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What is a Manual Recliner?

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Recliners can come in many spaces and sizes. With so much difference, you may be wondering what actually is a manual recliner? One of the distinctions to make is between if you have a manual or an electric recliner. A manual recliner is where you, manually, will push the recliner into position.

You can do this by using a lever, or with your own bodyweight. Manual recliners are cheaper than electric recliners. Electric recliners will use a motor to shift you into position, only needing the press of a button.

Let’s go through some of the main types of recliner and explain some of the basics.

What is a Manual Recliner?

You know you have a manual recliner if there is no electric control component. There may be a lever on one of the sides of the recliner. When you pull this lever, it should extend out your recliner into position.

Some manual recliners have two levers. One of these will control the back and one will control the footrest. These are useful for exact precision, as well as giving you more control.

Sometimes, a manual recliner won’t have any lever, but instead will use bodyweight. This is where you lean back on the recliner until it moves into position. Although this can be useful, some people find this sensation almost like falling. Depending on your experience, you may want to opt for a manual recliner with a lever.

Manual recliners, like their electric counterpoints, are for total comfort. The extended backs and soft padding will support you while you rest. Manufacturers have perfected recliners over the years, ensuring maximum comfort.

If you’re looking for a new piece of furniture that allows you to rest and relax, a recliner could be for you.

What does a manual recliner mean?

Manual and electric are just two ways of describing the type of recliner. A manual recliner uses your own force to move it. Therefore, it is manually operated. This goes for many distinctions. For example, the difference between manual and automatic cars.

Electric recliners are the opposite of manual recliners. You operate them using a controller. This controller will shift the recliner into position. These will be better for people who don’t want to have to move the recliner into position themselves.

A small note, manual recliners are often much cheaper than electric recliners. If you’re on a budget or want to save a little bit of money, this form could be for you.

What are the types of manual recliners?

There are four types of manual recliners. Although they are all fairly similar, there are some key differences. In each of these examples, the chair will move manually, either by you using a lever or from your own bodyweight.

Recliner Chair Type 1

The first type of manual recliner chair moves depending on body weight. Once you have sat down in the chair, you will push backwards to shift the chair. The additional pressure on the chair from bodyweight will tip it backwards.

This is a good style chair and it only moves as much as you push. Over time, people become used to how much their chair moves. This helps them choose the position they want exactly.

Recliner Chair Type 2

The second type of recliner chair moves by using a lever. When you push or pull on the lever, you will be adding pressure to the recliner. This push will shift your recliner backwards or forward depending on the direction.

You will likely have to be sat down while you use this lever. The lever is mainly to ensure that the recliner does not move when you don’t want it to. The lever also ensures you have exact precision in your positioning.

Recliner Chair Type 3

The third type of recliner chair has two levers. This functions in the same way as type two, however, the extra lever moves the footrest. With the second type of recliner, the footrest just moves in tandem to the back. If the backrest moves into a reclining position, the footrest will spring upwards.

However, with two levers, you’ll be able to control if you want the footrest or not. This will change how you sit considerably. The opinion to have or not have the footrest gives additional precision to your comfort.

Recliner Chair Type 4

Finally, we come onto the fourth manual recliner type, a Riser Recliner. A riser recliner is a semi-reclining chair that moves between a few set positions. You will be able to choose from up to four positions along the reclining line of a recliner. This means you can pick how you want the recliner between a few positions.

Although there is less precision, people find that the degrees chosen are enough. There will be enough choice to ensure that you find something you’re looking for.

These are often slightly cheaper than a more traditional recliner. If you’re looking to save a bit of money for a relatively little compromise, this will be the type for you.

How long do manual recliners last?

A recliner normally has a long life. They most commonly last around 10 years, even with extended use. Also, many companies like La-Z-boy have many forms of warranty available.

If you have a recliner with faulty parts, get into contact with whoever you bought the recliner from. There will most likely be a guarantee scheme you can participate in.

After around 10 years, even the best recliners will start to give out. This is due to strain over time breaking down and loosening parts.

However, if you want your recliner to last even longer, begin to replace these broken parts. Recliners are actually easy to fix. If you’re looking for a specific issue, there will be lots of help around the internet. YouTube also offers many tutorials for those looking for some help.

If you replace parts as they fail, your recliner could be as good as new for more than 15-20 years. While parts can be expensive to replace, it’s a better option than outright buying a new recliner.


Manual recliners are recliners which you move using your own body power. This could be from leaning backwards, like a bodyweight recliner, or with a lever. Anything that does not use a motor is a manual recliner.

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