How to Shop and Compare Vibration Plate Machines

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!

8 Responses to How to Shop and Compare Vibration Plate Machines

  1. I found this information very helpful. I have been looking for a reasonably priced machine in my province and have not found any machines at all. I will have to purchase on line.

    • VPR ADMIN says:

      Hi Andree,

      Thank you for your email. Where do you live and we would be happy to suggest brands which would be available in your Province. Thank you.

  2. jo-ann says:

    Can you tell me why you made the choices you did for the various pieces of equipment? You rate Power Plate My7 with a 97 rank score, but no explanation as to why. I heard the company is really not very stable, and is questionable about warranty among other things. Did you take amount of repairs, where they were m manufactured, etc. into consideration?

    • VPR ADMIN says:

      Great question and thank you for bringing this subject to our blog. When we rate a vibration machine, we do take into account EVERYTHING. We have access to much more information that the average consumer would have available to them. We consider quality, performance, feel, effectiveness, programming, warranty, customer service, manufacturing facilities and more. Yes, Power Plate is made in Asia as are most Treadmills, Ellipticals, Exercise Bikes….

      We are very interested in how the new ownership group for Power Plate will perform and we receive weekly feedback from dealers across the US. We do take into account company “stability” and will adjust our future rankings accordingly. We are set to update our ratings within about 30 – 45 days and there may be a new #1 on our list. As for repairs, Vibration Plates in general are extremely reliable and have very few issues. It is not uncommon for a higher end vibration machine ($2000+) to have less than a 3% failure rate which is excellent and therefore, typically not a big issue with good machines.

      About Power Plate North America:

      From: Clubindustry.com
      PPI Acquisitions, which is led by former Power Plate CEO Lee Hillman, placed an asset purchase agreement for Power Plate North America and made a stalking horse bid of $3 million. (The North American distribution operations of Power Plate was set up as a U.S. corporation.) At an auction held today in Chicago, PPI Acquisitions acquired the assets of Power Plate North America, the company confirmed to Club Industry. The price of the sale was not disclosed. full story: http://clubindustry.com/manufacturers/power-plate-international-enters-agreement-ppi-acquisitions

  3. Julia McEvoy says:

    Thanks for putting this together. Very helpful as I begin my search.
    I’m looking at vibration plates for increasing bone density. What would be
    the optimal frequency to increase bone density?

  4. Lisa says:

    I am thinking of purchasing a unit, but live in California. I saw the 3G-6.0, but it seems like the unit is in Arizona. Is it better to spend a bit more to get the power plate (based in Irvine) or am I just a chicken? Any thought on either unit? I am comparing the 6.0 to the my5 power plate.

    • VPR ADMIN says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for the post. The 3G Cardio brand is available by many dealers across the US. In California I believe Precor Home Fitness carries the product line. If you do not have a dealer in your area you can visit the manufacturers website and check their dealer locator for you closest retailer. While we do like the Power Plate, the reality is that the 3G Cardio 6.0 is more similar to the Power Plate Pro 5 ($10500) than the Power Plate My5. If you are looking for a unit similar to the Power Plate My5, check out the 3G Cardio 5.0. There are many good machines in that price point you can also look at. Thank you!

  5. elizabeth riordan says:

    I am looking to increase bone density. Dr. Rubin of SUNY states that to achieve this, one must simply stand on a plate which : 1. vibrates vertically 2. .3g in magnitude
    3. 30 amp

    Please can you recommend several brand which fulfill these criteria. I live in Switzerland but I also visit the USA and can have it sent to my daughter there where I can pick it up.

    Thank you so much!! I really appreciate your help.

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