Available in standard and Sport versions, the Teeter Hang Ups EP-550 Inversion Table represents the top selling model for a company that has established itself has a leader in the inversion therapy industry.
In this review we’ll be taking a closer look at the design features, optional accessories, safety features, and assembly process to help you decide if this is the best table for you.
We’ll also be making some important comparisons with another of the industry’s bestsellers – the Ironman Gravity 4000.
Design and safety features
Without solid frame stability you’re not going to have the confidence to move through the steeper inversion angles, which limits the health benefits you can experience from this form of therapy.
That’s why the Teeter EP-550 has such a wide base frame, which is extended through the use of rubberized corner feet. This width couple with the friction created by the rubber feet prevents any slipping on hard floors, at the same time as increasing stability for when you invert beyond horizontal.
The main rail that supports the ComforTrak Bed includes a clearly labelled scale for the different height settings, which supports users from 4’10” to 6’6″.
Being precision balanced means it’s important to find the right setting for you, as you’ll find it much easier to control the angle once you start rotating.
The frame itself features a triple-plated chrome finish to improve aesthetics and durability, while the mesh design of the back support improves the flow of air around your back to keep you cool.
There’s also an Ankle Comfort Dial™, which can be dialed up or down depending on your shoe size, creating a more secure fit and limiting the possibility of so-called ‘pinch points’.
Tri-Grip handles have also been fitted to add control to your inversion, with a soft grip coating applied to prevent slipping.
However, it’s also important to remember that the Teeter EP-550 is missing a few important design features that can be found on later models.
For example, the EP-560 Ltd has built-in grips for deeper stretching when inverted, as well as an EZ-Reach ankle system and full length EZ-Stretch Traction Handles.
When you consider the price difference between the two models can be as little as $30, it’s certainly worth bearing in mind if you’re already prepared to pay close to $400 for the EP-550.
When we reviewed inversion tables from Innova Fitness, we noticed they used a locking pin to control inversion angles, rather than a tether strap like we’d seen on the Ironman Gravity tables.
With Teeter we’re seeing a return to the safety tether strap, which connects the frame to the U-Bar on the underside of the ComforTrak Bed.
This lets you switch between a number of predefined angles, limiting the maximum inversion angle to something you’re more comfortable with.
Auto-locking hinges on either side reinforce the stability provided by the A-frame design, while specialized pivot bearings provide a smoother rotation while inverting.
Teeter Hang Ups EP-550 – Features Summary
- Inversion therapy table designed to reduce back pain and improve posture
- Elongates the spine and relieves pressure on discs, ligaments, and nerve roots
- Backrest with Flex Technology produces greater mobility and range of motion
- Adjustable foot platform with 2 settings
- EZ Angle tether strap
- Adjustable pillow
- Includes instructional DVD
Comparison with the Ironman Gravity 4000
Despite being half the price of the Teeter Hang Ups EP-560, we still wanted to make some quick comparisons with the Ironman Gravity 4000.
Being the top model in their Gravity collection, and one of the most reviewed inversion tables online, we wanted to find out how its features measured up to the higher priced table from Teeter.
Although the designs may look similar, we quickly discovered that there were a number of important differences that are certainly worth taking into account.
Teeter provide 5-years of warranty coverage for each of their inversion tables, which includes the EP-550 model. Ironman also apply a uniform level of warranty coverage across all of their Gravity inversion tables, but for just 1 year on frame and 90 days on parts.
- Folding and storage
The EP-550 allows you to rotate the back support and pull the double U-frame together to reduce the size of the footprint, while remaining freestanding.
With the ankle holders above the pivot points, you’re still looking at a height of 6ft+, but don’t have to worry about the ankle system extending from the front of the frame like with the Ironman table.
Although the Gravity 4000 can be broken down to a smaller, flatter size than the Teeter model, this requires a large amount of disassembly, which just isn’t practical for frequent use.
- Product weight and capacity
The Gravity 4000 actually surpasses the EP-550 in terms of weight capacity, supporting up to 350 lbs. (300 lb for the Teeter).
Unfortunately this isn’t something that Teeter improves upon later in the collection, with the EP-950, EP-960, and Contour L5 models all having the same 300 lb limit.
The Teeter EP-550 is lighter than the Gravity 400 though, so it certainly makes a better option for anyone looking to fold and store their inversion table between sessions.
- Height range
There’s a small difference in the height range these tables support, with the Teeter EP-550 coming out on top.
Teeter and Ironman tend to have a height range of 4’8″ to 6’6″ across their entire collection, whereas companies like Innova Fitness will vary this between models (5 inch difference between the ITX9300 and ITX9700.
For the Ironman Gravity 4000 this means a height range of 4’10” to 6’6″, which is 2 inches less than Teeter.
- What about comfort?
Teeter are quite unique in that you won’t see any of the foam or memory foam cushioning that you get with other companies (Ironman, Innova Fitness, Body Champ, etc.).
Instead you have their ComforTrak bed which has been ergonomically contoured to provide maximum support at all inversion angles.
This has also allowed Teeter to develop a number of useful accessories – such as their Acupressure Nodes – on later models, which can be used to isolate specific muscle groups.
Whereas Ironman provide a detachable lumbar pillow for your lower back on the Gravity 4000, Teeter include an adjustable pillow for better support of your head and neck.
Teeter Hang Ups EP-550 vs. Ironman Gravity 4000 comparison table:
|Model||Gravity 4000||Teeter EP-550|
|Extended Handle Ankle Lock System||Yes||No|
|Folds for storage||Yes||Yes|
|Weight Capacity||350 lbs||300 lbs|
|Height Adjustment||4'10" to 6'6"||4'8" to 6'6"|
|Warranty||1 year frame, 90 days parts||5 years|
|Product Weight||75 lbs||58 lbs|
|Total Inversion Angle||180 degrees||180 degrees|
Ease of assembly, transport, and use
Teeter Hang Ups have actually merged the instructions from a few of their inversion tables (EP-550, EP-850, EP-950) into a single user manual.
This is because much of the assembly is the same across the collection, with any model-specific steps clearly labelled.
Most of the parts arrive pre-assembled, including the main shaft for the FlexTech Table Bed, and the A-Frame. For the steps that remain, Teeter have split the parts you’ll need into special kits, such as the Tri-Grip Handle Assembly kit for the handles, and the Table Bed Assembly kit for attaching the bed to the support beam.
Although the Table Bed does have to be lifted into the A-Frame hinge plates, it’s not particularly heavy and it does slot into place fairly easily.
Self-Locking Hooks then close over the Pivot Pins to hold the Table Bed securely in place, allowing for a smoother motion when switching between inversion angles.
When you consider the box contains full written instructions, diagrams, dedicated hardware packs for many of the steps, and an instructional DVD, Teeter have done an excellent job of making the assembly process as quick and painless as possible.
Because of this you’re looking at an assembly time of 40 to 60 minutes. The commercials claim 20-30 minutes, but based on feedback this doesn’t seem to be realistic for most people unfamiliar with this kind of assembly.
Transport and folding
As with any inversion table, if you want to take advantage of the full inversion, you’re going to need a fair amount of space.
This is because when you’re pivoting, the center of gravity is quite high off the ground, requiring a wide enough base to ensure the frame remains stable.
However, with many people experiencing some very encouraging results from quite early on in their program, you might not need to use the EP-550 on a daily basis for too long.
We’ve read countless reviews where people have used the table for just a few minutes each day, for 6-8 weeks, then been able to scale this back because the effects have been so positive.
In this case you probably won’t need the table setup everyday, which is why a folding design is so desirable.
Although it can’t be folded completely flat, the double U-frames can be pulled together and the height setting shortened to reduce the footprint in just a few seconds.
This isn’t the most compact inversion table we’ve seen, and you’re still looking at a height of 6ft+ when folded. It doesn’t get any lighter either, but at 58 lbs it’s not the heaviest we’ve reviewed.
Instructional DVD and sample back routines
If this is your first time buying an inversion therapy table, it can be difficult to know where to start in terms of inversion angles and session length.
Fortunately Teeter include a VDD with each of the tables in their EP collection, which includes 5 Bonus Healthy Back Routines, created by Dr. Shawn.
These teach you how to warm up your spine, stretch your back muscles, strengthen your core, and improve posture. This is in addition to the instructional DVD we mentioned earlier, which walks you through the assembly.
Before buying any new piece of fitness equipment, you can gain some great insights into the quality and effectiveness by reading reviews.
While we hope to provide all the details and comparisons you need in our own write-ups, it can also be beneficial to read through larger collections of customer reviews to find out more about customer service, delivery, and any potential problems on a larger scale.
We’ve found that Amazon tends to have the highest number of reviews in most cases, many of which are quite comprehensive.
This is particularly true of the Teeter Hang Ups EP-550, where you can currently find feedback from hundreds of customers.
Even after all of these reviews, the average rating is one of the highest we’ve seen for any inversion table. That’s because of the rating distribution, with the vast majority of customers rating this model at 4 or 5 stars.
But it’s often difficult to find the time to read through all of this feedback, which is why we’ve summarised the most important unique points into the lists of pros and cons below.
- Quicker and easier to assemble than the Ironman or Innova Fitness inversion tables
- Solid frame and durable construction improves safety, as well as your value for money
- Weighs a similar amount to the Gravity 2000 from Ironman, making it easier to fold and transport when full assembled
- Exercise possibilities are increased due to the various attachments available
- Folding design reduces the space required when not in use
- Even short sessions (3-5 minutes per day) have proven effective for people suffering from sciatica
- Not much negative feedback to report back on, with a few handful of negative comments about customer service being over a year old at time of writing this review
- Some people experienced discomfort with the ankle holders, but this seems to be the case with any inversion table, and was only mentioned in a few of the lower rated reviews
Health benefits of inversion therapy
If you’ve never used an inversion table before and are looking for a solution to lower back pain outside of expensive surgeries, inversion therapy is certainly a worthwhile option. The following list is a small selection of the health benefits you can expect in the process:
- Elongates the spine
- Increases the space between the vertebrae to relieve the pressure on discs, ligaments, and nerve roots
- Increases circulation
- Improves mobility and flexibility over time – a key benefit for athletes who frequently push their body through repetitive muscle motions
What’s covered by the warranty?
- 5 year full warranty