Are Reclining Sofas Worth It? (The Pros and Cons)

Reclining Sofas Worth It

With the promise of extra legroom and a more comfortable seating experience, many people are intrigued by the idea of a reclining sofa. However, are these pieces of furniture worth the price?

There are many pros and cons to purchasing a reclining sofa. Some of them are as follows:

More comfortableMore expensive
Good for back painLimited designs and styles
Support healthy circulationRequire more space
More space to relaxMore maintenance and cleaning

Keep reading to learn more about both the advantages and disadvantages of reclining sofas, as well as some other factors to consider. 

Pros and Cons of Reclining Sofas

Perhaps you’re considering purchasing a reclining sofa for your living room, den, or any other room in your home. However, you’re not quite sure if you’re sold on the idea yet. 

Weighing the pros and cons of reclining sofas can help you make a more informed decision. Below, we’ll highlight some of the critical advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered when you’re deciding whether or not to purchase this type of sofa.

Pros of Reclining Sofas

Reclining sofas usually offer the user a variety of unique features and can be much more comfortable for anyone who suffers from lower back or hip pain. They can be a great alternative to a stationary sofa, especially if you have a larger living area. 

Let’s discuss some of the most significant benefits of owning one of these sofas!

These are often substantial selling points for reclining sofas. If you would like to have any of these luxury features right in your living room, look for models that offer them. 

They Are Typically More Comfortable

Reclining sofas are built with comfort in mind. They often have much softer padding, and are usually oversized for a more bed-like feel than the average sofa. If you enjoy sitting back and relaxing after a long day at work, a reclining sofa may be the ideal choice for you. You’ll feel well-rested and ready to take on the next day after just a couple of hours!

They’re Great for Anyone with Back or Neck Pain

Reclining sofas offer more back support than traditional sofas. If you work at a desk all day long, you’re probably very familiar with lower back and neck pain. Thankfully, reclining sofas can help support back health by alleviating the load on your spine. While sitting upright can increase the back pain you feel, laying back on a reclining sofa can actually reduce it. In addition, opening up your hips will reduce or even eliminate any pain in this area.

They’re a Good Alternative to Lying in Bed

Research suggests that lying in your bed while doing things, like watching TV or even reading, can negatively affect your sleep schedule. This is because when you use your bed for anything other than sleeping, you may train your brain to associate the bed with things other than rest.

This, in turn, can lead to chronic insomnia or poor quality of sleep. A reclining sofa is an excellent alternative to lying in bed while doing activities like these because they allow you to lay back, put your feet up, and relax without affecting your sleep schedule. 

They May Support a Healthy Circulatory System

Reclining sofas aren’t just good for people who sit at a desk all day – they’re also great for anyone who’s on their feet a lot! When you stand for long periods, your circulatory system has to work harder. It’s much more challenging to pump blood to your heart when your body has to work against gravity, and elevating your legs gives your veins a break. 

Some people find that reclining sofas promote healthier circulation and reduce the inflammation they feel in the lower parts of their legs and their feet. 

They Have Higher Backs Than Traditional Sofas

Most reclining sofas come with higher backs than the average sofa. This is a considerable advantage for taller people who don’t receive the necessary back support from non-reclining sofas. When the backs are fully reclined, you’ll notice that both your back and neck are in much more comfortable positions than they would be otherwise. 

They Give You More Space

While sofas always have enough space to accommodate more than one person, they don’t allow them to lay down while sharing the couch with someone else. Reclining sofas just may be your answer to this problem. 

If you’re sitting on your reclining sofa with one, two, or even three other people, you can still lay back by reclining the area you’re sitting on. This does not impede anyone else’s space, but still allows you to relax in a way that’s most comfortable for you. 

They Often Offer Special Power Features

Most power reclining sofas, and even some manual reclining sofas, offer special features that you won’t find on stationary sofas. These may include:

  • Heated seats
  • Cup holders
  • Massage features
  • USB charging ports
  • Power headrests
  • Power lumbar support

They Offer the Choice of Manual or Electric Operation

As we discussed above, reclining sofas come with two different operating choices: manual and electric. Manually-operated reclining sofas can usually be reclined by pushing or pulling a lever, while electrically-operated reclining sofas are usually reclined with the push of a button.

The choice between these two operations allows you to have the best sofa for your unique needs. Some people prefer to use a manual reclining sofa because the part is less likely to break, while others like electric reclining sofas because they’re more efficient. 

Cons of Reclining Sofas

While many people love reclining sofas, they’re not ideal for everyone. The benefits are great, but you need to make sure these outweigh the drawbacks before purchasing one for yourself. Reclining sofas often come in much more limited styles than traditional sofas, requiring more space to accommodate them adequately. 

Now, we’ll discuss some of the downsides of reclining sofas.

The Reclining Mechanics Can Fail

While this is a more common problem in electric reclining sofas, even manual reclining mechanisms may fail over time. If you have an electric recliner, the wiring can wear out over time, and will likely be very expensive to repair. If you have a manual recliner, the lever may break or come disconnected from other parts.

If your reclining mechanism fails, your sofa will have little to no difference from a stationary sofa. If it fails while in the reclined position, however, it can be a bigger problem. Until you get it fixed or replaced, you will have less space to walk around the room, and your sofa could become an eyesore to anyone who enters the room. 

To avoid this problem, look for a reclining sofa that offers a good warranty. This way, you can get it repaired or replaced at no extra cost if the mechanics ever fail.

They’re Not as Comfortable if You Want to Lay Across

Reclining sofas are built with lounging, rather than lying, in mind. Because of this, they often have a different type of padding and framing than a traditional sofa. If you want to lay across the length of the sofa, it will probably not be as comfortable as you would expect. 

They Come in More Limited Styles

Reclining sofas are often available in fewer styles and materials than traditional sofas. They’re built more for comfort than for aesthetics, and are often made from leather. You will probably have trouble finding the modern, low-profile style that most people prefer these days, which can be a problem if you’re somewhat particular about the furniture in your home.

Shopping around, both in-store and online, can help you find a style that suits you. However, always keep your expectations realistic. 

They Take Up More Floor Space

Due to their reclining capabilities, every reclining sofa you find will take up more space than a non-reclining sofa. This means that you’ll likely need a relatively large room to accommodate one. 

Generally, you’ll need to place your reclining sofa at least one foot away from the wall to allow the back to fully recline. However, this is a tight estimate, and you may need more space behind depending on how far back your sofa reclines. You don’t want the back to rub up against your wall and damage either your sofa or your wall!

In addition to room in the back, you’ll also need sufficient space in front of the sofa. Since the foot area opens up as well, you probably won’t be able to place a coffee table or ottoman in front of it. They do take up a significant amount of space, so a non-reclining sofa may be a more practical option if you don’t have the room to spare.

They Require More Maintenance and Regular Cleanings

Reclining sofas have a lot of moving parts that need to be oiled and cleaned occasionally. This ensures that the reclining mechanism opens and closes smoothly, and that excess grease does not build up over time. This is especially important in electric recliners because a build-up of grease can damage the electrical components. 

In addition, these sofas have more openings where dust and debris can gather. The openings will need to be vacuumed often to get rid of any build-up. If your sofa has any special features like power outlets or cup holders, these will need to be cleaned as well. 

Electric Reclining Sofas Need to be Plugged in

If you choose an electric reclining sofa, it will need to stay plugged into the wall in order to function. This may add to your monthly electric bill, so it’s something to consider if you’re trying to conserve money or electricity each month. 

Manual Reclining Sofas are Decreasing in Popularity

Nowadays, most manufacturers are focusing on power reclining. If you prefer the old manual reclining method, you’ll probably find that you have fewer options. In addition, it may be challenging to find other pieces for your living room that match the older style. And, if your manual reclining sofa breaks down, finding someone to repair it could be harder. 

They Can be Expensive

Reclining sofas are more expensive than most stationary sofas. There’s more involved in their construction, and they usually have more complex features. If you want to get a reclining sofa for your home, be prepared to pay extra for the luxury. 

Are Power Reclining Sofas Worth It?

Today, power reclining sofas are quickly outpacing manual reclining sofas in terms of popularity. Instead of reclining via the manipulation of a lever, these sofas recline with the push of a button or the flick of a switch. 

Generally, power reclining sofas are worth it because they offer more convenience than manual reclining sofas. You don’t have to mess with a lever, and there are fewer moving parts to upkeep. However, they typically need to be plugged in to function and can be expensive to repair if the electrical parts wear out over time. 

If you do choose a power reclining sofa, try to find one with a decent warranty. This way, any parts that break down prematurely can be fixed for free by either the store you bought the sofa from or the manufacturer. Under some warranties, you may even be shipped a new sofa at no extra cost!

While a stationary sofa only functions as seating, the right power reclining sofa can become the centerpiece of your entire living room! 

Other Things to Consider When Shopping for a Reclining Sofa

Finding the right reclining sofa for your home might not be an easy task. Keep these tips in mind when you go shopping to ensure you find the best match.

Be Sure to Shop Around

The price, available styles, and special features included on a reclining sofa vary based on where you shop. The biggest mistake you can make? Only checking one retailer! Don’t settle for something that just feels “okay.” Visit several different stores in your area to compare what you’ll get at each, and only make your final decision once you know what’s out there. 

Test Out Your Options in the Store

When you go to look at reclining sofas in the store, test them out! Sit on each one you see to test out the comfort level, and try all the special features they include. When you can get a feel for how each operates, it makes the decision-making process easier. 

Reclining Sofas vs. Non-Reclining Sofas

If you’re trying to decide whether to get a reclining or non-reclining sofa, it sometimes helps to have the differences laid out simply. Below, you’ll find a table that compares the two options. 

Reclining SofasNon-Reclining Sofas
Typically expensivePrices vary from affordable to luxury
More options for seating positionsNo moving parts
Usually very heavyLighter than a reclining sofa
Can’t be pushed against a wall, requires more spaceCan be pushed against a wall, can have a table in front

Alternatives to Reclining Sofas

If, after weighing the pros and cons, you decide that a reclining sofa is not the best choice for your living space, you have a couple of other options. Here are two potential alternatives to a reclining sofa. 

A Reclining Chair

A reclining chair is an excellent choice for anyone who wants something that reclines but does not have enough space for a reclining sofa. Although these still take up a significant amount of space when reclined, the space required is less than that of a whole reclining sofa.

These chairs offer the same kind of lumbar and back support that sofas do, and are often available in various styles, fabrics, and colors. Because they’re not as central to your space as a sofa is, it’s often easier to match them to your existing furniture. 

A Sectional Sofa

While a sectional sofa won’t take up any less room than a reclining sofa, they can be pushed up against the walls, and you can place a table or ottoman close by. Often coming in either an L or U shape, they’re great for anyone who likes to entertain in their living area. 

Unlike standard sofas, sectionals still offer you a lounging area. One side can be pushed up against the wall, and the other side, or sides, can face your television to allow you to lay back and relax in an area other than your bedroom. 

Final Thoughts

There are many benefits, health and otherwise, that reclining sofas offer the user. These include more back and lumbar support, a comfortable lying down experience, and certain unique features.

However, there are also disadvantages to this type of sofa. They take up a significant amount of space, and they are often out of reach for people on a budget. Whether or not a reclining sofa is a good idea depends heavily on your personal situation, so make sure to weigh all of the pros and cons effectively before making a final choice. 


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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