A few years ago, as I was preparing to build my first gaming PC, I figured I should get myself a decent chair with it. Knowing that I was already spending a lot on computer parts and peripherals, I went for the cheapest gaming chair I could find on Amazon that had good reviews. Looking back at 2021, this chair is still holding up surprisingly well – and has become an integral part of my home office after more than a year of uninterrupted remote work.
The Homall Gaming Chair ($ 109; amazon.com) looks pretty modest at first glance. It has a massive, racing car-inspired design that is typical of any gaming chair – a look that you can find attractive or disgusting depending on your taste. After seeing the low price and the large number of positive reviews I went for the rather low-key black and white model (there are bolder colors like neon green and purple too if that’s your thing) and I didn’t look back.
Now that I’ve owned this chair for over two years, I’ve found it to be an excellent entry-level gaming seat that also happens to make a great work-from-home chair. Here’s why the Homall gaming chair might be worth a spot in your home office – even if you spend more time doing spreadsheets than you do Call of Duty.
Mike Andronico / CNN
Homall’s chair made me comfortable early on when I sat down to stream on Twitch or play Halo for a few hours, but as the pandemic began, it really became an invaluable tool. While countless friends and colleagues searched for new chairs and complained of back pain while working at their kitchen tables, I comfortably typed in my weirdly large marshmallow of a seat. I received a lot of compliments and comments on my chair over video calls to which I simply replied, “Thanks, it was cheap on Amazon!” and sent via a link.
This high level of comfort is provided by a high-density molded foam that is located under the synthetic leather outer shell. This combination has kept me pain free for years. The chair’s large headrest comfortably supports my neck while the large lower pillow does the same for my lower back by providing plenty of lumbar support.
The 360-degree rotating seat and rolling wheels still feel smooth and responsive, with very little friction as I whiz through my work area jumping between machines all day. The Homall chair can also be easily leaned back. With a lever, you can switch from 90 degrees for sitting to 180 degrees for leaning back while gaming or watching movies.
And while the aesthetics of the gaming chair aren’t for everyone, I like that my black and white model has a slightly subtle look that still helps me stand out as our resident geek during work meetings.
Mike Andronico / CNN
I can confidently say that Homall’s gaming chair has been great for me, but does it hold up under the rubric we used to identify the best office chairs? Comfort and support are the areas we weigh most heavily on our chair exams, and Homall’s chair is growing broadly there in terms of lumbar spine, backrest, and general seating support. The seat armrest support could be better, however. The Homall chair uses hard plastic armrests that sometimes lie rough on my elbows during particularly long conference calls or game sessions and make me long for something padded.
Adjustability is another important factor we consider when reviewing a chair, and Homall’s chair has a lot going for it in terms of overall angle and height flexibility. Again, the armrests are the really big culprits as they cannot be adjusted. While their low height works for my 5-foot, 10-inch frame and the armrests can slide under my desk when I’m not working or playing, the lack of adjustability can be an issue for people of varying heights and arm lengths – especially the one chair is only available in one size.
Hayley Saltzman / CNN
The Steelcase Series 1, our favorite office chair.
When it comes to the assembly process, putting Homall’s chair together was a relatively painless process that I remember took less than an hour (time and a global pandemic can skew your memory a little). This is roughly on par with our budget pick in the Alera Elusion Series, valued at $ 145, but still requires more work than our favorite Steelcase Series 1 chair, valued at $ 415, which comes fully assembled.
Having not tested these two seats, I can’t definitively say if Homall’s chair is a viable alternative to them. If you’re put off by the bulky aesthetics of gaming chairs, or if you’re working in an environment where you need to look as professional as possible (glad to have a job that welcomes my nerdy) then our office tips are likely the best for you.
But I can say that it’s at least worth keeping the Homall gaming chair on your radar while setting up your home office, as you can get a comfortable and flexible chair to work and play with for just over $ 100. Given that both office and gaming chairs can easily cost more than $ 1,000, the fact that you can get something so reliable for so cheap matters.
How can the Homall compete with other gaming chairs? Well you get what you pay for. Around the time I bought the Homall, I also tested the $ 399 Alienware S5000 in my old office. The benefits you get for this higher price tag were immediately apparent – the S5000’s denser foam and microfiber-lined cushions made for a softer, better-padded chair, and the armrests were easy to adjust both horizontally and vertically. I wouldn’t mind one day replacing my Homall with something of the same quality as the S5000, but I feel like my current chair still gives me the support I need now.
Mike Andronico / CNN
After living with the Homall Gaming Chair for more than two years, I can’t imagine working or playing from home again without it. For a seat that costs a little over $ 100, it has worn very little after long periods of use, and more importantly, it kept me away from writing and editing in my bedroom for a year.
Obviously, at this cheaper price point, you’ll be making some sacrifices – the Homall’s armrests feel a little rough and cannot be adjusted, and the materials aren’t as soft or comfortable as more expensive chairs.
While gaming chair design is pretty standard, you won’t get the slimmer aesthetic of a premium seat like the $ 359 Secretlab Omega or the $ 389 Vertagear Racing S-Line, both of which we recommended Experts. If you’re looking for a cushioned chair that looks like it actually belongs in an office, you’re better off with the Steelcase Series 1 or the Alera Elusion Series.
But at this price point, the Homall Gaming Chair is worth considering if you’re looking for your first gaming chair – or if you’re ready to stop working on that stiff kitchen stool that will almost certainly kill your back. Seriously, it’s time.