An In-Depth Review of the Emer Inversion Table Premium INVR-06B Version
4.4 Reviewed by Dave Carry
When muscles tighten, they can pull your joints out of alignment, and when this happens, it invariably leads to stiffness and joint pain. Chronic sufferers of back, neck, and joint pain know this all too well, and they know the importance of maintaining good joint health. There are a number of possible approaches to increasingly flexibility and reduce back and joint pain, but one of the best and most cost effective is inversion therapy using an inversion table like this.
This Emer table is strikingly similar to the Ironman Atis 4000. It is beyond the scope of this review to try and sort out which manufacturer copied its competition, especially given that both manufacturers are based in China, however, it will be interesting to compare a few aspects of both inversion tables.
This is far and away the sturdiest device of the Emer inversion table series, which is characterized by the extra wide tubular stand frame and its biggest base area. The table also has remarkably solid pivot bearings.
The rear rubber stabilizers are adjustable, meaning that you can level the base by screwing them in or out. Actually, I can't figure out why anyone would want to level the base of their inversion table, as it has no impact on its operation. Suffice it to say that this is not a feature commonly found in other inversion tables.
Going back to the mentioned comparison, it's worth noting that its weight is half that of the Atis 4000, so it certainly cannot be called “heavy-duty,” despite the boasted maximum weight capacity of 300lbs (330lbs if you go by the Chinese manufacturer's website). However, it should be noted that the Atis 4000 was intended to be primarily an ab training machine, whereas the main goal of the reviewed device is inversion therapy. In any case, despite the weight difference, the Emer table is very sturdy and certainly gives the user a sense of security and peace of mind.
Unlike the other tables in the Emer inversion table series, this one is fitted with “quick release” steel pivot bearings, which seem to be very sturdy. Unfortunately, this feature makes it impossible to adjust the responsiveness of the table, a pretty important feature in an inversion table without an angle locking device. It's also worth mentioning that the frame is not powder coated, so you'll want to take extra care not to scratch it!
This table backrest is exactly the same one you'll find on the Emer Deluxe INVR-08. It is quite comfortable, except for the fact that it may turn out to be too short for you if you are a tall person. If this is the case, your head will probably slide off the top edge of the backrest and leave you with an unpleasant feeling. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about that, as the ankle holders are not fully adjustable, which I'm going to explain in the section below. Also, as it is fairly narrow, there's no room to rest your arms, which is not hugely important, as you won't be using the table to relax motionlessly.
The sides of the inversion table are fitted with nicely shaped handles with rubber cushioning. It doesn't matter their shape as long as they are long enough to provide easy grip at any stage of your inversion. They will be really helpful in controlling the pace of rotation, or in helping you stop, should you decide you need to for any reason.
I suspect that sometimes manufacturers add some cheap feature to their product that doesn't make sens, but helps it to stand apart from the competition. Here, I'm referring to lumbar pillow which is included with it. The problem is that the pillow is much too flat to ever fit anyone's lumbar arch!
Is the Ankle Locking System Comfortable?
For some mysterious reason known only to the manufacturer, all Emer inversion tables sold on the US market are fitted with exactly the same ankle holders. The weak spot of the whole system is its non-adjustable footrest. It's impossible to bring your insteps close enough to the foam rollers, so unless you have really big feet, your body will slide down until the tops of your feet meet the front holders during inversion. This will throw off the balancing of the inversion table (check the “Adjustability” section of this review for more information on the balancing procedure).
The rear holders consist of two cuffs with tough rubber padding which will restrict any side-to-side movement of your legs. The front holders have two foam rollers which are pretty hard on the ankles, particularly during a deep inversion. However, there is nothing stopping you from adding some extra cushioning with soft cloth. The best part of this machine is its locking system. It might look a little flimsy, but it works fabulously. It has twenty different locking positions to snugly ratchet up any ankle size, and is fitted with a very long lever for easy operation without unnecessary bending over.
Adjusting and Balancing the Table
Usually inversion tables are designed with some ability to make adjustments to their pivot arms. Beginners should use the gentlest position, in which the table would react slowly to the body's weight distribution, either by changing the position of your arms or bending/straightening your knees. The opposite position of the pivot arms would allow for a more aggressive rotation, which trades off for the ability to achieve full inversion, or even pass the 180 degree mark by the backrest.
Unfortunately, the table is bereft of that feature, as it has solid, one-piece pivot arms. Thus, you may have a problem locking out the table in full inversion unless you're close to the weight limit.
Before you use the table for the first time, you need to balance it, which is fairly easy to do, but it should be noted that it must be done separately for every individual user of the table, even if they are the same weight and height. The goal is to adjust the height adjusting shaft so that the inversion table lifts just a few inches when you lie down flat on the backrest with your hands crossed over your chest. The adjustment settings may vary up to three inches from your actual height. The height adjusting shaft is secured by the spring loaded pin and a plastic knob on the bottom of the backrest, so you will need to release both in order to be able to slide it in or out.
As with every other inversion table without an angle locking mechanism, the equipment is fitted with a tether strap to prevent tilting beyond the required maximum incline. It connects the back of the backrest with the stand's crossbar, and has a metal buckle so you can easily adjust its length. The shorter it is, the smaller the maximum incline. You will need to unhook the strap if you want to fully invert, as it is too short to allow for that. The stitching on the strap seems a bit sketchy to me, so remember to avoid a violent rotation.
Is it Hard to Put it Together?
Although it's not my goal to dissuade you from buying the reviewed device, this is one area where you really need to understand what you're in for, and it's not good. If there's a flaw in the table, this is its biggest one.
The Owner's Manual is obviously translated from Chinese, and it is not terribly descriptive or precise. Combining that with the inevitable missing hardware, screws that are too short, bolts that snap off, misaligned or simply missing holes, you can't help but wonder if the company's Quality Control Department is on vacation, or perhaps missing entirely. The good news is that you won't necessarily run into these problems. Not every unit boxed and shipped has these issues, but enough do that it's worth mentioning. Another saving grace though, is that when this happens, the manufacturer's customer service really tries hard to make it right.
You should be able to complete the assembly by following the pictures in the Owner's Manual if you have the patience for it. It might take up to two hours, but it can be done. The tools provided are of exceedingly poor quality, as is the case with the entire Emer line. When possible, use your own.
Can it Be Stored Away?
Ideally you should have a dedicated spot for the table, as it's not foldable. It's not heavy equipment, given that it weighs only 54lbs, so you may want to simply drag it out of the way if you're really short on space, however, if you're buying the table to help ease the pain in your aching back, the idea of dragging the table around the room might not sit very well with you or your back!
What are the Dimensions?
This inversion table is packed in a box of 50” by 25” and a little over 8” tall, and weighs in at 59lbs. When the whole assembly is finished, the table base will be 46” by 30,” but its length, as measured from the ankle holders sticking out in the front to the top of the backrest is 57.5.” It's ready-to-use height is 62.5.”
It's also fairly wide equipment, measuring 30.” You'll want to consider that in advance of assembly if you have to move the finished unit through a doorway. Also note that the table will support a user ranging in height from 4'10” to 6'6”.
The Price! – That's definitely the strongest point of this equipment
The long lever for easy operation of the ratchet ankle locking mechanism
Owing to its wide construction, it is by far the sturdiest of all the Emer models
The table is not foldable – some people may not consider this to be a drawback per se, but it is something you need to consider
The non-adjustable footrest will result in your body sliding down until the tops of your feet meet the front holders – this is a decidedly unpleasant feeling. Also, if you're near the upper end of the maximum recommended height, your head will probably fall off the backrest, which will be too short for you
No way to adjust the overall responsiveness of the table
Horrible assembly, bad instructions, flimsy tools, and sometimes missing hardware
1 year warranty – note that this is actually fairly standard, and is a weakness across much of the industry. Only Teeter Hang Ups products offer a better warranty
The table is well appreciated by the vast majority of its customers. The main factor in what low ratings it gets is the assembly process. Many customers complained of poor instructions and a bad Chinese-to English translation. There are also some persistent complaints of missing parts, and in at least one instance, a customer had to drill missing holes. It's a pity, but those who get through the assembly process are usually quite pleased with their purchase.
My only negagive is regarding the parts/screws you must figure out. The most difficult task was when putting it together while following the directions… (Read more)
Excellent Price for What You Get
This table is being sold with a variety of backrest color choices. You can even opt for a model with a silver colored frame, but all of them cost the same, which is generally around $100. Great price for a sturdy, basic inversion table, however, if you're really short on storage space, you'll want to look at other models from the Emer line that are foldable.