Last updated: August 5, 2021

Would you like to escape the stress of everyday life for a few minutes and recharge your batteries in your personal oasis of calm? Then a recliner is the furnishing item you have been looking for. In this test report, you will find out which possibilities a recliner offers and which criteria you should take into account when choosing this special seat.

In our recliner test 2021, we show you the best and most comfortable models from each category. We also give you important tips and tricks on how to properly care for your recliner. Whether it's an electric recliner, a recliner with a separate stool or integrated footrest, a swivel and height-adjustable recliner, a recliner for the garden or a recliner with a massage and heating function, we have the best recliners on the market.




Summary

  • A recliner offers you an incomparable relaxation experience. The high level of comfort, the mostly electric adjustability and various other additional functions such as the massage function make them an oasis of well-being for your home.
  • The covers are made of different materials. Fabric, velour and imitation leather are easier to care for than real leather. The latter impresses with its feel and suppleness.
  • You can compare TV armchairs on the basis of various quality criteria, such as functionality, colour, material, weight, maximum load-bearing capacity and price-performance ratio.

The Best Relaxing Chair: Our Choices

Guide: Questions to ask yourself before you buy a recliner chair

Who is a recliner suitable for?

Quite simply: for everyone. A recliner is the perfect piece of upholstered furniture for relaxing. It is particularly suitable for taking a break from everyday life and offers various amenities for individual comfort.

Frau in Sessel

Relax chairs come in many shapes. When buying one, you should make sure that it supports a healthy posture. (Image source: 123rf.com / 32979661)

The comfortable armchairs impress with their extra-deep seats. Furthermore, they ergonomically adapt to your body and help you to maintain a healthy posture. The armchairs have a slight curvature in the lumbar area and high headrests.

This ensures a pleasant and healthy posture. When the armchair is in a horizontal sleeping position, the pressure on the spine is at its lowest. If the legs are also in a slightly bent position slightly higher than the chest, the spine is naturally curved. Muscle relaxation occurs. They are available in different versions and designs with different functionalities. Before buying, you should therefore clarify what is important to you in a recliner and what different functions you need for your well-being.

What are the different types of recliners?

Every body has its own individual requirements for seating furniture. This is true not only for office chairs, but also for TV chairs and recliners. The seat height, seat depth and the height of the backrest should be adapted to you.

Do you want armrests, stools or additional electric comfort functions? Modern recliners can do much more than just vary the sitting position. Adjustable headrests, massage functions for the back and feet or seat heating are no longer rare.

Did you know that there are recliners that have a Shiatsu massage function? These Shiatsu chairs are particularly suitable for people who suffer from muscle or joint weakness. This type of massage activates and stimulates the entire musculoskeletal system.

Your age also plays an important role. A stand-up aid is definitely recommended for older people. A higher seat height also makes it much easier to get up.

For the footrest, recliners with a separate stool are suitable. However, they are also available with an integrated footrest.

If you are a little heavier, this is no longer an exclusion criterion. The maximum load capacity of most armchairs is between 120 and 140 kg.

Modern to rustic: Which armchair suits your style?

Before you read through this section, let me be frank: there is no such thing as the best recliner in puntco design and colour. You should decide for yourself whether your recliner should be made of fine art/leather, velvet fabric or durable, fluffy microfibres. Your favourite style should always match the colour of your furnishings.

Only then can the piece of furniture blend perfectly into your ambience. To make it easier for you to decide, I have prepared a few living room examples for your inspiration:

Modern style

A chic & elegant recliner in black nappa leather with silver metal-look legs radiates stylish elegance. It goes well with a glass table or a white wall unit in a high-gloss look. Clear shapes and lines create a timeless impression and set the modern direction.

Classic style

The classic style is known above all for its restrained colours and simple design. A cosy reading corner with a leather-covered recliner in a dark or light brown shade evokes a pleasant, positive feeling of nonchalance.

A floor lamp with a cream fabric lampshade and a small table with a glass or metal top and a black metal frame complete the neutral look.

Do you have a friendly living room with lots of natural wooden elements? A recliner chair with a cognac-coloured imitation leather cover and a light-coloured base fits perfectly into the ambience.

The many shades of brown and a living wall made of wood symbolise down-to-earthness, pragmatism and comfort. They convey a pleasant, cosy and harmonious feeling.

In summary, you should also note:

  • A slimmer design of armchair is recommended for small rooms. This looks lighter, more modern and not too oppressive
  • Modern armchairs also give your living room a very attractive lounge character
  • Bright colours become a highlight within the interior design and an eye-catcher for your guests
  • Timeless colours that can be combined with almost any style: black, white, beige or grey

By the way, armchairs from Scandinavia are especially popular with buyers because they convey the casual and light design, have subtle colours and are mostly made of woods and leather. Bright colours are fresher, more daring and do not suit every interior style.

Material question: soft fabric or supple leather?

Seat cushions and covers are often made of a wide variety of materials. In addition to properties such as stability and durability, the ease of care and comfort of the upholstery materials is also a decision criterion.

Frame

There are different versions of the support or frame . If you prefer the "natural" version, you will get a frame made of wood; alternatively, other frames are made of steel, chrome or aluminium.

Please look out for hardwoods, as these are much more resilient.

Covers

Leather , for example, is a very popular material for upholstery. Depending on the material, you are offered different advantages. Many buyers choose a recliner made of real or imitation leather mainly because of its aesthetic and natural look. Upholstered arm chairs can be a good and popular alternative. They are usually made of cuddly soft materials such as microfibre or velour and are also extremely hard-wearing and dirt-repellent.

Leather - durable and natural

Advantages
  • Breathable material clings to the body
  • pleasantly cool and durable in summer
  • warming at low temperatures, as genuine leather quickly adapts to body temperature
  • insensitive to scratches and scuffs
Disadvantages
  • Genuine leather chair is very high-maintenance
  • quite expensive compared to other components such as velour or microfibre
  • Susceptible to stains
  • Requires regular treatment with leather grease

Due to its pleasant feel and its surface with its characteristic pattern, leather has a very individual look and is one of the most popular coverings of all.

Imitation leather - inexpensive and easy to care for
Advantages
  • Many positive characteristics of real leather
  • armchairs made of imitation leather less susceptible to stains
  • cheaper than noble natural material
Disadvantages
  • Faster wear than real leather
  • Not breathable
  • Often poorly finished
  • Partly chemical smell of imitation leather
Fabric / Upholstery - soft and versatile
Advantages
  • Particularly cosy and soft
  • Breathable
  • Dirt-repellent and therefore easy to clean
  • Resistant to lint
Disadvantages
  • Does not absorb moisture
  • often looks cheap
  • pet hair sticks very stubbornly to the fabric

Good to know: Structural fabrics are woven flat and consist of strong and vertically connected fibre strands. If the fabric is coarser, two coloured fibres are often combined to create a beautiful two-tone effect. Textured fabrics are particularly abrasion-resistant and at the same time pleasantly soft.

The different materials used by the manufacturers lead to different advantages. In summary, leather has the advantage of looking very classy and stylish, whereas fabric covers score points for their pleasant, soft feel on the skin. In terms of design, fabric covers are usually more colourful, fresher and also easier to clean.

Which rooms are suitable for recliners?

The preferred place of use is, of course, the living room, where a reading or TV armchair is a must.

Armchairs with a sleep function or recliners often allow you to take a short nap and relax

Relaxing armchairs also look good in the guest room. Even in the study, in the room of productivity, there is nothing to be said against a recliner. On the contrary: occasional time-outs to sort out your thoughts in the recliner promote creative energy.

Where can I buy a recliner?

You can buy a recliner in any well-stocked furniture store or online. You can either buy the goods yourself directly in the furniture store, or you can decide to have the company take care of the time-consuming transport.

How much do recliners cost?

It is fair to say that the life of a recliner chair increases considerably as its price increases. The patented systems (e.g. cold foam upholstery, genuine leather) as well as the high material and manufacturing quality often make the difference.

However, nowadays there are enough products in the mid-range price segment that can keep up with the higher-priced ones in terms of comfort & quality. (See our recliner test) With extremely cheap, poorly manufactured TV chairs, it can happen that seams come loose or the chair legs lose their support.

price range price
lower price range 100€
middle price range 200-1000€
upper price range over 1000€

Conclusion: The more natural the upper material and the more functions you want your recliner to have, the higher the price. For example, real leather upholstery is far more expensive than faux leather. Inexpensive and basic recliners usually start at €100. For higher-priced models, there is no limit to the type and range of functions (1000€>).

Decision: What types of recliners are there and which is right for you? Advantages and disadvantages

Basically, we distinguish between these types of recliners:

  • Electric recliner
  • Relax chair with separate stool
  • Relax chair with integrated footrest
  • Swivel recliner / height adjustable
  • Garden recliner
  • Relaxing armchair with massage or heating function

In the following, we explain the different types and their respective advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to help you find the most suitable recliner for you.

Electric recliner

If the recliner has a motor, it usually offers a few extra functions. It can be rotated 360 degrees and adjusted in all directions at the touch of a button.

Advantages
  • Lots of other functions possible at the touch of a button, e.g. stand-up aid
  • Can usually be turned 360°
Disadvantages
  • More expensive than recliners without electricity
  • Requires electricity
  • Requires more space than recliners with manual operation

Depending on whether one or two motors are installed, the footrest and backrest move in combination or separately from each other.

Relaxing armchair with separate stool

Comfort armchairs with a separate stool are particularly suitable for people who often want to put their feet up. As the stool can be used separately, you can choose whether you prefer to use the armchair on its own. You can also stow the stool under the armchair from time to time.

Advantages
  • Very flexible, the stool can be used or not used as desired
  • position can be changed and rotated as needed
  • lighter weight than electric armchairs
Disadvantages
  • A model with stool may need a little more storage space
  • Possibly restriction of reclining comfort

This decision would not be possible with an integrated footrest (unless it can be retracted separately).

Advisor's tip: recliners with a stool have the advantage that the distance between the leg rest and the seat can be varied completely.

Recliner with integrated footrest

The recliner with integrated footrest offers all the previous advantages, but the footrest cannot be stored separately.

Advantages
  • High reclining comfort
  • Uniform concept
  • Partly electric
Disadvantages
  • Extending the footrest requires more space
  • Usually more expensive than recliners with a separate stool

Extending the recliner to the horizontal position therefore requires a lot of space, but is particularly comfortable.

Swivel recliner / height adjustable

Do you want your recliner to be adjustable? Then you have quite a wide choice. Most armchairs have a swivel function and can be adjusted 360 degrees. Make sure that the seat height is also adjustable.

Advantages
  • 360° swivel
  • individually adjustable, perfect ergonomic fit for the body
  • very flexible
Disadvantages
  • Requires space
  • the swivel function is not possible with every recliner (e.g. massage chairs)

Some manufacturers also offer recliners with battery operation

Garden recliner

For outdoor use, special robust and weather-resistant materials are used for a recliner. They are designed to be relatively comfortable. However, this model does not have fabric upholstery or electric functions.

Advantages
  • Also suitable for outdoor use
  • Weatherproof
  • Very robust and resistant material
  • Easy to clean
Disadvantages
  • Electric functions must be dispensed with
  • Usually designed as a recliner
  • No fabric upholstery possible

Relaxing armchair with massage or heating function

With a massage chair, you can bring your own private masseur into your home! They usually offer the highest level of comfort. With the help of a remote control, you can choose between different massage programmes.

Advantages
  • Relief from back pain and tension
  • very pleasant
  • massage at the touch of a button, usually with touch screen
  • high comfort
Disadvantages
  • Partly high power consumption
  • Very expensive to buy
  • Less comfortable when switched off

The higher-priced models are even equipped with a touch screen. Shiatsu massages in combination with heat elements for pleasant relaxation for the back are no longer a rarity.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate recliners

In the following, we will show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate recliners. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and decide on a suitable and effective device. In summary, these are the following criteria:

  • Colour
  • Material
  • Weight & dimensions & adjustability
  • Max. Load capacity
  • Functionality
  • Price / Performance

In the following, you can read about the respective criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a device based on the criteria or not.

Colour

As already mentioned, the colour of your recliner should harmonise well with your furnishings so that it fits in perfectly with the ambience of your home. There are a few things to consider so that your armchair becomes the eye-catcher par excellence for your guests. Bright colours such as red or yellow will be the highlight of your interior design.

However, they cannot be integrated into every living room. Whereas timeless colours can be combined with almost all styles. You can choose between black, white, beige or grey. You can also go more for brown tones, which create a cosy and relaxed ambience. You can find more on this and also various living room examples for inspiration above in the guide: Modern to rustic: Which armchair suits your style?

Material

When it comes to the material, the durability and care requirements should not be neglected. Seat upholstery and covers as well as the base itself are often made of different materials with very different advantages.

Your personal preferences in terms of style are just as much a factor in the choice of product as the comfort of the upper materials. When it comes to the support or the frame, there is the "natural" version made of wood, but there are also frames made of steel, chrome or aluminium to choose from. If you decide on a wooden base, please look for hardwoods. These are much more stable and resilient.

A rather popular material for the covers is, for example, leather. Many buyers choose a recliner made of real or imitation leather mainly because of its cooling function and feel. Very good alternatives for your "best recliner" can be upholstered recliners. They are usually made of cosy, soft materials such as microfibre or velour. This material is characterised by its durability and is extremely easy to clean, as it is often dirt-repellent.

Weight & dimensions & adjustability

Nowadays, wider recliners are becoming more and more popular as they are usually very comfortable. With functions such as seat heating or different massage programmes, they have become real all-rounders in our living rooms. In small rooms, however, I recommend a slimmer armchair design.

This looks lighter, more modern and not too oppressive. However, modern and wide armchairs give your living room an extremely attractive lounge character. It also depends on whether the recliner is ergonomically suitable for your body measurements. What do we mean by that? Sometimes the recliner may not fit you perfectly because of your height. Sitting for long periods of time can have an extremely negative effect on your back if your posture while sitting is not optimal. A height-adjustable armchair can remedy this.

But how can you recognise an ergonomically suitable TV armchair? We have compiled a small checklist for this purpose:

  • The seat should be deep enough to leave two fingers of space between the back of the knee and the seat
  • The backrest should support the back well at all points and reach at least shoulder height
  • The armrests should be wide and high enough so that the shoulders neither hang nor are pushed upwards

Ultimately, it depends on the amount of space you have. Recliners with an integrated footrest need a lot of space to extend into the horizontal sleeping position. You should therefore place the armchair at a minimum distance from the living wall.

It is definitely a good idea to measure the dimensions of your home with a folding rule beforehand. The weight should also not be underestimated. At 20 kg, smaller armchairs are comparatively easy and flexible to move. Larger lounge chairs or even two-seater chairs, however, weigh up to 70kg. Without a partner, you will not be able to change the location on your own.

Max. Load capacity

The criterion of maximum load-bearing capacity applies above all to somewhat heavier people. After all, every body makes different demands on a piece of seating furniture. However, weight is not an exclusion criterion. The maximum load capacity for most armchairs is between 120 and 140 kg. However, there are also manufacturers such as Mendler who offer armchairs with a load capacity of up to 220 kg.

Functionality

By functionality we mean all simple comfort functions such as armrests, separate stools or integrated footrests. Additional functions such as heating elements and massage functions are considered premium extras. Relax chairs with these functions are usually a little more expensive, but offer a high level of comfort.

We would like to emphasise here that it is primarily a question of which functions you need for your personal well-being and what you expect from your recliner. In the guide section above, you can read about the different advantages and disadvantages and make the best choice.

Price

The more natural the upper material and the more functions you want your recliner to have, the higher the price. For example, real leather upholstery is much more expensive than artificial leather. Inexpensive and basic recliners usually start at €100. For higher-priced models, there is no limit to the type and range of functions (1000€>).

Facts worth knowing on the subject of recliners

Care tips: How to keep your recliner clean

Fabric / Upholstery

  1. For rough dirt removal of hair, dust or crumbs, a hoover or an upholstery brush is suitable for upper materials made of velour or microfibre. You can also steam clean many chairs to remove stains. This allows you to penetrate deep into the lowest layers of material and ensure cleanliness there as well.
  2. Note, however, that a steam cleaner is only suitable for fabric materials. Real leather or Alcantare would be too easily damaged.
  3. Use a special grease remover to remove greasy stains from microfibre.

Leather

  1. Do not use a grease remover on recliners made of genuine leather. Leather covers require special treatment. They also benefit from regular treatment with leather grease to keep the material shiny and supple.
  2. Light stains can be removed with damp cloths or, for stubborn stains, with curd soap.
  3. You can easily clean imitation leather with a little lukewarm water and a dash of dishwashing liquid or "Pril". This will not roughen the surface and you can quickly remove dirt and stains

Still to be noted:

  1. Don't forget to read the manufacturer's care instructions. They often suggest a suitable cleaning agent. However, you can usually "dab away" light stains with a wet cloth and washing-up liquid.
  2. Home remedies are cheaper and usually just as effective. Nevertheless, you can also use special textile and upholstery cleaners. These are often available in specialist shops or drugstores.

Who repairs recliners?

Of course, you spend a few euros on a recliner, so the chair won't simply be replaced if it breaks down. But who actually repairs the comfortable seating furniture? As you learned from our guide, today's recliners have various functions that can also wear out. Fortunately, the repair of a recliner is usually carried out directly by the manufacturer.

At best, the chair is still under warranty. Otherwise, you can turn to special repair companies. You can usually find external service providers locally via the furniture store or via a Google search. Often a mechanic will come to your home, so you don't have to worry about transport. However, this is often associated with higher costs. Therefore, weigh up carefully whether the repair exceeds the price of a new purchase.

Photo source: 123rf.com / 12174604

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