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How Do Power Recliners Work?

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It might sound like a question that answers itself: How do power recliners work? Well, they work because of power.

If you value your recliner, and it cost you enough money that you should, you might want to know a little more. That way, if it stops working, you might have an idea or two to try to get it back running. It could save you the cost of a service visit.

We looked into how power recliners work and put together this article to share what we learned. Hopefully, you find it useful and if not an answer to your questions at least a place to get you started.

How do power recliners work?

A power recliner is just like any other recliner, except that it is powered rather than manual. Rather than pulling a lever on the side of the chair, someone can either push on the chair or a control unit.

One added advantage to power recliners is that since they are already wired with electricity, they can come with all kinds of extras. Some power recliners have massage or heating units, which are handy if the owner has medical issues. Some also have USB ports.

It used to be that power recliners needed to be kept close to the wall outlet where they can get plugged in. Even if extension cords are used, those can create a trip hazard.

One innovation is battery packs that can be connected directly to the recliner and provide wireless juice.

How do power lift recliners work?

Power lift recliners are a special kind of power recliner designed for elderly people and people with mobility problems.

In a traditional chair design, a person sits down into it. Power lift recliners will fold out into a standing position so that someone just needs to lean against it. Then, using the chair’s controls, they can lower themselves down to a seated position.

How do power recliners get power?

Power Electricity Plug

Power recliners are just that… recliners that use electricity to fold out and back in. Someone sitting in one either controls it through buttons on the chair or via a control panel that might have a few extras.

The buttons are connected by wires to the internal machinery of the chair, which requires at least one motor to operate it. Some models have multiple motors. The motors control the mechanical work of folding the chair out and in.

Some power recliners come with options like massaging or USB ports for charging phones. These receive power the same way the motor does. If you have these, remember that frequent use of these features could dramatically increase the amount of electricity you use.

For years, the only way to get juice to a power recliner was to plug it into the wall. As such, people were limited by where they could place them. In recent years, batteries have come online that allow people to place their chairs away from the wall.

If you own a power recliner and think that a battery pack is a good idea for you, be sure to buy one that is compatible with your chair.

Do power recliners have to be plugged in to a wall outlet? Can you use a battery instead?

For years, a major negative about power recliners is that they require wall current to operate, effectively limiting where you can place the chairs. Even if you have extension cords, those create a trip hazard.

A recent innovation is the battery pack for power recliners. This allows you to cut the cord, so to speak, and place your power recliner where you want it, rather than where you can place it safely.

If you own a power recliner and are thinking of getting a battery pack, make sure part of your research in how quickly your recliner would drain yours. Most batteries can power most chairs, but if your recliner has a lot of extras you’ll drain your battery faster.

Find one that can handle the load. And while you’re at it, make sure you get a spare that can charge while you’re using the other one. That way, if your battery runs out, you don’t need to wait on a recharge to use your recliner.

How much power does an electric recliner use?

Electric Bill

A good rule of thumb is that during normal use, a power recliner will consume approximately 58 Watts of electricity. Bigger, heavier recliners will probably use a little more, and smaller, lighter recliners will probably use a little less.

But, there are other things to consider.

Newer designs are more likely to be a little more efficient in how they use electricity for normal use. So, you’ll want to consult an owner’s manual after purchasing or ask at the place you’re purchasing if you’re still shopping.

Power recliners now come with all kinds of features, from USB ports to charge electronics to body massagers to heat. A heating pad used for hours could dramatically increase the amount of power your recliner uses.

There are also ways to reduce your electricity usage. Some chairs come with Sleep mode and other ways to program your chair. You can also just unplug it when not in use. That will save a bit of energy, and eliminate a trip hazard if your chair is away from the wall.


If you own a power recliner, you’ll want to know how it works. Not only is that key to getting the most out of it, but it’ll also come in handy in case you have to troubleshoot a problem. Repairing something without knowing how it works is like shooting blindly into a pond, hoping to hit a fish.

Different kinds of power recliners operate differently, so you’ll also want to know in general how yours will work. You’ll also want to know how much juice it uses and whether you can get away with a power pack or whether you’re forever tethered to a wall outlet.

We hope you found this article valuable. If you did, feel free to let us know in a comment. We’d also love to hear any additional insights you might have. If you liked it, please share it on your social media networks.

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