Comparing a Power Recliner vs Manual Recliner: Which Is Better?

Photo of a power recliner and manual recliner


No matter the size of your space, your personal style, or needs, finding the right chair for your home is an absolute essential. After all, you want to get the most from your investment, right? For many people, the ideal chair for any living space is a recliner. Available in a wide variety of shapes, colors, upholstery choices, and features, reclining chairs make ideal additions to your home and complement any lifestyle.

Before you run off to purchase your new favorite chair, however, which one is right for you? Today, we’re comparing a power recliner vs manual recliner. Which is better? Keep reading and learn more!

Choosing Between a Power Recliner vs Manual Recliner

Comparing a power recliner vs manual recliner can help you determine which will meet your needs best before you run out and find yourself overwhelmed by the options on the market. Learning how to choose chairs for your living room or any other space in your home is the first step in creating a great space for any different interior design styles.

Is a power recliner vs manual recliner really all that different, though? They truly are! To explore the difference between manual and power recliner options, consider these factors:

  • How manual recliners vs power recliners operate
  • Features of a power recliner vs manual recliner chair
  • Difference between manual and power recliner pricing
  • Benefits of a power recliner vs manual reclining chair option

How Manual Recliners vs Power Recliners Operate

Comparing a power recliner vs manual recliner starts with how they operate. Manual recliners are a much more basic chair option that operates by pulling a lever on the side to recline or requiring the occupant to exert their body weight against the back to recline. The options on this recliner are that the backrest slightly reclines and the footrest is able to extend outward.

Power recliners, on the other hand, use automated motors that recline the back and raise the leg rest. While these chairs must be plugged into an outlet in order to work, they offer a much less abrupt motion and may be more beneficial for those experiencing back pain, sciatic nerve pain, or even simply pain from sitting too long. Power recliners often have a remote that goes with them, though some models may have built-in controls instead. 

Features of a Power Recliner vs Manual Recliner Chair

How they operate aside, you will really begin to notice the major differences when comparing a power recliner vs manual recliner chair as you explore available options.

Being manually operated, a manual reclining chair will be much more limited in terms of available features for your convenience or benefit. In fact, the most that the majority of manual recliners can provide beyond the reclining feature may be a cupholder.

Power recliners, on the other hand, may offer a variety of different feature options depending on which type of recliner you choose. Regular power recliners may allow you to choose your positioning as opposed to simply being upright or fully reclined. Luxury zero gravity chairs, however, take the difference between manual and power recliner models to an unparalleled level.

Some of the bonus features of zero gravity luxury recliners may include things like massage, heat therapy, custom programming, and even smart wakeup programs. Zero gravity chairs with massage features may use vibration or air pressure massage (sometimes referred to as air cell massage) to enhance your experience and relax your body. Not only do these recliners improve on a traditional recliner’s range, but they may also increase how the body heals itself and be a further catalyst for potential health benefits.

Other features may be zero gravity chairs with heat therapy functions. Heat therapy continues to be studied for such benefits as muscle relaxation, pain relief, prevention of cognitive decline in aging adults, and even as a possible solution to avoid Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) in active individuals. While heat therapy is one of the prime benefits of zero gravity chairs for all ages, it may be especially helpful as part of a post workout recovery routine at home and joint recovery for athletes.

The exploration of a power recliner vs manual recliner also brings to light the possibility for custom programming. Have a preferred setting? High-end power recliners like a luxury zero gravity chair may offer custom programming to give you the experience you want with each use.

What about sleeping in a recliner? It doesn’t have to be bad for you! Whether you’re using it as an alternative position to get better sleep while pregnant, to help treat sleep apnea, or the health benefits of napping, a power recliner may offer more there, too. For example, if you’re looking at the potential for improving sleep quality, you might choose a zero gravity chair with smart wakeup programs to keep you from oversleeping on accident. The attention to details these chairs provide really help make the difference between manual and power recliner choices.

Difference Between Manual and Power Recliner Pricing

Continuing our comparison of a power recliner vs manual recliner chair, we have to discuss price points. It’s undeniable that manual recliners do tend to cost less than their electric counterparts (often starting around $500+), but at what cost in function and benefit?

Power recliners, on the other hand, have a large range of price points typically starting around $1400+ depending on all the features you want, the durability of your chair, and its overall quality. Learning how to buy a good recliner doesn’t need to be overwhelming, however! Think about what you want to use your recliner for. What made you choose a power recliner vs manual recliner option? Don’t shy away from high-end options like zero gravity chairs, either. Their affordability and payment options may make them the best choice you never expected to find!

Benefits of a Power Recliner vs Manual Reclining Chair Option

Last, though certainly not least, on our journey to compare a power recliner vs manual recliner comes to their potential benefits. Put simply, a manual recliner may be comfortable for a while but could actually be one of the most common causes of back pain you may be overlooking. How is this?

Back pain from a traditional recliner stems from the fact they don’t recliner far enough. Their reclining position, instead, actually focuses pressure on the lower back and pelvic region, making them a common catalyst for back pain and sciatic nerve pain. Add this design shortcoming with their lack of helpful features like massage or heat therapy and you can see why manual recliners just don’t match up.

Exploring the benefits of a power recliner vs manual recliner doesn’t stop at electricity, however. Not all power recliners are made the same! A power recliner that only reclines back as far as their manual counterparts will provide the same potential complications for back pain, impeded blood circulation, and more.

A power zero gravity chair, on the other hand, reclines back to elevate the legs above the heart level and distributes weight evenly along the body. This drastically reduces pressure on the lower back, making them a popular recliner for back pain relief and as a potentially effective method of sciatica treatment at home. The zero gravity position also serves as the catalyst for a plethora of other potential health benefits of zero gravity chairs such as better blood flow, improved heart health, and faster bodily healing. The difference between manual and power recliner options was never so wide!

We hope this comparison of a power recliner vs manual reclining chair option helped you get a better understanding of which will work best for you. Your chair will be an investment and you want to get the most from it. Choosing a zero gravity chair could make a world of difference to your mental and physical well-being while simultaneously offering style versatility and being cost-effective. Try one out and see which kind of recliner works best for you.

Want to learn more about zero gravity chairs and how they could enhance your lifestyle? Check out these resources: