Buying the right riser recliners for you

By Repose Furniture and The OT Service

Riser recliners are motorised chairs that assist you to stand up out of the chair as well as allowing you to recline back in the chair. They are made with a metallic frame that has a scissor type mechanism that allows the chair to recline and rise. You need to ensure that you purchase the correct chair that will be suitable for your needs as not all riser recliners are the same. Think about why you need a riser recliner and what features you want it to have. Be sure to think about the top 10 items on the checklist below to make sure you buy a chair that is perfect for you.

  • Motor type: The first choice to make is whether you get one with a single motor or a dual motor. If you have a single motor chair, when you recline back in the chair the backrest and the footrest will automatically move together. Whereas if you have a dual motor chair you can control the backrest reclining and the footrest coming up in two separate motions. This gives you greater flexibility in terms of the position you want to be in when seated in the chair.
  • Seat height: If it’s too high your feet won’t touch the floor and it will be uncomfortable to sit in. If the chair is too low, it will be harder to get out of and can also put extra pressure on your hips and thighs. At the correct seat height, you should be able to sit in the chair with your feet flat on the floor and your thighs should be level, not pointing up or down.
  • Seat depth: Check you have the correct seat depth sit in the chair with your back comfortably resting against the backrest. Whilst in this position you should be able to get the width of two fingers between the front of the chair and the back of your knees.
  • Seat width: Make sure the seat is the correct width, you should be able to sit in the chair and be able to get a clenched fist between your thigh and the side of the chair on each side.
  • Armrests: The armrests will help ensure comfort when you are sitting in the chair. They should provide support along the length of your forearm and be at a height so that your arms can rest comfortably on them with you shoulders in a nice relaxed position.
  • Backrest type: The most common types of backrest are a button back style, which is a traditional looking backrest that will provide a firm supportive backrest and a waterfall backrest which comprises three separate cushions which cascade over each other like a waterfall. The amount and type of material used in these waterfall cushions can be altered to provide customised postural and comfort levels.
  • Fabric: Most chairs will come with a variety of upholstery options and you can choose from a range of fabric colours and styles. Chairs can come with vinyl fabric, which can be easier to clean but be careful about how comfortable this will be to sit in as they can sometimes cause sweating. If you require a more medical grade fabric most chairs can be provided with specialist fabric which is waterproof, breathable and can assist with managing infection control.
  • Pressure care considerations: If you have difficulties moving around in the chair and are going to be spending long periods of time in the chair, you may need to consider a specialist cushion which helps redistribute the pressure on your buttocks and thighs when seated. Options can include specialist foam, gel or air cushions. If you have any concerns about pressure care, we suggest you get advice from a healthcare professional before purchasing a chair.
  • Weight limits: All riser recliner chairs will have a maximum weight limit for the person using it. Most chairs are suitable for people weighing up to 120kg but chairs with a greater weight limit are readily available.
  • Handset controls: All riser recliner chairs are operated by a handset control. Think about the type of controls that will be easiest for you to operate, particularly if you have any difficulties using your hands because of condition such as arthritis. It’s always a good idea to trial to controls before you buy the chair, as there are options for push button and toggle switch style controls. All handsets will have a minimum of two buttons, but some will have more depending on the features of the chair.

For more information on the full range of bespoke seating solutions available from Repose Furniture call 0844 7766001, email or visit

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