Best Inversion Table Reviews for 2021

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This is a review article of the five best inversion tables currently on the market.

Anyone who’s ever had back pain knows all too well how it can take the joy out of life.

In some cases like mine was (see below), it can make daily living very difficult if not almost unbearable.

Whether from work-related or sports injuries, sitting with bad posture for years, or simply from leading a sedentary life, back pain is a real drag.

 

If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best inversion table is, I can easily & highly recommend the Teeter EP-970 Ltd., which I bought awhile ago.

The wife & I use it almost daily here and its made a big difference in both of our respective back & nerve issues.

 

Fortunately for many people, the inversion table offers a simple path to welcome relief, even if not a cure.

And this article reviews five top-rated models I believe are worth a look.

All of them provide above average quality for their respective prices, user-friendly features, & high owner satisfaction ratings.

 

Best Inversion Tables in 2020

Teeter EP-970 Ltd.

Ironman Gravity 4000

Innova ITX9600

Teeter EP-560 Ltd.

Exerpeutic 225 SL

 

 

test tubes red - heydayDo icon

Science resources included

As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science & medical resources, clinical studies, and nutritional data used in this article.

 

 

 

Quick Peek:

Best Inversion Table Overall

Teeter EP-970 Ltd. Inversion Table

Teeter EP-970 - heydayDo image

 

This top-rated inversion table from the Teeter Hang Ups people has a better design & more therapeutic features than most other inversion tables.

 

 

Best Cheap Heavy Duty Inversion Table

Ironman Gravity 4000 Inversion Table

Ironman Gravity 4000 - heydayDo image

My vote for the best inversion table for the money among the low-priced models, this Ironman inversion table is sturdy & easy to use.

 

 

Best Cheap Inversion Table

Innova ITX9600 Inversion Therapy Table

Innove ITX9600 - heydayDo image

No inversion table in the ITX9600’s low-end price range can match its quality of build or functional feature set.

 

 

Top-Rated Inversion Table Honorable Mentions

Teeter EP-560 Ltd.

Teeter EP-560 Ltd - heydayDo image
Well-built with thoughtful design and very similar to the EP-970 Ltd., it costs less mainly due to two design differences:

  • a different ankle locking system
  • the design of the handles

 

 

Exerpeutic 225 SL Inversion Table

Exerpeutic 225 SL Inversion Table - heydayDo image

Made by the same company that makes the Ironman 4000, this has a similar build quality along with very comfortable ankle locks.

 

 

Best Inversion Table Overall

Teeter EP-970 Ltd.

Teeter EP-970 - heydayDo image
I first provide a brief summary of what I feel are the Teeter EP-970 Ltd.’s main points of interest, then follow it with a deeper & more detailed evaluation in case you’re interested.

 

A few of the many EP-970 Ltd. features:

  • Excellent ankle support
  • Extra set of handles for more user control
  • Movable pressure points & lumbar support

 

What I like:

  • Excellent construction
  • Thoughtful design
  • Great warranty
  • Excellent grades from its owners

 

Potential issues for some:

  • It’s big – 8 feet of ceiling headroom recommended
  • Higher price tag than other popular inversion tables

 

Summing it up:

The Teeter EP-970 Ltd. is easily one of the best inversion tables for home use on the market.

> Check Price on Amazon <<

 

inversion table orange - heydayDo icon

 

In-Depth Teeter EP-970 Ltd. Review

 

About the Teeter EP-970 Ltd.

Teeter, familiar to many as Teeter Hang Ups, is a US-based company that has been designing and making inversion tables since 1981.

Their founder Roger Teeter is an engineer and involved in fitness equipment development beyond inversion tables.

 

I mention all that because thoughtful design is apparent in their inversion tables that I’m familiar with: the EP-560 Ltd., the older EP-960 Ltd., & the EP-970 Ltd., which I own.

I bought the EP-970 Ltd. after I had researched a dozen or so of the more popular models.

That list consisted of the inversion tables I could track down at local sporting goods & Big Box stores that also received high marks from online buyers.

 

Why I bought it & how it helped

I bought my inversion table in an attempt to heal myself enough so that I could avoid spinal fusion surgery.

 

I am so glad I did (<< understatement of the millennium there).

I have a ruptured disc between spine bones L4 & L5.

It leaks spinal fluid, which on the MRI looks like a strand of pearls wrapping around the exposed nerve endings.

Yeah, it hurt like h**l at one point.

 

Teeter Ep-970 angle tether - heydayDo image

My Teeter’s angle-setting tether makes inverting a breeze.

 

Surgeons want to use the knife

Fusion surgery or surgery with metal implants to maintain disc space was recommended by two different spine surgeons I visited (anyone surprised? 😄).

Highly qualified gents, both are affiliated with multiple pro sports teams.

One of them drives a car I think cost more than my house.

I’ve already had a few “saw you in half” open heart surgeries since I was a kid, so I wasn’t freaked out about getting cut open again.

But…

 

…Thanks but no thanks, I’ll try something else

I saw what invasive spinal surgery did to my dad.

It made the last 20 years of his life very difficult.

He was often debilitated and either full of pain or pills.

Or he was shuttling to & from the hospital dealing with festering infections near his spine where they operated on him.

I have also seen & heard how pro athletes Tiger Woods & Steve Kerr have struggled to deal with “life after back surgery”.

There’s a lot of back pain worn on their faces these days.

There’s no way I’m going there knowing all of this, I told myself.

 

Bottom line:

The inversion table is a big part of my pain-free/surgery-free success.

(Weight training, stretching, & working outside on my feet are a big help too.)

I’m now a few years past those dire diagnoses from them darn doctors.

I’m not pain-free 100% of the time, but I never take any pain pills or Advil anymore.

And I’m able to be physically active here in my 60s. 😊

 

 

EP-970 Ltd. replacing the EP-960 Ltd.

This EP-970 Ltd. is the newer upgraded model of the EP-960 Ltd. It looks like Teeter has phased or is phasing the 960 Ltd. out, since they no longer list it on their website.

The EP-970 Ltd. from Teeter Hang Ups is very well-built, using top quality materials and workmanship with user safety & owner satisfaction clearly in mind.

Its heavy-duty steel frame insures a stable & secure environment.

And the precision engineering of its locks and rotational systems provide the user easy-to-manage control of the inversion table.

In the short video below, Roger Teeter does a EP-970 vs. EP-560 comparison:

 

 

A few smart design features

Smart design features throughout the inversion table improve the inversion therapy experience in terms of comfort, ease of use, and therapeutic performance.

Some examples include:

* Top-notch construction. Its use of high-grade materials and excellent component design maximize safety and durability.

* Best in class ankle support system with contoured ankle cups and an extra-long locking handle well within easy reach.

 

Teeter EP-970 ankle locking pads - heydayDo image

My Teeter’s very comfortable pads on the ankle locks.

 

 

Teeter ankle locking system and handle - heydayDo image

No low-back strain from having to bend over down to my ankles to unlock myself from the inversion table; just push the blue button.

 

 

* An extra set of traction handles that add more user control to the inversion therapy experience.

Teeter EP-970 2 sets of traction handles - heydayDo image

The long set of handles rotate with you and make it easy to control your motion.

 

 

* Easy-to-read, easy-to-adjust user height – for dialing your exact equilibrium point for easy inverting.

Teeter EP-970 user height adjustment - heydayDo image

 

* Acupressure nodes and a lumbar bridge that can be moved by the user to where they’re needed most.

 

 

Excellent warranty comes with the EP-970 Ltd.

Teeter’s EP-970 Ltd. has the best warranty (by far) of any inversion table brand.

Most brands offer a 1-year or less warranty, some limiting it to certain parts of their inversion table, for example just the frame.

Teeter provides a 5-year full warranty that covers “repair and replacement against manufacturing defects in materials, workmanship, fabrics and padding”.

 

 

EP-970 Ltd. High Owner Satisfaction Ratings

Owner satisfaction ranks very high with the EP-970 Ltd.

More than a thousand users have contributed feedback online, and 95% of this Teeter model’s reviews are 4&5-star.

It is rated excellent by 83% of its owners.

 

 

Easy to Assemble

It is well-packaged for shipping and comes with a clear owner’s manual.

The EP-970 Ltd. “comes 80% preassembled” per Teeter.

It only requires attaching a few of the larger pieces together, so it’s easily assembled in a half an hour or less.

 

 

Their assembly app makes it easy

I downloaded a cool little app Teeter provides in the owner’s manual, designed to assist in the assembly.

Once installed on my phone, it provided step-by-step voice instructions + 3D images that let me shift the viewing perspective of the parts I was building.

It really made assembling the inversion table a breeze.

 

 

Free Shipping on Amazon

This is nice since it weighs around 70 lb.

 

Check price & reviews on Amazon

 

 

 

Best Cheap Heavy Duty Inversion Table

Ironman Gravity 4000

Ironman Gravity 4000 - heydayDo image
I first provide a brief summary of what I feel are the Ironman Gravity 4000’s main points of interest, then follow it with a deeper & more detailed evaluation in case you’re interested.

 

What I like:

  • Solid and stable
  • User friendly + affordable quality
  • Excellent owner ratings

 

Potential issues for some:

  • Heavier than other inversion tables, it’s between 75 and 80 lb.
  • No exact inversion degree markers

Check price & reviews on Amazon

 

In-Depth Ironman Gravity 4000 Review

Features of the Ironman 4000

Here’s a deeper look at the design & materials found in the Ironman 4000 inversion table.

 

Built Solid

* An extra-wide, powder-coated steel tubular frame for high-capacity weight support up to 350 lb.

* Tough, rubber non-skid floor stabilizers prevent movement during inversion, which promotes a secure & safe feeling

* All adjustment mechanisms made of metal, with plastic for end caps & covers

 

Smart Design

* Foam covered extra-long safety handles help return the user to an upright position after finishing inversion

* It has the full 90 degree inversion capability, if you want to relive your inner jungle gym. Or as Ironman puts it so the expert user can get full benefits of inversion therapy

* Employs a patented, unique, palm-activated gear release ratchet system for easy & safe ankle-locking adjustments. No back bending or pulling required

* 3 starting angle adjustments

* There’s a safety tether strap that controls max inversion angle

* Height adjustment controlled via a pin (4’9” – 6’6”)

* Features safety vinyl side covers to prevent pinching during use

 

User Comforts

* A thoughtful, functional design puts user controls ergonomically within easy reach. All of the adjustable components are easy to use.

* Has a 2” memory foam water resistant backrest with vinyl covering & double stitching that promotes years of comfortable use

* Comfortable removable lumbar pillow to support lower back if needed

* Comfortable ankle holders prevent pinch point discomfort

Ironman Gravity 4000 - heydayDo image

Ironman 4000 Size

The Ironman 4000 ships at 49”x 26”x 65”, but depending on your height it expands to 78” high (6’ 6”).

I mention it elsewhere, but as a reminder: make sure you have enough space, especially the headroom – at least 7 feet minimum is recommended.

As noted earlier, being “heavy-duty” means the Ironman 4000 weighs a little more than other inversion tables; it’s 76 lb.

 

High owner satisfaction rating

95% of owners gave it 4 or 5-star reviews, and 80% of them rated the Ironman 4000 excellent.

There are thousands of positive owner reviews online.

 

Potential issues for some:

* It’s heavy, nearly 80 lb…sturdiness comes at the cost of it not being a breeze to move around.

* The ankle support system was not comfortable for a few users.

* While it can adjust to a fully inverted position and several positions in between, it doesn’t have pinpoint degree presets like some of the more expensive models (not that you need them to benefit).

 

Smooth assembly

The Ironman 4000 is fairly easy (not quick, but easy) to assemble due to a decent owner’s manual and its simplicity in design.

 

Free Shipping

It’s free on Amazon, again a perk because the Ironman weighs close to 80 lb.

 

Summing it up:

The Ironman Gravity 4000 is affordably priced, and is a quality-built inversion table without any add-on bells & whistles.

If you don’t want to pay for one of the more expensive models, consider taking a look at this solid option.

With its stripped-down approach, Ironman is able to sell this inversion table for about half the price of the high-end models.

It comes with a 1-year warranty on the structural frame, and a helpful Owner’s Manual.

Check price & reviews on Amazon

 

 

Best Cheap Inversion Table

Innova ITX9600

Innova 9600 - heydayDo image

I first provide a brief summary of what I feel are the Innova ITX9600’s main points of interest, then follow it with a deeper & more detailed evaluation in case you’re interested.

 

What I like:

  • Great bang for the buck – it’s bare bones but it’s well-built and dirt cheap
  • Sturdy steel build
  • Very good owners’ grades – 93% 4 & 5-star ratings with over 11,000 online reviews

 

What’s not so good:

  • Uncomfortable ankle holders were reported by a few people (remember how inexpensive it is)

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

 

In-Depth Innova ITX9600 Review

In the market for an inversion table but can’t afford the higher quality models?

For the price of about two chiropractor co-pays, the Innova ITX9600 offers a decent quality inversion table that is as good or better than anything in its price range.

 

Features of the Innova ITX9600

Arguably the least expensive inversion table worth buying, this Innova inversion table is cheap but not cheaply made.

Recognize that it’s a half to a quarter of the cost of other top-quality inversion tables.

Thus it’s unreasonable to think that the ITX9600 is as good as the best inversion tables.

Yet it has all of the essentials that make up a good inversion table. A few of my observations:

  • At 56 lb., it weighs less than other top inversion tables but still has a sturdy feel
  • Lots of happy owners
  • Well-packaged with clear assembly instructions; most owners say it’s very easy to build
  • The foot and head adjusters are easy to set to your center of gravity
  • Several preset degree settings onboard that lock using a pin, from light inversion to nearly fully inverted

 

More on what I like

Good value. The ITX9600 is the only low-budget inversion table that has any quality at all built into it (that’s just my opinion of course).

Steel & stable – A steel frame & adjustable components provide sturdy & secure inversion.

Adjustable headrest – There’s a separate adjustable headrest, versus just one long backrest. Many other models have only the height adjustment down below the backrest. The upper & lower adjusters make it easy to dial in your unique center of gravity.

1-year warranty – The materials & workmanship are backed by a 1-year warranty.

Shipping free on Amazon

 

More on what’s not so good

A bit of squawking about comfort

There are a few complaints about the ankle holders not being very comfortable.

They have one side as a typical ankle cup and the other a foam roller, and the holder is reversible.

It’s a cheap but doable setup on a cheap but very usable inversion table.

The workarounds I’ve seen people go for are thick socks, towels, & shoes with decent padding.

 

A rare missing part

Every once in a great while, a unit was shipped missing a part.

Innova’s based in the US (California), and they’re easy to get ahold of, and usually quick to deal with any customer issues.

Check price & reviews on Amazon <<

 

 

 

3 girls hanging upside down like we do on an inversion table - heydayDo image

 

Best Inversion Table Honorable Mentions

Both of the following two inversion tables definitely deserve mentioning, even if I didn’t give them an arbitrary “best in class” award.

They both are well-made with thoughtful design features and sturdy construction.

 

Teeter EP-560 Ltd.

Teeter EP-560 Ltd - heydayDo image

 

If you’re looking for a quality Teeter inversion table for less money than the EP-970 Ltd. I mentioned earlier, this one is a good option.

This EP-560 Ltd. has a couple of feature differences compared to the EP-970 that explains its lower price: more basic designs for the ankle locking system and for the handles on either side of the table ‘bed’.

The bigger of the two design differences is that the 970 model has an extended handle for securing your ankles in the concave ankle cups, if bending forward causes back pain discomfort.

This long handle makes it easier to lock & unlock them without having to bend over or reach for it, like you would here with the EP-560.

The rest of the EP-560 Ltd. unit – and I mean just about all of it – is of very similar build design & quality to the EP-970 Ltd.

Check price & reviews on Amazon <<

 

 

inversion table brown - heydayDo icon

 

 

Exerpeutic 225 SL Inversion Table

Exerpeutic 225 SL Inversion Table - heydayDo image

Exerpeutic products are made by Paradigm Health & Wellness (the same parent manufacturer as the Ironman Gravity 4000 I reviewed earlier).

Though not as heavy-duty as the Ironman, this model is similar to the Ironman in a number of ways – I’ve seen them side by side.

 

Both have the longer handled, palm-activated ankle locking mechanism.

This means people with back pain don’t have to bend over to unlock the ankle holders.

The Exerpeutic 225SL doesn’t use the tether strap to limit the inversion angle.

Instead, it uses a crossbar that you use to limit the max inversion angle you’re comfortable with.

The add-on Airsoft ankle holders are well-liked by 225 SL owners, who praised the extra comfort.

Note that the user weight limit on this unit is 250 lb. which is 50 lb. less than most models featured in this article, and 100 lb. less than the Ironman.

Excellent 4 & 5-star owner satisfaction rating of 96% (100+ reviews)

Check price & reviews on Amazon

 

 

 

How an Inversion Table Works

3 flying foxes hanging upside down from a tree branch

 

The inversion table is a simple concept that works by using your bodyweight & gravity.

By inverting your body – having your head and upper torso suspended below your hips & legs – gravity gently stretches your spine.

You may have seen pics of young, fit people leisurely hanging completely upside down (in 90 degree inversion).

 

It should be noted that ‘fully upside down’ is not needed to achieve therapeutic benefit.

 

This research study used 60 degree inversion – which is a little more than halfway to ‘the upside down’.

Researchers noted that “pain was significantly improved after 8 weeks”  for 47 women participants with CBLP (chronic low back pain).

 

How Long On An Inversion Table

If you’re just starting out, start with a minute or two per session.

See how your body feels with that, and gently increase the length of your inversion therapy sessions over the coming weeks.

Real long inversion sessions don’t equate to more back pain relief.

In the study I mentioned above, the participants who’s conditions improved did just three, three-minute sessions a day.

 

For what it’s worth, I followed & still follow the “3 minutes, 3 times a day” routine used in those medical studies.

 

Inversion Therapy: How Often?

Experienced owners, science researchers, and manufacturers of inversion tables all say the same thing: frequent sessions provide the greater benefit.

Short inversion sessions a couple of times, or a few times per day, seems to be the most recommended approach.

This makes sense since the relief from back pain inversion therapy provides is in most cases is temporary, although how long “temporary” is varies widely from person to person.

After all, a few minutes on an inversion table isn’t as permanent as are the effects of invasive spinal surgery attempting to repair a damaged piece of your spine’s hardware.

Thank goodness.

Inversion therapy can be a vital part of an ongoing therapeutic plan to lessen the pain caused by that injured piece of hardware.

 

Benefits of Using an Inversion Table

Woman in park doing handstands

 

In this section we will hear about inversion table benefits from the owners of inversion tables, as well as from the makers of inversion tables.

I also share my research into the clinical studies on inversion therapy.

I focused on 4 research trials where inversion tables provided significant pain relief and increased flexibility to the participants in those studies.

 

What manufacturers say

from Teeter: 

(Inversion tables) “can offer relief for many back pain conditions because of the use of gravity & body weight to decompress the spine. 

This secret is how Teeter helps to rejuvenated discs, relieve pressure on nerves, realign the spine, and release muscle tension naturally.”

 

from Ironman:

“an easy way to achieve disc decompression”

“reduce stress through inversion therapy”

“Ironman athletes use inversion tables to increase strength, stamina, & endurance, and an overall feeling of well-being before & after their races”

“It can realign your spine, reduce nerve pressure, and relaxes your muscles by simply using the Earth’s gravity”

 

from Exerpeutic:

“Inversion may help reduce back stress and strain by relieving pressure on the vertebrae discs and ligaments. 

It may help reduce fatigue and relaxes the overall body. 

Inversion therapy may also help promote stimulation of blood circulation resulting in the relief of stiff muscles and increasing body flexibility and even can improve athletic performance.

Just 5 or 10 minutes of inversion therapy every day may help relieve lower back aches and pains due to sitting, standing or any other cause of muscle soreness and strain.”

 

What inversion table owners are saying

“I bought this about 4 months ago…diagnosed with herniated disc with multiple degenerative discs…4 months later I have almost zero pain in my back”

“I no longer use a chiropractor and I am no longer living in chronic pain!”

“…this table has paid for itself quickly in terms of relief”

“Two or three weeks of regular use and I stopped using the NSAIDS”

“I was skeptical about inversion boards, but chronic back pain led to desperation. I use it a few times a day for about 5-10 minutes. It has helped significantly.”

 

Inversion Table Scientific Research

Image of pain centers on woman's spine

Here are 4 clinical studies I found during my research on the benefits of inversion table therapy.

Study 1 –

Chronic Low Back Pain Reduced

This research study of 47 women diagnosed with CBLP (chronic lower back pain) had the participants use inversion therapy at different angles.

The patients did 9 minutes of inversion per day, broken into 3 x 3-minute sessions. This program went for 8 weeks.

Afterwards the researchers observed that “pain was significantly improved” for those patients who inverted at 60 degrees.

They also concluded that:

“Inversion traction at angle of −60◦ reduced back pain or discomfort and improved lumbar flexibility and isokinetic trunk extensor strength in patients with CLBP following an 8 week program. 

Therefore, this treatment modality may be suitable for patient groups of similar CLBP (chronic low back pain).”

 

Study 2 –

Need for Surgery Avoided

This second study consisted of patients who were awaiting spinal surgery for lumbar disc disorders.

Split into two groups, the control group only received physiotherapy, while the inversion group had the physiotherapy + inversion for 6 weeks.

In their conclusion, researchers wrote:

“Intermittent traction with an inversion device resulted in a significant reduction in the need for surgery.”

 

77% of the patients in the inversion group were able to avoid surgery while only 22% of the ‘physiotherapy only’ escaped the knife.

 

Health Safety - heydayDo icon

 

 

Study 3 –

Inversion Increases Disc Space In Lower Back

In this study from the US Army, x-rays of the lower back area were taken before & after inversion therapy.

Researchers then measured distances between the vertebrae.

They concluded:

“Gravity-facilitated traction produces significant separation in the intervertebral dimensions of the lumbar spine”, and that

“ If separation of the lumbar -vertebrae indeed plays a role in the symptomatic relief of low back pain of both discogenic (age-related disc deterioration) and non-discogenic origin, then gravity-facilitated traction may be an effective modality in the treatment of these conditions.” 

 

Man with back pain needs the best inversion table - heydayDo image

 

Study 4 –

Inversion Therapy Reduces Back Pain Significantly

Finally, this fourth study was conducted using employees at Volvo’s aerospace plant in Sweden.

Their research trial was actually aimed at finding a successful way to reduce employee absenteeism due to low back pain.

Criteria for participation included having been diagnosed & treated for low back pain by the company’s medical department.

The study lasted a year with over 100 participants.

Inversion therapy’s effect on low back pain and flexibility were measured.

Also recorded were the number of sick days taken in the years prior to & following the inversion therapy.

Below are a few of the observations the medical researchers wrote:

 

Pain reduced

“ A significant dose-related reduction in pain was noted for the training (inversion) groups as compared to the control (no inversion) group after 3 and 12 months.”

 

Back pain sick days were reduced

“Sick-leave due to LBP (low back pain) fell an average of 7.9 days per individual in the training groups compared to the year prior to the study, whereas control-group absenteeism increased.”

 

Flexibility increased

“Forward flexion measured by finger-to-floor distance indicated increased back flexion compared to baseline in the training groups but not in the control group.”

 

 

 

Inversion Table Buying Guide

Teeter EP-970 - heydayDo image

 

I think there are four main points to consider when buying an inversion table:

  • Are there any must-have product features you want or need?
  • Are you healthy enough to use an inversion table? Would your doctor clear you for takeoff?
  • Do you have enough space in your home for an inversion table?
  • Are you aware that you need to start an inversion therapy program slowly, using only slight angles and short inversion sessions?

 

Features to Consider

Here are a couple of things to think about when comparing certain features between inversion tables.

 

Enough degrees of inversion

Do you want full upside down inversion?

Some inversion tables on the market don’t go all the way to 180* degrees, like the Exerpeutic 225SL mentioned here.

Its steepest angle is 165, almost there but not quite.

All the other inversion tables I reviewed are good to go.

(*AKA ’90’ degrees by Teeter. It’s the same fully upside down position, Teeter just starts counting the degrees at horizontal vs. standing erect.)

 

Ankle locking

Do you need a long locking handle?

For some folks with low back pain, bending forward to reach for something is painful.

I’m pretty sure that’s the reason some inversion table models have a long handle for locking & unlocking the ankle locks.

You can easily reach it without having to go all the way down to your ankles.

The models I reviewed that have the long-handled lock are the:

 

Those that don’t are the:

 

Ankle comfort

I mentioned somewhere that out of the dozen or so inversion tables I checked out, only one of them (the Exerpeutic 225SL) had zero complaints about their ankle holders being uncomfortable.

So it seems the ankle discomfort comes with the territory for a small percentage of people, no matter which inversion table it is.

When I test-drove the models I had access to, I was wearing thick winter socks (took off my boots). Nothing bothered my ankles, but I didn’t go to full inversion either.

Owners online fielding questions from sore-ankle newbies suggested socks, shoes, towels, etc. Those all seemed to eliminate ankle soreness during inversion.

 

So anyway, out of all the inversion tables I reviewed here, my Teeter EP-970 LTD. & the Exerpeutic 225SL win the “Most Comfortable Ankles” award.

 

All the rest had nearly the same amount of users squawking about their ankles, except for the Innova ITX9600.

I noticed it had a slightly higher incidence of complaints about their ankle holders.

(No coincidence that it is the cheapest priced inversion table in the bunch.)

 

Other minor things

Padding vs. no-padding

Either way it probably doesn’t matter much.

Most tables have some form of it but Teeter doesn’t, and they’re considered a top-tier inversion table company.

They don’t use it because they believe that the slicker material they use for their backrest promotes better body sliding and better stretching.

I figure it’s not a mattress that I’m sleeping on for 8 hours, so whatever I’m laying on for a few minutes at a time (my Teeter EP-970 Ltd.) is fine.

 

Heat & massage pads:

None of the inversion tables I review in this article come with heat & massage options.

There are models in the market that do, like Innova’s ITM4800 & ITM5900.

 

I’m of the opinion that heat &/or massage options are definitely NOT a critical component of inversion therapy benefit.

It’s all about the gravity I think.

 

On those two Innova models they’re removable, and a number of owners commented that they have indeed taken them off.

And left them off.

They just didn’t like ‘em all that much.

 

Get your doctor’s approval first

While inversion table therapy has provided relief for thousands of people from back pain, not everyone should use it.

There are a number of medical conditions & contraindications that make an inversion table an ill-advised or unsafe choice.

 

The most common health problems that’ll prevent you from inversion therapy are high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, & glaucoma.

 

These are just a few contraindications, and there are several others so be sure to get your doctor’s approval to use an inversion table before beginning any inversion therapy program.

 

Got room?

All decent inversion tables require adequate space in your home.

The product dimensions provided in the manufacturer’s product specs give you some idea of its size, but don’t tell the whole story.

Remember that most inversion tables are built to hold a person as tall as 6’ 6” (78”) in height if necessary.

Add to that several more inches to accommodate the distance between the foot rests and the floor.

That gets it to around 7 feet being the bare minimum amount of height clearance needed to safely use most inversion tables.

Some, like the EP-970 Ltd. featured in this article need an 8-foot ceiling.

Also allow for adequate open space around the inversion table so you can get on & off it easily.

inversion-table-red-icon

Pick a good spot for it

Another consideration regarding room is the fact that inversion tables typically weigh between 60 & 80 lb.

And they’re not compact.

So for some people, they’re not the easiest things to move around in your home.

That means that once you’ve assembled it, it’s likely to remain in that spot or in that room.

So pick a good place for it before you build it.

And while most manufacturers say something along the lines of “it folds for easily putting in storage”,well…two things:

  • see what I wrote previously about their heaviness, and
  • have you seen one of these things folded?

They still take up some space.

I’m just guessing – but you might not want to deal with any of that on a daily basis, so remember “location, location, location”.

Finally, also be sure the floor you put it on is level.

 

Start slow, don’t overdo it

Even if you have a clean bill of health from your doctor, take it easy when starting out on an inversion table.

Don’t go completely upside down.

Don’t have an inversion session that lasts longer than a few minutes either.

If you overdo it, an inversion table could make your back pain worse.

Or you could injure yourself in some other way.

By the way, you do know that inverting completely upside down isn’t needed nor necessarily the best position for achieving pain-relief stretching benefits, right?

Remember that scientific trial I referenced earlier, where the participants experienced “significant” pain improvement using 60 degree inversion (a little more than halfway to upside down).

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Wrapping Up

I hope that this article reviewing inversion tables is useful to you, and that the medical research on inversion table benefits and inversion table buying guide are helpful too.

I wish you well on your fitness journey; let’s go.

– greg

January 2021

 

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About heydayDo

heydayDo author Greg Simon
Hi I’m Greg Simon. Fitness training & nutrition researching since 1982. Organic food & wine grower. Surfer. Congenital heart disease survivor (so far). Read more…
heydayDo is my “fitness after 50” website that’s about embracing the physically active lifestyle as we get older.
 
I write about the fitness and health research I’ve found concerning the quality of life benefits that exercise and good nutrition provide.
 
When I get curious about something, I’ll dig into whatever sports science & medical facts there are on the topic to learn what’s real & what’s only hype. I also post my experiences product-testing & evaluating home gym equipment & fitness supplements.
 
 It’s an information-sharing, personal opinion blog of mine.
 
So if you’re looking for medical or nutritional advice, please consult with your doctor or health professional for that, since heydayDo does not provide medical advice.