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What is the Difference Between a Rocker Recliner & a Wall Recliner?

October 1, 2021

Rocker vs. Wall Recliner Featured Image

So it’s been settled, you have decided to buy a recliner chair! You are ready to kick back and relax as you enjoy the luxuries of reclining comfort. 

But as you do your research and begin shopping around, you realize that buying a recliner chair isn’t so simple. Recliner chairs come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and styles all offering an array of functionalities. In turn, choosing a recliner that suits your specific needs and preferences is more complex than you anticipated. 

More specifically, you may find yourself deciding between rocker recliners or wall recliners.

We are familiar with this dilemma at La-Z-Boy. As the inventor of the original recliner chair, we stay true to that reputation by offering a wide selection of recliners. Many of our clients ask us about the difference between a rocker recliner and a wall recliner. Once they understand the key differences, clients also ask advice about which model would be best for them. 

This article will answer all of your questions about the differences, and similarities, between a rocker recliner and a wall recliner. Further, this article will guide you in choosing which option best suits your needs and preferences in a recliner chair.

Table of Contents ...

  1. What is a Rocker Recliner?

2. What is a Wall Recliner

3. Key Differences Between a Rocker Recliner & Wall Recliner

4. Which Recliner is Right for You?

5. Rocker Recliners & Wall Recliners at La-Z-Boy



What is a Rocker Recliner?

A rocker recliner chair performs the two main functions that its name suggests, it rocks and reclines. When the chair is not in a reclining position, it operates as a relaxing rocker with a smooth, and graceful motion. The chair provides total body and lumbar support at all times. 

It is important to emphasize that the rocker recliner can not rock while it is in a reclining position. The rocking and reclining motion operate independently.

Mateo Recliner

What is a Wall Recliner?

A wall recliner, also known as a wall-hugger or wall-away recliner, is a recliner chair that can recline with significantly less clearance from the wall. More specifically, wall recliners can recline to a zero-gravity position while only needing 4 to 5 inches of space from the wall.

The mechanism of the wall recliner simply allows the chair to move forward on its track mechanism, allowing clearance to recline without hitting the wall behind it.

Redwood Recliner

What is the Difference Between a Rocker Recliner & a Wall Recliner

While each type of chair shares an obvious similarity, that being the ability to recline, there are a few key differences that set a rocker recliner and wall recliner apart. 

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First and foremost, a rocker recliner and a wall recliner have different functionalities. 

Besides their shared ability to recline, rocker recliners have a dual rocking functionality while a wall recliner can recline mere inches from the wall. In the upright position, wall recliners have no motion and do not rock.

In turn, each recliner serves a different purpose and may appeal to a different type of client.

Amount of Space Required

Another important difference between a rocker recliner chair and a wall-away recliner is the amount of space they require in your home. 

Although every recliner model differs in size, rocking recliners generally require more space than wall recliners.

More specifically, rocker recliners require about 8 inches of space to reach a fully reclined position, while wall recliners only need 4 to 5 inches of space.

The Base of the Chairs

Moreover, the base of the recliner chairs differs in how they function, and in turn, how they look. 

In most rocking recliner models, you will see two wooden legs coming out from under the chair.  

In contrast, a wall-away recliner appears to have no legs. With this being said, when the recliner slides to the front of the frame to achieve a reclining position, you can see the metal frame pop out from the back of the chair. 

A similarity that each chair shares is that the height of the base appears the same for both a rocker recliner and a wall recliner.

Types of Frames Available: Chair, Loveseat, Sofa

Rocker recliners and wall recliners may also differ depending on the types of frames available. 

While rocking and wall reclining functionality is most popular in a chair frame, each functionality can also be offered in a loveseat or sofa. 

This is ultimately dependent on the retailer or manufacturer. 

At La-Z-Boy, the rocking functionality is primarily offered in recliner chairs. The only exception to this is the Rowan and Finley loveseat, in which two rocker recliners are attached by a middle console creating a loveseat with two independently rocking seats. 

In contrast, wall reclining functionality at La-Z-Boy is also offered in several loveseats and sofa frames.


Which Recliner is Right for You?

Ultimately, the choice between a rocking recliner and a wall recliner comes down to personal preference.

As you decide between each type of recliner and their differing functionalities, consider the following:

  • What is your purpose for the recliner?
  • How do you intend to use the chair?
  • Who is using the chair? 
  • Where will the chair be placed?
  • How much space do you have?

With these considerations in mind, Racha, a consultant at La-Z-Boy Hunt Club, has suggestions about the type of client that each chair would be best for. 

According to Racha, a rocker recliner chair is a great option for nursing mothers, mothers with small children, and insomniacs. The soothing rocking motion can be helpful for insomniacs as they rock themselves to sleep. Similarly, mothers can relax and enjoy the comfort of a recliner chair as they nurse their newborn or snuggle their young child. 

With this, a rocker recliner can be ideally placed in a quiet den, bedroom, nursery, or children’s room. In addition, there must be ample space, at least 8 inches, allowing the rocker chair to comfortably recline.

Racha says that rocker recliners are not a good choice for elderly clients. The rocking motion of the chair can prove to be unstable as elderly people attempt to get in and out of the chair safely. 

Moreover, those who tend to experience severe motion sickness may feel dizzy after using a rocker chair, says Racha. 

In contrast, Racha says a wall recliner is best for a client with smaller spaces. A wall recliner only needs 4 to 5 inches of space making it perfect for small bedrooms, small living rooms, or a den. Similarly, wall recliners are ideal for those living in and designing cramped apartments or condos

Racha adds that wall recliners are a better option for elderly clients compared to rocker recliners. The wall recliner provides the necessary stability for getting in and out of the chair as it does not move in the upright position

An elderly person with significant mobility issues may opt out of a rocker recliner and wall recliner altogether. Instead, they may benefit from a power lift recliner. Lift recliners transport you from a standing position to a reclining position safely with just the touch of a button. 

For more helpful tips for safely staying in your home long-term, take a look at the article Aging in Place.

Pros and Cons Breakdown Summary

To summarize the last section, here is a quick pros and cons breakdown to better assistassists you in making your decision…

Rocking Recliner

Wall Recliner


  • Moves When Not Reclined

  • Good for Nursing Mothers


  • May Not be Great for Small Spaces

  • Not Great for Elderly Users


  • Good for Small Spaces

  • Better for Elderly Users


  • Might See Metal Interior When Reclining

  • Does Not Move Unless Reclined


Rocker Recliners vs. Wall Recliners at La-Z-Boy

As previously mentioned, our furniture stores in Ottawa and Kingston have a large selection of comfortable La-Z-Boy recliners, including a variety of rocker recliners and wall recliners.

La-Z-Boy recliners are manufactured with quality methods of construction. In fact, La-Z-Boy recliners are made with seven exclusive features

  1. Independent Reclining Back
  2. Locking Three-Position Footrest
  3. Double-Locking Footrest
  4. Adjustable Height Leg Rest
  5. Hinged Seat & Back
  6. Four-Sided Unibody Frame
  7. Adjstable Reclining Tension

When fully reclined, the rocker recliner and wall recliner both reach a zero gravity position. This position is close to a maximum sleeping position offering complete muscle relaxation along with numerous other health benefits

All rocker recliners and wall recliners are customizable in fabric and leather with a selection of options and upgrades. 

More specifically, both types of recliners are offered in both manual or power. Select models offer additional upgrades like adjustable headrest & lumbar support.

The overall cost of either a rocker recliner or a wall recliner is ultimately dependent on the frame you choose and any additional customizations or upgrades. 

With that being said, it is important to mention that wall-away recliners are always $70 more expensive than rocking recliners in the same style. This additional cost is due to the extra metal used to construct the base of a wall recliner.

Given that La-Z-Boy recliners can be a significant investment, they are sold with a manufacturer’s warranty to protect the value of your purchase.

Rocker Chairs that Recline at La-Z-Boy

A rocking recliner chair at La-Z-Boy offers 16 reclining positions to reach the final zero gravity position. You can hear the chair move through positions making it somewhat of a noisy chair compared to the wall recliner.

In addition, select Rocker recliners at La-Z-Boy have an optional tall base option and swivel base upgrade. With the added swivel functionality, the rocker recliner can swivel from side to side when in an upright and reclined position. In comparison, the wall recliners at La-Z-Boy are not offered with a swivel base upgrade.

Best Selling Rocker Recliners at La-Z-Boy

To accommodate different tastes and preferences, La-Z-Boy has a wide range of rocker recliners to choose from. 

Below are the top 3 best-selling rocker recliners at La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston …

1. The Pinnacle Rocking Recliner

The Pinnacle Rocking Recliner has an easygoing style that’s just right for resting and relaxing. Sink in and enjoy its plush pillowed tall back and padded rolled arms. The chaise seat and leg rest cradle your body in a continuous zone of comfort. 

For more information, take a look at an In-Depth Review of the Pinnacle Recliner. 

Pinnacle Recliner

2. The Morrison Rocking Recliner

The Morrison Rocking Recliner is a family favourite style that’s designed for comfort and durability. It features a tufted back and chaise seat, plus amply padded arms to cradle you in comfort.

Morrison Recliner

3. The Vail Rocking Recliner

The Vail Rocking Recliner is rich in beauty and luxury. It has a petite scale, but it’s still big on comfort, with a plush, biscuit-style back and padded rolled arms.

Vail Recliner

Wall Away Recliners at La-Z-Boy

In 1975, La-Z-Boy introduced the Wall Recliner. 

The wall recliner offers several positions of reclining comfort until you reach the zero-gravity setting. In a Wall Recliner, there is no active motion like in a Rocker Recliner or a Swivel Glider Recliner. If not in a reclined position, you have a nice “stationary” chair.

Unlike the rocker recliner, the wall recliner does not create noise or click as it moves through such positions. 

Similar to the Rocker recliners, the wall recliner has an optional tall base upgrade. 

La-Z-Boy has a variety of wall recliners. Not only can you find a wall reclining chair, but La-Z-Boy offers a large selection of wall reclining loveseats and sofas.

Best Selling Wall Recliners at La-Z-Boy

With many options to choose from, below are the top 3 best-selling wall recliners at La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston …

1. The Astor Wall Recliner

Designed for especially large users, the Astor Wall Recliner brings relaxation to new heights. Our tallest recliner ever, Astor features a deep, wide seat and comes standard with our tall base. The tall pillow back features three separate cushions that can adjust to your body’s contours, while the chaise seat and padded flared arms provide the ultimate comfort. 

For more information, take a look at the In-Depth Review of the Astor Recliner

Astor Recliner

2. The Trouper Wall Recliner

An updated silhouette, complete with slightly flared arms and a sleek tall back gives the Trouper Wall Recliner a look that’s fresh and contemporary. It’s also one comfortable recliner. The sculpted bucket seat cradles you in softness while the padded split back provides superb head and lumbar support. 

For more information, take a look at the In-Depth Review of the Trouper Recliner.


3. The Pinnacle Wall Recliner

The Pinnacle Wall Recliner is a top-selling recliner chair! It has an easygoing style that’s just right for resting and relaxing. Sink in and enjoy its plushy pillowed tall back and padded rolled arms. The chaise seat and leg rest cradle your body in a continuous zone of comfort. 

For more information, take a look at the In-Depth Review of the Pinnacle Recliner.

Pinnacle Recliner

What's Next?

There you have it! You now know the key differences between rocker recliners and wall recliners and should have a better idea of which recliner is best for you.


If you are interested in any of the best-selling rocker recliners or wall recliners, there is much more where that came from! At La-Z-Boy, we have over 100 recliner frames to choose from offering something for every space, style, and budget. 

To get started, take a look at our official Recliner Buyer Guide.

Perhaps you are looking for something else entirely. Our consultants at La-Z-Boy would be happy to find you exactly what you are looking for. 

Visit us at a local Ottawa or Kingston location to get started today. If you prefer to plan in advance, schedule an appointment online.

We look forward to meeting you!

Related Links:

Murphy Bed vs. Sofa Bed: A Detailed Comparison

La-Z-Boy Recliners for Small Spaces 

Modern Recliners at La-Z-Boy

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