The 7 Best Inversion Tables Of 2023 For Immediate Muscle Relief
While inversion tables may be new on your radar, getting upside down to take pressure off the spine is actually no new practice. Hippocrates is documented to have used inversion therapy with patients he treated way back in 400 B.C., and granted, his inversion methods were just a bit different than the best inversion tables on the market today—but the advantages are the same.
While more traditional methods like yoga ropes and headstands will still help you achieve the benefits of inversion, inversion tables allow users to safely tilt backward at varying angles, in order to stretch, decompress, and take pressure off the spine. If you're suffering from a sore back, swollen legs, or general muscle soreness, this might be just the tool you're missing (as long as there are no contradictions for you to start inverting).
Keep reading to learn how inversion tables can benefit your physical recovery and overall health and to find our picks for the best inversion tables of 2023.
The best inversion tables:
The best inversion tables:
What is an inversion table, and who can benefit from them?
Inversion tables use gravity to take pressure off the spinal discs by opening the space between vertebrae. These tables also give your muscles and ligaments the space to naturally stretch out, helping to elongate your spine.
Sherry McLaughlin, MSPT, physical therapist and founder of the Michigan Institute for Human Performance, explains, "The teeter design allows one to control the amount of traction applied and even oscillate the traction to allow for compression and decompression that facilitates disc nutrition."
Although inversion tables are often used by physical therapists and chiropractors, they've now become more accessible with plenty of at-home options. According to McLaughlin, "Those with sciatica, herniated lumbar discs, or general back pain from prolonged flexion positions such as sitting, bending forward or digging may benefit from using an inversion table." Even people with no existing back pain may find these tables to be a relaxing way to decompress.
That said, inversion tables aren't for everyone. "There are some back injuries that may be aggravated with an inversion table," McLaughlin warns. "People who have increased pain with walking or standing may not feel relief with this intervention, and it may even increase their symptoms."
"Individuals with spinal stenosis or back pain stemming from a hip flexor spasm may not tolerate inversion tables as they don't usually tolerate extension positions of the spine," she adds.
It's also generally recommended that pregnant women, and those with high blood pressure or a history of heart disease or stroke, don't use inversion tables. Not sure if you fit into one of these categories? It's always best to check with your health care provider before trying something new like this.
What is the best time of day to use an inversion table?
According to McLaughlin, the best time to use inversion tables is either first thing in the morning or right before going to bed, but you can use them for pain relief at any point throughout the day. Just be mindful that you should never spend more than 10 minutes at a time fully inverted.
"If inversion therapy is working, pain should diminish immediately," she explains. "It may take a few sessions to see long-term changes, but short-term decrease in pain is a sign that it is a good therapy to be used. If there is no change in symptoms immediately with inversion therapy, then long-term benefit will probably not be seen."
How we picked:
Inversion tables are an investment, so we looked for models that offer a good value for the price.
Positive and negative customer feedback helped us determine which inversion tables made the cut and which didn't.
The sturdiness of the frame and table itself, along with ease of assembly and storage, are all important features we considered when selecting the best inversion tables.
If you're going to use a table at home, you want it to be comfortable, easy to adjust, and fairly simple to operate. We picked tables that hit the mark in these areas.
Our picks of the best inversion tables of 2023:
Best for back pain: Teeter EP-560 Ltd.
- Adjustable acupressure nodes
- Lumbar bridge with adjustable arch
- Ankle lock can be hard to use
This inversion table is top of the line and is registered by the FDA as a Class 1 medical device indicated to treat back pain (along with muscle tension, herniated disc, sciatica, muscle spasms, and other conditions). While the bed itself is well made and easy to use, it's the accessories that make it our No. 1 pick for back pain. The brand also offers a free app with guided tutorials and sessions, including the Healthy Back and Body Series.
The table comes with eight adjustable, removable acupressure nodes for trigger-point relief and a lumbar bridge with an adjustable arch that allows for deeper lower-back traction. For $20 more you can add a detachable, padded cushion to the table's ComforTrak bed—which we strongly suggest you do, as it will make all the difference in the comfort of your table.
There are hand grips at the top of the frame (or bottom, depending on your position) that allow for further stretching and decompression, and you can use the tether system to set the table at 15, 30, or 60 degrees, or choose to customize the angle. With the table's precision balancing system, you're able to lock it into place while in your full inversion and then use the controlled rotation to return to an upright position.
"Trust the experts when they say you'll feel the benefits of a good inversion table right away. I've used this one a number of times in a PT's office, and I absolutely noticed an impact. I was hesitant to get upside down at first, but the locks do feel very secure. While in the chair, I feel a juicy stretching sensation, and immediate relief in my lower back specifically. Plus, the acupressure nodes are an added bonus. I'd use this daily if I had one at home." —Carleigh Ferrante, commerce editor
Best for sciatica: Teeter FitSpine LX9
- Easy-to-reach ankle support lock
- Extended support and traction handles
- Complaints about the refurbished models
From the same brand, this table is also registered with the FDA as Class 1 medical devices indicated to treat sciatica along with back pain, herniated discs, muscle tension, and several other conditions. Out of all the brand's models, this is the most deluxe (and the most expensive). It has many of the same features as the Teeter EP-560 Ltd. (acupressure nodes, an adjustable lumbar bridge, hand grips at the top of the frame), with a few additional benefits that make it a good choice if you have sciatica.
The ankle grips have a wrap-around design that helps you feel safe and secure, and they're lined in a comfortable foam. What sets this chair apart most is the longer ankle lock handle, which can be controlled by the push of a button. The lever makes it easy to lock and unlock, without needing to bend over and reach. There's also a secondary gravity-activated lock that will set into place as you rotate into your inversion, as a precautionary safety measure.
Like the EP-560, this bed allows you to lock out in full inversion and use controlled rotation to return to an upright position but adds on an eight-point floating suspension system that lifts the bed off the frame for additional flexion. It uses a pre-marked tether system instead of a lock and pin, so you can set the table at a 15-, 30-, or 60-degree angle or customize to the degree you prefer. Not sure where to begin? Download the brand's free app and you'll have access to a ton of tutorials, how-to videos, and guided inversion sessions.
Another highly rated pick, this table has a 4.7 overall rating on Amazon, with a good chunk of reviews mentioning sciatica. One person writes, "About two months ago for the first time in my life I had a bout of sciatica. I couldn't find relief no matter how I sat or lay down. By chance this table was on sale and I ordered it. I religiously lay in it for five minutes a day. maybe two or three times, if I feel my back getting tight. These are the facts. I haven't had another sciatic nerve spasm. I haven't had any severe back pain in close to two months."
Best for neck pain: Exerpeutic Inversion Table UL Certified
- Adjustable, thick headrest
- Triple-locking ankle supports
- Assembly can be difficult
- Rod could be longer
Those with literal pains in the neck will appreciate the cushy, adjustable padded headrest, along with the 3-inch ergonomically contoured backrest this model offers. It''s complete with a vibration and heat therapeutic massage pad that can be adjusted using a handheld control—no turning or stretching of the neck is necessary to reach it.
If you've struggled with ankle supports in the past, the triple safety ankle locking system will give you peace of mind. It uses a primary lock, twist lock, and automatic safety lock for added security. There are also extended hand grips and a tether system to adjust the table angles.
This table doesn't have a ton of reviews yet, but it does have nearly 100 five-star ratings on Amazon, and a 4.3 overall rating. The negative feedback seems to primarily be about shipping, but there are dozens of rave reviews mentioning the product's quality and effectiveness—particularly in relieving back pain. "Be prepared for back pain relief in a comfortable way. Do use this product, it works," one reviewer sums it up.
Best affordable: Innova ITX9600
- Comfortable padding
- Adjustable features
- Assembly can be difficult
At just under $120, this table offers a great value for those who are on a budget or simply want to dip their toe in the water. That said, with an adjustable headrest, height setting, and footrest designed for individualized comfort, it offers all the basic customization features you might want.
A six-angle pin system lets you adjust the table's angle into six different positions without dismounting from it. There's also a reversible ankle-holding system with foam rollers and U-shaped holders that can be switched to the front or the back, depending on user preference.
This table is an Amazon bestseller, with nearly 30,000 five-star ratings—and you know those Amazon shoppers don't sugarcoat their feedback. There are a ton of in-depth reviews detailing how this inversion table has alleviated people's pain. One reviewer with chronic back pain writes, "4 months later I have almost zero pain in my back and this must be the best thing I've ever gotten on Amazon. I only say I have 'almost' zero pain because it does come and go depending on the humidity for me. But whenever I feel it trying to get inflamed, I use it immediately. And it works!!! Every time!!"
Although the table can be folded, a few people say it's bulky to store—and some reviewers do complain about difficulties with assembly. If this is a concern for you, we recommend buying it assembled for an additional fee.
Best foldable: Body Vision IT9550 Deluxe
- Folds in half for storage
- Lumbar pad is removable and portable
- Assembly can be difficult
It may be no-frills, but this table gets the job done. The space-saving design can be folded in half and locked into place for easy storage, and the table itself weighs only 46 pounds—much less than most of the others. The table bed is made of memory-style foam, and there's also an adjustable lumbar pad that can be removed and used anywhere.
It has a height selector rod and a rear adjustment bar that make it easy to select the angle you want. Choose from a 20-, 40-, 60-, or 90-degree rotation, and use the ankle locks to secure yourself into place. While a lot of foldable inversion tables are flimsy, this one feels sturdy and durable.
With thousands of reviews and an overall rating of 4.6 out of five, this inversion table gets a lot of love on Amazon. "Don't let the low price fool you," one person says. "This is a well-designed, well-manufactured, well-packaged inversion table. The completed unit takes up less room than I thought it would. I once had a more expensive inversion table that was considerably larger, for no good reason. This one is conveniently smaller."
Best for larger individuals: HARISON Inversion Table HR-407
- Holds up to 350 pounds
- Bulky and heavy to move
- Complaints about packaging
While most beds accommodate users up to 300 pounds, this model has a heavy-duty bed and a steel frame that will support up to 350 pounds of weight. The table bed is bigger than most and boasts a unique memory-foam 3D design designed to prevent slipping.
Everything about the table is sturdy. It has quadruple protection precautions, so you can feel safe and at ease while you're using it. The four-position inversion lock is located on the side of the handlebars and is incredibly easy to reach. The ankle supports can also be locked into place via a long lever. Like many other tables, this one can be positioned at a 20-, 40-, 60-, or 90-degree inversion position.
While there are complaints about the packaging, the feedback for this inversion table is primarily positive, and it has a 4.5 out of five-star rating overall on Amazon. One shopper writes, "I am 6'2" and I have started to have back pain due to compression of my lower spine. I have always looked at inversion tables because they made sense to me of reversing the compression. Each inversion table I looked at looked flimsy and might break during use. I feel very reassured using the Harison inversion table. This is very sturdy and not at all flimsy. It is built to use for a long time."
Best ankle support: Exerpeutic 475SL
- Air-cushioned ankle supports
- Heat and massaging pad
- Table is heavier than most
Some inversion tables are not the most comfortable in the ankle grips, but this table uses a different material and design than the typical foam. The "airsoft technology" directs airflow into cushioned chambers to distribute pressure around the ankles. The double-ratchet ankle-locking system allows you to adjust the tightness of the ankle chambers and has a handle so it's easy.
There are four different inversion angles (20, 40, 60, and 90 degrees), which are selected using a lock and pin. As an added bonus, there's an adjustable vibration and heat therapeutic massage lumbar support pad. Reviewers also like that it's easy to assemble.
There are a ton of great reviews for this inversion table, and it has a 4.6 rating overall. One person notes, "My wife loves the comfort of the ankle/heel closure. We both like the preset position pin options, and all the adjustments for height, angle of inversion, and ankle clamp are easy and secure. We can recommend this machine."
What to look for in an inversion table.
Stability is an extremely important feature in an inversion table, according to McLaughlin. Depending on the amount of space you have and how much you'll be moving the table around, you might also want to consider its size and portability.
When choosing a table, you should also think about your individual needs and which features will make for a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. Features like a longer lock bar or handles on the sides are not necessarily essential, but they're important to people who want added support or don't want to be constantly reaching and bending to adjust.
Consider whether you want a table with some extra bells and whistles. "Some units, like Teeter's, boast adjustable nubs for trigger point pressure of the back, as well as an attachment to improve lumbar extension," says McLaughlin. Other tables offer heat, massage features, and/or coaching apps.
If you've never used an inversion table before, you might want to look at a table's "try it before you buy" policy, which most inversion tables come with. As McLaughlin says, you should find immediate short-term results—and you might want something you can return if you don't.
What is the best inversion table for back pain?
While there are a lot of options available on the market today, this list includes our picks for the eight best inversion tables, based on our own personal use, expert input, consumer reviews, features, value, and design. Ultimately, the best inversion table for you is going to be one that safely provides relief and the benefits you are looking for.
Is an inversion table worth the money?
If you find relief from conditions such as back pain, sciatica, or herniated discs, then an inversion table is probably well worth the money. Just remember, there are some conditions, such as spinal stenosis and certain types of back pain, that won't be helped—and could even be made worse—by using an inversion table. Be sure to consult a physician or physical therapist if you aren't sure whether an inversion table is safe for you and/or you have other health conditions.
How much does an inversion table cost?
Inversion tables start at around $100 and go all the way up to well over $1,000, with the average cost being somewhere between $250 and $500.
Do inversion tables really work?
Studies have backed that inversion tables may help certain conditions including sciatica, herniated discs, certain types of back pain, and muscle tension.
Inversion tables can provide immediate and long-term muscle relief by taking pressure off the spine and stretching out the spaces between vertebrae. Each of the inversion tables we selected is a great option to help alleviate sore muscles and improve your physical well-being. That said, it's always important that you take a holistic approach to your physical health. To keep your back's supporting muscles strong, consider incorporating strength training into your routine, too—and don’t forget: spinal mobility is important to remain functional and pain-free.