How To Adjust Recliner Chair? (3 Time-Tested Ways)

Your recliner is your ultimate lounging spot. You come home after a long day at work, kick up your feet, and relax in comfort.  But if your recliner isn’t quite as comfortable as you’d like it to be, don’t worry.  Adjusting your recliner is easier than you think.  Read on to learn how to adjust the recliner chair to the perfect comfort.

A manual recliner and an electronic recliner each require different methods of adjustment. You would need to call an expert to overhaul an electronic recliner, and if it is a manual recliner, then I will discuss how to adjust it.

Three of the primary issues with a manual recliner you can deal with at home are:.

  •  Adjusting the tension of a recliner
  •  Replacement of the springs of the recliner
  •  Customizing the pitch of the recliner

Adjusting The Tension Of The Recliner

It’s necessary to test the tension of the recliner before checking for mechanical issues inside the recliner. A lever or a button typically operates the reclining backrest on the right side of the recliner.

Sometimes, it takes too much effort to recline back while adjusting the backrest position, or it may lean back freely with no resistance.

Pull the lever up or push the button to recline back and put pressure on the backrest. If the recliner leans back comfortably, stop the lever or press the button. If you still need to increase or decrease the recliner’s tension, then read further.

What is the tension in a recliner?

It is significant to know the crux of the matter. What does the tension of a recliner mean?

The tension of a recliner means how much force you need to apply to lean back the recliner’s backrest.

There are two possibilities.

The first investigation is that you sit in the recliner and push back the seat, which is useless. You need to put more pressure on the backrest. In this incident, you need to decrease the tension.

On the other hand, you sit in the recliner, and it’s effortless to lean back; here, the tension is pretty gentle, and you need to screw it tight.

How do you put the tension in working order?

“Adjusting the wing nuts will adjust the tension of the recliner.”

There are several models of recliners. Most come with wing nuts or thumb screws that are as easy to fix as an apple pie. In contrast, some models require some tools for their adjustment.

Follow these easy steps to adjust the recliner’s tension on your own.

  • To address the tension in a recliner, you need to reach the adjustment mechanism. In a manual recliner, you can find it beneath the chair.
  • Now shut off the footrest and recline the backrest in a vertical position. It’s time to tilt the chair at an angle with its bottom in an upright position and the armrest facing the floor so that you can approach the inner side of the chair.
  • In this position, you can easily find out the adjustment mechanism typically controlled by a pair of wing nuts or thumb screws planted on the back or bottom of the chair. These wing nuts are designed to be adjusted without any wrench, but you might need a wing nut spanner to deal with some stubborn wing nuts.
  • Rotate the wing nut clockwise to increase the tension and counterclockwise to decrease the tension. You can remember it as the right to tight and the left to lose. To ensure the perfect chair balance, attune both wing nuts with the same intensity.
  • Ensure not to tighten the wing nut with hard muscle or lose more than the bolt’s tip as it may cause to break the spring.
  • Once you have done adjusting the wing nuts, test the customization you have made. Turn the chair back to its sitting posture, sit in it, push the backrest, and extend the footrest. If you find the backrest and footrest comfortable enough to satisfy you, recline back and relax. If it is not, then you may need to make some more modifications. 

Pro Tips: 

  • You may fix the adjustments barehanded, but It’s better to grab a pair of gloves, pliers, and a wrench. 
  •  If the recliner is heavy, then find someone to assist you. It’s not recommended to bend the chair on your own, as repeatedly turning the chair alone may leave you exasperated.  

Replacement of The Springs of the Recliner

Most of the recliners come with a zigzag or coiled springs fixed beneath the padded seat of the recliner. If your recliner makes any annoying noise, these are the springs causing the noise. 

If the recliner’s backrest or the footrest is free to move with no resistance, the springs are broken and must be replaced. 

Frequent pressure on the springs can cause the springs to get lost their flexibility and make them rigid. You can easily replace the misplaced or broken springs, saving you money and time. 

Step 1: Check the spring

You need to repeat the same procedure as discussed earlier to reach the wingnuts and expose the inside frame of the chair. Bend the whole recliner forward with the backrest upright, the armrest facing the floor, and the footrest closed. 

If your recliner is padded or laminated with fabric, then clear it away with the help of scissors or a screwdriver, and remember to unstitch the material in a manner to reattach it again after repairing.    

You need to differentiate the type of springs as the procedure varies accordingly.

Coiled Spring

If it is a coiled spring and is detached from the hook and looks pleasing to work with the tension, then grabs it firmly with the help of a plier to extend it and then hook it back where it was positioned previously. 

In case of a damaged spring, purchase a new compatible spring that can be fixed in the same position. Now you need two of the pliers to fix the spring back. Attach one end of the spring to the hook, then grab the other end with the help of a plier and extend it to fix it to the other hook. Check the recliner tension, if it works correctly or not before moving to the next step. 

Zigzag Spring

Zigzag springs are usually lying flat beneath the recliner. If one of the zigzag springs beneath your recliner is broken, it causes you to sink into the recliner. If you find that, then replace the spring. 

Step 2: Replace the spring

These tension springs are firmly held with the help of a frame, and the frame is fixed with bolts. Use a flashlight to locate the bolts holding the frame and unbolt them with the help of an adjustable wrench or a screwdriver.

Lose all the bolts one by one with the same intensity until all the bolts come out, and you can detach the frame from the mechanism. Unclasp the damaged spring from its hook and replace it with a fresh spring with the help of a plier. 

The spring must be held and extended firmly with the help of a plier or some other suitable tool while clamping back to the hook. 

Now place the frame back, adjust it in the recliner, and bolt it with all the bolts required to assemble it. Set the recliner back in the sitting position, sit in it, and check if it works as expected. Now, if the recliner is comfy enough to make you happy, then stitch the seat again and enjoy the gain of your efforts.

Pro Tips

We highly recommend wearing goggles before dealing with the springs, as they may bounce back and hit your eyes. 

While choosing the new spring, contact the manufacturer or find some local dealers who can provide you with the spring that matches close enough to the original spring.  

Readjustment of Pitch of the Recliner

The pitch of the recliner is the height when the recliner is closed and placed in an upward position. While sitting in a recliner at an upright position, if your feet cannot touch the floor, the pitch of the chair needs to be reduced.

If your knees are folded and your legs are not angled comfortably in a sitting position, the pitch of the chair is low and needs to be raised. Luckily you can adjust the pitch of the chair on your own with the help of an adjustable wrench and a screwdriver. 

How to modulate the pitch of the recliner?

“Adjusting the base setting will adjust the pitch of the recliner. “

Now, if you intend to customize the pitch of your recliner, keep reading this.

Step 1:

Repeat the same procedure to reach the mechanism of the chair base as we did earlier. Flip over your recliner with the backrest vertically, and the footrest closed. Here you can see the bolts in the base’s backside or cam. Remember, these bolts are distinguished from those used to adjust the tension. 

Carefully close the bolt, but don’t take it out completely.

Step 2:

Now you must locate the front bolts on each side of the mechanism. Pick up an adjustable wrench or a power ratchet and loose front bolts to take them out of the frame.

It’s time when you can move the frame quickly. If you need to gain more front pitch, slide the frame back. If you need to raise the rear pitch, slide the frame forward to get the result.

Step 3:

After setting the cam, fix the bolts to the holes with the help of tools. Hurray! You have customized your recliner’s pitch successfully. 

To double-check, tilt the recliner back to a sitting position and sit in it with the backrest upright. If your heels are flat on the floor and your knees are at an angle of 90 degrees, your recliner’s pitch is excellent for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my recliner hard to recline?

If your recliner feels stiff and hard to recline, it’s likely due to the tension of the spring. To adjust the tension, you’ll need to locate the adjustment and turn it either clockwise to increase the tension or counterclockwise to reduce it. You may have to try a few adjustments before you find the perfect spot for your chair.

What is the proper recliner position?

The best position for a recliner is one that allows your feet to be flat on the floor, supporting your entire body. This will help you to maintain good posture and put less strain on your back and neck muscles. Also, ensure the armrests are comfortable so they don’t restrict your movement when you get in and out of the chair.

Can you adjust a manual recliner?

Yes, manual recliners can be adjusted to your preferred position relatively easily. Simply move the backrest and footrest until they are in the desired location. Ensure you don’t put too much strain on the mechanism by pushing or jerking it into place – this could lead to damage over time.

Should your feet touch the floor in a recliner?

Yes, ideally, your feet should be flat on the floor when you’re in a recliner. This will provide support for your entire body and help to reduce any strain on your neck and back muscles. If the position of your chair is too low for your feet to reach the ground, try using a footrest or ottoman to raise the position.


Now you know how to adjust your recliner chair.  With a few simple steps, you can make sure your recliner chair is as comfortable and supportive as possible.

Whether you’re looking for a more comfortable seating experience or want to give your room a new look, adjusting your recliner is the way to go. With this guide, you’ll have the perfect seat in no time. So relax, sit back, and enjoy the comfort of your recliner chair. Happy lounging

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