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24 June 2021

How to buy the best riser recliner chair

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.
Sam Morris

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 simply to take some measurements and order a riser recliner from a catalogue or website, we'd always recommend trying before you buy.

Once you've found the perfect fit, you can order your new chair from wherever offers the best price or most convenient delivery options.

The best riser recliner chairs - explore our expert guide

Video: how to buy the best riser recliner chair

How much does a good riser recliner chair cost?

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 £500 to around £2,000 but don’t assume you need to fork out a fortune to sit in comfort. 

Our cheapest Best Buys start from less than £1,000 - and we've found some riser recliners costing nearly twice as much that performed averagely at best in our tests. 

The price you pay may also depend on the features and fabric you choose, as well as which company you buy your chair from, and it's always worth shopping around. 

Top five riser recliners - find the best your money can get.

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.

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.

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 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.

Riser recliner chair reviews - see our full selection of expert reviews.

Do I need to buy a riser recliner chair?

5 riser recliner chairs

Not sure if you need a riser recliner chair yet? Use our simple checklist below to find out.

  • Do you ever have difficulty or require help getting up out of a chair?
  • Do you sometimes find it difficult to sit down on a chair or sofa?
  • Have you been advised by your doctor or nurse to elevate your legs when sitting down?
  • Do you tend to sit for long periods in the same chair?
  • Do you experience chronic pain and need to change your sitting position to get more comfortable?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you would probably benefit from using a riser recliner chair. However, as everyone's needs are different, there are a few other things to consider.

Do you have enough room for a reclining chair?

Riser recliner chairs are heavy and take up a lot of room, so you need to identify a permanent position for the chair and measure up carefully before you buy.

You’ll also need to allow for a gap behind the chair so it can recline fully without any obstructions. You can check the space needed on in our riser recliner reviews under the Tech Spec 'Space required behind chair'. As a general rule of thumb make sure there's at least a 60cm/24in space.

You can reduce the space needed by choosing a wall-hugging riser recliner chair. For more information on arranging furniture and other safety aspects, read our Which? Later Life Care guide on safety around the home

Do you want to sleep in your riser recliner chair?

Although some chairs allow you to lie completely flat, they're not really intended for sleeping in for extended periods. If you have difficulty getting into bed, you should consider buying an adjustable bed or specially designed chair bed in addition to a riser recliner chair.

Do you have a serious back problem or medical condition?

If so, you may want to consider a specialist chair with extra built-in support or one with pressure-relieving features. Which? recommends that you seek the advice of an independent adviser to assess your particular needs before buying. You can find a local registered expert in your area on the College of Occupational Therapists website.

Choosing the right chair - our Which? Later Life Care guide will help you get the most comfortable and practical sitting arrangements. 

The best riser recliner chair features to look out for

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 there is 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.

Riser recliner features explained - we explain some handy features to make sure you get the chair that meets your needs.

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.

How to use a riser recliner chair - learn how to get the into the right position with ease. 

Trying out riser recliner chairs

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 you can get a full refund should it prove unsuitable within a certain time limit, such as 28 days.

Where to buy riser recliner chairs - for even more advice on the best places to buy.