How many years should the best reclining sofa brands last?
I paid over $3000 for my reclining sofa. It is less than 3 years old and already falling apart.
The leather is peeling and the foam in the seat cushions is broken down.
I really need a new sectional, but I’m afraid to make the same mistakes all over again.
Where can I find an affordable reclining sofa or sectional that will hold up for at least 10 years?
Although the most expensive reclining sofas & sectionals usually last 10+ years, there are also more affordable options that can last almost as long.
Paying higher prices does not guarantee that reclining sectionals & sofas will last a long time.
It is very possible to pay several thousand dollars for reclining furniture that will fail within 5 years or less.
This article lists 22 reclining furniture brands from best to least best.
Reclining sofa ratings & comments listed below are based on my personal research, available information, & opinion.
Each April and October, I spend a week at the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, NC.
Over 3000 furniture manufacturers & associated companies display their latest products for over 100,000 retail buyers and other furniture industry professionals.
Best-selling groups & furnishings are also featured.
During those two weeks each year, I visit dozens of manufacturers’ showrooms, including at least 15 of the reclining furniture brands reviewed here.
Furniture designs, raw materials used and construction methods are constantly changing.
It is not possible to keep up with all of these changes as they occur.
In many cases, manufacturers do not even inform their own customers about design and material changes to products that are being sold.
This was especially true during the Pandemic years, when frequent unexpected spot shortages forced manufacturers to substitute alternative raw materials and components.
If any individual or company believes that something I have written is inaccurate or outdated, please notify me so that I can make immediate corrections.
The reclining sofa brands listed below are ranked by quality.
1) Hancock & Moore, Hickory, NC
H&M is one of the top quality upholstered furniture manufacturers in the U.S.
Leather is their specialty, but they also have a selection of high-quality fabrics.
75% of their sales are leather. 25% is fabric.
H&M sells both manual and powered recliners.
It has dropped the manual option for its reclining sofas and sectionals.
Styles are traditional to transitional. Product lines include recliners, reclining sofas, reclining sectionals & home theater.
Standard cushions may be 2.55 density Qualux foam or Spring Down.
Although H&M is known for heirloom quality hand-crafted furniture, their reclining furniture (and sleeper sofas) will not have the same durability as the brand’s stationary sofas and sectionals.
Best reclining sofa brands: Traditional style
2) MotionCraft, Morganton, NC
MotionCraft, a division of Sherrill Furniture, has been building custom reclining furniture for over 40 years.
The company offers a large variety of arm styles, sizes, configurations and custom options. Everything is available in over 1000 fabrics & 100 leathers.
This is handcrafted furniture, built by experienced, skilled artisans.
The detailed tailoring goes beyond what is possible for most other motion furniture manufacturers.
Most reclining furniture is designed for efficient mass production.
MotionCraft’s expert craftspeople still hand-craft one piece at a time.
Best reclining sofa brands: Durability
3) American Leather, Dallas TX
American Leather was founded in 1990.
Although the company specializes in top quality leather, 35% of reclining furniture sales are fabric.
Hundreds of different fabrics are also available.
Hudson sectional by American Leather
Production is highly automated, using state-of-the-art technology.
Fully customized furniture can be shipped within 30 – 45 days.
The company designs its own mechanisms, but does not actually produce them in-house.
All reclining sofa and sectional mechanisms are motorized.
No manual mechanisms are available except for the Comfort Air Collection reclining chairs.
The Comfort Air Collection has no visible mechanism.
The chairs recline and adjust themselves to your body effortlessly and automatically.
They do not have (or need) a footrest.
American Leather’s Comfort Air chair line is very comfortable.
Prices are steep – around $3500 in fabric and $5000 in leather.
American Leather is the only American manufacturer to offer Reclining sectionals with a Sleeper option.
Best reclining sofa brands: Modern style
4) Taylor King, Taylorsville, NC
Taylor King, a top quality leather specialist, currently offers only 3 different reclining sofas and 2 reclining sectionals.
There is a larger selection of recliner chairs.
Although the company is a leather specialist, they also offer an extensive line of fabrics.
All Taylor King reclining furniture uses a heavy-duty reclining motorized mechanism made by Ultra-Mek in North Carolina.
Best reclining sofa brands: Best power mechanism
For those who like Taylor King but can’t find the exact pieces they really want, check out the next brand, Bradington Young.
The quality is close to Taylor King, but BY features a far more extensive selection.
5) Bradington Young, Hickory, NC
Bradington Young offers an extensive collection of well-built traditional and classically styled reclining sofas and sectionals.
The company specializes in top grain leathers but also offers fabric options.
Details and finish are not quite up to the standards of Hancock & Moore or Taylor King, but prices are lower.
The overall quality is still excellent.
Bradington Young is a division of Hooker Furniture.
Hooker offers a similarly styled line of imported, lower-priced reclining sofas and sectionals.
Hooker is not currently reviewed in this article.
6) Himolla, Made in Germany
Himolla has been made in Germany for over 70 years. The brand has a major USA distribution network.
Frames are solid beech.
This is a good hardwood that is more commonly found in high end European frames than those made in the U.S.
Seat cushions are 60 – 65 kg/cubic meter density cold rolled moulded foam.
25 kg/cubic meter is equivalent to 1.8 density foam.
Himolla’s foam is more than twice as dense.
These cushions should last 15 – 20+ years for most people.
Most Himolla reclining styles are available in both manual and power versions.
Both have outstanding reputations for quality.
Himolla power recliners are wireless.
There is a small rechargeable battery pack that unobtrusively fastens on to the back of the recliners.
These battery packs should last 3 months for most people before needing recharging.
[Cold rooms, above average weight, and more than average usage can deplete the power more quickly.]
Himolla was the Winner of the 2022 German Brand Award “Excellent Brands – Product Brand of the Year”
Himolla uses high quality full grain leathers.
Some of the leathers are specially treated to resist scratches and stains.
Himolla’s fabrics are high performance Rohleder Q2 high performance fabrics.
This is not a fabric brand that is common in the U.S., but the Himolla sales manager swore to me that he has personally removed black marker and oil stains from white Q2 fabrics.
The Rohleder Q2 fabrics do appear to be heavy-duty, highly durable fabrics that look and feel good.
20 years ago, most high end leather brands shipped leather care kits along with their furniture.
Himolla is still doing that.
Basically, this line is over-built. Every component appears to be engineered for extra durability and safety.
It appears to me as though this company is determined to make a product that will not break down.
The solid beech frames are heavy and solid.
Electrical cords attaching the remote to the chair/sofa are often weak points in power recliners. People accidentally pull the cords out while trying to operate the remote.
Himolla tests their remote cords to 50 lbs. (far more pressure than most people will ever exert on their remotes.)
Power footrests have a special sensor that stops the footrest from closing if a small child crawls underneath.
7) Ekornes Stressless, Morganton, NC
Stressless has a 200,000 sq. ft. factory in Morganton, NC.
There is a much larger factory in Thailand.
Two years ago, I rated Ekornes Stressless as the #1 brand for reclining furniture.
That is no longer the case.
In my opinion, their older manual reclining pieces are still outstanding.
But the newer motorized reclining furniture, introduced since 2019, has generated numerous consumer complaints.
These complaints involve both quality and comfort.
Ekornes Stressless was a Norwegian company, with factories in Thailand, Vietnam and the U.S. (Morganton, NC.) Their original Norway factory still exists, shipping primarily to the European market.
In 2008, Ekornes was sold to a Chinese company.
Apparently, this was not a smooth transition.
The Chinese company took on a huge debt load to make the purchase at the same time that the Chinese economy was slowing down
Ekornes Stressless had an 80 year old tradition for engineering excellence.
They introduced new models slowly, being very careful to make sure there were no product defects.
The Chinese company that purchased Ekornes planned a rapid expansion.
To do this, they quickly introduced numerous new motorized models.
Apparently, these new motorized products have not been up to the old Ekornes Stressless quality standards.
For a more complete story about the Ekornes Stressless transition from a Norwegian to a Chinese company, check out my blog article, Update to Stressless Reclining Review.
Best reclining sofa brands: Manual mechanism
8) Fjords, Norwegian brand made in Thailand
This is an interesting, fast-growing alternative brand for those who like the Stressless style, but have limited budgets.
The company has been around for 70 years, almost as long as Stressless.
Even though Fjords is not an American manufacturer, they are an interesting and fast-growing brand.
Fjords is priced about 30% lower than Stressless for comparable items.
Each Fjords sofa is available in 2 sizes (high or low back.)
98% of sales are leather. Fabric is only 2%, but is available.
80% of Fjords reclining chairs and sofas are motorized, but the company has very few negative reviews.
Fjords seems to have avoided the quality problems that have upset so many Stressless customers over the past couple of years.
Best recliner brand: Best value – Modern style
9) Smith Brothers, Berne, IN
Smith Brothers no longer offers reclining sofas or sectionals.
Reclining chairs are still available and are excellent quality.
This 90-year-old furniture manufacturer is located in the heart of Indiana’s Amish community and prides itself on building furniture the old-fashioned way, one piece at a time. Everything the company makes is custom built.
Frames are solid maple, reinforced with double dowels, screws, glue, corner blocks, and metal brackets. The company builds its own frames.
The company designs its own exclusive arm support system to reduce the arm wobble that is commonly found in reclining furniture.
Seat cushions are removable and reversible, with coil spring construction. No-sag springs are used to support the back.
Best recliner brand: Best traditional style recliner value.
10) Hydeline USA*, Made in China
Hydeline USA is a Direct-to-Consumer brand of Amax, a major supplier of leather furniture to large retail chains.
*Hydeline offers a Special 5% discount to Insiders Guide to Furniiture readers.
Use Coupon Code IGF5X or Order Directly from Hydeline Special Discount Link.
Items already marked On Sale are not eligible for the 5% discount.
This is the first Chinese-made furniture I have ever recommended.
Stores often rebrand Amax furniture. For example, it can be found in Costco under the Prospera Home brand.
Before writing this review, I visited Hydeline’s showroom in High Point, NC. to examine their furniture in detail. This showroom is not open to the public.
Hydeline specializes in leather match powered reclining seating.
Seats, backs, & inside arms are semi-aniline top grain leather. Outside parts are a matching vinyl.
Most Hydeline recliners and reclining sofas feature zero gravity power mechanisms and power headrests.
Reclining sectionals are not currently available, but may be introduced soon.
Hydeline’s leather, frame and cushions are built to last 10+ years.
Frames: Kiln-dried solid wood and hardwood plywood.
Foundation: Sinuous wire foundation.
Cushions: Fabric wrapped pocket coil springs surrounded by 1.8 density foam and padded with 2.25 density and memory foam. Estimated lifespan 10+ years.
Each seat is rated to support at least 350 lbs.
Mechanisms: Most are zero gravity with powered headrests.
Zero gravity recliners are often recommended for health reasons, including bad backs or necks. See How Zero-Gravity Recliners Work and Why They Are Beneficial
Leather: Semi-aniline top-grain leather with matching vinyl.
The seats, backs and inside arms are made with semi-aniline top grain leather.
Outside arms and backs use a matching polyurethane faux leather.
All-top-grain-leather is available as a Special Order for a $200 up charge.
Hydeline’s website also features a Premium Outlet section with big discounts.
The outlet features discontinued in-stock models at discounted prices.
Current models with discontinued leathers also appear in the Outlet.
Pocket coil spring vs. Foam cushions
Hydeline’s cushions make this line stand out from every other reclining brand listed in this review.
Pocket coil cushions last 10+ years (twice as long as 1.8 density foam cushions used by most similarly priced reclining furniture brands.)
Cushions are 8 inches thick and can support 350 lbs.
Fabric covered steel coils are surrounded by non-load-bearing 1.8 density foam and topped with more durable 2.25 density and memory foam layers.
Best reclining sofa brands: Best leather value.
11) Barcalounger, Made in China & Vietnam
Barcalounger’s reclining furniture is sold in two different qualities.
Their recliners priced below $1000 and reclining sofas priced below $2000. are lower quality than most of the Barcalounger line.
Barcalounger is an excellent value for leather reclining sofas under $3000 & leather reclining chairs under $2000.
Barcalounger and Hydeline have similar quality and value for leather reclining sofas priced below $3000 and for leather recliners priced below $2000.
Barcalounger has a far wider range of styles and special features.
Some are priced above $4000, but are still excellent values.
Barcalounger’s reclining furniture is leather and leather match.
Leather match uses top grain leather for seats, backs, inside arms, & split grain leather for the outside parts.
Barcalounger’s leather is top grain. The website does not specify whether it is also semi-aniline.
Each of Barcalounger’s products and groups is available in only a limited selection of leathers.
Fabric is not available.
All Barcalounger reclining sofas are powered.
Some models have additional motors for the headrest and/or lumbar support.
Most reclining chairs are powered.
Manual mechanisms account for about 1/3 of current chair sales.
Mortise & Tenon frames with 3/4″ plywood made with 11 & 14 plies (layers of wood veneer.)
Solid hardwood spring boards & corner blocks.
The most common plywood found on better quality recliners is 7/8″ thick with 5 – 7 plies.
Although the plywood used here is only 3/4″, it has twice as many plies. The extra plies more than make up for the reduced thickness.
Also, the plywood covers the entire side panels. That is superior to the normal construction, which leaves most of the side panels open.
There is a lot more wood in these frames than on many of Barcalounger’s competitors.
Pocketed coils with 1.8 density foam.
Pocketed coil cushions last more than twice as long as solid 1.8 density foam seat cores.
Barcalounger’s furniture should have no problems lasting 10+ years for most people.
Estimated weight limit: 400 lbs. per seat.
Barcalounger features two primary style categories:
Vintage (traditional style)
Styles & Special Features include:
Big & Tall
Heads Up recliners with power-tilt headrests
The video below shows a demonstration of Barcalounger’s unusual power headrests that can be adjusted to tilt-forwards
Barcalounger offers two types of Lift chairs:
Lux Recline & Lift
Media (Theater) Seating
Sofas and console loveseats have hidden cup holder in the arms.
The loveseat also has hidden storage and a cell phone charger.
Matching recliner has hidden cup holder and hidden cell phone charger.
USB ports are available on all pieces.
Pedestal Recliner & Ottoman (Scandinavian Style)
Barcalounger’s Pedestal recliners & ottomans compare favorably with Fjords in both quality and price.
Best reclining sofa brands: Best leather value (tied with Hydeline.)
12) Bassett Furniture, Bassett, VA
Bassett makes three different quality levels of reclining furniture.
Club Level reclining furniture is mass produced in Thailand. No custom options are available. This is inexpensive, generic reclining furniture.
Bassett also has two different lines of custom-built reclining furniture, both made in the same Newton, NC factory.
One of these custom lines is also named “Club Level.” (I checked three times to make sure it really had the same name as the cheap imported line.)
The other custom line is called “BenchMade.”
The difference between these two different custom lines is that:
Club Level has the standard traditional/transitional recliner look with the front coming down close to floor level. Seats are not removable.
BenchMade uses a different mechanism for a high leg style that looks similar to stationary sofas. Seats are removable.
The BenchMade high leg reclining sofas and sectionals have removable seat cushions.
The Club Level custom reclining furniture does not have removable seat cushions.
Best reclining sofa brands: Best high leg reclining sofas.
13) Omnia Leather, Chino CA.
This is an environmentally conscious company with a wide range of reclining products and pricing.
Upgrading from a basic manual reclining sofa in a Grade 1 leather to a fully accessorized, upgraded leather version of that same model can result in a significant cost increase.
The same model sofa in a Grade 6 leather with all options, including triple power (headrest, footrest, lumbar) can add $2000 or more to the retail price.
The vast assortment of leathers is sourced primarily from Europe.
According to a company spokesperson, Omnia does not use Chinese leathers.
According to Omnia, both the starting price model and the top of the line have the same frame, 2.0 density foam, springs, mechs, and 100% top grain leather.
According to the website, frames are solid kiln-dried hardwood.
According to the factory expert I spoke with at the October 2022 furniture market, the frames are 7/8″ plywood.
It really doesn’t matter. In either case, the frame should outlast the cushions and mechanisms.
Omnia’s seat cushions are also available in a firm seat core option at the same price. (You should not expect the extra firm cushions to last any longer than the standard firmness.)
Omnia has an unusually strong warranty for this category of furniture.
Lifetime warranty on the hardwood frames.
5 year warranty on leather against the transfer of color, peeling, tearing, or becoming hard.
3 year warranty on cushions.
2 year warranty on Recliner motors.
Omnia is manufactured in California, a state with the strictest environmental regulations in the nation.
As a result, Omnia is especially sensitive to ensuring that its products are “green” and sustainable.
The company is a founding member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council.
14) La-Z-Boy, Monroe, MI
La-Z-Boy’s founders introduced the first modern reclining chair in 1929.
Since that time, the company has grown into a $1.5 billion business with over 11,000 employees and3 regional manufacturing plants located in Dayton, Tennessee, Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and Neosho, Missouri
Since 2019, La-Z-Boy has closed 2 of its U.S. factories, while expanding its facilities in Mexico.
The best article on this topic can be found at Where Are La-Z-Boy Recliners are Made.
La-Z-Boy has an unusually broad product selection at a wide range of prices.
La-Z-Boy offers over 200 different reclining designs, available in over 1000 fabrics and leathers.
It offers a wide variety of mechanical and power mechanisms, and is one of the few companies to make its own reclining mechanisms.
Styles range from modern to traditional.
Many of the parts used in this furniture, including the frames, are manufactured domestically, however, a significant number of components and fabrics are purchased overseas.
La-Z-Boy’s manual reclining sofas are not all the same quality.
Some are far more durable than others.
La-Z-Boy makes reclining furniture in both the U.S. and in Mexico.
It can be difficult to tell which models are made where.
Unless the description specifically states that the furniture is made in the U.S., it is probably safe to assume it was made in Mexico.
LaZBoy’s Mexican-made manual reclining sofas start around $1300. Like other reclining sofas with 1.8 density foam and non-removable cushions, they have an estimated 3 – 5 year lifespan before the cushions will wear out.
What differentiates better quality, long-lasting La-Z-Boys from the cheaper models is the seat cushions.
La-Z-Boy has seat cushion upgrade options featuring 2.5 density foam layers.
The upgraded cushions should last twice as long as the standard 1.8 density foam.
Cushion upgrade options are explained in A Review of La–Z-Boy’s Chair and Seat Cushions.
In the cushion upgrade option article, the ILD number describes the firmness of the cushion. An ILD of 36 is considered medium firm.
A lower number, such as the 27 available on some of the options, is softer.
The ILD firmness number does not affect durability. Firmer foam does not last any longer than softer foam with the same density.
The more important number is the foam density.
Most recliner seats are made with 1.8 density foam. La-Z-Boy’s optional upgrade adds a layer of 2.5 density.
“High Resiliency” is another factor that determines foam durability.
This is a manufacturing process that adds durability to foam.
The HR process isn’t expensive, adding only about $1 per cushion to the price of the foam. This can add a year or two to the cushions’ lifespan.
Most polyurethane foam made in the U.S. for cushions is HR.
Many of the cheap imported foams are not.
La-Z-Boy has an extensive network of La-Z-Boy Home Furnishings and Décor stores.
The company also has hundreds of La-Z-Boy galleries in larger furniture stores. Most of these offer in-home design assistance.
Most of La-Z-Boy’s reclining furniture is made with “tight” seat and back cushions that are not removable or reversible.
If the tight seats begin to “sag” and become uncomfortable, replacement or repair is very expensive.
The warranty will not apply since this is considered “normal” wear.
Avoid La-Z-Boy’s Bonded leather fabrics.
This includes the company’s Renew recycled leather fabrics.
La-Z-Boy provides a detailed description of its leathers and “alternative” leathers.
The article, Leather Selections at La-Z-Boy, has some glaring errors.
Faux leather is described as, “recycled leather that the tannery did not use because they were shaved away from the original hide grain.”
This is incorrect! The term “faux leather” is typically used to describe any synthetic leather material, including recycled leathers.
Also, “recycled leather” is not made from “shaved” pieces of leather hides.
It is made from the small pieces of complete hides that were left over after being cut up from larger pieces.
The small left-over pieces are chopped up into small granules and mixed with adhesives.
The granulated “recycled leather” is then used as the backing for recycled and bonded leather materials.
The facing of the material is 100% synthetic.
This is the opposite of what the LaZBoy article says.
Best reclining sofa brands: Best Big & tall recliner value
15) Elran Furniture, Montreal, Canada
Elran makes motorized reclining furniture only.
90% of sales are Special Order.
Approximately 1/2 of sales are leather and 1/2 are fabric.
Elran seat cushions are unusually durable.
According to their website and product description, Elran’s seat cushions use 2.0 density foam.
But it is not standard 2.0 density foam.
Elran runs its foam through a special chamber that pulls out gas bubbles. Somehow this results in a highly compressed pre-crushed 2.0 density foam.
Because of the pre-crushing, the foam is more resilient (less likely to compress) and is equivalent in resiliency and durability to 2.4 density foams.
I don’t know of any other reclining furniture manufacturers doing this to their foam.
Customer reviews are generally positive. There seem to be fewer complaints than many of their U.S. and Asian competitors get for similarly priced products.
50% of sales are top grain leather . 50% are fabric.
Elran makes a few leather match products for major retailers looking for lower price points, but they do not accept leather-match for special orders (which are the majority of their business.)
Leather match reduces costs by about 15% compared with all top-grain leather.
Retail pricing is generally around $2500 – $3500 for a fabric reclining sofa and $4500 – $5000 in leather.
Frames are 7/8″ hardwood plywood
Best reclining sofa brands: Best Canadian brand
16) Flexsteel, Dubuque, IA
Recently, I reviewed the current Flexsteel product line at the April 2023 International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, NC.
I was impressed with recent quality improvements that have been made.
Most of the criticisms I have made in the past about Flexsteel products have now been addressed.
- Bonded leather is gone.
- Cushion durability has been improved.
Frames: Flexsteel uses 7/8″ plywood with 7 plies. Although this is not the strongest way to build a frame, it should still last 20+ years for most people.
Foundation: Flexsteel’s famous flat blue steel seat support system has been the strongest in the furniture industry for over 100 years.
For average people with average use, most of these foundations should last 50+ years.
If used by 300+ lb. individuals or if jumped on by kids, they will probably still last 50+ years.
[Historical factoid – I was representing Flexsteel to the U.S. government in the 1980s, when they were sued by Drexel-Heritage over the award of a government contract for sofas.
Drexel’s argument was that the contract specified “8-way hand-tied” foundations, which they claimed was superior to Flexsteel’s blue steel flat spring.
Flexsteel won the lawsuit (and the contract) by “proving” that the blue steel spring was “as good or better than” 8-way hand-tied springs.]
Cushions: Flexsteel appears to have finally recognized that reclining furniture lasts only as long as the seat cushions remain firm and comfortable.
All reclining sofas and chairs now use 2.0 density foam (an upgrade from the 1.8 density foam used by many of Flexsteel’s competitors.
In addition, the cushions are larger and thicker than they have been in previous years.
Foam cores are now larger (more surface area) and thicker (6″ or more.) Larger and thicker seat cushions last longer than smaller or thinner cushions.
Many of Flexsteel’s competitors are still using smaller 5″ thick foam cores.
Power Options: Flexsteel offers a wide range of mechanisms and power options with up to 4 motors.
Triple power options (3 motors) allow you to control the headrest, footrest, and lumbar support individually.
Flexsteel’s popular zero gravity recliners are all triple power.
The fourth motor is used for Lift recliners.
Flexsteel does not offer heat or vibrating massage options.
Manual options: Most of Flexsteel’s SouthHaven (Mexican made) reclining furniture is available with either manual or power options.
Manual recliners are less expensive.
Adding seat and back power options increases sofa prices by about $500.
Adding a 3rd motor for the power lumbar support increases prices by an additional $100.
The Zecliners are an exclusive Flexsteel design. These are zero gravity recliners being marketed as “heavy duty sleep chairs.” They are designed to be a health-and-wellness recliner with lifestyle appeal.
Zecliners are multi-function chairs with recline and lift functions, offering zero-gravity reclining, charging ports, MyRecline app technology, and LiveSmart performance fabrics. Select models offer LED automatic ambient base lighting and a Technogel pillow for cooling comfort and pressure relief.
Zecliner chairs features design elements like minimal seams, single-needle top stitching and a soft pad over the arm with a subtly contoured seat, full chaise and removable techno gel head pillow. Both sides have angled side pockets and larger general-use pockets located at the bottom of the sides.
All Flexsteel reclining furniture is now made outside the USA.
Flexsteel’s Mexican factory produces custom-built products with a wide range of fabrics and leathers. The Mexican factory produces Flexsteel’s SouthHaven collection.
SouthHaven options include “leather match” or “all top grain” leather.
Leather match provides good quality top grain leather for the seats, inside backs, and inside arms. The remaining parts (outside arms and back, and the base) are a matching vinyl.
Note: Many of Flexsteel’s competitors substitute “split leather” for the vinyl on the outside parts.
“Split leather” is the bottom grain of the hide after the top grain has been removed.
The advantage of “split leather” is that it allows retailers to truthfully state that the recliner is “all-leather.”
The advantage of vinyl is that it is much stronger and much easier to clean than split leather.
Flexsteel’s Vietnam factory produces the Latitudes collection. These are high volume leather reclining pieces, sold with limited custom options and color selection.
All pieces in the Latitudes Collection are “leather match.” There is no “all top grain” leather option.
Flexsteel has one remaining U.S. factory, producing custom stationary seating.
Flexsteel’s Nuvo bonded leather is gone.
I won’t have to warn my readers to avoid it going forward.
Best reclining sofa brands: Most improved quality 2023
17) England Furniture, New Tazwell, TN.
England Furniture is a LaZBoy company.
England specializes in rapid shipment of custom-built Special Orders.
During the Pandemic period, England’s special order shipments were taking 12 – 14 weeks (and sometimes longer.)
As of April 2023, the company reports it is back to its preferred 3 – 4 week Special Order shipping time.
Where LaZBoy makes mostly recliners, England primarily makes custom stationary furniture, but it also makes reclining pieces.
Reclining sofas and chairs make up 25% of England Furniture’s total sales.
They feature both manual and motorized mechanisms. Interestingly, they do not buy their mechanisms from LaZBoy.
Fabric kits are sewn in Asia and matched up with the frames in Tennessee.
What I find intriguing about England’s reclining line up is that they make a serious effort to make their products just a little bit better than their similarly priced competitors.
In addition to offering the standard sinuous wire foundation, they also have an optional upgrade that combines sinuous wire with added coil springs that appear to add additional flexibility to the seat support.
I have not seen that before. I’m not sure how much durability or comfort the additional coil springs add, but I find it interesting.
If I were purchasing an England reclining sofa, I would get the sinuous wire/coil spring option.
England also offers a cushion upgrade option.
The standard cushions are 1.8 density foam, but the brand also offers an upgrade that combines foam and coil springs.
Holes are drilled through the foam core and coil springs are inserted into these holes.
This foam/coil spring cushion option should extend the the lifespan and increase the comfort of the seat cushions.
My biggest concern with this product is that the plywood frames are not glued.
The plywood they are using (7/8″ thick with 11 plies) is actually better than what most of their competitors use.
They claim that the plywood locks together tightly so that no glue is needed.
I have not seen any complaints about frames falling apart, but upholstery craftspeople generally feel that leaving out the glue can result in squeaking and twisting frames.
18) Best Home Furnishings, Ferdinand, IN
This is a family-owned and operated business, over 50 years old with over 1 million square ft. and nearly 1000 employees. The company has been making recliners since 1989.
The specialty of this company is fast special orders – shipped within one week after the purchase with a selection of over 1000 different fabrics.
Best makes nearly 200 different recliners and over 60 different reclining sofas and sectionals.
This includes multiple sizes, made especially for small, medium, large and extra-large people.
50% of recliner sales include manual mechanisms and 50% have power mechanisms.
Frames are solid hardwood and hardwood plywood that are doweled, corner blocked, glued, and screwed.
Most of the other manufacturers in this price range have switched to plywood or OSB (Oriented Strand Board) engineered wood frames.
Although Best Home Furnishings does not make its own mechanisms, they do have proprietary mechanisms made exclusively for their seating.
This includes its Comfort Sync mechanism from Leggett & Platt.
Cushions for most Best Home recliners use 1.8 density foam.
But they do have some heavy-duty and large recliners made with 2.5 density foam.
The Best Max line uses 2.5 density foam.
The Beast line, built for extra-large individuals, includes both 2.5 density foam and a heavy-duty coil spring foundation.
Beast models also use an extra-strong proprietary Performa-Weave polypropylene material instead of the standard polyester fiber fill.
19) Franklin, Houston, MS
Although not as well known as some of the other recliner brands, Franklin Furniture is one of the largest privately owned furniture manufacturers in the U.S.
Franklin has been making recliners in Mississippi for over 40 years.
The company employs over 1300 workers. Its facilities total over 1 million square feet.
Franklin makes both reclining and stationary upholstered furniture.
As a reclining specialist, the company offers a wide variety of mechanisms, styles, and custom options.
Franklin is especially known for its proprietary Gravity Glide Mechanism.
This is a manual mechanism that allows the sitter to stop the seat and back movement at any position.
Most popularly priced recliners with manual mechanisms have a fixed number of positions (usually 3) where the seat and back can be stopped.
Franklin’s cushions are made with 1.85 density foam.
The foam is mixed with a gel that is supposed to increase comfort and durability compared with other recliners made with standard 1.8 density polyurethane foams.
Frames are 7/8″ plywood with 5 – 7 plies.
This is an average quality frame in Franklin’s price range.
Franklin does not offer all-leather seating, but does offer leather-match.
Franklin also offers a large number of custom options.
These options include heat and massage mechanisms, infinite reclining positions, and an iPod docking station controlled from a touchpad command center.
You can also find models with lifts, extra storage, hidden tables, and cup holders.
Franklin is a vertically integrated manufacturer, making nearly all of its own parts, including manual and power mechanisms.
Price ranges for recliners are generally $499 – $1299.
Reclining sofas range from $899 – $1699.
Franklin also has a large selection of Lift recliners ranging in price from $599 – $1499.
20 & 21) Natuzzi Editions & Palliser
Natuzzi Editions and Palliser are being reviewed together. They make very similar furniture and compete directly for the same types of customers.
Although their prices may seem higher than most other brands in this mid-range section, most of their sales are for leather.
Real leather sofas selling for less than $5000, are usually within the mid-range price category.
Natuzzi Editions is the largest leather seating manufacturer in the world.
Natuzzi Editions furniture sold in the U.S. is made primarily in Asia.
About a year ago, in the midst of the Pandemic, , Natuzzi Editions announced it would be opening a Mexico manufacturing facility. I don’t know whether that was actually opened or was cancelled as supply chain and shipping problems eased.
Natuzzi Editions seating sold in Europe is mostly made in Romania and possibly other Eastern European locations.
Natuzzi Italia furniture is more expensive and better made. It is built in Italy and is not being reviewed here.
Palliser bills itself as a Canadian company, but Palliser seating sold in the U.S. comes from its 3 Mexican factories.
Palliser also has a Canadian assembly plant. This factory assembles parts made in Mexico. The finished products are then distributed to its Canadian customers.
Natuzzi & Palliser combine high quality leather with poor quality frames & foundations.
The excellent leather allows both brands to offer seating that looks and feels great when brand new.
The cheap frames, foundations, and cushions limit the furniture’s expected lifespan.
Although the leather may last 20+ years, the estimated frame lifespan for their reclining furniture is 5 – 10 years.
The non-removable foam cushions may also wear out within 5 years or less.
Natuzzi introduced the first cheap “real” leather sofas in the 1960s.
The streamlined modern design allows highly efficient, low cost manufacturing.
Costs are further cut by using low-cost materials inside the furniture, where they cannot be seen.
Natuzzi and Palliser marketing highlights the beautiful, plush leather.
It makes very little reference to the inferior frames, foundations, and cushions.
Natuzzi and Palliser frames are constructed with fiberboard, plywood, & softwoods.
They are equivalent in quality to frames used in fabric sofas selling for less than $1000.
Fiberboard & softwood frames are much flimsier than solid hardwoods or thick hardwood plywood.
They do not hold staples or other fasteners well.
As a result, the frames are held together primarily with glue.
Glue is very strong. When a heavy pressure is exerted on a sofa seat, the frame is far more likely to break than for the glue to fail.
Natuzzi’s foundations are made with elasticized webbing.
Webbing can be an excellent foundational support – but not the type of webbing Natuzzi uses and not the way they install it.
Top-quality, high-end modern-style furniture uses webbing that is wide, thick, and does not stretch.
Natuzzi and Palliser use lower-quality “stretchable” webbing.
Stretchable webbing is far easier (and faster) to install by low-skilled assembly line workers.
Stretchable webbing can “sag” after a few years of use.
Larger than average individuals or kids who like to jump on the sofa can cause cushions to sag even sooner.
Loose staples can pull out over time, causing the webbing to sag.
Sagging webbing results in uncomfortable seat cushions that wear out more quickly.
High-quality non-stretchable webbing, used in better quality seating, is securely fastened to strong solid hardwood frames.
Palliser is a Canadian brand.
But most Palliser Furniture sold in the USA is manufactured in Mexico, not Canada.
Like Natuzzi, Palliser’s modern designs allow efficient low-cost production.
They also use high-quality leather in combination with low-cost frames and foundations.
Both Natuzzi & Palliser make furniture that looks good on the outside and feels good in the showroom when new.
The leather is of excellent quality.
It will far outlast the rest of the sofa.
Everything on the inside, that cannot be seen, is built cheaply.
The frames are very inexpensive, made with cheap engineered wood and softwoods.
Engineered wood does not hold staples well.
As a result, the frames are basically held together with glue.
The frame quality is no better than many brands selling at less than half of Palliser’s prices.
Palliser’s seat cushions are fabricated with 1.8 density foam cores.
This is industry standard foam, found in sofas selling for $499 to $3000+.
1.8 density foam seat cushions have an average lifespan of 5 years in stationary sofas.
The actual cushion lifespan will vary, depending on:
- Foam density & thickness.
- Cushion surface area. (Larger cushions last longer.)
- Amount of use the furniture gets.
- Size of the people using the furniture. ( A 250 lb. person can wear out a 1.8 density foam cushion within 1 year or less.)
Natuzzi & Palliser both have extensive selections of reclining furniture.
This review does not cover reclining furniture. In most cases, reclining furniture has a shorter lifespan than stationary seating made by the same brand.
In one of the videos below, one of Palliser’s employees speaks proudly about the company’s lifetime warranty.
Palliser does not have a lifetime warranty.
You can read the current warranty document here.
Palliser’s longest warranty is 10 years on wood frames, springs or webbing.
What they do not point out is a clause stating that after the first year, this covers only replacement parts.
It does not include labor or transportation, if the sofa needs to be taken somewhere for repair.
Component parts are very cheap. Labor and transportation cost far more.
Natuzzi’s warranty is 10 years for wood frames only.
Springs and webbing are covered for only 2 years.
But because it also does not include labor or transportation after the first year, it is actually just as good as Palliser’s warranty.
After the first year, the warranty covers only the parts and materials needed for repairs, but not labor costs.
Palliser cushions are warrantied for 5 years. But there is an added clause that states,
“All cushions will soften with use and will conform to the shape of the user.
This softening is considered normal wear and is in no way considered a
That clause describes exactly what cushions do when they wear out.
It may happen after 5 years, or 3 years, or less.
Regardless of how soon your cushions soften up, Palliser will not be replace them under warranty.
This is the same for almost all low and mid-priced reclining sofa & sectional brands.
Natuzzi’s 2 year cushion warranty has an almost identical exclusion clause.
It does not cover:
Softening of the cushions with use, which must not in any way be interpreted as a loss of resilience due to production faults, defects in materials, or non-conformities of any kind.
Extended warranties do not help in any way.
Check out this additional Video of a customer describing problems with a Natuzzi sectional.
Palliser has just as many problems.
Here are a few independent review websites I pulled up.
22) Jackson Catnapper, TN
Catnapper is the brand name for recliners made by Jackson Furniture Industries.
The company has over 1500 employees and 1 million sq. ft. of manufacturing space in 6 different facilities, located in Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida.
This company offers a wide range of features and options.
One of Catnapper’s best features is the “Comfort Coil” cushions, available on most of its models.
I consider coil spring seat cushions to be an upgrade over the standard 1.8 density foam.
Very few of Catnapper’s low and mid-priced competitors have offered coil spring seat construction, probably because of the extra cost.
Several years ago, I was seeing a significant number of complaints about Catnapper’s coil spring seats, but those complaints have mostly disappeared in recent years.
Catnapper offers both power and manual reclining mechanisms.
Most people currently purchase powered reclining furniture. That percentage is growing.
Many brands no longer sell manual mechanisms.
Manual mechanisms usually last longer than power mechanisms.
When manual mechanisms break down, it is usually possible to get replacement parts, even after 10 years.
When power mechanisms break down, replacement parts are frequently unavailable after 5 years.
Jackson Catnapper has a large number of negative reviews.
Although they have fewer complaints than many of their competitors about seat cushions, they have a high percentage of complaints about frames and mechanisms.
Worst of all, as of 2023, it appears they are still offering bonded leather as a fabric option.
Bonded leather is possibly the single largest source of complaints in the entire furniture industry since it was first introduced in 2010.
Since that time there have been well over 100,000 complaints about “peeling” bonded leather. (I know of individual retail chains that have registered over 1000 bonded leather complaints in a single year.) If you are interested in why retailers accepted this huge problem for so long, check out my article, Why Do Furniture Companies Sell Bonded Leather After Knowing That It Peels?
Many of Jackson Catnapper’s competitors began switching to 100% synthetic composite faux leathers made of polyester and polyurethane. The new composite faux leathers are indistinguishable from bonded leather in look and feel – and they don’t peel!
You can check out some of the most recent customer reviews at:
23) Ashley Furniture, Arcadia, WI
Ashley Furniture is the largest furniture company in the world.
The brand has manufacturing plants all over the world, including several in the U.S.
Ashley also owns (and franchises) a huge network of Ashley Home retail stores.
On top of that, Ashley’s furniture is sold through other large and small furniture retailers worldwide.
Obviously, Ashley is doing something right.
Over the past 40 years, Ashley has entered virtually every furniture category in the low and middle price ranges.
Ashley pioneered the big, puffy modern “casual” look for reclining furniture.
That casual style has been copied by so many competitor brands that it has become virtually generic.
Inside the furniture industry, this type of style used to be known as “Furniture by the pound.”
The idea is to give the customer the illusion that they are getting the most furniture possible for each dollar spent.
One big advantage of this modern “casual” style is that it can be manufactured very quickly by low-skilled workers.
Another advantage is that it reduces costs by utilzing low-cost materials and components.
These are hidden away inside the furniture, in places shoppers cannot see or feel when the furniture is brand new in the showroom.
Much of the “puffy” look that makes reclining sofas and sectionals look so big and plush is created using very low cost polyester fiber in the arm pads and backs.
Foam is one of the most expensive materials used in low and mid-range quality upholstered seating.
The puffy casual styling, featuring tight (non-removable) seat cushions, substantially reduces the amount of foam required.
Money is also saved by using 1.8 density foam for the seat cushions.
All polyurethane foams are not equal in quality (or cost.).
A 1.8 density foam produced in Asia will be cheaper, but can break down faster, than a premium quality American made 1.8 density foam.
But even American made 1.8 density seat cushions can lose their resiliency (ability to bounce back) and comfort within 3 – 5 years (or sooner for above average size individuals.)
Increasing foam density to 2.5 would more than double seat cushion lifespan.
But it would cost an additional $10 per seat at the manufacturing level.
That translates to a $50 – $100 increase in the retail price of a 3 seat sofa with non-removable seat cushions.
When the furniture is new in the showroom, shoppers would not be able to tell the difference between the two different foam densities.
Three years later, there will be a very noticeable difference in both looks and comfort.
But most retail salespeople are not skilled enough to justify the extra expense to their customers.
When I first encountered Ashley Furniture in the 1970s, the company was a small Arcadia, WI manufacturer, making cheap bookcases and occasional tables.
At that time, I was a buyer for a Top 50 furniture retail chain.
IKEA opened up its first U.S. store in 1985.
Ashley immediately recognized that it could not hope to compete in its existing product line of bookcases and tables.
Ashley became the first U.S. furniture manufacturer to explore the advantages of building furniture in China.
The company soon branched out into bedroom and dining room furniture, followed by upholstery.
Over the past few years, tariff and supply chain issues have forced Ashley to move most of its production out of China to other Asian countries – and also to the U.S.
Most Ashley upholstered furniture, including reclining pieces, are now Made in the USA.
I recently spoke with Ashley’s VP of Business Development at the October 2022 International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, NC.
In response to my question, he told me that 75% of Ashley reclining furniture sold in the U.S. is currently being made domestically.
One reason for Ashley’s low position in this Review article is that the company has refused to give me any information about their construction.
Ashley’s websites also provide very little information about product construction.
24) Klaussner, Asheboro, NC
Klaussner’s reclining furniture is mass-produced using low-cost materials and inexpensive labor.
Klaussner has the same problems as most of its large competitors, including non-removable cushions that wear out within a few years
In addition, there seems to be an unusually high number of complaints about frame failures.
This is a problem commonly found with cheap imported reclining sofas but is not as common with U.S.-made furniture.
[Note – This may be linked to a change from plywood to engineered wood frames. Over the past two years (Pandemic & supply chain crisis) the price of plywood tripled. Some manufacturers switched to engineered woods. They were easier to obtain (and much cheaper.]
One reason for Klaussner’s low position in this Review article is that the company has refused to give me any information about their construction.
Klaussner’s website also provides very little information about product construction.
25) Southern Motion, Pontotoc, MS.
Southern Motion™ specializes exclusively in reclining furniture.
It had nearly 1500 employees in 5 Mississippi facilities, but has had some recent difficulties and laid off about 1/3 of their workforce.
The company offers a wide assortment of reclining chairs, sofas & sectionals.
These are available with a dozen different mechanisms and a wide variety of options, including power headrests and electronic accessories.
Southern Motion was founded in 1996 and has grown into a leading supplier to the national furniture retailers, offering a line that includes all categories of motion furniture.
Southern Motion’s SoCozi, line features heated massaging and other high-end options.
From a quality and durability view, Southern Comfort faces the same challenges as the other mid-priced competitors.
Price seems to be the #1 criteria from a quality/value perspective.
Southern Motion offers a wide variety of upgraded designs with special features & options at higher prices.
The company seems to get a higher than average number of consumer complaints.
I do not recommend most Southern Motion models for people weighing more than 200 lbs.
Reclining furniture brands that no longer make furniture in the U.S. include:
Lane Furniture, Tupelo, MS
[UPDATE Nov. 22, 2022 – Lane Furniture has shut down and fired all employees.]
HIGH POINT, NC Nov. 22, 2022 — WXII News, Winston Salem is reporting that United Furniture Inds. has terminated all Lane employees. According to the station the company, which has operated under the Lane brand in recent years, sent two letters to employees. The first instructed employees not to report to their work locations today. The second e-mail, sent overnight, immediately terminates all employees, with the exception of over-the-road drivers currently out on delivery.
According to WXII, the memo stated that, “Your layoff from the company is expected to be permanent, and all benefits will be terminated immediately without provision of COBRA.”
Lane no longer makes reclining furniture in the U.S.
Lane is one of the best-known brands in the furniture industry with a history that goes back over 100 years.
Unfortunately, this is not the same company. Ownership has changed three times since 1996.
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