Seating Buying Guide

Seating Buying Guide

Rise & Recline Chairs 

Seating Buying Guide                                             

Rise and Recline chairs are motorised chairs which will either lift you up out of a chair or will recline you whilst in the chair. These actions can be operated by the touch of a button on a handset which will come attached to the side of the armchair. These chairs are very versatile and designed to help you get in or out of a chair more easily or to raise your legs and feet if swelling is a problem.

There are a wide range of Rise & Recline to chairs to choose from and some are referred to as “Lift” chairs.  Here at True Mobility we source a range of chairs that are made by specialist mobility product manufacturers. We have put together a simple guide to help with understanding the different types of chair that are available, things to consider and the basics on how to measure the correct chair size for you.

All Rise & Recline chairs are powered by at least one electric motor. The chair will generally will have a metal frame with scissor type mechanisms which when pushed or pulled by the motor causes the chair to move in the desired direction.The electric motor plugs into a mains wall socket via a transformer. This transformer reduces the voltage to a safer level so that it is not possible to get an electric shock from the chair.

The chair will come with a remote control linked to the motor by a cable. This gives you control of the chair whilst seated. There will be at least 2 buttons on the controller allowing you to recline or to be raised up. You are able to stop the motor at any time and do not have to go to the end of the motor’s position.

This can be reassuring and keeps you in complete control at all times. If you need to stop the chair at any time all you have to do is take your fingers off the button and the chair will stop. 


Things to consider about the position of the chair in your room. It needs to be placed away from a wall so that it will allow for the back to recline. If you are going to recline full there needs to be at least a 2 ft gap between the wall and the chair when in an upright position.  It is very important to ensure that the back of the chair does not hit the wall as this can cause the frame to bend which is expensive to repair. If you have limited space then there are chairs that are designed to overcome this problem called “wall huggers”.


Single Motor Chair – The impact of only having one motor is that when the chair reclines, the backrest and the footrest move together or in a coordinated fashion.The upwards rising fashion is exactly the same no matter wether the chair has a single or a dual motor. Different chairs have different motions and recline to different degrees. On most single motor chairs, the footrest rises up before the backrest goes down. It is normal for this motion to become blurred as the footrest reaches it’s highest point and the two move in tandom. Once the footrest has reached it’s highest point the backrest will continue to recline.

Single motor chairs do not fully recline. It is normal for them to recline only back to an angle of  45 degrees. This angle allows you to have a comfortable conversation with someone or indeed a comfortable TV watching position. If you wanted to sleep in the chair you would need to look at a chair that will recline fully to a flat “bed” position.


Dual Motor Chair –  As the name says, this is a chair with two motors. One motor controls the footrest and the other motor controls the backrest. The benefit of this is that it gives you more flexibility on finding the most suitable sitting position and the most suitable reclined position. Some people actually choose to sleep in their rise and recline chair.

On the handset therre will be four or more buttons ( an up & down for each motor). It can be a little confusing at first but most people get used to it and most of the time there are diagrams of the chair and which part is operated by which button on most handsets. If someone suffers with dementia, then this operation maybe too confusing for them and in which case, a single motor chair maybe the better choice of chair.

Some handsets have a fifth button which acts as a reset button. This will take you to a seated position from whatever position you have been in. This is useful for those who need to get to a seated position fairly quickly and don’t want to operate the chair in the wrong direction. Rise and Recline chairs with wall hugger action at true mobility didcot oxfordshire




 Types of Backrest & Options


Button Back – In general a button back type backrest will provide a reasonable amount of firm support for your back. It is possible to have a softer button back design. A button back backrest is a more traditional style and is very neat looking .

Celebrity furniture blenheim rise and recline chair


Waterfall Back – A waterfall type of backrest is more commonly seen as a 3 tier seperate pillow supportive backrest. Each pillow will have a zip which allows you to adjust the filling to soften each cushion if need be and make it the most suitable in comfort. This style of backrest generally can be softer which might not suit everyone. Depending on the fibre content in each pillow, you will find that the pillows will flatten slightly.   Waterfall Back Rise and Recline Chair at True Mobility Didcot Oxfordshire






Orthopaedic Back –  The roll style back is made up of three or more sections, which are buit into the back. This type of back gives reasonably firm support.  This type of back provides firm support and will be most suitable if you experience back pain. The shape of the back mirrors the contours of your spines natural position and encourages good posture.


Wall Hugger – This can be found most commonly on a single motor chair. The wall hugger movement means that the seat base moves forward whilst the chair is being reclined. This enables the chair to be placed within a few inches of the wall and still recline without hitting the wall. It’s ideal for small rooms.


 Rise and Recline chairs with wall hugger action at true mobility didcot oxfordshire  


Tilt In Space – Tilt In Space is a particular motion a chair has when it is reclined. When the back reclines on normal chairs it can put strain on the lower back as the seat stays horizontal. A tilt in space motion angles the seat of the chair backwards with reclining back and reduces the amount of strain placed on the lower back.The motion maintains the support on your back by keeping the L shape of the chair as you recline. It also stops you having to move backward in the chair when it is reclining.  Due to the angles involved, chairs that have a tilt in space action don’t recline very far back and it is only available on single motor chairs.


Wooden Knuckles on The Chair Armrests – Wooden knuckles on the end of the armrests are available as an option on many chairs. This has proven to have been of huge benefit for those whom prefer to have something to grip onto when getting out of a chair. It makes it easier as opposed to the normal upholstered armrests. They can also be harder wearing over time.


 Celebrity Westbury Rise and recline chair with wooden knuckle armrests at true mobility didcot oxfordshire



Side Pockets – Most chairs come with a side pocket sewn on. This can be useful for keeping newspapers, glasses, tv remotes handy and close by. It is also useful for storing the handset for the chair when not in use. Some chairs are fitting with pockets on both sides.


Assessing For The Correct Chair – It is crucial that the correct chair measurements are made. Thisis the correct Seat Height, Seat Width and Seat Depth. It is important for comfort, support and pressure distribution. Ideally it is good to get someone to help you with this but if you visit our store, we can ensure this is done correctly when we provide a chair demonstration. Your current chair may not be the correct dimensions.


Seat Height – The correct seat height can be calculated by measuring the distance from the floor to the crease at the back of the knees. When seated, the hips and knees should be at right angles whilst your feet are flat on the floor whilst wearing your usual indoor shoes. A slightly higher seat can make it easier to stand up and sit down particularly if you have pain or weakness in your legs.

Seat Depth –  To find the correct seat depth, measure the distance from the back of the hips, along the thighs to approximatley 1.5″ (3cm) before the back of the knees. When seated you should be able to place two fingers between the edge of the seat and the back of the knee.The seat needs to be deep enough to support the full length of the thighsbut not so deep that the lower back is not properly supported.

Seat Width – The seat should be wide enough to allow you to sit comfortablywhilst reading, writing or watching tv, but narrow enough to enable you to make use of the armrests. Ideally, it should be the width of your hips plus a clenched fist on either side.



Chair Battery Back up – Most chairs are fitted witha battery backup system. This ensures that in the event of a power cut you are still able to operate the chair. This is especially important if you are in a reclined position when there’s a power cut.  The basic battery back-up consists of 2 or more 9v batteries that have enough power to slowly return you to an upright seated position. However, there will only be enough power to move the chair once. After this, the batteries will need to be replaced. If the battery backup is not not used, the batteries need to be replaced every 6 months.

Battery Back up on Rise and Recline chairs at true mobility didcot oxfordshire

There are more sophisticated battery back-ups available which incorporate larger capacity rechargeable batteries. These batteries recharge automatically when the power to the chair is on.

 As they have greater capacity, these batteries will last upto 25 movements giving greater flexibility in the event of a prolonged power cut.







Fabric Choices – Most chair manufacturers provide a range of fabric swatches to choose from for their chairs. These can be plain, patterned or leather. Depending on your choice of fabric, this will determine the approx. delivery time. At True Mobility we have quite an extensive range of fabrics to choose from due the great range of rise and recline chairs we keep in stock.

For further details or information on our Rise and Recline chairs, please contact us on Tel. 01235 519777 or email us on [email protected].