If you’ve ever wondered about the distinctions between medical lift chairs and recliners from furniture stores, you’ve come to the right place. Many people reach a stage in life where getting in and out of their lounging chairs or sofas becomes increasingly challenging. This leads to the question of whether they should consider a device to assist them in this process.
As our population continues to age, the demand for loungers and recliners has been on the rise. Consequently, both medically-focused and non-medical companies have entered the industry. The dilemma arises: should you opt for a lift chair from a home health care products company, or is a recliner from a furniture store the better choice? To help you make an informed decision, let’s explore the key differences between the two and which might be right for you.
How Do Medical Lift Chairs and Recliners Differ in Function?
While the terms “lift chairs” and “recliners” are sometimes used interchangeably, these two devices are not identical. Traditional recliners from furniture stores are primarily designed for comfortable lounging. They typically feature a manually operated lever that transitions the chair from an upright seating position to a reclined one, elevating the leg-rest for added comfort. More recent models offer electronic controls for these features, and some recliners even come equipped with massage functions.
In contrast, medical lift chairs are operated using a hand pendant and serve a more specialized purpose. Like recliners, they can also adjust the backrest and leg-rest, but their primary function is to assist individuals in standing up and sitting down. With the press of a button, a lift chair gradually raises and tilts forward to aid the user in getting out of the chair. This unique feature is what distinguishes the “lift” in a “lift chair.”
Are Lift Chairs and Recliners Considered Medical Devices?
Medical lift chairs manufactured by healthcare companies are classified as medical devices, whereas furniture recliners are not. This classification has implications for consumers.
Purchasing a medical lift chair from companies like Pride Mobility or Golden Technologies, for example, qualifies for a tax exemption. This means that, with a note from a doctor, occupational therapist, or physiotherapist, you can avoid paying taxes when purchasing this device. Considering that a high-quality medical lift chair in Canada typically costs around $2000, this tax exemption can result in significant savings for the patient.
On the other hand, furniture recliners do not serve a medical purpose and are taxed similarly to other furniture items, such as sofas, tables, or beds.
Upholstery: Another Key Distinction
Another critical difference between medical lift chairs and standard recliners lies in their upholstery. Medical lift chairs are designed to withstand heavy use, as individuals who require such devices often spend extended periods lounging in them. Whether it’s for reading, watching TV, or sleeping during the day or night, lift chairs are subject to rigorous use.
To ensure durability, lift chairs are upholstered with heavy-duty materials. These materials range from cozy and easy-to-clean chenille fabrics to beautiful faux leather, all of which guarantee years of use.
In contrast, recliners often feature real leather upholstery. While this material is luxurious, it may not be ideal for lift chairs as it can be slippery and prone to cracking under heavy usage.
Choosing Between a Recliner and a Lift Chair
To make the right choice, it’s essential to consider your future mobility needs. If you’re already experiencing difficulty getting in and out of your couch, a lift chair can be a life-changing solution. Even if you’re currently managing to sit and stand independently, a lift chair may be a wise investment for the future, given its excellent comfort positions and additional features like headrest and lumbar control, not to mention their 7-year warranties. Conversely, if you anticipate that your mobility will continue to support unassisted standing and sitting, a furniture recliner may suffice for your needs.
If you’re looking for the best in lift chairs, come visit our showroom at Leading Edge Mobility or contact us today for more info!