Recliner Buying Guide: What to Know Before Buying a Recliner

by Andrew Smith| Last Updated: March 20, 2021

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Since the invention of the first recliner around 1850, these lumbar-soothing chairs have gone through many reinventions. They now come with more great features and functionalities. There also hundreds of brands and models in the market today.

Deciding to buy a recliner is just the first step of a long journey. There is so much that you need to figure out before you actually buy one. You need to find out which is the best model, which matches your needs, which one fits into your budget, and so much more.

Lucky for you, we are here to walk with you and make the journey easier.

Table of Contents

Factors that you should consider when buying the perfect recliner

1. Your Space

So, you have identified a perfect recliner that checks all the boxes in terms of comfort and style. The leather is high quality, and its color matches perfectly with the rest of your living room’s décor. But is space enough?

It would be unfortunate for you to buy a recliner to bring it home and find that you can open it up due to space. You should therefore measure your room before you get the chair. Make sure there is enough space for the chair to open up and recline.

Further, measure your entryway. There is a possibility that you could have enough space inside the house, but the recliner won’t get through the door.

2. The Size of Your Body

A particular recliner can have all that you are looking for in a recliner but just not your size. So, as you window-shop, sit on the recliner to make sure it fits your body.

How do you tell that a recliner is right for your body size?

First, your feet should touch the ground when you sit. Also, your head should comfortably fit and rest on the headrest. The lumbar support should also be perfect, i.e., it should neither be too hard nor too small.

Further, look out at the space between the seat and the leg rest. It should not exceed 5 inches. A bigger space may be a safety hazard to the kids and pets.

3. The Fabric

If your recliner covering is not comfortable, it will be quite hard to relax on it. As such, you should pay close attention to the fabric used to make the recliner.

There are many choices when it comes to recliner covering. There are natural fabrics like cotton, synthetic fabrics, and leather, of course.

The best choice depends on your personal preference. It would be best if you also inquired about different fabrics from the sales team.

4. Your Overall Style

Do you intend to incorporate your new recliner into an existing style, or are you looking to set another style altogether? Either way, you should keep your desired style in mind when shopping for a recliner.

If you’re not sure what your style is(it’s possible), we’d advise you to go with a neutral tone. Neutral colors blend in with almost every décor.

5. Quality and Durability

Considering the prices attached to recliners, buying one is more than a purchase: it’s an investment. Given the high cost, you should get a recliner that will serve you for the longest time possible. Here are some of the characteristics you should look out for:

The frame: recliners come with either two, three, or four-sided frames. The two and three sided-frame is not sturdy enough to hold well when under pressure. You see, we mostly put pressure on the armrests when getting up. This pressure is likely to make a two or three-sided frame wear out or warp before time. Go for a four-sided frame as it is more tolerant and durable.

Mesh layer: ensure a definitive mesh layer between the recliner’s cushion and the springs. The mesh layer is vital in a recliner as it helps distribute the weight evenly. It also helps protect your seat’s cushion from wear and tear from the springs.

Chair base: the base should be sturdy enough to handle maximum weight for a long time without warping. Recliner chairs usually come with either a plastic or a hardwood base. Compared to the hardwood base, the plastic base is weak and is likely to get damaged easily. A hardwood base, on the other hand, is sturdier and thus more durable. Go for the hardwood base.

Overall construction: take a very close look at how the recliner has been constructed. Ensure that the levers and handles are easy to operate. Also, check on the joint construction. Are they dovetail or tenon? Have they used staples, screws, or glue to support the joints?

6. Recliner Type

When it comes to the type of recliner, you are spoilt of choices, from classic swivel glider, wall huggers, power lift, and custom recliners. Your choice depends on your personal preferences. Remember, you’ll have the recliner for a long time. Just take your time to study and weigh the options before you make a purchase.

7. The Price Tag

The cost of a recliner is the biggest factor when shopping for a recliner. Some recliners, especially the leather ones, don’t come in cheap. If you are on a budget, you’ll have to choose from either fabric or microfiber. Extra features such as massagers and heaters will also make the cost higher. Check out our reviews on Best Budget Recliners for easing your buying process.

8. Extra Features

Gone are the days when recliners were just armchairs with a pull lever to help the backrest to recline. 

They come with many extra features. They include refrigerators, cup holders, heaters, and massagers. It all depends on the features you need.

Wrapping It Up

There you have it! The main factors that you should consider when choosing a recliner. We hope that this guide has shed some light on how to go shopping on the perfect recliner. Remember! Comfort is the most important part of this journey.

By the end of it all, you should be able to sink in and relax on your newly acquired best friend and never want to get up.


  • Andrew Smith

    Andrew Smith is the founder of CozySeating, is a father of 2, and an engineer from one of the leading furniture stores in the country. Due to his 10 years of experience, he has proved to be the best person to offer advice to clients regarding different seating furniture based on their needs and performance. Besides, he is a specialist in product reviews and always keeps up with the current trends in the market.

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