The Ironman iControl 500 Inversion Table is the mid-range design in a collection that also features the iControl 400 and 600 models.
But how does it compare with other inversion tables in one of the most competitive price categories?
This is one of the questions we’ll be answering in our review. We’ll take a look at the design and safety features, as well as external reviews left by other customers who have bought and used this table.
We’ve also compared the iControl 500 to other iControl tables, as well as some close competitors, such as the Teeter Hang Ups 700ia.
Design and safety features
Since the earlier iControl 400 model, Ironman have made a number of important upgrades to the design.
Starting with the frame assembly, you’re now looking at a 1″ x 2″ oval steel frame construction, which has helped increase the weight limit to 285 lbs.
The same scratch-resistance, powder-coated finish has been applied for enhanced durability, which is something we’ve noticed across the full range of Ironman inversion tables.
The size of the base feet has also been increased to help improve stability, and prevent any unwanted movement when resting on hard flooring.
But one of the key features that makes this collection so unique is the iControl Disk Brake Locking System.
This is an upgrade from the SmartGear system found on the ATIS and LXT 850 tables in terms of the range of locking positions available.
SmartGear offered a similar alternative to the traditional safety tether strap, but only offered 10 position settings. iControl builds on this by allowing you to lock the table at any position between upright and the full 180-degree inversion.
This is ideal for anyone that’s looking to combine their inversion therapy sessions with some core strengthening ab workouts, as it allows for sit-ups, crunches, and various other ab exercises.
Another of the features that’s proven popular with other inversion tables from Ironman is the ‘Open Space’ frame design. This refers to the curve in the front support bar, which provides you with more space for mounting and dismounting the foot support.
Unfortunately we’re missing the ‘Ratchet’ style ankle locking system that’s included with the higher priced iControl 600, but you can still benefit from the easy-reach extended handle.
This reduces the distance you have to reach down to lock and release the ankle comforters, and is well suited to anyone suffering from lower back pain.
The final two features we want to mention are the storage area and stretch bar fitted to the rear frame.
The storage area offers you somewhere to store small items like glasses and smartphones so that they’re within easy reach. Having the stretch bar near the base allows for deeper stretching of the back muscles to help improve flexibility and mobility.
Inversion tables control the rate of rotation and maximum inversion angle by one of three ways; a safety tether strap, safety bar, or locking system.
The iControl 500 uses a disk brake locking system, which has several advantages over the safety bar and tether strap.
Firstly, if more than one person will be using the table, you don’t need to make adjustments based on differences in experience level. Someone that’s new to inversion therapy can mount the table and start their session without adjusting the length of a safety strap.
There’s also no need to step off the table bed to make adjustments during your session. Any changes you want to make to the locking position can be made directly from the iControl lever system.
The strength of the frame construction has been stepped up since the earlier 400 model, resulting in the higher weight capacity.
Extra-long full loop handles have also been fitted to assist with returning to an upright position. These are foam covered for added comfort and to reduce the chance of losing your grip.
The iControl 500 is UL Certified for safety and endurance, meeting UL 6061 standard for inversion tables.
Ironman iControl 500 – Features Summary
- Frame Construction is heavy duty 1″x 2″ oval steel frame construction to prevent any instability when inverting
- The “Air Tech” backrest is 2.75″ thick ribbed soft foam for superior comfort when inverting
- “Open Space” design eliminates interference from the usual front support bar found on other inversion tables when getting on and off the table
- A “stretching bar” is included for users who want to fully stretch their back muscles
Comfort and cushioning
One of the most noticeable improvements over the earlier 400 model is the Air Soft padding used in the back support.
On the 400 model this was 1.5″ of dense foam that offered a high level of support for your head and neck, but with reduced support for your arms and shoulders.
The increased width of the table bed padding provides greater support for your entire upper body, even when stretching.
You don’t have quite the same level of air flow under your back as you would on a Teeter table, with their ComforTrak and FitFlex bed designs, but it will keep you cooler than the iControl 400.
With 2.75″ of padding it’s a significant improvement over other inversion tables at this price point, with ribbed foam used to provide added support through all areas of your back.
The front and rear ankle comforters have been ergonomically designed to hold you securely with minimal discomfort thanks to the contoured cushioning and minimal offset.
YouTube video of the iControl 500
Comparison with the iControl 600
The differences between the iControl 500 and 600 models aren’t particularly noteworthy, and certainly not on the scale of the upgrade from the 400 to the 500 model.
The recommended user height range remains the same at 4’10” to 6’6″, as does the 2.75″ AirTech back support cushioning.
There’s a slight improvement in weight capacity from 285 lbs up to 300 lbs, which puts it on the same level as the inversion tables from Teeter Hang Ups.
As you might have expected, the range of locking positions for iControl hasn’t changed, and the folded dimensions are identical, so you’re not saving anything on the footprint.
So where are the differences?
There are really just three upgrades that we’ve noticed. The weight capacity increase that we already mentioned, the shape of the table bed padding, and the use of a ‘Ratchet’ system for the lock and release of the ankle holders.
The upgrade to the ankle holders isn’t going to have the same impact as on a table like the Gravity 4000, which relies on a tether strap, but it’s still a much more efficient system than a pull pin.
So for what’s usually only a $50 difference in price, does it make more sense to buy the top-of-the-line iControl 600 model?
This really comes down to personal preference. If you want to make the mounting / dismounting process as quick and easy as possible, then the iControl 600 is the model for you.
However, this is really the only major benefit, as a 15 lb increase in weight capacity won’t make a great deal of difference, and the back support offers the same level of cushioning.
Although the iControl 500 hasn’t reached the same bestseller status of Ironman’s popular Gravity 4000 model, we were still able to find a number of informative reviews left by other customers.
The following lists of pros and cons are based on this user feedback, which we’ll be updating as more reviews are added.
- Ankle braces are comfortable and secure
- Disk brake system allows complete control over the inversion angle
- Thickness of back support cushion is enough to support your lumbar region as well as your neck and upper back
- Having the brake helps people that are new to inversion therapy to get used to the motion
- Supports ab and core workouts as well as inversion sessions
- Known to provide immediate release of tension from your lower back
- Complicated assembly with instructions that some people found difficult to understand
- A couple of reviews mentioned they found the ankle holders uncomfortable, but this is something that’s mentioned to some degree on every table we’ve reviewed. Wearing shoes and thicker socks does help.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- 5-year extended limited warranty