Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: August 20, 2021
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It is not uncommon among elderly people, who suffer from joint problems and muscle fatigue, to face difficulty when trying to sit down in a chair or to go from sitting to standing. This simple task can be a difficult exercise in lower body strength for those who are mobility-impaired, but thankfully lift chairs make sitting down and standing back up significantly easier. Lift chairs are designed with the elderly in mind to make their lives easier and dramatically reduce the risk of injury from sitting and standing.
In reviewing the best lift chairs for the elderly, we considered a number of features that are critical to the comfort and usability of these chairs. The overall dimensions of each chair and the dimensions of the seat itself determine whether a specific chair will fit in your house and whether the seat will be comfortable for your body. The weight capacity of the chair is also important, considering both – safety and durability, since lift chairs need to be able to mechanically lift your entire body weight. In addition, the material, that the chair is upholstered with, can dramatically affect whether the chair is comfortable against your skin and whether the chair is likely to last you for years of use.
We spent tens of hours poring through customer reviews and reading technical specifications for the most popular lift chairs currently on the market. The result is a list of the seven best life chairs for the elderly, summarized in the table below. Continue reading for detailed reviews of the seven chairs, complete with pros and cons of each chair. Our buying guide and frequently asked questions cover everything you need to know in order to find the right lift chair for you, and finally, we sum up our three favorite lift chairs for the elderly currently on the market.
Users rave about this plush faux-leather lift chair from Ashley Furniture. The chair is upholstered with polyurethane that is highly durable and soft against the skin. The chair itself is very plush, but not in a way that allows you to sink too deeply into the seat – users thought it was firm and comfortable. The seat itself is 19” across and may be too wide for skinny users, but heavyset people will greatly appreciate the wide seat and the overstuffed leather armrests. The top of the seat to the top of the back is 25.5”, plenty tall for users around six feet in height.
Another great feature of this chair is that the footrest extends independently from the recliner, so that you can have your feet out without having to lie down. The lift mechanism and recliner are controlled by a wired controller, which can be hidden away in a pocket on the side of the chair when not in use.
Users also loved how easy this chair is to assemble. The chair comes with easily understood instructions and all of the tools required to put it together, and it takes less than an hour for a single person to complete the assembly. Note that because of the width of the chair frame, you will need doorways 30” or wider to get the chair through your house.
Ashley Furniture backs up this chair with a five-year warranty, one of the longest warranties among lift chairs we reviewed, and users have reported good experiences with their customer service team.
Users loved this compact and comfortable lift chair from Pulaski. Compared to most of the other lift chairs we reviewed, this chair is relatively small and does not feature the plush padding found on other lift chairs. Short users greatly appreciated this, since they do not feel like they sink into the chair. Moreover, users just over five feet in height were able to touch the floor when the lift was engaged. However, other users were not as happy with the lack of cushioning, especially in the backrest – they felt that the chair can be quite uncomfortable and does not provide much lumbar support. The armrests are also relatively narrow, which can be an issue for heavier users with wide arms.
Also, unlike many other lift chairs, this model is upholstered with polyester rather than synthetic leather. Although this fabric stains more easily, the microfiber weave is soft against the skin, breathes very well in hot conditions, and won’t stick to your skin like synthetic leather upholstery will.
The chair is constructed with a plywood rather than steel frame, which makes it lighter than comparable chairs. However, note that the lift mechanism itself is constructed from steel, so there are no issues with durability related to the plywood. Pulaski offers a one-year warranty on the chair, although this is short relative to other chairs in this price range.
One very welcome feature to this chair is the built-in battery backup which will automatically return the chair to its normal position in the event of a power failure. This is extremely helpful if you tend to sleep reclined in the chair, since a power failure can make it difficult or impossible to get up from a reclined position.
Anyone with chronic ailments, joint problems, or any physical limitation should get this chair like yesterday. It not only helps one get out of the chair easily but also helps ease discomfort with gentle massage and warmth.
The chair comes in 4 colors; light and dark brown, red, and cream. It has an elegant classic leather seat design that will undoubtedly elevate your space aesthetically. Its faux leather upholstery is low maintenance as it wipes clean very easily.
The chair only reclines up to 140 degrees so if you need a full recline you better look elsewhere. On the bright side, it has built-in heaters that provide soothing gentle massages and warmth that help relieve minor aches and pains.
On top of being therapeutic, built-in heaters are also great for cold-natured people. They can also come in handy on those cold movie nights when you are too lazy to grab a blanket.
Almost anyone can comfortably sit on the chair as it has a capacity of 320 pounds. Its only drawback is that it requires some assembly and since it is heavily built, you will need an extra pair of hands.
With a 1-year warranty, this is one of the best lift chairs for the elderly or anyone with physical limitations out there. Plus it has built-in cup holders and USB port for added convenience.
This inexpensive reclining lift chair from Harper & Bright Designs is perfect if you don’t want to spend a fortune on a lift chair – for example, if you want to try out a lift chair before upgrading to a higher-end model or if you only need a lift chair for a limited time. Like more expensive lift chairs, this model is able to recline up to 160 degrees, and features and extendable leg rest that operates independently of the backrest, features that also make it a great reading chair. The seat is relatively narrow at only 16.5” across, which is surprising given that the chair is rated to seat people up to 330 pounds. Skinnier users found the seat to be well-padded, if somewhat on the firm side. However, users did note that the headrest could use additional padding to provide support when sitting upright.
The chair is upholstered with polyurethane synthetic leather, but Harper & Bright Designs attempted to make this fabric more breathable by using a microfiber weave. While this increases the breathability of the chair, the lack of deep air grooves in the backrest limits airflow to a significant extent.
In addition, the armrests on this chair are narrow and hard relative to other lift chairs we reviewed. Although this did not bother most users, it is worth noting if you prefer to spread out over your chair.
Although a warranty is offered on this chair, the terms of the warranty are not stated – Harper & Bright Designs advises users to contact customer service directly with any issues.
Here is another recliner chair that would be a perfect addition to any household with an elderly person or anyone physically challenged. It is very pocket friendly and is built and tested to be durable and mechanically sound.
The BONZY power lift and recliner chair has a stylish modern design that will blend in well with your modern contemporary interior décor. Its microfiber velvet upholstery is soft and nice to the touch yet durable. Its thick cushioning gives offers premium comfort and support. The velvet is not the easiest to clean out there but it is better than most.
The chair comes with a simple to use remote that reclines you into a comfortable position and helps you get out of the chair. You can only recline up to 140 degrees and it can hold up to 300 pounds.
What’s more, the chair has side pockets in which you can keep a few essentials like the remote, your phone, glasses, or newspapers.
With a 1-year warranty, this is one of the best chairs you can gift your grandmother on her birthday for her ultimate comfort. It looks like a million bucks but doesn’t cost a fortune.
This lift recliner chair from Giantex is a great blend of price and comfort. The chair is smaller and more compact than the lift recliner from Ashley Furniture, which makes it significantly easier to fit into a small room. However, tall users found the chair to be uncomfortable since there is not a lot of length between the seat and the top of the chair. In addition, the footrest does not recline independently of the backrest, so you will either be sitting upright or lying at a reclined angle. The lift and reclining functions are controlled by a wireless remote that can be stored away in a pocket on the side of the chair when not in use.
The chair is upholstered with fabric to produce a more breathable and softer against the skin chair than typical synthetic leather. Users appreciated the slightly fuzzy, linen-like feel of the upholstery and were happy that it looks cozy when filling a room.
The chair comes with a three-year limited warranty on the frame and reclining mechanism, which was a big selling point for many users. In addition, users found that the chair requires only one assembly step that is extremely easy and takes only minutes to complete – the back and base of the chair must be combined. Note that this chair is rated for up to 330 pounds, which is a major advantage for heavy users.
This large, overstuffed reclining lift chair from Merax is loved by its users because it is so comfortable and easy to operate. The chair is quite large, with a wide 19” seat and plush pillow top arms that give you plenty of space to spread over the chair. In addition, the back of the chair, and the headrest in particular, is thickly padded for comfort. Users loved the padding, finding that it provided enough float to avoid sinking into the chair without feeling overly firm.
The chair is upholstered with polyurethane leather, which is highly durable and gives the chair a high-end aesthetic. Although this material can be somewhat sticky in hot weather, it is cool to the touch when you first sit down. Besides, the indentations in the backrest help with air flow.
The chair is able to recline to any angle down to almost flat, while the extendable leg rest operates independently of the backrest so that you can extend your legs without lying flat. This can really help take the pressure of your back and joints, and if this is a particular concern, also consider getting a zero gravity chair for back pain.
Some users had issues with the lift motor in this chair burning out within the first year of use and had difficulty dealing with Merax’s customer service. Although Merax states that there is a warranty on the chair, the length of this warranty and the issues that it covers are not stated in the warranty guide for the chair – which does not inspire peace of mind when investing in this chair. However, for the vast majority of users the chair reportedly worked well over years of lifting.
What are our favorite features?
Plush faux leather provides plenty of padding and support
Leg rest operates independently of backrest
What could be better?
Warranty terms are unclear
Some users had issues with motor burning out quickly
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve learned more about our five favorite lift chairs for the elderly currently on the market, how do you choose among them to find the lift chair that is right for you and will provide the comfort you need? Our Buying Guide will cover everything you need to know about what differentiates the best lift chairs from the pack and from one another to help you make the right decision when investing in a lift chair. In addition, we’ve included a Frequently Asked Questions section in order to answer some of the most common questions that people encounter when looking for a new lift chair for an elderly person.
How do you know if you need a lift chair?
A lift chair is differentiated from an ordinary comfort seat by the inclusion of a mechanical lifting mechanism that raises the chair and tilts it forward. This repositioning allows you to simply and easily lie backwards into the chair to get into it or to plant your feet on the ground and stand up to get out of it without exerting the energy and flexibility required to go from a fully sitting to a fully standing position. Typically, power lift chairs are controlled by a remote or integrated button pad, either of which are easy to use with only a few simple buttons.
Here is how a typical lift chair works.
How do you know if a lift chair is right for you? If you have trouble sitting in your chair from a standing position – or, more likely, getting back to a standing position from the depths of your chair – a lift chair can make a huge difference. The lift takes pressure off of your knee joints and lower body muscles, which can make sitting and standing much easier, safer, and more comfortable. As a result, lift chairs are ideal not only for elderly people, but also for people who have recently undergone surgery, people who struggle with muscle balance because of weight, or people with other musculoskeletal issues.
However, be sure to check with your doctor before investing in a lift chair. People with pacemakers sometime face difficulty finding a lift chair that can work for them, since the electronics in these chairs can create a magnetic field that interferes dangerously with the pacemaker. In addition, people who are significantly overweight may have trouble finding a chair that is able to safely accommodate them.
Features to consider when buying a lift chair
One of the most important considerations to think about from the outset when looking at lift chairs are the dimensions of the chair. This includes both the overall dimensions of the chair itself and the dimensions of the seat.
The maximum overall dimensions of the chair should be determined according to where you plan to put the chair. Lift chairs are significantly larger than typical chairs and it is essential to account for the additional space taken up by the chair when it is lifted or fully reclined. Be sure to measure carefully, and when in doubt budget extra space around your lift chair.
The size of the seat is also important to consider, since this will be important in determining whether the chair will be comfortable for you. Some chairs offer a wide seat that is better for heavyset people, while other chairs are narrower and more ideal for slim people. At the same time, the height of the lumbar pad in the chair’s back and the height of the headrest can vary, so be sure to compare these to your own height and remember that you are likely to sink into the seat of the chair when sitting down and reclining.
For elderly people who are on the heavy side, it is essential to check the weight capacity of whatever lift chair you are interested in buying. Most lift chairs are capable of seating people up to 300 pounds, while some chairs like those from Merax and Harper & Bright Designs are able to seat people up to 330 pounds. Staying within the weight limit of the chair is very important for safety, since exceeding this rating can cause the lift mechanism to fail catastrophically and cause severe injury. Even in less extreme cases, exceeding the rated weight capacity of the chair will likely reduce its lifespan and wear out the lift motor.
Although safety might not seem like an issue with a chair, the introduction of the lift mechanism means that safety is a real concern. In the event that the power goes out, how will you get out of your chair? Some chairs, like the Pulaski Montreal lift chair, come with a built-in battery backup so that they are able to deal with exactly this situation. Even if your chair does not come with a battery backup, it is important to think about how you will operate your chair in the event of a backup or other unexpected emergency.
The upholstery material is the thing you are most likely to notice every time you sit down in your chair since it determines how the chair will feel against your skin. Different upholstery materials also affect whether the chair is breathable or sticky on a hot day, and whether different types of spills are likely to leave a lasting stain or clean right out without an issue.
The majority of lift chairs are upholstered with synthetic types of leather, and most commonly polyurethane leather. This material is far less expensive than genuine leather but provides many of the same benefits and aesthetics. In addition to giving your chair a high-quality appearance, synthetic leather upholstery is considered very comfortable against the skin by most people. Synthetic leather is also extremely durable, both because it is resistant to rips and because it is difficult to stain – most liquids will simply bead up rather than sink into the material. However, the downside to synthetic leather is that it is not particularly breathable and can begin to feel sticky if you are sitting in the chair for extended periods on a hot day.
Other lift chairs, like the Pulaski Montreal, are upholstered with polyester, which proves a cloth feel and appearance to the chair.
Polyester is very soft and comfortable on a new chair and far more breathable than synthetic leather, but it is less durable in the long run since it is prone to staining easily and can rip far more easily than leather.
A lift chair is a large investment, so you want to know that your purchase is going to last. Manufacturers warranties on lift chairs range from less than one year to as much as five years, as on the chair from Ashley Furniture. These warranties typically cover the lift motor, which is the most likely part of the chair to break as a result of a manufacturing defect, rather than covering wear and tear on the upholstery.
In a hot and humid climate, it is unfortunately very easy to feel as if your chair is melding with your skin and is even making you want to sweat. However, your choice of upholstery in your lift chair can make a big difference in avoiding this hot, sticky feeling. Synthetic leather chairs are particularly notorious for feeling heated and sweaty because the material is not very breathable. However, some synthetic leather chairs, like the one made by Harper & Bright Designs, uses microfibers to add breathability. Still, your best bet for hot and humid climates is a chair that is upholstered with polyester or another fabric that is woven similar to cloth. These woven fabrics provide more breathability and air circulation, which in turn leaves you feeling relatively cool.
Finding the right lift chair can be somewhat difficult if you are over 300 pounds, since this is the rated weight limit of the vast majority of lift chairs. Some lift chairs, like the ones manufactured by Merax, BONZY, and Harper & Bright Designs, can accommodate people up to 330 pounds. However, if you weigh over 330 pounds, you will need to look specifically at the limited range of heavy-duty lift chairs that are rated for 350 or 400 pounds.
Lift chairs are typically not designed with portability in mind, which can make it hard to find a small and lightweight lift chair that would be good for an RV trip. However, there are some lift chairs that fall on the lighter and more compact side of the spectrum. The Pulaski Montreal lift chair was the most compact lift chair we reviewed, although remember that it is still important to make sure that the seat is large enough to accommodate your body or else it will not be comfortable. In addition, note that choosing a lift chair without reclining functionality, or foregoing the reclining functionality on a lift chair that has it, will reduce the amount of space that you need around the lift chair.
Our three favorite lift chairs for the elderly were the Ashley Furniture Signature Design Yandel Lift Recliner, the Pulaski Montreal Lift Chair, and the Mcombo 7040 Power Lift Recliner. The Ashley Furniture chair comes with long and comprehensive warranties to provide you peace of mind when investing in a lift chair for yourself or an elderly relative. Users appreciated the easy assembly for this chair, as well as the comfort of the synthetic leather upholstery and the plush padding in the seat. We felt the Ashley Furniture chair was the overall best lift chair for the elderly given that the footrest is able to lift independently from the backrest reclining. The chair from Pulaski took a different direction, catering towards short users with a compact and minimally padded chair, but users loved the polyester upholstery on that chair. In addition, it was one of the few chairs we reviewed with a battery backup to help you get out of the chair in case of a power failure. The Mcombo 7040 Power Lift Recliner was our third pick due to its great therapeutic features like built-in heaters and vibrating function.