Have you ever purchased a reclining chair that you had problems with from day one? Not that there was necessarily anything broken on the chair, but for some reason, maybe you couldn’t manage to get comfortable in it, or you had trouble operating it easily or consistently. Maybe you had a chair that you really loved was very comfortable, but as time went on, it became less and less comfortable till eventually, you couldn’t stand it any longer. And you got rid of the chair. Well, if any of those scenarios sound familiar to you, or if you just want to avoid them, when you purchase your next new recliner. We’re going to cover those topics and more tips on how to buy the recliner that is right for you.
Two Simple Things to Consider
It doesn’t really matter how nice a chair looks on the showroom floor or how many cool features it has. If you’re not comfortable in the chair and you can’t operate it easily. Without those two things, you’re not going to be happy with that recliner. So that’s where we’re going to start with proper fit and function coming right up. Probably the single most important thing concerning fit is the depth or the length of the seat. You want that to match pretty closely with your upper leg length. So do you need a tape measure to figure that out? No. Simply do this. Sit with your hips all the way back against the back of the seat.
Now, when you do that, it turns out that your leg does not reach the floor. It’s played out a little bit. That means this seat is too deep for your leg length and you need to find a shorter seat. When you sit all the way back, there’s a space up here behind your lower leg. This means the opposite, of course, that your leg length is too long for the seat. The seats too short for you, and you need to find a longer seat. Now that’s the single most important thing. When you find the fit that works, usually the nose of the seat cushion will catch you behind the knees. And you’ll also have enough leg length leftover so that you reach the floor comfortably. Some people make the mistake and purchase a recliner where their feet just barely reached the floor.
And that’s not a good idea
Because what happens over time is your padding will break in and over time, your chair will change a bit. But one of the areas that break in is this lumbar padding and this determines how far back you sit in the seat. As you can imagine, as time goes by, and this compresses a bit here, you’re actually sitting slightly further back in the seat than you did when the chair was new. So if your feet barely reached the floor, when the chair was new, you’re going to find them coming off the floor later on. Keep that in mind and find a chair where your feet reached the floor very easily.
Another Factor is the Width of the Seat
Now, this is actually a larger chair, a La-Z-Boy recliner. And sometimes I see smaller people in chairs like these. And when they go to reach the handle, they do this tremendous stretch. It’s almost like watching someone do gymnastics, just to try to open or close the chair. You know, you want something that’s easy to operate. So you don’t want a chair that that’s, it’s that wide that you’re going to have to do. Gymnastics. If you have to lean or bend a little bit to open the chair, not a big deal, but obviously you don’t want a big stretch. If you find yourself doing that to operate the chair, get a narrower seat next.
Checking the Back
After you had the seat fit, dialed in, the next thing to check is the back. Now it’s really simple with the back. You just want to sit back, try the recliner in different positions, and you want to make sure that in all positions you’re comfortable and you want to achieve what is called a neutral position. What is that? Well by neutral, I mean your head neck, shoulders, and in your tire back are kind of cradled and supported uniformly. You’re not feeling any padding that’s bulging or pushing, or like forcing your head forward, for example, or on the other hand, you don’t want to have any areas where you feel there’s not enough support.
If you do have those problems, then one of two things apply here. Either the back height is the wrong size for your body type or the way they are configured.
What if the padding in the back or in channels is not the right size for you?
If that’s the case, move on and try another chair. We spoke earlier about people who purchased chairs that were very comfortable at first, but later became very uncomfortable and they ended up getting rid of those chairs. Let’s talk a little bit more about that. The two primary comfort areas are the seat padding and the back padding, and it’s natural overtime for those areas to break in and compress. When the compression gets to be too much, you’ll notice you’ll begin to have problems with pain and discomfort. So that’s when you need to take some action. Now, as far as the backs are concerned, there is a type of back out there that’s like three pillows or channels for you to do it yourself. And they’re made in such a way that they flip up each pillow will flip up and there’s a zipper that accesses the padding for each section on the back.
So that’s one easy way. If you’re to do it yourself, or you might want to check out the comfort of those chairs to see if they suit you because they’re easy to maintain as far as the padding’s concerned. However, when the padding and the seat begin to break down, two things happen.
Two Things to Happen
You start sitting lower in the chair and for people that have trouble getting in and out of their recliners, that worsens that problem because they’re lower and lower as the padding continues to compress over time. Another thing it does is when you sink lower in the chair, your position against the back also lowers. So sometimes people will develop neck pain or other back issues when it’s actually the breakdown of the seat cushion that’s causing the problem. If you’re having trouble determining what’s going on in your case, whether it’s the seat back padding or both consultants experienced a pollster or an experienced repair specialist to help you diagnose where the padding issues need to be corrected because in the end. If you found that perfect fit and comfort initially for your chair, it can be re padded to bring that back and get you more life and use out of it.
What’s next? The height of the seat from the floor
So you’ve got the proper fit for the seat. And the back before we finish up here. You still want to check one more thing. The height of the seat from the floor. This is a concern for people that have difficulty getting in and out of reclining chairs. Here are some options to consider a lot of manufacturers that make a lot of recliners.
Make a base that’s a little taller that can be installed on their standard recliners to raise you up a bit, but keep in mind. As we mentioned earlier over time, the padding on the seat will break in and you will actually be sitting a little bit lower. So if you have concerns about using any of those chairs, you might want to consider going with a lift chair because not only will it solve that seat height problem, but lift chairs are also typically recliners as well. Let’s look at the different options you have for how to operate your chair. One category is the cable release recliners with the parachute pole. And this is a flush mount handle that mounts on the outside arm panel, it’s also a cable release and last but not least the good old push-button probably the easiest one. You simply press it or punch it.
You have to have good leg strength and coordination because it takes your legs to do all the closing. So if you try out some of these cable release models and you find out that you’re having difficulty in getting that footrest closed or latched, and you have to make several attempts, it’s not the right one for you. You might want to consider a solid handle with these. You rely on arm strength with the solid handle units. So you don’t require the leg strength or coordination of cables. And of course, there’s the power reclining option as well.
In case you don’t have the arm strength or leg strength, or if you just don’t want to do the manual recliner thing, go with power. The nice thing about the power recliners is you can stop the footrest at any point. So you can achieve a lot of different foot elevations. Also, of course, there’s a message and there’s heat. Just make sure that those units work the way you expect them to. If you go with those options, make sure they’re located in the right place. And they do the job that you need them to do. Otherwise, you can just invest in a more inexpensive, portable heat massage pad that you can position where you need it and save some money on your recliner. Now, the downside with the power units, there are two, primarily number one is they’re going to be cords and cables underneath your chair. And those can often get stuck in the base, or if you have a rocker base unit or the mechanism itself and get damaged easily.
So you always need to be on the lookout for them whenever you’re moving the chair, like if you have to move furniture or if you just vacuum vacuuming when you put things back. You have to check and make sure those cables and cords are away from areas where they can become damaged. That’s the first thing. And the second thing of course is there are more parts that can fail more electrical components on most power chairs. You have an activation button or hand wand, power supply, at least one lift motor. And of course, if you go with heat and massage, and these are all things that can fail over time, uh, so that’s something to consider as well. Now that you have the fit and function dialed in last but not least style, now’s the time to pick your favorite material, your favorite color, or leather, if you want leather.
What to Buy
And finally, which recliners should you shoud buy? My advice is simple. Buy a name brand recliner from a manufacturer that will supply parts directly to consumers. Not all of them will, so you’ll have to check and see if that one does. And here’s the reason why you want to do that because the dealer where you purchase the chair, let’s say two, three, four years ago may not be in. They may no longer handle and service the brand that you purchased for a number of different reasons. They may not be able to help you with parts. So if when that happens, people are often out of luck and your chair may only be a few years old. It’s important to have a direct connection to the manufacturer that produced your chair and that they supply parts directly to consumers. So if that should happen to you, you’ll still be able to get parts and keep your chair in good working condition. Good luck on buying your next recliner and be sure to check our best recliners to buy.