How to buy the best riser recliner chair
By Hannah Fox
The best riser recliner chairs are comfortable to sit in and easy to use. Find the perfect chair to relax in with our expert guide.
Whether you need a riser recliner for mobility reasons, or simply to enjoy leaning back and putting your feet up at the end of a long day, it's worth taking time to choose the best model for your needs.
While it might be tempting just to take some measurements and order a riser recliner from a catalogue or website, we'd always recommend trying before you buy. Our buying guide highlights the features to look out for in-store.
Once you've found the perfect fit, you can order your new chair from wherever offers the best price or most convenient delivery options.
To see which chairs we recommend based on your budget, explore our expert guide on the best riser recliner chairs.
All riser recliner chairs broadly fulfil the same function - to allow you to lean back on a reclined backrest while raising your legs.
One of the main choices you'll need to make is whether to buy one 'off the peg' in a standard size, or get one custom made.
Manufacturers tend to recommend that you order a custom-made chair built specifically for your dimensions.
You should be asked for your measurements and offered an assessment so the manufacturer can match a chair to your body shape.
Alternatively, you can book an assessment with an independent adviser who'll take you through these steps, as well as help you choose a correctly proportioned chair.
Although some furniture stores sell riser recliner chairs, they're more typically sold in independent specialist retailers or mobility stores, online and by phone or mail order. Custom-made riser recliner chairs usually take around six weeks to be delivered.
If you have a specific medical problem affecting your mobility, we recommend you seek independent advice. Find a registered professional in your area by searching the College of Occupational Therapists website.
Larger riser recliner chairs
Check if there are any weight restrictions for the chair you're considering. If the chair isn't built for your weight, the frame may become unstable, so you may be better off buying a special heavy-duty chair. Some manufacturers have chairs in extra-large sizes (often called 'bariatric' chairs) that you can buy off the shelf, or you can order a custom-made one.
Even standard-sized riser recliner chairs are generally quite big - so you'll need to measure up and ensure you have enough space to accommodate it in its fully reclined position. You'll also need to make sure you have a mains power socket nearby.
While you can get basic riser recliner chairs for as little as £350 or so, the cheapest models are likely to be single-motor versions that don't let you control the back and footrest independently.
Typical prices for dual-motor riser recliner chairs that we've tested range from £900 to around £2,000, and we've found Best Buy riser recliners at varying price points within this.
The price you pay may also depend on the features and fabric you choose, as well as who you buy your chair from, and it's always worth shopping around.
Use our expert reviews to find a Best Buy riser recliner chair at a price point you're happy with.
Getting financial support to buy a riser recliner chair
If you need a riser recliner chair because of a medical condition or to help you live independently at home, you may be eligible to get one through your local authority.
Your first step should be to contact your local council and book an assessment
Different local authorities have different rules around what they'll pay for, but your first step should be to contact your local council and book an assessment. You can find out more in the Which? Later Life Care guide to financing care at home.
If you have a specific mobility problem and you need special equipment to live independently you may also qualify for VAT exemption. Visit the HMRC website for more information on VAT relief for disabled people.
Once you've found a comfortable chair that's the right size for you, ask yourself these questions to help you choose the most suitable functions:
- Leg rest - Do you want the leg rest to rise automatically as you recline, or would you prefer to control these movements independently of each other? If the latter, make sure you choose a dual-motor riser recliner chair.
- Battery - Do you want a back-up battery that will let you move back to a neutral or standing position if you have a power cut?
- Anti-crush - Do you want an anti-crush feature to prevent accidents owing to pets or small children getting underneath the mechanism before it moves?
- Chair shape - Would you like the seat and back to remain fixed in position as you recline? This can reduce the risk of friction or other damage to your skin as the chair moves.
Problems caused by ill-fitting riser recliner chairs
A comfortable chair will have support in the right places. For example, extra padding at the bottom to support your lower back, and at the top for your head. It will have a leg rest that supports your whole lower leg down to your heel and at the same height as your seat. The chair should be soft, but not so soft that you can feel the frame.
It's important to make sure the chair's measurements are a good 'fit' for your body. Think about:
- Seat height: If a chair's too high, your feet won't be able to touch the floor, and this will put too much pressure on your back. Your legs could also start to feel uncomfortable. If it's too low, your legs won't be fully supported, and the backs of your thighs could start to ache.
- Chair width: A riser recliner chair that's too wide won't properly support your sides and back, and you may feel less secure in the chair.
- Seat depth: If the seat's too deep, you won't be able to sit with your back fully supported down its length. Often, people who've made this mistake stuff cushions behind them, but this doesn't provide even support. You could also find that pressure builds behind the knees - not ideal if you have circulation problems.
Just as you would with any other product, try out as many chairs as you can - there's nothing to stop you walking into several retailers to try out different chairs, even if you decide to have one built for you.
Disabled Living Centres (DLCs) are well worth a visit. These are a network of local centres that provide independent advice. Most are charities and may not sell chairs, but they're a good place to start to understand the range and styles offered, and to test out chairs on loan from manufacturers.
Some retailers may even come to your home, so it's worth exploring that as an option, too.
If your recliner isn’t right, not only will it be uncomfortable but it could cause you physical problems. It’s important to remember that most chairs will feel comfy when you first sit on them, but to be really sure about the comfort level you need to sit in one for about an hour.
As that's not very practical in a shop or showroom, the only way you'll really be able to tell is once you're using it at home. It's wise to check that the retailer has a good returns policy, so that you can get a full refund should it prove unsuitable within a certain time limit, such as 28 days.
To see which riser recliner chairs we recommend, head over to our full selection of riser recliner chair reviews.