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: Power 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, power recliners are more expensive than manual recliners. However, some power 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. Power recliners 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

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.

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.

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 recliners 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.
  • Power recliners boast more features compared to manual recliners. Electric recliners can have features like zero-gravity reclining and often come with parts that move independently from its other parts. Manual recliners 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.
  • Power recliners tend to last longer than manual recliners.

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 recliners 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.