How does the Recliner Chair work?

Recliner chairs are those armchairs that can change their position, and yours if you are sitting on them, with an internal mechanism.

The mechanism can be activated manually or electronically, but the functioning principle is always the same: the backrest tilts backward, and the footrest comes up.

Sometimes, the seat can be lifted to allow people with impaired mobility to get up or sit down more comfortably.

But how does all this work? In this article, we’ll explore how does the recliner chair work.


Key Takeaways

  • Manual recliner chairs are cheaper, but they are not ideal for people with impaired mobility.
  • Power recliner chairs get there power from a small electric motor that moves the internal gears without any effort from the person who sits on them.
  • Electric recliners are more expensive, but they are also more comfortable.

Read: How To Clean A Recliner Chair?

What are the Different Types of Recliners?

Before we understand how different kinds of recliner works, we first need to know about the many kinds of recliners that are there.

Check this video to learn about the different kinds of recliners so that you know which one to buy for yourself!

How Does A Recliner Chair Work? Springs and Levelers

Seen from the outside, a recliner chair is a compact block of material: you see no legs, and there is only a seat, a backrest, and a solid base.

This is the main body that, on the inside, hid a complicated set of springs and levelers.

Springs are there to absorb the pressure when you sit on the chair, when you lean your back on the backrest, and – most importantly – when the backrest moves backward. Levelers are the ones that make moving possible.

Springs are also important: they connect the various pieces of the chair (backrest, seat, and footrest) and allow them to move and coordinate their movements. For example, when the backrest goes back, the footrest comes up.

As you may already know, recliner chairs can be either manual or electric. 1

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How Do Manual Recliner Chairs Work?

manual recliner chair

Manual recliner chairs are usually comes with a lever. The lever is usually on the side of the chair, and the person who sits can easily reach it by stretching down their arm.

By pulling the lever, the backrest would go back and down, and the footrest would come up.

You can release the lever when you reach the desired position.

Other types of recliner chairs have preset positions (they can be two or three), and you can only choose one between the available ones. 

To bring the backrest back up, you should pull the lever and lift your body from the backrest. It will come automatically. 

Manual recliner chairs are cheaper, but they are not ideal for people with impaired mobility who can struggle to reach the lever and who can have difficulties lifting their body to let the backrest come up. 2

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How Does A Power Recliner Chair Work?

Power recliner chairs gets there power from a small electric motor that moves the internal gears without any effort from the person who sits on them.

Electric recliners are more expensive, but they are more comfortable: you can comfortably use a remote or a small dashboard on the side of the chair, you never need to lift your body to allow the chair to move, and you can adjust your chair just the way you want.

Expensive models also offer you the possibility of saving some presets positions so that you can push one button and pass automatically from one position to another. 3

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Power Recliner Vs. Manual Recliner

What Is a Riser Recliner Chair & How Does it Work?

lift Recliner Chair

A lot of physical conditions, such as Arthritis or simply old age, can make it very hard for people to get in and out of the chair.

A Riser Recliner Chair is a unique chair that can help people with such difficulties.

Riser recliners are comfortable and provide reliable support to users. This chair comes with two kinds of motors- single & dual motor.

The single motor controls the footrest and the back of the chair, while the dual motor allows the footrest and back to be adjusted independently.

So when you want to get up from the chair, you can press the button on the control panel, which raises the backrest and the footrest slowly at the angle of 30 degrees, and this allows you to get out without putting in the hard work. 4

What is a Chaise Recliner & How Does it Work?

A Chaise Recliner is like a sofa that allows you to raise the footrest by using the control panel. This allows you to sit comfortably with your legs raised.

The chaise usually has a good length which completely takes the weight of your legs.

If you want to experience utmost comfort in your living room, then you can get a Chaise recliner.

What is a Swivel Recliner & How Does it Work?

A Swivel Recliner is perfect for those who find regular recliner chairs restrictive. This is because the Swivel recliner has a circular base, and it comes with a circular range of motion.

This means you can rotate or swivel right or left and even lay backward by sitting on this chair with the comfort of a headrest and footrest.

What is a Rocker Recliner & How Does it Work?

As the name suggests, Rocker recliner chairs work just like recliner chairs but with the additional feature of rocking back and forth slowly.

Such kind of chairs comes with headrest and footrest and are extremely comfortable.

These are best for people who are struggling to take naps or for parents nursing their newly born child.

What is a Head Tilt Recliner & How Does it Work?

As the name suggests, a head tilt recliner chair allows you to adjust the head tilt to different angles.

So if you want to sleep on the recliner, you can simply stretch the head tilt completely, and if you want additional support while watching tv or reading, then you can adjust it to a different angle.

What is Lumbar Support?

A lumbar support is critical to look at while buying a recliner chair as this part supports our lumbar or our lower back while sitting.

If the lumbar support is not positioned correctly then it can negatively impact your health and posture.

Lumbar support is not only available in recliner chairs but can be seen in various kinds of other chairs, such as office chairs, car seats, etc. 5

How Long Does the Recliner Motors Last?

The motors used in recliner chairs are usually very good and reliable.

The time span of the motor and of your chair depends on a variety of factors, such as for how long and how much you use the chair, the environment it is kept in, etc.

But to give you an idea, suitable recliner motors can last between 10-20 years, and poor quality motors might last for only 5-10 years.

Adjusting a Recliner Chair

Different recliner chair comes with different features and you can have a couple of questions or face issues that can dealt with easily.

Let’s have a look at the the most common problems:

1. How to Recline a Recliner Manually?

Many recliner comes with a pull lever that is usually attached to the side or at the bottom of recliner. To recline or adjust it you can simply pull it.

2. How to Fix a Recliner That Doesn’t Lock?

If your recliner chair has a lever with two positions, then you can try pulling it up and down to adjust the chair, and if the lever is broken, then you will need to get it replaced.

3. How to Adjust the Footrest Tension on a Recliner?

Most recliner chair comes with a lever that can be used to adjust the footrest tension, which is placed at the bottom or side of the chair.

To release more space for the foot, you simply need to increase the pressure by pushing or pulling down the control opposite in the direction from where you want to move the footrest. 6


We have reached the end of this article on How does the Recliner Chair work?

In this guide, we gave you an overview of different kinds of chairs, and how they work, we also tackled some common questions about recliner chairs. We hope this was useful to you.


What should you do if your recliner chair stops working?

If your recliner chair has stopped working, then it could be a power issue.

To fix this, simply unplug the chair from the power source and plug it back after two minutes; this should solve the issue.

Who invented recliner chairs?

The first ever recliner chair is known to be owned by the French president, Napoleon III. However, it is not known as to who invented this chair.

Can I remove the back of a recliner?

Some recliners allow you to remove its back which makes it easy for you to shift it between rooms.

However, to know if you can remove the back of your recliner chair, you should consult the manufacturer or look at the guide that comes with it.

Can I sleep on a recliner chair?

Recliner chairs are so comfortable that you might feel the urge to sleep on them very often, and it is completely okay to sleep on a recliner chair.

Can I adjust the height or seat positioning on a recliner?

Yes, recliners allow you to adjust the seating position and even the height sometimes.

However, if you are thinking about making permanent changes or dismantling the chair, then you should discuss this with the chair’s manufacturer.

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