While comfort and ergonomics are design priorities for all chairs, recliners take both factors to another level. With their oversize plush cushions and ability to recline into one or more positions, they traditionally provide a comfortable place to relax. Modern recliners are built with an array of features that support key pressure points in the head, shoulders, lumbar area, knees, and feet, which helps alleviate muscle and joint pain.
Some recliners have motorized controls; others require you to manually control them; some massage; others rock; and many are available in various styles and fabrics to suit living spaces ranging from game rooms to formal living rooms.
Read on to find out what features you should consider when shopping for some of the best recliners and to learn why the following are some of the top recliners on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Leverett 18.50″ Manual Recliner
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Wingback Recliner Chair
- BEST MASSAGING: Lift Assist Standard Power Reclining Massage Chair
- BEST SWIVEL: Coello Swivel Reclining Glider
- BEST ROCKING: Cupps Manual Rocker Recliner
- BEST TWO-PERSON: Tuthill Double Gliding Reclining Loveseat
- BEST SPACE-SAVING: JUMMICO Fabric Recliner Chair Adjustable
- BEST FOR BACK PAIN: Hormall Single Recliner Chair
- BEST FOR SLEEPING: Fitzmaurice Power Lift Assist Recliner
- BEST FOR GAMING: VIT Gaming Recliner Chair Racing Style
Popular Types of Recliners
Today’s recliners come in various types to suit needs ranging from relaxation to therapeutic massage to playing video games. Read on to learn about the types of recliners on the market and what you should consider to ensure you choose the best recliner for your lifestyle.
Traditional recliners are large upholstered chairs with wide, thick seats and large, supportive backs. Many have coil-spring seat constructions and large padded armrests. Recliners are available in many upholstery choices including leather, microfiber, and microsuede. They include a built-in mechanism that allows the chair’s back to recline with a footrest that simultaneously rises.
In the past, traditional recliners were generally about 36 by 38 by 40 inches. The average weight was about 150 pounds. Some recliners are still that size, but you can now find recliners in a variety of sizes and weights.
A traditional recliner generally reclined to up to three positions: partially reclined, fully reclined, and upright. Some traditional recliners offer only a fully upright or fully reclined position. They either recline using a bar located on the lower right side of the chair or by using the push-pull method described below.
Power recliners have built-in motors. Unlike traditional recliners, which feature one or two recline positions and are sometimes manually controlled with a lever on the side, modern power recliners can stop at any position between fully upright and fully reclined. Power recliners allow you to control the reclining motion via a small control panel mounted on the chair’s side or with a corded remote control. Some power chairs allow you to adjust the headrest, back tilt, and footrest independently. Power recliners have dimensions similar to traditional recliners but are considerably heavier with a weight of around 100 pounds. They are also more expensive than traditional recliners.
Rocker recliner seats are generally set on a base that consists of two arch-shaped legs and a spring mechanism that allows the recliner to rock back and forth. They have similar dimensions to traditional recliners but they weigh about 60 to 80 pounds more. Their weight capacities are generally between 225 and 300 pounds. Like traditional recliners, rockers use hardwood frames with metal braces and steel reclining mechanisms to support the chair’s movements. Rocker recliners are popular with new parents who often use them to relax and rock infants.
The body of a swivel recliner is set on a round metal base that includes a swivel mechanism allowing users to rotate the chair, often a full 360 degrees. This enables the user to face a person—or screen—without straining their neck or back. Swivel recliners are excellent options for rooms with multiple focal points. They have similar dimensions to traditional recliners; however, the swivel mechanism may make them heavier.
Some traditional, swivel, rocker, and power recliners include massager features. Massagers have rollers inside the body of the chair that vibrate and knead your core, replicating the sensation from a massage. While some massage recliners focus entirely on one area of your back, others offer multiple zones that massage the upper back, lumbar area, thigh, and leg. Some models also include a heat function, which warms different parts of the seat to provide additional relief. Massagers allow you to control the massage intensity and massage type, which includes such options as wave and pulse.
Massagers generally use standard power cords to power the massage functions, which you control with a remote. Although massager recliners are similar in size to traditional recliners, the massager mechanism adds weight, making it heavier than a standard recliner at around 75 pounds.
Orthopedic recliners are designed to promote good posture when you sit in them. That takes pressure off your neck, back, and legs.
These ergonomic recliners come in different sizes to support your head, back, and legs, which removes pressure from the neck and spine, relieving pain. Orthopedic chairs come in various sizes that vary in height, depth, and width. Footrest sizes fit a wide variety of body sizes and types.
Orthopedic chairs use one or two motors to adjust the reclining features and footrests. While single motors recline the back and raise the footrest simultaneously, dual motors allow for independent control of each feature.
Like traditional recliners, orthopedic recliners come in various upholstery materials and styles to suit various décors. As with a standard power recliner, a control panel or remote control allows the user to control the chair’s settings.
Gaming––the term used to describe playing video games––entails hours of sitting in one place while using the computer. Such a position can put extra pressure on the back and neck. Since gamers must sit up to participate, this type of recliner features thicker headrests to take stress off the neck. These chairs are designed so the occupant sits straight up to create proper posture.
Gaming recliners are generally about 25 inches wide, notably narrower than traditional recliners. These recliners often feature sporty designs—black leather and bright accent colors dominate the look of gaming chairs with some mimicking a race-car driver’s seat or futuristic spaceship commander’s chair.
Two-person recliners come in two forms. Some sit side by side, with independent reclining controls, while others function as oversize recliners with wide seats and backs that fit two people.
Oversize recliners measure about 60 by 40 by 40 inches. Their size makes them difficult to recline manually, so this recliner style typically functions as a power recliner. They weigh substantially more––usually at least 50 percent more––than a traditional recliner.
Other two-person recliners feature two seats with independent recliners and footrests separated by a large padded armrest that doubles as a console with cup holders and storage for remotes. These behemoths have similar depths and heights as traditional recliners, can be up to 80 inches wide, and can weigh more than 200 pounds.
You don’t need to consider only the style of available recliners but many other variables including size, materials, weight, and controls. Those variables make all the difference when you shop for the best recliner for your lifestyle.
The general purpose of recliners is to provide comfortable seating, but there are many designed with other features. Some models offer ergonomic support, massage features, and even integrated heating pads. Others allow you to rock or sit up straight to enjoy online games.
Recliners are notorious space hogs. The average recliner, when reclined, is about 80 inches long from end to end. You will more thoroughly enjoy a recliner if it is placed in a space that allows it to fully recline. Most recliners need at least 12 inches of clearance behind them to recline and 24 inches in front of them to allow for the footrest extension, so consider that before you make a final decision.
Your small room can likely accommodate a space-saving recliner. These units, often called wall huggers, need only a few inches of clearance behind them to function properly. They often have the same dimensions as a traditional recliner. This type is set on a track that slides the seat forward when you recline, which means it needs less room behind it for you to fully recline.
Quality recliners generally have frames made of hardwood or thick plywood and use metal hardware and steel corners. This sturdy construction provides enough strength to endure the movement of the chair.
Recliners are often built with molded polyester padding for the backing and batting sheets to cover hard corners. Some recliners feature exposed accents made of stained hardwood. Most recliners have a weight capacity of between 300 and 400 pounds. Recliners constructed from chip wood are weaker and often won’t last as long as those crafted from hardwood or plywood.
Recliners are often upholstered in fabric, leather, microfiber, and microsuede upholstery. Leather offers the most durable option, while fabric, microsuede, and microfiber are softer and cozier. Some recliners feature high-performance fabric upholstery, which resists stains and wear.
You should carefully consider the support built into the recliner’s seat. Most use springs for support; however, more and more manufacturers use memory foam. That foam molds to your body, relieves pressure points that cause pain, and is generally more comfortable than spring support.
The recliner’s mechanical parts are often crafted from stamped steel to endure repeated operation.
While many models feature the traditional rolled-arm, leather-upholstery, and overstuffed-cushion look that has endured for decades, you can find a variety of styles now. In addition to leather, some feature high-performance materials that are breathable, easy to clean, and even waterproof, including polyurethane leather, stain-resistant polyester, microfiber, and microsuede.
You will find that classic recliners remain popular, but they include other styling including contemporary and mid-century modern.
Reclining positions vary between manual recliners and electric recliners. Manual recliners are limited by their mechanism, which typically offers one or two reclining positions and an upright position. This includes a mid-reclined position with the back tilted a few degrees backward and the footrest partially elevated. A full recline is when the backrest is nearly flat and the footrest at 90 degrees.
Manual recliners operate through a push/pull motion or a bar. You push an armrest or bar on the side of the recliner and lean back to recline. You return the recliner to an upright position by pulling your body forward and pushing down on the footrest.
Electric recliners, which are powered from standard 120-volt outlets, feature control buttons on the side or a handheld remote. You use those buttons or the remote to move from the full upright position to the chair’s fully reclined position.
You will find recliners with an array of features including massage functions, ergonomic support, rocking, and more. Others have built-in USB chargers for smartphones or other electronics, cupholders, and side pockets for remote controls, newspapers, and more.
Our Top Picks
Whether you’re looking for the best manual recliner or a power recliner with massage features, read on to review some of the best recliners available.
The Leverett manual recliner has a classic wingback style with a tufted backrest, rolled arms, turned stained hardwood feet, and neutral tones. Nail trim adds a distinctive style to the arms. With its mix of contemporary and traditional style, this model combines the comfort of a recliner with a sophisticated look suitable for a formal living room.
The Leverett features durable polyester upholstery and comes in five diverse colors, including wheat, charcoal, warm stone, orange, and plum, giving it maximum versatility. This sturdy recliner has a solid wood birch frame that has a 300-pound weight capacity. You can sit straight in the chair or partially recline. It’s made with polyurethane padding in the seat cushions and backrest for comfort. It measures 36 by 41.3 by 40 inches when closed and weighs 84 pounds. Its depth expands to just over 63 inches when fully reclined.
This classic and affordable leather-covered chair offers three reclining positions, including a flat position, making it an excellent option for lounging or napping. The construction includes a pillowed back, a firm foam seat cushion, and a hardwood frame. It can hold up to 275 pounds.
It’s upholstered with waterproof polyurethane leather and available in five color options ranging from black to blue, so it works well with many types of décor. The recliner and footrest work independently, allowing for a variety of positions. This model is a great option for smaller spaces at just 27 by 67 by 30 inches. It weighs 58 pounds.
This massaging recliner features four massage zones that target your thighs, lower legs, back, and lumbar areas. Five rhythm options, including pulse and wave modes, and two intensity levels. It also includes a heat function in the backrest. It’s covered in soft faux leather, has a thick back cushion, and sports a large headrest. This recliner features two reclining positions and a lift function that enables those with limited ability to easily get in and out of the seat by raising the user to a standing position. A backup battery operates the lift in case of a power outage. Additional features include cupholders and a side pocket for remotes and magazines. At 31.5 by 42 by 28 inches, this recliner offers a smaller profile than traditional recliners, making it a good option for tight spaces.
This recliner measures just 39 by 31 by 28 inches, making it a solid choice for smaller rooms. This recliner’s traditional look with clean lines and polyester upholstery in several linen color options (gray, navy, taupe, white) allows it to blend into many room styles. A reclining lever is hidden between the seat cushion in the right arm so as not to detract from its style. It features a comfortable but resilient foam seat cushion and a padded armrest. Its upholstery is durable polyester.
This chair offers a reclining position and upright position and can swivel 360 degrees. Its glide option allows the recliner to slide back and forth smoothly. It weighs 83 pounds and can hold up to 250 pounds.
This model is a solid option if you want a durable rocking recliner with a traditional look. The Cupps manual rocker features a quiet rocking mechanism, which makes it a good choice for nurseries or other rooms where quiet is important. Its reinforced hardwood frame provides durability to support its reclining and gliding movements. A pull between the seat cushion and the right side reclines the chair into two positions for relaxing or napping.
With its tufted seat back, clean lines, and neutral buff color, this recliner meshes with many décors. The seat cushion offers comfort and support with foam-filled seat and back cushions, a coil-spring seat, and large padded arms. A steel rocking mechanism allows for smooth and quiet rocking. This recliner measures 40 by 32.5 by 38.5 inches, which puts it on par with measurements of traditional recliners. It weighs about 88 pounds and can handle up to 250 pounds.
This reclining extra-wide love seat features two independent faux leather recliners separated by a large armrest. It measures 41 by 78 by 37 inches and has a weight capacity of 500 pounds.
Pillow-top arms and oversize cushions and headrest add comfort while the large center armrest features built-in cup holders and two storage compartments perfect for remote controls. Both recliners offer two reclining positions: a midlevel recline for watching the big game or a full recline for taking an afternoon nap. With its glide features, you can set this recliner just a few inches from the wall and still fully recline.
This recliner is an excellent option for those spaces that just don’t have much room to spare. It measures 19.8 by 38.6 by 28.8 inches and has three positions ranging from 90 to 165 degrees and a freely adjustable footrest. It also features durable construction with a steel frame. The JUMMICO recliner has a maximum capacity of 265 pounds.
This recliner packs a lot into its small frame, including a single zone massager for the lower back that features eight modes and a massage-intensity adjustment. A thick back cushion with large curved armrests adds comfort. With its clean, modern design and five color options (gray, brown, beige, blue, and red), this recliner will complement most rooms. It weighs 59.5 pounds.
With its plush seating, this faux leather recliner chair provides a comfortable and supportive place to sit, especially for those who suffer from back pain. A thick padded seat conforms to your back while an oversize headrest provides plenty of support for your neck. The upholstery is soft, waterproof polyurethane leather and available in beige, black, brown, cream, gray, khaki, and red. The feet include pads to protect your floor. Wide curved armrests and thick foam padding on the footrest add an extra layer of comfort. A steel frame provides plenty of support for the footrest. This recliner measures 27.6 by 38.6 by 35.8 inches and weighs 59.4 pounds. Its weight capacity is 265 pounds.
This power recliner offers a button-controlled lift-assist option that tips the chair so you can easily leave the chair. This power recliner, which uses a wired power remote, offers numerous positions from upright to fully reclined, allowing you to find the optimal position for sleeping. With a two-motor design, you can independently adjust the back and footrest, allowing you to get in that just-right position for napping.
Oversize seat and back cushions and thick padding on the armrests offer plenty of comfort. This recliner is an excellent option for a den or bonus room with its relaxed look and light brown color. This recliner Is 41 by 34.5 by 42.5 inches and has a weight capacity of 350 pounds. It weighs 122 pounds.
This gaming recliner features high-resilience sponge foam wrapped in durable polyurethane leather, which is waterproof for easy cleaning. The recliner is adjustable from 90 degrees to 135 degrees to 180 degrees, which makes it great for gaming or postgame naps. An extra-thick headrest and lumbar cushioning provide plenty of support for hours of sitting up straight. The recliner has a maximum capacity of 300 pounds.
A steel reclining mechanism and hardwood frame ensure this recliner will hold up against even the most animated gaming sessions. A storage area in the back stows game controllers. The chair measures 31.9 by 40 by 25.2 inches and has a 300-pound weight capacity.
FAQs About Your New Recliner
If you still have lingering questions about recliners, read on for answers to our most common questions.
Q. How do power recliners work?
Power recliners use a battery or electric-powered motor that plugs into a standard 120-volt household outlet to operate the recliner. Most use a two- or three-button controller located on the chair’s side or as a wired remote. This controller operates the recliner’s back, footrest, and headrest.
Q. How do you measure for a slipcover on a recliner?
Use the following steps to measure for a slipcover for your recliner:
- Place the recliner in an upright position so it is no longer reclining.
- Measure the back of the recliner from the top edge to the bottom edge to determine its height.
- Measure the width of the chair by measuring from the outer edge of each arm.
- Move the chair into the reclined position and retake the measurements, measuring from the top of the chair to the edge of the footrest.
- Use these measurements to shop for your new slipcover.
Q. How long do recliners last?
The average recliner that receives regular use will last about 10 years.