After testing 10 living room gaming chairs with five people of varying body types, we recommend the BirdRock Home Adjustable Memory Foam Chair for most people.
It looks better and is more comfortable than any other chair we tested, it’s more convenient to use and store, it costs a lot less, and paired with a decent set of cheap headphones, it lets you enjoy better sound than on any of the rocker-style chairs with installed speakers.
- BIRDROCK HOME Adjustable 14-Position Memory Foam Floor Chair
- X Rocker Wireless Bluetooth 2.1 Sound Rocking Video Gaming Floor Chair
- Who this is for
- How we picked
- Our pick: BirdRock Home Adjustable Memory Foam Chair
- Flaws but not dealbreakers
- If you really want speakers by your head: X Rocker Surge Gaming Chair
- The competition
BIRDROCK HOME Adjustable 14-Position Memory Foam Floor Chair
The BirdRock Home Adjustable 14-Position Memory Foam Floor and Gaming Chair is essentially a long upholstered cushion with an adjustable hinge in the middle, meant to save your spine during long gaming sessions sitting on the floor.
It’s much easier to unfold and store than the bulky floor rockers with built-in speakers that most people think of when they think of gaming chairs. It’s also useful even when you’re not gaming, and it comes in a few colors that look decent in more contemporary design schemes
X Rocker Wireless Bluetooth 2.1 Sound Rocking Video Gaming Floor Chair
If you really want speakers next to your head
This is the most convenient and comfortable rocker-style chair with speakers but that’s not a recommendation.
If you really want a living room gaming chair with built-in speakers, the X Rocker Surge Gaming Chair is the least cumbersome. It’s more comfortable, less skin-clingy, and easier to move around than the half-dozen other X Rocker models we tested, although it’s still worse than the BirdRock Home floor chair at all of those things.
While its built-in Bluetooth makes it easier to connect laptops and phones than the wireless dongles that other X Rocker models use, that won’t help with gaming consoles, which don’t support Bluetooth audio output.
You can connect it to your console through a long cable to a stereo (headphone) or RCA port, but doing so is unappealing in most living rooms.
Who this is for
Living room gaming chairs are meant to make long gaming sessions more comfortable and enjoyable. They let you sit on the floor, closer to your television than the couch, so you can better see small details on the TV, while offering support for your neck and back, letting you avoid the dreaded Nintendo Neck.
They’re cheaper than buying a bigger TV and easier to manage than scooting the couch closer. You can also use a gaming chair to add occasional seating to your living room, for movie nights or Super Bowl parties, or other events when you need to seat more people than usual.
Many of the best-known floor-sitting chairs have built-in speakers that can connect to your television, gaming console, or receiver. This setup could improve the sound, if you’re used to the thin output of TV speakers, and provide some immersion in the game, especially with bass sounds that can make the whole seat rumble.
After testing, though, we believe you have better ways to improve your game audio. You’re better off spending the money on a cheap pair of decent headphones to plug into your game controller, or a budget soundbar, which will improve your TV’s sound outside of games, too, and won’t add ugly clutter to your living room.
How we picked
We considered gaming chairs both with and without speakers or electronic features. We also looked at beanbag chairs but found that while they can put you at the right height, they are generally not comfortable over long periods, because they aren’t adjustable, they lack support, they can cave in and develop lumps over time, and they can get very sweaty.
Nearly every console gaming chair with built-in speakers comes from a single company: X Rocker. We looked at every X Rocker model that was well-stocked and sold at a major retailer and contacted the chairs’ maker, Ace Bayou, to confirm details of the more than two dozen remarkably similar and confusingly named models we found.
We read dozens of reviews of each chair (when available), looking for details about comfort, durability, and connectivity. We avoided models that had looks with niche appeal. We considered the following features, in descending order of importance:
- Comfort: Chairs are for sitting and should feel good in your butt, back, and legs, whether on hard floors or carpet. They should also offer comfortable head and neck angles toward a TV stand for people of different sizes. Their material should feel comfortable against skin and clothing.
- Durability: How well does the chair hold up to wear and tear? Is it stain-resistant and easy to clean? Is the company responsive to complaints? How’s the warranty and return policy?
- Looks: If it’s going to take up floor space, it should be available in non-gaudy colors and not look out of place amongst regular furniture.
- Storage: Can the chair be folded and stored out of sight when not in use?
- Audio: If the chair has built-in speakers, do they sound better than a TV’s built-in speakers? How easy is the audio to set up?
- Setup: Is setup difficult or time-consuming?
- Price: If a narrow-purpose chair costs nearly as much as a quality piece of standard, multipurpose furniture, it should be worth the price and substantially improve your gaming experience.
Our research turned up 28 models of X Rocker pedestal chairs and floor rockers that might fit our requirements. From there, we narrowed the group down to six X Rocker models: two pedestal chairs and four-floor rockers.
We also picked four non-electronic chairs with living room gaming appeal: two models from Merax, the Lazy Sofa and the 5-Position Floor Chair; a BirdRock Home memory-foam floor chair; and a seemingly identical model from Best Choice Products.
Our pick: BirdRock Home Adjustable Memory Foam Chair
The BirdRock Home Adjustable 14-Position Memory Foam Floor and Gaming Chair is the best one we tested because it doesn’t try to offer immersive audio or fancy features; it’s just a good floor chair. The BirdRock Home is more comfortable, less expensive, more portable, and less ostentatious than chairs with built-in audio.
It was the most comfortable to sit on during our multi-hour gaming sessions, for people short and tall, small and large. It’s available in colors both sedate and outrageous, and if it doesn’t match the look of a room, you can fold it out flat and slide it under higher-rising couches.
Its microfiber cover is somewhat liquid repellent, you can spot-clean it, and you can get under the cover by unzipping the back and reaching inside. While it doesn’t have built-in speakers, most modern gaming console controllers offer a headphone jack, which provides a more practical gaming-audio relay.
The chair’s design puts you closer to a living room TV than a couch while avoiding back and neck strain. On our thicker rugs and carpets, it felt like sitting on a plush armchair missing its legs. On thin rugs and hardwood floors, using the BirdRock Home was still a lot better than cobbling together a makeshift chair out of couch pillows.
The BirdRock Home doesn’t try to offer immersive audio or fancy features; it’s just a good floor chair.
We liked the BirdRock Home’s shredded memory-foam upholstery better than anything else we tested; it settles as it packs together under your pressure points, and it softens as your body heats it slightly.
The 18 tightly packed sections of the bottom and back of the chair make it less likely that you’ll find an uncomfortable spot between baffles, compared with the eight sections of the Merax 5-Position Floor Chair.
And the BirdRock Home felt cushier than any of the X Rocker models, all of which had thin padding over wooden framing boards that became readily apparent to our testers’ butts, thighs, and lower backs after about 20 minutes.
The BirdRock Home lacks neck support, but its back remains firmly in place once snapped into position, so you can get long gaming sessions in once you get the right angle.
We came to prefer the lack of neck support larger rockers with prominent headrests, such as X Rocker models 51259 and 51396, which felt uncomfortable for testers whose torso heights meant the headrests didn’t line up correctly.
The 14 positions of the BirdRock Home chair should provide a good angle for any kind of posture, looking at a range of TV heights and sizes. Photos: Kevin Purdy
When flat, the BirdRock Home chair is 21 inches wide, 42 inches from head to toe, and about 6 inches thick; it weighs 10 pounds. Because it’s light and easy to move around, you can more quickly find the right distance from television to feel immersed but avoid neck strain.
In our case, this was true for both a 5′6″ tester and a 6′2″ one, with different living room setups. The back section of the BirdRock Home clicks into 14 different positions, so it can lean way back for viewing a TV or projection screen mounted higher than the typical stand-mounted TV.
Larger rocker-style chairs aren’t restricted to set angles, but that isn’t necessarily good: It is difficult, or at least a strain on your body, to sit completely upright in a gaming rocker chair, or to go as far back as you can go without your legs falling asleep as they dangle off the front.
The BirdRock Home’s cover is a polyester microfiber, and it feels like midrange furniture. It’s more comfortable against exposed skin than the polyvinyl covering of X Rocker models, which can grip and induce sweat in hotter weather.
And the thicker pile of the BirdRock Home’s cover was vastly preferable to the suede-like texture of the Merax Lazy Sofa we tested, which felt sticky and clingy after just a brief period. Microfiber resists water, so spills are a bit easier to pick up before they soak in.
It’s not hard for the BirdRock Home to look better than most gaming-focused chairs. For one thing, it has no neon logos or color accents, it has no lights, and it’s available in a variety of colors. If you can’t leave a gaming chair continuously set up in your living room, this chair is easier to hide than any gaming rocker: Fold it flat and shove it under a couch, or fold it and tuck it wherever you can.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
While the BirdRock Home Adjustable 14-Position Memory Foam Floor and Gaming Chair felt comfortable to sit on during our longer gaming sessions, it was notably better on the carpet. On hardwood floors, it was still comfortable but for less time, as we could more easily feel the floor through the compacted foam, especially when shifting around.
The BirdRock Home chair’s microfiber exterior extends to the back and bottom, making it harder to slide around on the floor while you’re using it. Photo: Kevin Purdy
The whole chair is covered in microfiber, including the back and bottom. This design makes it cling to the carpet when you’re trying to move it, and the microfiber also picks up dirt, dust, and pet hair. Nylon backing, like on the back and bottom of the Merax 5-Position Floor Chair, would have been a better choice.
While you can unzip the cover and reach inside to better get at stains, you cannot take the whole cover off for washing. The inside of the BirdRock Home chair is shredded memory foam stapled and zip-tied to a metal frame, and you won’t be able to get it all back inside the cover and properly aligned.
The ratcheting adjustment for the BirdRock Home chair means that if you go beyond the angle you prefer, or want to lower the angle at a later time, you have to pull the chair fully upright, release it back to fully flat, and then raise the chair again. There’s no fixing this, really, unless the chair offered a different adjustment mechanism; every adjustable chair in this price range we tested used the same mechanism.
Sitting on a chair that rests flat on the floor means that you’ll have to do something with your legs and feet. This is to be expected, but it’s a drawback to this particular style of chair, compared with rockers that elevate your body. You may want to have a pillow handy for your ankles if keeping your legs propped up at an angle causes strain.
If you really want speakers by your head: X Rocker Surge Gaming Chair
The X Rocker Surge Gaming Chair is the least awkward and irksome, but that’s not high praise. The Surge is a large rocking floor chair that is meant to hook up to your television and project sound out of installed speakers near your head.
It doesn’t feel as comfortable as the BirdRock Home, and it looks far more ostentatious. It’s also much larger, heavier, and harder to fold up and store, and connecting it to your game console’s sound output requires running wires across your floor.
We think that gaming chairs with built-in audio are unnecessary anyway, because most modern game controllers and handheld systems have headphone ports, and because it’s never been easier or cheaper to get a good soundbar for your TV. But if you want a bigger chair, or louder or more up-close volume and bass than your TV or headphones can deliver, the Surge is the least bad of the rocker-style chairs.
Getting a comfortable angle toward the television with the X Rocker Surge, especially for shorter people, is about as comfortable as this looks. Photo: Kevin Purdy
The Surge felt the most comfortable of the X Rocker chairs we tested, although it wasn’t as comfortable, in cushioning or in ergonomic support, as the BirdRock Home.
The difference is a trade-off: It raises you higher off the floor and gives you more neck and shoulder cushioning, but keeping yourself at a reasonable angle with the television requires either leaning back and maintaining a neck- and abdomen-straining curve, or leaning forward and pressing into the chair with your legs.
With the BirdRock Home, in contrast, while you are closer to the floor than in a traditional chair, your seated position is closer to a normal sitting posture.
Gaming chairs with built-in audio are unnecessary, because most modern game controllers and handheld systems have headphone ports, and it’s never been cheaper to get a good soundbar.
The Surges cushioning was more evenly distributed, and did a better job of covering the wooden support boards, than that of any other X Rocker model we tried.
The slightly concave back of the chair let us sink in a bit more than with other rocker chairs. And because the Surge had no headrest piece sticking out or up, as on the costlier X Rocker models 51259 and 51396, it worked better for testers of different heights.
The hole in the back of the chair and the slight divots along the backrest let air in and kept us from feeling glued to the polyvinyl covering. And that hole on the back provides a carrying handle, something none of the other rocker chairs offer.
The X Rocker Surge has (from left) a power switch, an AC input, a bass adjuster, a volume control (lit in the center), an RCA audio input, an RCA audio output (for linking multiple chairs), a Bluetooth switch (at the top), a stereo (3.5 mm) input port, a low-power USB charging port, and a headphone jack. Photo: Kevin Purdy
While the Surge’s Bluetooth is far easier to connect than the battery-destroying radio-frequency wireless audio dongles of other X Rocker chairs, most modern game systems don’t offer Bluetooth audio output.
You can run an included stereo or RCA cable from the Surge to your TV, which is messy but works. Whether you use Bluetooth or wires, you must also plug in the Surge’s power adapter to use its speakers.
Because the plug is on the side of the Surge, that wire is harder to hide and easier to crush underneath the chair itself. The included power cord is only 6 feet long, requiring an extension cord in even a small living room.
The Surge’s sound quality is much better than a thin TV’s, with a speaker on either side of the headrest and a subwoofer built into the lower back of the chair. The bass, while muddy in the very lowest registers of songs, is definitely better than what you’d get from a TV by itself.
But the Surge has no volume limiter, which should be a concern for any audio device that children are likely to use, and that places speakers very close to your ears.
The Surge folds in half once you remove a cotter pin from its seam, but avoiding getting your fingers caught in the chair’s fold takes patience and some practice. Photo: Kevin Purdy
The Surge was the easiest to assemble of all the X Rocker chairs we tested, as it arrives folded up in one piece, much like the BirdRock Home chair. Other X Rocker models required mounting arms to the chair with hex screws and washers, with varying results depending on how the holes were drilled and how tight we could get each arm.
The Surge stays upright with a cotter pin-tucked at the folding point in the back. The chair weighs nearly 40 pounds, though, and folding it doesn’t reduce its 3-foot height by even half, so storing this chair is tricky.
And in our experience, inserting the cotter pin numerous times risked crushing our fingers in the chair fold. As for looks, the Surge embodies the aesthetic of a capital-G gaming chair, but it has no obnoxious brand logos, and one can get used to the red piping after a while.
The Merax 5-Position Floor Chair is similar to our top pick, with a few drawbacks in adjustability, comfort, and covering texture.
X Rocker chairs plug into a TV’s headphone port, either via a wireless dongle or through a long stereo cable you run across the room. Some televisions lack a headphone port and require the included stereo-to-RCA adapter.
On top of that, some recent televisions do not have RCA or 3.5 mm outputs, so you would need to buy an optical-to-RCA or optical-to-stereo adapter, which is yet another cost and another needed power plug.
And in some setups that use the wireless dongle, owners report nearby devices interfering with the radio-frequency audio transmission. For all these reasons plus our comfort assessment of six X Rocker models, we don’t think they’re the best option for most people.
The pedestal models made it difficult for us to get into a comfortable position, as leaning back too far, or shifting our weight up off our feet, caused the chairs to tip back precariously on their base. The headrest on the 51396 is prominent, and on taller people lands at an awkward lower-neck position. Both pedestals are more difficult to store and less comfortable than our picks.
A different five-position gaming chair from Merax, the Lazy Sofa, was stuffed only at its edges, and we could feel the floor in the middle when we sat on it. The material was also much slicker than that of either of our picks and felt as though it may get quite greasy and sweaty in warmer rooms.
A well-reviewed chair that looked nearly identical to our top-pick BirdRock Home chair, from Best Choice Products, was stuffed with a different, lower-density foam that was less evenly shredded and distributed, creating nine distinct bumps in each section that did not conform as easily to the body as the BirdRock Home’s stuffing. We also noted more owner reports of ripping and tearing than with our top pick.