Woman reading in a recliner chair

Office Chair or Recliner for Reading?

Short answer:  For me, I prefer a recliner over an office chair for reading.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a great office chair working (typing) but when it comes to reading, kicking back with an iPad or even using my laptop, I prefer a recliner.

But let’s dig in more for a full analysis, shall we?

The Setup

It might be challenging to select the chair that is most appropriate for your purpose and demands. That is why we will examine the distinctions between an office chair and a recliner. After we’ve discussed the distinctions and critical aspects of each chair, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision!

Choose incorrectly, and you risk squandering money and space on a chair that, quite plainly, does not meet your needs. Choose wisely, and you’ll enjoy plenty of conveniences both now and in the future.

Now, let’s examine office chairs and recliners. We’ll discuss their characteristics, advantages, applications, and history, among other things!

Decision Time

Both recliners and office chairs are considered to be chairs. This implies they’re meant to accommodate a single adult in an upright position (as opposed to a sofa that can accommodate three persons).

While recliners and office chairs are both types of chairs, they have some significant distinctions. That is why we will discuss the distinctions between a desk chair and a recliner. This way, you’ll be more equipped to choose which chair is the best fit for you.

Nonetheless, you have the ultimate say in deciding which chair to purchase. While we cover the majority of the key features and distinctions between office chairs and recliners, you should carefully examine your individual needs.

Recliner Definition

Recliners are reclining chairs. This allows you to recline the chair’s back and, in most cases, elevate a retractable footrest or leg rest. This essentially allows you to lie down in the chair.

Recliners are also referred to as reclining chairs. While recliners are definitely reclining seats, other types of chairs may also recline. Indeed, you may get reclining office chairs that have a footrest. Additionally, you may discover reclining sofas and other items of furniture.

When the phrase “recliner” is used, it generally refers to an upholstered chair with reclinable cushions. Having said that, you may come across chairs that are not upholstered but nevertheless allow you to lower the back and extend the footrest.

Office Chair Definition

An office chair is intended for use in homes and offices. As such, production is frequently just as critical as appearances. These chairs are occasionally referred to as desk chairs, work chairs, or computer chairs.

Office chairs are available in a variety of forms and sizes. Additionally, you can locate a reclining office chair. The majority of office chairs, on the other hand, are swivel chairs, which allow you to rotate in your seat. Additionally, the majority of office chairs come equipped with wheels that enable you to move about.

Additionally, you may get gaming seats that perform similarly to business chairs. A gaming chair is specifically built for gamers. Given that gamers frequently spend extended periods of time seated, a decent gaming chair should provide enough lumbar support and comfort. While these chairs are frequently more flashy and may stand out slightly in an office setting, a gaming chair may double as an office chair.

Now that you’re familiar with the fundamentals of office chairs and recliners, let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of each chair to help you comprehend their similarities and distinctions.

Nuanced Differences

Consider the distinct characteristics of recliners and office chairs. By being familiar with these qualities and their functions, you’ll be able to more readily distinguish between different sorts of chairs.

Perhaps more significantly, you’ll understand why an office chair may be more appropriate in one setting than a recliner in another.

Difference in Materials

Typically, recliners are upholstered chairs. This indicates the chair is upholstered in a soft material such as fabric, leather, fake leather, or another material. Upholstered chairs are essentially cushioned chairs. They may have a detachable seat cushion or be permanently attached to the chair.

Recliners are frequently padded with cotton or memory foam. Numerous recliners are extremely plush and comfortable. Having said that, if you’re going to be sitting in a recliner for an extended amount of time, you’ll want to be sure the padding provides adequate support.

Often, the outside of the chair is devoid of plastic or metal. Peek behind the cloth, though, and you’re likely to find wood, metal, and maybe plastic.


Office chairs are available in a variety of materials. While plastic is the most often used material in office chairs, you may also find metal, fabric, and cushioning. Numerous office chairs use metal components to increase durability and support.

You can get high-quality upholstered office chairs in a variety of materials, including leather, fake leather, and fine fabric. Many CEOs choose a leather chair due to its upscale appearance and feel. Additionally, you may discover more affordable cloth-upholstered chairs. Certain office chairs have no cushioning at all, while others have many cushions.

Memory foam cushioning is often seen in high-end office and computer chairs. Oftentimes, memory foam gives additional support and is extremely pleasant.

Mesh backs and seats are becoming increasingly popular in workplace chairs. Rather than padding, mesh chairs are upholstered with a mesh cloth that acts as a cushion, similar to a hammock.

A mesh seat is also included in a complete mesh seat. Mesh is a lightweight material that is both pleasant and durable. It also takes up little space. As a result, mesh seats are gaining popularity. Numerous office chairs have cushioned seat cushions and a mesh backrest.

Some office chairs, like recliners, are upholstered. Occasionally, the seat of the chair is upholstered while the body of the chair is not. While recliners generally include a soft armrest, many office chairs feature an adjustable armrest made of hard plastic, metal, or rubber.

Recliner Features

A recliner’s seat cushion and cushioning are secured to or contained within a metal and/or wooden frame. In terms of chairs, the structure of a recliner is fairly complex. That is because the chair is constructed in such a way that it may change form. This needs a large number of intricate moving components.

With a recliner, the backrest of the chair can generally be lowered, allowing you to lean back while still receiving adequate support. Additionally, most recliners include a retractable footrest that stretches out. Typically, you recline the chair by pressing a button or pulling a lever.

Certain recliners include several reclining positions. You may be able to keep the recliner mostly upright, or you may be able to put it down and stretch it out.

Additionally, some recliners include tiny storage spaces for TV remotes and other gadgets. Several even include cup holders.

Additionally, certain recliners can swivel (a common feature for office chairs, by the way). Some of them double as rocking chairs, which is ideal for families with infants.

Recliners allow you to stretch out comfortably while yet providing support for your entire body. Certain recliners enable you to lie completely flat, while others leave you in an inclined posture. In either case, the ability to stretch out is a significant feature of a chair and can provide optimum relaxation.

Additionally, you may spread out on a couch or bed. A bed, on the other hand, is generally inappropriate for living room furniture, and a sofa may take up a lot of space. Recliners are rather compact, especially when folded. Recliners enable you to cram a great deal of comfort into a little area.

Office Chair Features

For office chairs, mobility is critical. The great majority of office chairs come equipped with wheels that allow for easy mobility. You may need to move your chair back in order to stand, or you may choose to roll down to a different section of your desk. Office chairs are nearly always movable, and one of its distinguishing qualities is their wheels.

Typically, the wheels are placed in a five-star design, with five wheels aligned in a circle. This five-wheel configuration offers exceptional stability and control.

Additionally, an ergonomic office chair with a headrest is available. Even yet, headrests are very uncommon in office chairs. Numerous office chairs include a backrest that provides just back support (including lumbar support).

If you require an office chair with a headrest but are unable to locate one, try purchasing a gaming chair. These chairs include the majority of the same characteristics as typical office chairs, including wheels. Numerous gaming chairs include a headrest as well.

Typically, office chairs are adjustable.

Numerous office chairs have height-adjustable seats and armrests. Because office chairs are primarily meant for productivity, it’s critical that employees sit at an appropriate height and have easy access to keyboards, monitors, and other pieces of equipment.

This adjustable height feature enables you to achieve optimal comfort and lumbar support. When selecting office chairs, several ergonomic considerations should be considered. You’ll want an adjustable chair that is suitable for your weight and height, since this will assist assure excellent comfort.

How Long Do Recliners Last?

Recliners are frequently extremely robust. Recliners are also fairly hefty, so you’re unlikely to move them frequently. Moving furniture can cause it to wear out more rapidly, so leaving your chair in one location will help extend its life and prevent wear and strain.

As is the case with most types of furniture, the pricing, material selection, construction, and brand quality all have an effect on the overall quality and longevity. For instance, certain reclining chairs may endure decades without requiring any maintenance.

Due to the complexity of recliners’ mechanisms, they are prone to breakdown and are difficult to repair. You may discover that the lever that was used to recline the chair is no longer functional. Alternatively, the chair may become stuck in the open or closed position. If this occurs, you may be required to pay a significant amount of money to have the chair repaired.

How Long Do Office Chairs Last?

The durability of office chairs varies significantly. Due to the fact that these chairs are movable, they are frequently on the go. Regrettably, this may result in increased wear and tear. Additionally, if the chair is often modified, as by various members of your home, they may degrade more quickly.

Cheap office chairs are not always the most durable. Some are temporary, lasting only a few months or perhaps a few years. Certain components, such as the wheels or adjustment levers, may fail.

Having said that, a well-made office chair may last a decade or more. While you may need to lubricate the wheels or repair rips over time, a good office chair should give years of relaxation. Certain manufacturers of luxury office chairs even offer limited lifetime guarantees.

Cost Difference?

A basic office chair costs less than $50. On the other hand, the majority of recliners begin at or above $100. Some stylish budget manufacturers sell recliners for approximately $250, however assembly may be necessary.

A high-quality recliner may easily cost over $500, while luxury seats can exceed $1000. Recliners are frequently on sale during various seasonal promotions.

Additionally, high-quality office chairs with an ergonomic design can be rather costly. Office chairs can cost between $300 and $500 or more. The finest chairs, such as those seen in a Chief Executive’s office, can cost well over $1000. These chairs are frequently made of high-quality materials, are quite durable, have a great degree of adjustability, and generally have good ergonomics.

An ergonomic desk chair has been shown to increase productivity. A painful back or neck might be distracting if you or your staff are in discomfort. Indeed, an ergonomically designed computer chair may help increase your bottom line!

Recliners are generally more expensive than equivalent office chairs in the long run. That said, if you choose for high-quality furniture, you may end up paying a premium regardless of the sort of chair you choose.

The Advantages of an Office Chair

Both recliners and office chairs have distinct advantages. Office chairs are extremely adaptable, frequently provide excellent lumbar support, and are highly adjustable. A well-chosen office chair may even increase productivity. These chairs are quite inexpensive and may fit into small areas.

A recliner may significantly improve the comfort level in your living area. Recliners take up less space than sofas. Nonetheless, they may be rather pleasant to lay on.

Recliner Background

Recliner chairs first appeared in the nineteenth century. Around 1850, reclining camp chairs gained popularity in France. These chairs convert into a bed, an upright chair, and a lounge chair when folded (meaning you could stretch out your legs). These seats provided a great deal of flexibility in congested military quarters.

Napoleon the III was one of the reclining chair’s early users. Even yet, by modern standards, the reclining chairs designed and utilized in the nineteenth century were rather rudimentary.

Reclining chairs as we know them now first appeared in the twentieth century. Cousins Edward Knabusch and Edwin Shoemaker received a patent for a reclining wooden chair in 1928. The cousins founded La-Z-Boy, one of the most recognizable makers of reclining chairs.

In 1959, Daniel F. Caldemeyer was granted a patent for his reclining chairs. His chair incorporated kinetics science, and some of his designs were adopted by NASA for use in spacecraft. Throughout the twentieth century, reclining chairs gained popularity, and a variety of types and designs became available.

Office Chair Background

According to some historians, the first office chair was owned by Julius Caesar, who sat on a golden chair while performing official business. Office chairs continued to change throughout the ages, and by the late nineteenth century, when railways became prominent, Centripetal Spring Armchairs were created for use on trains.

Employers recognized that the proper seats may be extremely productive instruments. It is thought that Charles Darwin, who established the fundamental theory of evolution, was the first to equip his chairs with wheels. This enabled him to move back and forth swiftly within his lab.

Otto Von Bismarck, who was instrumental in unifying Germany, was also a well-known supporter of the office chair, ensuring that it was supplied to legislators.

By the turn of the twentieth century, office chairs had become more prevalent, and more designers were developing them. Numerous early office chairs bear a passing resemblance to the chairs used today. Nonetheless, as our understanding of ergonomics advanced, designers were able to create increasingly comfortable seats.

By the 1970s, designers began taking into account elements like as blood flow, the amount of time spent in a chair, and other variables in order to create a more scientific approach to chairs and ergonomic design. The iconic Aeron chair was released in 1994 and was one of the first popular chairs that depend heavily on mesh for seat and back support.

Computers grew increasingly prevalent in companies during the 1990s, and many workers found themselves spending more time at their desks. As a result, many company executives began paying more attention to the level of comfort and support provided by office chairs.

So, What Should It Be?

Which chair is best for you? The solution to this question will mostly rely on your use case. If you’re shopping for a living room chair, a recliner is generally a better choice. Certain smaller swivel recliners may also be used as office chairs, but bear in mind that without wheels, you will be unable to move.

A comfortable ergonomic office chair is probably more critical now than ever. If you work from home, you’ll need a comfortable chair that you can use on a daily basis. Office chairs are also quite adaptable. If you require an additional chair in the living room, for example, when entertaining guests, you can borrow one from the office.

Typically, recliners are more costly than office chairs. A low-cost recliner will cost more than a low-cost office chair. Additionally, a high-quality recliner will cost more than a number of high-quality office chairs.

If you’re searching for a living room chair, a recliner is likely to be more comfortable than an office chair. However, if you’re searching for a gaming chair or something to use in your home office, an office chair will generally perform better.

Once you’ve determined the sort of chair you want, you’ll need to conduct some research to locate the finest chair within your budget. By and large, the more money you pay, the nicer the chair. Having said that, certain pieces of furniture are expensive, while others are quite affordable.

Consider whether the chair requires assembly while making your selection. If you are unfamiliar with tools, constructing a chair may be challenging. While many office chairs require installation, you can frequently purchase pre-assembled recliners.

Finally, these two seats fulfill distinct functions. When selecting between an office chair and a recliner, you must take your preferences, requirements, and budget into account.


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