Best Recliners for Back Pain

Recliners

Ah, coming home and relaxing in your recliners is the best way for couples to rest their aching backs and ease any lower back pain they’re experiencing. To enjoy a stress-relieving recliner, choose one that is comfortable for your body.

In this article, we’ll cover factors you should consider when you buy a recliner and provide reviews of our top picks which we’ve made using information about ergonomics, back health, and reviews by actual users.

Quick List of Best Recliners for Back Pain

If you’re in a hurry, this list of our top picks will help you. We’ve spent weeks researching these recliners to save you time.

Name of ReclinerBest for:Weight LimitMassage

Heat

Swivel

Rocker

Price
HomComValue275 NoNo$
Elizabeth Tufted Accent Chair350 NoNo$$
Merax  Massage and Heat330 YesNo$$$
La-Z-BoyErgonomic300 NoRocker$$$$
NovogratzHi-Leg250 NoNo$$
MenetNursery250+NoBoth$$
TeyanaClub Chair260 NoNo$$
Lane StallionBig & Tall500 NoNo$$$$
Gaga Ice LeatherContemporary and Modern330 NoSwivel$$$$$$
Presidential IIExecutive Style275 +NoNo$$$$$
LarkinhurstTraditional250 NoRocker$$$$
CortezRoll Arm300 NoNo$$
GreshamWall Hugger300 NoNo$$$
ComposerPower Recliner250 NoNo$$$$

Important Features

Lumbar Support

Lumbar Support

The most important low back pain reducing feature in a recliner is lumbar support. Your chair should follow the curve of your back.

A chair without lumbar support increases stress on your back, which increases pain. While a recliner with good lumbar support eases stress in your back which can help alleviate low back pain.

Observing the chair in its reclined positions is one way to know if it has good lumbar support. If there is a gap or depression where the region above your hip bones rests, the chair doesn’t provide good back support. If you already have a chair that you suspect isn’t good for your back, recline in the chair and see if you can easily slide your hand between your lower back and the chair. If the chair isn’t supporting your back due to a gap, your hand won’t meet any resistance.

A chair with good lumbar support will require you to lift up to accommodate your hand. In every position, your back should be supported. You can use a pillow to improve the lumbar support in an existing chair. When purchasing a new recliner, you’ll want to buy one with built in lumbar support.

If the recliner has a gap, your weight will encourage your body to fill the gap, this increases the strain on the muscles and ligaments in your lower back.

Neck Support

You also want a chair that supports the curve of your neck. You do not want a recliner with a pillow that forces your neck forward. When your neck is tilted forward, the amount of pressure increases substantially. This illustration reflects the amount of pressure your neck experiences at various angles:

Neck Support

If the chair forces you into a position like the one many people are in when they look down at a cell phone, it exerts too much pressure on your neck. If you want a pillow when you lay completely flat, it is easier to add one than to take away a built-in pillow when you are in an upright or semi-upright position.

Durability

A good recliner should last about a decade. How much you use the chair will make a difference. If you spend many hours a day in the chair, it won’t last as long. If you need a big and tall chair but you buy one that isn’t made for someone who is big and tall, the chair may not last very long.

How is it made? Is it memory foam? Shredded foam? Is it firm enough? Will it retain its shape?

Warranty

Most chair warranties only last 1-year. Some chairs will include a trial period, usually for 30 days. However, they may require you to pay return fees.

Budget and Value

Even if you have an unlimited budget, you want to receive good value for your money. Value derives from a combination of features, durability, and cost. The best value won’t necessarily be the cheapest chair. Value is determined over the life of the recliner. If the chair will last a decade while a competing one will fail after a few years, the higher priced one that will last longer is a better value.

Silhouette

Traditional recliners were big, bulky pieces of furniture that took up a lot of space to provide seating for one person. Today, there are recliners that look like accent chairs, sleek modern designs, as well as oversized recliners. There are styles to fit everyone’s taste.

One of the first steps in deciding which recliners might be right for you and ease your back pain is deciding where it will go and how much room you want it to take up in the room. Recliners with small footprints are available.

Fabric

Fabrics vary from butter soft leather to linen and cotton. Your choice of fabric is one of the most important decisions affecting the durability of your new recliner. Real leather is the most durable. Although not all leather is created equally.

Leather Types:

  • Top Grain – The top layer that would show imperfections is removed, leaving the most expensive “top grain” leather.
  • Full Grain – This is the full thickness, including any natural imperfections.
  • Split leather – thin layer of real leather.
  • Bonded leather – scraps of real leather bonded to the back of polyurethane.
  • PU leather – completely fake. Quality can vary considerably.

Mechanics of the Reclining Mechanism

The three reclining mechanisms include:

  • Push back recliners which rely on the user’s strength to recline them and return them to an upright position.
  • A lever, which can be a bar the user pulls or a smaller mechanism that is designed to be operated with the fingers.
  • Full electric control of the recline function

The mechanism that is best for anyone depends on their situation. A young healthy person can generally use any of the types but if they will be holding a baby when they get up, an electric mechanism may avoid jerky movements that would wake the baby.

Heat or Massage

Recliners that come with heat and massage features are not full-blown massage chairs that encase your legs on three sides. They are less expensive versions that incorporate heat and massage in a chair that looks like a regular recliner. Since heat and massage can help alleviate low back pain, a recliner with either of these features can be a good choice for individuals who suffer from low back pain. Both heat and massage can increase blood circulation that helps reduce inflammation and muscle and joint soreness.

Styles

There are styles to suit every taste, from sleekly modern, club chairs, hi-leg, to cozy oversized recliners that envelope the person.

chair

Recline Positions

Some chairs offer two or three reclining positions while others offer a lot of different positions including zero gravity and high therapy positions that raise your legs above your heart. Ask:

  • Does the footrest lock into position? (It should.)
  • How many positions does it have?

Chairs with a zero-gravity position can help swollen ankles and blood circulation by raising your legs above your heart.

Armrests

Armrests can help you get out of the chair. If the armrests aren’t at the right height, they can put stress on your shoulders.

Size

Your height and weight influence which recliners will help your lower back pain. Some chairs are designed with lumbar support where a petite person needs it and others are designed for taller people.

Another aspect of a recliner that will vary based on your size is the footrest. If your ankles or calves rest on the edge of the footrest, you may experience ankle pain or problems with your Achilles tendon. You want a chair that is large enough to support your entire body. When your legs are stretched out, is the footrest under the heels of your feet?

Things to Avoid

  • Noise
  • Unnecessary light

Our Recommendations

All our recliner recommendations were selected because they provide lumbar support that will ease or prevent lower back pain. Recliners reduce pressure on the back, which allows your body to relax. When compared to sitting upright in a chair, a recliner is much easier on your back.

We provide our Best Choice as well as alternatives you can compare them to with images so you can easily identify options that fit the style of your décor.

Best Value

HomCom

HomCom is an inexpensive space-saving recliner that is perfect for your RV or small space.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Small footprint
  • Finger lever

Cons

  • Plain style

Scores for: HOMCOM

Best Value Chair Recliners for Back Pain

Lumbar SupportNeck SupportDurability WarrantyMechanicsHeatMassageRecline PositionsFabric
YesNo30 daysFinger LeverNoNoMultiLinen
chair
chair
37.5″W x 26″ D x 39″H

Compare to:

Accent Chairs

Christopher Knight Home Elizabeth

Christopher Knight Home Elizabeth

Christopher Knight Home produces highly affordable recliners that earn good marks as well as an Amazon’s Choice Award. This elegant model is offered in several colors that will enhance your décor including pale blue, charcoal gray, light gray, and beige.

Macy’s advertises a similar chair at more than three times the price of this one!

The small footprint of this chair makes it perfect for bedroom sitting areas and small living rooms.

Lumbar support is provided by the thicker area at the base of the back of the chair.

Scores for: Elizabeth

Best Accent Chair Recliner for Back Pain

Lumbar SupportNeck SupportDurability WarrantyMechanicsHeatMassageRecline PositionsFabric
YesNo30 daysPush BackNoNo3Polyester

Who is it good for?

People who:

  • Weigh under 240 pounds
  • Are strong enough to operate a push back chair
  • Sit gently
  • Want affordable elegance

Who is it not recommended for?

People who:

  • Are over 6’2”
  • Plop down into chairs

Compare to:

 

Amazon’s Choice

 
Dufour Floral Mason  Lorna LaneLorna  
Dufour FloralMason Lorna LaneLorna  

Massage and Heat

Heat and massage built into a recliner is a great way to soothe lower back pain. Heat helps loosens tight muscles and the vibrating massage will ease them even more. This recliner looks like a regular chair, not a massage chair. The price tag is also a far cry from the much higher price you’d pay for a specialty massage chair.

Stretch out and relax with your feet up in your recliner while the soothing heat and vibration eases your lower back pain. Massage improves blood flow.

Merax

Pros

  • Heat and massage are great for lower back pain
  • Auto shut-off
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Bulky

Scores for: Merax

Best Recliners for Low Back Pain with Heat and Massage

Lumbar SupportNeck SupportDurability WarrantyMechanicsHeatMassageRecline PositionsFabric
YesYes1-yearFinger LeverYesYes3Suede Microfiber
Recliner
36.6″ (W) X 37.8″ (D) X 38.6″ (H)

The Merax heated massage chair supports individuals up to 330 pounds. With custom settings for different zones, including intensity level, massage type, and heat.

If you fall asleep after the massage and heat relax your body, don’t worry. The auto shut-off will kick in to automatically shut-off the heat and massage. A handy side pocket provides a good place to store the remote control.

Compare to:

There are more recliners that offer massage and heat, but none are rated as well as the ones we highlight in this article.

Ergonomic

La-Z-Boy

Pros

  • Ergonomic support
  • Quality brand name
  • Also rocks

Cons

  • No drink cup holder

Provides ergonomic support for individuals who weigh up to 300 pounds. What can I say? It’s a La-Z-Boy! Comfortable and supportive.

Scores for: La-Z-Boy

Best Ergonomic Recliners for Low Back Pain

Lumbar SupportNeck SupportDurability WarrantyMechanicsHeatMassageRecline PositionsFabric
YesYesYesLeverNoNoMultiPolyester Nylon
Recliner

Hi-Leg

Hi-leg chairs offer the comfort of a recliner while blending in with your décor. They allow your elegant style to be maintained.

Novogratz

Tufted and non-tufted Novogratz chairs offer lumbar support.

Pros

  • Doesn’t overpower the room
  • More stylish than traditional recliners

Cons

  • Can require leg strength to close the recline function

Scores for: Novogratz

Best Hi-Leg Recliners for low back pain

Lumbar SupportNeck SupportDurability WarrantyMechanicsHeatMassageRecline PositionsFabric
YesNoYesPushbackNoNo3Chenille
RECLINER

RECLINER

36” D x 30.25” W x 41.25” H

Compare to:

Lane Oakley Hi-Leg Recliners

RECLINERS

 

 

 

Nursery Styles (Rock and Recline)

Many nurseries are furnished with a glider that has an ottoman; a recliner has several advantages. Moms frequently experience low back pain. Hauling the little one around can strain the back. Some moms take their babies into their bed and prop themselves up with pillows while they nurse. When my babies were born, I had a high four poster bed that was so high I needed steps to climb into it. Carrying a baby while climbing up steps and then turning around was not easy so I used our recliner to nurse our children.

It was perfect because I could relax with my back fully supported. The one drawback was our recliner had an arm mechanism that required me to reach down and pull it to bring the chair upright; my movements would usually wake her back up. I learned to keep a book nearby and would read while she napped in my arms.

Nursing in an uncomfortable position steals joy from those precious moments. A recliner with an easy to reach finger latch mechanism or a power recline feature is best.

JC Home Menet

Pros

  • Rocks, Reclines, and Glides
  • Finger Lever
  • Roomy

Cons

  • Only one style

Scores for:  JC Home Menet

Best Rocker Recliners for the Nursery

Lumbar SupportNeck SupportDurability WarrantyMechanicsHeatMassageRecline PositionsFabric
OkYesCan PurchaseFinger PullNoNo2Soft rayon & poly blend
chair
36.4” D by 35” W by 41” H

The seat has individual spring coils to support you while you tend to all the children you have over the years. It doesn’t have separate lumbar support. You could easily add a pillow to provide any support it lacks.

The runner up comes with a lumbar pillow that will alleviate lower back pain when you relax with your baby in this recliner.

Compare to:

Runner Up Amazon’s Choice 
Davinci RubyBabyletto Kiwi  Cortez  Jemma  
Davinci Ruby

4.2 out of 5 Rating

Babyletto Kiwi4.1 out of 5 RatingCortez 4.4 out of 5 RatingJemma4.2 out of 5 Rating

When choosing a recliner for your nursery, remember that you may spend long hours in the chair with a fussy baby. The more comfortable you are, the better you’ll be able to comfort your child.

Club Chairs

The clean lines of Art Deco Club Chairs don’t lend themselves to lumbar support. While a variety of attractive club chairs are offered, by themselves they don’t usually offer the lumbar support a recliner needs to ease lower back pain. If you really want a Club Chair, plan to use a lumbar support pillow to provide the support your back needs.

Teyana Red Leather

Pros

  • Everyone loves the oxblood red
  • Fits in an RV
  • Finger lever

Cons

  • No drink cup holder

Scores for: Teyana

Amazon’s Choice

Best Club Chair Recliners for Low Back Pain

Lumbar SupportNeck SupportDurability WarrantyMechanicsHeatMassageRecline PositionsFabric
YesYesYesFinger LeverNoNoMultiFaux Leather
Teyana
 26” D x 35.75” W x 42” H

Big and Tall

Lane Stallion

Pros

  • Made to support up to 500 pounds
  • Lays almost flat
  • Many styles to choose from

Cons

  • Takes a lot of space

For the big or tall person (up to 500 pounds) who wants a recliner that doesn’t feel as if it was built for a little person. As long as a king-sized bed when fully reclined, you won’t feel confined in this recliner that is built to support your back and ease lower back pain.

Scores for: Lane Stallion Big Man

Amazon’s Choice

Best Big and Tall Recliners for Low Back Pain

Lumbar SupportNeck SupportDurability WarrantyMechanicsHeatMassageRecline PositionsFabric
YesYesYes LeverNoNo Multi Varies
 

chair

chair

 

chair

chairchair

 

 

44″L x 40″D x 48″H

Compare to:

Contemporary and Modern

Gaga Ice Leather by Lafer

Pros

  • High-quality leather
  • Durable
  • Minimalist style
  • Lots of color options

Cons

  • High price

This contemporary recliner comes with a high price that might make you pass it by, especially if you don’t have experience with high grade butter-soft leather. The leather used in these chairs feels as soft as the softest human skin you’ve ever felt. The luxurious feel combined with their ergonomic design makes them a viable option for discerning customers who are looking for a modern recliner that doesn’t look like a recliner.

Compare to:

Executive Styles

Recliners that help with back pain can look as rich and elegant as any furniture.

Barcalounger Presidential II

Pros

  • Looks rich
  • Top grain leather

Cons

  • Expensive

 Scores for: Barcalounger Presidential II

Best Executive Recliners for Lower Back Pain

Lumbar SupportNeck SupportDurability WarrantyMechanicsHeatMassageRecline PositionsFabric
YesNoYesManualNoNoYesTop Grain Leather
34.5″ W x 40.5″ D x 40″ H

Compare to:

Wall Hugger

Wall hugger recliners can be positioned close to a wall because they move forward when reclined.

Domesis Gresham  

Pros

  • Can be placed near a wall
  • Finger lever

Cons

  • Large footprint, especially when reclined

Scores for: Domesis Gresham Wall Hugger

Amazon’s Choice

Best Wall Hugging Recliners for Low Back Pain

Lumbar SupportNeck SupportDurability WarrantyMechanicsHeatMassageRecline PositionsFabric
YesYesYesFinger LeverNoNoMultiLow-pile velvet fabric

Roll Arm

Domesis Cortez

Pros

  • Stylish
  • Many styles

Cons

  • Can require leg strength to close recliner

Scores for:  Domesis Cortez

Amazon’s Choice

Best Roll Arm Recliners for Lower Back Pain

Lumbar SupportNeck SupportDurability WarrantyMechanicsHeatMassageRecline PositionsFabric
YesYesContact SellerManualNoNoMultiVaries

39” W x 38” D x 40” H

Compare to:

RV Recliners

Several winners in other categories including the HomCom (Best Value) and Teyana Red Leather (Best Club Chair) will fit through a narrow RV door and work well in a small space.

Traditional Recliners

Beginning in the 1960’s, recliners became standard in middle- and upper-class living rooms. The oversized recliners of that time overwhelmed the other furnishings.

Larkinhurst Rocker Recliner

Pros

  • Attractive
  • Finger lever
  • Rocks and Reclines

Cons

  • Leather is not top grain

 Scores for:  Larkinhurst Rocker Recliner

Amazon’s Choice

Best Traditional Recliners for Lower Back Pain

Lumbar SupportNeck SupportDurability WarrantyMechanicsHeatMassageRecline PositionsFabric
YesYesYesFinger LeverNoNoMultipleFaux Leather
 43” W x 40” D x 40” H

Compare to:

Power Recliner

Power recliners are perfect for back pain in elderly and disabled people who might have trouble operating levers.

Composer Power Recliner

Pros

  • Built-in hidden storage
  • Built-in drink holders

Cons

  • Price is higher than manual recliners

Scores for:  Composer Power Recliner

Best Power Recliners for Low Back Pain

Lumbar SupportNeck SupportDurability WarrantyMechanicsHeatMassageRecline PositionsFabric
Yes YesYesPowerNoNoMultiFaux Leather
chair
40” W x 36” D x 42.1” H

Zero Gravity

Zero gravity is a recline position that raises the feet above the heart. None of the recliners we recommend include this feature. You can purchase a Caravan Sports Infinity zero-gravity recliner for under $100 to elevate your feet above your heart. Options that were more recliner-like were in the range of $2,000 – $3,000 and the reviews weren’t good enough to recommend them, especially at those prices!

Add Lumbar Support

Add Lumbar Support

You can add lumbar support to any recliner to help ease your lower back pain. This RECCI Ergonomic memory foam pillow conforms to the shape of the curve of a healthy back.

Amazon Policies

Some products are sold by multiple vendors. Be aware that the applicable return policy may be different dependent upon which vendor you order from. Since these policies can be changed, please review the return policy applicable at the time of your order before you order.

Unfortunately, many furniture sellers charge re-stocking fees and return shipping can be expensive.

Health Benefits of Reclining

Recline while you use it – don’t just extend the legs without reclining as this position increases pressure on your lumbar region.

Sleeping in a Recliner

For most people, it is better to sleep in their bed. However, some individuals breathe better when they are in an upright position. Sleeping with your head raised can alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux (GERD). While an adjustable bed is a better option than a recliner, if you don’t have an adjustable bed, a recliner is not an unhealthy option.

If you sleep in a recliner, make sure you also do stretching exercises that allow your joints to fully extend the way they would if you were in a bed while you sleep.

If you are experiencing difficulties sleeping in your bed, you can try a recliner. However, you should also speak to your doctor to find out the underlying reason you’re not able to sleep well in a bed.

Stress Relief

While cognitive approaches to stress management and exercise are two of the best ways to manage stress, when facing extreme stressors, going to sleep is often the best short-term solution.

The position a recliner allows, leaning back and having your legs raised, helps your body relax which will help your mind calm down.

Pain Relief

Easing stress can also help pain. When stress increases, so does pain.

In addition, laying back in a recliner with your legs raised, eases the stress on your joints and back. Reclining can alleviate muscle strain.

Cons of Recliners

Some recliners require a motion where you exert backward pressure from the knees down in order to close the recliner. Individuals with arthritis or weakness in their knee joints may find this motion difficult. If you believe this may be a problem for you, choose a recliner with a lever that allows you to use your arm to close it or one with an electronic closing mechanism.

Maintaining Your Furniture

Do You Sit Gently?


Some people sit gently in a chair while others plop down in a way that exerts considerably more pressure on the furniture. When you sit gently, you lower yourself into the chair and gently transfer your weight from your muscles onto the chair. The transfer is smooth and does not jar the chair. When someone plops down, they tend to let themselves fall the last few inches, which has the effect of a hundred or more pounds slamming into the chair every time they use it.

As a fan of recliners, most of the chairs, sofas, and loveseats in my home are recliners. I’ve had two reclining mechanisms break. Both times were the result of someone plopping down in the chair instead of sitting.

If you want your furniture to last, teach your children to sit down gently.

Scotch Guard and Guardsman

Use Scotch Guard to protect your upholstery and Guardsman to protect the leather from stains and spills that could ruin your beautiful new furniture.

Return to our Quick Comparison Chart of the Best Recliners for back pain.

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