The best recliners for back pain in 2024

Don't stay stagnant and in pain. If your back has been aching, these chairs may offer some relief.

Best overall

Svago ZGR Plus SV-395 on a plain white background.

Svago ZGR Plus SV-395

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Best splurge

Artist Hand Heated Massage Chair on a plain white background.

Artist Hand Heated Massage Chair

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Best budget

Smug Chair on a plain white background.

Smug Chair

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Recliner chairs for back pain fall into many different categories based on our own personal preferences and methods for relieving such pain. Everybody (and every body) is different, and while zero-gravity recliners might work for some, a more traditional recliner chair with lumbar support works better for others. The trick is to understand your body and what it needs to find relief and shop accordingly. Not every recliner with heat and massage qualifies as best, nor does every electric recliner. Since best is completely subjective, and you know your body better than us, here are our suggestions for the best recliners for back pain in 2024.

How we chose the best recliners for back pain

As much as we’d love to sit for a spell in every single one of these recliners, or possibly every recliner in existence, it’s just impossible. This is unfortunate, as that would certainly be a premium perk of the job. Instead, we sit in our equally hand-selected office chairs and scour the marketplace for the recliners people are talking about—for neck pain, for seniors, and all the ones below. That means four stars and above, with positive sentiment in the comments. There will always be some detractors, but usually, those comments are about shipping. 

Once a long list is compiled, then it’s a bit arbitrary. At least, it seems that way. But we try to keep the list varied, so every recliner isn’t the same as the last one. Because that’s boring. Variety is the spice of life or something like that, and your back deserves better relief than just the same chair listed five times.

The best recliners for back pain: Reviews & Recommendations

So what we’ve got here after all our research is five modern recliners of differing styles and forms. There are surprisingly a lot of loveseat recliners out there, but this is about you, not who is sitting next to you, so they were excluded. Each of these chairs offers something a little bit different than the next. This helps you discover what you are looking for in a recliner to make the best buying decision possible.  

Best overall: Svago ZGR Plus SV-395 

Svago ZGR Plus SV-395

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Specs

  • Material: Faux leather / Memory Foam
  • Chair type: Zero-gravity massage
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds

Pros

  • Full recline
  • Heat and massage
  • Lumbar and neck support

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Assembly required
  • Can be a bit stiff at first

The Svago ZGR Plus SV-395 has a very technical-sounding name, like it comes with a 200-page instruction manual. But it doesn’t. Instead, this electric recliner comes with a handheld remote that controls your seating position and can save your favorite to memory. The remote also controls heating and vibration; you can even set a wake-up time in case you doze off under the power of its strong massagers.

But that’s not all; once you sink into this faux leather recliner’s memory foam seat, you can recline all the way back to a 180-degree reclining position. This simulates a zero-gravity effect, so your muscles can fully relax and return to their natural positions. There’s an adjustable lumbar pillow, along with a neck support one, just in case you like that kind of thing. While the Svago ZGR Plus SV-395 is a bit pricey, this modern recliner is worth it when it comes to features, comfort, and style.

Best splurge: Artist Hand Heated Massage Chair 

Artist Hand Heated Massage Chair

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Specs

  • Material: Faux leather
  • Chair type: Zero gravity
  • Weight capacity: 330 pounds

Pros

  • Full body massage
  • Built-in USB
  • LCD touchscreen

Cons

  • Massive footprint
  • No proper footrest

The Artist Hand Heated Massage Chair is a beast of a zero-gravity massage chair. But you get a heck of a massage from your fingers to your toes. The LCD control panel operates a litany of massage actions, including knead, squeeze, flap, press, push, hold, swing, and twist. And the massagers can even protrude to attack that deep muscle pain. Airbags placed over your neck and other extremities simulate a shiatsu massage. This reclining massage chair is like having an in-house massage therapist without the small talk. 

And if that isn’t enough, there’s also a heating function in the backrest. So there’s your back pain right there, packing its suitcase and hitting the road. After age 40, everyone needs one of these chairs in their homes, especially aging product writers still occupying gaming chairs. It doesn’t come with a footrest, but who needs it? The Artist Hand Heated Massage Chair is a splurge that pays for itself, especially if you have pesky back pain. 

Best for gaming: Freeport Park Game Chair

Freeport Park Game Chair

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Specs

  • Material: Faux leather
  • Chair type: Gaming
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds

Pros

  • You can still be cool
  • Massage lumbar pillow
  • Retractable footstool

Cons

  • It’s a gaming chair
  • Assembly required

Technically, the Freeport Park Game Chair does recline, as in leans back, so one could call it a recliner. Look, some of us aren’t ready for a big, poofy traditional recliner and spend a lot of time in front of a PC typing about chairs. So we look for things that offer the benefits of recliners, while not totally being recliners. But, because these chairs are made for people who sit a lot, they are very ergonomic. 

Which is good news for your back. This chair has a lumbar support pillow and built-in vibration within the lumbar pillow. The whole thing is fully padded, so you’ll be ergonomically supported during long gaming sessions or work hours. Other than that, the Freeport Park Game Chair serves up all the standard office or gaming chair features, while still feeling like a plush recliner. (And for maximum maneuverability, don’t forget the chair mat!)

Best value: Red Barrel Studio Power Lift Chair

Red Barrel Studio Power Lift Chair

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Specs

  • Material: Microfiber/Microsuede
  • Chair type: Classic recliner
  • Weight capacity: 350 pounds

Pros

  • Stain- and scratch-resistant
  • Lift assist
  • Remote control vibration

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Assembly required
  • Short back

The Red Barrel Studio Power Lift Chair is that big, poofy traditional recliner you think of when you think of chairs for back pain. A power push button remote controls heating and vibration massage. A USB port sits above a side pocket for your TV remotes and crossword puzzle magazines. It’s a wide and sturdy chair with motorized lift support in case your back problems extend to mobility issues.

The downside is the chair doesn’t swivel, but that’s normal for lift chairs. It’s also a bit short in the back but should be fine for average-height humans or large dogs. But the focus on back pain lands this chair on this list. The heated massage in the Red Barrel Studio Power Lift Chair is just what you’d want in a classic recliner.

Best budget: Smug Chair 

Smug Chair 

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Specs

  • Material: Faux leather
  • Chair type: Massage recliner
  • Weight capacity: 275 pounds

Pros

  • Super cheap
  • Power massager
  • Remote control

Cons

  • Super cheap
  • Lower Weight capacity

There are a billion variations of the Smug Chair in the marketplace from nearly infinite manufacturers. Regardless, it’s a recliner with a built-in remote-controlled massager, so it can’t be too bad. It does all the chair things, and for your back, it has two waist-level massage points.

Are there better chairs out there? Sure, but for under $200, you’ll be hard-pressed to pass up this deal and at least give it go. And by under $200, we mean closer to $100. For a massage recliner. For a metal massage recliner with a moderately sturdy metal frame. The only thing more budget than the Smug Chair is a plain wooden stool, and that won’t do your back any favors.

What to consider before buying one of the best recliners for back pain

As with any other type of furniture, you’ll probably want to do a little research. This is something that your body will occupy for long amounts of time, so you’ll want to ensure it’s what you want (and need). When purchasing a recliner, you might focus on its type, feature set, material, and if it meets your personal needs. 

Type of recliner

These days, the definition of a recliner has a bit more variance to it. While classic big recliners are still popular, many other types of chairs have moved into the sit-and-chill and relieve-your-back-pain market. Zero-gravity chairs, gaming chairs, mid-century modern chairs, and lift chairs all have something to offer. When it comes to dealing with certain pains, you’ll want to choose the chair—no matter the type—that fits your body best.

Embedded features

If you’re struggling with back pain, you’ll want to look for features such as heated massage and lumbar support. Other features include zero-gravity recline, automatic lifts, and built-in footrests. Some chairs even have USB ports, while others have massage pads that vibrate your toes. And you’d think features would affect price, but there’s a massage recliner on this list for $116, so not so much.

Materials

These days, not every recliner choice boils down to a hefty leather thing or some kind of cloth composite. With faux leather taking over as the most common material, chairs are easier to clean than ever. But your naked butt might still stick to it. We’re not judging, just be sure whatever material you choose is the one you are comfortable sitting in for long periods of time, clothed or not.

Personal preferences

In the end, it really comes down to your personal style and comfort. What type of chair will both fit perfectly in your living room and give you the highest level of comfort possible? Is it a classic recliner? A gaming chair? A zero-gravity chair? You know what kind of chair you are looking for, and what fits your personality best.

FAQs

Q: Are recliners good for back pain?

Absolutely. Recliners allow your muscles to relax as your body falls into a natural sitting position, supporting your head, neck, and lumbar support while elevating the feet above the heart to release muscle tension and improve circulation. And this is especially true with zero-gravity recliners, as they allow your body to not even rely on your back muscles for sitting. While they aren’t a total solution for back pain, recliners sure do help.

Q: Do doctors recommend recliners?

Both doctors and chiropractors recommend recliners for back pain. This is due to the assistance recliners provide in maintaining posture. Recliners that move with your body and are fully adjustable are certainly some of the best options available for major back pain.

Q: Which recliner is best: manual or automatic?

Best is subjective, but this much is known. Both use a mechanism to either recline or kick out a footrest. But automatic recliners have a motor (or two, depending on whether there is a lift and if it runs off the same motor), which means it requires power and, eventually, maintenance. Without a warranty, this can be costly. So, manual is the way to go if the only maintenance you want is tightening up the random bolt. 

Final thoughts on the best recliners for back pain

If you live your life literally according to the song “The Rooster” by Outkast, you might often throw your neck out, throw your back out, throw your neck out, and finally, throw your back out. If you don’t get that reference, then you may already be suffering from back pain as a result of normal aging. It’s a good thing we suggested all these recliners. 

You can’t do better than a nice, comfortable recliner when it comes to mitigating back pain while sitting. Tack on some massage features, perhaps some heat, and your back will be thanking you. Whatever recliner you choose, whether from this list or one from the local thrift market, just remember that it’s ultimately your body seeking comfort. If that means paying less mind to style and more to functionality, then so be it. The best recliners for back pain in 2024 are whichever recliners relieve your aches and pains.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.