A key component of any sim racing set-up has to be the seat. Because you’ll be sitting down for so long your body may experience fatigue if your posture is wrong or if the seat isn’t ergonomic. Moreover, having a poor seat will likely also detract from realism (no professional racer has a picnic chair in their car) and also from your performance (should your chair slide around or be unsuitable for the correct motions).
It’s for this reason that, after much research, we’ve compiled a list of the best chairs for DIY racing simulators in 2020. Mind you, we also have a list of the best sim racing rigs and cockpits.
The Top-Rated Seats for Racing Simulators
|Top Pick||Sparco 00965NR Racing Seat|
|Runner-Up||MOMO 1070BLK Racing Seat|
|Third Place||NRG Bucket Seat|
|Luxury Pick||OMP HA/773E/N WRC-R Racing Seat|
|Luxury Runner-Up||Corbeau Revenge X Racing Seat|
|Best Gaming Chair||RESPAWN 200 Racing Style Gaming Chair|
|Best Office Chair||Staples Hyken Technical Mesh Task Chair|
Top Pick: Sparco 00965NR
This Italian auto part and accessory company produces a vast amount of high end products, and their racing seat is not only elegant, but also ergonomic and resistant.
If you’re a racing aficionado, or a racing sim peripheral lover, you will likely have heard of Sparco before. Sparco is known to produce a vast amount of products not only for racing simulators, but also objects to be utilized in real life cars. This seat is no exception. The Sparco 00965NR Racing Seat's original aim is to serve as an upgrade seat for a real car, but we found it to be majestic when paired with a good racing sim setup. It’s has an ergonomic tubular frame, wide holes in the back for respiration, wider side openings for more comfort, and a beautiful sleek black look. It also allowed for a relatively high degree of adjustability, fitted with a double adjustment and reclining lever that gives a wide angle range for your back. That being said we would still recommend you also purchase the slider track set for that little extra adjustability that it gives.
The only thing that is a slight turn off is that, if you have wide shoulders, the top of this seat may fit a bit snugly. There’s also some extra padding in the middle of the seat to separate your thighs and ensure good posture, which some individuals may not like.
Runner Up: MOMO 1070BLK Racing Seat
Keeping with Italian products, MOMO’s 1070BLK Racing Seat is as beautiful as it is ergonomic: a lot!
The MOMO 1070BLK Racing Seat is covered in incredibly comfortable and elegant fabric. This allows the seat to be incredibly resistant, guaranteed to last you not only a long time from a structural integrity point of view, but also from the aspect of the seat not getting much wear and tear at all.
From a design perspective this seat is perhaps a little more minimalistic than other entries on the list. That being said, ergonomically, it remains an incredible contender. It’s built to give excellent lumbar support, which a lot of seats tend to fail on. It has shoulder support without it making you feel like you’re trapped within the seat, and the sides keep you from wiggling around as you play or drive.
The drawback of this seat is that it’s designed with thin people in mind. If you’re slightly larger this seat may be too narrow for you. If you’re not, this seat is comfortable, ergonomic, good looking and all in all an excellent purchase.
Third Place: NRG Bucket Seat
This bright red seat may seem a little aggressive, and so it should! If you plan on really pushing your car this might be a great choice for you.
If you’re looking for sleek and elegant then maybe this isn’t the right seat for you, but if you recognize your driving style in the bright red colours of the NRG Bucket Seat then you’re sure to be more than satisfied with this pick!
Let’s start with ergonomics. This seat is specifically projected to give you effective and comfortable lumbar support. Moreover the enclosed sides are specially made to hold your core in place as you drive. This will not only keep fatigue at bay, but also allow you to better concentrate on what is going on in the track as you lay your babck on the comfortable red suede fabric. Ergonomics is a check.
What about durability? The entire NRG seat is made from fiberglass. It’s specifically built to be hyper-resistant both on and off the racetrack in real life. Durability is a double check.
The most negative aspect of this seat has to be that, if you’re wider than average, you may find the seat uncomfortable on your sides. The same factor built specifically for ergonomic’s sake may be the deal breaker for you.
Luxury Pick: OMP HA/773E/N WRC-R
The third Italian bran on this list, OMP specialises in rally seats, and it shows. Highly ergonomic, and highly expensive.
Granted, the OMP HA/773E/N WRC-R Racing Seat costs a pretty penny, but it’s worth every cent. Let’s start by saying that this is designed as a real rally car seat, so you know that it will have to have been made with certain standards in mind. It’s shell is entirely made from fibreglass, but it’s the upholstery which is particularly impressive. It’s made from AIRTEX, a highly breathable material that is also quite resistant to damage. In terms of ergonomics it’s also an incredible feat of engineering. It has a variety of cushions on your back, base and ones to split your legs to promote the best and most comfortable seating position. If, however, you find that some of these don’t suit your particular seating position, all of the cushions are removable, allowing you to define your own personalised ergonomic set-up. The seat also comes with a high side bolster for lateral leg support (which is particularly useful if you’re looking to incorporate this seat in a full-motion sim rig setup). Finally, the WRC-R also has an XL version, allowing those of us who are less in shape to still feel comfortable when playing our racing sims.
All in all this is a fantastic product, but an expensive one.
Luxury Runner-Up: Corbeau Revenge X Racing Seat
The Revenge X is an high-quality seat with an equally high price-point. That being said, if you’re looking to customise everything about your seat, there’s plenty to play around here.
Let’s start by talking about the things that can’t be changed. Well, there’s not a lot really. The seat is designed to envelop you with its deep lateral side supports, it looks wonderful, and it’s built to resist even the most difficult real life racing situations.
Now, on to what you can change. The basics are obviously the colour of the seat cushions and adding some embroidery (including logos). The real interesting factor comes from the fact that you can choose what material the seat is made from between a GRP/Kevlar compound, a Kevlar/Carbon compound and purely carbon. You can choose whether the seat should be standard size or XL. You can add inflatable lumbar support and side bolster protectors. Obviously these come at a cost, but if you’re in the mood to get a seat that is unique to you in every way, then the Corbeau Revenge X is what you’re looking for.
Best Gaming Chair: RESPAWN 200
This gaming chair is versatile, ergonomic, comfortable and will have all but the most exigent sim racers satisfied.
Let’s start by saying that if you’re looking for a chair only for sim racing you’ve come too far down. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a comfy chair you can use while playing video games generally which will couple well as a racing chair then read on!
The RESPAWN 200 Racing Style Gaming Chair is made from an ergonomic steel tube frame construction and has adjustable lumbar support and an adjustable headrest pillow. The backrest is made from a highly-breathable mesh which will keep you comfortable and cool. The chair itself is also highly adjustable, from the 130° reclining control with infinite angle lock, to the height and depth adjustable armrests.
Best Office Chair: Staples Hyken
Technically not as much a gaming chair as an office chair, but it works so much better than expected that it has to be included in our list.
The Staples Hyken Technical Mesh Task Chair is likely not what comes to mind when you think “racing simulators”, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but try to keep an open mind.
The chair is made from faux leather, mesh and commercial-grade fabric upholstery. All these are incredibly resistant to wear, and the mesh back will have you sitting comfortably and with a high amount of breathability. It perhaps lacks the lumbar support that other seats on this list have, but the design of the chair is such that you’re usually sitting in such a way that you will feel and remain comfortable for hours.
The chair is also highly adjustable. The tilt tension and tilt lock let you find an ideal seating angle, and height adjustment options make it easy to find the proper configuration. This is coupled with both armrests being adjustable in height too.
It should be noted that if you are above 6ft (180cm) the head cushion might be a bit too low for you.
What to Consider When Buying Seats for Racing Simulators
There are broadly two types of chairs that you can consider when making a purchase: bucket chairs and gaming seats. The latter is self-explanatory- these are chairs that are typically very comfortable and ergonomic, and are suitable for a wide variety of games. Bucket chairs on the other hand are chairs made especially for racing and racing simulators. You’ll likely need a rig to equip them in, but they provide better stability, realism, and are made specifically for what you’re looking to buy.
Ergonomics is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind before purchasing any racing sim chair. If you’re going to be seated for hours, it’s important that the seat is not only comfortable, but allows and encourages good posture and minimizes fatigue. Design is thus not purely aesthetical, but practical, as it will help avoid any injuries and play for longer.
You don’t want your chair to only be comfortable, but also last a long amount of time and be able to take punishment as you drive around the track. It’s for this reason that build quality is of high importance. The chair should be made to last, to be comfortable, and finally to maintain its structural and ergonomic integrity for as long as possible.