How to Choose the Right Type of Recliner

Recliners Are About Comfort and Style

Woman relaxing on reclining chair, looking away
Westend61/Getty Images

When modern recliners were introduced in the late 1920s, their popularity took off immediately as people discovered a new level of comfort. Today, with so many different recliners to choose from, you can have all the comfort you need in any look you want.

There is a reason recliners are popular. They are hard to beat for relaxing and lounging. It doesn't take much effort to operate one because with the touch of a button or lever, you can recline the back or bring up the foot rest.

Maybe even more importantly, a good recliner can provide excellent neck and lumbar support, making it a comfortable chair for people with medical conditions. Recliners can rock, recline, swivel, massage, and lift -- or simply look fabulous while also providing the most comfortable seat in the house. When it comes to recliners one size does not fit all, but you can easily find one that fits your individual needs.

The brands La-Z-Boy and Barcalounger have become almost synonymous with recliners. You might even hear people referring to their reclining chairs as such even though there are many other recliner manufacturers, such as Ashley, Bassett, and Lane.

Types of Recliners

When choosing a recliner you are likely to find a recliner in any style to go with your existing decor. You can also find recliners that are designed to be useful for medical conditions like limited mobility or back problems.

Rocker Recliners

A rocker recliner does exactly what the name says. It rocks and reclines. It is handy to have for someone suffering from insomnia because the rocking motion induces nodding off. You might be surprised to know that many people use their recliners to sleep instead of beds. A rocker recliner is also a favorite with nursing mothers because it provides comfort for the mother while the rocking motion relaxes the baby.

Most rocker recliners can have the swivel feature added as well for an additional cost.

Wall-Hugger Recliners

Wall-hugger recliners take up less space and are a good choice for a smaller room. Most recliners are available as both wall-huggers and rocker recliners. You tend to sit up straight in a wall-hugger, and that makes it easier to get up from the seat. There is less movement involved. Some wall-hugger recliners can be adjusted to sit higher so people with bad knees find it easier to get up from them.

Lift Chairs

A lift chair is a recliner with a motorized mechanism that pushes the chair up from its base, making it easier to get up from the seat. It is usually recommended for people having limited capacity to use their legs and is especially useful for someone with weak knees. Lift chairs come in different shapes and sizes, so it is easy to find one to fit every body type. This type of recliner is usually significantly more expensive that rockers or wall-huggers.

Massage Recliners

Massage recliners sometimes come with a heating function as well. They can massage your back and the backs of your legs. They can help lift you or recline. Sitting down in one can be comforting at the end of a long day.

Massage recliners generally cost more than rocker or wall-hugger recliners, but they also come in a wide range of prices.

Classic and Contemporary Collections

If you want a recliner but don't like how they look, don't give up on the idea. You can find recliners in wing-back chair and contemporary styles. 

These variety of styles are a comparatively recent development and have grown as more women started buying recliners. Women demanded better aesthetics in addition to the existing features, and manufacturers obliged by offering more choices. Choices include an impressive array of fabrics with a wide range of colors and textures.