How Long Do Power Recliner Motors Last? | What’s Average Life

I’ve been asked numerous times where I stand on the whole best manual vs best power recliner debate. And I always say the same thing: it depends on your preferences.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the ins and outs of manual and electrical recliners and, hopefully, help you decide which is better for you.

What is Power Recliner?

Power recliners are more commonly known as electric recliners or motorized recliners. This could mean that the recliner utilizes one power recliner motor or a series of different motors to operate its reclining and other features.

Power Recliner

These types of recliners require a power source to function. The motors allow you to easily adjust the comfort level of your reclining chair through a control pad or remote control.

Electric vs Mechanical

So what are the differences? If we put a power vs manual recliners, which would emerge as a victor?

Electric vs Mechanical Recliner

To put it simply, it depends on your preferences. This is where the phrase “to each their own” comes into play.

Both reclining chair types have their own unique points that make them better than the other. Let’s take a quick look at those differences below.

Ease of Operation

If you’re looking for a strictly no-nonsense reclining chair, you’ll find that manual release recliners offer the most straightforward controls.

Ease of OperationUsually, manual release recliners come with a release lever and rely on your body weight and motion to determine what reclining position you’d like.

On the other hand, electric or power reclining chairs allow you to recline to specific or unlimited positions with the push of a button.

So, which is better? It depends on your preferences.

  • Would you like a leather recliner chair you can access without the need for electricity? If so, a manual would be better for you.
  • Would you like a product that doesn’t require any physical force or motion to recline? Then a power model would be best for you.
  • Is power recliner better than manual?
  • Do power recliners break down?

Summary: Recliners are generally easier to operate in terms of the physical strength needed to recline it. That said, some power recliners are not very user-friendly and have a learning curve upon operation. Whereas, manual recliners are generally as straightforward as possible. That said, some manual recliners will need more physical force than others.


Generally, recliners are more expensive than manual recliners. However, some recliners are cheaper than manual recliners. It all depends on the quality, design, and functions of a reclining chair.

That said, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly unit, manual release recliners are a more reasonable option, especially if you don’t suffer from limited mobility or any disabilities.


One thing that sets power recliner manual release recliners apart is their features. These usually come with more high-tech features and adjustments.

Zero-Gravity RecliningManual, on the other hand, don’t usually come with features like zero-gravity reclining.

Manual models are usually limited to swivel and rocking features on top of the obvious reclining feature. Whereas some electric recliners have parts that can move autonomously.

Summary: These are built to be more straightforward and often don’t have many features that you can find in power recliners. That said, if you’re simply looking for a comfortable chair without all the bells and whistles, a manual release armchair will suffice you.

Are Power Recliners Durable?


Definitely. They are usually less susceptible to wear and tear because you’re unlikely to exert unnecessary force when operating it.

Their electrical mechanisms are also built to last many years.

That isn’t to say that manual recliners are less durable.

In fact, if you take care of your manual recliner properly, you’re unlikely to encounter any issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Reclining Sofas Last?

An average of ten years. Most reclining sofas that are used frequently will not last more than ten years.

How Much Power Does an Electric Recliner Use?

The average model will consume a maximum of 58 watts of energy every time you use it.

Are Power Recliners Safe?

Definitely. However, due to the electrical components, you should definitely ask an expert electrician whether your outlet can handle the power output of your leather armchair.

Are Power Recliners Safe

It’s also advisable that you purchase from a reputable company to make sure your chair does not have any faulty wiring that could cause accidents.

Sofa Disadvantages

  • Sofas are generally more expensive than traditional sofas.
  • You cannot install or fix it flush to the wall because you will need to leave room for the electrical components and reclining features.
  • It will consume some electricity and could raise your power bills

Do Power Recliners Fail Often?

Power recliners, like any mechanical devices, can experience failures over time, but their reliability largely depends on various factors such as the quality of manufacturing, frequency of use, and maintenance practices. Reputable brands and well-built recliners tend to have lower failure rates due to their higher-quality components and more rigorous testing during production. Regular maintenance, such as lubrication of moving parts and periodic inspections, can help prevent premature failures and extend the recliner’s lifespan.

Common causes of power recliner failures include motor malfunctions, issues with the control mechanism, electrical problems, and wear and tear on moving parts. Motors can fail due to overheating or internal component wear, while control mechanism problems may arise from faulty wiring or circuitry. Electrical issues could be caused by power surges or faulty connections.

To minimize the risk of failures, consumers should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper usage and maintenance. Additionally, choosing recliners with extended warranties can provide added peace of mind. Overall, while recliners can experience failures, selecting a reputable brand, adhering to maintenance recommendations, and using the recliner responsibly can significantly reduce the likelihood of encountering frequent issues.

Which Should You Choose: A Power Recliner or Manual Recliner?

It depends on your needs. I’m not saying that one is better than the other. Both types of recliners have their own advantages and disadvantages.

That said, if you want a more long-lasting armchair that’s easier to operate, the power model is definitely the better option for you.

Do Manual or Power Recliners Last Longer?

Manual recliners generally tend to last longer than power recliners. The reason for this lies in the complexity of the mechanisms involved in power recliners. Manual recliners have a simpler design with fewer moving parts, which reduces the chances of mechanical failures over time. On the other hand, rely on motors, control panels, wiring, and electrical components, which are more prone to wear and potential malfunctions.

The motors in power recliners can experience issues such as overheating, internal component wear, or electrical failures, leading to a shorter lifespan compared to manual recliners. Moreover, the electrical systems in recliners are susceptible to power surges or faulty connections, further increasing the risk of premature failure.

While manual models may have a longer lifespan, it’s important to note that the durability of any recliner depends on the brand’s quality, construction materials, and how well it is maintained. Regular maintenance, such as lubrication and inspection of moving parts, can significantly extend the life of both manual and recliners. Ultimately, choosing a reputable brand and adhering to proper care and maintenance practices are crucial in ensuring the longevity of either type of recliner.

Are Electric Recliners Dangerous?

Electric recliners, like any other electrical appliance, have the potential to pose certain risks if not used properly or if they malfunction. However, with proper maintenance and adherence to safety guidelines, electric recliners can be used safely in the home environment.

One potential risk associated with electric recliners is the possibility of electrical malfunctions or failures. These can occur due to factors such as wiring issues, manufacturing defects, or wear and tear over time. Electrical malfunctions can lead to hazards such as short circuits, electrical shocks, or even fires.

Another concern with electric recliners is the risk of entrapment or pinching. The moving parts of the reclining mechanism, such as motors and gears, can pose a risk of trapping fingers, hands, or other body parts if not operated with caution. This is particularly a concern for children or pets who may inadvertently come into contact with the moving parts of the recliner.

Additionally, there have been reported cases of electric recliners malfunctioning and unexpectedly reclining or closing while a person is using them. This can potentially cause injuries if the individual is caught off guard or unable to react quickly enough to prevent accidents.

To mitigate these risks, manufacturers of electric recliners typically incorporate safety features and design elements aimed at enhancing user safety. These may include mechanisms to prevent entrapment, such as sensor systems that detect obstacles in the recliner’s path and automatically stop movement. Additionally, many electric recliners are equipped with emergency stop buttons or manual override controls that allow users to quickly stop the reclining action in case of malfunction.

Furthermore, regular maintenance and inspection of electric recliners can help identify and address potential issues before they escalate into safety hazards. This may involve checking electrical connections, ensuring proper functioning of motors and mechanisms, and lubricating moving parts as needed.

In conclusion, while electric recliners do present certain risks, they can be used safely with proper precautions and maintenance. By following manufacturer guidelines, exercising caution when operating the recliner, and staying vigilant for any signs of malfunction, users can enjoy the comfort and convenience of electric recliners while minimizing the risk of accidents or injuries.

How Long Should a Power Recliner Last?

A lower-end model made by a reputable manufacturer should last over 10 years with no problems.

10 years With no Problems

However, if you do not exercise caution and proper handling, you’re likely to see your recliner gone in a few years.

Any Problems With Power Recliners?

Power recliners are more expensive, but they’re far more convenient. They come with an anti-tangle cord, a seat height adjustment, and all sorts of adjustment options, so you don’t need a manual for them. When you’re shopping for them, it’s also helpful to know the advantages and disadvantages of different brands. When shopping for power recliners, pay attention to your comfort needs. If you’re sitting up straight all day, for example, a power recliner could be uncomfortable. Be sure to do research on whether a power recliner is right for your lifestyle. Also, it’s a good idea to test a recliner before you buy it.

Overheating. Most power recliners have heating controls on the chair’s armrests. When the controls are turned on, a light will indicate that they’re on. This lets you know that the chair is warming up. Once you get into the seat, you’ll notice that the chair is getting warm quickly. It’s usually cool by the time you turn it off. This is generally the function of the heating controls. The heating controls can be turned off, so if you don’t mind it getting warm, you can use the controls to heat the seat up. However, if you’re the type of person who needs it cool, you should avoid recliners that have heating controls on the armrests.

Why Won’t My Electric Recliner Go Down?

There are two main problems: when you first set your recliner, you put it in all the way, because you can, even though you know that it isn’t as comfortable because of that and because it isn’t safe. Then you have to relearn how to press it down and it’s not comfortable anymore. Sometimes it’s fine, but at other times it’s much harder to lower it, and your butt muscles ache because of the effort. Plus, most people who have to lower it manually all the time have to do it even when they’re fully reclined. And it’s a problem for a lot of people.

I’ve recently gotten a new, larger recliner, and when I first sat in it, I thought to myself: How come it’s so darn hard to recline, but it’s so darn easy to sit straight up?! So there are two solutions: 1) buy a pull-down mechanism to adjust the recline angle, or 2) call your recliner company and ask for the D/S switch to be able to be configured to move slowly from full recline to back and forth.

Can Power Recliners Be Operated Manually?

You’ve done your research and have made your decision to buy a power recliner. You have good taste in this matter and you know what you want in the best recliner in the market. You have chosen the right brands and models, and have budgeted for the prices.

When it comes to this operation, you probably don’t even have to worry about anything. However, is this really the case? The most common problems when purchasing a recliner are that of a bad motor or a faulty control system. This is how you can fix this problem. You will have to know whether the electric motor or the control system is faulty. In this case, you will have to take the problem to the owner, and let them know that you’d like to have a manual operation. That way, they can either buy another seat or bring their unit to the dealer for a fix.

The Most Common Mistakes People Make

  • You are throwing your weight into it. Do not do this under any circumstance. If you’re of limited mobility and have trouble settling yourself on lower surfaces without bouncing on it, invest in a power lift armchair. It will help you seat yourself without strain.
  • Keep food and drinks away. This doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to snack in your armchair or have a sip of water. If you can make sure none of your food or drinks will accidentally spill onto your armchair, then, by all means, eat or drink your heart out. Otherwise, do it somewhere else, so you don’t damage your hardware.

Can Electric Recliners Be Fixed?

Electrical recliners are usually brought into the home rather than installed. The product is usually equipped with an adjustable motor and base, and it is a relatively inexpensive way to get a premium comfort experience at home. Electric recliners come in a variety of styles and may be turned or elevated. If the motor is broken or the base is loose, it may be a good idea to have it professionally fixed by a furniture repair service in your area.

Mechanical recliners and base recliners should generally be operated to help keep the chair in an upright position. However, the seat can also be slid into a slightly reclined position. The motor can also be turned off, but the chair will be prone to slipping backward, even while the footrest is not in place. The footrest will also force the recliner backward, rather than moving the chair in the direction the motor is turning. Again, repair or replacement can generally be performed for a nominal charge, and the value of your furniture will increase with the additional comfort it provides.

Do Electric Recliners Need Maintenance?

Yes, electric recliners require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Despite their convenience and automated functionality, the intricate electrical components and moving parts in electric recliners are susceptible to wear and tear over time. Implementing a structured maintenance routine is essential to mitigate potential issues and extend the lifespan of the recliner.

One critical aspect of maintenance involves inspecting and lubricating the moving parts, such as hinges, joints, and the reclining mechanism. Regular lubrication minimizes friction, reducing the strain on mechanical components and preventing premature wear. Ensuring that these parts remain free of debris and dirt is equally important to prevent blockages and maintain smooth operation.

Furthermore, attention should be given to the electrical components, including the motor, wiring, and control system. Periodic checks for loose connections, damaged wiring, or signs of electrical issues are imperative. Cleaning the control panel and ensuring that buttons or switches function correctly contributes to the overall reliability of the electric recliner.

In addition to routine checks, it is advisable to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance, as outlined in the user manual. This may include specific recommendations for cleaning, lubrication, and any other preventative measures tailored to the particular model of electric recliner.

By adhering to a comprehensive maintenance routine and promptly addressing any identified issues, owners can maximize the performance and longevity of their electric recliners, ensuring a comfortable and trouble-free experience over an extended period.

Final Thoughts

If you’re confused about which recliner type to get, remember that it would depend on your needs and preferences. Here’s a gist of what I discussed above:

  • Manual models are generally more space-efficient compared to power recliners. This is because some manual units are designed to look sleeker and less bulky. This is only possible if you don’t have the extra motors in the construction.
  • Boast more features compared to manual models. Electric recliners can have features like zero-gravity reclining and often come with parts that move independently from its other parts. Manual models are usually only able to reach regular reclining features, rocking, gliding and swivel motions. All of which, power recliners can also do.
  • Manual recliners are usually cheaper than good power recliners.
  • Tend to last longer than manual models.

How hard is it to semi-squat and then relax? Almost all recliners have some types of built in springs to cushion your fall and/or rock you back.

It’s not so difficult to enjoy your drenched steak and beer at the table for ten minutes and return later to your recliner once you’ve finished.

Ultimately, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, it will be your best bet.

That said, manual models are also ideal if you want a more space-efficient and straightforward unit in your home.

However, if you’re looking for something that’s easier to recline and requires little to no physical effort to operate, it would be ideal.

That said, power recliners also tend to last longer than their traditional counterpart. It also comes with more high-tech features than manual recliners.

Needless to say, whichever you choose, it is a great investment for any homeowner.