Comfortable during long sessions
Uses lower quality materials
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About the Cooler Master Caliber R1
- Price: Starts at $200
- Weight: 47 pounds
- Upholstery: Breathable polyurethane fabric
- Colors: Purple, red, blue, or white accents on black
- Armrests: 1D
- Frame construction: Alloy steel
- Wheelbase: Plastic
- Hydraulic gas piston: Class 4
- Casters: 6 cm (2.36 inch), 360-degree caster wheels
- Special features: Adjustable headrest and removable lumbar pillows, 180-degree adjustable back angle
- Warranty: The Cooler Master Caliber R1 and R1s line is protected by a 1-year warranty that assures it will be free from any manufacturing or component defects.
The Caliber R1 has adjustable height settings, armrests that move up and down, 180 degrees of recline, and tilting ability. For support, it includes removable neck and lumbar support pillows. The polyurethane fabric is smooth and breathable, and seems like it will stand up well enough to light and moderate wear and tear.
The Cooler Master Caliber R1s is functionally identical to the Caliber R1 with the exception of the decorative camo fabric options. We reviewed the CM Camo colorway.
What we like
Comfortable for long-term use
For as simple as the Cooler Master Caliber R1 is, it’s remarkably comfortable. The removable neck and lumbar pillows, which are my preferred form of back support, do their job very well in multiple positions.
The seat is wide enough for my hips while still cradling my medium-sized body. Cooler Master’s sizing chart suggests that the chair fits anyone between about 5 and 6 feet tall, and between 110 and 198 pounds, which, based on my size, I would believe.
The foam broke in to fit my shape in just about a day. After several days of multi-hour gaming sessions, I never experienced any back or leg discomfort. The air vents at shoulder height, paired with the soft, breathable polyurethane upholstery, keep my body cool. No sweaty back at the end of a long session.
It’s a perfectly fine chair to use all day at work and through the night afterwards.
Value in a straightforward, few-frills chair
There’s no question that you give up some features of the more expensive gaming chairs like the SecretLab Titan Evo 2022 or Razer Iskur when you pick one at half their price. However, the Caliber R1 does exactly what it’s supposed to do.
It’s comfortable, seems durable enough, and you don’t have to shell out $500 or more for the privilege of sitting in it. The features that are missing, like fully adjustable arms and no-effort tilting, while noticeable, aren’t necessarily deal breakers for a lot of people. This is meant to be a workable solution for a lower budget.
What we don’t like
The most noticeable missing feature of the chair is the multi-directional armrests. The armrests on the Caliber R1 only go up or down at the press of a button. If you’re so inclined, you can flip the chair over and push them in or out about an inch by loosening a pair of bolts, but that’s not an adjustment most people will make on the fly.
That’s all you can do. There is no tilting the armrests in or out or sliding forward and backward. Which, to be fair, is how most chairs work. However, once you’ve gotten used to the adjustability of a SecretLab Titan, for example, your elbows will miss having the armrests in exactly the right position.
The tilt takes too much effort
I’m a big tilter when working, much more than a recliner. The Caliber R1 does tilt, which is a great feature that not all chairs in this price point have. However, the tilt doesn’t work all that well. It requires you to actively push backwards with your legs, and then keep your legs engaged to remain tilted.
This is in contrast to chairs like the SecretLab Omega 2020, what I use at home, which allows you to tilt back by leaning, and then balance in that tilted position without constant pushing. The active pressure required to tilt the Caliber R1 takes the relaxation benefit out of the feature and, to me anyway, makes the tilt feature of this chair almost useless.
Should you buy the Cooler Master Caliber R1?
Yes, if you can sacrifice some features for a lower price
The Caliber R1 is a comfortable, solid chair at a great price, perfect for someone who doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles. It’s got all of the basic needs of a gaming chair covered, including adjustable height, deep recline, lumbar and neck support, and long-term comfort.
While it lacks some of the “nice-to-have” features of the higher-end gaming chairs on the market, it comes in at less than half the price of chairs like the SecretLab Titan Evo or the Razer iSkur. The Caliber R1 sits near the top of the list of comparably priced chairs like the $110 GTRacing Pro Series GT099 or the $250 Arozzi Milano, both in terms of comfort and value.
Of course, the true test of a chair is how it feels to you. Every body is different. So if you can, before simply taking my recommendation, I’d take a look at the retailer locator on the Cooler Master website, and find a store that has one of these chairs available to try out in person. Even if you do order online, however, I imagine that the Cooler Master Caliber R1 will be hard to beat for the price.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Jean Levasseur became a professional writer over a decade-long career in marketing, public relations, and technical writing. After leaving that career to stay home to care for his twin boys, Jean has continued to write in a variety of freelance roles, as well as teaching academic writing at a local university. When he's not reviewing tools or chasing toddlers around the house, he's also an avid fiction writer and a growing woodworker.
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