Power Recliner or Manual Recliner: Which Fits You Best?

Beth Rice 06/10/2022

The recliner rates consistently as the go-to chair for comfort. A staple in living room, family room or den, it has become a chair whose mere presence promises relaxation, support, and a way to put behind the pressures of the day. Recliners have come a long way, offering luxurious fabrics and features that have developed over the years. When it comes to finding the right recliner for you, do you need a power recliner or a manual recliner? Which one fits you best?

While power recliners are a luxury choice, rich with features and options, they do come with some different hardware that might not make them the best fit for all. Manual recliners are attractive and customizable too, but are better for those with more upper body strength. We’re breaking down things to consider when choosing a recliner to help you determine if a manual recliner or power recliner is right for you.

Amish Barrington Wall Hugger Recliner
The Amish Barrington Wall Hugger Recliner is a luxury space saver.

Power Recliner Story

The main difference between a power recliner and a manual recliner is that a power recliner has a power source to automatically recline for you and a manual recliner does not. There’s no pushing or pressing back to open a power recliner and wait for the footrest to pop out. Some offer a lift option that benefits those with lower mobility, helping ease them into a recline and assist them to a standing position.

There’s no other luxury quite like gently reclining at the push of a button. Some power recliners plug right into an electric outlet, and some, like many of our Amish made power recliners, run on a battery pack. Power recliners that do plug in require a power source and this may limit where you can place your recliner in your home. For power recliners that are powered on battery packs, the need for an outlet is eliminated.

The Mission McCoy Recliner offers a smooth power recline.

Manual Recliner Story

Manual recliners are also built to offer a comfy, cozy spot to recline and relax. With no motor to power them, they do require users to manually open them. This usually consists of pushing against the armrests while pushing against the back of the chair, until the back reclines and the footrest pops up and open. There are manual recliner models that open with the help of a lever handle or pull handle on the side. These require upper body strength to push or pull the chair open. A lever handle requires more strength than a pull handle. A lever handle triggers the headrest down and the footrest up. With a pull handle, the footrest pops out and then you manually push the back up and down, then close it with your feet.

Amish Mount Hope Mission Recliner
The Amish Mount Hope Mission Recliner is a manual recliner that opens when you push back against it.

Manual recliners offer you the freedom to place them anywhere in the house since you don’t need a power source to plug them in.

Power Recliner Benefits

  • Comfy chair option
  • Opens automatically at the push of a button
  • Smooth, continuous movement
  • Offers the most versatility with a number of different positions to recline
  • Battery powered recliners eliminate tripping cord hazard

Power Recliner Challenges

  • Power cord models need a power source
  • Cords can present a tripping hazard
  • Power models cost more
  • Heavy and not easy to move
Amish Kimbolton Recliner
The Amish Kimbolton Recliner can be customized to add a power recline and a footrest drawer.

Manual Recliner Benefits

  • Comfy chair option
  • Can be placed anywhere in the house since it doesn’t need a power source
  • Costs less than power recliners
  • Lighter than power recliners, easier to move

Manual Recliner Challenges

  • Requires more effort to open and close
  • Opening and closing of chair can be jerky instead of smooth
  • Don’t normally have extra features
Amish Heartland Slat Mission Recliner
The Amish Heartland Slat Mission Recliner is available with a manual or power recline.

Questions to ask When Shopping for a Recliner

When it comes down to choosing between a power recliner or a manual one, you can ask yourself the following:

  • Do I have the strength to open and close my recliner or would a power option be best?
  • Do I have enough space for my recliner to open fully?
  • What’s my budget for a new recliner?
  • If my power recliner has a cord, where do I have an outlet nearby?

Ways to Customize an Amish Recliner

Amish made recliners are customized just for you in an Amish woodshop. One of the most popular customizations for them is to add the motorized mechanism that opens and closes your recliner at the touch of a button. There are various wood types, stain colors, and upholstery options, along with additions like throw pillows and padded arms. There are both manual and power recliner options you can customize. While the models we offer are not lift style to assist one to a standing position, it’s easier than ever to create the power recliner that’s just right for you. Several Amish made models are available as either manual or power, with the option to add the power mechanism. Customers ask if it’s worth it to add the power option to our recliners, and our advice is, if you think you’ll need or want it at some point, it’s better (and less expensive) to add it when the chair is made versus adding it later on. The power mechanism is assembled at the woodshop, then placed in the recliner before the upholstery is added.

Amish Rustic Log Cabin Recliner
This cozy Amish Rustic Log Cabin Recliner is ready to support great naps!

We are also asked what happens with a power recliner when the power goes out. Many of our Amish made power recliners have a transformer with a nine volt battery to control the chair during a power outage for a short period of time.

Amish Goshen Shaker Recliner
There are lots of upholstery options available to customize the Amish Goshen Shaker Recliner.

With perfectly angled arms, solid wood and fine craftsmanship, you can rely on an Amish made recliner to last. Whether manual or power, recliners are built to help you relax, whether its reading the latest novel, taking a nap, or enjoying some television. Having a manual or power recline is up to you.

Related Posts
The History of the Living Room

How did the living room come to be? Why is it called a living room? Is a family room really Read more

5 Ways You Can Customize Amish Living Room Chairs

Amish living room chairs bring a whole new meaning to the word comfort. Not only can you rely on premium Read more

5 Ways to Organize your Living Room with a Bookcase
5 Ways to Organize your Living Room with a Bookcase

How's your living room feeling this spring? Light? Tidy? Primed & ready for swarms of summer visitors? If your answers Read more

Wood Bookcase Buying Guide

Isn’t it great that a beautiful wood bookcase doesn’t have to be limited to an office? With so many designs Read more

About the Author

Leave a Reply