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How to Choose a Recliner: Step-by-Step Guide

Donald Murphy
Donald Murphy
Senior Editor
Donald is one of the editors for ReclinerHub and has been with the company since its inception. He's always on the lookout for new products to review and provide insights in read more
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Catherine Nelson
Catherine Nelson
Catherine is the head of technical staff at ReclinerHub and is responsible for maintaining the website's functionality. She takes pride in making sure that her customers hav read more
Last updated: December 28, 2022
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With today’s marketplace becoming crowded with tons of products, it can be hard to know how to choose a recliner chair. There are many different types of recliners, so you’ll need the type that works best for your comfort and for your room. You’ll need to decide whether you are looking for the best price value or if you want extra features.

The style of a recliner is more important than some individuals think because it needs to match the rest of your room. Not only that, but it will need to fit well into your surroundings physically as well. Most recliners today are built to withstand a fair amount of weight capacity, but it may be a buying factor as well.

You need to be confident that whoever manufactures your recliner is a well-respected brand known for making quality furniture because buying a recliner is a fairly major investment.

With this guide, you’re going to find out exactly what to search for, and you will have a better understanding of the purchase that you are looking to make.

What to look for in a recliner

How to Choose a Recliner: Step-by-Step Guide

There are a few main factors to look for when purchasing a new recliner. The first thing you should think about is the size of the recliner, and it needs to fit in the space you have available to place the item. Once you’ve considered the size of the recliner that you need, the next concerns would be comfort and durability. You do not want to buy a cheap item that is going to wear out quickly and make you repeat the whole process over again shortly. On top of that, this is a piece of furniture that you may spend a lot of time in over the course of the next few years – it should be comfortable to sit in for you specifically.

Types of recliners

There may be more types of recliners than you’re aware of. Let’s take a look at the different kinds:

Two-position recliner

This is usually the most affordable model of recliner and is generally pretty simple too. Your recliner can go to one of two positions: upright or reclined. If you are a bit more sensitive, you may not love this model because you need more angles.

The rocker

This is a modification of the two positions that also allows you to “rock” back and forth when sitting upright. That adds a bit of comfort and are popular among new parents.

Push back recliner

This recliner doesn’t have a lever, and you simply push the chair back to recline. There is no footrest included, but you can add an ottoman if desired.

Power lift recliner

This is a recliner that is best used by those who have some mobility issues. Don’t let that stop you from being comfortable in your living room, as the recliner will help give you some lift so you can get out of the chair easily. This is great for anyone who is injured or those with long-term disabilities. The functionality will be the best way to decide how to choose a lift recliner.

The wall-saver

This is a great kind of recliner if you don’t have a lot of space in your room. They can be placed as close to 6 inches of space from the wall and will still be fully functional. One downside is that you will probably pay a bit more for that luxury, but if you don’t have much space, it’s a great idea.

Extra features

When buying a major piece of furniture like a recliner, it’s great to buy one of the nicest models. These are some examples of “extra perks” you may get with your recliner.

Rocker / Glider

Having a base that allows your chair to rock is great for new parents.


With the push of a button, you could be receiving a relaxing vibrating massage from the comfiest chair in your room. This is really great for those who have a lot of stress from working hard.

USB charger

This is a modern feature that allows you to charge your phone or any other USB device through your recliner. This is a big win for those spaces that may not have a power outlet nearby because you won’t have to climb behind your recliner every time you need power.

Swivel base

This is a nice feature for those who are thinking about putting a recliner in family rooms. Having a swivel base allows you to face any direction so you’ll never be left out of those group conversations, or have neck pain from craning your neck. This works best in larger spaces.

Style (Overall Design)

How to Choose a Recliner: Step-by-Step Guide

Something that many homeowners miss when buying a recliner is considering their style needs. Because a recliner may be a purchase that comes later when furnishing a room, you need to consider how it will change the look and feel of your room.

While this may not as big of a concern for some, it still does matter for the feel of most rooms. You’ll have to think about color designs and how your chair fits into the rest of the furniture. If you are buying a recliner first, you may want to stick to neutral colors and tones so that you have a chair that can match almost any surroundings.

If you are looking for a recliner that looks a bit better than all of the others, you may consider buying a high-leg recliner as they are a very stylish option and hide the mechanisms that may be showing on other recliner options.


The size of a recliner is a “big” deal. If possible, you should sit in the recliner to make sure your body fits into the contours of the recliner. However, you may be able to accomplish the same research by looking up the dimensions of the individual recliner you are interested in.

It would be ideal for your feet to touch the floor while sitting comfortably in the chair, as well as your head fitting comfortably in the headrest or the area where your head is designed to be. On top of the actual sitting aspect, the size of the chair matters for the surrounding area in your room as well. Remember, your chair may have multiple positions and make take up different amounts of space depending on how you’re using it.

Just because a recliner “fits” in a room, doesn’t mean that you will necessarily like the fit. Make sure you think about how this will affect sightlines, among other factors for people who are also sitting in the room. This would change how you choose a recliner loveseat, for example.

A recliner that overpowers the rest of the furniture that you have will not be a happy fit regardless of if you can squeeze the chair between your four walls.

Weight capacity

Most recliners are designed to be able to work with the most amount of people as possible – that is to say that it is designed for an “average” body mass and height. One great option for those who are concerned about the weight capacity of their recliner is buying a “Big & Tall” recliner, which is designed to either give you more space or to hold more weight comfortably than a regular recliner would be.

If possible, you should test the recliner to make sure that it feels comfortable under any stress, but if shopping online, you should be able to check the manufacturer’s recommendations and specifications.


When it comes to the upholstery of your recliner, there is no one right answer. It is more a question of personal preference. Many people prefer the feel of natural fabrics. These would be things like cotton or microfiber. While this can be a good choice for those who are interested in the material, there are a few applications where leather may be a better choice.

For those with pets, leather is a great buying choice. A leather recliner is able to be cleaned easily, and the dreaded hair removal process is much easier with leather as well. On top of that, you won’t have any nasty odors sticking to your chair if you do choose leather. Your leather recliner may be vulnerable to showing some scratch marks if your animals are not trained to stay away from the new chair.

How to Choose a Recliner: Step-by-Step Guide

When buying leather, the actual material of the furniture is a great way to decide how to choose a leather recliner sofa. When buying leather, grain leather is the top of the line when it comes to choosing a leather recliner. It is the most durable material to use and will resist any type of scratches the best out of any leather.

The leather match is also a nice type of leather to use. It is cheaper than grain leather and gives you most of the benefits that you got in that higher price range. It will damage more easily than grain leather, however.

Bonded leather is the least durable of the three leather types. It is the most affordable, but it doesn’t have quite the quality that the other two have.


When thinking about the purpose of your recliner, you should be able to narrow down your options quite easily.

The first question you should ask if you are buying a recliner that needs to fit into the distinct style or spacing of a room. If you are limited to buying a recliner that can only be a certain size, it won’t matter what you want if most options are too big.

On top of that, you need to make a decision about the use of this chair. How much time will you or your loved ones be spending in the chair? That may help you decide if you need to spend more money to get a chair that has some sweet upgrades like USB chargers or even massage options.

Who will be in the chair most often? That question may help you decide between different sizes and who is most comfortable with the actual fit of the chair. This would help you choose a Lazy Boy recliner, for example.

Along with those issues, you may want to think about your living space and how long you will be there when deciding on a budget for your recliner. Is this a long-term purchase, or is this a buy that you are making simply out of need? You may not want to spend as much money if you are considering leaving in the very near future. On the flip side, you may want to spend more if you will be there for years.

How can you check if the chosen recliner is well-made?

Buying a recliner that is well-made can help you make a purchase that rewards you for years to come. Typically, it is a good idea to research the manufacturer and see how long they’ve been in business and what kind of reputation they have.

Whether you need to know how to choose a recliner for sciatica pain or how to choose a power recliner, you should always consider the reputation of the brand.

You should research the materials that the recliner is made from. Buying a recliner that is made from grain leather may give you a much better return on investment for a chair that you are hoping to own for a long time.

You can also look at reviews for individual models from previous owners who have bought the model you are looking at. Looking at customer reviews and testimonials is an important part of the buying decision because they may have brought up something that you didn’t think of.

Additionally, you should think about the wear and tear that the recliner will face when placed in your home. Are there pets or children that may be rough on the recliner? This can affect how much you may want to spend or what design you should get.

In conclusion

Now that you have read our guide, you should know how to choose a comfortable recliner. Not only will your recliner be comfortable to those sitting in the chair, but it will also fit naturally in the room because you know to look for style and to think about the sizing when it comes to your new chair and the rest of the furniture in your room.

You should be able to decide effectively between a recliner that is made from natural fabrics or leather products. In your mind, you should also know if you are looking for a more “budget-friendly” option or whether you are looking for a major piece of furniture that will stay in your house for years to come. Whether you’re buying a swivel base recliner or a massage option that will relax you every day; you are now equipped to find the recliner that is perfect for you.

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