The inversion table is the popular choice when it comes to practicing inversion therapy in the home.
If you’re completely new to inversion, this page is a great place to start, providing a good overview of the features you can expect to find on most inversions tables.
If you are a bit more experienced with inversion and have previously owned an inversion table, the first part of this page may not be hugely helpful.
However, further down the page we will take a more in-depth look at many of the useful additional features available on various brands of inversion table.
If you are looking to buy a new inversion table, this page will quickly help you get up to speed on what all of the features on an inversion table do.
It will also give you a great overview of the benefits of having certain features on your inversion table.
1. The Headrest – The headrest is a feature that is not always present on inversion tables. Since most inversion tables feature padded backrests there is often little or no need for one. You may also find some inversion tables feature headrests that are simply extensions of the backrest.
If the inversion table you are considering buying doesn’t have a headrest, do not be too put off, it is a fairly insignificant feature that often doesn’t add a great deal to the overall comfort. Especially if the table is padded anyway.
Some inversion tables such as this one from Innova, feature adjustable headrests. This can be a useful feature when helping users to adjust the table to suit their specific center of gravity and therefore make inversion easier and more efficient.
2. Backrest – A feature that is obviously present on every inversion table. Inversion tables can have padded backrests (some of which are better than others), plastic backrests and some more basic models simply feature strong fabric that is stretched around the metal frame (pictured).
If you require high levels of comfort, this could be an important feature to consider.
You may find yourself gravitating towards an inversion table with a padded backrest, however the other styles of backrest are also considered fairly comfortable by many.
You may even wish to consider an inversion table that has heat and massage functions built into the backrest.
We recommend taking a look at the backrest section further down the page to learn more about the benefits of certain backrests.
3. Side Handles – A useful feature, especially for those who are new to inversion or those who are less agile.
Side handles are a great help to provide additional support when you are inverting or when returning back to the upright position.
Those who are fairly comfortable with inversion may not even have any need for the side handles.
However, for anyone just starting out using an inversion table, choosing a table with fairly long side handles is a wise decision. You will find the vast majority of inversion tables feature long side handles.
4. Inversion Angle Limitation Device – Every inversion table will have a feature that gives the user an option to limit the inversion angle.
An angle limitation function is great for those just starting out or for those who prefer not to invert fully. They allow the user to choose the angle they invert up to. They are a great way to build confidence for new users who may be a little wary about inverting completely upside down.
In the image above, the inversion table features a pin limitation device on the side of the table. Other tables may however feature an adjustable tether strap or a metal limitation bar. You can read all about the pros and cons of each of these 3 angle limitation features in the next section, further down the page.
5. Height Adjust-ability – The metal rod which extends down from the backrest features the height scale which allows you to adjust the inversion table to suit your body length to the nearest inch or so.
The rod can be adjusted and locked into place (often using a spring pin system just behind the backrest, pictured) at your required height.
Setting an inversion table to your correct height is a must to ensure good balance during the inversion process. Setting the height too low on the table can cause you to invert much too quickly in a very uncontrollable manner. Whereas setting the table to a length that is longer than your actual height will make inversion quite difficult and it will require a fair bit of effort to even get into the horizontal position.
Inversion tables generally are able to accommodate users between the heights of 4 ft 10″ to around 6 ft 6″. However do make sure you check the recommended heights first as some have smaller ranges and may be unsuitable for taller or shorter users.
6. Inversion Table Frame – Much like the backrest, every inversion table is guaranteed to have a frame from which to attach the backrest.
If you are on the heavier side, the main thing to consider when looking at an inversion table you may wish to purchase is the weight capacity.
Most inversion tables are able to hold up to 300 lbs, although there are some very strong ones which can hold more weight. There are also likely to be ones that may hold less than 300 lbs, so do double check the specific product weight capacity recommendations beforehand.
In our inversion table shop area you can view each tables weight capacity quickly at the storefront. Every table we list will have the weight capacity and recommended user height range in the product description.
In general inversion table frames will be made from sturdy powder coated steel and will fold shut so you can store the table a little more easily when not in use. Frames often also feature protective caps on the base to prevent damage to floors.
7. Ankle Securing Lever – A standard feature that is found on inversion tables which allows the user to securely fasten their ankles in place.
The standard style of lever is usually a spring pin device which lifts up and slots into one of the various size adjustment holes. It allows you to make adjustments so your ankles will be held in place no matter how large or small your ankle diameter may be.
You will also notice there are some inversion tables that feature extra long ankle lock levers, which we will look more into in the section below.
8. Ankle Holders and Footrest – these features are fairly self explanatory.
The footrest is simply a metal bar that runs horizontally across the moving section of the inversion table. It is the area you first step onto and where you position yourself for inversion.
The ankle holders are usually either a pair of foam padded rollers or in a plastic cup style. Or they may be a combination of the two, with foam rollers at the front and cup shaped ankle supports at the back (as pictured to the right). Take a look in the section below to see examples of these variations.
You should now have a good insight into what features to expect on a standard inversion table.
In the next section, we will now take a look at how some of these basic features have been improved upon on certain makes and models.
We will also explore if these improvements are worthwhile and if they add anything to the inversion table or the inversion experience!
Variations on Standard Features
The backrest is an important feature to consider if you value high comfort.
However! Since many who use inversion tables, do not do so for a huge length of time (usually up to 15 mins max), this may be a feature some are not too fussed about.
The majority of modern inversion tables generally feature padded backrests. In fact, you don’t even have to shell out a great deal of cash if you are simply looking for a table with a couple of inches of foam padding in the backrest.
Like many padded or cushioned products, you will find the quality of foam/padding and depth of the padding varies from table to table.
Take the Ironman Gravity 4000 for example (pictured).
When viewed alongside other padded inversion tables, you can clearly see how thick the padding is on the Ironman 4000 in comparison!
In addition to this, the Ironman Gravity 4000 backrest is filled with high quality memory foam and comes with a lumbar support pillow.
Overall a padded backrest is certainly recommended if you want maximum comfort. As is the Ironman 4000!
Backrests with heat and/or massage functions
You would be forgiven for thinking that an inversion table with heat and massage functions would cost a bomb.
However, surprisingly you can often find padded inversion tables with a heat or massage function (or both) for a fairly low price.
Many in fact, are available in a similar price range to most standard padded inversion tables.
Since most inversion tables that feature heat and vibration/massage functions tend to cost around $200, it is worth bearing in mind that sometimes the heat and massage functions may leave a little to be desired!
These functions are often great for a little therapeutic relaxation while on the inversion table and may even help ease or reduce pain slightly.
However, if you are expecting a massage chair style experience from these features you will probably be disappointed!
You can take a look at some of our recommended inversion tables that feature heat and/or massage functions here!
Teeter ComforTrak backrest
Having now seen some of the very stylish looking padded and heated backrests, the patented ComforTrak backrests that are featured on Teeter inversion tables may look a little underwhelming… However looks can be deceiving!
Those with any knowledge of inversion will tell you that Teeter are experts at making inversion tables, and it is for good reason that they choose to opt for the smooth, more ridged bed area.
Whereas padded upholstered beds allow the body to sink into them, the ComforTrak backrest enhances spinal decompression. This allows the user to smoothly slide down the tables backrest and stretch out their spine far more effectively!
It is also worth noting that Teeter inversion tables are very comfortable despite the fact their backrests are not padded.
Other highlights of the ComforTrak bed include the built in black headrest area that you can see in the picture.
You will also notice the linear cutouts that run along the tables bed. Within these ridges you can place additional accessories such as the Lumbar bridge and the colorful acupressure nodes (both pictured).
These accessories are available to purchase separately or are included with the Ltd variations of the popular EP-560 and EP-960 Teeter models.
Shown above in the previous section, fabric backrests are generally found on cheaper inversion tables.
The tightly woven strong fabric is tensely stretched across the width and length of the metal bed frame.
It is safe to say that this style of backrest is probably the most bland on offer. Likewise, the inversion tables that feature this style of backrest are generally the most bland looking and rarely have any of the “above and beyond” features found on some other inversion tables.
The comfort provided by this style of backrest may not be considered the best on offer by some. However, these inversion tables with this style of bed are generally pretty comfortable and are often very well rated and very popular!
One of the most popular inversion tables that features this style backrest is the Ironman gravity 1000.
Inversion Limitation Devices
Every inversion table will feature one of 3 optional features to limit the inversion angle should you require.
All 3 of the features are very easy to use and in all honesty there isn’t a huge benefit to having one over the other.
The Tether Strap
In the image to the right you can see the tether strap hanging down just below the bottom of the backrest. The other end of the strap is attached to the horizontal bar running across the frame of the inversion table.
When you invert, the strong fabric strap tenses up until its full limit is reached and the table stops.
The tether strap is adjustable and therefore the longer the length of the strap, the more you will invert and the higher the angle of inversion. Vice versa, if you do not wish to invert back very far, then the strap can be shortened to your preference.
The one minor downside to using a tether strap inversion table is that it requires a little bit of trial and error to adjust to your preference. As stated this is a very minor downside, as you can test how far back the table will go before getting on it.
You may also find on some inversion tables that the strap has angle increment markings printed on it, to help you get a better idea of what angle the limit will be.
Tether straps feature metal clips on either end so if you do not require any angle limitation, the strap can be removed entirely.
You can view the best inversion tables that feature a tether strap system here.
A Slot Pin System
A slot pin system is a great way to limit the inversion table angle at set points.
As you can see in the image to the left, the angle increments are clearly labelled. To select the inversion angle you simply have to place the bolt pin into the hole you require.
The angles on offer do tend to vary from table to table. As you can see in the image, this particular inversion table (the Innova ITX9600) has increments of 15, 30, 45, 60 or 85. Whereas other inversion tables may have 20 degree increments, for example. 20, 40, 60 and 80.
Although this system is more ridged than having a tether strap, it is a little less fiddly.
Much like the tether strap you also have the option of not using the system, when you wish to fully invert. Either by removing the pin entirely or by placing it in the 90 degree angle slot (should the inversion table feature one).
One variation of the spring pin system is the patented iControl disk brake system that can be found on some Exerpeutic and Ironman inversion tables such as these.
The iControl system allows for infinite (multiple) angle positioning and can be controlled while using the inversion table!
Angle Restriction Bar
The metal restriction bar is the rarest inversion limitation device and the most primitive. However, if you look hard enough you will occasionally find inversion tables that feature it.
It is essentially just a metal bar that can be positioned horizontally along the rear legs of the frame.
On this style of inversion table, the rear of the frame features numerous selection holes that will be marked to show the restriction angle. The bar simply slots into one of these sets of holes and when you invert the backrest will rest upon the bar once the selected angle has been achieved.
Ankle Securing Pin/Handle & Ankle Holders
When it comes to securing your ankles into the ankle holders, inversion tables will either have a standard spring pin device or an extra long handle.
If you do have trouble bending down or are worried about putting extra strain on your back and spine, choosing an inversion table with an easy to reach extra long handle is advised.
There is not much to touch on with regards ankle holders on inversion tables.
An inversion table will either have dual foam padded rollers or molded plastic cup shaped holders.
Some may also have a combination of the two as you can see in the image below.
Some inversion tables such as the Exerpeutic 975SL also have patented Airsoft ankle holders (pictured right) that adjust to the contours of the ankles more evenly than standard holders.
Depending on how much you value comfort, you may wish to choose an inversion table with very comfortable patented ankle holders. However, the majority of inversion tables feature fairly comfortable ankle supports regardless of if they are rollers or cupped designs.
The spring pin ankle adjuster works in the same way the height adjustment works on an inversion table.
You have a number of selection holes running along the piece of metal that holds your ankles in place.
To secure your ankles you simply bend down whilst positioned on the table, lift the rubber capped spring pin (the small thin cylinder bar in the image, right) and move the foam rollers/ankle cups into a secure position around your ankles.
The pin can then be released and slotted into the nearest selector hole.
Easy Reach Ratchet Ankle Lever
An extra long handle to secure your ankles is now a very popular feature found on a lot of inversion tables.
The main benefit of this (as touched upon before) is that you do not need to bend down in order to secure your ankles into place. This reduces the chances of putting strain or pressure upon your spine and back muscles.
The easy to reach ankle securer is certainly a great addition to have on an inversion table. It makes securing your ankles a lot easier with minimal hassle.
If you feel that this useful feature may benefit you, you can take a look at some of the best inversion tables that feature an extra long ankle lever here!
Traction Handles and Additional Stretching Implements
The addition of traction handles or stretching bars are great features to have on any inversion table.
With these additions you do not not simply have to rely on the reverse affects of gravity in order to decompress and stretch out your spine. As they allow you to actively force more stretch from your body, should you so require.
Stretch Bar or Handles
On some inversion tables you may have noticed that the rear floor support on the frame curves upwards in the middle. This stretch bar feature is often found on inversion tables from the Exerpeutic brand.
You may have also seen inversion tables with stretch handles situated on the back bar in the corners (pictured on the Exerpeutic 975SL inversion table).
As you can see in the picture having a stretching bar or handles is a nice addition when you are inverting. It also allows for more control when in an inverted position.
If you require a table that allows for a little extra stretch, these simple yet effective features are an excellent addition.
You can take a look at all of the inversion tables that have a stretch bar or other additional stretching features here.
It is rare to find an inversion table that is as feature packed as the EP-960 inversion table from Teeter!
A table that features multiple stretching points and traction handles.
As you can see on the image to the right, this model of Teeter inversion table features 3 grips built into the backrest (a feature you certainly will not find on a padded inversion table).
The grips situated on either side of the table bed and at the top of the bed, are ideal for performing a range of stretches that would not be particularly easy on other inversion tables.
On the inside of the side handles you can also see the two traction handles pointing upwards.
These traction handles can be used to increase decompression when inverted at lower angles. Or can be used to apply rhythmical oscillation by sequentially pushing and releasing the handles.
You should now have a good overview of many of the different features that can be found on a variety of makes and models of inversion table.
If you are looking for inversion tables with one of these specific features, you can find them in our inversion shop area here.
We have also added filters to the shop area so you can easily search for inversion tables that possess the specific features you may require!