Guide To Lift And Recliner Chairs

What is a lift and recline chair? 

Lift recliner chairs may also be known as rise-and-recline chairs, power lift recliners, electric lift chairs or medical recline chairs. They come in a variety of sizes and styles are available in small to large widths.

A lift chair looks very similar to a standard recliner and works in much the same way by allowing the user to recline for comfort (or perhaps a quick afternoon nap). The key difference is that a lift chair not only reclines but also provides support when going from a seated to standing position. Rather than having to lift yourself – which can cause strain to the shoulders, arms and hips – an electric lift chair gently stands you up, reducing fatigue and possible injury.

For carers, an electric lift chair can make caring for your loved one easier. Back injuries associated with lifting someone are common with carers. However, a lift chair can help to prevent injury by assisting with the transfer of the user from one position to another.


Is a lift chair right for you?


A lift chair may be ideal for people who have difficulty getting out of a seated position without assistance. Because the lift mechanism does much of the work of getting you to a standing position, there is less strain on the muscle, which can lower the risk of injury or fatigue.

A lift chair also offers therapeutic benefits for people with a range of medical conditions – such as arthritis, poor circulation and back pain – by allowing the user to find a comfortable position, whether that’s seated or fully reclined.

The multiple seating positions can also help people who spend a lot of time sitting at the chair can help to reduce the risk of pressure sores, improve circulation and provide optimum support for specific activities.


Single Motor

The single motor rise and recline chair are ideal if you need a basic chair for everyday use. With a single motor, the chair will go from standing to seated and reclined with the footrest up. Options may include an emergency battery backup system to ensure the chair still functions in the event of power failure.

Features to look for:

  • Easy clean fabric to make stain removal simple

  • Engineered steel frame for stability

  • Adjustable upholstery components for individual comfort

  • Backup battery in the event of a power failure

Dual Motor

Dual motor rise and recline chairs offer the widest range of seating positions. The two motors control the recline and footrests independently, allowing the user to find the most comfortable position for them and relieve the effects of sitting for too long.

Features to look for

  • Dual control for both the backrest and footrest, providing numerous seating positions

  • Depth adjustable seat for ideal positioning and comfort

  • Easy-clean fabric for simple upkeep

  • Storage pocket for access to reading glasses and a magazine

  • The integrated backup battery in case of a power outage

Quad Motor 4

Power Backrest and Power Footrest With a the dual lift system, it allows you to individually adjust the backrest and the footrest for the position that best fits the clinical needs of the client.

Power Lumbar Individually adjustable lumbar support, which can assist in maintaining a proper sitting posture; helping to relieve tension on the spine to prevent pain or discomfort due to poor posture, arthritis or existing back problems.

Power Headrest The individually adjustable head support allows you to lift or lower the position of the headrest even when the backrest is fully reclined providing a higher level of adjustment for your neck and back.

What to consider


As with any other mobility aid, it’s important that you have the ability and awareness to operate your lift chair safely. A lift chair can seem relatively easy to operate, however, it’s essential the user has the cognition to operate the controls and get themselves from a standing to a seated position without assistance.

A good first step is to chat with your occupational therapist about whether a lift chair is right for you. Because a lift chair takes on much of the work that our muscles normally do when we go from sitting to standing (and the other way round), there is a risk these muscles could weaken even further. Your occupational therapist can help by giving you specific exercises, such as leg raises, to strengthen the muscles.

Single motor or dual motor operation

Single motor chairs have just the one operating panel that controls both the back recline and leg rest. There are fewer positions available, but they can be easier to operate due to the single control panel, and they are often less expensive.

Dual motor lift chairs have independent controls for the backrest and leg rest, offering a wider range of seating positions, which is ideal if you have difficulty finding a comfortable position.

Finally, space-saving recliner options are designed to be placed closer to the wall and take up less space than standard chairs when in full recline mode. These can be ideal for both seniors who live at home but don't have a lot of space, as well as those who live in a nursing home and are restricted by the size of their room.

Lift Chair Size

Lift and recline chairs should be fitted to the user, based on height and weight. The seat of your lift chair should be wide enough to accommodate your hips while still allowing your arms to rest comfortably on the arm rests.

You should be able to sit comfortably with your feet resting on the floor and your legs at a 90 degree angle when in the standard seat position. 


Comfort levels

It’s likely you’ll spend considerable time in your lift chair, so comfort is important. Adjustable padding will allow you to find the most supportive position and maintain good posture in all positions.

Fabric choice should also be considered. The most common fabrics you’ll find are easy-clean suede or medical-grade upholstery.

Easy-clean suede is soft to touch while offering commercial grade durability and is resistant to mildew, flame retardant and anti-pilling.

Alternately, medical-grade Dartex upholstery provides is preferred if you’ll be spending a lot of time seated. The fabric is designed to reduce the risks of pressure injury by distributing the weight across the surface. The fabric has moisture-permeability properties to ensure the surface remains dry and is antimicrobial to prevent infection.

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