When choosing a riser chair, there are 3 main areas to consider and we recommend in this order;
- The Action, how the chair will move
- The style of back/cushion – including seat size to fit correctly
- Fabric – this may include technical types (waterproof/breathable)
Wall hugger – is usually a single motor that raises you and reclines you. A wall hugger only requires 6” clearance behind the chair to recline.
Single motor – is the same as the wall hugger, with just 2 buttons to press, one to rise and one to recline. A single motor will raise your feet and slightly recline your back to begin with. If you continue to hold the button, then it will recline you back further.
Dual motor – gives you more control as to where you back is in relation to your legs. These usually have 4 – 6 buttons dependent upon supplier. You can raise your legs and your back will not move at all, unlike the single motor. Then you can decide whether you want to recline your back or not. Some people prefer their back not to be reclined at all times, so a Dual motor chair suits them the best.
Tilt in space single motor is a Tilting action where the whole seat tips backwards and the angle between back and seat base does not change. This can be beneficial, because it spreads your weight more evenly, lifts your legs much higher and because it avoids uncomfortable (and possibly harmful) ‘shearing’ where the back rest moves rubs against your back. The tilt in space is the ideal mechanism if you have a back problem and do not wish for the position of your back to change. Also, it means that the back rest still supports your lower back and your weight is spread evenly through your whole seat and back. The tilt in space is increasingly the most popular option and often the best mechanism to relieve pressure and soreness.
Tilt in Space Dual Motor has all the same benefits as the single tilt in space action, but you have independent control of the seat back in addition. It is also possible to get the back almost flat if you want.
All recliner chairs need a good clearance of aprox 2- 3’ feet behind the chair to recline. It is important recliner chairs do not rest against the wall, because if you recline it can damage the chair and actually stop the chair working altogether, actually damaging the chair frame or action. If space is an issue you should consider a wall hugger chair as this only needs a 6” clearance.
- You should be able to sit with your bottom right at the back of the seat and your feet flat on the floor.
- Your thighs need to be level and your lower legs straight, your legs/knees need to be at a 90 or degree angle or slightly greater
- When measuring you should be able to get two fingers between the back of your knees and the front of the seat.
- The ideal width should be wide enough to get your hands (while clenched) down both sides at the same time.
- Arm rest should support your arms below the elbow, without making you lift your shoulders.
Cushions should be soft but not too soft. If you are sitting in the chair for long periods you can get pressure relieving cushions.
If you are sitting or lying in the same position for long periods of time, this may cut off the blood supply to the parts you are resting on. You may notice sore or red patches on your back, bottom or heels. These can develop into serious and painful sores especially if you are weak through ill health as well. You should take advice from your GP before this becomes a serious problem
Choosing the correct back
- Waterfall back has individual cushions attached to the back of the chair which can be individually adjusted to give you the right amount of support where you need it.
- Buttoned back provides firm support and is a more traditional looking arm chair.
- Split back is upholstered into two section, positioned horizontally across the back. The split back also provides a firm support but with a more modern design.
- Lateral supports offer good support to the contours of the spine. This option may be beneficial if you suffer with back problems or need assistance sitting upright.
The riser chairs come in a wide range of fabrics including leather, faux leather standard fabric and Panvelle. If you have chosen pressure relieving cushions, then you should choose the Panvelle stretch fabric. Panvelle fabric is unique in offering multi-directional stretch, which ensures you benefit from the pressure relieving cushioning. The Panvelle fabric also has waterproof properties, which is also stain resistant and antimicrobial.
What you should consider
- Are you keeping your spine in a good natural S shape. Many sofas and armchairs are the wrong shape for a good sitting position.
- With your back fully supported, does the seat of the chair fit the length of your thigh without pushing your calf
- With your back fully supported and wearing indoor footwear, do your feet rest comfortably on the floor without pushing your knees up
- Is the chair wide enough for your shoulders, hips and high enough to support your head when you snooze
- Do your arms rest comfortably on the armrests
- Can you work the controls easily
- Can you imagine yourself reading, watching TV and having a snack in your new chair?
Images courtesy of Rise Recline Ltd