General Question

Jeruba's avatar

How to choose a recliner, and how much should I pay?

Asked by Jeruba (51075points) 1 month ago

I’ve never bought anything of the sort, but getting one for my husband now would solve several problems.

I can’t go out and do a bunch of shopping, and he can’t go try them on. We’re going to have to do our best with a modest investment of effort and trust to some luck and good advice.

Good advice: that’s what I need from you folks here.

What do I need to know, what do I have to do, and what price range am I looking at for something decent even if not luxurious? Would I do better at a furniture or other specialty store (e.g., hospital supply), or should I go to Target or Wal-mart? or (yikes) order online?

I am looking for a recliner-type chair and not a hospital bed. And somewhat compact would be really good since space is limited. I also have to be able to make it work with one of those hospital over-the-bed tables (related Q).

Any and all suggestions and recommendations are welcome. Thank you, thank you.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

36 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

Do you need it to have the feature that raises the seat to make it easier to get up? (When my Dad had one, we called it the “Eject Feature”)

JLeslie's avatar

Lazy Boy is a recliner store all over the east cost, I don’t know if you have them there?

I was going to ask the same thing @canidmajor asked about needing the feature that helps you get out of the chair. I don’t know if you can get that at regular furniture stores or just at medical supply like this lift chair.

I would call a few furniture stores that advertise recliners and talk to a salesperson and see what they recommend.

The medical supply stores might be better versed in what you need though. Maybe your insurance will cover part of it?

Jeruba's avatar

Lifting feature: that’s a good question. I don’t know. I’d really hate to see my husband fly out through the roof, but a little gentle tilting might be good as long as it doesn’t move faster than he can.

I’ve seen prices from, like, $300 to $3000, and I don’t know what rule of thumb to apply. I don’t want one made out of cardboard and plastic, but on the other hand we’re not talking about luxury so much as simple comfort and practicality.

I’m not very trusting of salespeople and would find it hard to evaluate their recommendations without a little prior advice from an impartial source that doesn’t see me as a commission. That’s why I’m asking here.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ll ask my sister. She used to do house visits and I think she arranged for furniture for her patients too.

The chair moves slowly. Helps you get up, and helps you sit down so you don’t fall into the chair.

janbb's avatar

I don’t have personal experience with recliners. Here’s an article that suggests 8 of the best. They all seem to be in the $300 – $500 range. You may not trust the source – it’s not one I know – but it may give you some idea of what to look for. If you have access to Consumer Reports through a library or personal subscription, I would check out what they have to say.

JLeslie's avatar

My sister said for certain medical conditions Medicare will pay $200—$300 for the recliner. She doesn’t know about private insurance.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

You will not be able to get a hospital over-the-bed table to work with a lift chair. I wish I had more information for you. That’s the only thing I’m certain of.

JLeslie's avatar

I found this website with lots of information for recliners and using a computer.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, my Dad was never hurled through the ceiling, although I have no doubt that he would have enjoyed that. Not sure, but if I remember correctly they rented it from a medical supply place. I wish I had more info for you, I’m sorry.

Jeruba's avatar

Actually sometimes I would like to see him go out through the roof. Usually, though, I’m the one who does.

Lots of good information here. Thank you all so much. I will follow up when I get my temper back. Set it down somewhere, I guess, and lost it.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

We bought one for my mother with the “ejection seat” which I highly recommend. It lifts up gently. Even if your husband does not need it now, he may be glad to have the option. Southern Motion is the brand we bought. Looking at Wayfair, I think ours is one in the $800 range. It was more like $1200 locally (my brother is less price-sensitive than me and likes to shop, choose, buy, haul home in one swoop).

Zaku's avatar

Unless the sitter lacks the body awareness to make a good choice, I think going and trying various chairs, in a place that has a good variety of good ones, would be the best way to choose a chair. Everyone is different, and will experience chairs differently. Some ergonomics experts and Feldenkrais practicioners, etc may be able to make good suggestions too if they can see you sit in various chairs or at least know your body size – leg length affects what a good chair height is, etc.

Jeruba's avatar

You’re right, @Zaku, but he’s not up to it, physically. It’s going to be my job to choose as well as I can.

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks, @Kardamom. I don’t know what “can easily be placed in the corners of the wall” and “can be kept in the corners of the wall” mean. Do you?

Do all recliners have to be plugged into a power source? That’s an important consideration for placement.

@Call_Me_Jay, “price-sensitive” is a good phrase. I’m a bit price-sensitive and I like to get it all over with in one shot. I hate to shop. I’ve made some poor choices in my haste to get out of stores. Trying to do better this time.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Don’t spend a dime on anything without at least one of you sitting in it and elevating it full tilt. If you must, shop first by yourself. I don’t know your husband’s size, but if he’s a big guy, you want something rugged and massive enough to fit him. In any event, if you’re going to buy a chair, at least one of you should find it comfortable. And by comfortable I mean comfortable enough to sleep in while covered in a blanket. If both your boys are still living with you, enlist their effort in this. I had always regarded recliners with scorn and contempt, preferring my by big winged leather armchair. But the wife bought one, and it is without question the most comfortable thing in the house aside from the bed. She has this outstanding talent for cozy, and can actually rig that thing up like a bed and looks so catlike cozy that I fall asleep just looking at her sitting/lying in it. Check out whatever Costco is pushing. They have quite a few. That way both delivery and return are of no consequence in case hubby is dissatisfied. Be certain the arms are substantially rugged since they will be tasked with supporting his weight when he stands up; speaking of which, you want to be sure that his ease of escape from the thing is assured. Good luck with your research. Let us know how it goes.

jca2's avatar

I second @stanleybmanly‘s recommendation about buying from Costco. They have a very liberal return policy, things bought online can be returned in store, and many people aren’t aware that for most things on, you don’t have to be a member to purchase.

JLeslie's avatar

If it’s electric you will need to plug it in. Electric you just push a button and the chair reclines or straightens back up.

The manual ones take a little strength. There is usually a handle on the manual ones and you use some stomach muscles and your legs and back to help the chair lean back or pop back up.

kritiper's avatar

Get one will coil springs. You might get one that is easy to clean if hubby is prone to spill things. I like a fabric upholstery, not a cold synthetic rubber/plastic cover. I also like a rocker with a lever that puts the foot rest thing up. Expect to pay about $800.

si3tech's avatar

When choosing a recliner the features were the most important. I wanted adjustable headrest. I got a nice leather rocker/recliner for $1500.

janbb's avatar

Here’s an answer on the wall hugger question:

“What is the difference between a recliner and a wall recliner?
A Wall Recliner also called a wall-hugger recliner, is ideal for smaller rooms like a bedroom or smaller living room or den. Instead of the seatback going back like a rocker recliner, the reclining position comes from the chair moving forward on its track mechanism.Jul 12, 2019”

If you Google Lazy-Boy recliners, you can get a lot of info even if that’s not the brand you choose.

The idea of Costco if they will deliver and pick up if return is needed sounds great.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

My sister did the research and bought one for Mom when she fractured her back three separate times and was only comfortable sleeping in a recliner. I’ll check with sis and get back to you on brand/cost. It won’t be until Wed. at the earliest.

What I can tell you about it is that it wasn’t massive and ugly. It had a remote control that tucked away in a side pocket. The chair fit nicely near a wall, and the seat moved forward slowly as the back reclined and the leg extension raised. When upright, the seat could be raised from the back-end to assist in getting up out of the chair.

This is minor, yet another factor I liked about the chair; it came with matching material arm and headrest covers that could be washed.

When Mom died, the head nurse in the assisted living home offered to purchase the chair for her own parent.

Jeruba's avatar

This is all so helpful! You all are not only answering my questions but answering things I didn’t think of. It’s starting to sound possible.

My husband is no longer a big guy. He used to be. There’s not much of him now.

stanleybmanly's avatar

YOU have some shopping to do.

Jeruba's avatar

What about upholstery? Is some kind of fabric more comfortable than a faux-leather-type thing? Is it easier to maintain? I really don’t care about looks so much as comfort and functionality. And fitting in a small room.

JLeslie's avatar

Faux leather will be easier to clean if there are any accidents like spilled food and drinks.

Faux leather will be cold when the air is cold and can get too warm for people who get hot easily. Can’t win. You can always put a cotton blanket or chair cover on the chair to help any of those problems if you have a problem.

I like the cozy feeling of a soft fabric, but if I was ill the practicality of easy clean up might win out.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You’re going to have to go looking. There’s no getting around it. The great lesson in my life which my wife has taught me is in the importance of comfort. I know for a fact that I’ve little inborn talent for it, but old age is teaching me just how priceless it is. Matching hubby to the right chair might be easy as pie. I hope for the sake of both of you that this is the case. And while you’re at it, why not get a comfy chair for yourself?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Just got off the phone with my sister. She suggested doing an internet search for a medical supply store in your area. She found a pharmacy that had a large selection of recliners. Mom wanted one that was upholstered and chose the color. The material was treated to prevent staining, and it still looked brand new, even after her essentially living/sleeping in it for ~5 years.

It had an attached remote control (nice, as it couldn’t slide down into the chair’s interior). The side pockets were handy for storing the remote, tissues, spare glasses, TV guide, etc. The chair fit rather closely to a wall/corner without hitting it when reclined. It did need to be near an electrical outlet.

jca2's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer @Jeruba: Bonus if it could somehow be paid for with insurance or Medicare.

Even if it has fabric stain treatment on it, you might add some Scotch Guard spray of your own just to ensure it’s really hardy with spills.

Jeruba's avatar

I can’t tell you how helpful this all is. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge, experience, and research.

Any idea how to approach the question of Medicare contribution? He has weeping edema in both legs and has to elevate them. So this thing is a necessity more than a luxury. He also can’t walk more than a few steps on account of COPD and back injuries. It’s pretty complicated. Where do I start to find out if they will help?

Jeruba's avatar

So far, my list of features gathered from the above advice and links says this:

1. Wall recliner
2. Powered, with attached remote
3. Goes flat for sleeping
4. Separate up/down for head and foot
5. Adjustable headrest
6. Lift/eject seat
7. Fabric upholstery with detachable arm and headrest covers
8. Storage pockets

9. ?Coil springs

10. ?Attached swivel table/desk surface


I am going to have to go to a Mancini’s mattress store to replace the mattress we bought less than 2 years ago, because to me it’s like sleeping on rocks, and all my joints hurt. They also sell recliners. So I can start there and maybe make a combo deal, if I know what I’m after.

janbb's avatar

Wondering whether wall recliner is compatible with “separate up/down for head and feet”?

Otherwise your list makes sense.

Also thinking have you considered renting a hospital bed or is that too depressing to consider? They are very comfortable.

Would Medicare pay for any of this if you get a doctor to sign off that it is needed?

Jeruba's avatar

@janbb, good Q about compatibility of features, thanks. Guess that would depend on how much clearance we would need for up/down maneuvers.

No room for a hospital bed and both-sides access, and no, we are not ready to be there yet. Also not ready for a portable commode in the living room.

I was in misery the last couple of times I was in a hospital bed. I spent the better part of a week with one fist bunched in the small of my back because there was no support there. The back pain and discomfort were worse than what I was there for. Finally a temp nurse took pity on me and gave me a rolled-up towel.

Asking for a doctor’s signoff: great idea. I’m probably not at peak function right now, what with one thing and another, so all suggestions are welcome.

@kritiper, why coil springs?

JLeslie's avatar

Call your Medicare plan or look at the website. You might have to buy the chair from an approved source. Your plan might require the doctor give some sort of document that it’s medically necessary.

You might also want to consider a chair for the shower for safety if it’s difficult for him to stand long or has a lot of pain.

Is your toilet very low? Standard height vs bachelor height? If that’s a problem, especially if it’s a safety problem, you can get a piece that goes over it that has bars to help him raise and lower himself and it can also raise the seat height if he needs it. Link for that just showing different options.

Do you have a geriatric doctor? They are likely more familiar, but his primary doctor I’m sure can take care of whatever paperwork you need.

JLeslie's avatar

Sorry for another post. I wasn’t clear, but Medicare might likely help you pay for the raised toilet seat with handicap bars and a shower chair. Neither is very expensive though. The link I provided is not a recommendation for brands or where to buy, I was just trying to give you a visual.

Doctors who set up at home care are very familiar with what’s available and what is helpful. Doctors who don’t usually do it might be clueless.

kritiper's avatar

@Jeruba I have had a couple of recliners and the seat springs have been of a flat, wavy design that seem to break after not so much time. Coil springs in the seat will last longer.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther