How to Buy a Recliner

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Recliners have long been associated with comfort. On the long-running show Frasier, Martin refused to part with his old recliner which had become, in a sense, a good friend. Even those skeptical of motion furniture often fall in love with recliners on their first sit. 

You may not think of recliners as modern, but today’s recliners offer a surprising variety of new features and a range of styles from classic to elegant to contemporary. More than just a chair, there are a few things to consider when choosing a recliner. Get the scoop with this recliner-buying guide. 

Types of Recliners

Recliners are all about bells and whistles. Sit back and put your feet up. Rock the day away. Get a boost with a lift chair. These days, you can even get a massage from a recliner, or keep cold beverages close at hand with a built-in cooler feature. Here are some of the various options when choosing a recliner. 

Standard Recliner

There are a variety of standard recliners. Traditionally standard recliners offer a moveable back that reclines when you push against it and a footrest that extends via a lever on the side of the chair.

Power Recliner
If you or a loved one has mobility issues, or if you just want the ultimate in effortless relaxation, you may want to consider a power recliner. Power recliners are electric. They plug into an outlet and extend or recline at the touch of a button.  

Rocking or Glider Recliner
The gentle movement of a rocking chair with the plush comfort of a recliner? Sign us up! Rocker recliners are a popular option for both the living room and the nursery.  

Wall-saving Recliner
Recliners are abundant in comfort, and often times, size. If you’re short on space, consider a wall recliner that requires only six inches between the wall and the frame.

Lift Chair
If you find it difficult to rise from a seated position, you may want to consider a lift chair. Lift chairs are equipped with a powered lifting mechanism that pushes the chair up from its base to support the user in rising. 

Massage Recliner
When it comes to massage recliners, the only question is: Why wouldn’t you purchase one? These recliners are equipped with mechanical massage features that help relieve aches and pains. 

Large Recliners
Chair-and-a-half recliners, wide recliners, or (our favorite term) big man recliners—whatever you call them, oversized recliners are the ultimate in comfort. Whether you really are a big man or you’re a smaller person, you’ll love curling up or stretching out in a bigger, plusher version of the classic, American recliner.

Reclining Furniture
There’s no need to fight over the recliner. The entire family can enjoy lounging with 
reclining sofas that offer everyone the coziest spot in the house.    


Shopping for a Recliner

Prepare to have fun if you’re shopping for a new recliner. Your main task is to sit back, relax, and find out what makes you most comfortable. But there are still a few things to consider.  

1. Less expensive models may skimp on parts—never a good thing when it comes to motion furniture. Work within your budget, but be sure to inspect the product thoroughly prior to purchase. Screws should be heavy, motors quiet, and levers easy to maneuver. The frame should ideally be made of hardwood, but plywood offers a sturdy affordable option.

2. Recliners can be a cozy, yet dangerous piece of furniture for kids and pets. Make sure the gap between the seat and the open leg rest does not exceed five inches to ensure kids and pets don’t get stuck.

3. When testing recliners, be sure to sit in them for a full five minutes. Your feet should touch the floor when the seat back is upright. The headrest should support your head and neck and the cushioning should be thick—look for a foam density rating of 1.9 or higher.

4. Recliners come in a variety of upholstery options, including leather and fabric. Read our leather and fabric material guides for more information on how to make the right choice for your lifestyle.

5. Be sure you understand the product warranty and that you purchase your recliner from a reputable company like Slumberland that offers guarantees.