As the name implies, an incliner sofa is not the same thing as a sofa with recliner seats. Incliners allow you to stretch out and relax by inclining part of the seat at an angle, rather than the seat back.

Inclining Action

How It Works

At first glance, the adjustable action on an incliner sofa may look a lot like that of a reclining section of a similar sofa; in either case, adjusting the seat allows you lie back a bit and relax.

The Seat

On an incliner, the seat slides forward and up at an angle as you sink a bit into the chair; the inclining portions are typically within the left and right seats of the sofa, rather than the center cushion.

The Back

The seat back may also slide down a bit to accommodate for the new angle, but it doesn't jut out toward the back the way a traditional recliner back does.

The Look

A sofa with inclining seats requires quite a few moving parts, so a high-legged sofa is not an option when it comes to an incliner because all that under-seat space is needed to hide the inclining mechanism.

The sofa is also a good deal heavier than a similar sofa without built-in movement mechanisms, and it is likely to be more expensive than a noninclining sofa of similar quality and size.

The Benefits

The main benefit of an incliner, compared to a recliner, is the space saved behind the seat -- an incliner can be positioned close against a wall, while a traditional recliner cannot.