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Home News This cheap gaming chair has become my ultimate WFH accessory

This cheap gaming chair has become my ultimate WFH accessory

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(CNN) —  

A few years back, while getting ready to build my first gaming PC, I figured I should pick up a decent chair to go with it. Knowing I’d already be spending a lot on computer parts and peripherals, I opted for the cheapest gaming chair I could find on Amazon that had decent ratings. Flash forward to 2021, and that chair is still holding up surprisingly well — and has become an integral part of my home office after more than a year straight of working remotely.

The Homall Gaming Chair ($109; amazon.com) looks fairly unassuming at first glance. It sports a massive, race car-inspired design that’s typical of any gaming chair — a look you may find attractive or obnoxious depending on your tastes. After seeing its low price and large amount of positive reviews, I decided on the fairly understated black-and-white model (there are also bolder colors like neon green and purple if that’s your thing), and I haven’t looked back.

Now that I’ve owned this chair for more than two years, I’ve found it to be an excellent entry-level gaming seat that just happens to double as a great work-from-home chair. Here’s why the Homall gaming chair may be worth a spot in your home office — even if you’re spending more time with spreadsheets than Call of Duty.

Mike Andronico/CNN

Homall’s chair kept me comfortable early on whenever I sat down to stream on Twitch or play some Halo for a few hours, but it really became an invaluable tool at the start of the pandemic. While countless friends and colleagues scrambled to buy new chairs and complained about back pain from working at their kitchen counters, I was comfortably typing away in my comically big marshmallow of a seat. I received many compliments and comments about my chair over video calls, to which I simply responded, “Thanks, it was cheap on Amazon!” and sent over a link.

That high level of comfort is provided by high-density shaping foam that’s under the artificial leather outer shell. This combination has kept me free of aches and soreness for years now. The chair’s large headrest keeps my neck comfortable, while its large bottom cushion does the same for my lower back by providing plenty of lumbar support.

Its 360-degree seat swivel and rolling wheels still feel smooth and responsive, providing very little friction as I whiz around my work area to jump between different devices throughout the day. Homall’s chair is also easy to recline, with a lever that lets you go from 90 degrees for sitting upright to 180 degrees for kicking back while gaming or watching movies.

And while the gaming chair aesthetic isn’t for everyone, I like that my black-and-white model has a somewhat subtle look that still helps me stand out as our resident geek during work calls.

Mike Andronico/CNN

I can confidently say that Homall’s gaming chair has been great for me, but does it hold up against the rubric we used to determine the best office chairs? Comfort and support are the areas we weigh the most heavily in our chair testing, and Homall’s chair largely wins big there in terms of lumbar, backrest and overall seat support. However, the seat’s armrest support could be better. The Homall chair uses hard plastic armrests, which can sometimes be rough on my elbows during especially long conference calls or gaming sessions, and make me long for something more padded.

Adjustability is another major factor we consider when reviewing a chair, and Homall’s chair has a lot to offer in terms of overall angle and height flexibility. Again, the armrests are the real big culprits here, as they can’t be adjusted. While their low height works for my 5-foot, 10-inch frame and allows the armrests to slide under my desk when I’m not working or gaming, the lack of adjustability may be an issue for those with different heights and arm lengths — especially since the chair comes in only one size.

The Steelcase Series 1, our favorite office chair.

Hayley Saltzman/CNN

The Steelcase Series 1, our favorite office chair.

When it comes to the assembly process, putting together Homall’s chair was a relatively painless process that took less than an hour from what I recall (time and a global pandemic can warp your memory a bit). That’s about on par with our budget pick in the $145 Alera Elusion Series, but still requires more work than our favorite overall chair in the $415 Steelcase Series 1, which arrives fully assembled.

Having not tested those two seats, I can’t definitively say whether Homall’s chair is a viable alternative to them. If you’re put off by the bulky aesthetic of gaming chairs or work in a setting that requires you to look as professional as possible (I’m lucky to have a job that welcomes my nerdiness), our office picks are probably best for you.

But I can say that the Homall gaming chair is at least worth keeping on your radar as you build out your home office, as you’re getting a comfortable and flexible chair for work and play for a little over $100. Considering that both office and gaming chairs can easily go for more than $1,000, the fact that you can get something so reliable for so cheap is significant.

As for how the Homall stacks up to other gaming chairs? Well, you get what you pay for. Around the time I purchased the Homall, I was also testing out the $399 Alienware S5000 in my old office. The perks you get for that higher price immediately became apparent — the S5000’s more dense foam and microfiber-coated cushions made for a softer, more well-padded chair, and the armrests were easy to adjust both horizontally and vertically. I wouldn’t mind someday replacing my Homall with something on the S5000’s level of quality, but I feel like my current chair is still giving me the support I need for now.

Mike Andronico/CNN

Having lived with the Homall Gaming Chair for more than two years, I can’t imagine going back to working or playing from home without it. For a seat that costs a little more than $100, it’s sustained very little wear and tear after prolonged use, and, more importantly, it has kept me away from the chiropractor throughout a year-plus of writing and editing from my bedroom.

You’re obviously going to make some sacrifices at this lower price — the Homall’s armrests feel a bit coarse and can’t be adjusted, and the materials aren’t as soft or cushy as those you’ll find on more expensive chairs.

While its design is fairly standard for a gaming chair, you’re not going to get the sleeker-looking aesthetics of a more premium seat like the $359 Secretlab Omega or the $389 Vertagear Racing S-Line, both of which were recommended to us by experts. If you want a more subdued chair that looks like it actually belongs in an office, you’re better off with the Steelcase Series 1 or Alera Elusion Series.

But at this price, the Homall Gaming Chair is well worth considering if you’re looking for your first gaming chair — or if you’re ready to stop working from that stiff kitchen stool that’s almost certainly killing your back. Seriously, it’s time.

http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/cnn_topstories/~3/bOmdhQL4Dbw/index.html

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