Lift Recliner Upright

How to Buy a Lift Chair

By: Joe Craddock

If you think that buying a lift chair is only important to grandma, you’re not quite getting the whole story.  Lift chairs can benefit people of any age—anyone who struggles with chronic pain, physical disabilities, or is recovering from an operation or injury. Lift chairs can even help caregivers. Caregiver injuries resulting from improper lifting are more common than you’d think, and lower back injuries can sidetrack the caregiver from providing vital assistance to their patient or loved one. Power lift chairs are a pretty valuable asset, improving the quality of life for everyone in your family.  

 So what is a lift chair? Power lift chairs provide gentle, motorized motion that lifts you to a standing position. Many power lift chairs are also power reclining chairs. Being able to easily open and close the footrest, recline back, and painlessly rise to a standing position makes comfort accessible to anyone. Compared to old-fashioned, manual recliners where you needed a lot of arm and leg strength to force the footrest closed, user-friendly power recliners give you mobility with the single push of a button. The result is more comfort and increased freedom.

IMG Norway Lift Chair Room Setting

Lift Chair Types

  • 2-Way - The back reclines slightly and the leg rest extends. These chairs are best for TV watching and shorter periods of use.
  • 3-Way - The back reclines a good deal and the leg rest extends. This type of chair can be used for longer than a 2-way recliner, but they are considered a “napping” chair rather than a “sleeping” chair. 
  • Infinite Position - These chairs recline back to a full sleeping position. This type of chair can be used for the longest period of time. Some chairs can recline so far back that they are completely horizontal (see Lay Flat). 
Man Using Flexsteel Lift Chair

Shopping Tips

What’s with the names? Do 2-position chairs only have 2 positions? Every chair with power recline can be stopped in any position, you just need to release the control button. The main difference between each of the three chair styles above is how far the back reclines.

Two Motors or One Motor? Many power lift chairs are operated with a single motor. Single-motor power restricts you to moving the back and leg rest simultaneously. If you prefer to move the leg rest and back independently, look for a power lift chair that has two motors or one that says it has independent footrest and back motion.


Man in Best Home Furnishings Lay Flat Recliner

Lay-Flat Lift Chairs- If you are spending many hours in your chair, you’ll probably end up sleeping in it. For a napping position that’s comfortable and ergonomic, Lay-Flat recliners recline back to a completely horizontal position, like a bed. Some lay-flat chairs are even available with mattress-like innerspring or MemoryFoam cushions. This is ideal if you’re in recovery but can’t easily make it to your bed.

Fitting your new chair-It’s important for the person using the chair to test it for at least a few minutes to make sure it’s a comfortable fit. When sitting in the chair, your feet should be flat on the floor, your back should meet the chair back without you having to “inch” backwards, and, to provide proper head and neck support, the top of the chair back should be no more than a couple of inches from where your head meets the cushion.

If you or your family member is unable to test the chair in store, take measurements from a chair they currently own that fits them comfortably and well. The most important measurements will be the distance from the seat cushion to the floor (seat height), the seat cushion to the top of the backrest (back height), and the front of the cushion to the chair back (seat depth). A recliner that’s not a good fit ergonomically puts unwanted stress on your muscles and joints, aggravating existing conditions.  

Additional Features to Consider

Lift Chair Features Benefits Graphic