What are the determining factors in comparing “good, better and best” in the vibration plate category? What determines the price difference between different quality levels of whole body vibration plates machines?
Weight does matter:
A simple rule of thumb, the physical weight of the vibration plate will tell you a lot about both the quality and price of a whole body vibration plate machine. This is one of the more interesting facts about vibration plates: the higher the physical weight of a vibration plate, the better quality (and higher price) it will be. You can do the research yourself as this is the one and only specification that holds true across the board with all the mainstream brands available in today market. It was not until after we completed this review that we noticed how the physical weight of a machine is consistent with the quality and price of the plate. There were some vibration plate machines that were fairly expensive but were not physically heavy enough to perform certain exercises!
Why is this?
For the most part, vibration plates are all about the same size and shape with the exception of a few exotic machines that we will not be discussing for obvious reasons. The better the quality of vibration plate, the heavier duty the frame, motors (AC Motors are higher quality and heavier than DC motors), platform etc… Most vibration plate can become top heavy once a user steps on the vibration platform and tries to perform certain exercises.
It only makes sense that a vibration plate should weight more than the person using the machine. If a person tried to lean back and hold a squat position it is not uncommon for a vibration plate weighing less than 200lbs to be unstable or oven tip over. This is a really simple concept but a vibration plate machine weighing less than 200lbs is going to be very limited for some of the many exercise positions a person would need to perform.
An obvious problem will occur if the vibration plate does not allow a user to perform certain exercises. While it is not hard for a company to throw out incentives like higher maximum user capacities, longer warranties and even fictitious rating scales, it is impossible to ‘fake’ the actual physical weight of the vibration plate machine!
Pivotal vs. Vertical Vibration:
While this is a very important subject, it is not our goal or purpose to state which is right and wrong. This is up to the individual using the machine and their intended purpose and goal. We can tell you that most of the research that is available is based upon ‘vertical’ motion vibration plates like the 3G Cardio AVT Vibration Plates and the Power Plate Vibration Plates. Vertical motion based vibration plates will provide more fine muscle
tissue activation, more massage and internal benefits than pivotal motion machines. Vertical motion vibration plates are what is typically used by athletes and training studios and people who are looking to improve on their stamina, muscle strength etc…
Pivotal vibration plates: Older adults may find the pivotal vibration motion more tolerable. Pivotal vibration moves at a much slower speed and higher amplitude. The motion of a pivotal vibration plate is in a ‘teeter-totter’ back and forth motion. We like to compare vertical vibration to a sports car and pivotal to a big ole’ Cadillac. Be aware that there are many new, fancy trademarked names for vibration plate motions and styles and that is fine, just remember that it really breaks down into two categories; side to side motion and up and down.
Frequency and Hertz vibration level (Vertical based motions):
Typically a home based vibration plate will be able to achieve a maximum of 40 Hertz while a medical or commercial grade vibration plate will be able to reach a frequency or Hertz level of 50Hz. It is also possible to tell the quality of the vibration plate based on the Hertz (Hz) maximum setting. This may not be as important to the quality of the machine as the actual potential benefit of the vibration plate. Most of the research points to internal benefits like Lymphatic Drain and improvements in respiratory and circulatory efficiency and these can only be obtained by training at levels above 40Hz!
Vibration Plate Programs:
More and more brands of vibration plates are flooding the market these days and one of the ways to decipher the good from the bad is to look at their electronics display. Due to the significant increase in popularity, more and more vibration plate brands are popping up on the market made by distributors who do not fully understand the technology. If they do not fully comprehend the purpose of a vibration plate then it would be rather
difficult to create an upper display electronics console that served a reasonable purpose. Bottom line, look at the electronics display and see if the programs relate to the exercises you would want to do. Look and see if the programs describe exercises like “Massage”, Strength” and or “Stretching”, or is the electronics display just a bunch or red LED lights that really don’t relate to anything in particular. Does the electronics
display look like it was made specifically for a vibration plate or does is look like something you would see on a 9 year old exercise bike?
Vibration Plate Warranty:
This one is easy. The absolute minimum warranty period for any vibration plate should be at least one year in home labor and two years parts. If the warranty is any less than this then you should consider an alternative brand or model.
Vibration Plate Form and Function:
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of shopping for a vibration plate would be comfort. Is the surface of the plate large enough to hold a push-up or sit-up position? Are the upright handles and cross bars in an ergonomically correct position to hold a squat position or lean against for a calf, Achilles stretch? What about the overall height of the handles, are they in a position that allows you to perform all of the standard exercises? Is there a middle electronic console that allows you to set your programs and time – this is important because if you are doing any exercise on the vibration plate where you are not standing, it would be very inconvenient to have to reach all the way back up to the upper electronics display! Is the vibration plate sturdy enough for you that it will not tip over if you lean back a little bit? These things matter because at the end of the day, after you have done your research and listened to all the different sales people, you now own a vibration plate that will be with you for a long time.
On a side note, you may only find “ALL” of the above specifications on some of the higher priced vibration plates and not on some of the more economical vibration plates. At the end of the day, decide what makes the most sense for you and your budget. Being aware of the potential ‘negatives’ is what is important. We want to make sure that you do not buy a vibration plate machine only to find out that you have overlooked a certain feature that would have been important to you had you known about it. You may decide that programs do not matter to you but the handle grips or platform size matters. You may need a really heavy machine for your workouts but you do not care about the platform size. Again, take everything into account before making a decision and you will end up making the right decision!