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Relax and let us teach you about Lift Chairs

Intro to Lift Chairs, not your everyday Lazy Boy!

Believe it or not, lift chairs are becoming more of a common household piece of furniture these days. There is a lot of buzz in terms of inquiries on these chairs, but it often comes along with the question “Why do I need another Lazy Boy?”. Lucky for you... I am here to go over the lift chair basics and hopefully answer the following questions: What are they? What do they do? And, Why should I get one over a Lazy Boy?

What are they, and what do they do?

A quick Google search will show you that Wikipedia defines a lift chair as “a chair that features a powered lifting mechanism that pushes the entire chair up from its base and so assists the user to a standing position”. As the definition above states, lift chairs have at least one motor in them that offers powered assistance to get you from a sitting or relaxed position into a standing (see image below).

Lift Chair Demostration Pic

The act of standing from a seated position takes a lot of physical effort, and gets progressively more difficult over time. Successfully moving from sitting to standing requires a significant amount of motor control, momentum, coordination, and balance. It is also something you perform on a regular basis throughout your daily life. For almost everyone being able to accomplish this without assistance for as long as they can is very important. What a Lift chair does is offer the client a powered boost to assist them into standing. This allows the user to remain mobile and independent when transferring into, or out of, the lift chair. 

Along with assisting in the standing process, lift chairs can offer an array of seating positions for improved comfort, circulation, and pressure relief. Some models can even help manage certain medical conditions, as recommended by a doctor or physician. Positions vary from model to model, but are generally grouped into the following categories:

  • 2-Position: Ideal TV watching chair. Usually offers Lifted, Seated, and Reading positions.
  • 3-Position: Full recline chair option, ideal for napping and relaxing. Usually offers Lifted, Seated, Reading, and Napping positions.
  • Trendelenburg Position: This is a position option where your feet are elevated higher than your chest, ideal for increasing blood flow back to the heart. Typically recommended based on medical needs by a doctor or physician. Most often available in the Infinite or Zero gravity models.
  • Infinite Position: Perfect chair option for clients looking to sleep in their lift chair. Usually offers all position options, including sleeping or lay flat positions. The backrest and footrest typically move independently from one another, allowing for a wide variety of positions that are achievable.
  • Zero Gravity Position: This is a position option where your thighs and lower legs are higher than your torso, putting your body in a “weightless” state. Ideal position for decreasing lower back pain and muscle soreness. This position can also reduce swelling/edema, improving breathing and blood flow back to your heart, and even helps to alleviate acid reflux. Typically available in the Infinite or Zero gravity models.

When considering the purchase of a Lift Chair it is important to figure out what positions and features/options you want the chair to provide you, in addition to making the standing process easier. You can find a position guide below to make it easier to decipher what model you should look at based on the positions described above. 

Lift Chair Positioning Guide

The last thing to consider, in terms of additional features and options you may want, are upgrade options and features. Some models will have upgrade options such as; heat and massage, powered headrest and back support, USB charging port built into the remote, or fabric upgrades. Make sure to figure out if the model you want has the option to do these upgrades, if you would like them, as sometimes they are limited to a specific style or line of Lift Chairs.

Why do I need a Lift chair over a Lazy Boy or Recliner Chair?

As mentioned above, lift chairs are more than just a comfortable place to sit and relax while watching TV or reading. The addition of the motor not only gives you the powered assist to get into standing, it also gives you the freedom to remain independent and mobile in your own home. So why is the powered assistance for standing so important? It all comes down to strength, mobility, and balance. Studies have shown that the higher the overall seat height of a chair is, measured from the floor to the top of the seat surface, the easier it is for you to stand up. This relates to less exertion, or strength, required from your body to get into standing since a higher seat height decreases the distance the body has to travel to get into a fully standing position. It also means that there is less stress on the knee and hip joints, due to the motorized assist on rising. The decreased travel distance to stand also means it will be a breeze for those with poor mobility or balance issues to stand.

Seat height is also important when you are considering people who have limited ability to flex (bend) at the hips, such as post hip replacement or as a result of arthritis. These people will not be able to sit in a chair with a low seat height due to pain or range of motion limitations. Another important thing to note about low seat height is that if it is too low for you, based on how tall you are, there will be an increase in pressure put on the pelvis instead of distributing it evenly through your thighs. This is another reason why the Lift chairs are a better option to your standard recliner as they will typically come in a wide range of sizes, ranging from Petite Wide to Very Heavy Duty, and get matched up to the client using the device based on height. The proper seat height while in sitting  will ensure that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are in a comfortable position to avoid any discomfort under the thighs, or pressure behind the knees that would occur if you are not sitting at the ideal height for you.

Each Lift Chair size will have a different seat to floor height, making sure that your feet remain flat on the ground and your hips are never lower than your knee level when in the seated position. See a generalized size chart below, but make sure to verify that product specifications meet your required size with the representative you are working with.

Model Size

User’s Height

Seat to Floor Height

Weight Capacity

Petite Wide

Below 5’3”

19”

375 lbs

Super Petite

4’8” - 5’4”

16”

250 lbs

Small

Below 5’ 3”

19”

375 lbs

Medium

5’4” - 6’

20”

375 lbs

Large

5’10” and up

21”

375 lbs

Heavy Duty

5’6” - 6’1”

20”

500 lbs

Very Heavy Duty

5’6” - 6’1”

20”

600 lbs


Stay tuned for more in depth Lift Chair articles, and feel free to comment below if there is a topic you’d like us to write about.

Courtney

2 comments


  • Pls quote the price of a medium size lift chair. Is the motor included with the chair and how does it works?

    CIndy on

  • Hello. I would like to have more information about the lift chairs. I am 5’3’’ and 163 pounds. I sometimes sleep on a chair because of back pain. Thank you!

    Stephanie A. Siefken on

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