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Theater Seating

 Home Theater Seating... Why Choose Elite?

One of a list of answers to this question is that Elite understands what a theater chair is and what it is supposed to do. All of us have had to endure an uncomfortable experience at our local Cineplex while constantly shifting and adjusting to find a comfortable position. This negative experience prevents you from escaping into the fantasy world that you are watching on the screen. A theater chair is not defined by a simple overstuffed recliner with two cup holders placed into the top of the arms. A true theater chair provides excellent ergonomic support and is specifically designed and engineered for home theater viewing. A true theater chair provides ESCAPISM.



Entry Level
Warranty10 Year (5 year on upholstery)Typically 1 Year1 Year or Less
Country of Manufacture180 of 182 styles/models Made in North AmericaMass Produced in ChinaMass Produced in China
Total Weight150 lbs p chair75-100 lbs per chair50-75 lbs p chair
FramingHeavy Duty, Thick Wall ConstructionVaries"Thin Wall" Construction
Steel MechanismThick and Chunky Industrial Strength SteelMid-Grade SteelLightweight, Thin Steel, no rivets
Power ReclineComes Standard on Most ModelsOptionalManual Lever Style
UpholsteryFull, High Quality Italian Leather ThroughoutMid-Grade LeatherVinyl, Leather Match
Foam2.5 lb Foam Minimum1.5lb to 2 lb foamLow Density 1lb Foam
Lumbar SupportFull Lumbar Support on Most ModelsVaries Depending on StyleVaries Depending on Style
Chair BaseSolid, "Hollowed Out" FrameMulti-Part, Joint FittedMulti-Part, Joint Fitted
Arm AttachmentWood Screws and BoltsMale/Female Shoulder/BracketMale/Female Shoulder/Bracket
Wall ClearanceOnly 4"Varies12 - 18"
StylingModern, European Contemporary and TraditionalVariesTraditionally Overstuffed

What To Look For

Since a home theater is a significant investment, careful planning and research is worthwhile.

Specifically regarding home theater seating, there are many factors and qualities which make up a high quality theater recliner. If a consumer is in the market for theater seating, the following questions can be helpful to ensure you are purchasing a theater seat up to industry standards.

1. What type of reclining system is used?

A theater seat with a simple recline system pivots at the base of the seat back so sufficient wall clearance is required. The seat cushion remains stationary while the seat back reclines backwards. In comparison, a wallhugger recline system moves the seat cushion forward, while the seat back reclines backwards. This allows the recliner to be placed only 3” from the wall behind it. This can be very beneficial for theaters with limited space.

Also, wallhugger designs tend to be more acoustically efficient because the head/ears of an occupant do not alter position drastically from an upright or reclined position. This can allow a sound technician for example, to target a more specific optimum area in 3d space.

2. What type of foam is used?

Low quality foam can start to lose form and support in as little as 6 months. It is very important for any type of furniture to use "low memory foam" that is high in density so that it can provide support for many years. Preferably, the foam should be high in density and supportive, yet still soft and comfortable at the same time.

Some manufacturers, including Elite Home Theater Seating, provide free foam samples so that the quality and firmness can be seen and felt first hand.

3. Does the theater seat have lower back lumbar support?

As previously mentioned, one of the most common ailments for many people are lower back problems. Discomfort in this area is accentuated as the length of time increases while sitting stationary. So it is imperative that the lower back and spine are properly supported. It is important to find a suitable balance of body support and style when purchasing theater seating. After all, that is the primary purpose of any type of furniture; to provide comfort and support.

4. What type of recliner mechanism is used?

A good quality recliner mechanism can be spotted by having thick steel arms, reinforced steel bracing, and a smooth, silky reclining motion. A poorly designed mechanism on the other hand will have thin, weak arms, and a rickety reclining motion.

Also, a manually operated mechanism such as a lever design for example, will only have limited recline positions. A motorized recliner however, allows the user to recline the seat to a fraction of a degree thus offering much more freedom and control.

5. How are the arms and frame of the recliner reinforced?

One of the most common flaws of any type of recliner is a poorly designed frame. This can be the difference between a recliner lasting 2 years or 50 years. The main problems associated with a poor frame design are shaky/flimsy arms, excessive squeakiness, and accelerated breakdown.

Usually the main cause of this is the use of low quality cheap materials such as rejected plywood or the use of wood that is simply not strong enough or thick enough.

Also, if just simple nails are used to build the frame over time they can become loose from the constant shifting and bending of the wood frame. It is highly recommended to use a combination of fitted joints, screws, and glue to construct a strong frame.

Lastly the arms of a recliner should be reinforced at the highest point possible. This prevents the arms from shaking and moving. If an arm is reinforced near its base, than it will most probably be prone to cracking and breaking at the joint which in turn will cause shaky/flimsy arms.

6. What is the difference between an entry level theater recliner and a high end theater recliner?

Sometimes, the craftsmanship of a product can be clearly seen simply by visually looking at it. Usually, it is the craftsmanship and materials used that define a low end product or a high end product.

In regards to home theater seating, some qualities which define a poor quality, entry level theater recliner are

  • Simplistic aesthetic design in order to reduce the amount of overall labor such as frame construction and upholstery labor (cutting, sewing and pattern creation)
  • Simple recliner mechanism as opposed to a wallhugger system
  • Poor quality recliner mechanism
  • Lower grade materials such as rejected plywood, low end foam and low grade leathers/fabrics
  • The use of quick "band-aid" solutions to cover defects.
  • Limiting the use of needed materials during the manufacturing process to save on cost. For example using only 1/2 inch foam on footrests.
  • The use of simple stitching and upholstery techniques.
  • Little or no warranty offered.

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