Recaro Rae Test - Experience on the Bright Orange from Germany
Here you can read about my Recaro Rae review. This is the second Recaro gaming chair ever, after the Recaro Exo Platinum, whose price-performance ratio I didn’t really like. The Recaro Rae, however, is cheaper and comes with a feature that is important to me: The synchronous mechanism.
It will be very exciting to see how the Recaro Rae will convince. Considering the purchase price, I was skeptical, but after the last offer on Amazon, I finally struck: Whether I could make friends with the new gaming chair in the last few weeks in the Recaro Rae test, you will now find out!
Rae (Bright Orange)
Plastic base, multi-zone seat cushion, breathable & non-slip fabric cover, plastic casters, wood/plastic composite interior, plastic & polyurethane armrests.
4D armrests, synchronous mechanism, max. load up to 150kg, anti-submarining bar, fixed lumbar support, Made in Germany
Features of the Recaro Rae at a glance
Let’s move on to the features that distinguish the Recaro Rae. Functionally, it is well positioned so far, only a neck pillow would have been an option – and the fact that there is no warranty at a rather steep price bothers me:
Seat comfort test: Is the Recaro Rae comfortable?
I am so far well satisfied with the seat comfort. I’m definitely sitting comfortably here, the upholstery is a multi-zone upholstery foam according to Recaro. How you can imagine the different zones, I unfortunately do not know – for me, the cushion feels pretty much the same in all places, the only thing I can feel is the anti-submarining hill.
The cushion has a very pleasant hardness. I would compare it to the cushion of the Backforce One and Backforce One Plus respectively, so very balanced – as both manufacturers are very experienced office chair builders, I’m convinced this is decently tuned. The cushion is softer than noblechairs & Secretlab, but firmer than DXRacer.
A neck pillow would be nice.
No neck or headrest is included with the Recaro Rae, and none is available as an optional accessory. In the case of the Recaro Rae, however, I did miss some sort of support in the test. I can’t even explain exactly why – because I don’t use a neck pillow with every gaming chair, but in this case it would improve comfort. My girlfriend doesn’t see it that way, she doesn’t miss the neck pillow.
However, the Rae is not uncomfortable without a neck pillow – I often keep my head in the air anyway, but a pillow would be much more comfortable when leaning against it in a relaxed manner. I therefore put one on from another gaming chair.
It doesn’t help the chic design of the Recaro Rae, but I like it.
Neck pillow recommendation for repurchase
I would also recommend buying a neck pillow if you don’t have one – if you want a particularly good pillow, I would recommend the Nitro Concepts pillow set (on Amazon or Overclockers) or the noblechairs pillow set (on Overclockers) – they are filled with memory foam and are a bit cooler.
You won’t need the lumbar cushion, but you could use it for other purposes. Otherwise, of course, it’s also another, just make sure a soft fabric cover. Neck pillows made of PU leather are rather unattractive.
Crossed legs on the Rae: cross-legged test
The seat offers enough space to sit cross-legged on the Recaro Rae even with my 189cm & 82-84kg body weight. The only limiting factor here can be the armrests:
They can not be placed particularly far out, so that one with longer or thicker legs may get space problems. With my physique’s but easy clear, as of course with my girlfriend with 167cm & 52kg.
Cross-legged test passed!
Seating surface: Lots of space & hardly any side bolsters
As with the Recaro Exo, side bolsters have been omitted here as well. Strictly speaking, side bolsters are already visible, but they don’t feel like any. These are probably the softest side bolsters I have ever seen or felt.
They can be pressed down with absolute ease and even when you put your leg on here, you absolutely don’t notice them. So this has been implemented optimally here: side bolsters are part of a design concept here without interfering in the slightest.
Backrest: side bolsters measured with protractor
The side bolsters on the Recaro Rae are also very mild. Actually, I don’t even want to talk about side bolsters, because they come from racing and the Rae isn’t actually modeled on a racing seat – so here it’s more like the normal shapes that office chairs often have.
If I apply the protractor, we arrive at a value of X degrees. Thus, there is no question of side bolsters here, considering that 180° would be completely straight. You also have to remember that you tend to arch your shoulders forward on the PC anyway, because you stretch your arms out towards the keyboard and mouse.
In my opinion, no one has to fear an impairment of shoulder freedom here.
Suitable body sizes in the Recaro Rae test
Finally, on the subject of comfort, the question now arises as to how tall and heavy one may be in order to be able to call oneself “suitable” for the Recaro Rae. I am 189cm tall & weigh about 84kg. My test person is 167cm tall and weighs 52kg.
The seat depth is still well suited for my height. I have about 4 fingers of space between the seat and the back of the knee, 2 fingers is considered a guideline for optimal conditions, but a few fingers more or less is not a thing.
If you’re much taller than me, or have a different torso-to-leg length ratio than I do, it could soon get tight here.
Likewise with the backrest – with my height, I’m already almost at the upper limit. I can’t be much taller, otherwise my head would protrude above the headrest.
The body weight is also important here: The Recaro Rae is indeed loadable up to 150kg, but some customers report that already at 85-90kg the resistance of the mechanism can no longer be adjusted strongly enough. I can not confirm this so, but also believe that you put too much weight in the backrest at 100kg + and rather fall backwards.
I recommend the Recaro Rae for users from 165cm-190cm tall. A few centimeters more or less are possible, depending on torso and leg length. Space-wise, you should easily weigh the maximum 150kg, but then the synchro mechanism might not be adjustable tightly enough. I think with a maximum of 100-110kg that still goes here.
Tip for gamers under 165cm: If you’re shorter, it’s going to be hard for you to even find a chair that allows you to get your feet on the floor. That’s why I like to recommend footrests like these for the smaller among us. The feedback so far has been great – a real solution!
Features of the Recaro Rae in detail
Before we look at the rest of the Recaro Rae’s features, there’s one thing I’d like to note that’s important in evaluating them – the Recaro Rae’s purchase price. The Recaro Rae Essentials are available for €599, while the Bright versions have different colors and cost a tidy €699. Again, I feel the price is a bit high, which is why I rather recommend you buy from Amazon.
The Raes are often a lot cheaper here. Personally, the RRP directly at Recaro would be too high, especially since you have to pay there for the return, if necessary – which is okay in itself – at Amazon you can avoid this, the chairs are cheaper there & the return shipping free of charge.
Synchronous mechanism: Listening to customers
One of the main criticisms of the previous model, the Exo, was that only a rocker mechanism was installed for the high price. Recaro has taken this feedback to heart and equipped the Rae with a synchronous mechanism. That made me very happy & is also appropriate for the price.
When leaning back, the backrest tilts back significantly more than the seat. This creates real movement in the lower back, providing blood flow & nutrients to the intervertebral discs. The only condition: You also have to use the function, and preferably not lock the backrest.
Of course, this is also possible: You can lock the synchronous mechanism in 5 different positions.
Resistance may not be adjustable firmly enough
As with every rocker and synchronous mechanism, there is an adjusting wheel with which you can set the resistance of the mechanism when leaning back. You have to adjust this to your own body weight so that you don’t have to use too much force when leaning backwards or fall backwards too easily.
In some reviews & mails I have already read that some users with 85-90kg the setting even on the hardest level still yields too quickly. I can not yet determine that personally with my 84kg, but also already use the hardest of the 7 setting options.
Accordingly, I can well imagine that you put from 90-110kg quite too much weight in the backrest and comes too easily back when you lean. It depends very much on how the weight is distributed over the upper body and legs. Recaro could work on this again.
Fixed lumbar support
Lordosis supports are known in many variations: The most inelegant are the lumbar cushions, which are often too large. Next, there are the fixed lumbar supports, which can also be found on the Recaro Rae. In the area of the lower back, you see a bulge that is supposed to fill your lordosis (quasi your hollow back).
I also find the lumbar support here very suitable, as does my girlfriend. We humans have very different anatomies, so fixed supports are not always suitable, sometimes they are too high or low, or too far pronounced. Here, however, it is perfectly balanced and supports our lordoses excellently.
Even better would be lumbar supports that can be variably adjusted. Secretlab TITAN Evo, noblechairs HERO or Backforce One Plus, for example, have such supports. Here we can optimally adjust the curvature to our lordosis – absolute fine tuning. At the purchase price of the Recaro Rae (600-700€), I would have found such a lumbar support also appropriate. But that does not make the fixed support bad!
Anti-submarining hill on Recaro Rae
Recaro remains true to its anti-submarining hill, which was also already available on the Exo. Recaro is a racing seat manufacturer and that’s exactly where this hill comes from. In the automotive sector, submarining is when you slip under your lap belt in a rear-end collision, causing yourself serious injuries.
Rear-end collisions don’t tend to happen on the PC, at least not outside the screen. Recaro believes that people often slip off their chairs while gaming. That’s why there’s a hill under the cushion at the front of the seat to stop us.
I personally don’t slide forward on any chair so far. The idea is therefore nice, but irrelevant for me and therefore not really a plus.
Does the elevation of the anti-submarining hill interfere?
I could not feel the hill on the Exo. But since the upholstery of the Recaro Rae seems softer and thinner, I can definitely feel this hill here. In one or two comments on the net I have read that this hill can be very annoying when you slump in the chair and loll.
I can’t confirm that so far. I also often hang in the chair more than sit in it and I hardly notice the hill. Only when I sit on the edge of the seat do I feel it very well.
4D armrests - or 3.5D? + soft plastic
The Recaro Rae features 4D armrests, which are made entirely of plastic, whereas the predecessor model has metal armrests. Since the Rae costs less than its predecessor, it seems that savings had to be made somewhere. However, this doesn’t make any difference from a purely functional point of view. The surface of the armrest is made of a softer polyurethane to protect the forearms.
However, the armrests are not quite 4D. One of the 4 directions is the rotation of the armrest. The support can also be rotated inwards, but hardly outwards. The outward rotation is actually only needed when you sit cross-legged on the chair and need more space.
The inward rotation is more important because you can also hold controllers comfortably. Nevertheless, other 4D armrests can do more here, so I didn’t want to leave it unmentioned – so rather 3.5D armrests in my estimation.
60mm casters & plastic base
The rollers of the Recaro Rae are made of plastic and are suitable for hard and soft floors. On our hardened cork floor, the rollers also run nice and smooth and quiet.
The base here is made of plastic. Recaro itself speaks of “high-performance plastic”, which presumably means that the plastic is reinforced with glass fibers. Some other manufacturers also have such reinforced foot crosses. The plastic base crosses can withstand the load limits without any problems – that’s what they’re there for, after all – but an aluminum base could have been used here for the price.
This does not make a functional difference, but the high price has to be found somewhere – if not in the functions, then at least in the use of materials. More would have been possible here, but I only write this in view of the price. If the Rae would only cost $400 or $450, I would not say anything, after all it is made in Germany.
Covers of the Recaro Rae Essential & Bright
Since Recaro wants to ensure maximum breathability, all models on the Rae are also covered with a fabric cover. More specifically, these are polyester covers that are also supposed to have anti-slip properties, for the same reasons as for the use of the anti-submarining hill.
Haptically, the covers make a high-quality impression and I also feel well ventilated on the Recaro Rae, it does not get too hot on the chair.
Differences: Rae Essential vs. Rae Bright
The models are equipped exactly the same purely functional. The difference between the Rae Essential & Bright is only in the colors of the covers and its decorative stitching. The Essential versions are available with black, gray & white applications on the edge of the chair, the rest is standard black.
The Bright versions are designed completely different in color – I also find very nice. Backrest & seat are different colors here and the decorative stitching is color matched. There is also a 3D fabric on the sides of the seat & backrest, which is also rather visually different.
My only problem here: The Bright editions are 100€ more expensive than the Essentials. I feel that’s too much for just having to use different colored fabrics & stitching in production. Maximum a fifty I would have found for it still ok. But with Recaro’s pricing policy I’m on a war footing anyway.
Price vs. materials & workmanship: More is possible
Also this criticism I ask to see in consideration of the price of the Recaro Rae: At $400-$450 I would say nothing. The build quality here is flawless so far: The seams all run straight and I can see absolutely nothing that speaks for an expandable workmanship.
The material quality, however, could be better. Many found the Recaro Exo too expensive, which is why the Rae is also cheaper. But you also notice that: The Rae only weighs 20.2kg, the Exo weighs 4.4kg more, FX & Platinum even over 6kg. So generally less or less massive material is used here.
The upholstery, for example, is thinner, I can already feel the inner workings of the backrest with medium pressure on the upholstery. The armrests are made entirely of plastic and the base is also made of plastic. Also overall, the Recaro Rae Bright Orange does not look like a 699€ chair in my eyes. I’m glad I only paid around 500€.
The Recaro Rae did get a synchro mechanism unlike its predecessor, but it just got some other savings. For the price I paid, I think it’s ok – at the Recaro price, the Rae would not be an option for me.
No warranty - only warranty
The next point: I would accept the slightly cheaper materials if Recaro would give a warranty, but they don’t. Despite the fact that they sell their chairs as super high-quality, Made in Germany by hand, they do not give their deep-pocketed customers any warranty.
Only the legally obligated warranty of 24 months we get. For me this is too little. Even some manufacturers who produce in China give guarantees. And the competition from Germany can do it better: Backforce already offers a 10-year warranty for the One, which only costs 499€.
Why is the Recaro Rae so expensive?
One reason for this is that Recaro produces in Germany. Production here is of course much more expensive than in the Far East. What drives the price up, however, is that Recaro does not produce itself, but has it produced. The production takes over the company Bock1 GmbH & Co KG in Postbauer-Heng. Thus, there is one more instance here that wants to earn money on the chair.
Nevertheless, it is apparently also cheaper: For example, Amazon also sells the Recaro Rae itself, and often significantly below the price that Recaro itself calls up. My Recaro Rae Bright Orange cost less than 500€ instead of 699€.
The competition offers much more for the money. If you want to compare with German manufacturers, there is only Backforce: And the One Plus costs 649€, with 10 years warranty, seat depth adjustment, seat tilt adjustment, 4-way lumbar support, more elaborate design & partially higher quality materials. Therefore, my opinion: The Rae would be for me at most around the 500€ still an option.
Conclusion on the Recaro Rae test: Worth buying?
In conclusion, I can say in my Recaro Rae review that the chair is definitely something. It sits comfortably, has decent features and is handmade in Germany. Only the price doesn’t quite suit me. I also do not want to compare only with Backforce, there are also ergonomic office chairs that offer much more in the price range.
The materials are kept rather cheap, functional could also be more in it and there is no warranty. Nevertheless, I can recommend buying the Recaro Rae. There are now hardly any German gaming chairs and the seating comfort is very good here. However, I would personally wait for offers.