Gaming chair vs. cheap alternative: Is a higher-priced gamer chair worth the money? I have both ... cut open!
You asked for it. Every now and then, people complain that I hardly ever test chairs in the lower price segment. There is a good reason for this: I have had very bad experiences with these cheap chairs. I always emphasize that – but today I’m putting my money where my mouth is.
I reluctantly brought a gaming chair for under $150 into my house and put it next to a noblechairs EPIC in the following article + video. What did I do then? Well, a simple top to bottom comparison wasn’t enough for me. It didn’t go deep enough for me… so without further ado, I treated myself to a brand new box cutter from the hardware store and stripped both chairs down to their skeletons.
You want to know if it’s worth investing 300, 400 or more dollars in a gaming chair? Then watch my video – the result will impress you!
Early frustration with the construction of the cheap chair
I actually wanted to skip the usually unspectacular assembly, but I didn’t want to withhold the following “disaster” from you. First of all, I was greeted by an incomparably disgusting chemical cloud when I opened the box, and the innards then did their part to my displeasure:
Here we have captured quite wonderfully my motivated expression, which I put on at the sight of the disassembled cheap gamer chair. Normally, such a chair consists of casters, base, gas lift, seat and backrest … this cheap chair has a thousand more parts – I didn’t feel like it.
Here you can see that the joints for the backrest have to be screwed on separately – and the whole thing looks pretty “delicate”. I don’t expect much stability.
From antique wooden planks & toy rolls - details in comparison
I spared you a photo of the chair set up – ok, I forgot to take one – but I recommend my video anyway. So let’s take a look at a few details of the two office chairs:
Screwing of armrests & base
The cheap chair’s armrests and base are merely screwed into wooden panels – and they don’t make a particularly robust impression (see below). The connecting piece between the base and seat, including the adjusting screw, also looks extremely puny.
In comparison, everything in the EPIC Series is made of solid steel. This is not only more robust, but also much easier to screw together.
The EPIC’s adjusting screw and the like look much more solid and valuable. No comparison to the cheap chair.
I didn’t have to use much force to break the wing off. The thing was simply welded extremely unclean.
After a few pulls with the hacksaw, the thin tube of the cheap chair is cut. The tube wall thickness is about 1.2 mm.
In the case of the noblechairs, it’s 2 mm – so the tube is almost 70% thicker, leaving the material quality aside. In addition, the stability increases exponentially to the tube wall thickness – in short: The frame of the EPIC is many times more stable.
Base & casters
Both the casters and the base are made of plastic and look like toys. On the plus side, the casters at least roll quite easily.
On the EPIC, everything is solid and has a high-quality finish. This not only looks better, but should also withstand much more.
A rotten but certainly historically valuable seat
After removing the foam from the seat, this sight awaited me. I don’t know where this rotten wood came from – no, I have nothing against recycling per se – but I wouldn’t have expected something like this in a brand new chair. Fits the rusty frame, though.
I don’t think I need to say much about this picture … after all, one remains true to the motto “from old make new”.
Cheap foam vs noblechairs cold foam
Here you can see the upholstery of the side bolsters in direct comparison. The cheap foam from the noname chair is not only much thinner, but can also be easily compressed to the point where the fingers touch each other. There’s no question that the cheap upholstery would wear through within a short time.
Tearing it is also child’s play. With the noble, you have to use extreme force to even get the cold foam out of its position – it’s hardly possible with a bare hand.
A look inside the upholstery reflects well the feeling you get when sitting in these chairs. One is comfortable and gives its owner pleasure for a long time, the other is not…
My conclusion: Saving money on the gaming chair makes you unhappy
The journey into the interior of the two chairs was really exciting and delivered surprising results, even though I would have expected many things to be so. Let’s take a brief look at the results:
- Thanks to the many individual parts, assembling the cheap model is a test of patience – accompanied by an acrid chemical smell.
- The frame of the cheap chair is rusty and can be damaged with little effort
- The tube wall thickness of the noblechairs is 70% thicker, which should have a massive effect on the stability of the chair.
- The cover of the EPIC is not only visually and haptically on a different level, it is also much thicker and more robust.
- In the premium chair, the entire frame is made of steel – in the cheap model, the screws are turned into old wood
- The connecting piece incl. set screw is much more stable on the EPIC and also looks better
- The wooden planks under the seat upholstery are rotten and look ancient
- The base and casters of the noble chair resemble cheap children’s toys
- The upholstery of the noble is thicker, more robust and much more comfortable when sitting – with the economy version, sitting through is soon pre-programmed
I could list a lot more bullet points with details, but I’ll break it down to the following conclusion:
Knife, hacksaw & muscle power have shown in my duel Cheap vs. EPIC that a high-quality gaming chair does not cost a few euros more without reason. Each of you would have noticed that by sitting on a similarly cheap copy for a few weeks – the things are simply uncomfortable and the durability is also poor.
This test was not about price-performance – maybe you just don’t get more for $100-150 – but rather about the fact that it is not worth spending this money on a cheap chair. It simply doesn’t make you happy and it doesn’t allow you to sit ergonomically. So either buy a real gaming chair now, like the noblechairs EPIC or ICON, or don’t bother.