Recliners are soft, comfortable chairs with plenty of padding. These chairs allow you to push back or pull a lever so you can lean back and put your feet up, making them a fantastic option for watching a movie, napping, or reading a book.
However, although they can be large and heavy, many recliners have a surprisingly low weight capacity. Looking at how these comfortable chairs are constructed can give a better idea about their weight limits and help you choose the best chair for you or your family.
What is the weight limit for a recliner?
Most recliners have a weight limit between 200 and 500 pounds. Standard recliners usually have a weight limit between just 200 and 250 pounds, so if you need a higher weight capacity, it’s a good idea to look for larger chairs that are specifically designed to hold more weight.
Cuddler recliners, for example, are made for two people to sit in together, so they tend to have a wider frame and higher weight limit. Other chairs are specifically designed for larger people.
The exact weight limit of any recliner will depend on the brand and type of chair, what it’s designed for, and how it is made.
Most manufacturers print the weight limit directly on the recliner’s tag or in the instructional or informational booklet.
You can also find a recliner’s weight limit by emailing or calling the company or searching for the exact brand and model on the internet.
What happens if a recliner is overloaded?
If you’re over the weight limit for a recliner, you still might be able to comfortably use the chair. However, over time, the exceeded weight capacity will put strain on the chair.
You may find that it’s not as comfortable, as the cushions have deflated or compressed. Pieces can begin to malfunction or break.
For example, when you stand up from a recliner, you might use the arms to push yourself upright. Over time, the arms can bow outward.
Recliners also involve mechanical elements that allow you to tilt the chair backward and raise the footrest. In a recliner that is often overloaded, these elements can quickly fail.
You may find that you need to have these pieces fixed or replaced more frequently, and this can be expensive and time-consuming.
If you’ve chosen a power lift chair, you can encounter even more issues. Power lift chairs are a type of recliner that uses a motor to lift the chair.
These recliners are a great option for people who have trouble standing up on their own. When a person who exceeds the weight limit of the recliner uses the chair, the motor must work much harder to push the chair up.
This puts a good deal of strain on the motor and can cause it to fail. Replacing the motor can be challenging and expensive.
When properly cared for, high-quality recliners can last for 20 years or more. Many recliners also come with warranties, either for the entire chair or for specific parts of the chair, such as the mechanisms that raise the footrest.
However, if you exceed the weight limit but continue to use the chair, this can void the warranty.
Materials and Construction
How a recliner is constructed and what it’s made of can greatly affect its weight-bearing ability. For example, recliners can have frames with two, three, or four sides.
Four-sided frames offer much more strength and stability and can take more strain over a longer period. This means that, if you want a chair with a high weight limit, you should search for one with three or four sides on its frame.
It’s also a good idea to check to see if the chair has mesh between the springs and the foam of the cushion. A layer of mesh helps to evenly distribute weight over the springs.
This adds to the chair’s ability to hold weight and can also mean less wear and tear over time.
When purchasing a chair, make sure you can look at the underside of the chair. Most retailers will turn the chair over so you can view the chair’s mechanisms and construction.
You can check for any mechanisms that look weak, and this will also let you check for mesh. If the retailer won’t turn the chair over for you, it’s a strong sign that the chair is poorly made.