Difference between a Glider and a Recliner

Glider VS Recliner

Coming back after a long day of work to unwind and relax is a great feeling. Having a good comfortable chair to unwind on is great. So, on your search for a good chair, you may have come across the terms glider and recliner. What are they, and what is the difference between a glider and a recliner?

This is a common confusion that this article will try to solve. We’ll look at what a recliner is and then what a glider is. Then we will compare.


A recliner is an armchair that has both a movable backrest and often a footrest. When an occupant rests their head on a recliner, the backrest can be tilted backward so that the occupant can recline on the chair.

Some recliners feature an additional footrest that can be extended via a lever to allow the whole body to lie on the chair.

Recliners are the poster child of relaxation. They feature leather upholsteries for both comfort and aesthetic appeal. Many new recliners often feature various comfort options like adjustable headrests and massage options.

Even outside homes, recliners see uses in airplanes and trains. Recliners don’t take much space but are very relaxing, so they are often perfect for use in airplanes or trains. It’s quite easy to rest your head and fall asleep on them.


One thing to take note of is that a glider is not an armchair but rather a rocking chair. A rocking chair is a chair that is designed to have two curved bands at the bottom of the legs. This allows the chair to rock back and forth. So rocking chairs can be made to move whenever the occupant shifts their weight about the chair.

A glider is a type of rocking chair. Whereas a normal rocking chair has curved bands at the bottom of the legs to allow for a rocking motion, a glider consists of a seat attached to a base.

This connection is made via a four-bar linkage. So the glider chair emulates a swing-like motion, and it feels as if you’re gliding back and forth.

Glider chairs are made out of wood. Some gliding chairs do come with footrests for more comfort. These are often connected to the chair so you can glide easier with them.

One of the main draws of the rocking chair is that the back and forth motion is very soothing. This can be helpful if you have a kid or a pet as both you and they can enjoy the rocking motion. The glider chair is similar but much safer due to its design. It’s not uncommon to rock away your stress using this chair.

Differences between Glider and Recliner

Since we’ve looked at the two chairs separately, we can now compare them and see what differences they have.


Probably the biggest difference between the two chairs is that one has motion and the other doesn’t.

Recliners or armchairs, in general, aren’t meant to move, where as gliders or rocking chairs are designed to have a back and forth motion. This is probably the core difference and often the deciding factor on whether you want a glider or recliner for your home.


While the constructional differences are a lot less obvious, they can be spotted if you look closely. A recliner looks much like a normal sofa or armchair. Some have visible handles that can be used to tilt the seatback to allow you to rest more comfortably. They almost always have leather upholsteries.

Meanwhile, gliders feature a wooden frame, but underneath, you can spot the base and the linkage. Gliders feature fabric-covered cushions for added comfort, though some do feature leather in their design.

Comfort Options

A recliner is generally more comfortable than a glider though it can somewhat depend on your preference. However, recent recliners offer various comfort options that a glider cannot offer.

These include adjustable headrests, an inbuilt massage system, and a heat control system, which allows you to control which parts of the recliner are warm. All these options are not available on any glider. So for higher prices, you can get much more for a recliner.

Placement and Use

A recliner is generally placed indoors. You can use it as a normal chair and place it in your living room and watch TV on it. Due to the way it’s used and constructed, they are mostly placed inside houses, especially in living rooms.

They are constructed to be very comfortable, and so they are great for lying down on and unwinding.

On the other hand, a glider is a rocking chair. It can be placed both inside, near a window so you can look outside, or outdoors on your patio overlooking your garden. Gliders are also seen in nursing homes. Babies enjoy the rocking motion, and both nurses and parents use gliders to help put kids to sleep.


While the price does vary, recliners are generally much more expensive than most gliders. Recliners do have higher priced variations, which include more features.

Which Is Better?

It depends on what you need it for and your preference. Even people who do not have kids or pets can enjoy the soothing motion of a glider. They’re also cheaper and look good in a house. Although recliners are very comfortable and offer a lot that a glider cannot.


We hope, after reading this, you know what the difference between a glider and a recliner is. They both have unique characteristics that make them comfortable. Knowing these differences and what each offers is very helpful whenever you are planning to go out and shop for a chair.

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