September 15, 2023 | Natalie Webber

Tilt in space riser recliner chairs: Definition, suitability and benefits

Are you researching riser recliner mechanisms and wondering what tilt in space means, or trying to decide whether it’s the best option for you? In this guide, we’ll set out the definition and benefits of tilt in space riser recliner chairs, and advise on scenarios where it’s applicable, so you can make the right choice.

What is tilt in space?

Tilt vs recline diagram


Tilt in space (TIS) is a seating mechanism that enables you to be tilted backwards without changing your body position. The seat-to-back angle remains constant at 90 degrees as the whole seat tilts, maintaining your hip, knee and ankle angles. In other words, a tilt in space system allows you to ‘recline’ by changing your orientation in space.

Tilt vs recline: what’s the difference?


The key difference between tilt and recline lies in the seat-to-back angle. With tilt, this remains the same. With recline, this angle opens, changing your posture as you recline.


What are the benefits of tilt in space?


The clinical benefits of tilt lie in the fact that a) it allows your posture to be maintained and b) it redistributes your weight. First, posture. Keeping your posture fixed as you recline reduces the risk of shear and friction, both of which are major contributing factors to pressure ulcer development (Hanson et al. 2010). Second, tilting shifts your weight away from the Ischial Tuberosities onto the back, effectively redistributing and relieving pressure (Aissaoui et al. 2001 and Michael et al. 2007).

There are functional benefits of tilt too, as it prevents sliding in the chair and supports a stable posture for carrying out activities. These are intrinsically linked to pressure care, as sliding causes shear and poor posture may lead to pressure build-up in particular areas of the body.

OK, that’s the science and now let’s look at the application.

What is a tilt in space riser recliner chair?


This article is specifically about tilt in space riser recliner chairs, of which there are two main types:


  • Single motor TIS (or 1 motor TIS)
    Single TIS Motor Positions
  • Dual motor TIS (or 2 motor TIS)
    Dual TIS Motor Positions

    Now, if you look closely, you’ll see the tilt positions on a single motor and dual motor TIS riser recliner look different from those shown in the tilt vs recline diagram. So, let’s explain how tilt in space works in a riser recliner. Tilt in Space Care Chair vs Riser Recliner

    ‘Pure’ tilt in space as described above is found on tilting wheelchairs and tilt in space recliner chairs (often called care chairs). Traditional single and dual motor tilt in space riser recliner chairs do not offer this, as the legrest raises as you tilt (opening your knee angle). This is not necessarily unhealthy, but there may be scenarios where being able to achieve the classic tilt in space position independently of the recline cycle is helpful. This is where 3 motor TIS, a riser recliner with independent tilt in space, comes in.

    Who is tilt in space riser recliner suitable for, and not for?


    The benefits of a tilt in space riser recliner chair are applicable to people with low mobility or postural control, or who may be seated for prolonged periods of time. Besides greater comfort, postural stability and pressure relief, a tilt in space riser recliner is a good choice if:

    • You have poor blood circulation or swollen legs/feet. The high leg elevation a tilt in space riser recliner chair allows will help to alleviate these problems.
    • You have Parkinson’s disease, or other medical condition that means you tend to slide in a chair.
    • You transfer from a hoist into your riser recliner chair, using a sling. Tilt in space makes it easier to position yourself in the back of the chair.
    • You experience fatigue. Tilt in space decreases the effect of gravity on your body, so requires less energy than holding yourself in an upright position.

    A tilt in space riser recliner chair may not be suitable for you if:

    • You need to eat meals in your chair (or do other activities) sitting upright and keep your feet up while doing so. Consider a standard dual motor riser recliner instead.
    • You have breathing difficulties or other health problems that means you must sit upright.
    • You cannot tolerate being tilted backwards.

    Which tilt in space riser recliner is best? Do Occupational Therapists recommend them?


    The truth is, this isn’t one-size-fits-all because it depends entirely on your needs, which is why it’s important to get a proper seating assessment.

    For many people, Occupational Therapists (OTs) recommend a tilt in space riser recliner chair, usually for postural or pressure relief reasons. Some OTs specifically recommend single motor tilt in space riser recliners, rather than dual motor TIS, because they don’t have independent back recline. There is, however, debate about the pros and cons, so this isn’t as black and white as you might think. The fact is, both tilt and recline can be used to support good functional posture and provide pressure relief. In many cases, a combination of both is beneficial. There is one factor in particular that can clarify whether single or dual motor TIS is best for you. If you are unable to reposition yourself in your riser recliner chair, you may be at risk of repeated shear with independent back recline.

    Triple motor TIS mechanisms are less commonly used but can accommodate complex postural requirements. In our experience, the freedom of positioning this gives you needs using carefully to ensure you get the benefits of good posture and pressure relief.

    What Ashore riser recliner chair models are available with tilt in space?


    Ashore Taylor

    Single motor TIS

    Dual motor TIS

    Ashore Taylor Express

    Dual motor TIS

    Ashore Maiden

    Single motor TIS

    Dual motor TIS

    3 motor TIS (on special request)

    Ashore Carey

    Single TIS

    Dual TIS

    Ashore Haven

    Single TIS

    Dual TIS

    Ashore Porter

    Dual TIS

    Ashore Major

    Single TIS (depending on weight limit required)

    Dual TIS (depending on weight limit required)



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Natalie Webber

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