The best recliner

Marilyn Zelinsky-Syarto

Did you know that recliners now come in specialty sizes that fit petite people, extra-tall people, and kids?

Definitely not your grandfather's recliner, today's models are still comfy and cushioned but have more options than ever before. From manual to power recliners, you'll find more sizes, styles, and fabrics to perfectly fit you and your space. Choose from recliners with bases that rock, glide, swivel, or lift.

The recliner market is vast, and our shopping guide helps you focus on your needs. Sit back and relax as we show you our favorite picks, including our top choice, the Serta Power Recliner, which we love for its quality and comfort.

Considerations when choosing recliners

You can get a manual or a power recliner. A manual recliner requires you to use a lever or your arms to push back into a reclining position. The popular power recliner relies on a button to automatically lift the leg rest and recline the chair. For a power recliner, you need to place the chair in the vicinity of a power source. However, there are now rechargeable power packs that let you place your recliner away from a plug. A features of power recliners include built-in USB ports to charge devices and LED lights.

There are endless fabrics and styles from which to choose in today's recliner market. From microfiber to denim, and top-grain leather to bonded leather, a recliner can easily blend into your decor without calling attention to itself. You'll find recliners in all styles, including "big-man" recliners, Queen Anne wing-back recliners, recliners that look like mid-century modern upholstered side chairs, and tufted club chairs, to name a few.

Recliners can have a standard base, rocker/glider base, swivel base, or lift base. A standard base keeps the chair stationary while reclining. A rocker/glider base, popular for nurseries, is also ideal for all living spaces if you want a multifunctional recliner. A swivel base is circular and allows you either to spin 360º or only to the left and right. Swivels are not power recliners. An electric lift base lifts up the seat of the chair.


Many power recliners allow you to adjust parts of the recliner, such as headrests. Adjustable headrests can relieve stress on your head and neck when you're watching television or reading, for example. You can also find adjustable lumbar support on power recliners, which is ideal for back-pain relief while sitting.

Gel-infused foam, used in mattresses for years, is now available for recliners. Gel-infused foam, crafted in combination with springs, may cool you off while adding support. It's ideal if you spend a lot of time sitting or sleeping in a recliner.

Recliner prices

You'll find budget-wise recliners under $300 that are mostly manual models in microfiber or bonded leather covers. In the $300 to $800 range, you'll enjoy more styles and details for manual or power recliners, including some lift models. For over $800 up to $1,500, you can find premium power recliners in better fabrics and top-grain leather.


Q. What is a wall-hugger recliner?

A. A traditional recliner requires quite a lot of space around it (at least a foot from the wall, for example) in order for it to fully extend. But a wall-hugger recliner is the best option if you want it to fit into a tight space because you can push the chair up against a wall. This type of recliner has a limited range of motion, which means it won't recline far, but it does offer you a footrest.

Q. How do lift recliners work?

A. Lift recliners, once sold in medical-supply stores for physically challenged or recuperating patients at home, are now available wherever traditional recliners are sold. They're traditional recliners with an additional electric mechanism that slowly lifts the seat and angles it, so you'll be able to effortlessly pop yourself out of the chair. It's great for anyone who needs a helping hand getting up from a seated position.

Recliners we recommend

Best of the best: Serta Power Recliner

Our take: Serta, a well-known brand, knows what it takes to make a well-built recliner that's comfortable, yet firm.

What we like: Wide pillow armrests, an electronic mechanism that functions smoothly, lies flat, and holds all reclining positions with strength (no wobbles).

What we dislike: Slightly on the smaller side.

Best bang for your buck: Mainstays Recliner with Pocketed Comfort Coils

Our take: This well-priced, manual-levered recliner has a generous dose of high-density foam padding over preferred pocket springs.

What we like: Padded arms and seat, solid wood frame, suspension straps for added seat-cushion support. Pocketed coils act almost like memory foam, contouring to your body while offering full comfort and support.

What we dislike: It's also on the smaller side.

Choice 3: Simmons Malibu Microfiber Oversized Rocker Recliner

Our take: A manual lever-activated rocker recliner with plush padding that feels like you're sitting on a cloud.

What we like: Hardwood frame, fully padded chaise and footrest, and a cozy barrel back.

What we dislike: Not a great fit if you're over six feet tall or weigh more than 250 pounds.

Marilyn Zelinsky-Syarto is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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