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How does Bassett’s Club level reclining sectional compare with LaZBoy?

By Jeff Frank

Bassett and LaZBoy are pretty much identical in terms of overall quality. Due to competitive pressures, the quality of both companies has drastically declined from what it was 15 years ago.

The biggest problem with almost all mass produced reclining furniture is the use of non-removable seat cushions. Bassett’s warranty is very confusing.

  • In one place it says seat cushions have a limited lifetime warranty.
  • In another place it says there is a 7 year warranty on U.S. made cushion cores and 3 years on imported cushion cores.
  • Another place says that cushion “flattening” is not considered a defect. (That is the primary symptom that a cushion needs replacement.)
  • Another place says that there is a list of additional warranty limitations and exclusions that is only available through the dealer.

LaZBoy’s warranty for non-removable cushions is clearer. They have a three year warranty for replacement of materials but no warranty coverage for the labor needed to replace those materials. Replacing the filling in non-removable cushions is major surgery which will cost more than most people are willing to spend.

Bassett does not specify the density of the foam used for its seats. That is usually an indication that they are using the industry standard 1.8 density.

  • 1.8 density cushions on non-removable reclining seats will normally retail their shape and comfort for about 3 years.
  • They may last longer if you don’t use the furniture very much.
  • They may last a shorter period if you have a particularly large person using the furniture.

In any case, although the leather and the mechanisms and the frame may all last for a much longer time period, you can expect the furniture to become less comfortable after about 3 years with no cost effective way to improve this.

  • This is by far the single most common complaint from purchasers of reclining furniture.
  • The second biggest complaint is bonded leather. Do not buy bonded leather.

The Bassett Club sectional is not all top grain leather (although most descriptions make it appear to be.) This is a leather match. There is genuine “corrected” top grain leather on the parts you touch (seats, inside backs, inside arms.) The rest is a matching vinyl.

  • If the entire sectional was made with the same grade of top grain leather you could expect to pay an additional $1000.
  • If the sectional was available in a better quality aniline (“non-corrected”) leather you could expect to pay $2000 or more additional for this piece.
  • The “corrected” top grain leather referred to above is made from a lower quality hide that receives a heavy dye which completely removes all scratches, imperfections and other blemishes. The hide is then artificially engraved with a pattern to match the vinyl it will be paired with. A protective clear polyurethane coating is then added.

Although leather match is not nearly as bad as bonded leathers (including LaZBoy’s Renew leather), there is a good chance you will have problems a few years up the road (after 3 – 5 years.) The two most common problems are:

  • Seam separation caused by the leather and vinyl expanding (or contracting) differently.
    • Color changes. Both leather and vinyl will change color over time. They will not change color the same way. The perfectly matched leather and vinyl you see when new may begin to be less closely matched after a few years.

    In my furniture blog there is an article listing a dozen U.S. reclining furniture manufacturers. The top 6 are better quality than either Bassett or LaZBoy and should last much longer. (They are also more expensive.)

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    Shopping for furniture can be complex and frustrating.”hardreadability” Salespeople often do not have enough knowledge to answer your questions or give advice based on limited experience.

    Take this opportunity to get real information and advice before spending hundreds or thousands of dollars

2 thoughts on “How does Bassett’s Club level reclining sectional compare with LaZBoy?”

    • Bassett’s “Club Level” is incredibly confusing.
      When I visited the company’s showroom at the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, NC, I questioned the sales manger three times before I finally had to accept his answer.

      The Club collection has two very different segments:

      One of these is custom-built high quality reclining furniture (but no high leg styles) with zero gravity mechanisms, made in North Carolina. (The High leg styles are BenchMade, not Club Level.)

      Bassett’s American Made custom-built BenchMade and Club collections are available with All-leather. All reclining models are powered.

      Bassett’s other Club level upholstery segment is mass produced in Thailand.

      Bassett’s imported upholstery is mass produced, with an average lifespan that is about half of its custom-built furniture.

      Bassett’s imported Club Level reclining furniture uses Leather Match – genuine top grain corrected leather on the seats, inside arms, and inside backs. Everywhere else is 100% vinyl.

      Note – the Bassett website makes it difficult for non-professionals to distinguish between its American-made custom-built furniture and models that are mass produced in Thailand.

      Also, Bassett’s website identifies its leather match upholstery as “Genuine top grain leathers.” It does not mention “leather match” anywhere.

      I guessed that this was leather match based on the pricing. This guess was confirmed by checking Bassett’s retailer websites, which identify the material as “leather match.”


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