Recliner Handles – Repair and Replacement

by | Feb 25, 2019 | Blog

What is a recliner that cannot recline? In a word – worthless. It’s just an armchair with extra weight. Reclining is its very purpose of being. After all, you didn’t buy it just to sit in it, you have chairs for that. Now, all recliners have handles that a person uses to…well, recline. When these break down, you ought to have them repaired. Or, if push comes to shove, buy a new chair. But why have a company repair your recliner handles when you can do that yourself?

You might be thinking “well, okay, I can still use it as a simple chair.” But there’s more to a broken handle than just the lack of reclining. Your footrest might end up stuck in either the upright or the closed position. Your chair’s backside can lean to a degree where it hurts your back. So replacing the handles is the best and safest bet.

Different Types of Recliner Handles

Before you get your toolbox, you need to get acquainted with your recliner. The clue is in the name – there’s an entire section on recliner handles alone. Based on this, we can discern three handle types.

Flapper Style Recliner Handles

These handles have a distinctive look, as if they “flap”. You recline by moving the flap outward with your fingers. Some automobiles have similar handles to this one, as do some office chairs.

D-Pull/D-Ring Style Recliner Handles

Once more, the clue is in the name. These are the handles you pull on, similar to a lawnmower or a chainsaw you need to start up. For reclining, simply tug at it.

Lever Style Recliner Handles

This particular style is the oldest and most prominent in recliners. It’s essentially a large lever that you pull on whenever you want to recline or get the chair back into its original position. Most of them are wooden, though plastic and even metal ones exist.

Required Tools

In order to disassemble and reassemble your recliner and repair the handles, you need the proper tools. The process is so easy that even the number of tools required is small. One Phillips screwdriver, a single Torx bit, or an ordinary hex key – that’s all.

The Repair Process

Now that you’ve got your tools and got to know what handles your recliner uses, you can begin. Here is the six-step method of recliner handles repair.

1. Check if your recliner footrest is in an open position. If it is, push it back until it’s in its closed state. Now you must flip the chair upside-down. Its armrest and headrest ought to be on the ground. You might need someone to help you if your particular recliner is hefty in size.

2. Find whatever screw or mechanism is keeping the recliner handle in place. Despite what the handle model might be, it should be located at the base end of it. Alternatively, it could be on the inside of your recliner, at the level of the handle.

3. Using one of the three tools we listed, remove the screw or the bolt in question. Whether you’re using the screwdriver, the Torx, or the hex key, you should have no problem removing it.

4. Place the broken recliner handle a bit further from the recliner itself. Next, you must remove the escutcheon. In case you’re wondering, an escutcheon is the little decorative plate that tends to be under a handle. Regular doors have these as well, as part of their lockset.

5. Place the new escutcheon where the old one used to be. After you’re done, place the brand new recliner handle over it.

6. If you’ve remembered where your retaining screw was, screw it back at the same spot. Make sure it’s nice and tightened so the handle doesn’t budge. Flip the recliner back up and you’re done.

Quick Tips

Oftentimes it’s not enough that you know what type of recliner handle your chair uses. You should, therefore, take a look under the recliner and note down the manufacturer’s name, tag, and model number. Contact the manufacturer and see if they sell spare parts, if not you can most likely find a handle online.

This final tip is best to consider BEFORE you start repairing your chair. If your recliner happens to still be under warranty, contact the manufacturer. Some manufacturers replace them for free. Of course, you’ll need your warranty and receipts with you in order to do so.

Repairing recliner handles is simple and easy to learn. It will save you a lot of money, and provide you with an additional skill in case you have recliner problems in the future.


Barry White

Chief Editor and Furniture Expert for


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