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Choosing a Rise and Recline Chair

Selecting a rise and recline chair for the first time can be a daunting prospect, with so many models and options to choose from. We have put together this guide to explain the main points to consider.

Motor Mechanism

The motor option you choose will determine the powered seating functions on the chair. Amongst the options are:

  • Single motor - this will recline you at the same time as raising the footrest. It is a cheaper option than a dual motor, but gives you less flexibility over your position.

  • Dual motor - this allows the backrest recline to be adjusted independently to raising the footrest, giving you far more freedom over your positioning.

  • Tilt in space - available with either single or dual motors, this helps to maintain a consistent 90° back angle as the chair reclines.

  • Riser - this raises the chair and tilts you forward to assist with standing (and sitting if required). Most rise and recliners come with this feature - hence the name!

These are the main motor mechanisms available. There are some other variants, including walhuggers (discussed below under "Space") and Pride's "Premier" mechanism with adjustable lumbar and headrest support.


Rise and recline chairs need a good amount of space behind them for the backrest to recline into. If your space is limited, then a walhugger chair is the ideal solution - this moves the seat forward as it reclines, so only requires 6 inches of clear space behind the backrest.

Made to measure or set sizes

Traditionally, riser recliners have been made in set sizes - some chairs have just a single size option; others may have two to four sizes. However, made to measure chairs have become increasingly popular over the last decade as every aspect of the chair's size is built to fit your body shape and size perfectly. This provides you with much better comfort and support than buying a "medium" or "large" which is only ever an approximation of common body sizes. When possible we would always recommend a made to measure chair, and our specialists are able to assess you and measure for a perfectly fitting chair that will be comfortable to sit in for hours at a time.

Made to Measure Rise and Recliners

Offering the ultimate in comfort, a made-to-measure rise and recline chair can be comfortably sat in all day long.

Standard Rise and Recliners

Our range of affordable Express chairs provide a quick and convenient way to get a rise and recliner as soon as possible.

Country of manufacture

All of our made to measure chairs plus some Pride chairs are hand-made in the UK. We have found that these chairs have a higher build quality, with better materials used than other models, which are made in the far east.


What differentiates most models of rise and recline chair is their backrest. Among the common backrest designs are:

  • Waterfall - the most popular option, this offers great comfort, and the backrest cushions can usually be adjusted to fit.

  • Lumbar or split back - this provides additional support to the lumbar area of your back.

  • Lateral - providing support to either side, to help maintain posture; great for those lacking core strength.

  • Button back - a traditional styling usually chosen on looks.

  • Letterbox - a smart single-piece backrest that offers good comfort.

  • T-Back - the central gap between the cushions provides support for the length of your spine; ideal for those with curvature.

Most chairs have a set backrest type associated with them, however a few Pride ones have a choice of backrests.


Armrests are mostly chosen on looks, with options include scroll arms and straight ones. Some chairs have the option for wooden knuckle arms, which can be a useful gripping point to help push yourself up into a standing position.


Most "standard" chairs have either a single fabric, or a very limited number of options. UK made chairs tend to have hundreds of fabric options from woven ones through to leather, allowing them to match your décor.

Chair Type and Complementary Furniture

Some rise and recliners are available as powered sofas, often with different sections of the sofa able to move independently. If you want a matching set of furniture in your living room, many of the UK-made chairs are available with matching static sofas and chairs, as well as footstools.

Build Time

Our Express chairs are available for quick delivery, as they come in set sizes, mechanisms and fabrics. If your need is urgent then they offer a good solution - as does our rise and recline chair hire. Made to order chairs can take a couple of weeks to build, but we generally consider this to be worth it!


Last but certainly not least is the question of cost. Chairs made in the far east tend to be cheaper - however, this comes with trade-offs in terms of warranty and the lack of ability to customise them. UK-manufactured made-to-measure chairs offer great value given the outstanding levels of comfort, customisation and durability.

Where Next?

The best way to work out what rise and recline chair is best for you, is to try some out! Our spacious Chessington showroom is stocked with a full range of chairs, sofas and complementary furniture for you to try out at your leisure. Our seating specialists are on-hand to advise you of the options, and measure you up for a tailor-made chair.

A selection of the chairs in our showroom