With a divertor made of solid materials like carbon and tungsten, plasma ions are expected to be recycled at the divertor surface with a time-averaged particle recycling coefficient very close to unity in steady-state operation. This means that almost every plasma ion (hydrogen and helium) will be returned to the plasma, mostly as neutrals. The power flux deposited by the plasma on the divertor surface, on the other hand, can have varying recycling characteristics depending on the material choice of the divertor; the run-time atomic composition of the surface, which can be modified by material mix due to impurity migration in the chamber; and the surface morphology change over time. In general, a high-Z–material (such as tungsten) surface tends to reflect light ions and produce stronger power recycling, while a low-Z–material (such as carbon) surface tends to have a larger sticking coefficient for light ions and hence lower power recycling. Here, an explicit constraint on target plasma density and temperature is derived from the truncated bi-Maxwellian sheath model, in relation to the absorbed power load and power recycling coefficient at the divertor surface. It is shown that because of the surface recombination energy flux, the attached plasma has a sharper response to power recycling in comparison to a detached plasma.