Design and Features
At first glance, the Ergo L doesn’t look much like a gaming chair at all. Except for the purple brand logo on the headrest, this chair would easily feel right at home in an office. The mix of mesh, faux leather, and mirrored aluminum lend it a classy look that feels much more “grown up” than the typical racing chair.
The differences are more than skin deep. Virtually every aspect of the Ergo L is designed with ergonomics and long-term durability in mind. Ergonomics: it’s a boring word, I know, but in the case of this chair, it means features — features that will keep you gaming in comfort for longer than your average gaming chair.
As a result, it really feels like the Ergo L is competing in a different weight class. In the gaming world, it’s closest competitors are the Vertagear Triigger 275 which is equally priced at $599.99 and the NeueChair at $549, each without the headrest Cooler Master includes. Looking to the wider world of high-end office chairs, it’s easy to see that it shares DNA with the likes of Herman Miller or X-Chair. A good ergonomic chair doesn’t come cheap, so though Cooler Master is topping the cost of most standard PC gaming seats, it’s currently one of the most competitively priced chairs of its kind.
The biggest difference you’ll find is that the Ergo L uses a high-tension mesh for its seat, and most of its backrest, instead of foam. The mesh is slightly elastic, allowing it to conform to your body and completely avoids the firmness that foam chairs usually ship with. There’s no break-in period where you’re stuck waiting for the foam to soften – Cooler Master’s MuscleFlex mesh is ready to go, right out of the box. It’s also much more breathable than foam and helped me keep cool, even in my upstairs office.
Beyond the mesh, the chair is contoured to provide support and promote good posture. The backrest is formed to match the natural curve of your spine and features an adjustable lumbar support to align it perfectly to your back. The headrest is also curved to make contact with your neck without forcing your head forward like the usual strap-on pillows that come bundled with racing chairs. The seat also has a waterfall edge so it won’t cut off your circulation and force you to move into an unhealthy position.
The other big difference here is the multiple adjustments it offers. The chair features a Class 4 gas lift rated for users up to 440 lbs and 3.3 inches of height adjustment. The seat itself is depth adjustable, so you can adjust the angle that your back meets the lumbar support. From there, you can move that lumbar support up or down to dial in exactly the contour you need. The headrest can also be set for height and angle to match what’s most comfortable for your neck. The armrests are oddly limited, though, and only adjust for height and depth.
Along the side of the chair, you’ll also find a knob to adjust the rocking tension and a lever to lock it into position. Unlike a normal gaming chair, this doesn’t allow you to recline back into a full laying position. I was able to lean back and get comfortable with my feet up with no problem, but napping may be out of the question. Still, I found the chair to be flexible enough to keep me comfortable whether I was working, PC gaming, or kicking back watching a movie, which is what any good gaming chair needs to do.
Assembly and Build Quality
Unlike the Vertagear Triigger and NeueChair, the Ergo L comes completely disassembled. Putting the chair together isn’t difficult, but it definitely takes more work than either of its competitors. While those other chairs come with the entire top half of the chair fully assembled, this one demands a process very similar to a normal racing chair: everything needs to be positioned and screwed into place. The only improvement is the tilt base, which is mechanically more complicated and is understandably pre-installed.
The entire process took me about twenty minutes following each step of the guide. I didn’t find it necessary to have a second set of hands, but the chair is quite heavy (61 pounds, fully assembled), so I’d suggest having someone nearby just in case. Cooler Master provides all of the hardware you need, but the included wrench is pretty cumbersome, so I swapped it out for some of my own tools.
The plus side to needing to assemble everything by hand is that it gave me a chance to appreciate how heavy duty the chair is. The aluminum frame is thick, heavy, and rock solid. The mirror finish also looks fantastic, and I love how it supports the back in a narrow “X.” It makes for a wonderful visual contrast and a premium look.
The aluminum wheel base follows the design and is wonderfully heavy and solid. By contrast, the casters feel lightweight and too plasticky. They’re large, at 75mm, which is a nice touch for the overall height of the chair but are otherwise unremarkable.
What I found much more interesting was the mix of mesh and faux leather. The trim gives the chair a unique look that is very stylish. Unfortunately, Cooler Master seems to have put form over function with the backrest, running a leather strip straight down the center where it meets your back, diminishing the effect of the mesh. They’ve mitigated this with micro-perforations and using only very thin foam, but I would much rather have just seen a full mesh back.
Thankfully, a thin strip of leather doesn’t stop the Ergo L from being a great gaming chair. Having used similar seats in the past, I knew what to expect going in and was ready to climb the “ergo chair” learning curve. If you’ve never used a chair like this before, be prepared to do a lot of adjusting on your first day as you figure out what feels best for your body.
Cooler Master’s mesh is a real winner in terms of comfort, though I can’t say how it will hold up in the long-term. It offered enough flex to conform to my body to offer immediate support, right out of the box. The lack of break in period was very nice, especially coming from my Secret Lab Titan XL’s firm cold cure foam. Still, I wish the company was more generous with their warranty to reinforce that the mesh will stay as good years into the future. With companies like Vertagear and NeueChair offering 10 and 12-year warranties on their ergo chairs, Cooler Master’s 2-year guarantee feels a bit short, especially at this price.
I tend to spend my days writing with bursts of gaming mixed in. That means I need a chair I can quickly switch positions in; one that will promote good posture so I’m not hunching over my keyboard but that will also let me adopt a lazier posture when it’s time to relax. The flexibility of the Ergo L allowed me to find a comfortable fit no matter what I wanted to do. The soft armrests also saved me from the sore elbows when gaming with a controller.
The adaptability of the chair is one of its high points, but it’s not without shortcomings. The lumbar support is difficult to adjust with how it’s set into the back of the chair, and adjusting the seat depth without getting up from the chair is awkward. Trying to scoot the seat in or out while holding the armrests had a nasty tendency to make them slip to the end of their track. Thankfully, I didn’t find the need to adjust these unless I was tilting back into a full recline, which I usually don’t do at my PC.
With the warm and humid weather throughout my test period, I was thankful for the breathability the mesh provided. There’s no question: the Ergo L is absolutely a better fit than a foam-lined chair for warm weather. That said, the faux leather did make my back begin to sweat slightly, whereas I didn’t have that issue at all with the full mesh chair I tested against. I didn’t have the same issue with the headrest, but if the back of your neck tends to sweat, it’s not going to help matters, especially since the micro-perforations are to the sides of where your head will actually touch.
These issues aside, I was generally very happy with the Ergo L. Even with the odd concessions to style, it was one of the most comfortable gaming chairs I’ve ever used. Most importantly, after 6 to 8 hours at the PC, I never suffered the telltale back ache when finally getting up at the end of the day. The added support and adjustability made a fundamental difference, both in promoting good posture and adapting to my body.