We’ve followed the replica market closely for more than a year now. We’ve contacted manufacturers, we’ve accounted for customer reviews and we’ve thoroughly researched the original Eames chair using it as the gold standard to find you the best Eames chair replica.
From the countless available replicas on the market, we’ve eliminated poor quality or unjustifiably expensive ones, as well as any that veer away from the specifications of the original Eames chair design.
We found a few clear winners to suit a wide range of budgets. That being said, we ultimately chose the Urban Furnishing Mid-Century Plywood Chair as the highest quality and most faithful to the original that you can get – without throwing a ton of money at an original one. You will clearly see why, when you read our review.
|Our Top Choice: Highest Quality and Most Faithful to the Original Design||Mid-Century Plywood Chair by Urban Furnishing|
Save $150 Use Code: COMFYZEN150 on Urban Furnishing.com
|Highest-Quality Eames Chair Replica Alternative Pick||eMod – Mid Century Plywood Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman|
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|Best Mid Price Eames Chair Replica||1-inch Mid Century Eames Replica Plywood Lounge Chair & Ottoman|
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|Another Worthy Mention||Furgle Lounge Chair and Ottoman|
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|Lowest Price Leather Option||Leather Recliner with Ottoman by TOME|
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If you are in the Canada, see below.
Table of Contents.
- Full Reviews of Our Top Picks for the Best Eames Chair Replica
- Other Worthy Mentions
- How to Choose a Good Eames Replica
- Frequently Asked Questions
Full Reviews of Our Top Picks for the Best Eames Chair Replica
Our Top Choice | Highest Quality and Most Faithful to the Original Design: Mid-Century Plywood Chair by Urban Furnishing
Our Top Choice | Highest Quality and Most Faithful to the Original Design
First off the bat, I’m gonna say, it’s not the cheapest one you can get, but this is by far the most popular replica that people go for – simply because there are no half measures here.
You are getting something that looks and feels as close to the original Eames design as you are gonna get – without going overboard and paying several thousand more for the real deal.
For a start, Urban Furnishing are a well-established company. They have the widest selection of Eames chair replicas out there, and they’ve been manufacturing their Mid-Century Plywood Lounge Chair and Ottoman for close to 10 years now. They’re incredibly proud of that, and no wonder, they clearly know what they are doing!
For me, what really makes the Urban Furnishing replica stand out from the rest is the outstanding attention to detail that this replica has.
If you know your real Eames, you’ll know that those gorgeous buttoned cushions should each un-hook from their shell. There’s a clip system that allows you to do this.
The huge advantage is that you can replace, repair, or reupholster any one of them if you ever need to and that will, in turn, extend the life of your chair to – well, practically forever.
The Urban Furnishing replica has that same clip system. Now that’s a detail above and beyond the norm. Lower quality chairs always have fixed cushions, often just stapled in place (if you’re lucky, you might get Velcro).
Next, if you take a look at the shells underneath you’ll see they are veneered on the inside – not just the outside. That’s a detail that you’d generally only get with the real thing.
In terms of style, if you take a look at the feet, you can see that this replica is based on the Herman Miller chair. It’s the same black, die-cast five-point aluminum base, that Charles and Ray Eames designed more than 60 years ago.
The sketch below gives you an idea of the two official styles, but if you want to stay as authentic to the original 1956 design as possible, then you should go for a Herman Miller replica.
Next, we turn to the leather quality of the cushions as well as the overall comfort of the chair.
The cushions are full grain semi-aniline leather imported from Italy. That’s actually the perfect combination of quality and durability. Here’s why:
- Aniline leather is the highest quality leather you can get – only a few percent of the world’s leather qualifies for this category. Aniline is a water-soluble dye that soaks all the way through the leather to give the leather color and bring out the grain. It doesn’t, therefore, disguise any imperfections and that’s why only the finest quality Italian Napa leather can be used.
It ages beautifully, but it’s sensitive to watermarks and grease stains, so it’s not the best choice for families with young children or pets.
- The Urban Furnishing replica is Full-grain semi-aniline leather. The process for this is very similar but there’s a fine protective coating of insoluble pigment on the surface.
This makes the chair much less sensitive to water or grease marks. So it’s a far better choice for families with young children and pets.
Now, we come to the comfort aspect of this chair. And here’s where it gets interesting.
This chair, until recently, came with high resilience PU-injected foam cushions. The original, in case you were wondering, also has foam cushions (though the very first one was stuffed with feathers).
Replicas or not, they’re are all filled with foam (or in some cases memory foam). Foam is foam, I hear you say – except it isn’t.
There’s a lot of debate about whether a replica Eames could ever feel as soft and comfortable as the real thing. What makes the original so comfortable is the use of open-cell foam. It’s much softer than closed-cell foam and way less dense than memory foam.
Urban Furnishing have upped their game here and now also use premium open-cell foam for their cushions. Compare this detail to others out there and you’ll get why we think this one is far superior to anything else.
Additional details, often lacking in lesser quality replicas, include rubber shock mounts underneath the armrests and between the head and the backrest which allows for flexibility, deep buttons to create that famous Eames flower crease, as well as the 15-degree fixed tilt and 360-degree swivel which are stipulated in the original design.
I know haven’t mentioned the quality of the plywood shells yet, but they are spot on. Made from whole sheets of high-quality FAS-certified cuts of hardwood. 7-py plywood just like the original.
Available in an impressively wide range of color options – this is something you generally only get with a real Eames – this replica is also available in the Tall Version. This adds an extra 2.5″ to the height, which if you are taller, you may find more comfortable.
There’s a fair amount of debate about the size of the Eames chair. But this actually based on a misconception about the design. People think the top shell is designed to support the head. The top shell is there to support your shoulders. Take a look at this video showing various people of different heights sitting in the chair, if you need help choosing the correct size.
|Dimensions for Each Version||Width (Inches)||Depth (Inches)||Height (Inches)|
What We Like:
- Faithful to the Original Design | This is an excellent reproduction of the Herman Miller Eames chair.
- Removable Cushions | While lower quality chairs have fixed cushions, often just stapled in place, this chair comes with premium open-cell foam cushions that are removable, simply unhook them from the shell.
- Veneered Shells both Inside and Out | The attention to detail is outstanding on this chair.
- Upholstered in Full-Grain Semi-Aniline Leather | Imported from Italy, the chair offers the perfect combination of quality and durability. It’s also less sensitive to water and grease stains than full aniline leather.
- 7-ply Wooden Veneers | Kiln dried as in the original. Also available in a choice of different woods.
Who It’s For:
The Urban Furnishing replica is for all people, including families with younger children and pets, who want a high-quality Eames style chair without the super high price tag that comes with an original Eames.
Buying Factors to Consider:
However, it’s not the cheapest. If you want the look and are prepared to sacrifice the extra details, to get a cheaper chair you should also consider the I Inch, the Rimdoc or Furgle, or the ToMe chair – all of which are cheaper.
Highest-Quality Eames Chair Replica Alternative Pick: eMod – Mid Century Plywood Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman
This is another exceptionally high-quality chair and a very faithful reproduction of the original Eames lounge chair.
Now we just want to point out that if you’ve visited us here at Comfy Zen before, you may have seen the Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chair by Decorific NYC featured in this spot.
To be frank, both the Decorific NYC and the eMod replicas are excellent reproductions of the original design.
And indeed, the differences between them, are very minor. Although In my opinion, the eMod has a very slight edge.
Both, however, are immensely popular, and both tend to sell out almost as soon as they come back in stock.
So what’s the deal? Well, these don’t come in the wide choice of colors, wood veneers, or grades of leather options that our top choice does. And that’s the reason why neither the Decorific NYC nor the eMod made our top spot.
As of updating this post, the Decorific NYC is again out of stock and the eMod having been away for some time is now back. From here on we’ll look at the eMod version.
As with our top choice, this chair, has so many details in common with the original design. Details you just wouldn’t get with a cheap Eames replica.
And that’s the thing, while it does cost more than some of the cheaper replicas we will be looking at later in this guide, this chair will be a focal point of your living space. It will only look beautiful and feel more comfortable as it ages.
This is a Herman Miller replica, it’s upholstered in 100% full Aniline Italian leather – including piping and buttons.
That means, there is no coating of paint on the top of the leather to add color or disguise the markings or imperfections that a lesser quality of leather would have.
The leather is dyed all the way through using only aniline dye so the quality of leather used is therefore in the top few percent of the world’s leather suitable for this process.
Unlike cheap reproductions, the cushions are not glued to the shell. They are fully removable via a traditional clip system and the shell itself is veneered both inside and out. (The Decorific NYC version also has removable cushions but has a black paint finish instead of a fully veneered wood finish. You can see this below).
It goes without saying, a veneered finish on the inside of the shell is an attention to detail you’ll only find in the very best Eames chair replicas.
The shells on this chair are made from a durable 7-ply, cross-grained wood veneer which prevents the wood from warping or cracking and the cast aluminum five-star base allows for the 360° swivel function which is integral to the original design.
Lastly, and again true to the original, the chair has a fixed backward tilt of 15° and rubber shock mounts connecting the head and backrest to allow for maximum flexibility
What We Like:
- Full Grain Aniline Leather | This type of leather just looks more beautiful as it ages. It’s the highest quality leather out there.
- Choice of Veneer Options | The eMod is only available in black, but you do get a choice of two wood veneer finishes, Walnut or Pallister.
Buying Factors to Consider:
This is a stunning reproduction of the original and amazing value for the money. The only thing we should point out is that due to the exceptionally high quality of natural leather, you need to take care not to scratch it, and it could get water or grease-stained.
So again this option may not be the best choice for homes with young children or pets and if that applies to you, you should consider our top grain aniline leather choice.
Check the latest price and color options for the eMod – Mid Century Plywood Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman on Amazon.
Best Mid-Price Eames Chair Replica: Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by I Inch
Best Mid Price Eames Chair Replica
This is another very good Eames chair replica and very close to the original.
While rhewnot made from as fine quality leather as the Decorific NYC, it is priced accordingly – and maybe more practical in terms of durability and scratch resistance for homes with young families and pets.
Unlike many cheap copies that are made from faux leather or leatherette, this one is high-quality machine-stitched leather.
It features 7-ply high-density natural laminated wood in a choice of wood veneers including walnut, palisander, and black ash (an alternative to ebony) all of which are variations of the original.
It has the natural incline of the authentic chair, to the correct fixed angle of 15 degrees.
You can choose between normal size or choose between upgrade 1 or upgrade 2. These sizes are somewhat confusing as there is very little difference between them except to say upgrade 1 is taller than the normal size and upgrade 2 is wider. To give you more an idea you can see the sizes in the table below.
Whichever you choose they are very similar but generally an inch or so larger than the original. The original also has a choice of size between classic and tall, (which measures 33.5″ high).
What We Like:
- High-Quality Genuine Leather | Many replicas in this price range aren’t made from leather at all.
- Well-Made and Close to the Original | It would take an expert to know it’s not authentic unless, that is, you get very close and look for clues.
- Good Price | It’s reasonably priced for a chair and ottoman set.
Buying Factors to Consider:
It won’t feel quite as soft as our first choice but as a reproduction of the mid-century iconic Eames, it would make a stunning centerpiece to any living space, as well as a relaxing and comfortable place to lie back and put your feet up.
It’s a well-made chair, built to last, and nicely finished, complete with tufting and buttons.
|Size Guide for Chair||Length”||Width”||Height”|
Check the latest price and color options for Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by I Inch on Amazon.
Another Worthy Mention: Furgle Lounge Chair and Ottoman
Another Worthy Mention
This one has only recently become available on Amazon.
Usually, I would want to see multiple customer reviews as well as questions answered, by other customers, or by the manufacturing company themselves before I would include them in a review.
After some investigating, it turns out that’s not the case here, this chair is owned by the same company that also owns the 1 Inch brand. And indeed, the spec details show that this is in fact the same chair.
For that reason, I won’t go into any details. But I wanted to give this one a mention because these replicas are extremely popular and tend to sell out very quickly. At the time of writing there are several leather color and veneer options to choose from so it’s worth taking a look.
Suffice to say it’s another great option if you want a faithful reproduction of the Eames chair but don’t want to go overboard on price with high-end aniline leather.
What We Like:
- Great Value for Money | This is a full leather chair and ottoman, and it’s in the same price range as many PU versions out there.
- Well-Made and Close to the Original | The spec is very close to the original design including the 7-ply plywood shell, and swivel with a 15-degree tilt.
Check the latest price and color options for the Furgle Lounge Chair and Ottoman on Amazon.
Lowest Price Leather Option: Leather Recliner with Ottoman by TOME
Lowest Price Option
This is a great low-price budget option to go for. Unlike many replica chairs, in this price range (the Barcelona chair replica budget options being a case in point), this replica actually retains the look of the original Eames.
The fact that it stays faithful to the original Herman Miller Eames design down to black coated aluminum five-point base means there’s nothing cheap looking about it.
For us what makes this one stand out from others in this price range is that it’s not made from PU or fake leather, it’s actually made with real leather upholstery.
Where it does differ from the others we’ve looked at – and indeed from the original design is that instead of the traditional 7- layer plywood frame stipulated in the rules for the modern authentic Eames design it has a somewhat unusual 8 -layer plywood shell.
Draw from that what you will, to us it indicates the plywood is possibly thinner or of lower quality and the extra layer is there to compensate so the shell’s sturdiness isn’t comprised.
That said, if you were to compare this one with the higher quality replicas it wouldn’t look out of place. The shell is made by hand, the cushioning consists of a memory foam filling, and the chair even has the rubber shock mount detail, connecting the head and backrest that high end, and indeed the original chair all have.
What We Like:
- Good Value For Money | It’s a good copy that’s stayed faithful to the original design. For that reason, there’s nothing cheap looking about it and it is good value for the price.
Check the latest price of Leather Recliner with Ottoman by TOME on Amazon.
Other Worthy Mentions:
These are the products that didn’t quite make our top picks, but they’re still pretty good so you might like to take a look:
This is a tall version of the Eames chair. It’s 33.5 inches high. They have “upgraded” the shell to 8-layer plywood.
What We Liked:
- The essential details are all there including the 360 swivel and the tilt.
- There are quite a few color options available for this chair and there are two grades of leather to choose from too (a + is aniline leather, the leather without a + mark is top-grain leather).
Things We Didn’t Like:
- The fact that the plywood is upgraded to 8 layers suggested that the quality of wood used isn’t as good as it could be. But the added strength that the extra layer adds should ensure that the shells should at least stand up to wear without cracking.
- The cushions aren’t removable but that is reflected in the lower price.
High-Quality Aniline Leather
This is not a cheap option but it’s still several thousand dollars less than the original. It’s an excellent reproduction.
- Premium aniline leather, including piping & buttons.
- High-quality 7-ply laminated veneer.
- 360° swivel function and fixed backward tilt of 15°.
Eames Replica Bird
This is a very affordable replica of the Bird popularised by Eames. First made in 1910 the Eames’s had one in their home. It’s beautiful, definitely on my shopping list!
- 10.63″ tall.
- Made from environmentally friendly non-toxic resin.
Best Eames Lounge Chair Replica for Canada: FPlus Lounge Chair with Ottoman
Best Eames Lounge Chair Replica for Canada
If you are in Canada, the FPlus Lounge Chair with Ottoman is the absolute best Eames replica to go for.
It’s a superb reproduction of the Eames Vitra chair – without the prohibitive price tag that comes with a real Eames.
There are 3 leather options to suit your budget and preference, and there’s also a good choice of color and plywood veneer options to choose from.
Plus you’ll be able to take advantage of the free shipping available across the country.
Next, we will take a look at the details that make this reproduction such a good choice.
But just before we do that, in case you skipped straight down to this section, here’s a quick reminder of the different grades of high-quality leather that you get with only the best replica Eames chairs.
- The leather used to make top grain is one of the finest qualities of leather in the world. Second only to that used for full aniline leather. Top grain aniline leather is a natural full-grain Italian leather, dyed with an Aniline dye to add color, condition the leather, and bring out the natural beauty of the grain. To further enhance the look and durability, a thin coating of non-water-soluble pigment is then applied over the top.
The coating makes it more water and grease stain-resistant as well as more durable so top grain aniline leather is suitable for everyday use in homes with younger families.
- Full aniline leather is of the highest quality leather in the world. It only looks more beautiful as it ages. It doesn’t, have that coating so the natural pattern of the grain, and texture come through – hence the superior quality of leather needed to produce it.
The lack of coating, however, means it’s not protected from water and grease marks – and this makes it less suitable for young families.
Whichever grade of leather suits your lifestyle best, you will find each FPlus chair is made to the highest standard. The cushions are lock-stitched (#301) with braided thread for the strongest seams and neatest piping you can get.
The seat pads are PU injected and then Dacron-wrapped for added comfort and breathability.
It goes without saying that with a chair of this quality, the cushions aren’t stapled to the frame as they are with many cheap copies. These cushions are (just as in the original), fully removable.
The 7ply plywood shell is kiln-dried to prevent warping or cracking. And true to the original design, the shell is made only from the best cuts from the log with minimal knots – sourced exclusively from USA, Canadian and Brazilian companies.
The 5 point base die-cast aluminum base is a replica of the Vitra Eames lounge chair, and there is a rubber shock mount plating underneath the armrest and the back of the chair to prevent the shell from cracking.
And just so you know, no tedious setup is required with this replica. Unlike many replica Eames chairs on the market, that require two people and a lengthy assembly process, this chair is shipped already fully assembled – and that’s actually a pretty big deal.
What We Like:
- It’s an Exceptionally High-Quality Reproduction | This is an excellent reproduction of the Vitra Eames chair – and there are 3 leather options to choose from: full-grain, top-grain, or vintage.
- It Comes with Removable Cushions | While most lower quality chairs have fixed cushions, (usually just stapled in place) this lounge chair comes with high resilience PU-injected foam cushions that are removable.
- The Shell is Veneered both Inside and Out | Again the attention to detail is outstanding on this chair.
- 7-ply Wooden Veneers | Kiln dried as in the original. Also available in a choice of different wooden veneers.
Check the latest price and color options for FPlus Lounge Chair with Ottoman on Furnish Plus.
How to Choose a Good Eames Replica
But first I thought it would be helpful to give you a rundown on the essential details that you should look for when making your choice:
Not everyone has the same budget to spend and replicas vary considerably in price. At under $700 the TOME is the cheapest full leather option in this review. The Urban Furnishing and the eMod for comparison are upwards of $1000. The difference in price is reflected in the finer details such as leather quality, plywood quality, veneer finish, whether the cushions are removable, and the quality and thickness of the foam filling.
The Eames chair is made up of 3 separate molded plywood shells. The sheets are layered, (cross-grained) glued, and then heated to the precise temperature required to mold the wood into shape. Replicas are made in the exact same way. However, you will find a few manufacturers of the cheaper replicas are now boasting of new improved 8 layers. I think you know where I’m going with this. If the quality of plywood is inferior they probably need that extra layer for strength. Surface to say, Herman Miller and Vitra manufacture their chairs using 7 layers.
Just like the authentic Eames, replicas have foam-filled cushions. But, not all foam is made equally. The softest type of foam is open cell foam and that’s what makes the original Eames so soft and comfortable. Most replicas use a stiffer PU-injected foam and some have memory foam-filled cushions in an attempt to make the chair more comfortable. It’s worth noting that the cushions on the Urban Furnishing lounge chair have recently been upgraded from PU injected foam to open-cell foam. And that’s just one of the details that made the Urban Furnishing replica worthy of our top spot. Another is the ability to unhook the cushions from the shells. Cheaper replicas like the Rimdoc, the 1inch, and the Tome have fixed cushions so reupholstering in future years isn’t really an option. The Urban Furnishing and the eMod which do have removable cushions should last as long as the original.
There are two official size options that you should know about, standard and tall. There’s only a couple of inches difference between the two sizes but it may make a difference to your level of comfort. One thing to note, however, is that the upper shell is in fact designed to contour your shoulders. It was never designed to be a headrest. If you want to see people of different sizes sitting in the chair to give you more of an idea what to expect, come back and check out this YouTube video before you make your decision. Not all replicas give you the choice of two sizes but some do.
You should expect to receive your replica in two big boxes. Occasionally Amazon customers have reported that their boxes arrived within a few days of each other. Amazon has a good returns policy which makes them a popular company to buy from. But lounge chairs like all large items of furniture can be costly to return if you change your mind.
Another thing to note is that some furniture companies charge a restocking fee if you change your mind. Urban Furnishing don’t charge a restocking fee and they also offer free shipping for their mid century chair (another factor that impressed me about the company). For comparison Manhattan Home Design charged a 25% restocking fee although as of mid June they will be discontinuing the chair.
You should expect to spend some time assembling your chair. Some require more assembly than others. Generally the cheaper the chair the more bits you need to bolt together. None of it’s rocket science but often there aren’t clear, or in some cases any instructions to follow. You can, however, find a few good YouTube videos out there to help you if you get stuck.
Other Key Design Elements of the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman to Look Out For
- The Recline | The chair has a fixed angle of 15°. It feels flexible to sit in but doesn’t actually recline.
- The Swivel | The chair has a 360° swivel, the ottoman doesn’t swivel.
- The Legs | The chair has 5-point (die-cast aluminum legs) whereas the ottoman has only 4.
- The Cushions | The chair seat and ottoman seat are the exact same size and are interchangeable.
- The Filling | The filling is foam and the cushions are 6-inches thick (interestingly very early Eames chairs were upholstered with feathers and down).
- The Shell | The shell has 7- layers of molded plywood made from FAS-certified sheets of hardwood – kiln-dried to prevent warping and cracking. Pre 1974 the Eames chair had only 5 -layers of plywood.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an Eames chair comfortable?
If you’ve ever had the chance to put your feet up in a real Eames chair, (Vitra or Miller) you will know there’s almost a cloud-like quality of fluffy buttery-ness that throwing thousands of dollars will certainly go a long way to achieve.
But that doesn’t mean, however, that your replica won’t an absolute dream to sit and relax in. Why? Because the fundamental design of a good replica chair is practically identical to the authentic version.
The best replicas are made from exceedingly high-quality leather and the cushions have a modular foam filling – that is no different from the original.
Secondly, the chair is set at a permanent 15-degree angle, and let’s not forget here, that unlike most armchairs it comes as a set – with an ottoman. There are a couple of clever reasons for this:
- The chair invites you to lean back put your feet up and completely relax. Unlike a regular armchair, you won’t end up hunched over or leaning to one side, with restless legs and aching knees.
- Why 15- degrees? The fixed 15-degree angle was specifically built into the design to take the weight of your lower spine.
To sum up: The materials and construction, as specified in the original design – when faithfully adhered to in a good replica, are proof of the pure comfort this chair has to offer.
Does the Eames chair recline?
The original Eames chair’s recline is built into the design. It was specifically designed in a tilted position in order to take the weight off the lower back. It doesn’t, however, recline. The tilt is fixed to an angle of 15 degrees.
Do Eames chair replicas also have the tall version?
Just so you know, there are two official sizes of the Eames chair, classic and tall. Some replicas also give you this option.
There’s quite a lot of confusion about the size of the chair. Some people think it’s going to be too small for a taller person.
But here’s the thing. The top shell was never intended to be a headrest. It’s there to contour and support your shoulders.
That being said, there are two sizes of the chair to choose from. So if you are 6 feet or over, you will benefit more from choosing the tall version simply because your shoulder height will be higher.
How is the Eames chair made?
The Eames chair consists of three cushioned shells with wooden veneers, a seat, a back, and a headrest, which gives the chair its floating appearance. Each shell consists of 7 layers of molded plywood, although the original chair had only 5 layers.
The plywood consists of whole sheets of high-quality FAS-certified cuts of hardwood, layered on top of one another (cross-grained) with glue. The sheet (or veneers) are then molded into shape using heat and pressure. The result is a super-strong wood with a beautifully organic shape.
The lounge chair famously consists of three completely separate shells – which gives the impression that they defy gravity and appear to float.
Originally the cushion’s fillings were “all feathers and down”. Today, however, authentic Eames chairs have a 6″ of urethane foam filling and they are upholstered with high-quality leather including two tufted buttons to each cushion. The seat and the ottoman cushion are the same size and interchangeable with each other.
The base has 5 legs for the chair, and 4 for the ottoman.
Additionally, the chair is able to swivel 360° and has a fixed recline of 15°.