How to select a lift chair that fits well

How to select a lift chair that fits well.

First go to the person’s home who needs the lift chair. Often this will be your Mother or Father. You will want to tell them you are coming over to look at their favorite recliner that they currently own.

You will need to take a measuring tape and a 36″ long “yard stick” ,if you have one, with you. If you happen to have a “T Square” take it along also. When you arrive at your loved one’s residence you will want them to sit in their current favorite recliner so you can view how well it actually fits them. This way if you discover some short comings you can make slight changes in your desired size for a new lift chair recliner, that will provide the best size, fit, and comfort in your new lift chair purchase.

Once you have these measurements you can call us on the telephone between Noon and 8PM Arizona time. We can help you narrow your selection and help you choose the options and back style that fit your needs the best.  

You can also refer to Golden Technology’s master line sheet, or the individual specifications listed and pictured as you view the individual pages on Liftchair.com for Custom Leather Lift Chairs, Med-Lift and Mobility, and Golden Technology brand name selections, options, and accessories.

We will make observations and a few measurements with the patient sitting in the chair. As you make these observations you should write down what type of adjustments would be benificial. For example you might prefer a 2″ wider seat, a 2″ taller back, a 3″ longer leg rest, and 1″ taller arms.

Then we will make some final measurements with no one sitting in the chair and add or subtract your desired changes to help select a chair that fits well and is comfortable.

First Step Position:

Have your loved one sit in their old recliner or old lift chair recliner so you can determine if a little different size would be an advantage.

Have them sit straight up in the recliner with the leg rest down and not elevated and their back as straight up as possible and not tilted back. Most furniture backs will be built with about a 12 to 15 degree tilt backwards as the straight up seated position. You want them to be seated all the way back in the seat with their back rested against the chair back. Ideally their feet should touch the floor. The bend in their knee should allow their lower leg to hang naturally over the front edge of the seat without the bend in their knee being up on the seat surface. If their knee is up on the seat surface their lower leg will project out above the floor and their feet will not touch the ground.

Have the patient rest both of their arms on the arm rests. Make sure both arms are supported comfortably and they do not have to lean to either side for their arm to be supported. Leaning to one side is hard on your back. Some furniture styles use low arms which are not high enough for comfort and a secure feeling when seated. 

Next you want to carefully observe the width of their current favorite recliner. If the patient is heavy you want to pay close attention to the seat width. You should be able to fit your hand down the side of their thigh on each side without feeling a high degree of pressure on your hand. Ideally you want about 1″ to 1 3/4″ space on each side so that when they rest their arms Dow they are sitting up straight and the fit is not so tight that it is bowing the arms out. If they are in a lift chair and it is too narrow of a seat the arms will bow in and out each time they go up and down. This bowing will cause the chair to wear out more quickly and eventually you will notice the arms are bowed.

Next observe how the back of their neck fits the top of the backrest. Most people like their neck supported so their head arches back naturally, without having their head pushed forward, making their chin push down into their chest. A heavier person will sink farther down and the back fit higher up their neck. Some people prefer a tall back and like to have their head rest against the back. This is a matter of style and preference. Most tall backs are 29″ high or higher.

Second Step Position:

Have the patient sit in the chair with their legs elevated out as straight and level as possible in front of themselves with the back still all the way forward and up as straight as possible. Make sure they are not slouched and are seated back into the seat all the way. Now observe where their heel  or heel of their shoe fits. Most people prefer to have their heel hang just barely over the edge of the leg rest. This gives their leg full support and prevents discomfort from too much of their leg hanging off the end of the leg rest. It also helps to avoid pressure on their heel. People who sleep in their chair sometimes prefer an extra long leg rest. An optional leg rest extension that adds 5″ to the leg rest length is available

Third Step Measurement of empty seated recliner:

Have the favorite recliner chair in the straight up seated position and take the following measurements. When you have the existing measurements add or subtract your adjustments you determined to get a good idea of what size lift chair will fit best. Keep in mind a lot of people will feel most comfortable in a chair close to the size of their old favorite chair.

Make the following measurements:

Seat width in between the arms measured on the seat surface halfway in from the front edge of the seat.

Floor to flush with the top of the seat.

Seat depth from the top of the fabric on the front edge of the seat to the very back edge of the fabric on top of the seat. If you just had the seat there with the back off it would be from the front to the back of the fabric covering the seat. If you were to roll a marble across the seat it would be the distance from where the marble rolled off the front edge of the seat to where the marble rolled of the back edge of the seat. This is your seat depth.

Back height is generally from the seat surface to the top of the back. Golden has a specific way to measure back height with a T-Square. Sometimes the published back height is about an inch shorter than you expect. 

The next and one of the most important measurements is the leg rest extension. For this measurement elevate the leg rest so it is out as straight and level as possible. Measure the length from the very back edge of the seat to the very front edge of the top of the leg rest. (Do this the same way we measured the seat depth)

All published dimensions can vary by 1 to 2 inches depending on type of fabric, stuffing, and style of furniture. 

Once you have your dimensions you can choose amongst various back styles. You will want to make sure the patient weighs less than the weight capacity for the chair. Please note this weight capacity is a measure of the strength of the construction and does not mean a heavy person who does not fit in the chair will be comfortable in it. For instance a 350 lb person will not fit well I. A chair with a 21″ wide seat even though it has a 375lb weight capacity for the strength of the construction.

Many chairs are available in full sleeper, zero gravity, infinite position designs that utilize one motor for the back and a separate motor for the legs and the lifting.

Styles and options will be covered in future posts. A good fit is your main concern and best place to begin your selection process and avoid ordering a chair that just won’t fit well.