They can cost as little as $250, but, on the downside, tend not to last as long as those with levers, since the mechanism gets more of a workout.

Regardless of what type you pick, check that there’s no more than a five-inch gap between the seat and the open leg rest; otherwise, children or pets can get caught and injured. Same goes for the lever — make sure tiny hands (or your own fingers) can’t get stuck inside or pinched.

When you’re out there shopping, have family members who’ll spend the most time in the chair sit in it for five minutes or more. Ask yourself: Do my feet touch the floor when the back is upright? Does the headrest support my head and neck? How’s the cushioning? Inspect the seat and back for bumpy parts. And look for foam which has a density rate of 1.9 or higher (most furniture cushions range from 0.9 to 2.5), which will ensure that it keeps its shape longer. Test the chair’s footrest several times to make sure it’s easy to maneuver. Listen for squeaks, which may be telling signs for loose parts or improper alignment.

 

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