The Pros & Cons of a Power Recliner

A recliner is a major investment. It’s the money, sure, but you don’t buy a recliner unless you plan to put it to a lot of use. Because they are designed for relaxation, you want to make the right choice and avoid the stress of realizing that you bought one that just doesn’t suit you.

When you start shopping, you might be drawn to the top shelf recliners just to see what they offer. Those are your power recliners. They have a lot to offer, but they also cost quite a bit of money. The trick is knowing whether the money you’d spend is worth it.

What is a Power Recliner?

power recliner in store

A power recliner is exactly what the name says, a recliner that runs off electricity. A power cable plugs into a wall outlet and with the push of a button, a motor does the reclining for you. It operates slowly and eases you into place. Powered recliners can come with added features. They are also more expensive.

The alternative is a manual recliner, which requires that you either pull a lever or pull a ring to recline. It’s also instant. One minute you’re sitting upright, the next your feet are up and your head is back. They are a pretty basic model that’s been around forever. They are more affordable.

What are the Pros of a Power Recliner?

Pros of a Power Recliner
Ease of use for elderly and those with medical conditions
Can come with additional features unique to powered recliners such as heat, massage and power lift
Can be reclined and put back upright with the push of a button

Power recliners can provide a lot of benefits. The primary one is that if you are elderly or suffer from health problems, they are a great choice.

Also, because it’s powered, it can offer a larger variety of features. Some powered recliners come with heated seats, some come with massage features. Some can even stretch back so far that they can function as beds. Modern-day powered recliners can also come with USB ports, so you can charge electronics without having to get up. Even if you are pretty healthy, they’ve got a lot to offer.

What are the Cons of a Power Recliner?

Cons of a Power Recliner
More expensive than manual recliners + small increase in electricity bill
More subject to failure due to electrical parts and more expensive to repair
Won’t work when the power is out unless you have a back up battery

You pay for power. There’s more to the cost of a recliner than power versus manual, but powered options of something tend to cost more money. They use wall power, which means they are a running cost. It isn’t a lot of money per month, but if you’re on a tight budget it might matter.

Another significant downside is that the power is subject to failure. If you use it frequently, you will wear it out more quickly. You have to watch out for the power cord, too. It is easily damaged as it lays across the ground. It’s also a trip hazard.

When your chair has a failure with the electrical system, you’ll need to pay for repairs. That’s another cost. Electrical repairs are more difficult to do by yourself, so they’ll be more expensive than repairs to a purely mechanical recliner.

The electric components also make power recliners on the heavier side. You might need help moving it around if you have mobility issues or are a smaller person.

Manual Recliners vs Power Recliners – Which Should you Pick?

Power recliners vs Manual Recliners diagram

If you are purchasing a recliner for health issues, we’d suggest looking at a power recliner first. Those tend to move more smoothly and can come with extras like heat and massages. If your doctor tells you that you need one for a medical reason, it’s possible to get your health insurance to help.

If you’re just looking for a comfortable chair to sit in, the choice of manual or power comes down to money or amenities.

Manual recliners usually are cheaper and work if you’re on a budget. They also work if you just want a chair to sit in and put your feet up while you catch up on social media or read a book.

One other advantage is they last longer and are easier to repair. That means a bigger long-term return on investment. If something breaks, odds are higher that you can fix it yourself. If you can’t, the cost of repair is probably lower.

They can’t compete with power recliners when it comes to extras, however. Instead of jerking the recliner open, the motor means a smoother ride that allows you to settle into a more comfortable place.

If you spend extra, you can also get a heated seat and a range of massages for an extra relaxing experience. New models also come with things like USB ports, so you can charge electronics without having to get up to plug them into the wall outlets.

Price is a big concern, however. The more extras you want, the more you will pay. You’ll also keep paying, a little each month, in your electric bill. It probably isn’t enough to be a deal-breaker; if you’re looking to spend the money on a power recliner you can probably afford a couple of dollars a month for electricity. Just keep it in mind if price is important.

Maintenance costs will be higher, too, and more complicated. Because you’re working with an electrical system and potentially electronics, you’ll probably need to take it in if it stops working. That means paying a professional rather than just replacing a couple of parts yourself.

One final consideration is that manual recliners are normally a lot lighter than power. If you’re a small person who lives alone, you might want to consider a manual if you plan to move furniture around a lot.

How Long do Motorized Recliners Last?

Recliner Motor

A good rule of thumb is that with regular use, motorized recliners will last around 10 years. A lot of things can influence that, starting with the quality of the recliner you purchased. A well-crafted, well-designed recliner will stand up to abuse better.

The amount of abuse it takes will also influence how long it lasts. Infrequent, light usage will translate into a longer life. Frequent, heavy use that involves kids jumping on it will shorten your power recliner’s lifespan considerably.

Heavy use not only damages the chair, but constant use will wear down the motor. You can replace those, of course, but eventually, the electrical system will stop working.

The kind of upholstery used also makes a difference. Leather is the best followed by synthetic fibers. Vinyl is the worst of all.

Wrapping up the Pros & Cons of a Power Recliner

Your biggest question in whether to buy a power recliner is whether you want to put the money into it. It’s not just upfront costs in purchasing, but in running costs involving operating it and maintaining it. They do come with a lot of handy features that make them great if you have health issues or have the money.

We hope you found this quick run-through of the pros and cons of power recliners valuable, and if you did invite you to leave a comment or share on social media.

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