England Furniture or Craftmaster? – Which is Better Quality?

by | Aug 1, 2022 | Ask the Expert, Brand comparisons, Couches, Furniture Upholstery, Sofas & Couches, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Question:

Which brand of furniture is better quality? England Furniture or Craftmaster?

Answer:

In my opinion, Craftmaster is slightly better than England in quality.

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 construction is at the lower end of standard mid-range mass produced furniture construction.

3/4″ plywood is thinner than the 7/8″ thickness used by some of their competitors.

Only low end companies use particle board for frame construction rather 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 the two different types of springs and there is 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 you will find on better quality sofas.

LaZBoy also uses cardboard.

Using foam over fiber to pad the arms is standard.

Arm padding made with fiber only is found only in the very cheapest sofas.

The padding England uses for other frame parts such as the front rails and the back is only fiber with no foam.

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 that is from England’s description.

Lower cost sofas may have cheap fiber blown directly into the fabric cover, but nobody at England’s price level should do it that way.

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.

Despite England’s very detailed description of its construction, it leaves out one of the most critical details needed to determine quality – the density of the foam used for their standard cushions.

Leaving out the foam density specification is a strong indication that England is using industry standard 1.8 density foam.

This type of cushion will begin to wear out (get noticeably softer) within one year for most people and need replacement within 5 years.

Worn out seat cushions that have flattened or lost their resilience are considered “normal wear.”

They will not be covered under any warranties, including “extended” warranties.

England does offer an optional coil-enhanced foam cushion upgrade.

Pay the extra money for these coil spring cushions (if available.)

They should substantially increase thesofa lifespan compared to the standard cushions.

Craftmaster is slightly above average in quality for U.S. made mid-priced sofas.

The diagram below is from the Craftmaster website. My observations are in RED.

Upholstery 

  1. – Hardwood Frame Consisting Of Hardwood Rails And Hardwood Laminates. This is standard for mid-priced furniture and should last 10 – 20 years.
  2. – Heavily Padded Arms. Standard
  3. – Tie Wires On Back & Seat Springs For Additional Support. Standard, but not all mid-range manufacturers take the time to do this. 
  4. – 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.  
  5. – Heavily Padded In-Back. Standard
  6. – 100% Dacron Polyester Fiber Back Cushion Encased In A Sewn Ticking With Separate Compartments To Prevent Fiber Fall Down. Above average
  7. – 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. 
  8. – Fully Lined Tailored Skirts. This is the correct way to make a skirt. Not everybody does.
  9. – Padded Edge Roll. Above average.
  10. – Insulated Seat Pad For Added Comfort. Standard
  11. – Joints Are Mortise And Tenon Or Double Dowelled, Glued, & Corner Blocked For Durability. Good (but not great) joint construction techniques.
  12. – 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 another brand owned by Craftmaster.

It is supposed to be a step-up in quality.

Here is a Youtube video showing HickoryCraft’s construction.In general, it shows that HickoryCraft’s construction is similar to the Craftmaster outlined above.

Some additional observations from the video:

The frames are primarily hardwood, but appear to also have significant amounts of plywood and softwood.

Don’t expect perfect tailoring.

The video includes some furniture photographed in professional studios.

Those pieces look great. The other finished pieces show:

Wrinkled cushions

Crooked welting

Minimal matching of striped and patterned fabrics. (Cushion stripes and patterns line up, but these are not usually 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

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Jeff Frank

Jeff Frank

Furniture Consultant

Jeff Frank is a 45 year  furniture industry veteran. He created this blog to provide detailed facts, inside information & advice for furniture shoppers. 

 

 

 

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