Recliner vs. Gaming Chair: What’s the difference?

Recliner vs. Gaming Chair

As more and more work is being done through computers, a higher percentage of the world’s population spends hours in sedentary positions. As this is not good for the human body, more people are purchasing chairs that can help them avoid unwanted aches and pains. Two such options are recliners and gaming chairs. 

A recliner is bulkier than the average gaming chair, reclines back, and is padded like a sofa. A gaming chair is sleek, also reclines back, is customizable, and is closer to an office chair than a sofa chair. 

Depending on the consumer’s sitting needs, a recliner may be better for their daily life than a gaming chair and vice versa. Read on to discover what uses recliners and gaming are best for. Your body will thank you! 

What Is the Difference Between a Recliner and a Gaming Chair?

While both recliners and gaming chairs are good for long term sedentary activity, each one is designed for different needs. A recliner can extend into a nearly horizontal position. This allows the user an opportunity to sleep in it without having to sit up. A recliner is used for general relaxing activities such as watching television. 

A gaming chair on the other hand, is used primarily by gamers. If a person plays video games for hours a day, sitting in an uncomfortable chair will take a toll on their body. Gaming chairs are specifically designed to support a person’s back and shoulders with a high backrest. 

Gaming chairs do recline but not to the same extent as a recliner. Most gaming chairs lack a leg and footrest, making them impractical for sleep. Their high backs keep gamers sitting up straight, forcing the person sitting there to be alert. Recliners are designed to be comfortable enough for different types of rest such as sleep and zoning out.

Components of a Recliner

While all chairs have essentially the same purpose of being a place to sit, recliners have distinguishing features that separate them from other types of chairs. These features make them even more comfortable when compared to a regular chair.

  • A backrest designed to be tilted back
  • The front rises
  • A lever that moves the chair
  • Padded similarly to a sofa

If the recliner owner is a person with a disability, a remote is extremely useful when moving the chair’s parts. The remote allows the person sitting to move the chair in a controlled way compared to the uncontrolled manner of a lever. A remote is useful for anyone who may not be strong enough to move the chair manually. 

Some recliners are specifically made for individuals with disabilities. These recliners are called power recliners and will lift up to the user, making it easier for them to sit down safely. This is only one of the advanced features a recliner can have.

Advanced Features in Recliners

Depending on a person’s needs they may want to buy a recliner with advanced features. Here are some examples of advanced features a recliner may have:

  • Lumbar support
  • Separate footstool to stand on
  • Adjustable headrest 
  • Massage features
  • Vibration
  • Heat
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Remote or lever to control the recliner’s settings
  • Cup holder

The more of these additions a recliner has, the more expensive the chair will be. However, if you are purchasing a recliner for yourself or a loved one with mobility issues and it is financially possible, investing in a recliner that has these features can make life much more comfortable and accessible. 

Types of Recliners

Because there are so many different ways a recliner can be customized, these different types of recliners have been given their own subcategories. This makes it easier for anyone looking to purchase their first recliner so they know exactly what kind they want for themselves. The categories are:

  • Recliner
  • Rocker recliner
  • Wall recliner
  • Swivel recliner
  • Power recliner
  • Nursery glider and recliner

Each category is designed for a slightly different purpose. It is extremely helpful to know what kind of recliner you need, especially if you are thinking about getting a gaming chair instead. If you want a chair to put in a nursery, a nursery recliner will fit your needs much better than a gaming chair. It is much easier to cuddle your baby at 3am in a recliner than it is in a gaming chair!

Other Names for Recliners

Depending on what area of the world the buyer is in, they may call recliners by a different name. This is standard for most items of furniture. It is important to know the other names to avoid confusion. If you are a seller, then it is vital you know the 3 other names that refer to the same type of furniture:

The first item on the list, La-Z-Boy is the official brand name of the recliner. The remaining 3 are from various regional dialects. Whether the buyer calls a recliner a La-Z-Boy or a lounger, they are still looking for a comfortable chair to buy and take to their home. 

Components of a Gaming Chair

Gaming chairs are extremely different from a standard office chair and are even more different from a recliner. While gaming recliners do exist, most gaming chairs somewhat resemble office chairs. However, gaming chairs look a lot more sporty than both office chairs and recliners. Here are the basic components that give gaming chairs their sporty look:

  • A high, winged backrest
  • Arm rests
  • A bucket seat
  • A head rest
  • Casters
  • A swivel
  • Lumbar support pads
  • A raised seat edge

This variety of different parts make gaming chairs ideal for a more comfortable experience when gaming. When looking to buy a gaming chair, you want to make sure that these components are there to ensure you have the best experience possible. Like recliners, gaming chairs have advanced features as well.

Advanced Features in Gaming Chairs

A bonus to gaming chairs is just how customizable they truly are. A gamer can purchase one and make it different from any other gaming chair. As a result, it is possible to purchase a gaming chair with advanced features such as:

  • Bluetooth speakers
  • Cup holders
  • A deep recline
  • Head and neck pillows
  • Bright colors

Most office chairs are some variant of black and grey. However, gaming chairs come in all colors of the rainbow. If you can think of a color, there is a gaming chair that is that shade. Some gaming chairs even come with cute cartoon characters printed on the backrest, furthering their aesthetic appeal. 

Choosing the right color is especially important for video game streamers who have a specific aesthetic. If a streamer is known for their pink pastel aesthetic, there is a gaming chair in that color palette. If a streamer is known for their cyberpunk aesthetic, there are blue and purple gaming chairs matching that too! 

What Materials Are Gaming Chairs Made out of?

As gamers sit in their chairs for hours at a time, figuring out what material best suits their needs is extremely important. Breathability of the material is vital for a comfortable gaming experience. A gamer certainly does not want to end up sweaty and uncomfortable while they are trying to have fun! Some common materials are:

  • Foam
  • Mesh
  • Fabric  
  • Leather

Manufacturers will use actual leather and faux leather for gaming chairs. While the idea of having an expensive leather chair sounds nice, leather does not have the same breathability as fabric. However, if a gamer wants to make sure they are taking breaks occasionally, the lack of breathability with the gaming chair will ensure they do that. 

Types of Gaming Chairs

Like recliners, there are different categories of gaming chairs. Different gaming chairs are used for different purposes. Depending on a gamer’s need, they may want to choose a specific type of chair for maximum comfort and accessibility. These are the main categories of gaming chair:

  • PC gaming chair
  • Platform gaming chair
  • Hybrid gaming chair

PC gaming chairs are specifically designed for PC gaming. They are the most similar looking to a standard office chair. They are used by gamers who play at desks with computers. They also have a swivel function to make it easier for the player to move when seated at a desk. 

Platform gaming chairs are for people who play on gaming consoles such as Playstations instead of a computer. While they do resemble recliners, they are a different type of chair altogether. For example, the seat itself usually rests on the ground. Depending on the brand, platform gaming chairs may rock like rocking chairs. 

Hybrid gaming chairs combine aspects of the previous two to form a different type of chair all together. They have a swivel like a PC gaming chair but the body is shaped like a platform gaming chair. 

How Adjustable are Gaming Chairs?

Because gaming chairs are most often used with computer desks, they are designed to be extremely adjustable. After all, every desk is different and a gaming chair needs to be able to fit in tandem with it. 

If a gaming chair does not fit properly in relation to a gamer’s desk, then it becomes either useless or uncomfortable to sit in. If either of the two are the case, what is even the point of using a gaming chair at all? As a result, gaming chairs are adjustable. Here are some ways a gamer can adjust their chair to make it more comfortable to use:

  • The chair itself can be lowered
  • The armrests can be moved back and forth
  • The armrests can be removed all together
  • The back and head pillows can be removed and adjusted higher or lower on the chair
  • The chair can recline backwards
  • The chair can swivel in a complete circle

All of these features make gaming chairs extremely user friendly. Whether a gamer has a taller desk, a shorter desk, a wider desk or a narrower desk, with a gaming chair they do not have to spend time worrying whether or not their brand new chair will fit with their existing desk and vice versa. 

Past Differences Between Recliners and Gaming Chairs

Another key difference between recliners and gaming chairs is how they came into being. The invention of recliners was much earlier than gaming chairs. It was only recently that gaming chairs became a common item for gamers to purchase. 

The History of the Recliner

While the recliner was not officially patented until 1928, earlier versions of the chair did exist. A version of the recliner dates back to 18th century France. Napoleon III was documented as having a piece of furniture called the camp cot. While the name is different, it had a similar function as the modern day recliner, in that it reclined for sleep.

Then in the 1920s, Shoemaker and Knabush patented the first recliner design in the United States. The cousins went on to start the company La-Z-Boy. La-Z-Boy is the official brand name of the recliner. However, other companies made and sold their own recliners as well. As of June 2021, La-Z-Boy has over 900 different recliner designs for sale in a variety of styles, materials, and colors. 

The History of the Gaming Chair

When the sports car company DXRacer came out with the first gaming chairs in 2006, the concept had already been around for about 9 years. In 1997 the South Korean economy collapsed, leaving plenty of young people without jobs. When they were not looking for jobs that were not there, people played the video game Starcraft instead.

Soon enough people started to get the typical aches and pains one gets when spending so long seated. This created a need for a more comfortable chair, especially as more and more people across the globe began playing esports. In 2006 DXRacer took advantage of the growing market, made and sold the first gaming chair. 

Gaming chairs became more and more popular as both esports and streaming grew. The streaming platform, Twitch, especially popularized gaming chairs. With people sitting for hours on end as they stream to their followers, it is vital to have a chair that supports the body correctly. Improper seats are deadly. 

Are Recliners Worth It?

There is a reason so many grandparents own their own recliners. They are comfortable for sitting down after a long day of hard work, whether that is an office job, a position that entails physical labor, or simply doing yard work. If you want a comfortable chair to sit back and watch television in, a recliner is definitely worth the investment. 

Recliners are perfect for afternoon naps and general resting. There is a reason so many people walk into their living rooms to sit in their recliner only to find someone else asleep in it! (Someone else including beloved pets.) If your grandparents owned a recliner, it’s likely it was known as “Grandpa’s Chair” and only he was allowed to sit in it.

On the La-Z-Boy website, recliners cost anywhere from $399 to $2239. While this is expensive, recliners are worth purchasing for any home if they are high quality. They will last a long time. Whether you are a great grandparent or are a newborn, several generations of a family will be able to enjoy them. 

However, recliners are bulky and nearly impossible to move on one’s own. If you live on the third floor of an apartment building with no elevator or an extremely small elevator, buying a recliner may not be the best option. What is the point of purchasing a nice recliner if you cannot get it into your home?

Are Gaming Chairs Worth It?

Based on the opinions of some gamers on Reddit, it depends on the consumer. However, the general consensus is no, it is not worth it. While it is certainly not unanimous, many people have the opinion that gaming chairs are overpriced, poorly made, and an expensive fad that is not good for ergonomics. 

Unless you are a Twitch streamer or other content creator who needs to look the part or require a wider range of recline for your back, it is probably a better idea to purchase a nice ergonomic chair. Ergonomic chairs allow for a wider range of movement while gaming chairs are much more restrictive. At the end of the day, it depends on the buyer’s needs and wants. 


Recliners and gaming chairs are incredibly different, even if their main purpose is to be sat in. Both items have their own wildly different pros and cons. Recliners are bulky and difficult to move into a house but comfortable and useful after a long day of work or if you are waking up at 3am to feed the baby. A gaming chair is sleek and portable but depending on a person’s needs might not be worth the cost. 

Both pieces of furniture are good for sitting comfortably. However, if you sit for long periods of time your body will develop aches and pains. No matter what kind of chair you have, remember to always take time to stand, stretch, and exercise your legs. Your back, neck, and shoulders will thank you in the long run. 



Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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