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Last updated: July 02, 2021
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Inversion therapy has become increasingly popular, especially among athletes, as a way to reduce back pain. This unusual therapy involves flipping upside-down on a specialized device known as an inversion table to stretch out your back and strengthen your abdominal muscles to prevent future injuries. In addition to relieving back pain, an inversion table can also help you relax and recover after a workout, treat joint and muscle pain, and improve your overall posture.
Choosing the best inversion table for your body is extremely important to self-treating with this therapy safely and effectively. Different inversion tables are designed to fit people of different weights and heights, so our review of the best inversion tables looks carefully at who each inversion table is designed to fit. Construction quality is another important point of inversion tables, since you not only want the table to be safe but to last for years of daily use. Also, if you plan to treat yourself with inversion therapy frequently or suffer from extreme back and muscle pain, additional features like a built-in heater or electronic massager can make a big difference in the benefits you see from your inversion table.
To find the best inversion table on the market today, we spent tens of hours combing through technical specifications and customer reviews for many of the inversion tables currently on offer. The result is a roundup of our ten favorite inversion tables, highlighted in the table below with the features that set them apart. Continue reading for full reviews, complete with pros and cons, for each inversion table. Our buying guide covers everything you need to know about choosing the inversion table that’s right for your needs, and finally we announce our three favorite inversion tables on the market today.
The EP-970 LTD is one of Teeter’s deluxe models and comes with a variety of features to build on the inversion table that Teeter users already love. First, this model includes a hard plastic lumbar support and rubberized nodules on the table board that can be used for trigger point release in extremely sore or spasming muscles. Second, the ankle support system is designed with an extended locking handle that can be reached with relatively little bending over, making it easier to adjust the tightness of the ankle opening without creating additional back pain. Third, the tether is pre-configured for inversion angles of 20, 40, and 60 degrees, and the table can be locked out in the inverted position for those looking to do workouts while hanging upside down. Like on other Teeter tables, when the tether is not in use, it is easy to adjust the angle of the table by simply moving your arms up and down.
Although this deluxe table comes at a high price point, it also comes with Teeter’s five-year warranty. Users also loved that it is extraordinarily simple and fast to setup compared to other inversion tables and can be folded to save space when it’s not in use.
What makes it special?
Ankle support has extended locking handle
Plastic lumbar support and nodes for trigger point release
What cons did we find?
On the pricey side
Difficult to maintain angles between 60 and 90 degrees
Don’t let the modest price on this inversion table from Health Gear fool you – this table is packed with features aimed at comfort and muscle relief. The backrest is made of four-inch thick memory foam that will contour to your back over time to provide extra comfort, although users note that this can also make it somewhat more difficult for your back to stretch out when you are in the inverted position. On top of the memory foam, the inversion table comes with a removable heat and massage pad that is easily controlled with remote control. Another advantage to this removable pad is that the pad can be used off the inversion table, such as on your favorite chair or in bed.
All of the adjustment for this table is in a single pin-style extension bar below the backrest, although the discomfort that users noted from the backrest itself being too long or too short was minimized since Health Gear rated the height range of this table to a smaller range than tables with the same adjustment style. Users loved that the table could be locked in three positions – 20, 40, and 60 degrees – below full inversion as well as in the full inversion, making it perfect to use for abdominal workouts.
Teeter is one of the best-known manufacturers in inversion tables, and users almost universally love the quality of their tables. Where most inversion tables from other manufacturers use foam backing, Teeter’s table uses a backboard-style hard plastic that is molded to your back. The idea behind this plastic is that it can flex with pressure in your back and allows more slide than foam pads to enhance decompression when you’re flipped upside-down. Also, Teeter sells a separate Accupressure kit for trigger point release for those with serious back muscle spasms.
Although users did not like the ankle rest as much as the ratchet system on the Ironman tables, they did appreciate that this ankle rest system was designed with comfort in mind. Users found the foam padding to be comfortable and adjustable enough to fit any size of ankles. Another aspect of the design that users loved was that the rotation could be easily controlled with just arm movements since the table is so well balanced. However, for those looking to do a serious workout while inverted, a pin system also allows the table to be locked out in the fully inverted position.
Why is it special?
Controlled with arm movements
Hard plastic back flexes with your body
Can be locked in inverted position
What are the flaws?
No lumbar support on backing
Ankle system is more difficult to use than on Ironman tables
This ultra-modern looking inversion table from Ironman is set apart from the pack by its high-end built-in heating technology. The backrest has multiple lumbar-style supports running from your butt to your neck which house carbon-fiber heating coils that provide excellent heat transfer from the backrest to your muscles. The heating is controlled by remote control, which can be stored in a mesh pocket on the inversion table so that it is handy even when you’re in the middle of a therapy session. The remote has an LED display that allows you complete control over the temperature and a timer for the heat to be on.
The table is designed to fit people up to 6’6” in height, although all of the adjustability is in a single pin-based lengthening post – meaning the backrest itself does not adjust to the length of the user’s back. The steel frame is extremely durable and is designed to hold people up to 350 pounds, in contrast to most inversion tables that are only rated to 300 pounds. Users also liked that the table has three different starting positions and that it has hand grips to help you maintain your balance and return upright when you are in the fully inverted position.
Users loved this reasonably priced inversion table made by triathlon and endurance racing company Ironman. One of the best features, which users found surpassed the equivalent part on Teeter inversion tables, was the ratcheting ankle locking system. This system allows you to simply push down on a ratchet strap over your ankle to lock yourself into the inversion table, then to quickly release when you are finished. Users also liked the elongated arms on the sides of the table because they made it easy to pull yourself back up to upright and to use the table for ab workouts. Lastly, the adjustable lumbar pad was a nice feature for providing back support when loading onto the table and when hanging inverted.
One concern that users had with the construction of this table was that the inversion point is metal-on-metal contact rather than supported with ball bearings. However, users did not report problems with wear and tear on the joint over time, and the table comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and a one-year warranty on the rest of the table. Users also appreciated that this table is rated to 350 pounds and that it felt sturdier than tables rated to 300 pounds.
Why are we impressed?
Ratchet ankle locking system
350-pound weight rating
Adjustable lumbar pad
What negatives must you be aware of?
Metal-on-metal contact at inversion point
No lockable inversion angles other than fully inverted
This budget-priced inversion table from Innova comes with all of the features you need to be comfortable while practicing inversion therapy. The backrest is made with a layer of memory foam that conforms to the shape of your spine for comfort. Although other memory foam backrests inhibit the ability of your back to slide and decompress when inverted, on this, table users found the memory foam layer was thin enough that this was not an issue. The table also comes with a removable headrest that adjusts easily to your height as well as a lumbar pad that is slotted so that you can insert a hot or cold compress to enhance your therapy.
Users loved Innova’s pin system that allows you to lock the unit at six different angles from 15 to 85 degrees as well as in the fully inverted position. The ankle system uses a pair of U-shaped cups and users found it to be comfortable enough, although some complained that the footrests are not up to par with the build quality of the rest of the table. Despite the low price, users felt that the table was extremely sturdy and Innova guarantees their table with a one-year warranty.
This inversion table from Innova is one of the most adjustable tables on the market, making it perfect for a wide range of users. The table is designed to fit users from 4’10” to 6’6” in height, but what sets it apart is that it uses three separate adjustable parts to conform to your body. The headrest can be raised and lowered easily, the distance between the backrest and footrest adjusts using a simple pin system, and the footrest itself extend or contract to match the shape of your ankle. Although users found that this adjustability took some trial and error to dial in, they loved that they could find the perfect fit with this chair.
In addition, the footrest itself is reversible to provide more comfort for your feet and ankles when hanging. Placed one way, you can have your ankles pressed against the foam rollers, while placed in the opposite direction you can have your ankles against the U-shaped metal braces for greater security.
Users also loved the adjustability in the angle of inversion that this table offers. The table has six pins slots to provide a range of inversion angles from 15 to 85 degrees, and the table can also be fully inverted.
This deluxe inversion table from Innova comes equipped with built-in heating and massage features for ultimate comfort when practicing inversion therapy. The heat and massage are controlled by a wired remote control, which makes it simple to control the settings even when you are inverted. Users found the heat function to be very helpful for relaxing muscles in the back, although the massage was more of a low-level vibration that created a lot of noise when in use. Also note that the table uses a cord that plugs into a wall and so needs to be placed near an electrical outlet.
Users loved the adjustable lumbar pad thanks to the support it provided for their backs in addition to the decompression when inverted. Like Innova’s ITX9600 table, this table is designed to be highly adjustable with three separate areas of height customization, and the ankle rest is reversible. The elongated handles make it easy for those with arm strength to pull themselves up from an inverted position without a spotter and make it easier to do crunches on this table. Plus, the table is foldable for easy storage if you need to create space when you have guests over.
Users were pleasantly surprised with this low-priced inversion table from Exerpeutic, which lacks some of the advanced features of Ironman and Teeter tables but provides everything you need in a basic inversion table. The table is capable of fully inverting to 180 degrees and can be stopped at any angle thanks to the easily adjustable tether strap, although it is not pre-configured for any particular angles. One thing to note is that the table cannot be locked in the inverted position, so this table is not ideal for those looking to use an inversion table for workouts.
The table is height-adjustable from 4’10” to 6’6” using a single adjustment point based on a pin system. Although this system is not perfect for comfort since it does not adjust the headrest or length of the backrest, it performs well enough for most users to be comfortable. Users also found that the foam rollers around the ankle were comfortable enough for extended inversion therapy sessions without pain or pressure. The extended handlebars make it easier for first-time inversion table users to bring themselves back to an upright position from being upside-down, and the table is balanced well enough to be able to change positions with just your arms.
Users liked this budget-friendly inversion table from Ironman for testing out inversion tables before investing in a more substantial and feature-filled table. The table is relatively minimal in features but is adjustable enough for most users. Like the similarly priced table from Exerpeutic, this inversion table adjusts only at a single point – leaving users to hope that the headrest and backrest are the appropriate length for their bodies when the ankle rest is adjusted to the right length. That said, users appreciated the durability and comfort of the hard nylon backrest and found the locking ankle system comfortable enough despite the minimal padding involved. Not that there are no locking pins to lock the table at a specific angle, although the safety tether strap can be used to ensure that you do not go past a specific inversion angle.
One issue that users had with this inversion table was that the instruction manual is extremely difficult to understand and, as a result, setup takes a significant amount of effort. Some users also had issues with getting the table back to upright, since there are few aids other than the small handlebars for bringing yourself back from an inverted position.
What are our favorite features?
Comfortable back and ankle rest
What could be better?
Cannot be locked in inverted position
The instruction manual is hard to interpret
Few additional features
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve been introduced to our ten favorite inversion tables on the market today, how do you choose among them to find the inversion table that is right for your needs? Our buying guide will explain the basics of how inversion tables work and what you can do with them, as well as take you through the most important features to look for when considering an inversion table. In addition, we’ve included some frequently asked questions to help answer common questions that first-time inversion table users commonly encounter and smooth out the process of starting inversion therapy.
What is an inversion table and how does it work?
An inversion table is a specialized device that allows you to hang upside-down safely when treating yourself with inversion therapy. The idea behind inversion therapy is that a lot of back, muscle, and joint pain comes from compression over time due to gravity always pushing downward. Hanging upside down – essentially reversing the gravity your body feels – provides traction for the spine and can help the process of decompression. Research has demonstrated that inversion therapy is relatively effective at reducing back pain by decreasing inflammation. Also, inversion therapy can improve flexibility and posture and reduce your risk of future back injury.
An inversion table itself works by allowing you to stand with your feet at one end of the table – typically by putting your leg through a padded ankle rest and hooking your foot around a foothold – and then invert yourself using your arms. Some tables are compatible with gravity boots, which are boots designed to hold your feet in place so it does not place as much strain on your calves.
Features to consider before buying
Now, keeping all the advantages of inversion therapy in mind, it’s extremely important that you know exactly what to look for. A poorly constructed inversion table will be of no use and can even harm, so be sure to check the vital point below before you buy.
Construction and capacity
One of the most important design aspects of an inversion table to consider is the material it is made from, since this will determine how much weight the table can hold and its durability and reliability over time. The majority of inversion tables are constructed with steel frames since weight is typically not a concern and this is a relatively inexpensive but extremely strong and durable material. Tables vary much more in what the backrest is constructed from – while many tables use foam or nylon or a combination of the two. The HealthGear ITM5500 uses memory foam, which is particularly good for lumbar comfort when using the inversion table. Other tables, like those made by Teeter, use a molded plastic back that is better for exercising since it does not absorb sweat and stains.
Another important consideration when selecting among inversion tables is their capacity, in terms of the weight and height ranges that they are designed to accept. It is extremely important for safety reasons not to exceed the maximum weight rating of an inversion table, so ensure that the table is strong enough to hold the heaviest person in your household who plans to use it.
Getting the correct height of the table is important both for comfort and for ensuring that your inversion therapy is effective. While most tables have some height range, be sure that your height matches the stated height capacity of the table.
Range of motion
Inversion tables vary in the range of inversion that they allow – not all tables invert fully to 180 degrees, and many offer multiple stops so you can customize your angle of inversion. Especially if you are new to inversion tables, it can be helpful to opt for a table that offers incremental degrees of inversion as well as 180-degree inversion so that you can work up to being fully upside-down over time. Having lesser angles of inversion available to you can also be helpful if you are planning to use your inversion table for workouts.
Safety features can be an important consideration if you are new to inversion tables or have difficulty with mobility to invert or right yourself. Not all inversion tables offer additional safety features, but some like the Ironman Gravity 1000 come with a tether strap so that it is difficult to slide out of the table in case you lose your footing. Another safety system present on some inversion tables like the Ironman Gravity 4000 is a ratcheting ankle strap system that makes it nearly impossible for you to fall out of the inversion table even if you remove your feet from the footholds.
Price and warranty
Price is one of the largest factors differentiating inversion tables, so it is important to have an idea of your budget. Typically, the biggest contributors to added cost among inversion tables are additional features such as built-in massagers and heating pads – as found on the Ironman IFT 4000, for example. In addition, the materials used in the backrest can also contribute to differences in pricing.
Also, keep an eye on the warranty that different manufacturers offer on their inversion tables. Warranties can vary widely, from one year to five years, and having a longer warranty can make a big difference in your confidence when purchasing a brand new inversion table.
What can you do with an inversion table?
While many inversion table users purchase them simply to hang off of for inversion therapy, inversion tables are good for much more than just decompressing your spine. These tables can be used to add difficulty and variety to your workouts. Crunches especially benefit from being performed on an incline, as this makes the workout significantly harder than if it was done on the floor. Correspondingly, the benefits to your core muscles are greater when working out on an inversion table – which in turn further decreases your chances of a later back injury. Having an inversion table that allows you to set incremental inversion angles rather than only inverting to 180 degrees is particularly important if you plan to use it for working out.
Whether you can invert completely, that is, to 180 degrees, depends on your inversion. While most inversion tables are designed to rotate fully to 180 degrees, some are limited to lesser degrees of inversion. Be sure to check your inversion table to see its maximum angle of inversion and whether or not it offers additional stop angles between upright and fully inverted.
Yes! Inversion tables are a great way to make any ab workout either more strenuous or easier, depending on how you have the table oriented. Turning the table so that your head is below your feet will make crunches significantly more difficult and thus provide a better workout, while having your upper body raised above your feet can make crunches easier for those who are just starting to work out the core muscles. Be sure to invest in an inversion table that offers multiple stop angles as opposed to only full inversion if you are planning to use your table to work out your abs.
The weight capacity of inversion tables varies by manufacturer and by the table, but most inversion tables are limited to 300 or 350 pounds. It is important not to exceed the stated weight capacity of your table since this can present an important safety risk when using the table.
Most inversion tables are designed to be relatively straightforward to assemble and require only tools most people already have at home, such as screwdrivers and Allen wrenches. Inversion tables typically come with a set of instructions from the manufacturer that are designed to be easy to interpret and follow. Users report that assembling most inversion tables takes on the order of a few hours for solo or two-person assembly.
Although there is no set time required to see benefits from using an inversion table, most manufacturers and therapists recommend starting out with one to two minutes of inversion and slowly building up to three to five minutes or more as you build comfort with inversion therapy. More important than the amount of time that you are inverted for is the frequency with which you practice inversion therapy – keeping a consistent schedule and inverting twice a day or more is more likely to lead to results than inverting for longer periods.
Our overall favorite inversion tables on the market today are the EP-960 and EP-560 LTDs from Teeter and the ITM5500 from Health Gear. That Teeter was beloved by users should come as no surprise since they are one of the most highly regarded names in inversion tables. Both Teeter tables feature a hard plastic backrest that flexes with your body as you invert and which allows you to slide for full decompression. We gave the crown of best inversion table overall to the EP-970 LTD because of its easily reached locking ankle support system and the inclusion of plastic nodules on the backrest for trigger point release of spasming back muscles. The Health Gear ITM5500 was also a user-favorite thanks to its removable heat and massage therapy pad and ability to lock in four different inverted positions, although the thick memory foam backrest can get in the way of decompressing your back. Overall, it’s hard to go wrong with any of these top three inversion tables.