Types of Recliner Handles

All kinds of furniture, electrical appliances, and gadgets are prone to some form of damage due to prolonged usage, especially if you are unable to handle them with care and keep up with their maintenance. The same theory applies to recliners as well. Although recliners are considered strong furniture, prolonged use can cause wear and tear and sometimes even broken parts.

One such part is the recliner handle. If you just happened to break the handle on your recliner, there is no need to call a local repair technician because he will charge you more than you can imagine. If you are comfortable repairing parts on your own and have previously done it, calling in a repair technician should be your last resort. Plus, recliner handles are pretty easy to repair and do not require a lot of technical skills to be fixed or replaced.

You will not need a list of complicated tools; a screwdriver and a pair of pliers will do the job for you!

Before you begin repairing or replacing your recliner handle, you need to understand that several different types of recliner handles exist, some of which we will be discussing shortly.

Types of recliner handles

There are three basic types of recliner handles available on the market: D-ring, lever, and flapper. All these handles have slightly different specifications, but they all perform the same function: physically opening your recliner.

The lever handles

The lever handle is the most basic and familiar recliner handle known to people. The materials used to make the lever handle include wood, metal, or plastic. The lever handle is used to open your recliner once you pull it back physically.

The D-ring handles

As the name suggests, the D-ring handle is in the shape of the letter D, which is connected to a cable. They are sometimes referred to as the parachute-style inner recliner release handle. They operate similarly to a lawnmower, and you pull the handle to make the recliner chair recline.

The flapper handles

The operation of a flapper recliner handle is slightly different from the D-ring and Lever recliner handles. Flapper recliner handles are less noticeable than their counterparts because they are fitted inside the chair. You will have to pull out the flaps using your fingers, and your recliner chair will recline. They work like the doors to your car’s gas tank and open your recliner every time you pull the flaps out.

How to fix different types of recliner handles

Since all the types mentioned above of recliner handles operate differently, each has its own method when you are looking to repair it. We have compiled a step-by-step guide to help you fix the recliner handle type your recliner is equipped with.

Fixing the lever handles

You will need a screwdriver for fixing a lever-style recliner handle. The first step is to push your recliner chair forward to expose its underside. You are pushing it forward to see the mechanism located at the bottom of the chair. Next, try to look for the lever handle that you pull to open your recliner. The handle must be screwed in place to your recliner chair. Use your screwdriver to unscrew the lever handle and remove it.

Please ensure that you keep the small screws in a safe spot and out of the reach of children because you will need them later. You will also find a small piece of protective metal in the same spot, which you will have to remove from the recliner too. Once you have your new lever handle, place the new protective metal piece over the recliner mechanism and put the new lever handle in place of the old one. Once you have slid the new lever handle in its place, use your screwdriver to tighten it carefully so it does not come off.

Fixing the D-ring handles

You will need both the screwdriver and a pair of pliers to fix a D-ring style recliner handle. Use your screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the D-ring handle in its place and remove it. Store the screws in a safe spot because you will need them later.

Next, push your recliner forward on its back so you can access the internal mechanism area. Locate the cable end and examine it. This cable must be attached at two places to the mechanism release trigger. The first is the S-tip which will cause your recliner cable to lose its tension when you remove it. Use your pliers, preferably a pair of needle-nose ones, to remove the mechanism release clip. Once you remove the clip, pull out the cable from the chair and remove it completely.

In this step, you will insert the new cable in place of the old one. Once you do that, put the new mechanism release clip at the same spot from where you removed the old one. Put the S-tip back in its place and put your recliner back up. Use the screws you initially removed to tightly screw your new handle in the same place you removed the old one from.

Fixing the flapper handles

The first thing you need to do is expand your recliner chair so you can access the screws better. Expanding the recliner will help you locate the screws quicker. Once you have located the screws, use a pair of screwdrivers to carefully remove them and store them in a safe place to use later.

Next, you need to remove the cable used to control the handle from the recliner. Once the screws are removed, you will be able to locate the cable with ease. Squeeze the cable base to loosen it and pull it out of the recliner.

Now carefully insert the new cable in place of the old one and tighten it by using the screws you removed earlier. Put the protective metal lid and tighten the screws in place.

How to replace the handle on a recliner:

Although adding or replacing a new handle on your recliner might seem like a task for a professional, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to do it on your own.

Follow the steps below to replace your recliner handle:

  1. First of all, you need to get a handle that is compatible and suitable for the recliner that you already own. Ensure that the size and type are correct.
  2. Now, you have to release the mechanism on the recliner chair. To do this, lift the existing handle, which will open your footrest.
  3. Now, you can see the screws on the recliner.
  4. Get a right-sized screwdriver and remove the handle you want to replace.
  5. Once the handle is out of the attachment on the chair, you’ll find it hanging in place with a cable.
  6. Now it’s time to release the cable attached to the handle.
  7. There might be differences in how you remove the cable from the handle depending on the recliner manufacturer, but typically, it is held on by a key slot.
  8. Use the flat end of a screwdriver to push the cable out of the handle
  9. Now that your handle is entirely apart from your recliner, you need to attach the new handle to the same place you removed the old one.
  10. Follow the same steps as before but in reverse. Now you will have to attach the cable to the new handle and place the unit while you screw it on the chair.

Frequently asked questions:

Which recliner handle do I need?

When you want to replace your old recliner handle with a new one, please ensure that you are buying the same type of recliner handle for the replacement because any other handle type will not be compatible with your recliner.

Where can I buy a replacement recliner handle?

It is a good idea to contact the retailer you bought your recliner from to buy any replacement parts. If you have a valid warranty, they will replace it without charging you anything, but you can also buy a replacement recliner handle from any online commercial store.

How can I avoid breaking my recliner handle?

Recliner handles are the most used part of any manual recliner. The recliner handle is prone to damage with frequent use, but you can avoid breaking it by pulling it gently. You can also invest in a power recliner if you do not want to deal with manual handles!

Will I get a free replacement for my recliner handle from my retailer?

If you have a valid warranty, then you can claim repair for any broken or damaged parts of your recliner. Your manufacturer might charge you for the labor after one year of purchase, but you will not be charged for the replacement handle and the repair if the warranty is valid.

How can I change the lever of a recliner chair?

If your recliner’s handle is broken, you will have to replace it with a new one. You can buy one online or at an offline retail store selling recliner parts. Before you make a purchase, ensure that you have a compatible handle for your recliner. If you don’t want to replace the whole thing but need to change the lever to the other side, get a new handle and screw or place it on the other side of your recliner.

What are recliner handles made of?

Recliner handles come in wide different varieties. Typically, you will find that most handles come in plastic, metal, and wooden forms. You can choose whoever suits your preference the most.


Recliner handles are the easiest to fix if they get damaged or broken. There are three main types of recliner handles, and when you decide to replace your old handle with a new one, please ensure you buy the same type as your previous handle. There is no need to hire a professional to do the repairing job for you because you can easily do it at home without costing you a fortune! This step-by-step guide should help you to understand how you can fix each type of recliner handle in little to no time.

Last updated: 12/08/2022

About Karen Miller

Hello! I'm Karen Miller, an interior designer from Chicago with a passion for creating beautiful and functional spaces. After leading designer at Chicago Interior LLC in 2010-2020, I started to share my expertise on home comfort. I'm excited to help you transform your home into a place of comfort and joy. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

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