Lounger vs Recliner: Which One Do I Want?

a lounger and recliner chair


When you’re looking for the ultimate chair for relaxation, you’ll find a million different styles and types to choose from. Two of the most popular are loungers and recliners. How are they different? Is one better for me than the other?

We’re taking a look at the comparison between a lounger vs recliner to help you determine which one is right for you and your design style. By the end of this article you’ll be ready to go!

Lounger vs Recliner: What’s the Difference?

Before we hop into helping you determine which you might prefer in the debate between a lounger vs recliner, let’s talk about what each one is. How are they different? Aren’t they both just chairs? While they’re both reclining style chairs, they have a few distinct differences that make them each very unique to their own style.

What Are Loungers?

A lounger can be any number of different types of chairs, though most frequently it’s a name assigned to a reclining style chair in a fixed position. They typically have no footrest the way a recliner does, allowing users to lie back with their legs extended on a separate ottoman or reclining slightly with their feet on the ground.

The term “lounger” may also refer to more traditional furniture pieces such as the chaise lounge (in French, “chaise longue”). These seats tend to look like loveseats or small couches with an arm only on one side. They were developed in the 18th century and made very popular in grand manors during the 19th century but have survived throughout the years.

Modern loungers may also be long, extended chairs that allow you to sit back and relax with your feet up or sit sideways with your feet on the ground. These modern loungers frequently have a gentle arc that peaks underneath the knee and may be slightly wider to potentially accommodate two persons (albeit very tightly).

What Are Recliners?

Recliners, on the other hand, start upright but are able to recline backward. This gives the user additional options for how to sit in a recliner versus the fixed position of a lounger. Some recliners lean back in a singular motion while others may be motorized. As the back recliners, a footrest typically rises to support the legs and feet. For those wanting more control over their recliner, some models will allow the footrests and backrests to operate independently.

Loungers aren’t the only reclining style chair with different designs, however. Recliners have also evolved throughout the years and you may now find yourself debating between a zero gravity chair or recliner.

A zero gravity chair (also called a zero gravity recliner) takes the traditional recliner a step further as you lean back into the zero gravity position. No, you won’t take off floating around your living room, but your legs will be elevated above the heart level and your weight distributed along your body. This distinction makes zero gravity chairs the recliner of choice for many as it reduces pressure on the lower back and pelvic areas. The potential health benefits of zero gravity chairs include neck and back pain relief, increasing blood circulation, improving mental health, and enhancing how the body heals itself!

The key difference to note between a lounger vs recliner is that loungers are static with no moving elements.

Choosing Between a Lounger vs Recliner

When you’re debating between a lounger vs recliner, it’s important to take note of what you’re wanting from your purchase. Are you looking for a multifunctional furniture piece that can adapt to your needs whether you’re having a summer party or need furniture for hosting family for the holidays? Do you want a chair that adapts to different interior design styles or are you okay to settle for one that’s less versatile?

Some areas to consider before you purchase a reclining style chair are:

  • What do you need your chair for?
  • What’s your interior design style?
  • Do you want bonus features?
  • What’s your price point?

Which Type of Chair Will Fit Your Needs: Lounger vs Recliner

First up when you’re debating between a lounger vs recliner is to think about what you need your chair for. Of course, you want something to sit on! To expand on this, however, think about what purposes it may serve. Do you entertain a lot? Do you have back pain to consider? Will people of different ages be able to use it safely?

For a lounger, the options are a bit more limited in this regard as what you see is what you get. As loungers are a static reclining style chair, there are no moving parts to have to consider in terms of safety. That said, it also means a lounger is much less adaptable to different circumstances such as hosting parties.

Another thing to consider when choosing between a lounger vs recliner and how each fits your needs is which room will it be in? Most likely if you’re considering a lounger, you’re in the process of learning how to choose chairs for the living room. While loungers might work with big family room ideas, they’re less likely to fit well as furniture ideas for decorating small spaces. A recliner, on the other hand, will take up less room when in the upright position, making it more adaptable to rooms of different sizes and guest counts!

More advanced chairs like luxury zero gravity chairs are motorized. This means safety needs to be accounted for. Unlike more basic recliners, which may present more pinching opportunities if not careful, the best zero gravity chairs have remotes to help control them safely (for yourself and around children). Additionally, the benefits of zero gravity chairs for all ages make them a recliner your entire family can enjoy.

Lounger vs Recliner: Adapting Different Interior Design Styles

To get the most from your investment, you want to make sure your new reclining style chair will fit into your design aesthetic, right? What if you change your mind in a few years and want to redecorate again?

This is where recliners, especially versatile zero gravity recliners, have a clear advantage in the lounger vs recliner comparison. Where a lounger is stuck in the same position and will most likely only fit into the design style for which it was chosen, modern zero gravity chairs are adaptable to many different looks.

For example, the rounded wood frames you may see on top-of-the-line zero gravity chairs can present a more traditional look or fit right in with a modern design. Premium leather furniture options (and faux leather chairs, for more environmentally conscious and animal-friendly buyers) mean that you’re also getting a durable chair that could last for a long time. Durability and versatility are a sure way to maximize the use from your investment!

In a comparison of adaptability, the choice between a lounger vs recliner has a pretty clear winner.

Bonus Features of a Lounger vs Recliner

When it comes to the bonus features of a lounger vs recliner, loungers just can’t compete on the same level by design. As loungers are a reclining style chair in a fixed position, the options for this are extremely limited. The most you might see is a cupholder, but even that is most unlikely. Contemporary lounger designs are typically simple with no frills and no bonus features beyond the chair itself.

Recliners, conversely, have a wide range of bonus features you may see. On the lower end of the spectrum with traditional recliners, you’re likely only to see cupholders as an added feature. Once you start looking into better models like a luxury zero gravity chair, however, the features start to make a huge difference.

For example, one of the bonus features of zero gravity luxury recliners you may see is heat therapy. Heat therapy takes your reclining experience to an entirely new level. Not only can it deepen your relaxation, it may also help keep muscles loose and enhance how the body heals itself. Hand-in-hand with heat therapy comes massage features. Whether you choose a zero gravity chair with vibration massage or air pressure massage, you’ll be getting an experience that traditional recliners just can’t match.

Find yourself needing a nap here and there? That’s perfect! An adult nap is actually very healthy when done in the right amounts of time. To assist here, as well, some zero gravity recliners may offer smart wakeup programs that prevent you from oversleeping. Monitoring your nap times may prevent your circadian rhythm from being messed up, which can be reasons for insomnia or other sleep disorders.

Price Point of a Lounger vs Recliner

Last up in our comparison between a lounger vs recliner is the price point. We’d be remiss not to talk about it since that’s surely on your radar when choosing furniture pieces to purchase! When it comes to budget, you’d think loungers would be an inherently cheaper option, but the truth is the comparison between a lounger vs recliner is less cut and dry here.

You can find very modern loungers with premium materials that will be at the top end of the spectrum just as easily as you can find very inexpensive options that may not last but a couple years. Similarly, the cheaper the recliner, the fewer options you’re getting and you may be sacrificing quality in the name of a bargain.

How do you choose, then? Our recommendation is to look at tips for how to buy a good recliner, compare quality and options between models you’re looking at, and see the reputation of the manufacturer. While luxury zero gravity chairs may be slightly more expensive than a more basic recliner or a simple lounger, the quality, versatility, and bonus features you’re receiving may more than make up for the difference and meet every one of your needs.

We hope that our comparison of the choices between a lounger vs recliner have been informative and given you lots to consider. Choosing a reclining style chair that meets all your needs is the most important thing. When it comes down to it, a lounger will offer far fewer options and be less versatile but may fit exactly the look you wanted. Conversely, choosing a zero gravity chair that helps you relax while also potentially boosting your physical and mental health may be the chair you’ll wonder how you ever lived without!

For more information on zero gravity chairs and how they fit different lifestyles, check out these additional resources: