Which brand of furniture is better quality? England Furniture, Craftmaster, or HickoryCraft?
In my opinion, Craftmaster is slightly better than England in quality.
HickoryCraft is owned by Craftmaster.
HickoryCraft quality is a slight step up.
The biggest difference between the two is that HickoryCraft is set up for Special Orders where Craftmaster is more of a high production brand, although they also do custom.
England Furniture is owned by LaZBoy.
It is generally considered to be their “custom” furniture manufacturer, although LaZBoy also does some custom work on their own.
Overall, England is comparable in quality to LaZBoy.
But where LaZBoy makes and sells far more reclining furniture than stationary, England sells more stationary than reclining.
Despite England’s emphasis on stationary seating, most customer complaints seem to address issues with their reclining furniture.
There to be fewer complaints about their stationary (non-reclining) pieces.
Check out independent review site ConsumerAffairs.com to check out recent customer reviews.
England’s website has far more information regarding how it is made than most furniture companies.
The link to the England Furniture specifications can be found at England Furniture – What’s Inside?
This link provides an item by item listing of various components comparing their quality with “other” furniture companies.
The “other” construction highlighted is basically what would be found in a sofa selling for $599.
Many of these comparison constructions would not be found in any furniture selling at England’s prices.
England’s quality is at the mid-point of standard mid-range mass produced furniture construction.
The quality goes to “above average” if you choose England’s optional upgrades such as coil spring cushions
There is also a frame upgrade that combines sinuous wire with coil springs.
England’s comparisons with “other” brands is a bit misleading.
Most of England’s direct competitors use 7/8″ thick hardwood plywood.
Usually 3/4″ plywood is found on lower priced brands.
Particle board frame construction is cheaper (and weaker) than plywood.
Over the past two years, there has been a severe shortage of plywood for the furniture industry and building trades.
At one point, existing plywood prices were 3x higher than prior to 2020, when it was available at all.
As a result, some manufacturers whose published specifications state their frames are plywood, temporarily switched to weaker (and cheaper) particleboard and chipcore
Sinuous wire springs are one of the least expensive types of foundation that can be used.
England goes into great detail about their use of “wide loop” springs, implying that they are better than the “narrow loop” springs used by “other” companies.
Wide loop springs are used more for their cost savings than for their superior quality.
Since fewer springs are needed, it requires a couple of minutes less labor to install.
I doubt anyone can feel a difference in seating comfort between “wide loop” & “narrow loop” springs
There is little or no difference in durability.
England uses cardboard to support the foam padding on the arms.
Although they boast that their cardboard is thicker than cardboards used by “other” companies, it is not a material used on better quality sofas to pad arms.
Bettter quality sofas use foam to pad arms. Cardboard allows a manufacturer to save money by using less foam needed.
LaZBoy also uses cardboard.
England uses fiber to pad front rails and back rails.
Better quality sofas (and those made by many similarly priced manufacturers) use foam to pad out frame parts.
Having fabric separated from a sharp wood edge only by fiber is a serious source of potential problems in the future, especially on reclining furniture.
Not using foam padding on these frame parts probably saves about $20 in manufacturing costs, which translates to $50 at the retail level.
The back support is standard in this price range.
Only very cheap sofas are found without some type of springs or webbing on the backs.
Back cushion quality depends on the grade of the fiber fill being used.
There is no way to tell what type of fiber is being used from England’s description.
Removable, reversible cushions are better than non-removable cushions.
Most mid-priced reclining furniture made today has non-removable seats.
Most mid-priced non-reclining sofas have reversible, removable seats.
On reclining furniture with non-removable seats, when the seat padding begins to compress and lose comfort (after one year or less) there will be no inexpensive way to replace the padding.
Compressed, uncomfortable seats are considered “normal wear” and will not be covered by your warranty.
England’s uses 1.8 density foam for their standard cushions.
1.8 density foam cushions usually need replacement within 5 years.
England’s Coil cushion core option should last twice as long.
Pay the extra money for these coil spring cushions.
Craftmaster is slightly above average in quality for U.S. made mid-priced sofas.
- – Hardwood Frame Consisting Of Hardwood Rails And Hardwood Laminates. This is standard for mid-priced furniture and should last 10 – 20 years.
- – Heavily Padded Arms. Standard
- – Tie Wires On Back & Seat Springs For Additional Support. Standard, but not all mid-range manufacturers take the time to do this.
- – Heavy Gauge Sinuous Wire Springs For Durability And Comfort. Cheapest type of foundation support. Not as comfortable as coil springs, but should last 20 years or more.
- – Heavily Padded In-Back. Standard
- – 100% Dacron Polyester Fiber Back Cushion Encased In A Sewn Ticking With Separate Compartments To Prevent Fiber Fall Down. Above average
- – 2.0 Density High Resiliency Foam Core With Dacron Fiber Wrapping. Above average. 2.0 density cushions should last about 1 year longer than standard 1.8 density foam cushions. An average lifespan for these cushions is 5 – 7 years before the cores will need replacement.
- – Fully Lined Tailored Skirts. This is the correct way to make a skirt. Not everybody does.
- – Padded Edge Roll. Above average.
- – Insulated Seat Pad For Added Comfort. Standard
- – Joints Are Mortise And Tenon Or Double Dowelled, Glued, & Corner Blocked For Durability. Good (but not great) joint construction techniques.
- – Wood Legs On Skirted Frames Are Built Into The Frame For Strength & Durability. Exposed Wood, Decorative Legs Are Securely Mounted To The Base Of The Frame. Built-in legs are stronger than screw in legs, but make it harder to fit a sofa through a doorway. If your Craftmaster sofa does not have a skirt, you probably will have screw-in legs. Heavier pieces, such as sleepers and recliners usually have built-in legs.
HickoryCraft is owned by Craftmaster.
This 40 year old company is a slight step-up in quality.
HickoryCraft’s construction is similar to the Craftmaster outlined above.
The frames are primarily solid hardwood with less plywood.
HickoryCraft’s tailoring, is very good for mid-range priced upholstery.
But don’t be mislead by the professional photography.
The pieces shown in those photos appear to feature high end quality tailoring.
In my experience, designers can sometimes take up to 30 minutes to prepare a single piece for room-setting photography.
The fabric may be pinned or steamed remove wrinkles or crooked weltings.
Photoshop is used extensively to remove or adjust anything that does not look perfect.
Matched Fabrics: There is minimal matching of striped and patterned fabrics.
Cushion stripes and patterns line up, but these may not be lined up with the stripes or patterns on other parts of the furniture.)
All of the tailoring imperfections listed above are common in mid-range furniture.
They usually would not be found on high end seating.
If you like my Insider’s Guide To Furniture please encourage your friends and family to check it out.
My 45 years in the furniture industry have provided me with a detailed knowledge of furniture brands, construction, quality & value.
Over the past decade, I have written over 2,000 articles, reviews, and answers, seen by over 2 million viewers.
If any company or individual feels that the information on this website is out-of-date or inaccurate, please let me know and it will be promptly corrected.
Important Note about advertising on this website:
I do not solicit or accept payment from any of the brands reviewed or mentioned on InsidersGuideToFurniture.com.
Despite this, you may see ads on the website. These ads are generated by Ezoic.
Ezoic is a Google platform for website publishers. It is completely automated!
I do not have contact with any of the companies or agencies that choose to advertise on this website through Ezoic.