Question

I am confused between the following two reclining furniture options. Which is better?

I am having back pain and need something which helps my back pain and looking for something with better cushion quality that is reliable and durable and should last long. Please advise.

Nebraska Furniture Mart Homestretch Custom Comfort reclining sofa

Nebraska Furniture Mart Homestretch Custom Comfort reclining love seat

Rooms to Go Denver Summit Brown reclining sectional

Comparison of Rooms To Go vs. Nebraska Furniture Mart specifications

Price: $3,182 vs. $3,667

No Lumbar Support vs. Lumbar Support+Head Support

Firm vs. No Firm

Density 2.0 vs.Density 1.8

Extended Warranty-3 years vs. Warranty – 5 Years

Top Grain Leather vs. Top Grain Leather

Thanks.

CK

May 18, 2020

Answer

Both of the items you are asking about are “leather-match.” This combines the cheapest type of top grain leather on the parts of the furniture you touch (seats, backs, inside arms) and vinyl on the parts you do not touch (backs, bases, outside arms.)

Here are some things to consider:

1) Low and mid-range reclining sofas and sectionals have substantially more complaints than all other furniture categories.

  • Despite the $3182 price tag, the RTG Denver Summit sectional is a low-end reclining sectional made in Asia.
  • The $3667 NFM Homestretch sofa and loveseat is in the mid-range for quality. It is manufactured in Mississippi using many imported parts.
    • Hint – The loveseat is priced the same as the sofa. That is unusual. You may want to point that out to a sales manager and see if you can get an additional discount.

2) The biggest single problem with this category is the non-replaceable seat cushions. This limits the comfortable lifespan of the furniture to 5 years or less for most reclining furniture. Once the seat cushions wear out, it is usually not cost-effective to have them replaced.

  • The RTG sectional has minimal padding in the seats. No foam specification is given, which generally indicates that 1.8 density is being used. It is possible, however that the majority of the padding is cheap polyester fiber, which quickly loses resilience (the ability to bounce back.) With normal use these cushions will begin losing their comfort by the second year and be worn out in about 3 years. If you have larger than normal people using the furniture frequently, it may lose comfort even more quickly.
  • The NFM sofa and loveseat also have non-removable cushions. They also use 2.0 density foam. There is a substantial amount of polyester fiber used (which will quickly lose resilience) but there is also substantially more foam beneath the fiber. My best estimate is that the seats will have a comfortable lifespan of about 5 – 7 years with average use.

3) You can’t rely on reclining furniture to alleviate your back pains, particularly after you have owned the furniture for a few years.

  • If this is a major concern you may want to consider reclining furniture with triple power. These have three motors – one for the seat and legs, one for the headrest and one for the lumbar support.
  • Another popular option for people with back problems are zero gravity recliners, which allow a greater variety of seating positions.

4) The NFM frames are better made than the RTG. This is not necessarily a major problem since even cheap frames will usually outlast the cushions and motors, assuming that the furniture arrives undamaged.

  • Recliner frames and mechanisms are easily damaged during shipment.
  • Cheap frames shipped from Asia have far more chance to get damaged than better quality (but still fragile) frames shipped from Mississippi.
  • Even if the frames arrive undamaged, care must be exercised when moving the furniture around in your home. Heavy mechanisms can become bent or misaligned when moved or dropped.

5) Customer service.

  • RTG has a long-standing reputation for poor customer service. They are well below average in an industry that has an overall bad reputation in this area.
  • NFM had a reputation for excellent customer service prior to being purchased by Berkshire Hathaway (one of Warren Buffett’s companies.) The customer service reputation is still above average for the furniture industry.

6) All extended furniture warranties are scams. They are written for the benefit of the retailer and manufacturer, not you. They provide the retailer with substantial extra profits while simultaneously absolving them from all responsibility to take care of future problems.

  • No matter what they promise in large print near the top of the document, there will be multiple exclusions hidden further down that will void almost anything that is likely to happen after the first year.
  • Warranties (but not extended warranties) will sometimes cover problems that occur soon after you have received your furniture – but not nearly as many as you think it will.

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Jeff Frank

Jeff Frank

Furniture Insider

Jeff Frank is a 45 year veteran of the furniture industry. He’s worked directly with buyers, retailers, and manufacturers at every level of the industry. In every position throughout his career, his focus has always been customer service.

Shopping for furniture can be complex and frustrating. Salespeople often do not have enough knowledge to answer your questions or give advice based on limited experience. If you’re looking for real information and advice before spending hundreds or thousands of dollars, take a look at our furniture buyer consulting.

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