Different Types of Recliner Handles

If you have ever used a recliner, especially a manual one, you must have realized how much it has evolved in the past decade as it has tons of customizable levers and gears, however, one specific utility that plays a massive role in controlling these recliners is it handles.

In fact, They come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, each with its own distinctive functionality and it is highly likely that you may or may not have heard some of them, nevertheless, knowing about their fundamentals is incredibly crucial. Why? Because the right handle makes a huge difference in how comfortable and easy your recliner is to use over time.

Since I have used tons of variations of recliners, I would like to share my vast knowledge of different types of recliner handles and even shed some light on why choosing the right type could be beneficial in the long run.

Different Types Of Recliner Handles

Let us dive into various types of recliner handles that are often found in recliners, keep in mind the list might include older or obsolete types, so you might not be familiar with some.

1. Traditional Lever Handle 

Often integrated into the most classic recliner formats, their no-nonsense design is the exact reason why they are considered the most reliable type because they are made from top-of-line oak tree pulp, metal, or plastic making them quite dependable and timeless.

They are also prone to fewer malfunctions due to the straightforward mechanism that operates in its core. Their operation functions through pulling the lever which allows you to adjust the recliner backrest and footrest whichever way you prefer. 


  • No-nonsense design, even a child could operate it.
  • Highly durable, and can be used through thick and thin due to higher integrity levels.
  • The recliners that come with such levers often are incredibly affordable.
  • Cons:
  • Limited control – usually it’s just recline or upright
  • Can look a bit bulky compared to other handle types

2. D-Ring Handles

These are the sort of handles that are built to last because it has a top-tier level of reinforcement and henceforth, are made from metallic alloys. D-ring handles are all about a simple tug which is why you would often find them across the armrest for easy tugging for reclining the backrest and footrest of the chair you are sitting on.

Its mechanism consists of a spring-loading system. This means that as you pull the ring, it activates a cable connected to the recliner’s reclining mechanism. The spring loader is then enclosed in a small sturdy metal loop.

This is the reason why D-ring handles are the go-to choice for those users who don’t want to deal with manual labor, as the D-ring would help you achieve reclining without making much of an effort.


  • Its Effortless use case makes it extremely easy to use on a regular basis, ideal for senior and ailing patients.
  • Since they are often from metallic alloys, you can be very well assured they could last a decade. 
  • Their minimalistic design also makes them the go-to choice for individuals who aren’t fond of lever handles.
  • Ergonomic and easy to use, kind of easy on the hands.


  • While this is the case with most manual handles, the D-ring suffers from an extreme lack of customization due to its binary functionality. 
  • D-ring handles often work in conjunction with a latching system to secure the recliner in a fully closed or reclined position which might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
  • Just because it’s made from metal doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have any other downsides, apparently, The metal construction can feel a bit cold to the touch, especially in colder climates.

3. Flapper Handles

While it might seem like flapper handles resemble a D-ring handle, they are the exact opposite, in fact, they are significantly more fragile than a D-ring as they are inclined towards having a low profile, offering a minimalist look in a much more modern way.

Due to their unobtrusive design, they are incredibly easy to use, all you have to do is simply press or lift the button and it will automatically activate or trigger the reclining motion.

The mechanism is backed by a couple of cables, which are then connected to a system of gears and levers within the recliner. Depending on the model, they may or may not have low profile looks nevertheless, their functionality remains the same except some are made either from plastic, metal, or even integrated into the fabric of the armrest.


  • If you aren’t fond of D-ring handles or the lever handle, then this option is quite ideal for you considering the fact it has neat aesthetics which ensures the handle isn’t poked up.
  • With a simple tap, you could recline the chair without making much of an effort.
  • In terms of functionality, they aren’t as binary as is the case with the other handles mentioned above.


  • They are considerably fragile and are usually prone to malfunction because their core is connected to cords.
  • On the other hand, they are also less reliable and can be accidentally activated by the reclining mechanism with slight arm movements.
  • Recliners with this handle aren’t usually cheap.

4. Power Recliner Handles

These are the sort of handles that are often found in electric recliners, nevertheless, they might boast a low-profile look with simple and straightforward functionality but at their core, they are quite complicated. For starters, they use an electric motor to control the reclining mechanism. 

These handles are typically buttons or touch-sensitive panels located on the side of the recliner which is connected to the Electric Motor and is connected to the reclining mechanism which is interconnected via wiring. When you press the button or touch the panel, it sends a signal to the control box. A control box is like the main panel which receives and sends a signal to the motor allowing the chair to recliner as well as change the speed of reclining motion. 

Depending on the type of recliner there might be more than one motor integrated into the system to allow a much smoother form of power recliner which also works through counteraction of weight providing a compensation system for those individuals who have a hard time standing up.


  • Extremely easy to use, you just have to press the button.
  • Much smoother reclining motion.
  • Doesnt just reclining but can also allow for other adjustments such as headrest as well as armrest customization.


  • Since they aren’t manual, you would need electricity or a battery to power them, otherwise, you are stuck with the same angle.
  • Way too expensive than a traditional recliner.
  • The repair cost an arm and limb.

5. Touch sensor handles

Otherwise known as a pseudo handle because in theory there isn’t any physical handle present at all, all you have to do is swipe your finger or make a gesture which is then detected through changes in electrical capacitance caused by the presence of your finger or hand.

The electrical capacitance is detected on a capacitance screen, which supports touch input, nevertheless, it is by far one the most advanced control systems that is present on a recliner which is why they are incredibly hard to fix when they are malfunctioning. 

However, the trade-off here is that they are very easy to use and barely require you to put in an effort. Keep in mind to eliminate accidental touches, it can only be activated with a sequence of gestures which is then sent in the form of a signal to a control board within the recliner. This board then activates the reclining mechanism, smoothly adjusting the chair to your desired position.


  • Ideal for people who value a smooth and easy reclining experience
  • Provides extreme customization.
  • Fairly easy to use
  • No moving parts which means no chance of malfunction due to wear and tear.


  • Comes in costly recliners, with no options for budget users.
  • Is considerably fragile as compared to mechanical levers.

6. Pull handles

Comes in variable shapes and material types, a pull lever offers more than you could imagine all without compromising on simplicity and convincing. Their functionality is pretty simple and straightforward because all you have to do is pull on them and recliner and if you want to restore the backrest angle to its original state, simply pull it forward, to change its angle again. 

Even though they have tons of mechanical gears working in their core, they are extremely durable and can withstand plenty of wear and tear.


  • No-Non sense design
  • Comes in budget-friendly recliners
  • Easy to repair due to their versatile nature
  • Very easy to clean and maintain


  • Isn’t Space-efficient
  • Very limited control and angle adjustment options.

The Takeaway

While you may think that a recliner handle might be a “small cog in a complex system”, in fact, the polar opposite of that once you glance at the benefits it provides how they differentiate from one another, and how each of these handles tells a different story to tell.

Nevertheless, if you evaluate different types of recliner handles, it’s safe to say there is no such thing as “one size fits all”. You just have to pick whichever suits your needs. As we bid adieu on this topic, I would like to illuminate the fact that the comment section is always open for suggestions, feel free to fill me in on your queries.