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What is a Lift Chair?

by Nick, Digital Specialist | April 17, 2021

We hear from a lost of customers who want to buy a lift chair that don't know all of the options that are available. Use this handy guide to see what features you might want in your new chair!

Our store gets a lot of calls and inquiries from people looking for lift chairs without understanding exactly what they’re looking for. We’ve written this guide to help our customers understand exactly what a lift chair does and what to look for when shopping for one.

What Is It?
To put it simply, a lift chair is a regular reclining chair with some added features. The main feature of a lift chair is a powerful lifting system that gently lifts the chair upwards and tilts it slightly forward, in order to help the user to a standing position. This is most helpful for people with mobility and balance issues, especially those who have trouble moving from a sitting to a standing position, and vice versa.

Lift chairs are electronic, meaning you’ll need a place to plug it in. The user will operate the chair with a remote, which almost always has a cord attached so it doesn’t get lost. The remote can have as few as two buttons but can sometimes have many more depending on the number of functions. Just like a regular recliner, they are available in a variety of sizes, fabrics, colors, and other bells and whistles.

What Should I Look For?
Size. This is the single most important thing to consider when shopping for a lift chair. It would be best for the person who is using the chair to try them out, but that’s not always possible. When the person moves to a standing position in the chair, make sure their feet are able to touch the ground. If a chair is too big, the user might slide out of the chair instead of being helped to a standing position, which is especially bad for someone with mobility or balance issues.

Features. Every lift chair will also function as a regular recliner when it’s not in a standing position, but pay attention to whether it lays flat or not- this affects how much space it will take up in the room and how far away it has to be from the wall. You may also see other features like:
  - Power headrest. This is a great option if you’ll be watching TV, reading, or using your phone/tablet in your chair- this will prop your head up when you’re in a reclined position.
  - Presets. Some recliners will have buttons where you can save your favorite positions, so you don’t have to spend time trying to find the most comfortable spots over and over again.
  - Independent back/footrest control. On many recliners, the back and footrest will operate in sync, with the backrest tilting backwards only when the footrest raises to a certain point. With recliners like this, you cannot move the backrest or footrest independent of one another- but some recliners offer this ability as a feature. Just be aware that there will be a lot more buttons for the user to push!
  - Heat and massage. These features can offer the user extra comfort while they use their chair. This could have the potential to help someone with joint and back pain, arthritis, and more.
  - Fabric. Many times, color is of secondary importance because the need for the chair is immediate, but there are some fabrics that are better than others from a performance standpoint. If the user is going to be eating, drinking, or even sleeping in the chair, you might want to consider vinyl, microfiber, or even leather, as these will do better with spills and stains versus a regular fabric.

Lastly, there is a common misconception that lift chairs are just for “old people”- this is not the case. Customers have purchased lift chairs from us for a variety of reasons, including recovery after major surgery on shoulders, hips, knees, and more- it makes recovery quicker when the user doesn’t have to stand all the way up or sit all the way down.

We hope this guide has helped you know what to look for in your next lift recliner. Thanks for reading!