Is Stressles the Real Deal?
Stressless has a long tradition (1930s originally J.E.Ekornes) of making above-average quality products. For the most part, this tradition continues. Different than the USA, Norway’s culture didn’t do a full “buy-in” to cheaper consumer goods made in third-world countries. The average Scandinavian customer values quality and uniqueness of style when it comes to furniture which is still commonly passed down from generation to generation and can hold the sentiment of an heirloom. Despite 95% of the furniture industry moving to the third-world factory option, Stressless still manufactures its furniture in the same area where the original factory was built and while it has modernized, it still focuses on unique, high-quality products. For that reason, it stands strong as one of the best options available in the high-end, furniture market.
Key Points to Remember
Manual Recline - Moves as you shift your body weight. There are no levers to pull or buttons to press, just push back and recline. There is a tension control knob on the side that allows for adjustments depending on your body weight so it only reclines when you want it to.
Ottomans - All manual recliners come with ottomans as they shift forward and back in conjunction with the recliner. This offers a better comfort experience for your entire body. Stressless does not allow for chair-only purchases except via special order. The ergonomic benefit claims advertised are only true when they are sold as a set. There are times when boats and private planes do not allow room for the ottomans and exceptions are made, but there will be a substantial wait during the ordering process. Ottomans can be locked into a fixed position.
Power Base - If there is limited room for an ottoman, the power base option is typically your best bet. However, the power base recliner only comes in sizes medium-large as there is not enough room under a small size to house the footrest. Also, power models offer higher feet elevation and come closer to meeting zero gravity than manual recliners.
Price Differences - In typical scenarios, you would expect something with a higher price tag to be of higher quality. Not so with Stressless. FYI- Stressless is a furniture and "fashion" company and styles (trendier, more in demand) drive price points, not quality. All stressless products are made with the same high-quality process and materials. Older, less in-demand designs that have spent a few years in the catalog may have lower price points, but that doesn't mean you lose out on comfort. The quality is the same throughout the catalog.
The right size makes all the difference. Here are some general guidelines:
Small - Up to 5'5 (Up to 38" waist)
Medium - Up to 5"11 ( Up to 42" waist or under)
Large - 6' above (Use for 44"+ waist regardless of height)
For 6'4" or above consider the Admiral, Reno, or Magic models as they have a vertical adjustment in their headrests. Other models do not.
Each base offers a different experience. You can also choose from 8 different wood stains (Natural, Oak, Walnut, Brown, Wenge, Grey, Teak, and Black), and on the cross/signature base, you can choose black matte or polished metal. All base options swivel and the signature and cross-base options offer a slight, gentle rocking motion.
It's not always "good-better-best" you should ask about. It is better to ask "What is right for my home?" All Stressless leathers are high-quality products that feel great against your skin, but some leathers are a little more durable than others. Pets or active toddlers? Try Batick or Cori. Casual everyday use? Try Paloma. Special occasion use only? Try luxurious Noblesse. Each group has its own unique set of colors.
Manual recline has been the hallmark of Stressless products since their introduction in 1971. It simply means that the reclining takes place as you shift your body weight. No lever to pull or buttons to press, it simply flows with you. There are adjustments to make sure it is tuned to your body weight and only moves when you want it to. Manual recline sofas all need a separate ottoman for a footrest. Most are available for sectional configuration. Wave and Arion are customizable for home theater as well.
The Emily and the Mary models are the 2 power options in the Stressless catalog. You have independent controls for all three parts of your body; head/neck, legs, and back. This system ensures a fine-tuned position for every unique person and shape. There is a battery option to keep you from being chained to an outlet. Both models are component seating offering 1-2-3-4 seat options and sectional layout as well. The Emily has the additional option of a long-seat chaise. Non-power seats are an option but do not recline.
Things to consider
Sectionals and Home Theater- Different sofa models offer different layout options so be sure and check the layout chart for each model. Currently, the Emily, Wave, Arion, and Sapphire are the only models that offer a curved layout of home theater.
High Back vs. Low Back - Traditionally, lowback has been the choice of a more refined, formal setting, and high back has been the choice for comfort. So models offer you the option and in sectionals they can be combined. Have a window? Use a low back to keep your unobstructed view. Breaking up a large room with your sofa? Low backs are good for that as well, but you will give up neck support. Dig into the details of your favorite models and see what options are available.
The Stella Rocks! - One sofa model in the Stressless catalog rocks, the Stella. It offers a slight and easy rocking option for those who enjoy the motion or have babies to deal with. Don't worry you can lock it out when you want to recline.
Key Points to Remember
Manual Sofas - Manual sofas are a common choice for those who do not want to give up a coffee table. Fortunately, Stressless offers the best of both worlds with their double ottoman (PICTURED IN BLACK) with an optional table. The top spreads the cushion area up to 60" which is more than enough room for both ends of the sofa to offer a footrest. The table covers the space in the middle which also acts as a storage area for blankets or board games. Yes, I said board games :)
Ekornes vs. Stressless
Ekornes vs. Stressless - Ekornes is the parent company of Stressless and they have 3 models in the Stressless catalog. The difference in the Ekornes branded models is that they are fixed-back, more formal models. Look for the models Manhattan, Oslo, and Flora. They are extremely comfortable and well made, but offer a significant reduction in cost. The Oslo is Pictured.
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