Ever sit through The Original Star Wars Trilogy on a lumpy couch? By the end, you were probably moaning like Chewbacca. Where and how you sit can really make or break a home theater experience.
Having good home theater seats can be just as important as your screen or speakers. And if you want a “true” theater experience, you should opt for buying real theater seats. Actually, forget those. Most of the seats at your local Cineplex are old, broken and sticky. Good home theater seats should make you feel like you’re sitting in a cloud.
How do you find such a magical accessory? Take a seat, so we can review five things you should consider when buying home theater seats.
1. Size matters. Before you buy or even sit in anything, you need to know how many seats will fit comfortably in your room. The size and shape of the seats are important. However, you also need to consider the size and shape of the room, as well as the overall layout. Equipment closets or racks, doorways, columns and other obstacles are all things that need to be factored in. Also, don’t forget to leave space in between the rows!
2. Looks are important. We love that home theater seating comes in so many sizes, colors and configurations. However, the look of your seats isn’t just about matching the decor. It can also determine how durable the seats are. Leather lasts a long time, but can be an acquired taste—and not just because it’s typically the most expensive option. There are also plenty of “leather match” choices that combine leather with something like vinyl, so you have the look, without the expense. Microfiber is soft, but also pretty stain-resistant. Are the kids and the family dog going to be welcome into your theater space? Many of these options are made to take their abuse. Whatever you decide though, make sure you know how to properly care for your particular type of seats. Certain chemicals, wipes and other cleaning methods could easily ruin your cushy purchase.
3. How low can you go? Having a home theater recliner would seem like a no-brainer. Just know that this type of recliner is different than your typical La-Z-Boy (although they do make theater seats!). Home theater recliners should be supportive and recline so that you’re comfortable, but not comatose. Unless the screen is on the ceiling, having a recliner that goes all the way back won’t work that well in a home theater setting. And since these seats don’t recline to the point where you’re completely horizontal, that means you can fit more seats into the room without having to be in the lap of the person behind you. Just make sure you have enough space to accommodate the recline of the back, as well as the footrest. Also know that once you recline, it will alter your viewing experience—and you want that to be a good thing. If your main objective is to pack ’em in, you may want to opt for fixed seating, similar to most commercial movie theaters.
4. Accessorize! Almost every type of theater seat has its share of optional accouterments. We’re not just talking about footrests and reclining, though. If you want to really spoil yourself, opt for seats that have lighted cup holders, storage compartments, heat and massage, tray tables, and even iPad mounts. Companies such as D-BOX also make seats with motion simulators or existing seats can be retrofitted with The ButtKicker, if you want to put a little motion into the home theater viewing experience.
5. How does it feel? Next to budget, how comfortable the seats are will be the biggest deciding factor for your purchase. This is something that may be very different for different people. Some of you will want cushy seating, while others opt for back support. Make sure you get to test out a few home theater seats before you buy anything!
Read a review of one home theater seat here.