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Craftmaster or Motioncraft Reclining Sofa, Which one is Better?

By Jeff Frank


I am about to buy a new sofa/ loveseat or sectional. We want reclining and fabric, not leather. Which is better, Craftmaster or MotionCraft?

We are about to replace an old manual MotionCraft we bought directly in NC 18 yrs ago (but probably should have been replaced 4 or 5 yrs ago b/c fabric was wearing out).

One furniture salesman let us know they got complaints in the last year about the MotionCraft mechanism having problems. Have you heard that at all?

Our last fabric wore somewhat quickly, but we got B grade, going with A grade fabric this time. We were not able to flip cushions b/c we chose unique size sectional pieces and put them together.

I noticed some reclining sofas don’t flip cushions, they are attached.

Are there any motorized recliners that flip? Is it better to go motorized or manual these days? Do the flip kind last longer than the non-flip these days? Thanks,


July 8, 2020


Craftmaster no longer makes reclining furniture.

MotionCraft’s quality was far superior to Craftmaster when CM did make reclining furniture. (It was also more expensive.)

If your salesperson stated that he had heard complaints about the MotionCraft mechanism, I am almost certain it was a power mechanism.

Very few reclining sofas still have removable seat cushions (that flip.) The few that do are primarily high end custom brands.

Power mechanisms are not built for long-term use.

$10,000 power reclining sofas from brands like Hancock & Moore or American Leather rarely survive 10 years.

Many don’t survive for 5 years.

MotionCraft makes custom-built high end reclining furniture.

With a manual mechanism, MotionCraft seating is still built to last 15+ years.

MotionCraft also makes reclining furniture with power mechanisms.

But there is a high probability that the power mechanism will break down somewhere between 5 – 10 years.

It can be difficult to find replacement parts for 5-year-old power mechanisms.

If the only problem with your old Motioncraft reclining sofa is that the fabric is worn out you should consider having it reupholstered.

The price of a new reclining sofa (in fabric) that will last for 15+ years will probably exceed $5000.

Reupholstering your old MotionCraft should cost far less.

There are very few recliner brands that still make reclining sofas that will last 15+ years.

15+ year reclining sofas need to have two characteristics that are difficult to find.

Manual mechanisms

Removable seats with 2.5 density foam or Spring down construction.

Most mass produced reclining sofas have an estimated lifespan of 5 years or less.

This includes both manual and power models.

Within one year after purchase, mass produced reclining sofas may be noticeably softer and less comfortable.

The foam will continue to lose resiliency (the ability to bounce back) each time the furniture is used.

For many people, a reclining sofa that looked and felt wonderful in the showroom, will look worn out and feel uncomfortable.

The lifespan of low and mid-range mass produced reclining furniture is limited by the seat cushions.

In most cases, the cushions will wear out before the mechanism or frame fails.

Reclining sofas from major brands such as LaZBoy, Flexsteel, and Catnapper do not last as long as they did 20 years ago.

One major reason is the popularity of power mechanisms.

Over 80% of reclining sofas and over 60% of recliner chairs sold today have power mechanisms. Manual mechanisms are rapidly disappearing.

Furniture retailers and manufacturers encourage this trend. 

Reclining furniture is being replaced far sooner than it used to be, and far more often than stationary sofas.

Reclining furniture has been the fastest growing category over the past 15 years.

The new power mechanisms have great new features that the old manual mechanisms do not. This makes them easy to sell.

Some of the newest models include “triple power.”

These have three different motors that independently control the seat, headrest and footrest.

Sometimes there is also an independently controlled lumbar support.

Attached (non-removable) seat cushions are another factor that encourages rapid recliner obsolescence.

The vast majority of mid-priced reclining sofas currently being made have “tight” non-removable seats.

When the foam wears out (in 3 – 5 years) there is no way to replace it at a reasonable cost.

Replacing removable cushions is simple and relatively inexpensive.

The foam used in most reclining furniture is usually 1.8 density.

This has an average lifespan of 3 – 5 years (or less if the person using the furniture weighs 250 lbs. or more.)

Substituting 2.5 density foam would double the cushions’ lifespan (but also add $100 to the sofa’s price.) That would seem to be a reasonable bargain for many shoppers.

But it is not as attractive to the furniture retailers and manufacturers.

Over the past few years, several reclining brands have introduced new “hybrid” high-leg reclining sofas and chairs.

These have “off the floor” reclining mechanisms and frequently feature removable seat cushions.

Most of the major brands now feature some hybrid models.

The high-leg hybrid recliners cost significantly more and so far have not been great sellers.

If you choose to reupholster your MotionCraft sofa, don’t make the mistake of equating fabric cost with durability.

There are many inexpensive fabrics that are extremely durable.

On the other hand, there are many expensive (and very expensive) fabrics that are delicate and easily stained or worn out.

Over the past 3 years “high performance” fabrics have become extremely popular.

They combine high durability with built-in permanent stain protection. Many of these high performance fabrics are made in the U.S.A.

Some of the higher cost “A” level performance fabrics include Crypton, Sunbrella, Inside Out, and Bella-Dura.

There are lower cost high performance fabrics.

These are also durable and highly stain resistant. Major brands in this category include Revolution and LiveSmart.

Almost every upholstered furniture manufacturer now carries one or more of these high performance brands.

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6 thoughts on “Craftmaster or Motioncraft Reclining Sofa, Which one is Better?”

  1. Hello Jeff,
    I cannot access your article on the best 18 American reclining furniture manufacturers from this link! It tells me it’s due to a lack of URL code!😳
    I also can’t access it in any of my searches! So fristrating!
    Can you tell me how else to access it, please?
    Thanks so much!

    • I just spent 3 days at the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, NC.
      I am making major revisions to that reclining furniture article based on changes I observed at the Market.

      So far it looks as though I will be deleting 4 of the companies previously included when I wrote the article over 2 years ago.
      I will be adding 5 new brands.

      Several of the brands that will continue on the list have changed their specifications since the original article.

      Because there are so many major changes, I took the old article offline.
      I am hoping to have the new article completed by tomorrow night.

    • For stationary (non-reclining) sectionals, almost all brands have removable cushions. For reclining sectionals, the larger mass production manufacturers are almost all non-removable cushions. Removable cushions are the biggest single factor in what separates lower quality reclining furniture (that lasts an average of 5 years) from better quality brands (with an average lifespan of 10+ years.)
      Check out my blog article, Who are the best American reclining furniture manufacturers?
      The article reviews 18 American made reclining furniture brands. The first 9 are better quality and are available with removable seat cushions.


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