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What Is The Average Cost Of A Sim Racing Seat?

Sim racing is truly an e-sport that demands excellence and immersion, and therefore seats! And with an increase in popularity comes an increased range of products, making it difficult to know what prices are fair to pay and whether or not you are getting a good deal.

So, what is the average cost of a sim racing seat? Entry-level sim racing seats typically cost between $150 and $300, mid-range seats can be bought in the $300-$500 range, and premium seats and rigs go for $500 to $1000 and beyond.

In the rest of this article you can find out how far your money can go and see what type of quality you can get your hands on to go with you on your sim racing adventure, so keep reading!

Entry-Level Sim Racing Seats ($150-$300)

This is the first rung on our ladder, the dip-your-toe-in level. If you are unsure whether this is something you want to be spending a lot of time or money on, then this area is where you should be looking to make purchases.

Here are the typical features of an entry-level seat:

  • Weight capacity: 100-150kg (220-330lbs)
  • Adjustability: low/limited
  • Wheel/pedal stands: less likely to have them and/or lower quality
  • Seat size: small to average
  • Covering material: fabric or PU leather
  • Foam: sponge foam (lower quality)

For entry-level seats you can expect to pay between $150 and $300. Typically made from a cheaper fabric or synthetic leather, with frames made from steel alloys, they often sacrifice in a few areas to try and compete in others.

At entry level, it tends to be build-quality that suffers meaning issues with wobble, longevity or comfort often come up, but even for this price range you can get chairs that are of good value.

A lot of the seats nowadays will come with stands to attach any other accessories that you may already own or want to purchase, though this may be less-likely at the entry level. They are also often very light weight which means easy to move and store which in many cases is a huge plus.

The biggest issue when it comes to chairs at this level though is their lack of flexibility. Often stands can’t be moved, seats can’t be reclined or adjusted, and for racing sim gamers that are big and tall, driving position, wheel and pedal position (and overall driving comfort) can be really affected.

At this range, there are a lot of great-looking options as well. Designers know that offering a little customization when it comes to color or design makes the quality jump up and expect to have some options on that regard.

Mid-Range Sim Racing Seats ($300-$500)

Moving up into the mid-range category, you can expect to pay a little more but get a fair bit more for your money.

This is probably where most of the more well-known companies have their products and because of that the items tend to be of better value at this level. Typically, mid-range chairs will be at the $300 to $500 mark. This range is where you start to see brands such as GTR, Openwheeler and Playseat.

Here are the typical features of a mid-range sim racing seat:

  • Weight capacity: 100-150kg (220-330lbs)
  • Adjustability: complete
  • Wheel/pedal stands: should have them, good quality
  • Seat size: small to large
  • Covering material: fabric or PU leather
  • Foam: cold-cure foam

With that money you can expect much better-quality materials. Better fabric and normally faux leather are available with some companies giving you the choice. More padding and ergonomic designs mean the players often sit in greater comfort.

Frames are normally made with better quality steel and compared to the entry-level options, are easier to put together and last longer.

With regard to the comfort, most of these chairs come completely adjustable and can be changed to suit almost any player. Adjustable stands, retractable seats and ergonomic designs mean that players can adjust to whatever position suits them.

This also means less stress on the gamer’s body which is by far the most important point to make. You only get one body so making sure that you are comfortable, and not going to cause yourself any damage while sitting in an awkward position is a price worth paying if you are unsure whether anything at entry level will suit you.

Again, at this level expect even more options when it comes to design and customization. Huge ranges of colors, badges and even fabrics are available so if there is something specific you are after looks wise, then look no further than the mid-range level.

Premium Sim Racing Seats ($500-$1000+)

Finally, into the premium quality bracket where the sky really is the limit. Typically, you can expect to spend between $500 and $1000 but with the top of the range racing simulators then they can go into the tens of thousands.

You will still see offerings from the usual brands such as Playseat, GTR and Openwheeler. This category is also where specialised brands such as RSEAT and SimCraft operate.

Here are the typical features of a premium sim racing seat:

  • Weight capacity: 100-150kg (220-330lbs)
  • Adjustability: complete
  • Wheel/pedal stands: high-quality, often with a complete rig frame
  • Seat size: small to large
  • Covering material: real leather or race fabric
  • Foam: high-density cold-cure foam

Of course, with a premium price bracket comes better quality materials, typically leather or fabric that you would find in actual race cars. The frame will also be more likely to be made from steel or aluminium to offer greater durability.

Also like the mid-range level, expect to have complete adjustability with regards to driving position and specially designed foam and padding to make sure you can drive for long periods in complete comfort.

Expect some of the premium models to be electronically adjustable and have features that connect directly to your gaming experience. Meaning that you can feel the driving and the lumps and bumps of the track through your chair.

With all these extra features comes a greater weight which means that you may need a specific space in your home to accommodate these chairs because the practicality of these chairs is often lacking.

Complete customization is also within this price range, whatever design or color you can think of, expect it to be available at a price.

Finding The Right Balance Between Price And Features

Generally, the sweet spot should be around the mid-range ($300-$500) price category, but if you are willing to put in the time in for research, then often lesser known brands can offer better value. They will try to separate themselves from the competition by offering a better product, but be wary because quality control isn’t the same as with the big boys, so can sometimes it fall short.

At the lower end of the price range, maybe Amazon might be a decent shout; it will likely be made-in-China brands, though that shouldn’t mean they should be dismissed outright. Also consider that at the entry level, there are often features missing to make up the price difference. So, try to figure out your must-haves, and work around those.

The mid-range level often has everything most players need to game in comfort and style, so if you are looking in this range there can be $100 differences in price with not so much difference in features.

Keep in mind that a lot of purpose-designed racing seats don’t translate well as practical working chairs, so if that is something you need to think about, maybe a different style of chair might suit.

Finally, if you search for a chair in the premium bracket, make sure you are getting value for your money. A lot of the most important features can be found at lower levels and the premium level offers improvements mostly in style and materials.

If you are looking to buy real simulators, then make sure you go and test them out for yourself. There are many events and conventions you can attend where you can go and give them a go.

Must-Haves On A Sim Racing Seat

When looking for your own racing seat what are the absolute essentials you should be looking for?

Number one and without compromise is adjustability. This goes into comfort as well. Adjustability means that you can change ride height and seat position as well as wheel height and pedal angle. It is hugely important to be comfortable when gaming not only to play consistently but to also make sure your back and neck are looked after, and will not be affected later on in your life.

Also take into consideration build quality. None of these chairs are super cheap, and to have something that will last longer than one Christmas cycle is really important. There is more value in buying something once for a larger price than one thing many times at a lower one.

Final Thoughts

When looking for your own sim racing seat, keep in mind your own circumstances: budget, space, amount of time you spend gaming etc.

There are a lot of options out there at many different price points, so there is no need to rush into a decision and buy the first product that you see. Also keep in mind that if you are looking to add to your set up with other accessories, then they will also cost you money so remember to budget accordingly for the extras.

Like I said in the introduction, we all love to game to try and get away from real life. However, real life must always be taken into consideration when we are going to invest in any gaming related product, so make sure you do your research and try to get the best product for your circumstances.