How Do Recliner Works (The Short Guide)

A recliner armchair is a complex piece of furniture that consists of a frame, reclining mechanism, springs, levers, cables, arms, footrest, and frame. Combining these parts gives us an incredible piece of furniture that we call a recliner. Let’s discuss every aspect in detail to understand it works.

I hope that this article will be helpful for you.

Recliner frame

The frame of a recliner consists of two side-rails and a top rail. The side-rails are connected to the armrests by hinges which allow the armrests to hold a position in front or behind you and up or down. The top rail links to the seat both by hinges and springs, allowing you to choose between higher back support and a deeper seat.

Reclining mechanism

A recliner’s activating mechanism enables the raising and lowering of the side section that holds the headrest, and it is a simple mechanism. All you have to do is pull it from either the left or right side until it reaches the proper level, locking it with a lever located on one end of the hinge.

This mechanism is one of the most problematic parts of the recliners. Thus, I recommend you visit the closest recliner repair center or check out my article about how to fix a recliner mechanism.


Springs play a significant role in supporting all the functions that your recliner proposes. So, if the spring breaks, every single recliner feature starts to malfunction. If one spring breaks, your armchair will not support any part of your body, including headrests and arms. That’s why it is essential to conduct a professional diagnosis if springs start showing signs of wear out.

It is possible to fix the springs yourself, but you still need to understand what’s wrong with your armchair. Once again, you can check out my article about improving your springs.


Legs are used to lock the whole mechanism in place. The leg has a knob on one end, which is used to attach the footrest to the frame. Suppose these parts start to malfunction and cannot support themselves anymore. In that case, I recommend you start thinking about replacing these legs. It will be far more complicated and expensive once they break.

However, it is relatively easy to adjust the height of your recliner by loosening or tightening bolts located at its base until reaching the desired level. On average, every leg requires about six turns to rise by 1 inch. This system also ensures that there won’t be any gaps between your floor and the best recliner, so rest assured that everything will look excellent and neat even after long periods of use.


The primary purpose of a lever is to lock the recliner into place or to unlock it so you can fold your armchair and have full access to its interior. All you have to do to unlock the mechanism is lift the lever, and this will give you approximately three inches of clearance from top to bottom.

For the levers to work correctly, they need some lubrication because friction locks them in place. If there isn’t enough grease, there won’t be any locking securing the armrests, seatback, and footrest from moving back. With this information, I recommend calling your nearest recliner repair center. Because the break of this lever will compound, and other components in your chair will start to give up.


The footrests are used to give you additional foot support. They don’t attach directly to the frame, but they are placed in front. However, you can easily remove them if you want. It is easy to lock them into place. All you have to do is to place them approximately 7 inches from the bottom of the recliner and then turn their locking knob by 90 degrees to secure them in position.

When adjusting their height, there aren’t any knobs or bolts that you have to worry about, so feel free to change them until they reach the desired level. Every footrest is equipped with a set of rollers at its base, which enables moving your whole armchair around without having it getting stuck on one spot on your floor.


Armrests also come in different shapes and sizes. Some come with padded covers, while others offer you the possibility to upgrade your armchair by attaching any custom-made cover or pad to it. Nevertheless, for the armrests to function correctly, they need to be locked either up or down using levers located on their side.

Similar to bolts, these components also require lubrication if you want them to work correctly. The prolonged absence of good lubrication will lead to problems and malfunctions in the future.


How do manual recliners work?

Manual recliners typically have a lever or handle located on the outside of the armrest. Simply pull the lever and lean back using your body weight to recline. Some manual recliners also have a footrest that pops out when the chair is reclined. To return the chair to its upright position, simply push down on the arms and lean forward until you hear the chair click into place.

What are the different types of recliners?

There are several types of recliners, including manual, power, wall-hugger, rocker, and lift.

Are recliners beneficial for your back?

Yes, recliners can be beneficial for your back because they allow you to maintain a good posture and support your spine. Additionally, recliners can help reduce back pain by providing proper lumbar support.

Can you sleep on a recliner?

Yes, you can sleep on a recliner. In fact, many people find recliners to be more comfortable than beds because they provide support for your back and spine. However, sleeping in a recliner for an extended period of time may lead to some stiffness in your neck and shoulders.

How can I sit comfortably in my recliner?

Make sure that the backrest is at the correct angle for your body. Second, adjust the footrest to support your feet; it shouldn’t dangle off the edge. Finally, use pillows to support your head and neck if necessary.

Does a recliner need power?

That depends on the type of recliner you have. While manual recliners can be operated without electricity, power recliners typically require an electrical outlet. Additionally, many lift chairs also require electricity in order to operate.

What to do if your recliner stops working?

Many users are comfortable with troubleshooting and repairing their own recliners. One can easily fix common recliner problems with a few simple tools and the user manual. However, it is always best to consult a professional if the problem is more serious.


All in all, after learning about recliner parts and how they work, it’s safe to say that having one of these chairs is not a bad idea. On the contrary, these are great pieces of furniture that people of all ages and sizes can use. With over 100 million high-quality components installed every year, there is no wonder why this particular type of furniture has become so popular.

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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