When age brings with it declining mobility, proper rest is just as important as regular activity. When you are not sleeping or moving about, a recliner chair is a great place to rest without stressing your back or joints.
A good recliner chair should provide both support and comfort. Electric recliners go a step further by providing an effortless recline function at the touch of a button. With some, you can even enjoy a relaxing heat and vibration massage while you snooze away the afternoon or enjoy your favourite TV shows.
After comparing dozens of brands and extensively researching on each, here are the best electric recliner chairs we found.
Best electric recliner chair reviews 2017
They are ideal for anyone who wants a comfortable and supportive recliner that works with the touch of a button. If you also want a recliner with built-in heat and vibration or one that provides standing assistance, we have some great recommendations.
Equipped with both heat and vibration, the Cavendish electric recliner is one of the most comfortable in our list. While the plush PU leather feels very comfortable on its own, the heat and 8-point vibration system greatly add to the experience.
The backrest and footrest are operated using a couple of buttons on the side of the chair while the heat and vibration can be controlled using an attached control gadget. There are also some handy storage pockets at the front and on each side of the recliner.
The only thing to note is that the chair is very heavy and you’ll need some help getting it inside and setting it up. Read our full review of the Cavendish Electric Recliner Chair.
This bonded leather recliner comes in three styles: brown, black and cream. The backrest and footrest are operated using two buttons on the right side.
This recliner is incredibly comfortable thanks to the foam-padded armrests and pillow backrest. We would have wished for some heat and vibration but the chair is cozy enough even without them.
We especially love the back and lumbar-supporting contour of the backrest. You can sit on this recliner for hours without feeling any pain or soreness. Read our full review of the Madison Electric Recliner Chair.
Another great bonded leather recliner which sets itself apart by including a riser function. For users with reduced strength and mobility, this function is a big help. With a press of a button, the chair rises gently to help the user get on their feet.
The chair is quite plush but it lacks heat and vibration extras. If these are important for you, or someone you are buying the recliner for, check out our other recommendations that come with these bonus features. Read our full review of the Windsor Electric Recliner Chair.
This is a great pick if you want a recliner with heat and vibration. Like the Cavendish chair, it comes with an 8-point vibration system in addition to the heated faux leather.
Both functions are set using a remote controlled. There is a handy pocket on the side where you can tuck in the remote when not using it.
Unfortunately it does not come with a riser function. It can only recline backwards. Read our full review of the Hainsworth Electric Recliner Chair.
If not for anything else the Chicago rise recliner stands out for its homely yet elegant style. Instead of the faux leather used in most recliners, it is covered by a soft fabric made in Belgium.
Even better, the chair can rise as well as recline, making it ideal if you have a problem getting on your feet. It is also the only recliner in our list that comes with a battery backup system, crucial if there is a power blackout.
The only concern is cleaning and maintaining the fabric. Cleaning stains and dirt is not as straightforward as with other recliners clad in easy-to-clean materials. Read our full review of the Chicago Rise Recliner Chair.
Electric recliner chair shopping guide
Buying a low quality recliner not only causes discomfort, it can aggravate health problems and even pose a safety risk. So we have put together a list of the most important features you should look for when buying an electric recliner.
1. Ease of use
Personally, I find electric recliners to be so much better than the manual types. They operate more easily and smoothly. If you are planning to buy a recliner for a senior, an electric type is much better since it is easier to use. Instead of a manual lever or wheel, electric recliners are fitted with motors that are operated using buttons.
Pressing a button smoothly reclines the backrest and raises the footrest without having to crank a lever or use your body strength. Another press of the button brings the chair back to normal position.
While most electric recliners are generally easy to use, look out for the problematic ones that can be quite frustrating. Check to see what customers are saying about that particular chair. Does it recline easily? Does it occasionally get stuck?
The best electric recliners are equipped with only two buttons to operate the motor: one for reclining it and another to return it to a normal position. If the recliner has vibration and heat, the controls are usually on a separate gadget.
You should be especially cautious if the recliner comes with the extra features. Check that the gadget is easy to use. It should help the user quickly turn on the bonus features and set them at a comfortable intensity.
2. Check the sizing
Here’s one thing many people forget to consider when buying a recliner: the size.
Carefully check the product specifications and you will no doubt find information on size and dimensions. Buying the right size is crucial for proper support and maximum comfort.
A recliner that is too wide or too deep will not be very supportive and could cause back problems. A recliner that is too narrow will be very uncomfortable especially after sitting in it for an extended period.
When looking at the dimensions, check the sit width first. Make sure the user can fit in it comfortably without leaving too much space and without getting pinched on the sides. The width of most recliners generally ranges between 45cm and 52cm.
Next, check the backrest width. This is important if you want to feel comfortable and well supported when you lean back. The backrest width is usually larger, sometimes measuring up to 70cm. This ensures that the upper body, especially the shoulders, can comfortably fit.
Other important dimensions include seat depth, seat height, backrest height and armrest height. Also check the dimensions of the chair when it is fully reclined. This will tell you how far back the chair goes and how much clearance it needs from the wall.
3. Safety and quality
An essential part of recliner chairs is safety. This depends a lot on the material and structural quality of the chair. Be especially careful about the backrest. The last thing you want is the backrest breaking when in a reclined position. It can cause serious injury.
A well-made chair is not only safe, it will also last long. If customers say they had to replace the recliner after just a few months, avoid it. The best electric recliners should easily last for years while still functioning properly.
Don’t forget about the electric components of the chair. Have several customers reported regular failures? Maybe the buttons refuse to work or the recliner makes a weird noise when moving? Does the motor need constant repair or replacement?
These are crucial red flags you should look out for. Generally, we recommend sticking to known brands, even though they may be a bit pricey than smaller unknown brands. With an established brand, you have better chances of spending you money on something quality and long lasting.
4. Riser function
As mobility and strength reduce with age, something as simple as sitting and standing from a chair can become a problem. It may get to a point where one needs help especially when standing up.
A riser recliner can give seniors some of their freedom back by helping them stand up without requiring assistance from others. This type of recliner comes with a special motor that not only reclines the chair backwards but also raises it forward. In a raised position, it becomes much easier for you to get up.
Both the Windsor and Chicago electric recliner chairs have the riser feature. If you or someone you know experiences difficulty standing up, choose from these two recliners. And you don’t have to worry about operating them; they are just as easy to use as other non-riser chairs.
In fact, the same button that returns the recliner to a normal position is the same one that engages the riser function.
5. Heat and vibration massage
While a plush chair can be a saviour for sore muscles and an aching back, a heat and vibration massage is downright heavenly. Out of our top five recommendations, two – Cavendish and Hainsworth – have heat and vibration.
The vibration feature is the most interesting. It comes as an 8-point system targeting the entire body from the shoulders to the legs.
When turned on, the vibrations help to improve blood circulation and can reduce pain. The heat can also help with pain and soreness. It also comes in handy for those who tend to feel cold regardless of the weather.
Heat and vibration are not make-or-break features. The other three recliners without them are still great and we highly recommend them. But if you think the extras could help you relax better, then go for recliners that have them.
Many customers say the heat and vibration makes a big difference, helping them relax and dull pain.
Most recliners with these extras have a separate control gadget with several buttons. The gadget allows you to turn each of the features on or off and set the intensity you prefer.
6. Cleaning and maintenance
Finally, make sure that the recliner will be easy to clean and maintain. With the exception of the Chicago recliner, all our other picks use a leather-like material that lasts long and is easy to clean. Any spots, stains or wetness can be quickly wiped off and dried.
This is an important feature if the person you are buying the recliner for has incontinence.
The Chicago recliner requires just a bit more work to clean. If it gets stained, a damp cloth and a mild detergent should be enough.
How we rate recliner chairs
Choosing the 5 best electric recliner chairs involved a lot of work and research. We started from a selection of dozens of recliners. By focusing on certain important qualifications, we narrowed down our options until we ended up with the five picks. Each recliner had to satisfy each of the following requirements.
Comfortable and supportive
Chairs are supposed to be comfortable and electric recliners are no exception. We made sure that each of our picks is comfortable. Unlike what most people assume, the plushest chair is not the most comfortable.
We looked for recliners that balance being plush and soft while also providing a certain level of supportive firmness. This provides the best of comfort and support.
With seniors being more vulnerable to accidents and injury, we went to great lengths to ensure that only safe chairs ended up in our list. We focused on established and proven brands and thoroughly checked whether there had been any consumer complaints.
Each of our recommended chairs has been made to the highest standards to provide safe operation.
Easy to use
We did not want our readers to experience endless frustrations trying to make a recliner work the way it is supposed to. While electric recliners are easier to use, we did not leave anything to chance. Any recliner that had reports of issues such as getting stuck or unresponsive buttons was left out of our top picks.
We were especially careful with recliners that have a riser or heat and vibration features since they stand a higher risk of having functionality issues.
Since most people add a recliner to an existing set of chairs, style is an important element. We favoured those recliners that provided a variety of colours.
If we had to choose a winner in regards to design, the Chicago rise recliner would be it. But the others are also elegant and tastefully designed.
Read our in-depth reviews
If you find a recliner that interests you, click on it to read an in-depth review. You can also read all our in-depth electric recliner chair reviews and then make your choice.