The name La-Z-Boy (pronounced "Lazy Boy") is a household name and mostly synonymous with reclining chairs. However, most consumers fail to recognize that La-Z-Boy not only makes reclining chairs, but also leather sofas and sectionals, many of which I discovered do not earn high accolades among consumers.
Based on our initial leather sofa furniture manufacturer rankings, La-Z-Boy ranked at the bottom of the pack, falling short on leather quality, customer reviews and overall sofa frame construction and quality.
In this piece, I dive deeper into the La-Z-Boy company, providing more information on their leather furniture and whether consumers should consider it for purchase.
If you have any experience with La-Z-Boy leather furniture, please leave a comment below or feel free to email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the oldest furniture manufacturers, La-Z-Boy has built a solid reputation as one of the go to furniture stores for reclining chairs and sofas. Our research however shows that there are some concerns regarding overall product quality.
What's The Background Of La-Z-Boy?
La-Z-Boy has been a popular name in the furniture industry for over 50 years. The term "La-Z-Boy" is synonymous with comfort and relaxation.
The company was founded in 1928 by two cousins, who started out by making a folding wooden patio chair. A year later, given the popularity of their chair, they started offering the first upholstered reclining chair, and it was a huge hit.
In the 1950's, La-Z-Boy introduced an automatic footrest to its chairs and even new vibrating options. The company started offering other products in the 1950s, including full sized sofas and modular sofas.
During the 1970's, the La-Z-Boy chair was the standard for anyone looking for a comfortable reclining chair.
Big bold ads such as this one from the 1970s featuring none other than Santa were quite common.
Since then they have become one of the most popular brands for home furnishings throughout North America, including 351 stand-alone La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries stores and 560 independent Comfort Studio locations.
La-Z-Boy is a publicly traded company (ticker: LZB) and in 2018 they acquired the popular online only retailer Joybird (check out our review on Joybird here).
Is La-Z-Boy Legit?
As previously noted, La-Z-Boy is a well known online and brick & mortar furniture retailer that has been in business since the late 1920s. It is a publicly traded company (Ticker LZB) which also owns Joybird, an online furniture retailer. La-Z-Boy is on pace to generate roughly $2 Billion in revenues this year.
The company is listed on Trust Pilot and has a score of 1.3 (out of 5 stars) on over 350 Reviews. There are over 1000 complaints with the Better Business Bureau, with 1 star out of 5, based on nearly 150 reviews at BBB.
Let's just say that these were worrisome findings to start my research as the majority of reviews on La Z Boy recliners are overwhelmingly negative.
Where Does La-Z-Boy Make Its Furniture?
La-Z-Boy has five of its own manufacturing facilities across the US and Mexico and has several partnerships with China and other Asia based suppliers. The majority of La-Z-Boy's imported leather comes from China and Vietnam.
Of the products that we import, three suppliers that operate in China and one in Vietnam manufacture over 95% of the leather cut-and-sewn sets, and three suppliers that also operate in China manufacture approximately 90% of the fabric products. (from La-Z-Boy 10-K (annual report)
Is Lazy Boy Furniture Good Quality?
While La-Z-Boy does sell stationary sofas and furniture, most buyers think of Lazboy for their reclining chairs and sofas. However, most of La-Z-Boy's stationary sofas are of low to mid-tier quality.
La-Z-Boy's stationary sofas are made with plywoods and cheap suspension systems, making the sofas inferior to any of the USA made counterparts such as Hancock and Moore.
And for the reclining chairs and sofas, buyers need to make sure that the reclining mechanism is of high quality. Unfortunately, many buyers consistently complain about issues with their Lazy Boy recliner chair.
This post provides some good intel about the lack of quality at La-Z-Boy and the consistent deterioration in quality over time.
About 25 years ago I was part of a technology team that transitioned La-Z-Boy from hand built hardwood stick frames to CNC-cut plywood frames. It represented a tremendous savings in labor cost for them. Unfortunately the end product is inferior to the previous iteration.
And complaints like this are all too common about La-Z-Boy:
My mother had three La-Z-Boy items, two loveseats and a chair, that she bought about a decade ago, and all three have had major structural failures. In trying to repair the loveseats some of the stress points were either plastic or composite wood, so it was also difficult or impossible to repair.
And this comment is even more frightening:
Bought a la-z-boy rocker recliner a few years ago. The rockers broke on it within a year and the reclining mechanism spacer broke off. Cheap sheet metal. Found out they use glue and wood dowels to attach instead of screws/bolts. Warranty was good for parts, $1.30 worth of dowels and glue, I was on the hook for $200 in labor, and fixed it myself with proper bolts. Structure inside wasn't even plywood, it was OSB.
What Sort Of Leather Does La-Z-Boy Use?
The La-Z-Boy website is not exactly all that user friendly for someone that is shopping for a leather sofa. Each sofa they offer has a wide variety of cover options- from different fabrics to leathers, but for any piece, the process is entirely confusing and makes it seem like they would prefer to have you in a showroom to get the sale.
Case in point - here's a look at the Leighton Sofa, which I selected from a Sofa menu selection and a potential leather offering.
Now, any sofa that is selected under a 'leather' option on the La-Z-Boy website is just an option and not a piece that is specifically made with leather. In fact, even after choosing a leather option, I'm still shown a fabric sofa, and there are over 400 cover options!
Way too confusing. I'm guessing this is why La-Z-Boy purchased Joybird, as they identified an online retailer that offered a more simplified and less confusing approach.
I had to dig far and wide on La-Z-Boy's website to determine what sort of leathers they are using. And it wasn't easy. My assumption is that they are offering varying grades of products, from cheap, bonded leather pieces to more expensive aniline leather sofas.
I went over to Wayfair, which shows more specific products and more details about the actual materials. Here's a Norris Leather recliner from La-Z-Boy, a pretty popular model that sells for ~$2600.
And here are the details of the leather on the sofa:
And then this is what we find from La-Z-Boy's website:
Chosen by hand for their texture and comfort, Select Leathers make everyone feel at home. This limited collection of genuine leather matched with vinyl urethane is both beautiful and budget friendly.
So, basically, you're spending $2600 for a couch that is a mix of leather and plastics, aka, a bonded leather.
Do you know what happens with Bonded Leather? It cracks, it peels and ends up being a total waste of money. Here's a La-Z-Boy consumer that found this out the hard way,
La-Z-Boy Recliner Customer Reviews
Since our focus here is on leather, I am going to discuss the most noticeable issues that I discovered when reviewing customer reviews on La-Z-Boy.
The biggest problem?
The quality of the leather, or I should note the lack thereof.
Many, many complaints about so-called leather sofas peeling, flaking and ripping.
This La-Z-Boy franchise sold me fake leather. I was promised real top grain leather power recliner. instead, they gave me fake leather(bonded) (see attached expert leather technician letter). in less than 4 months its "leather" is flaking off, attached are photos. the kicker is salesperson told me I got nurse promotion as part of La-Z-Boy promotion giving furniture to nurses free except delivery and installation charges (attached) but they charged my card the full amount anyway.
So, ultimately, I do believe that it's quite possible the salespeople of the La-Z-Boy stores are not educating consumers on what a 'bonded leather' is. They come into the store, plop down on the couch, play with the motorized recliner features, and say 'I want that one!".
Most consumers are not educated on the differences between a real leather and a piece of junk leather that is made with plastics. Is this La-Z-Boy's fault? No not really, but if they don't do a better job of educating consumers on what products they are selling, they are going to seriously damage their reputation.
My advice to La-Z-Boy?
Get rid of the bonded leathers. You are selling an inferior product.
Sure, it probably fits in a lot better with budget minded consumers, but why sell a product that is going to turn to garbage in a few years?
My advice to consumers: Check the labels!
If it is a leather made with any sort of polyurethane or urethane, it's a bonded leather and you do not want to purchase that product. If this is something you want to last for the next 20 plus years, then buy a sofa that is made of good, high quality leather.
What Sort Of Warranty Does La-Z-Boy Offer?
A complete rundown of La-Z-Boy's warranty is listed on their website.
Ultimately, La-Z-Boy provides a lifetime warranty on the mechanism parts in its motion based furniture pieces. The labor on these parts only has a one year warranty however.
La-Z-Boy offers a 1-Year warranty on any leather based furniture pieces, but this only applies to any manufacturing or factory defects.
Most consumers see 'Lifetime Warranty' advertised with most of the La-Z-Boy pieces and think that anytime anything goes wrong, they'll be able to return their product with no questions asked. Unfortunately that's not the case.
Here's a story of one consumer that purchased a La-Z-Boy recliner, and faced problems only a few months after the purchase. La-Z-Boy provided a new recliner, yet the consumer faced the same issues with the new furniture, but slightly outside of the one year warranty. La-Z-Boy charged the consumer $116 in labor to come and fix the issue.
From the story:
"La-Z-Boy offers a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects on the parts of the frame, mechanism and springs, for as long as the original purchaser owns the product and can supply their proof of purchase. Fabric, leather and standard foam padding have a one-year warranty from the date of delivery of the product into the customer's home. Labor to repair or replace any parts is covered for one year from the date of delivery."
La-Z-Boy in this instance refunded the labor costs, but only likely because it was exposed nationally in an article. Note, that La-Z-Boy's warranty policy isn't all that unusual, but if something is breaking down only a year after purchase, there should be more questions about the quality of the product and not the warranty itself.