The former can get quite expensive (from $800 to $5,000), and the latter are designed for people with mobility issues. Regardless of what type you pick, check that there’s no more than a five-inch gap between the seat and the open leg rest; otherwise, children or pets can get caught and injured. Same goes for the lever — make sure tiny hands (or your own fingers) can’t get stuck inside or pinched.
Listen for squeaks, which may be telling signs for loose parts or improper alignment.
Get the salesperson to clarify, and actually look at the bones: Hardwood, like birch or poplar, is superior, but be prepared to spend about $1,000 or maybe more.