Recliner Vs Regular Sofa: Which Is Better?

Recliner vs Sofa

Purchasing furniture is a big and long term investment. When buying sofas, tables, recliners, and chairs for the living room, you want comfort and quality. With so many options out there, you need to narrow down the field. Choosing between a recliner sofa and a regular sofa model helps to focus your choices. Each model offers its own perks and pitfalls.

A recliner sofa is a better option when compared with a regular sofa. The recliner’s ability to lift the feet and lower the backrest offers health benefits to owners, increasing comfort levels. Some recliner sofas even have a raising mechanism that can assist users to stand upright. 

The only true area in which the recliner sofa does not outperform the regular sofa is body style options. When comparing reclining sofas with regular sofas, it is quickly apparent which option is better. In the following sections, the two are compared side by side, including discussing the price points of each to highlight the reasons why recliner sofas are better.

Why Recliner Sofas Are Better

In terms of seating versatility, you can not go wrong with reclining sofas. Unlike the limitations of a conventional sofa, reclining sofas have multiple seating options and spaces. A traditional sofa allows up to three, four if you squeeze together, to sit together, however, they are limited in the positions they can choose. With multiple people on the sofa, all of them must sit up with legs on the ground.

Reclining sofas offer better options as each occupant can choose their seated position. They can recline back with their feet up. People using the reclining sofa can also choose to have just their feet up or to only recline the back. 

The seating variation is up to the individual user and their desired comfort level. The ability to choose different seating positions is just one of the reasons that reclining sofas are the better option.

Additionally, many reclining sofa models have built-in cup holders and armrests between seats. These allow for each individual to have their own space without feeling like they are fighting for a movie theater armrest. Moreover, the cup holders remove the need for a coffee table as you cannot place a table directly in front of the recliner sofa’s leg rests.

Recliner Sofa Benefits

While the ability to adjust the feet and backrest of each section of the reclining sofa is one of the biggest draws, the additional features available contribute to making the recliner sofa the better option. Compared to a regular sofa, the recliner is built with extra comfort in mind. Further, the recliner sofa has additional health benefits not found in a traditional sofa.

  • Designed for Comfort: Recliner sofas are oversized purposefully for comfort, which means that they are roomier with more cushioning. They were made for people to snuggle in and relax. Add your favorite cozy blanket and you are all set for a rainy day streaming your favorite show.
  • Physical Health Benefits of Reclining: Surprising to many, there are several health benefits to using a reclining sofa. Many of these benefits stem from the reclining function of these sofas. Health benefits include lumbar support for back pain. 
  • Breathing Benefits of Reclining: Additionally, the reclining functions can help with breathing problems like sleep apnea and digestive problems such as heartburn and reflux.  
  • Health Benefits of Leg Rest: The ability to raise the leg rest on reclining sofas offers relief from circulation-related problems. By raising your feet, you can encourage blood flow away from tired, aching legs. Reclining and lifting the legs can help take the strain off joints through positioning and the extra cushioning.
  • Motion Assistance: Some reclining sofa models offer an additional rising motion feature that is especially helpful for people who have recently had foot, leg, back, or hip surgery. The rising feature assists with the upward motion of standing, letting the chair do the work, and taking the strain off the individual.
  • Additional Enhanced Options: Like automobiles, recliner sofa models can be purchased with upgrades. Many of these are specifically designed for ease of comfort and entertainment. For example, some models offer heated seats with massaging action, while others may also offer built-in ports for your electronics. 
  • Power or Manual Options: If you do not want to deal with the hassle of plugging in your recliner, manual options are available. For those with mobility issues, however, the electric option is a boon as they can often use the power to raise the legs, recline, adjust the lumbar support and assist with standing.

The benefits of reclining sofas are many, however, that does not mean that a downside does not exist. There are some cons to purchasing a reclining sofa when compared with buying a traditional sofa.         

Recliner Sofa Costs 

All of the bells and whistles on the reclining sofa models come with additional costs. One of those is the big price tag. There are a few other costs that you should be aware of besides the price point.

  • Size of Reclining Sofas: All of the items that are added to raise the comfort level of the reclining sofas also add to the size of the furniture. The larger size can be cumbersome in smaller spaces and difficult to move.  
  • Weight of Reclining Sofas: The weight is a definite consideration especially in power recliners as the additional electronic components in addition to the added padding, reclining parts, and lifting mechanisms increase the total weight of the sofa.
  • Placement for Electric and Reclining: Compared to a traditional sofa, more thought is required when deciding where to place your reclining couch. Power models must be close to an outlet to operate, limiting where the furniture can be situated. Also, reclining sofas cannot be flush against the wall.
  • Mechanical Components: Although these components create the adjustability that is the draw to recliner sofas, they are also the parts most likely to wear out or malfunction. Pay attention to warranty options for these components. Make sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions.

Overall, the negative aspects of recliner sofas do not outweigh the benefits. The sheer number of additional benefits makes the recliner an appealing option. As you examine the range of amenities available on recliners, it is hard to find fault with these models. You can see the appeal in creating your ideal seat with easy access for charging your favorite devices. 

It is easy to immediately succumb to the siren song appeal of the recliner sofa. In order to make an informed decision, however, you should review the costs and benefits of regular sofas. By comparing both the recliner and regular sofa, you ensure that you are investing in the best furniture option for your physical, spatial, and decorative needs.

Features of Regular Sofas

Regular Sofas
Regular Sofa

Although traditional sofas do not have all the extras that come with a reclining sofa, it is worthwhile to review their features prior to making a decision. Traditional sofas have been in existence for a long time. 

With longevity comes an evolution in fashions and styles. Over time, there have been many stylistic iterations of the regular sofa. As such, regular sofas have a few benefits that make them solid choices for some individuals.

Regardless of your decorating niche, a regular sofa model exists to complement it. The wide selection of fabric types, materials, and prints make traditional sofas appealing. The variety of regular sofas outweighs those of reclining sofas, as does the wider range of available body shapes and sizes. Further, regular sofas have a lower price range than reclining sofas, making them appealing to those on a budget.

Regular Sofa Benefits 

Regular sofas may not be able to recline, but that does not mean that they are without seating options. Also, the vast options in body size and silhouette make them worth a look while shopping.  

  • Wide Variety of Regular Sofa Options: If low, sleek and contemporary edges are your decorating love language, then regular sofas are the way to go. Regular sofas do not need the extra mechanisms or electronics. Their designs can be tighter with lower backrests, the body styles run the gamut.
  • Easier to Move: Even your larger overstuffed traditional sofas are going to be lighter than recliner models. Traditional sofas do not have the motor or adjustable mechanisms adding to their weight. This fact makes regular sofas easier to move and adjust within your living space.
  • Lounging Options: Regular sofas do not offer the option for you to recline without an ottoman and some strategic pillow placement, however, you can lay across the entire sofa comfortably. Reclining sofas, designed to have individual seats, however, are not as comfortable to lay across. 
  • Versatile Decorating Placements: Since regular sofas do not need space behind them to recline, they can be placed close against the walls of the room. Moreover, you do not have to leave space in front for the leg rest to lift, allowing you to use coffee tables or ottomans as decorative touches.
  • Lower Price Point: For the budget conscious, the regular sofa is very appealing. Price points can start around $740 for a sleek modern look to about $1500 for a mid-century leather model. As in other facets of life, you can assuredly go higher than $1500 depending on brand and fabric choice.

In terms of the sheer number of choices, regular sofas win the competition. All of the variability, however, means that you need to research your choices to make sure you are getting a quality product. A quick search online can show several models below $700. In these cases, you definitely want to make sure that you are still getting a quality furniture piece.

Look at the reviews to see if the piece you are viewing is worth the price. If you have to turn around in six months or a year to purchase a new sofa, you might have been better off spending that extra $700 upfront for a reclining sofa or a quality regular sofa.

Regular Sofa Costs

Regular sofas, at first glance, appear to be without many cons, however, that is not the case. The wide variety of options available can be overwhelming and deter even the most eager shopper. Moreover, the vast array of options means you must be careful about the quality of design and the fabric used in the construction of the sofa.

  • Not All Materials Are Equal: As you examine the choices available for traditional sofas, make sure that you look at the strength of the fabric. A light, breezy fabric may look stylish and fit your aesthetic, however, it is unlikely to stand up to daily wear and tear.
  • Frame and Cushioning: Take time to sit on the sofa. Some regular sofas stitch the backrest cushions to the frame. With use, the backrest cushions are pulled down and away from the frame. Weak fabrics or poor stitching can result in these cushions tearing away from the frame.
  • Limited Lounging Options: Regular sofas limit you to multiple people sitting upright or one person lying across the length of the sofa. Unless you are someone who loves sleeping sprawled across the couch, this may not be enough to sway you away from the many lounging options provided by a reclining sofa.
  • Mobility Challenges: Anyone with mobility-related challenges can have a hard time rising from traditional sofas, especially depending upon seat depth and cushion size. For people who have difficulty getting up, the lack of armrests or support in the middle seat of a regular sofa makes rising to stand an adventure.
  • Support Issues: For extra lumbar support, you will need cushions handy. In some sofas, you may need several cushions to create enough support. The depth of some regular sofas means that you must scoot all the way back to take full advantage of the backrest support, which is uncomfortable for many people.

The limitations of regular sofas make reclining sofas much more appealing. The sheer number of available benefits beyond just the multiple seating variations make recliner sofas the better option. The only thing that often holds people back from purchasing a reclining sofa is whether the price of the piece is worth its cost.

Are Reclining Sofas Worth It?

Certainly, for many, the most offsetting thing about a recliner sofa is the ticket price. The range for reclining sofas starts around $1300 for three seats and runs up to $3000 – $4000 for sectional reclining sofas.  

Once you examine the actual differences in price point against the advantages of each piece, it becomes apparent that one gets much more with the recliner. Considering that a decent quality regular sofa starts at around $800, the few hundred dollars difference makes the recliner sofa worth the investment.

The many additional benefits, from health to mobility assistance, are worth the additional dollars. Those with space restrictions due to apartment or room size can opt for a smaller, two seat recliner option. The benefits of owning a reclining sofa greatly outweigh the negative aspects.

Like most furniture purchases, buying a reclining sofa is an investment. As with most investments, your initial thought is what is to be gained from this purchase. In this situation, you are investing an additional $500 or more to have a recliner sofa in your living room. How long will this furniture investment last? What perks do you gain from your purchase?

Investment and Lifetime of Recliner Sofas

The life expectancy of a recliner sofa is around 7 years on the short end and upwards of 15 on the outside. The range is due to several factors, including:

  • Weight: The amount of weight that the chair is bearing on a daily basis. More weight is going to have a greater effect on the chair’s frame, cushioning, reclining mechanisms, and lifting components.
  • Usage: A recliner sofa that is seeing daily usage is going to have a shorter longevity than a similar sofa that is used occasionally. 
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance of motors and mechanisms can extend the lifetime of your reclining sofa. Similar care to cushions and upholstery will also increase the time between purchase and replacement.

Many reclining sofa manufacturers offer warranties with their products. Some companies offer lifetime warranties on metal and mechanical parts, with more limited warranties on wood and fabric components. The lifetime of reclining sofas, plus the existence of manufacturer warranties, are part of making them worth purchasing. The additional health benefits are an added bonus.

Health Benefits of Recliner Sofas

The most salient health benefits to owning a reclining sofa are tied to mobility and circulation. The ability to adjust the leg rest allows owners to position their feet comfortably. For individuals with leg problems or who work on their feet all day, it is a gift to be able to sit down and let the power leg lift relieve the pressure from your lower extremities.

Anyone who has been pregnant, had back issues, hip replacement, or a broken leg or ankle knows how difficult it can be to lift up from a seated position, especially a comfortable, cushioned seat. The ability to use the power backrest to help lift your body to a sitting position is a relief. 

The models that have a lifting mechanism for the whole seat to help a person to stand are priceless for individuals who face mobility challenges.

The health benefits do not stop there. For individuals who suffer from heartburn or reflux, the reclined position relieves these conditions. When people lie down, gravity no longer exerts the same force on one’s digestive system. Reclining allows a person to lie down and rest while still allowing gravity to keep stomach contents where they belong. Resting comfortably helps to reduce stress level as do the following:

  • Back Support: Adjustable lumbar supports on reclining sofas help to alleviate back pain. Reduced pain levels in terms of lower stress levels, helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure rate.
  • Circulation: Elevating your legs helps to improve circulation and counteract the role that gravity plays throughout the workday.
  • Stress Relief: The ability to lower the impact of painful joints and muscles simultaneously assists in lowering stress and anxiety. Stress can be reduced even further if the recliner sofa has a massaging option.

Overall, the extra amenities and health benefits of recliner sofas make them a better option. You are able to individualize your seating to your needs at preferences with the touch of a finger. Manual recliners are not as individualized, however, they do still offer the ability to recline and raise the leg lifts as desired.

Recliner Sofas Are Worth the Price

The benefits of reclining sofas make them worth the higher price tag. You can lounge in comfort while reading your favorite book or watching a movie. The oversized body style of most recliner sofas makes them a favorite for relaxing after a long day. 

The many reclining and leg rest angles available on power models allow you to individualize your seated position to maximize your relaxation and alleviate pressure on stressed joints.

Once you add the health benefits and mobility assistance to the coziness, it is readily apparent that recliner sofas are worth the expense. The only thing you are missing when compared with a regular sofa is the ability to lay comfortably across all the seating areas. 

This lack is more than made up by the variety of seating options available with a reclining sofa, especially when you begin to consider the available models.

Recliner Sofa Models

Although there are fewer recliner sofa options when compared with regular sofas, this does not mean that there are not a variety of models from which to choose. The dearth of variation has more to do with body line and silhouette as recliner sofas, by necessity, are overstuffed and larger than regular sofa models.

Recliner sofa models can vary from love seat models to three seat sofas. Additionally, you can also find sectional recliner sofas on the market today. These add additional versatility to your seating lineup and give you options in how you set up your recliner arrangement.

Sectional Recliner Sofas

If you are looking for the benefits of a reclining sofa with extra seating capacity, a sectional recliner is a feasible option. These sofas are like traditional sectional sofas with the additional recliner features. There are several things to keep in mind when shopping for sectional recliner sofas.

  • Manual or Electric Options: Similar to recliner sofas, reclining sectional sofas come in either manual or power models. Manual models allow you to place the furniture pieces without considering electrical outlets. Power versions, however, require that outlets are nearby and that cords do not create a safety hazard.
  • Multiple Seating: Sectional reclining sofas offer a number of seating options that are perfect for big families or people who entertain regularly.
  • Large Size: Regular sectional sofas are large and can be difficult to fit into some rooms. As noted earlier, recliner mechanics necessitate additional space in recliners. Sectional recliner set-up is limited by room shape or orientation. The size of sectional reclining sofas can also make them very cumbersome to move.

For individuals who are working with smaller living spaces, recliner sofas are a better option. These models are also a better fit for those individuals who do not want to be tied to the organizational limitations of the sectional pieces.

Recliner Sofas

Recliner sofas allow for more versatility in room design than their sectional counterparts. While still limited by the general constraints of recliner sofas, they more readily fit into most living spaces. Additionally, they are not locked into an L- or U-shape setup. With that type of sectional seating, orientation is limited to the focal point of the room, thereby constraining the number of combinations you can create.

Unless you specifically need several seating spaces due to family size or your entertaining schedule, the recliner sofa meets both your seating and reclining needs. 

With three and four seat models available, recliner sofas can address the daily demands of most homes, especially when mixed with other smaller seating options. 

An additional option is to choose a recliner sofa and pair it with an individual or pair of reclining chairs.


Recliner sofas are the better option over regular sofas for a variety of reasons. Even considering the price points of each, the recliners are the winners. The reclining sofas are better because of the additional options that are part of their design. They are specifically created for lounging. The cushy design, adjustability, and amenities like back massage and device plug-in make them overall the better choice.

For a few hundred dollars more, you gain access to health benefits and the ability to individualize your seating to a setting that is ideal for your needs. From lumbar support to elevating your legs, these positions are just the push of a button or the lift of a handle away. The ability to rest and relax in a seat that is perfectly positioned for your maximum comfort makes a reclining sofa worth the cost.



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.

Related Posts