Types of Recliners: Detailed Guide

  • Last updatedLast updated: Apr 27, 2020
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Ever since they were introduced, recliners have grown more and more in popularity due to the comfort they can provide. If you have ever sat down in a quality recliner seat, it’s likely that you wanted to sit there and relax for as long as possible. All in all, recliners are just great living room additions that give most other pieces of furniture a run for their money in terms of comfortability.

The fact that there are tons of different types of recliners means that you should be aware of which type is right for you before you set off to go buy one. Choosing a recliner can come down to one that fits your interior decor, one that caters to your orthopedic problems, etc. There are tons of selection out there, so don’t get fixated on one until you know of all the rest!

Recliner mechanisms types

Types of Recliners: Detailed Guide

The different types of recliners available to you are all unique in their own way and can offer some benefits that other recliners can’t. Out on the recliner market is a wide variety of selection that can serve different functions for different types of people. Your purchase of recliner needs to come as a well-informed decision, one that is aware of the differences between the various types of recliners and how they each could be used to your advantage.

Push-back recliner

Sometimes, you may not even be able to recognize a push-back recliner as a recliner. Many modern push-back recliners have a sleek look that makes them look like a regular armchair. Push back recliners are those that don’t have a button to push or lever to pull.

To recline the seatback, all you would need to do is simply exert some pressure onto the back of the chair, and then it will begin to recline back. Homes that have a modern style typically feature these types of recliners. Since they are not as bulky, they can be easier to move around from one location to another. Since a lot of push-back recliners don’t feature an extended footrest, an ottoman is commonly used as a replacement.

Two-position recliner

The name to this type of recliner is quite self-explanatory: the recliner has to main positions – sitting upright, and reclined back. Traditionally, this is the type of recliner that you would see your uncle fall asleep in after thanksgiving dinner. Once you pull the lever on this chair, the back of it will immediately begin to recline back along with the rest of your body.

These types of recliners are typically more affordable than other types, but they may require more room in the area you place it in. Since the back reclines far back, you won’t be able to put this type of recliner right against the wall, thus giving you less space. The position of your two-position recliner in your home should be well thought out before its purchase.

Power lift recliner

Having complete control over how much you want to recline / how much you want your footrest up is the main advantage of owning a power lift recliner. Power lift recliners are those that feature the use of a powered button. With the button, you can control how far back you would like your recliner to be, in order to give you the most comfortable position possible. This type of recliner is the perfect fit for those with physical limitations. The forward positioning on a power recliner can make it easier for people to stand up after sitting down for a while.

Categorized by how many people it can accommodate

Perhaps you may be looking for a recliner for just yourself, or contrarily, you are looking for one that can accommodate multiple people. Either way, the good news is that there are multiple types of recliners that can fit the criteria for both of these needs. Recliners that can accommodate multiple people are available in abundance, and there are different styles to choose from that can better fit your interior decor than others.

Loveseat

Believe it or not, loveseats are called ‘loveseats’ simply because they can fit two people, or perhaps a ‘couple in love’! Traditionally, they were used by high-class Brits back in the 1700’s, but ever since the early 1800’s, they’ve been produced in mass. Love seats are the perfect size to fit comfortably in your living room area, perhaps close to the TV by a table!

Love-seats can be a great type of recliner for couples, or perhaps just a home where two friends live. Typically, loveseats can range from 48 to 72 inches wide. Knowing how many people you would like to have in your home on a consistent basis can determine if a loveseat is a right pick, or if perhaps you should choose a slightly larger couch/recliner!

Recliner sofa

The main difference between a reclining sofa and a reclining loveseat is the width. On average, reclining sofas will be larger and wider than loveseats. Reclining sofas typically feature either 2 to 4 seats, but larger ones can be found. Different types of sofa recliners can use either feature a lever for the recline, or they could feature the use of a powered button. Electric reclining sofas will be more expensive than those with levers.

Cuddler recliner

Types of Recliners: Detailed Guide

If you’ve ever seen a recliner that looks a little big for just one person, but perhaps a little too small to fully fit two people, then it’s likely you were looking at a cuddle recliner. Cuddler recliners are designed to be a bit roomier than a regular recliner seat and are great for cozying up and cuddling with your partner or your pet(s). On average, cuddler recliners are around 55 inches wide by 45 inches high. Cuddler recliners can offer favorable proportions, feature incredible padding, and are meant to give a different meaning to home comfort.

Categorized by size

Not every person is shaped the same way: we all know that. Some people are smaller, whereas some people are larger. Sometimes, common recliners aren’t able to give certain people the type of comfort and assistance that they were hoping for. In order to accommodate this, different type of recliners was made that are able to more properly suit those who may happen to be a bit larger due to height or weight. On the other end, there are types that can be more suited for those who are a bit smaller.

Heavy-duty

A heavy-duty recliner is one that can support more weight than most other common recliners out there. Normally, single person reclining chairs can support up to around 300-350 lbs. in weight. Heavy-duty recliners are able to support those who are at least within that weight range and can even provide support for up to 500 lbs.

Most heavy-duty recliners will offer a full recline, where both the footrest and the back of the seat can be extended out to your own liking. An overstuffing of comfortable padding is common in various types of heavy-duty recliners, and this padding is often attached to the back and seat in order to prevent slippage.

Wall-hugger

The best thing about wall-hugger recliners lies right in their name – they are able to go right against the wall, which can ultimately save you room within your living room / whichever area you intend to put the recliner in. Many wall-hugging recliner seats can be smaller, for both the reasons of saving space and catering to smaller people.

Wall-hugger recliners have often had a narrow and padded back with a wider seat. Overall, wall-hugger recliners are meant to be a little bit smaller in order to fit within smaller rooms of your home comfortably.

Categorized by extra features

Certain types of recliners available to you have specified features that other regular recliners don’t offer. These features can bring you a bunch of benefits, which include added mobility, enhanced comfortability, physical ailment aid, etc.

In some cases, any of the recliners listed below that offer their certain features may cost a bit more than regular, more common recliners. When you purchase a recliner with a special feature, you pay for what you get.  Whereas you could pay thousands of dollars for a zero-gravity recliner, you could purchase a massage recliner for less than $500.

Swivel recliner

Swivel recliners are perhaps one of the most advantageous types of recliners to own for many different types of people. Swivel recliners are the type that is able to do a full 360-degree spin with the person still in the seat since the chair is attached to a wide and circular base. Being able to spin around while still in place can help those with physical disabilities, nursing mothers, elderly people, and so on. Even though they may take up a bit more space than other recliners, the added mobility makes it well worth the size difference.

Types of Recliners: Detailed Guide

Rocker recliner

The main function of the rocker recliner is to do exactly that: rock the person in the seat back and forth while they are reclined. Many people have found the rocking motion to be very soothing and relaxing and have helped them to fall asleep. Types of rocker recliners are specifically engineered to prop your body up in a comfortable position, which can help for lumbar/overall back support. A good rocker recliner will have a back that follows the contours of a human back. Rocker recliners are an especially popular favorite among nursing mothers and infants. The rocking motion has the ability to help soothe and quiet the baby to sleep, ultimately allowing the mother to relax.

Massage recliner

It’s easy to assume the benefits that could come with a massage recliner. With a massage recliner, you could not only just sit there and relax comfortably, but you could also be receiving a massage in the process. Some massage recliners feature strictly vibrating elements, where on the other hand, some can implement different designs and mechanisms that aim to reduce tension and promote blood flow. With a massage chair, you can experience a boost in mood, better sleep, help aid back pain, and even ease those tension headaches!

Lift recliner

A lift recliner is typically the most suitable for those who may be elderly, who have arthritis, or any other type of medical condition that requires physical assistance. Lift recliners are those that have powered remotes that are able to lift the chair up and forward, helping those sitting in the chair to stand up easier. With the remote, users of the chair are also able to lower the chair all the way back in a reclined position to be able to comfortably sleep. In order to reduce swelling, the leg-rest on most lift recliners can be lifted to an elevated position.

Zero-gravity recliner

Even though they may sound complicated, zero-gravity recliners are rather simple. Zero-Gravity recliners work by reclining your body into a position that is able to evenly distribute your weight throughout the whole chair. This type of technology had actually been invented by NASA.

In most models, locking mechanisms are in place to prevent any slippage, allowing you to relax comfortably in any position you desire. Zero-gravity recliners are especially useful to those who deal with painful varicose veins, or edema since you are able to feasibly elevate your legs. Back pain can also be reduced since your vertebrae will be experiencing less strain from gravity.

Theatre recliner

If you’ve been to a modern movie theater recently, there’s a good chance that the theatre was equipped with reclining seats. This has become very popular in recent years. Theatre recliners normally come as 2-4 seaters, and can typically be one of the most expensive types of recliners, given all of the added features. Theatre recliners are perfect for creating the real home- movie theatre experience. These types of recliners can come equipped with fold-down tables, cup holders, LED lights, swivel trays, and of course, a powered recline with an elevated footrest.

Categorized by design

Different styles of recliners can be suitable for multiple environments and purposes. Over the years, recliners have evolved to accommodate people for different activities, such as recliners for gaming, for the living room, for an RV, and more properly. The prices of these differing categorized recliners will have a wide range, and will be more expensive as the quality of design and number of features goes up.

Modern recliner

Modern recliners can offer superb comfortability, added features, and give your home an elegant look. These types of recliners often come equipped with features such as a powered remote, heat activation, powered reclining, massage options, etc.

Modern recliners are often constructed with a sleek and smooth feel to them, normally sticking out from the rest of the bunch. They fit well in homes that have a modern design and feel to them, but can often make a great addition in any home. Many models are constructed with wood components on the exterior, which can make them even more pleasing to look at. Common upholstery materials used to make the exterior of modern recliners are leather and polyester.

Club chair

Club chairs and recliners are normally constructed with a slightly narrow base, with thick padding in the seat and back. Often, these types of recliners are placed in relaxing areas, such as a barroom or quiet area. Most contemporary models are made with a hard-wooden frame that is built to last for years of use.

These recliners are great to have as pairs, so you and a guest could sit down, relax, and enjoy a nice conversation. Club chairs and recliners are often a little smaller than other common recliners, with a shorter height and narrower width, and are great for relaxing in for moderate amounts of time.

Wingback recliner

Types of Recliners: Detailed Guide

The ‘wings’ coming off of the sides of the back of the chair give the wingback recliner its name.  These wings are padded pieces of extra support, which are attached to the back of the chair, that run down the armrest and come down at the edge of the seat.

The style of wingback recliners makes them commonly sought after, seeing that they have a very pleasant look. In resting position, the back is seated upright for proper posture, but then can be reclined with an elevated footrest. Four wooden legs are often used as the base to hold up the chair, which can make them a bit easier to move around from place to place.

Mission style recliner

Originally known as the ‘Morris chair,’ the mission style recliner is commonly constructed with wooden vertical slats and legs, with a low seat and wooden arms. These types of recliners can range in size, making some sizes and models more appropriate for certain spaces. Leather cushioning, removable cushions, and unremovable cushions are normally used for the seat and back. The wood used for the slats and legs is often stained or lacquered to darken the wood and give it more of a rustic feel. Mission style recliners can make great additions to the living room, outside patio, corner of your room, and various other places in your house.

Recliners with ottoman

In many recliner models, mechanical/manual footrests are not equipped. Even though this is not the end of the world, it still really feels relaxing to be able to put your feet up while you recline back. Recliners with ottomans are sold as a two-piece set that perfectly matches in style and material.

Typically, recliners that come with ottomans are settled on a circular base, connected by either a centered mounting pole or stylish legs. Leather and polyester are normally used as the upholstery material. These types of recliners are a great addition to the living room.

Kids recliner

Kids recliners are those that are perfect for their size, small and narrow. There are many recliners that are available for small children, as well as recliners for other kids who happen to be a bit bigger than small children.  Kids recliners are often made with leather and plush padding that gives them a great sitting spot for TV, video-games, in the living room, etc. Many models feature a cup holder to help prevent any accidents. Since they’re smaller than regular recliners and use less material, they are the cheapest types of recliners to buy.

RV recliner

If you’re an RV owner, it’s likely that you’ve wanted to get a nice and comfortable recliner in there as soon as possible. There’s nothing like being able to have maximum comfortability while out on the road. Whereas some models are freestanding, making you come up with your own solution for making it stationary, most models come equipped with an installation set up so you can set it in place. Double recliners can also be used in your RV, given you have space.

Gaming recliner

If you’re going to be efficient at gaming, then you’ll need a comfortable chair that will allow you to focus better. Gaming recliners are designed to cater to the needs of gamers. These types of recliners feature a tapered and upright back that can be reclined almost all the way down. Most models come with a neck pillow and an extra pad for lumbar support.

Having proper posture helps you focus better, and can promote blood flow. Whenever you’re ready to kick back, you can simply pull the lever and recline. Some gaming recliners also come with footrests that can be elevated. These recliners can also be of great use in the office!

In conclusion

There is an impressively wide range of recliners that are available to you today. Recliners have been a chair of preference for quite some time, and nowadays, you can find one for many different environments and purposes. Whereas some allow you to swivel in place, others can give you a massage while you relax. Certain models can fit great in your gaming area, and others may be more suited for your living room. Before picking out a recliner, be sure to do some research and take a look around at all of the models that were made for your desired purpose.

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