the Dexley wouldn’t probably be what I look at in the future for the price range it lives in. The cons don’t sound so bad for my needs.