Recliner Buying Guide

A good recliner lets you relax with a favourite book or movie, and can also help ailing back muscles. This recliner buying guide will help you choose the best seat in the house.

Recliners 101

At the end of a tiring day, you look forward to relaxing in a comfy chair: one that's pillow-soft but offers support in all the right places. A recliner allows you to tilt backward, rock to-and-fro, swivel left and right, or raise your feet for the ultimate in personal comfort. Just kick back on the thick cushions and adjust the controls to create your very own custom experience. Recliners come in a full range of contemporary styles, coverings and sizes to fit any room decor and body size or shape. Some models are also equipped with heaters and massagers to provide sweet relief from the day’s aches and pains. 

Recliner Buying Tips:

• Be sure the recliner is sized correctly for the chosen room
• Ensure you have enough clearance for the recliner to perform your desired functions (swivel, tilt etc.)
• Choose a recliner suited to your body height, frame and weight
• Prioritize your desired functions before you begin shopping
• A classic style in a neutral colour is adaptable to changing home decor

Recliner Features

Power vs. Manual +

A power recliner uses a motor, or series of motors, to adjust the chair into various positions. A manual recliner uses a release lever and the weight and motion of your body. Power recliners are recommended for people with physical challenges, and who may have difficulty standing up from a sitting position. From a comfort standpoint, power recliners usually have many more positions too. Some models allow the headrest and footrest to be positioned separately. The seat may also tilt forward to help you stand up. Manual recliners are usually less expensive than power recliners, and operate with a simple mechanism that is not as likely to need maintenance or repairs. The headrest and footrest move together, and there are a limited number of positions.

Recliner Upholstery +

Choose a quality covering that can stand up to wear. Genuine leather is durable, has classic good looks and is easy to clean. Leather-like substitutes lack the same superior qualities but are more affordable. Modern leather recliners come in contemporary styles and almost unlimited colours to match your decor. A wool/synthetic blend is durable and easy to clean. Microfibre is resilient and easily treated with anti-stain and water-repellent chemicals. You’re also more likely to find a colourful print in a synthetic fabric. Upholstery should be overstuffed with polyurethane foam.

Recliner Frames +

What you can’t see can hurt your long-term furniture investment. The frame on your recliner supports your weight and absorbs the stress of moving parts, including the footrest and tilting action, so it has to be rugged. Frames should be constructed of steel and hardwood components. Beech, maple and birch are strong woods that should endure years of usage. The bolts and screws must also be strong enough to withstand years of wear and tear without stripping or working loose. In general, higher-end recliners will feature better quality construction.

Recliner Sizes +

A recliner doesn’t have to be the elephant in the room. While some models feature oversized arms and backrests and occupy a large footprint, you can also get compact versions designed for apartments and condos. For smaller spaces, look for a recliner with zero or minimal clearance when fully opened. A loveseat recliner can be an ideal substitute for a small couch.

Recliner Chair Lifts +

If you have back pain, muscle strain or difficulty bending your knees, your quality of life could benefit from a recliner chair lift. A chairlift has a mechanical lift that helps you stand up from the chair. When built into a recliner, the chair also reclines into a comfortable sitting position. At the push of a button, your chair lift recliner will angle forward and up, so you can sit up with minimum strain or effort. Some models have a rising seat that lifts you to a higher angle instead of angling forward.

Recliner Foot Rests +

The foot rest should operate quietly and smoothly. Most recliners offer two manual methods of raising the foot rest. Either it folds out automatically when you press your back into the chair, or you pop it up by pulling a lever on the side of the recliner. Some higher-end recliners have electric-operated foot rests that raise and lower with the flick of a switch. Foot rests should be well cushioned to provide comfortable support for the backs of your legs.

Recliner Controls +

Multi-featured power recliners come equipped with a keyboard-style pad or remote control stick so you can operate each feature at a comfortable speed, temperature or intensity. For example, the recliner may have three temperature settings for the heater or several massage levels ranging from gentle to intense. You can also control the automatic chairlift and the foot rest or adjust the height and seating angle of your recliner at the touch of a button on your hand-held device. The controller typically stores out of sight in a side pocket or pouch.

Rockers vs. Gliders +

Unless a recliner is designed to be stationary, it either rocks or glides. If you’ve ever rocked, in a rocking chair, then you’re familiar with the movement of a rocker recliner. This type of recliner is built on a curved base and gently swings back and forth. A glider recliner moves back and forth in a straight line. Some also swivel 360 degrees. It’s simply a matter of preference which style you choose, though glider recliners do tend to be a bit pricier. They’realso popular with new moms for nursing or rocking baby gently to sleep.

Recliner Ergonomics +

Some manufacturers promote the ergonomic design of their recliners for relief of health problems such as chronic back or sore joints. Ergonomic features include specially designed cushions and padding that support specific body parts. A zero-gravity recliner tilts backward until your feet are above your head like an astronaut being launched in a spacecraft. You don’t experience actual weightlessness but get the relaxing sensation of being suspended in space. The extreme position can also improve circulation if you suffer from swelling in the ankles or feet.

Recliner Sectionals +

A recliner sectional is one of the most luxurious pieces of furniture you can add to your home. It’s also a good solution for homes that lack the space for both a recliner and a sofa. Some models feature two recliners in the center, often with a small table or console between them. Others may position one recliner at the end, or one at each end. For the ultimate in comfort, look for a sectional with a reclining chaise lounge.

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Recliner Maintenance Tips:

• Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning and maintaining your recliner
• Vacuum fabric recliners once a week
• Occasionally wipe down leather recliners with a safe leather care product or damp cloth
• Remove and plump detachable cushions to restore shape
• Apply lubricant to springs and squeaky metal parts
• Store power controls out of sight of young children and keep cords tidy
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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