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: May 30, 2021
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A great sofa is the centerpiece of any living room, and nothing invites people into your home like a reclining sofa. The best reclining sofa is not only comfortable when you sit in it – it simply looks so comfortable that you and your guests will want to venture into your living room to sit down on it. Plus, when you don’t have guests, a reclining sofa is a terrific way to relax. You can watch television or read a book from a comfortable, reclined position that soothes your back and body rather than sitting stiffly upright.
Today, the market is flooded with reclining sofas, which can make choosing between them all to find the right one for your home difficult. In reviewing reclining sofas, we paid special attention to details like the type of reclining mechanism – whether your recliner is manual or powered makes a big difference in how easy it is to use and whether it has adjustable reclining angles. We also looked at dimensions, since the sofa needs to fit within your living room and fit an appropriate number of people. The material used to cover the sofa were also important, since this affects comfort.
To find the best reclining sofas on the market, we pored through hundreds of customer reviews and tens of features, ultimately narrowing our search down to five favorites. Our picks are summarized in the table below, which is followed by detailed reviews of each sofa complete with pros and cons. Our buying guide covers everything you need to know when choosing a reclining sofa, and finally we announce our overall favorite reclining sofas.
This powered recliner from Seatcraft comes absolutely jam-packed with features for those who are looking to take their living room to the next level. The sofa is designed to hold three people and is shaped more as three individual seats attached together rather than a continuous sofa, which improves comfort when sitting upright but can make laying across the sofa more difficult. In addition to the powered reclining function, which allows full adjustability to near-flat, the headrests are also motorized and can be adjusted up or down with the push of a button. The sofa is covered with leather gel, a synthetic that is less expensive than true leather but offers much of the same look and feel.
The couch also features numerous high-end additions. Either end of the couch includes cupholders molded into the couch arms that are lit by interior LED lights for style. The center seat can be folded down to reveal additional cupholders, a small table, a charging station complete with two AC power outlets and two USB charging ports, and LED lights to illuminate the whole area.
Users have many good things to say about this comfortable recliner from Ashley Furniture, a well-known home furniture brand. The recliner is deceptively large and can easily accommodate tall people over six feet tall without their feet falling far off the end of the recliner pad. Users loved how soft and plush the padding on the back and bottom of the sofa is and found the polyester cover to be both comfortable and easy to clean. Another much-liked feature to this recliner sofa is pillowtop arms, which make it possible to squeeze four or more people onto the sofa without discomfort on the ends.
The reclining mechanism is manual and is activated easily with a pull tab on either end of the sofa. The sofa is divided into three sections so that each side can be reclined or not independently of one another, the middle part doesn’t recline. Although the sofa does not recline all the way flat or offer adjustable reclining angles, users found that it reclined quite deeply and was very easy to fall asleep in when reclined.
The only problem that some we found with this sofa was that all of the plush padding is prone to indentation and will lose its shape after a year or so of use. Although the comfort remains, the sofa looks rumpled after this happens.
What do we love it for?
Plush padding throughout sofa
Manual reclining mechanism over each side-section of sofa
Looking for a highly comfortable and elegant reclining sofa? Then consider the Coaster Home Furnishings recling sofa. After a long day at work, you need a comfortable place to cozy up to and unwind. A reclining sofa is an excellent choice. It gives you a comfortable place to sit, enjoy reading, watching TV and more.
While some models come with power reclining mechanism, the Coaster Home Furnishings sofa comes with a manual lever mechanism. While this isn’t as comfortable as the power options, it makes the reclining sofa less heavy. It also works very smoothly without making any noise.
The Coaster Home Furnishings sofa comes with overstuffed back and arms that you can sink into and feel like you are seating on clouds. It makes you feel super relaxed as you read a novel or watch TV.
In addition, although other models suffer from creaking, that isn’t the case with this model. Due to the sturdy frame and materials of construction, it doesn’t creak. Additionally, this construction means that you have a product that will give you safe operation for many years to come. If you want a model that feels classy and that will elevate the appearance of your space, then you should closely consider this reclining sofa.
This is a very comfortable unit. But when you consider that there are other models in a similar price range that still come with more features, the price might drive you away.
This inexpensive manual reclining sofa from AC Pacific is perfect for those on a tight budget or those looking for a smaller sofa than the others in our round-up. At only 81” wide, this sofa is nearly two feet shorter than the slightly pricier sofa from Ashley Furniture, yet still comfortably fits up to three people. The sofa is divided into three sections with pull-tabs on either end to recline the two outer sections independently of one another – note that the middle section does not recline.
The sofa is covered with polyester fabric, unusual among sofas yet users found it to be relatively comfortable and breathable. The downside is that this material can be hard to clean and can develop dark stains relatively easily. Users found the couch itself to be quite comfortable thanks to the padding in the back and on the arms, although it was not described to be as plush as other sofas that we reviewed.
Note that although users typically liked the sofa once it was set up, many customers had issues with shipping or assembly.
Another highly comfortable option you can consider for your living room is the Betsy Furniture Microfiber Reclining Sofa. Considering the configurations available, it can fit in a variety of living room setups. After all, buyers can get a love seat, two-piece, three-piece, and even a sectional option depending on their needs. The sofa is designed to be a manual recliner available in brown, chocolate, and grey alternatives. It even features luxurious faux leather upholstery in all its different color options. Please note that the reclining sofa will need some assembly once you have it in your home. However, we noticed the process for the assembly is pretty straightforward and unlikely to give anyone problems.
Inside the sofa, you find a mix of a solid metal reclining frame and some durable plywood components that give the sofa a sturdy feel. Furthermore, the seats and cushions are sumptuously padded to ensure users heightened comfort. Also notable is the fact that in this three-seat option, the middle seat does not recline. However, for the two seats on the edges of the sofa, you should be able to recline them by pulling on the levers provided. Also, depending on the configuration, you could get some extra benefits. For instance, if you get the 5-seater sectional sofa, you get a pair of cup holders in the setup. Lastly, the seats that recline also come with leg rests.
Why are we impressed?
Durable metal frame
Available in different sizes and configurations
What negatives must you be aware of?
Middle of the 3-seater does not recline
Cup holders are not available in most options
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve learned more about our five favorite reclining sofas currently on the market, how do you choose between them to find the best one for your living room? Choosing the right reclining sofa really comes down to your needs and preferences. In our buying guide, we’ll cover some of the basics of what differentiates reclining sofas from one another and what needs to think about when considering what features are right for you.
How does a reclining sofa work?
A reclining sofa is a sofa that allows the back to angle backwards and down, or recline, while bringing the footrest up. The net effect is that a reclining sofa allows you to alternate between sitting in a relaxed upright position and lying nearly flat on your back with your head propped up on the headrest.
There are two main types of reclining sofas: manual and powered. The vast majority of reclining sofas are manual, which work by reclining when you push a button or pull on a tab – typically located on either end of the sofa. Manual recliners usually only have one stop, nearly flat, so there is no way to fine-tune the recline to your favorite position. Powered recliners, on the other hand, use a motor to slowly recline or lift you back up and are controlled by a remote control or a set of controls built into the sofa itself. Powered recliners allow you to stop the recliner anywhere between upright and fully reclined, which means you can fine-tune your recliner angle for ultimate comfort.
Different reclining sofas have different reclining positions. Whereas some recline the whole body – back and feet, with only the base of the seat remaining in a fixed position – others only lift up the feet. While the latter can be more comfortable than sitting fully upright, most people are looking for a couch that reclines from the back as well when thinking about a reclining sofa. The advantage to a feet-only recliner is that it takes up far less space in your living room since you do not need to account for the length of the sofa when it is fully extended.
Factor in Size
One of the most important considerations when choosing a reclining sofa is its size. Ask yourself, how many people do you typically need to fit on your sofa? This number often comes down to the number of people in your family and how frequently you have guests over with plans to sit down in your living room, as well as whether you have additional seating in your living room.
Another thing to consider when thinking about sofa sizing is what the dimensions of your living room are. The sofa should fit comfortably inside your living room – and be sure to remember that you will need to account for the additional space the sofa takes up when it is fully reclined. For sofas that are delivered in one or two pre-assembled pieces, also remember that you will need a door that is large enough for the sofa to fit through during delivery and a wide path to get it from that doorway to your living room.
Pay Attention to Build and Cover Materials
There are two parts of any reclining sofa’s construction to consider when looking at recliners: the cover and the frame.
The material in the cover is one of the defining features of a recliners comfort and style, so be sure to pay close attention to what type of upholstery the recliner you are interested in is using. Leather is a popular cover material for its elegant style, supple comfort against your skin, and durability. However, leather is also one of the most expensive materials to upholster a couch with, so many manufacturers substitute faux leather materials like DuraBlend. The only issue with both leather and faux leather is that they are not very breathable and can become sticky on a hot day. Polyester is a common alternative to leather that is similarly durable and comfortable, but less expensive and offers more breathability. Linen fabric, such as is found on the sofa from AC Pacific, is less commonly seen but is highly breathable and soft against your skin. The problem with fabric, and why it is so uncommon, is that it can stain easily and is not as durable as other fabrics.
The frame is also important to the long-term durability of a sofa, although manufacturers differ less from one another in frame designs. Many sofas come with the back and footrests reinforced with metal for added durability and the ability to hold greater weights without buckling.
Additional Features to Consider
Depending on how you plan to use your sofa, additional features such as cupholders or hidden storage in the arms can be quite handy. Some high-end sofas, such as the model from Seatcraft, are packed with additional features like adjustable headrests, overhead LED lighting, and a charging station with AC outlets and USB charging ports. These additional features typically add significantly to the upfront cost of a sofa and, in the case of a charging station, require more connectivity to wall outlets within your living room, so consider carefully whether these features are within your budget and how likely you are to use them.
Durability and warranty
The durability of a sofa largely comes down to its frame and cover materials. As discussed above, sofas typically differ little in terms of the metal frame used to support them – but be sure to check customer reviews whenever considering a recliner since users will quickly identify problematic frames that do not last for more than a year or two. Leather or faux leather are typically the most durable cover materials and are relatively difficult to stain, and polyester offers similar qualities. Fabric linen and other similar materials are typically easier to rip over time and can stain more easily since they are able to absorb liquids. Another consideration with durability is the padding and whether or not it will retain its bounce over time. This is another place to consult user reviews, as users are quick to recognize when a sofa has issues with indents forming in the padding and developing a rumpled look.
Some, but not all, manufacturers offer a warranty on recliner sofas. Especially when purchasing a high-end, powered recliner, be sure to read the warranty carefully to ensure that you are protected against faulty mechanical parts or electronics. While manual recliners are less prone to mechanical issues than their powered counterparts, it is also important to ensure that any warranty covers defects in the frame or issues with the padding in the sofa.
Our overall favorite reclining sofas were the Omega Power from Seatcraft, the Hogan Reclining Sofa from Ashley Furniture, and the AC Pacific contemporary reclining sofa . We felt that the Seatcraft model was the overall best reclining sofa on the market thanks to its powered reclining mechanism that allows for fine-tuned adjustments of your body position. Although expensive, we – and users – loved the wealth of additional features including hidden storage under the arms, LED-lit cupholders, and a fully powered charging station so that you can have everything you need with you on the sofa. The sofa from Ashley Store was our top pick for those looking to maximize comfort thanks to its plush construction, overpadded arms, and nearly flat reclined position. Finally, the recliner from AC Pacific was one of our favorites thanks to its attractive pricing and the comfort afforded by the linen fabric cover – just be careful not to spill anything on it since it stains easily.