What is the difference between a glider and a recliner?

What is the difference between a glider and a recliner?

This post was most recently updated on November 22nd, 2023

When it comes to choosing the perfect seating for your home, two popular options that often come to mind are gliders and recliners. Both provide unique features and benefits, catering to different preferences and needs. In this article, we will delve into the distinctive characteristics of gliders and recliners to help you make an informed decision when furnishing your space.

Design and Motion Mechanism:

    • Glider: Gliders, also known as rocking chairs or glider rockers, move in a smooth, horizontal motion. They operate on a fixed track or a set of swiveling hinges, allowing for a gentle back-and-forth rocking motion. Gliders are often preferred for soothing activities like rocking a baby to sleep.
    • Recliner: Recliners, on the other hand, are designed to offer a more versatile range of motion. They typically have a tilting or reclining backrest and a extendable footrest, allowing users to lean back into a comfortable position. Recliners are ideal for individuals looking to kick back and relax with the ability to adjust their seating position.

Purpose and Use:

    • Glider: Gliders are commonly associated with nursery rooms and spaces where gentle rocking is desired. They are popular among parents for soothing infants and creating a calming environment.
    • Recliner: Recliners are known for providing exceptional comfort and are often chosen for spaces dedicated to relaxation, such as living rooms or home theaters. They are versatile pieces that cater to individuals seeking various seated positions for reading, watching TV, or napping.

Aesthetic and Style:

    • Glider: Gliders often have a classic and timeless look, with a focus on the rocking mechanism. They come in a variety of styles, from traditional wooden designs to more modern and upholstered options.
    • Recliner: Recliners are available in a wide range of styles, materials, and designs. From leather recliners that exude luxury to fabric-covered models with a more casual feel, recliners can be chosen to complement the overall aesthetic of your space.

Space Considerations:

    • Glider: Gliders typically have a smaller footprint compared to recliners, making them suitable for rooms with limited space. The gentle rocking motion also makes gliders a great choice for smaller areas where a recliner’s extended footrest may not be practical.
    • Recliner: Recliners, with their larger size and range of motion, are better suited for more spacious rooms. It’s essential to consider the space needed for the recliner to fully extend and ensure that there is ample room around it for comfortable use.


In conclusion, the choice between a glider and a recliner ultimately depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the intended use of the furniture. Gliders offer a soothing rocking motion ideal for nurseries, while the best recliners provide versatile comfort and are well-suited for relaxation in larger living spaces. By understanding the differences outlined in this article, you can confidently choose the seating option that best fits your lifestyle and enhances the comfort and style of your home.