The Ironman iControl 400 Inversion Table is the most affordable model in a collection that also includes the iControl 500 and iControl 600.
But a lower price tag doesn’t always mean better value for money. Would one of their top inversion tables be better for relieving back pain and spinal decompression?
This is one of the questions answered by our review, with comparisons between the height and weight capacities, warranty, ankle locking system, and much more.
We’ll also take a look at the locking system on the iControl 400, to see if it has any advantages over the system used on their LXT850 or ATIS inversion tables.
Design and safety features
If there’s one design feature that sets the iControl collection apart from other inversion therapy tables, it would have to be the unique disk braking system.
Offering a full 180-degree range of inversion, this system allows you to lock the table bed at whichever angle you require, without relying on predefined settings.
This is one of the major improvements over the LXT850 and ATIS tables, and something we look at in more detail later in the review.
In terms of the frame, you’re looking at a slightly different structure to the later iControl 500 model, which results in a lower weight capacity. It’s a 10 lb difference (275 lbs instead of 285 lbs), which to us wasn’t going to be a deal breaker.
Although the weight capacity varies, height range remains the same across the collection, with settings ranging from 4’10” up to 6’6″, with a scale provided as a clear visual indicator.
Because the disk brake locking operates around a ‘hinge’ system, you’re not going to get the same range of starting positions as some inversion tables.
If you select the correct height setting to balance the weight distribution this shouldn’t be a problem, and having the iControl lever within easy reach lets you lock and release the bed rotation when needed.
The ankle locking system is another feature worth mentioning, which includes an extended handle to reduce the stress placed on your lower back when reaching down.
It’s not quite as easy to use as the lever system on some of the tables from Teeter Hang Ups, but is a lot more convenient than the short pin system that’s on the Ironman LXT850.
For enhanced durability the 1.5″ square steel frame has been covered with a scratch-resistant, powder-coated finish, which also extends to the stretch bar. This has been added to enable deeper stretching in the back muscles and provide assistance when returning to an upright position.
The final major feature worth mentioning is the ‘Open Space’ design, which is created by adding an inward curve to the front support bar. This is something that gives you more space to mount and dismount the foot platform, which won’t negatively impact the inversion range.
It’s a feature we’ve seen before on several of the Ironman inversion tables, such as their bestselling Gravity 4000, but was missing from their Essex 990 model.
A storage area has also been added for keeping glasses and small items safe during your inversion therapy sessions.
Despite there being several important differences between the iControl models, safety features isn’t one of them.
The two that stand out for the iControl 400 are the full loop safety handles and the disk brake locking system, which effectively replaces the safety tether strap.
But is this an effective replacement?
There are a number of benefits to the change and only one downside, although it’s a fairly significant one.
Firstly, you’re now able to make precise adjustments to the angle of the table bed without having to return to an upright position, release the ankle holders, and change the length of the strap.
There’s also no need to take different experience levels into account, so you know each time you step on the table it’s going to be at a suitable setting for your target inversion range.
The downside comes if your hand slips from the lever when it’s in the ‘unlock’ position. This would result in the full 180-degree angle being the stopping position.
The reason we’re not too worried about this is the handle is designed in such a way that makes it very easy to grip. You also have the padded full length handles to hold onto while you make adjustments.
One other minor safety feature is the plastic caps that have been fitted to all four points of the base, helping to improve stability.
Ironman iControl 400 – Features Summary
- Steel, Nylon
- Frame Construction is a heavy duty 1.5″ square steel frame construction to prevent any instability when inverting
- The backrest is 1.5″ thick soft foam for back, neck and head comfort when inverting
- IControl allows the user to lock the table at 180 degree vertical inverting position
- A “stretching bar” is included for users who want to fully stretch their back muscles
Comfort and cushioning
Although inversion therapy sessions won’t usually last longer than a few minutes, it’s still important to find a design that keeps you well supported, without creating uncomfortable pinch points.
While not all inversion tables use thick foam padding for the back and head support (Teeter Hang Ups use their ComforTrak and FitFlex technology), the iControl 400 does, with a 1.5″ thickness.
This isn’t quite as thick as some memory foam inversion tables, and it’s down a little on the 2.5″ provided by other iControl tables. However, it should still be enough to keep you comfortable if your budget can’t stretch to one of the higher priced models.
The foam has also been covered with vinyl to improve durability and reduce the amount of ongoing maintenance by creating a wipe-clean surface.
But as well as the back and neck support, it’s also important to check the padding in the ankle holders, as this will be what supports your body weight at steeper inversion angles.
The Ironman iControl 400 features ergonomically molded ankle holder cushions, with the front pair slightly offset from the heel holders to keep your feet resting flat against the foot support.
Regardless of which inversion table you choose, it’s always recommended to wear shoes and thick socks to reduce any discomfort, particularly for anyone that’s new to inversion therapy.
The full loop handles have also been coated for a more comfortable grip while you adjust your position.
Comparison with the LXT850
One of the big differences between these two inversion tables is the locking mechanism.
The LXT850 uses Ironman’s ‘Smart Gear’ system to lock the table at any one of 10 different angles. This is compared to the disk brake system of the iControl 400, which offers complete freedom over the angle you choose (between 0 and 180-degrees).
The ‘Smart Gear’ is a system that’s also been featured on their ATIS collection of inversion tables, where it offers the same set of 10 predefined locking positions.
Whether 10 positions is enough for your inversion therapy sessions or if you need the extra freedom that the iControl offers is really down to personal preference.
The height adjustment range is identical between the two tables, as is the addition of the full length safety handles and stretch bar.
In terms of weight capacity, the LXT850 does come out on top, with its 300 lb limit at the same level as the top-of-the-line iControl 600 table.
The iControl 400 has some important upgrades over the LXT 850
Padding and comfort is slightly improved with the LXT850, which includes a removable lumbar pillow and wider back support, but both tables use the same style of ankle comforters.
The final major difference we wanted to highlight was in the adjustment of the ankle holders.
Whereas the iControl 400 provides you with an extended handle to reduce strain on your lower back, the LXT can only offer a much shorter pin system.
Which table is best?
If you don’t have any mobility issues and reaching down doesn’t aggravate any back pain, then the Ironman LXT850 may seem like the more attractive design.
Unfortunately there’s usually a $50 price difference between the two, which we believe corresponds to the additional 25 lbs of weight capacity, lumbar pillow, and slightly wider back support padding.
Providing these aren’t features that are on your ‘must have’ list, we believe the iControl 400 represents better value for money. The warranty is also identical between the two, with 5 years of coverage.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- 5-year extended limited warranty