Most people may not know exactly what a lift chair is – but they have definitely seen one before, without even knowing it. How, you may ask? It’s because a lift chair looks no different than your average armchair or reclining chair; the only difference is that it has a couple of extra perks.
This article was written to present you more details about lift chairs, their types, how they work – basically, everything you need to know before purchasing a lift chair that will offer you a lifetime of complete comfort.
What Is A Lift Chair?
Lift chairs are recliners that are powered by machines. While you are still in a sitting position, you can switch to a reclining one (or any other position, for the matter) with the mere press of a button from the remote control.
Recliners are basically chairs that go backward, but a lift chair also has the possibility of going up so that the sitter can go in a standing position.
They were made for people who have difficulties in standing up from a chair – for example, the elderly, or those with severe arthritis in the hips or the knee.
Types Of Lift Chairs
There are basically three main kinds of lift chairs that you can go for – each of them having different features. You can opt for a two-position lift chair, three-position, and infinite position.
This kind of lift chair can only be put in two positions: the standard, sitting position and the reclined, 45-degree position. These types of lift chairs cost almost as much as a 3-position lift chair, without actually offering much freedom of movement.
They are very rare because they are not the preferred option when it comes to recliners. They are, however, a good option for those who do not need a full recline.
If your house is tight on space, for example, you won’t have to place it a long distance from the wall. It will occupy less space than a three or infinite position lift chair.
Unlike the two-position lift chair, three-position ones can go to a full recline. They do not reach a straight, horizontal line; you’ll see a slight V where the seat and the back meet. You can set these chairs in any position you want, between straight and a completely reclined position.
The price of these chairs is generally lower than an infinite position lift chair since they require less room between the chair and the wall.
An infinite lift chair can reach a fully reclined position. Therefore, you can take a nap on a straight surface, and with the push of a button, you will be brought back to a sitting position.
Most people opt for three-position chairs because they have the best price for what they offer – and people don’t feel the need to go full horizontal on a chair (we have beds for that).
However, if getting up from your seat after a nap is painful for the sitter, an infinite-position lift chair may seem like a gift sent by the gods, since they can also be used as beds.
Learn more about the upholstery fabric options available before you purchase one of our lift chair recliners.
Leather is one of the most popular choices since it’s classy, durable, and easy to maintain.
While it’s a good option for moderate weather, it may not be favorable for you if it’s always hot in your home or if you tend to sweat a lot (you’ll be sticking yourself to the chair each time you take a seat).
Suede leather may be a better choice than your average, shiny-side-up leather. It has a comfortable and soft texture that will make you feel more comfortable – and less likely to stick yourself to the chair.
Keep in mind that this type of leather is more difficult to maintain since it’s susceptible to staining and weather damage. It’s also not recommended if you have pets since they can easily ruin it.
Micro-suede is similar to suede – only it’s man made. It is a blend of polyester fibers that are finer than human hair and were knit together to make a suede-like fabric.
However, unlike pure suede, this fabric is easier to clean, softer, and also much more durable. You still have to be gentle with the fabric, as abuse and rubbing water may cause staining.
This fabric is part of the “luxury category” when it comes to recliners. Velvet is a material made of cotton, silk, and other synthetic fibers. It can also easily absorb any kind of dye, which is why they all come in such lustrous colors.
Velvet is also very soft and comfortable to the touch, which is why most people with an extra dollar in their pocket go straight for this fabric.
You may want to keep in mind that velvet is a fragile fabric, which is why even the best lift chair recliners may sustain damaged if they are exposed to the wrath of small (or big) animals and children.
Furthermore, it requires careful maintenance, that can be troublesome for most owners who can barely move around as it is.
Also going under the name of “faux leather,” vinyl is the budget option for those who cannot afford a leather chair. Derived from ethylene and chlorine, this plastic resin is non-breathable, which means it allows the fabric to absorb and hang on to the heat.
Vinyl is also fully recyclable, which makes it an eco-friendly material. You may, however, want to keep in mind that vinyl is not as durable as leather. If you have pets or children, you may want to be careful about who goes near it.
If you are willing to spend an extra buck or two, ultraleather is also an option that you’ll love. This material is resistant to stains, and it’s also thirteen times more durable than any other mentioned option (including classic leather).
Furthermore, it’s resistant to temperature changes, which is why it’s a comfortable sitting option is any season.
How Does A Lift Chair Work?
Lift chairs are devices that were made to give people who have arthritis a little more control over their environment – but also to add a dash of comfort.
It gives them the ability to get up from the chair without struggling, which is why many elders consider it a blessing – no matter where they live in this world.
We all love getting up from a sitting, relaxed position – and most of us do it with ease. However, this is an activity that is taken for granted, since not all of us have the ability to get up without subjecting our hips and knees to tremendous amounts of pain.
An electric lift chair is basically an armchair that you control with a remote that sends signals to the unit. They come with one or two buttons that you activate in order to reach your desired position. Depending on the type of chair, you may also have a button meant to activate your foot rest (a feature that most infinite chairs have).
Common Additional Features
No lift chair is the same; each one comes with its own additional features that you can choose based on your own preferences. Here are the ones you will find in the best power lift chairs category:
Heat And Massage Options
A lot of lift chairs come with heating options; however, the heat is concentrated in different areas, depending on the chair that you choose.
You may want to ask your supplier about the source of the heat; you don’t want to find out that it’s heating your private parts when you actually just wanted it to heat your back.
Also, ask whether you can adjust the intensity of the heat or not. It may be a lifesaver in case of certain circulatory issues.
A massage option is also an incredible option which you should always go for whenever you have the possibility.
Even when you are tight on budget, a massage option should not add too much to the cost – and you’ll definitely feel it later when you sit on the chair.
These tables were specially made for a lift chair in a way that they do not affect its mechanism. Plus, they’re convenient to have, so ask the seller if your chair has tray tables or not.
Arm And Head Covers
Most recliners will come with these covers by default, but you should always ask the seller whether they are included or not. Sometimes, they are put on display just for show, without actually being part of the package.
Removable Arm Rests
Not all recliners have this option, but it’s a very convenient option to have in certain circumstances. For instance, if you are in a wheelchair, removing the arm rests will make the transition into the lift chair much easier.
Some people don’t mind a hard chair with only the standard cushioning. On the other hand, other people can’t sit on a chair unless it’s all nice and soft and squishy.
If you are one of those people, you may want to ask whether the chairs come with extra pillows or not. Furthermore, the pillows with the right design will also help offer balance to the room’s look once placed on other piece of furniture (such as the couch).
Some people with disabilities can’t do anything more except for sitting in a chair all day long. But most of the times, it gets boring to do this all the time – so you have to find ways to keep yourself entertained.
A media lift chair, for instance, is an item that will work great for you if you tend to watch a lot of TV or spend a significant amount of time on your laptop.
A lift chair with infinite position may also come with a removable mattress. They are to be placed on the chair each time you intend on using it as a bed.
It is recommended that, before you purchase a lift chair, you ask every question possible about all the features that are offered – and compare the prices.
For example, a model that has the massage option may be almost the same as one that has not – but you had no idea of it.
You may also want to check some of the best lift chair reviews before settling on a product, since they disclose more honest information than a seller usually does.
It’s clear that some manufacturers are better than others – something that we learned by reading various lift chair reviews. Here are the brands that won the hearts of most users with their functionality and high quality.
Pride Mobility Products
Pride Mobility Products came to life as the founders’ desire to help those having mobility issues. They offer various models of power chairs and high-performing rehab technology, all at the top of the industry.
Pride Mobility’s motto is “Live one’s best!” with the goal of helping all those in need have a more comfortable life. As a result, they came up with rehab power bases, electronics, seating and positioning components designed for the most advanced of people’s needs.
This will include the Pride Mobility Products lift chairs, designed to make every individual feel more comfortable with sitting and getting up.
The Golden Technologies lift chairs are manufactured in their headquarters in Pennsylvania, providing some of the more quiet, smooth, and secure lifting systems.
There are many models to choose from, all of different shapes, sizes, weight capacities, accessories, and options. They are known for their patented positioning, which is unique to their brand.
La-Z-Boy is a furniture manufacturer that has its base in Monroe, Michigan, the United States. Its upholstery section is the main part of the company, and they include any type of furniture, from sofas and chairs to tables and dressers.
The company focuses on the design as well as the technology. Most of the La-Z-Boy lift chairs were made from classy leather that would fit every modern or old-style room.
Their recliner line offers everything from rocker recliners to swivel, wall and power recliners. A La-Z-Boy lift chair will offer you supreme comfort and long-lasting quality while still providing a touch of color to your home.
Just as La-Z-Boy focuses mostly on design, the Easy Comfort lift chairs concentrate more on the exact thing that describes their name: Comfortable.
Since their target is seniors with severe mobility problems, they anticipate the fact that they will be “chair-ridden” for a long time; and in order to manage that, they have to feel as comfortable as possible.
Most of their chairs are made from materials that are fine to the touch such as suede leather or micro suede. The prices are also within the “comfort zone,” which is why nearly every product of theirs is the best lift chair for the money.
AmeriGlide Accessibility Solutions
AmeriGlide is a manufacturer that is highly recognized for its vertical lifts, stair lifts, and wheelchair lifts. Moreover, they pride themselves on the fact that their lift chairs come at a “bargain point;” they sell high-quality products at prices you can find nowhere else.
AmeriGlide lift chairs also offer comfort more than anything else. No matter if you want two position, three position, or infinite position recliners, you may go for a model in any size and color – they were all made to blend into every room design.
The company also focuses on creating luxury recliners for those in need of an extra touch of comfort. Some of their models even have massage and heat options, making their products some of the best lift chairs for the elderly.
In order to make sure that your lift chair remains in top shape, you need to maintain it properly.
No matter if you decided to go for a two-position, three-position or infinite-position model, you’d have to take a few measures to ensure that you’ll always get the most out of your product.
First things first – you’ll have to carefully read the manual and understand the basics of your chair. To keep it operating at its best, you need to understand how it functions so that you don’t “break” it simply because you did not know what button to push.
In order to maintain the lift chair in its peak condition, there are a few aspects that you need to consider:
The first thing you notice in any kind of room is the condition of the fabric. If it’s torn, stained or ruined in any way, it will pop up in the eyes of every guest passing by it. Therefore, you may want to inspect the material regularly for any tears, pulls, or gaps in it.
You should always clean the material with mild soaps and cleaners. Furthermore, you must make sure that no liquid will come into contact with the electrical parts of the chair.
Don’t use solvent-based cleaning solutions on the fabric, and do not saturate it either; doing so will ruin it in the long run. Also, don’t forget to unplug your chair before cleaning it – as a safety measure.
Electrical Parts Care
Do regular checks on the wiring harness to ensure that it isn’t damaged or frayed, or showing any signs of corrosion.
If you find that it’s damaged, you shouldn’t attempt to fix it yourself unless you have the authorization. If you don’t, you should simply unplug the chair and look for an authorized provider.
All lift chairs have a battery backup, so you may want to replace those batteries every year – no matter if you used them or not.
The batteries that have been there for too long may end up corroding the chair, causing irreversible harm. If you use them, you may want to do regular checks as well to see whether they require replacing or not.
If your external transformer box is in need of cleaning, you have to unplug the cord and use a clean, dry (at most, lightly damp) cloth to clean it.
If you used a dampened cloth, make sure that you allow enough time for it to dry before plugging it back in. Also, you may want to keep the hand control away from liquids and heated surfaces.
Further Tips On Maintenance
While it may sound tempting and an “easy job” for you, you should not attempt to lubricate the lift chair mechanism by yourself.
If you notice your lift chair making strange noises, you should just unplug it and call your authorized service provider to check the problem.
When you aren’t using the chair, it’s best that you leave it in a sitting, standard position so that the electrical parts are not compromised.
Finally, to make sure that your lift chair won’t break due to your weight, you may want to check its maximum load capacity.
It’s no easy job to pick out the best power lift chairs. There are so many things to consider that even choosing between two different models is a delicate task.
What’s the fabric like? How much does it recline? Does it also give me a massage while I’m sitting and enjoying some “me” time? The bottom line is that you have to consider every detail. Keep in mind that this chair will probably be with you for the rest of your retirement, which is why you need to be comfortable in it.
Ask the seller every question possible: heat and massage options, fabric, cushioning, ease of use, and maintenance. Knowing all these details will make the selection much easier for you. If you need more information about lift chairs and what to look for when browsing for them, you may consult our comprehensive buying guide.