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What To Look for in a Lift Chair: Quick & Easy Buying Guide

By Maurice

What To Look for in a Lift Chair

While all lift chairs are classified as Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and have a motorized lifting seat mechanism that helps people with mobility problems sit and stand, there are also crucial differences. This article will discuss these differences and what to look for in a lift chair to find the best lifting recliner for you.

What Is a Lift Chair?

It’s essential to differentiate a lift chair from a regular upholstered recliner. Although they have similar looks, lift chairs are DME recommended by a health care professional for patients with mobility issues. Only lift chairs have a motorized seat that lifts and lowers the user.

Medicare will usually cover part of the lifting mechanism inside a lift chair, yet not the rest of the chair. Medicaid may partially cover lift chairs depending on the policies of the American state where the user resides. Neither will cover a lift chair if not medically recommended, and neither will cover a regular piece of sitting or reclining upholstered furniture.

Types of Lift Chairs

There are three main types of lift chairs: two-position, reclining, and multi-position.

Two-Position

The two-position kinds of lift chairs don’t recline as they are made to lift the user to and from sitting and standing positions only. They are lower in cost than reclining versions, but often have a gap between the back and seat which some users may find uncomfortable.

Reclining

Lift chair recliners, or three-position chairs, are common and popular with many users. This type of lift chair lies almost flat so in addition to sitting, it’s a good choice for napping. The lift mechanism in this lift chair version works to raise the user from reclining to standing.

Multi-Position

Multi-position or infinite-position lift chair styles recline and are fully adjustable in positions that go up to a complete zero-gravity setting where the feet are above the head. Because of the customizable flexibility, this is the most expensive type of lift chair.

Tips for Finding the Best Lift Chair for Your Needs

Even after understanding the different positioning's and other features of lift chairs, when shopping for them, it can still seem confusing to know whether you’re getting good value for the price.

It’s super helpful when the manufacturer creates the chairs in different levels, so you know if the chair you’re thinking of purchasing is basic or deluxe and precisely what features you’re getting for the money.

For example, La-Z-Boy power lift recliner chairs are categorized into Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. They are all luxurious, well-made lift chairs with solid, sturdy frames and top-quality mechanical parts. They are all reclining types and provide extended leg resting.  

The difference is that with each group upgrade, there are added features that particularly suit different lift chair users.

Let’s take a quick look at these groups with a link to an example of each type to give you a better idea of what to look for in a lift chair to best suit your needs:

La-Z-Boy Bronze Series Lift Chair

The Bronze series lift chairs are lower-cost options designed for smaller people who are 5’3” or less. These quality lift recliners have a shorter seat height and smaller seat size. They fit and lift to 300 pounds. Bronze series lift chairs also suit smaller spaces with their compact size and requirement for only a 2” wall clearance.


The La-Z-Boy Miller Bronze Power Lift Recliner provides a comfortable and affordable mobility solution for the petite user. Its sleek and classic look makes it ideal for any room style too.

La-Z-Boy Silver Series Lift Chair

Designed for average-height users, the mid-priced versatile La-Z-Boy James Silver Power Lift Recliner fits and lifts to 325 pounds.


Its Silver designation means the seat size and height are more generous than the Bronze models and added features include comfy padded arms and a pillow back. The James is a favorite for napping in comfort and looking stylish in any setting. It requires a 5” space from the wall.

La-Z-Boy Gold Series Lift Chair

Unlike the Bronze and Silver lift chairs, the higher price point Gold and Platinum types have heat massage and backrest and leg rest controls. If these extra features benefit you, it could be well worth going beyond the Bronze and Silver options. The Gold series is also the best choice for larger users.


The La-Z-Boy Clayton Gold Power Lift Recliner has the largest weight capacity of all groups as it fits and lifts to 500 pounds. The Clayton requires a 13.5-inch distance from the wall and has a stylish covered base that the Bronze and Silver lift chairs lack. This relaxing and comfortable lift chair provides enduring quality and elegant, good looks. Whether your home style is traditional, modern, or somewhere between, the Clayton looks attractive while providing excellent mobility solutions.

La-Z-Boy Platinum Series Lift Chair

Like the Gold series lift chairs, the upscale Platinum choices have heat massage, independent backrest and leg rest controls, and a covered base.  


Platinum chairs also add even more features. Most notably, they go up to a zero-gravity position, a heels-over-head setting often recommended by health care professionals for painful back problems. For other mobility conditions, you can use the power lumbar support controls to customize your lift chair to get the most comfortable back position for you. You can also customize your head position thanks to the adjustable power-tilt headrest.


The La-Z-Boy Pinnacle Platinum Power Lift Recliner is La-Z-Boy’s top-selling lift chair! It’s a favorite for its comfort and ability to fit and lift to 350 pounds while needing only an 11-inch distance from the wall. The Pinnacle is known for fitting especially well in size and scale with other furniture in any room.

How To Get a Free Lift Chair

Although Medicare typically pays 80% of the of the seat lifting mechanism only, it is possible to get a free lift chair from some U.S. non-profits and charities.

What to look for in a lift chair that’s free or very low-cost can differ from what to consider when buying a new one, though. Considering a gently used donated chair rather than a new one and thinking about the option of borrowing rather than purchasing can significantly increase your chances of finding a lift recliner free.

Here are some nation-wide organizations that may have no-cost or low-cost lift chair resource options in your state and area:

Additionally, if you’re an American military veteran or have a specific medical condition, these types of national groups may be able to direct you in obtaining a free lift chair in your region:

Your local independent nonprofit and charitable groups may also provide no-cost or low-cost lift chair options. Here are some examples of places to check out:

  • Seniors’ centers and aging assistance programs
  • Hospital-run assistive technology programs
  • Independent living associations
  • Church or community medical loan cupboards, closets, or centers

In conclusion, it’s clear that a lift chair is certainly not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of Durable Medical Equipment (DME). We hope this guide helps you get a better idea of what to look for in a lift chair that will best fit your size and mobility needs as well as your budget and space requirements.


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