The first step in choosing a rocking chair recliner that will work best for you is to consider the aesthetic of the room in which the chair will be placed, your budget for purchasing a new rocking chair recliner, and the features you expect from the chair. Durability and quality construction are also key considerations when purchasing a rocking chair recliner, and you should be sure to find out if the chair you intend to purchase features a manufacturer's warranty that will guarantee repair or replacement. If you purchased the chair used, be sure to check for damage anywhere on the unit.
Be sure to sit in any rocking chair recliner you are considering for several minutes. Check for comfort as well as function: take note of worn-out cushions and upholstery, springs poking through the cushioning, squeaking and creaking that result from loose joints or worn-out components, broken or damaged reclining units, loose or squeaky rocker units, and so on. Some of these issues are easily repaired or otherwise addressed, while other issues will affect the comfort and durability of the unit; such units should be avoided if possible.
Be sure to recline in the rocking chair recliner and stay in that position for several minutes. Take note of the position's comfort level, as well as the ease with which you can recline and get back into the upright sitting position. The recliner should be easy to use and should take no extra effort to get back upright. The recliner foot rest should be solid and straight, and while the unit is reclined, it should be stable enough to support you if you shift your weight or wiggle. Most rocking chair recliner models will not rock when the recliner is engaged to enhance safety, so be sure to look for this feature.
Upholstery is an important consideration for aesthetics as well as durability. Some fabrics are treated with chemicals that will help them resist water damage and staining; these tend to be more expensive, so if you are looking to cut cost, be sure to ask a salesperson whether the material can be treated with such chemicals after the fact. Look for high-quality fabrics that will stand up to regular use for several years, and be sure to choose a fabric pattern that you will be pleased with for several years; this can be hard to predict, but choosing a design that is not too outlandish should be enough to prevent you from having regrets in a year or so.