Exploring Recliner Mechanisms -Discover the Different Types!

A recliner, at first glance, might look like standard homeware that you often use on a regular basis; however, there is more to it than meets the eye. In fact, as technology progresses and evolves, so do the recliners, and new innovations are undoubtedly imminent.

Henceforth, with so many options on the market, it makes an individual wonder which option would be much more suitable for them, especially if they lack the appropriate knowledge beforehand that corresponds to the types of recliner mechanisms and the features that are often rolled out with them.

Taking that into account, I have made a comprehensive guide explaining all of its mechanisms in detail, covering every bit of detail each category holds.

Types Of Recliner Mechanisms

Lets explore this:

Recliners Categorization On Their Mechanism

On the surface level, pretty much all of them look quite identical. However, their inner mechanism is what differentiates them. Here are its types,

Lever Based Mechanism

Starting from the most basic and straightforward, a traditional recliner is something you must be already familiar with as it resembles an ordinary chair, except it is controlled with a push or pull-up lever that manipulates its backrest, so you could change it to your liking.

It’s pretty user-friendly and basically the first generation of recliners with a complete manual system. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t boast comfort levels as good as any other form.

Typically, hardwood frames are used to make traditional recliners, which is why they can be bulky and feel heavier. On the other hand, they are also pretty reliable and sturdy and could easily last a decade as long as they are maintained properly. 

Speaking of maintenance, due to their simple and straightforward design, they are less sophisticated, which is why they aren’t prone to many issues and don’t require much caretaking at all.

In fact, regular oiling or simply spraying over WD-40 spray on its frame and the lever would do the trick to let your recliner move upwards and downwards.

Furthermore, the frame is stuffed with upholstery with simple springs and a support metallic structure that ensures the recliner padding remains in its ideal shape no matter how much it is stressed. 

Even though they are considered traditional with old-school design, they can still be made with fabric material that includes but isn’t limited to tweed, plaid, and even leather. On the other hand, their wooden frame usually has a mahogany, cherry, or dark brown finish.

Keep in mind that these recliners essentially don’t really have proper lumbar support, and they are only manufactured to provide comfort at the entry-level. They cannot be considered medicinal-grade recliners.

Moreover, in terms of price tags, they don’t really break the bank due to their standard design, which makes them quite an affordable pick in the bunch.

Glider Based Mechanism

Such recliners only exist for recreational purposes because it has a curved frame that allows to and fro rocking motion with springs installed underneath the frame that could ensure a fraying motion.

A gliding recliner has a smooth moving mechanism installed across the seat to its curved base, which can be controlled either with buttons or a lever, depending on the class of recliner you have purchased.

These gliders don’t have ample lumbar support systems but nevertheless provide top-tier comfort levels, making them quite the pick for stress relieving in nursing homes where mothers or nurses want to put their babies to sleep. 

Keep in mind that, unlike traditional recliners, they may require a bit of caretaking due to the sophisticated machinery installed into them. 

And more often, you would be required to do regular lubrication of the gliding mechanism to prevent squeaking or stiffness. Additionally, such need for periodic inspection of the springs and bolts for any signs of wear or damage makes these sorts of recliners moderately higher maintenance than their counterparts.

Wall Hugging Mechanism recliners

As the name suggests, these are the type of recliners which has a specialized mechanism that ensures the recliner is pretty much hugging the wall as they use a wall-away or lay-flat mechanism that allows the chair to swing away from the wall and recline fully flat, while still maintaining a narrow profile all while saving plenty of space.

These are deployed in rooms that require plenty of space management since they have a sleeker and much narrower framer; their construction sturdiness isn’t paramount, making them one of the most fragile options in the bunch.

In fact, their frame is typically made of lightweight materials like aluminum or steel to facilitate easy movement.

However, depending on their class, they may or may not lack padding due to their contoured or wraparound design.

On the inside, they often utilize a scissor mechanism that extends the footrest forward while simultaneously tilting the backrest backward.

However, the silver lining here is that these also include an integrated footrest, once reclined all the way through, to support the feet of the individual lying on it.

As for their use cases, they are designed to cater to both young and elderly citizens as they have plenty of lumbar support due to their contoured shape and provide enough room and comfort for a single individual to take a nap quite comfortably. 

As far as the price tag is concerned, a recliner with a hugging mechanism tends to be much more pricey due to its low profile design and minimalist looks, all while packing the same punch as a regular recliner.

These are either operated with a manual lever or are powered with electricity; however, the electric ones come with extra goodies such as USB ports, power recline, heat, and massaging modules.

Motorized Mechanism 

The most premium recliner amongst the bunch with all the goodies installed that could be operated with the push of a button. The mechanism is powered by electricity and has motorized parts instead of mechanical ones.

From reclining the backrest to adjusting the footrest, almost every other movement of the recliner is performed automatically, without the need for manual labor.

Moreover, they can also be controlled wirelessly through a remote controller, which allows users to operate and adjust the chair’s movement and orientation.

Most flagship recliners that have motorized parts also tend to have a dual motor system that controls power reclining, a feature that highly assists the elderly and citizens suffering from lumbar problems. 

On the other hand, these recliners also have additional goodies, such as USB ports to charge smart devices and even cup holders. The buttons to control the recliners are integrated into the armrest, which can also be adjusted at will.

Almost every mechanism is motorized and incredibly sophisticated, and it requires plenty of maintenance as it can be prone to malfunction.

Another difference that sets them aside from traditional recliners is that they also tend to have heating modules and a massive web of nodes that are distributed all across the recliner frame to provide a therapeutic effect for an ailing owner.

But the catch here is that they require a power source to operate, so you’ll need to have an outlet nearby. It also goes without saying that they can be more expensive than manual recliners due to their advanced features and technology.

All that technology integrated into its core also takes a toll on its weight department, so they are considerably bulkier than traditional recliners.

They are also incredibly financially taxing because they may require professional repair if the motorized components malfunction, which isn’t anywhere near cheap.

Additional Mechanism In A Recliner

Depending on the model you may have purchased, your recliner may or may not have these features. Some of these mechanisms are only available in special editions or in recliners that are prescribed only for particular purposes.

Zero Gravity Mechanism 

According to research, this specialized mechanism was introduced after astronauts experienced lesser back strain in zero gravity mode, and that is where this mechanism got its name.

Apparently, its unique mechanism allows the chair to recline at 115 degrees, taking all the weight and stress from the spine and hips, making your body feel as weightless as possible.

This specialized mechanism is only present in medicinal-grade recliners and is suitable for those individuals who have gone through lumbar surgery or have issues related to their spine.

Swivel Mechanism

Another specialized form of mechanism that lets a recliner rotate at 360 degrees freely is the swivel motors or mechanical parts such as ball bearings that can be either controlled with the force of the body or with the push of the button if the recliner is electrically controlled.

Is Oscillation Recliners Different From Glider Recliners?

Yes, indeed, gliders-based mechanisms are only assigned to rock back and forth, just like you would on your grandma’s chair. Meanwhile, an oscillation-based mechanism is a whole different beast since it offers movement in both sideways and to and fro motion, which is performed through mechanisms within the seat and the frame of the chair that provide gentle motion.

Keep in mind that the glider mechanism also requires additional space in order for this recliner to deploy ultimately; the oscillation mechanism, on the other hand, only moves the seat within the assigned area of the recliner, so you could place it against the wall without worrying about taking additional space.

Lastly, the oscillation mechanism is usually powered by electricity. Meanwhile, the glider mechanism requires manual labor.

What Should I Consider When Choosing A Mechanism?

There is no such thing as one recliner tailored for every individual, which is why it’s in your best interest that you pick a recliner with a mechanism that is designed for your needs. These elements should be based upon,

Intended Use 

If you have kids at home or simply want to put your young ones to sleep as quickly as possible, you might want to get your hands on recliners with glider or oscillation mechanisms because these are the ones that are the most sought-after in nurseries.

Meanwhile, elderly citizens or individuals who have gone through surgery and want to recover might want to get an electrical-powered recliner due to the plethora of features it provides.

Space Management 

If you are limited on space or have a room with plenty of furniture, wall huggers might be your best bet because they take up less space.

Meanwhile, swiveling recliners and zero gravity recliners tend to take up most of the space, so make sure you avoid them if you are living in tiny homes or private spaces such as offices with less room for space customization.

Budget Constraints

If you are on a budget, traditional recliners are the cheapest because they are less sophisticated and often on sale.

Electrical recliners do have price tags that are often off the charts, and not everyone can afford them for a whole host of reasons, such as extra convenience, heating modules, massaging modules, etc.

Bottom Line

Recliners are like like an old friend who is always there when nobody else is, so you kick back, relax, and just let the stresses of the day melt away by stretching your every muscle on it without having a worry in the world.

However, knowing to get the full potential out of them, you need to get your hands on the ones that are much more aligned and tailored to your needs.

This is why knowing the types of Recliner mechanisms and how they operate is much more crucial than you would think.