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Different Types of Recliners

by Nick, Digital Specialist | August 3, 2021

If you've been shopping for a recliner lately, you might know that there are a ton of different types of functions and options. Let's check out the different options that are available so you can find the right one for you!


If you’re in the market for a new recliner, you might be surprised or overwhelmed at the number of different options that are available. The old “dad” recliner is a thing of the past, meaning that modern recliners will have a variety of different options that you’ll need to choose from. Let’s take a look at each of the different types of recliner so you can figure out which one best suits your needs!

Lever Handle Recliner
This is what you’d think of as the “dad” recliner- a comfortable chair with a handle on the side that kicks out the footrest when you pull the handle. These handles are usually made of wood or plastic. When you pull the handle, the footrest tends to engage fairly quickly, and the back of the chair will push back to a more comfortable reclined position. When putting the footrest back down, the user can use the handle to help them put it back into position. These types of chairs are iconic, and also budget-friendly since they tend not to have a long list of bells and whistles.


Pull Handle Recliner
An updated spin on the iconic lever handle recliner, this type of recliner features a small pull handle on the side of the chair that engages the footrest. The handle is recessed into the outside of the chair and is a great alternative for those who might not want to see the large lever handle all the time. Unlike the lever handle recliner, this pull handle mechanism can’t help you put the footrest back down, so you’ll need enough strength to push the footrest back down on your own.


Wall Hugger Recliner
The wall hugger doesn’t refer to the type of mechanism- the wall hugger can either be the lever handle or the pull handle variety- but instead refers to the amount of space that is required behind the chair when it reclines. As the name implies, the wall hugger requires less space to recline than a normal recliner would, reducing the distance required behind the chair. These chairs are built with a sliding track mechanism, which also means they don’t recliner as far backwards. This is a great choice if you’re in a smaller space!


Push-Back Recliner
The push-back recliner is similar to the wall-hugger in its construction, since it also uses that sliding track. But this one is specifically designed without any kind of trigger mechanism- rather, the user of this chair has to physically push the chair backwards with their back as they’re sitting in it, in order to recline it. This appeals to some people who might find the handle unsightly or who are looking for a little more style, since these chairs look more like regular chairs when they aren’t reclined.


Rocker-Recliner
A rocker recliner is exactly what it sounds like- a recliner that rocks back and forth when it isn’t reclined. Rocker-recliners can have a variety of handles or mechanisms, and they can be very relaxing. However, these might not be the best choices for older people or for people with stability issues, since the rocking mechanism means it’s a little less sturdy when getting in and out of the chair.


Glider-Recliner
These are almost the same as the aforementioned rocker-recliners, but the gliding motion is a little different and a little smoother than the rocking motion. This type of recliner would be an especially great choice for a nursery, or a cozy living room. However, like the rocker-recliner, this type of chair may not be a great choice for someone with stability issues.


Swivel Recliner
A recliner that has the ability to swivel 360 degrees. This would be a great choice in a living room where the focus may change- for example, you could turn to have a conversation with someone on the sofa, and then rotate the chair to face the TV. Again, these chairs are not the best choice for someone with stability issues who might need a sturdier foundation for getting into and out of the chair.


Power Recliner
These types of recliners use electrical power to move the footrest back and forth, and in some cases also feature a power headrest. While they are more expensive, the biggest benefit to these recliners is that they can be stopped in any comfortable position. This is different from the manual recliners, which usually only open to one or two positions. These are great for people who may not have the strength to open or close a manual recliner on their own.


Power Lift Recliner
A step up from the power recliner, this type of chair offers the added bonus of a lift function that helps the user stand up and out of the chair. This chair will gently lift the user to a near-standing position, reducing stress on their joints and making it significantly easier to stand (and sit back down later). This is by far the best choice for anyone with mobility or stability issues.