August 31, 2023 | Natalie Webber

Recliner chairs vs riser recliner chairs: differences, benefits and buying factors explained

Recliner or riser recliner?Are you looking at reclining chairs and wondering which armchair functions you really need? In particular, are you trying to decide whether you just need a recliner chair, rather than a riser recliner chair? Over the last 45 years, we’ve been asked this question many times, so here’s our best advice to help you make the right decision.

First, some definitions.

What is a recliner chair?

A recliner chair is an armchair with an elevating footrest and a reclining backrest. It allows you to put your feet up and adjust the back to relax in a reclined position.   

What is a riser recliner chair?

A riser recliner chair is an armchair that lifts you to stand up and has an elevating footrest and adjustable backrest so you can recline. You may also see a rise and recline chair called a lift & rise chair, lift chair recliner or a riser chair

Differences between recliner chairs and riser recliner chairs

As the definitions suggest, the key difference between a recliner chair and a riser recliner chair is that the latter has a lifting mechanism besides a reclining function. This means a rise and recline chair helps you stand up more easily (and you can lower yourself into your chair to sit down). The lifting mechanism works by raising the seat while tilting the back and base of the chair forwards, to lift you up at an angle into a natural standing up position. Once sitting down, you can use a riser recliner chair to raise your feet and lower your back to a reclined position, as you would with a recliner chair. 

Riser recliner chairs require power to operate the lifting mechanism. Electric (or power) riser recliners use AC power (or DC if using battery backup) and usually operate through a handset. There are different electric riser recliners, the two most common types being a single motor riser recliner and a dual motor riser recliner.

Riser Recliner Positions

There are two types of recliner chairs. Manual recliners operate using a lever or pull handle, usually on the side of the recliner chair. Electric (or power) recliners use AC power (or DC if using battery backup) and operate through a handset or buttons on the side of the chair.  Recliner chairs

So does the recline function work the same way on a recliner chair and a riser recliner chair? Whereas most recliners only recline in one fixed position (like a standard single motor riser recliner), you can get dual motor, 3 motor or even 4 motor riser recliners which offer a greater range of reclined positions. 

Are recliner chairs cheaper than riser recliner chairs?

You may think that because a riser recliner chair has more functions, it will be much more expensive than a recliner chair. This is not necessarily true. In fact, a recliner chair (manual or electric) may only be slightly cheaper than an equivalent riser recliner chair. Like most things, it all depends on what you choose. Factors like the brand of the chair and optional extras can make a big difference, so if you want to compare, make sure it’s apples with apples! Also remember if you have any disability or long-term illness, you qualify for VAT relief on a riser recliner purchase. There is no such VAT exemption for a recliner chair purchase. 

Recliner chairs vs riser recliner chairs: which is better?

What you’re really asking is, which is better for my needs? The first consideration is your mobility needs. If you don’t find getting in and out of a chair easy, perhaps because of arthritis, a riser recliner chair is probably your best choice. But you may be sitting on the fence, thinking you can just about manage so you don’t need the rise function. This is your decision, but we’d advise you to consider what your mobility needs may be in the future, as well as right now. A recliner chair and a riser recliner chair may cost almost the same amount of money, so it’s worth considering what would offer the best value for money. In the long run, a riser recliner chair could keep you independent for longer. Remember the best quality riser recliners, such as the Ashore Maiden, have a warranty of 5 years.  

There are more benefits of a riser recliner chair compared to a recliner chair. For example, having the lift function of a riser recliner is a good idea if you transfer to a walking frame or wheelchair, because it offers improved safety and stability when standing to reduce the risk of falls.  

As mentioned, the recline function of a riser recliner chair also offers advantages over a traditional recliner chair, because you can achieve a greater range of reclined positions. This gives you more flexibility to make sure you’re comfortable and supported, which can make a big difference if you’re using your chair every day. 

There are many more configurations and options you can choose for a riser recliner chair than a high street recliner chair, which are very beneficial if you have any medical conditions or are likely to spend lots of time in your chair. For example, you can have a riser recliner chair made to measure to provide a precise fit and minimise strain on your joints, while tilt-in-space riser recliners reduce the risk of pressure sores. You can also choose pressure relieving seating and upholstery so you get a pressure relief riser recliner. Take a look at our bespoke riser recliner gallery for inspiration!

Bespoke Riser Recliners

One other factor to bear in mind is the weight capacity you need. If you weigh 20 stone or more, you may need to have a riser recliner mechanism to get the safe working load you require. 

Now, having said all this, if you have no mobility issues, and you just want a comfy armchair you can put your feet up and relax in, then a recliner chair may be all you need. We’re not here to sell you on something you don’t need, and it may be the benefits of a riser recliner don’t apply to you. A classic recliner can take up less space in the room when reclined (although no less than a single motor riser recliner) and a manual recliner has the simplest controls in the form of a lever or pull handle. Whichever way you ultimately decide to go, you should now feel better informed to make the right choice. 



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How to choose a riser recliner chair




Natalie Webber

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