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Rocker Recliner vs. Glider Recliner: Similarities & Differences

March 14, 2022

Rocker Recliner vs. Glider Recliner: Similarities & Differences

Est. Reading Time: 7 Mins

So you are in the market for a new recliner chair! 

As you begin your search for the perfect chair, you will quickly realize that recliners 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 a rocker recliner or a glider recliner, especially if you are furnishing a nursery!

If you’re located locally, then you’re in luck since there are plenty of furniture stores in Ottawa and Kingston where you can explore a wide selection of recliners.

As the inventor of the original recliner chair, we are familiar with this dilemma at La-Z-Boy. In fact, many of our clients ask us about theabout the what are the different types of recliners out there. 

Some of our selections include rocker recliner chairs but also glider recliner chairs, which often get confused for one another. Once they understand the key differences, clients also ask advice about which model would suit them best. 

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

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

In this article ...

  1. What is a Rocker Recliner?
  2. What is a Glider Recliner?
  3. Key Differences Between a Rocker Recliners & Glider Recliner
  4. Rocker Recliners & Glider Recliners at La-Z-Boy


Rocker Recliner Meaning

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 front and back motion. This rocking motion moves along an arched path.

It is important to emphasize that the rocker recliner can rock while the backrest is adjusted but not while the footrest is engaged. Therefore, the rocking and full reclining motion operate independently.

Rocking Recliner

Glider Recliner Meaning

Similarly, a glider recliner chair has the ability to recline and also offers a smooth motion. The gliding motion moves along a fixed linear path that goes side to side. 

In most cases, glider recliners dual as swivel glider recliners that rotate on a 360-degree base.

Like the rocker recliner chair, the gliding movement and full reclining motion operate independently. In other words, the user can only glide back and forth while the backrest is adjusted but not while the footrest is engaged.

Glider Recliner

Key Differences Between a Rocker Recliner & a Gliding Recliner ...

After reading both definitions, it might be difficult to understand the differences between a rocker and glider recliner. Although they sound the same, there are a few key differences that set a rocker recliner and glider recliner apart.

Range of Motion

The main difference between rockers and gliders is their range of motion or movement. 

A rocker recliner chair rocks front to back in an arc shape. In fact, this rocking motion is similar to the path of a swing. Just like a swing, the motion can be intensified with speed and gravity, which can create quite a strong movement

Alternatively, a gliding recliner chair moves side to side and swivels smoothly on a fixed track. A glider recliner offers a more smooth and controlled motion, compared to a rocker recliner chair. 

According to Racha Pharaon, a design consultant at La-Z-Boy Kanata, the gentle motion of the glider recliner is recommended for pregnant women or newborn babies. It goes great in a nursery! 

Construction of the Base

The unique motion of each recliner is due to the construction of the base. 

Given that the rocker moves front and back on an arched path, it sits on a vertical rocker base.

Rocker Recliner Base


Alternatively, the glider reclining chair moves side to side and swivels on a round base.

Glider Recliner Base

Noise Level

Another important difference between a rocker recliner chair and a glider recliner, specific to La-Z-Boy,  is the noise level. 

Recliner Rocker chairs at La-Z-Boy tend to make a loud clicking noise while adjusting through the reclining positions. Racha mentions that this noise can be disruptive and especially frightening for children or pets. 

In fact, this clunking noise is recognized as one of the Top 7 Problems with La-Z-Boy Furniture. This noise is part of the unique La-Z-Boy construction including the locking 3 position footrest and 16 adjustable reclining positions termed the ‘sound of comfort’ and covered under the limited lifetime warranty.  

The glider recliner, on the other hand, only has one reclining position at La-Z-Boy, so it can achieve a reclining motion while producing minimal sound. 

Functionality & Versatility

Moreover, rocker and gliding recliner chairs differ in terms of functionality and versatility. 

Overall, gliders are known to be a more versatile chair because they typically have the ability to lock in place (becoming stationary), recline, glide, or swivel. 

Meanwhile, rocker recliners are limited to either a rocking or reclining motion.

Additional Model Frames Available: Chair, Loveseat, & Sofa

Depending on the furniture retailer, rocker recliners and glider recliners can differ in terms of the different types of reclining chairs available. 

Technically speaking, both rocker recliners and glider recliners can be offered as a chair, loveseat, or sofa. With that being said, gliding recliner chairs are more predominantly offered as a chair, while rockers are widely offered as loveseats and sofas as well.

For example, at La-Z-Boy, we carry both rocker and glider recliners as chairs, loveseat, and sofas. But, we carry only 10 glider models and about 70 rocker models.

Rocker Recliners & Glider Recliners at La-Z-Boy

​​As previously mentioned, La-Z-Boy has a large selection of comfortable recliners, including a variety of recliner rocker chairs and gliding recliner chairs.

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. Adjustable Reclining Tension

Rocker recliners at La-Z-Boy offer 3 locking legrest positions and 16 reclining positions to reach the final zero gravity position. As previously mentioned, you can hear the chair move through positions making it somewhat of a noisy chair compared to the glider recliner. 

Alternatively, glider recliner chairs only have 1 locking legrest position.

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 glider recliners at La-Z-Boy already have a built-in swivel functionality.

When it comes to options and upgrades, all rocker recliner chairs and glider recliners are customizable in fabric and leather. 

With that being said, only rocker recliners can be upgraded to power at La-Z-Boy. Further, only rocker recliner chairs are offered with additional upgrades such as heat & massage or adjustable headrest & lumbar support. 

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

At La-Z-Boy, gliders tend to be about $200 to $300 more expensive than rocker recliner chairs. 

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. 

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Best Selling Rocker Recliner Chairs at La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston

In order to accommodate different tastes and preferences, La-Z-Boy has a wide range of rocker recliners to choose from. In fact, La-Z-Boy has about 17 rocker recliner chair models. 

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 Rocking Recliner

2. The Rowan Rocking Recliner

The Rowan Rocking Recliner is an exquisite combination of style and comfort. Its looks are sleek, but the flared arms actually maximize the seating area. When you’re not reclining, it’s a relaxing rocker with a smooth, graceful motion. 

To learn more, check out the Review of the Rowan Recliner.

Rowan Rocking Recliner

3. The Trouper Rocking Recliner

An updated silhouette, complete with slightly flared arms and a sleek tall back give the Trouper Rocking 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. When you’re not reclining, it’s a relaxing rocker with a smooth, graceful motion.

For more information, read the Review of the Trouper Recliner.

Trouper Rocking Recliner

Best Selling Glider Recliners at La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston

In comparison to rocking chairs, there is a more limited selection of glider recliners at La-Z-Boy. With that being said, below are the top 3 best-selling glider recliners at La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston …

1. The Rowan Gliding Recliner

As previously mentioned, the Rowan offers clean, contemporary styling on a smaller-scale. It’s a fresh, understated silhouette with bucket seat styling and an inviting chaise seat and legrest for full leg support and smooth glide and swivel motion. All the comfort is still there, but with modern flair!

Rowan Glider Recliner

2. The Addison Gliding Recliner

With its tall back and stylish looks, the Addison brings together the best of both worlds. First, it has the clean lines, rolled arms and welt trim of a sophisticated stationary chair. Not only is it sophisticated, it glides, spins and reclines. 

In fact, the Addison is listed as one of the top nursery glider chairs!

Addison Glider Recliner

3. The Finley Gliding Recliner

The Finley fits the bill with modern lines, sleek track arms and a tall foam back that gives it a neat and structured look. The ultra-plush chaise seat and legrest cradle the body in a continuous zone of comfort. When you’re not reclining, it swivels and glides with a smooth, graceful motion. Also a great nursery glider chair!

Take a look at the Review of the La-Z-Boy Finley Family.

Finley Glider Recliner

What's Next?

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

recliner product page cta

If you are interested in any of the best-selling rocker recliners or glider 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

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

Loveseat vs. Sofa

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