How Do Recliners Work and How to Prolong Their Service Span?

A recliner is undoubtedly the most comfortable chair one can get to relax. You can use it while reading, watching a show or movie, and also when just want to take a nap. You can place this furniture in your living room, gallery, office, patio, or any other place you like. Most recliners are built to offer 10-15 years of unproblematic service. So, you won’t face any trouble in maintaining the chair. 

Have you ever wondered how do recliners work? What does make a recliner the best chair to experience optimum comfort? A recliner is quite different from a regular chair or couch. This post will reveal the working mechanism of different types of recliners. So, continue reading to learn more about this furniture. 

The working mechanism of a recliner

A regular chair has a seat, a backrest, and legs. A recliner is quite different because it is a robust piece of furniture. You have to learn about different parts of this chair to learn about its working mechanism. 

Also, check out: 5 Best Lane Recliners In 2022 To Buy.


Manufacturers use tough materials, such as hardwood or metal to craft the frame of a recliner. Large screws are used to align the frame perfectly. It ensures greater stability of the chair when you are sitting and moving its frame. 

There is a liver in the recliner. Pull it and your bodyweight will transfer backwards. Chairs with hardwood frames can maintain the shape and the user’s weight while in motion. If the recliner fails to manage your weight properly, its service span will be pretty short. 

Not all brands claim their furniture will offer 10-15 years of unproblematic service. Only the recliner equipped with a solidified frame can survive regular wear and tear and provide a satisfying service. You should maintain it time-by-time to ensure the frame is not damaged due to excess weight. 


Every recliner comes with two arms, which are built to operate independently. It won’t affect the position of arms if you pull the lever to incline the chair. Arms will stay firm in their original position. 

Armrests are attached to recliners to help the user while reclining. These are made of several panels to ensure additional strength. Panels are tightly bolted with crossbars to keep armrests stable. You can move the recliner seat without any issue if the arms are immobile. That’s why manufacturers pay special attention to the build quality of recliner arms. 

Springs and levellers

A recliner is equipped with springs that absorb the pressure and compress when you are reclining backwards. The chair remains in that reclined position as long as you are sitting. The spring expands and brings the chair back to its normal position as you release the pressure. 

Reading tip: 5 best Ashley recliner chairs of 2022.

How does a manual recliner work?

A manual recliner can be fully manual or equipped with a lever mechanism. The maneuverability of a manual recliner is much simpler than other variants. Therefore, you cannot get more than two reclined positions in this chair. You can either sit or recline the chair. 

A manual recliner uses the push and pull actions to move the seat forward and backwards. You have to grip the armrests to adjust your position on the chair. 

  • You can recline the chair if you pull the armrests. 
  • Push the armrest whenever you want to get back in the sitting position.  

Your body weight is used to adjust the position of the chair and it doesn’t require a power supply to operate. A manual recliner is perfect for your demands if you want a simple and durable chair for your comfort. 

How does a power or electric recliner work?

An electric recliner is much newer and widely chosen across the globe. It requires a power supply or battery power to operate. It won’t work if there is a power outage or batteries are drained. People, who buy this furniture, never worry about the power issue. That’s why its demands are pretty high in the market! 

You can use some power recliners like a manual one. Check the user manual you have received with the chair. If there are manual overrides, you can easily position the chair with force. If you are wondering how do power recliners work, check the following instructions. You will learn some important facts about the working mechanism of electric/power recliners. 

Read more: 5 Best Recliners To Buy In 2022 For Your House.

Connect the power supply

Plug the power cord into a power outlet and turn on the button. If it is a battery-powered recliner, then turn on the power supply to operate the chair. 

Recline the chair

There should be a handset connected to the chair that you can use to operate the chair. Press and hold the recline button to take the chair from an upright position to a reclining position. Some handsets also indicate the reclining position of the chair to help the user understand how far he can go. Get into the desired position and then relax as long as you want! 

Return to the upright position

A power recliner does not get back into the upright position on its own. You have to press the “upright button” to get back into an upright position. So, press this button and hold it until you get into the initial position. It will stop declining once you get into the normal position. 

You can try more reclined positions on a power recliner than a manual recliner can ever offer. It feels more comforting, but it is also more expensive than manual recliners! 

How to prolong the service span of a recliner?

Follow the below-given tips to maintain your recliner chair in the top condition

Prevent physical damage

Recliner chairs are expensive and repair works can cost a considerable sum of money. You should take the necessary preventive measures to avoid physical damage. Disassemble the chair before moving it upstairs. Thus, you can avoid damage to upholstery fabric and the chair’s frame. 

Since most recliners are equipped with leather, direct sunlight can cause serious damage to the upholstery. Place the chair away from the window to keep it new. Remove sharp objects from your pockets before sitting on the chair. You also need to protect the chair from strong odors to slow down its aging process.  

Read this post: 6 Best Leather Recliners in 2022 (most comfortable).

Change sunken cushions

You must change cushions after 4-5 years to maintain the optimum comfort level of the recliner. Cushions or foam padding stops fluffing back after a few years. The chair feels pretty firm and uncomfortable. You will find it quite problematic if you have lower back issues. 

Call a professional handyman or recliner repairing service to replace old padding. Change the upholstery if required to make the chair look and operate like a new one. 

Deep clean your recliner

Cleaning a recliner chair is one of the toughest tasks! You can clean large sections of the chair, but it will be extremely tough to remove dust and dirt from narrow spaces. Do not use water if you are cleaning a leather chair! It will leave large discolored spots on the chair and the furniture will look a bit ugly. 

Try a steam cleaner to clean your recliner thoroughly. It is effective against normal dust and it also removes weird smells from the chair. Clean the chair regularly and call a professional cleaner at least once a month to keep the recliner in the best condition. 

Take care of the recliner’s mechanical components! 

Do not be one of those users, who check the mechanical components when the chair is making weird sounds. The recliner requires proactive care to work flawlessly for several years. You should oil the moving joints time by time to prevent fractions and keep key components in the best condition. 

Suppose your recliner starts making weird noises, find the problematic spot and try to fix it. If you can’t solve the issue, call an expert. The repairman will resolve the issue before it gets bigger and affects the working mechanism of your chair. 

Final thoughts

You have learned how do electric recliners work and how to maintain these chairs to prolong their service life. Use this information to maintain your furniture and avoid expensive repairs. There is not much difference between a manual and a power recliner. Both operate similarly and you can take care of both types’ recliners in the same way. 

You will have to replace the padding after 4-6 years to avoid discomfort. It will allow elderly family members to relax on the chair for hours and enjoy a comforting life. 

About Karen Miller

As an interior designer, I believe that living spaces should be welcoming and comfortable. When you walk into your home or office for the first time after it's been remodeled by me - all of those efforts are paid off with a sense of comfort in knowing how much care went into making sure every detail was attended too!

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