Ah, the chair. Such a simple and unassuming thing has such power to make or break you, both literally and figuratively. For those who work in an office all day long sitting in an office chair, you know what I mean. A long day at work can easily end with horrifying back pain, which could then lead to permanent issues down the line. Gamers, you know what I’m talking about as well. Long sessions on the computer playing LoL can easily get painful when your lower back and butt gets sore.
It’s not just cheap chairs that are the culprit; even fairly pricey ones often don’t offer the correct support and materials. I’ve been using an office chair that was purchased off Amazon for years now, and it was easily over $300 when I bought it. It was comfy for short stretches, but after an hour or so of writing or gaming, I had to get up and move around. Add to the fact that I have two young children to chase around, and it’s easy to see that my back took a beating on a daily basis. I’m also coming from a previous back injury, so the situation all around was just bad. It seemed if I wanted a chair that wouldn’t cripple me, I was fated to spend nearly $1000 on an Aeron chair or something similar.
Other than daily comfort, another reason why I was in the market for a new chair was because I’m a pretty devoted sim racer, and I have yet to find any chair that I can use comfortably when playing with my wheel setup in front of the TV or computer. My old office chair was painful, folding chairs were even worse (and much too low), and my dining room chairs were hard and angled weird. It’s a ton of fun to play iRacing with a wheel and pedals, but what’s the point when everything starts hurting after 30 minutes? Because of this, I found myself often choosing the controller over setting up my wheel. It was simply easier to plop down on the couch with a controller, and I wasn’t begging for mercy after an hour.
Being a member of many a sim racing forum has led me to DXRacer, a company that specializes in all sorts of gaming chairs. Whether you’re looking for a work chair for your office, something to play hours of Divinity: Original Sin in, a comfy chair for kicking back and playing hours of Destiny, or something to complete your sim racing cockpit, chances are DXRacer will have you covered. They even have a sim racing cockpit that you can buy piece by piece.
I was provided with an Iron Series SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) Chair to review, and after about 2 weeks of daily use, my back is so extremely thankful. This chair is tremendously comfortable. It’s the chair I have been looking for since I started writing. Hell, it’s the chair I have been looking for since I started seriously gaming on my PC. This chair will save me from future issues with my back (at least ones that stem from a poor chair).
Too hyperbolic? Trust me, that isn’t the case here. True, I don’t really have anything to compare it with as far as ultra high end chairs go (like the Aeron), but I have a ton of other chairs I can compare it to. Every chair I have ever used at every job I have held now has to explain themselves to me why they were so harsh on my back. My previous chair, the $300+ Amazon one, is now also getting dirty looks from me. Why? Why is is so hard to make a chair that doesn’t destroy my body? Why did it take this long for me to find something that actually felt nice to sit in?
All moaning aside, the Iron Series is the benchmark of comfort. Not only has it become my daily driver in terms of work, but my PC gaming sessions are now 10xs more comfortable, and I am more than happy to roll it into the living room to use with my racing wheel. In fact, if you look at the design of the chair back itself, it more than resembles the shape of a Recaro racing seat. Other than the fact that it has wheels underneath and rolls around, it pretty much makes me feel like a badass racer when I play Project CARS or something similar. The Iron Series also has more defined wings along the seat and back in the SOHO series, to further “lock” your body in place and prevent it from shifting around.
But enough gushing. Let’s talk about what makes the Iron Series tick. Before you ever set your hands (or butt) on the chair, it has already passed 72 strict quality tests. In fact, DXRacer is so confident in their product that the Iron Series has a two year warranty on it. I’ve had chairs completely break down in less than two years, so I’m sitting pretty comfortably knowing that I have some backup in case something goes awry. The hydraulic unit that raises and lowers the chair is imported from Germany and has passed SGS and other international standards. A Walmart chair this ain’t.
The meat and bones of this chair is the ability to adjust pretty much anything. Most chairs give you the ability to adjust the height, recline position, and height of the armrest. The Iron Series can do all those things and much more. First off, you can adjust the height via the hydraulic lift. I’m six feet tall and the highest setting was just slightly too tall, as my toes were dangling and barely brushing the floor. The lowest setting was very comfortable, which is saying something because I have used many a chair where the lowest setting made me feel like I was sitting on the ground and had to reach up to access my desk. Here, my desk ended up just shy of chest high, which still made things around me useable. I like to be high up when I’m sitting, so I bought a footrest and jacked that chair to its full height.
You can recline the Iron Series just like any other chair, but the mechanism works a bit differently. Here you get a release lever on the side of the seat, much like one that you would find in a car. You can go from straight up and down all the way back to 170 degrees where you’re essentially laying down flat. It reminds me of those first class plane seats that recline all the way back to allow the traveler to sleep. As a matter of fact, whenever I got tired or simply needed a minute, I would lay back and take a quick snooze. It’s actually surprising how comfortable the fully reclined position is, especially since it looks rather awkward to the random bystander. It looks like you’re laying on some medieval torture rack, but I have on more than one occasion had my back cracked while reclining (in a good way). In addition to being able to recline, the entire seat base angle can be adjusted as well up to 12 degrees. If you choose to leave that adjustment lever loose, you have yourself a rocking chair. Pretty spiffy, right?
Being able to adjust the seat and recline angle is great, but the second most annoying thing about using chairs is the arm rests. Far too often have I used chairs that a) did not have armrests, or b) had armrest that did not fit my height. Being able to adjust the height of the armrests is pretty much a necessity in my book, but DXRacer has gone one step further. In addition to being able to set the height, the armrests can also be adjust forward and back and from side to side. The forward and back is awesome because I like to have my mouse hand right up against the desk, while my left arm rests at a slight angle to the side and behind me. With the front/back sliding adjustment, I can now achieve this. The side to side adjustment was something I never thought I would need, but it turns out that this additional layer of adjustment adds so much more to the overall comfort of the experience. Being able to adjust how close to your body the arms are is a godsend. I can’t tell you how many chairs I have used where the fixed position of the arms made me feel like i was being squished from both sides. Now I can have my arms resting comfortably to the sides instead of being crammed up close to me, which in turn allows me to relax my shoulders and neck.
The entire chair itself can support up to 400 lbs max of weight and rests on a 27 inch, five legged aluminum base using universal 3” casters. Each leg has an aluminum plate on the top side with the color of the chair you pick; in my case, I had five blue legs. Speaking of the blue, the entire chair is extremely catchy, as it is encased in a matte, imported PU leather with blue accents along the top and sides. Looking at the chair, it’s clear that quality and comfort were of the utmost importance as the entire unit just looks sturdy. Pressing down on the seat or the back will reveal that the Iron Series is not filled with some cheap, pillow-like foam. The whole chair is stuffed with a thick, high density foam that both molds to your body and also provides just enough “sponginess” to be comfy. If you ever get a chance to check out one of these chairs, give the seat a squeeze. The same high density foam extends through the back as well, where the sturdiness is further reinforced by a series of thick elastic bands that run horizontally across the inside. All in all, just looking at the Iron Series should make it very clear that this chair is made of top quality materials.
Rounding out the features of the Iron Series are the included lumbar pillow and head cushion. The head cushion sits at a perfect height to provide some much needed neck support when I’m working long hours, and since I have a bad back, I shouldn’t have to say how important the lumbar pillow is. It comes with a strap and a clasp, which loops through the back cushion, allowing the pillow to be used and/or adjust while being fixed in place. The same goes for the headrest cushion, which comes with an elastic band that loops around the top of the chair (at least that’s how I’m using it). Both supports are imperative when putting in long hours in the chair.
At $449 for the model I was provided, the Iron Series certainly isn’t cheap, but you get more than what you pay for. Consider the fact that my previous chair was $300+ dollars and doesn’t even come remotely close to the comfort and quality of the Iron Series. I would even go so far as to say the lesser quality of my previous chair is one of the main reasons why my back issues never got any better, despite physical therapy and regular chiro visits.
While $449 may seem like a hefty sum to pay, if you put in long hours in a chair, whether it’s for work or gaming, you owe it to yourself to get something that’s comfortable and has excellent support. The DXRacer Iron Series offers all of that with a snazzy look to boot. And consider this: it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than the industry leading Aeron chair, which starts at $729 BEFORE upgrading to adjustable armrests and an adjustable lumbar support. And it doesn’t look half as snazzy as the Iron Series. A quick search for other top tier chairs reveals similar pricing: the Knoll ReGeneration ($600+), the Allsteel Acuity ($1,450), the Steelcase Leap ($755), and the “affordable” Herman Miller chair, the Sayl ($459). You’re getting a tremendous value with the Iron Series.