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Vibration Plate Buying Guide [2022 Update]

... comprehensive knowledge & insights

When selecting a vibration plate, you need to know the movement pattern, frequency and amplitude and to understand how these parameters related to the vibration intensity and potential influences on your body. These parameters are essential to compare one vibration machine model to another.

Based on their mechanical mechanisms, vibration plates can be categorized into 4 types.

  • Linear Vibration Plate
  • Pivotal Oscillation Plate
  • Complex Motion Plate
  • Solenoid Vibration Plate

Each of these types has their own distinctive movement patterns and tech specs. They impact users in different ways.

Below slow-motion animations illustrate the motion patterns of the 4 types of vibration plates.

pivotal oscillation
Pivotal Oscillation
Linear vibration
Linear Vibration
Mix pattern vibration
Complex Motion
Other Rare Types
Solenoid Vibration

Above animations are slow motion vibration (@ 3Hz or 4Hz). In reality, a pivotal oscillation plate runs from 5Hz to 15Hz; and a linear vibration plate 15Hz to 50Hz.

Vibration plates of the same type share similar characters, tech specs, functions and impacts to human body. They have common pros and cons.

This buying guide provides knowledge and insights of each type of vibration plate. We explain their mechanics, motion patterns, and usabilities in detail.

Most vibration plates in the market are redundant OEM models branded in various white labels. Their differences are mainly in cosmetic appearance and marketing literature.

However, manufacturers or sellers each may come up with their own terms to refer to their vibration plate models, like 3D, 4D, tri-planar, vertical, wave, pulse, and turbo, etc. These terms do not provide clear concepts about the movement patterns, some are even misused.

The movement patterns of various vibration plates are actually easy to explain and understand by looking into the mechanical devices that generate vibration.

There are mainly ONLY TWO types of mechanical devices adopted by manufacturers to make various models of vibration plates.

Two Types of Mechanical Devices

1) Planar 4-bar linkage device, which creates pivotal oscillation.

2) Eccentric wheel + spring device, which creates linear vibration.

Most vibration plate models employ one of these two devices. Some vibration plate models employ more than one of these devices (complex motion).

4-bar device and eccentric wheel device are distinctively different. When selecting a vibration plate, you should know which device is in the machine.

Other types of vibration devices are rarely used to make whole body vibration plates.

In this comprehensive buying guide, We elaborate the major attributes of each type of vibration plates.

Common misconceptions about vibration plate
  1. Vibration plates are complicated machines.
  2. Vibration plates are high tech products.
  3. The parameters of vibration plate are proprietary information.
  4. The efficacy of vibration plate is scientifically approved.
  5. Vibration motion pattern, the more complex the better.
  6. Vibration plate with 180 speed levels runs faster than vibration plate with 60 speed levels.
  7. A 10 minute vibration exercise equals a 60 minute jogging

What to compare when choosing a vibration plate?
  1. Vibration Motion Pattern 
    • Pivotal oscillation
    • Linear vibration
    • Complex vibration
    • Solenoid vibration
  2. Vibration Tech Specs 
    • Frequency
    • Amplitude
    • G-force
    • Motor Power
  3. Purpose and Usability 
    • Exercise board size
    • Sea-saw motion vs vertical motion
    • Handrail
    • Floor shake issue
    • Machine jump or drift
    • Vibration noise
    • EMF
    • Design style
    • Functions

1. Vibration Motion Patterns

Pivotal Oscillation

planar four-bar-device

Pivotal oscillation plate moves like a sea-saw. Its platform oscillates around a fixed center pivot point ~ literally, pivotal oscillation.

The actuator that generates pivotal oscillation is a planar 4-bar linkage device. This type of machine is usually designed to oscillate below 15Hz, and provide a max amplitude between 8mm and 12mm.

Pivotal oscillation plate is the most sold type of whole body vibration plate in the market.

actually not vibration planar four-bar linkage

Pivotal oscillation plate resembles an oil pumpjack, which is also a 4-bar device. Only the pivotal oscillation plate moves much faster.

Pivotal oscillation is actually not vibration. It lacks the characteristics of vibration, except for its reciprocating movement. Unlike vibration, pivotal oscillation plate does not have damping effect.

Manufacturers and sellers usually name this type of machine as vibration plate. The market has adopted pivotal oscillation plate as a type of vibration plate.

pivotal oscillation plate

The see-saw movement is not an exact vertical movement. When you stand on a pivotal oscillation plate, the up-and-down movement effect is mainly on your feet and legs. Less vertical movement is transmitted above your hip. Your hip turns into another pivot point.

Above the waist, your body movement is mostly in horizontal direction. You feel your body swinging left and right.

Because most of its vertical movement does not transfer to your upper body, pivotal oscillation plate does not upset your stomach and brain.

Pivotal oscillation plates usually are designed as low frequency and high amplitude. Lower vibration frequency produces less impact to your body.

Pivotal oscillation plates have less negative user experience.

Lateral Oscillation lateral oscillation

4-bar device can also be designed to create left-right lateral oscillation.

Some manufacturers make vibration plates that have two 4-bar devices built in: one creates pivotal oscillation, the other lateral oscillation. These are complex motion type vibration plates.

Lateral oscillation may harm your knee joints. We will discuss this later.

Linear Vibration

linear vibration

Linear vibration plate moves mainly on vertical direction and modestly horizontal (forth-and-back) direction.

This type of machine employs eccentric wheels and springs to produce a forced vibration. Springs are used to support the exercise platform and to regulate the movement directions. The spring force is in proportion with the spring length change. In other words, the force and the length change have a linear relationship. Therefore this type of motion is called linear vibration.

vertical vibration

Linear vibration plate can transmit vibration to your upper body and head. For some people, vibration on stomach and brain can cause nausea and dizziness.

You can bend your knees or perform calf-raise to effective control or prevent the vibration from transmitting to the upper body. New user of linear vibration plate should start slow and progress gradually.

Linear vibration plates can be designed to achieve higher vibration frequency, but lower amplitude. Linear vibration plates in the market are mostly designed to have frequency range from 15Hz to 50Hz, and amplitude less than 3mm.

 

Confusing Terms

What is a vertical vibration plate?

Vibeplate VibePlate

Manufacturers may refer their linear vibration plate model as vertical vibration plate. Picture on the right is a Vibeplate linear vibration model which the manufacturer call it vertical vibration plate.

Vertical movement is what we actually need for a whole body vibration plate, because it works against the gravity to achieve a higher magnitude of mechanical impact on our body.

linear motion (exaggerated animation)

Linear vibration actually moves on both vertical and horizontal directions. The image on the left is an exaggerated animation that demonstrates how a linear vibration plate actually moves. The movement is on a vertical oval path. The springs regulate the movement more on vertical direction and less on horizontal direction.

What is a 3D vibration plate?

Some manufacturers, like Power Plate, call linear vibration plate as 3D vibration plate, probably to make it sound different to a pivotal oscillation plate model.

Tri-planar is also used to refer to a linear vibration plate, just to make it more confusing.

pivotal vibration plate

Pivotal oscillation models are also referred as vertical vibration plates by their manufacturers. Of course pivotal oscillation also moves up and down, just around a pivot point.

The two types of up-and-down movement impact your body differently.

Complex motion pivotal oscillation plate models are also called 3D or even 4D models by their manufacturers.

As you can see, the terms like 3D, 4D, vertical vibration do not tell if a vibration plate is a linear vibration type or a pivotal oscillation type.

Some sellers call left-right lateral oscillation as "linear vibration", probably because such a movement sounds linear, compared to pivotal oscillation. This can also cause a confusion.

Complex Motion

planar four-bar-device

Complex motion models combine planar 4-bar device(s) and eccentric wheel device to create a complex motion pattern. There are three kinds of combinations:

  • Combination of two 4-bar devices. One creates pivotal oscillation, the other lateral oscillation. Two motors are used, one for each device.
  • Combination of a 4-bar device and an eccentric wheel device, creating a complex pivotal oscillation and linear vibration. In the design of this mix, the intensity of linear vibration is usually compromised to make it to work. Two motors are used, one for each device.
  • Combination of two 4-bar devices PLUS an eccentric wheel device, creating a complex pivotal oscillation, lateral oscillation and linear vibration. In the design of this mix, the intensity of linear vibration is usually compromised to make it to work. Three motors are used, one for each device.
3D vibration plate A 2-motor 3D vibration plate model developed by JTME

Above drawing shows a complex motion OEM model developed by JTME, a major OEM factory of vibration plate. The 4-bar device on the left creates a pivotal oscillation; the 4-bar device (with a long coupler-bar) on the right creates a left-right lateral oscillation.

Warning - Lateral Oscillation
horizontal impact on knee joint
lateral oscillation

Using a lateral oscillation is harmful to knee joint. It causes the wear and tear between the patella (kneecap) and femur trochlear groove, damaging the cartilage. It also improperly stresses the knee ligaments (LCL, MCL, ACL and PCL) that connecting femur and tibia.

The musculoskeletal structure of our knees joint is designed for making up-and-down and forth-and-back movement. Left-and-right lateral movement on our knee joint is against its designed structure. This kind of posture should be avoided in our daily physical activities, let alone doing it on a repetitive motion vibration plate.

Lateral oscillation does not induce any skeletal muscle contraction. It does not have training effect.

no synchrony

Another possible issue with the complex motion vibration plate is that each motion device employs a separate motor, so their motions are not synchronized. The complex motion does not have a consistent rhythm pattern. Our neuromuscular system may not get trained and enhanced from this type of random motion pattern.

To create a complex motion with a rhythm pattern, all motions need to originate from a single motor. Just like a 3-axis CNC machine, the rotation motions of all 3 axes are originated from a single motor. It would be costly to make such a single motor synchronized vibration plate to generate a complex motion. There is probably no valuable point to create such a complex motion for our purpose. We have not seen any complex motion vibration plate adopted in any scientific research trial.

Manufacturers tend to call their complex motion vibration plates 3D or 4D models.

4D vibration plate Lifepro 4D model

We do not recommend complex motion type of vibration plates because their motions are not synchronized. We are strongly against a vibration plate with lateral oscillation motion.

Our recommendation is either a simple pivotal oscillation plate or a linear vibration plate. They are reliable and have abundant ratings and feedbacks from a large population of users.

Solenoid Vibration

planar four-bar-device

Solenoid device is another device that is suitable to be used in a whole-body vibration plate.

Compared with an eccentric wheel device, a solenoid device can achieve higher frequency but much lower amplitude.

junvent vibration Juvent vibration plate

Juvent's vibration plate probably employs a solenoid device to produce vibration. The manufacturer does not disclose what vibration device is employed.

Unlike pivotal oscillation plates and linear vibration plates that have been approved for its effectiveness by a large user population. Solenoid vibration plate lacks real life testimonials.


There are other mechanical devices that can make reciprocating movement, but they are necessarily suitable or practical to be used in a whole-body vibration plate. Mechanical actuators, like gear rack, piston and cam devices are commonly used to make reciprocating movement, but if used in fast moving vibration plate, they can wear out in short period of time.

4-bar devices and eccentric devices are the most practical types of mechanical device for whole body vibration plates.

2. Tech Specs of Vibration Plate

Now we have discussed all types of vibration plates. The next step is to examine the vibration parameters.

Vibration frequency and amplitude are the most important parameters for a vibration plate.

Vibration Frequency

Vibration frequency indicates how fast the vibration moves - how many reciprocating movement in one second.

[Example] A linear vibration plate running at 30Hz frequency means it moving up-and-down 30 times in one second.

You need to select a vibration frequency suitable for your situation. However, seller may not list the frequency info of their vibration plates. If so, you should ask the seller.

Some models use speed level to indicate the vibration speed. This can be misleading. Speed level is not a standard unit. One manufacturer may define speed level 99 as 10Hz. Another manufacturer may define speed level 20 as 15Hz. It is arbitrary.

arbitrary speed level

[Example] A pivotal oscillation plate has an adjustable frequency range from 5Hz to 10Hz. The machine's speed level is configured as from 1 to 99. At speed level 99, the vibration frequency is only 10Hz.

Another pivotal oscillation plate has an adjustable frequency range from 5Hz to 14Hz. The machine's speed level is configured as from 1 to 20. At speed level 20, the vibration frequency is 14Hz.

This example demonstrates a machine with 99 speed level is slower than a machine with 20 speed level.

[Question] why configure 99 speed level to control a vibration plate that only goes between 5Hz to 10Hz. It should just be configured as 5 speed level, one speed level increment per hertz.

frequency of pivotal oscillation

Pivotal oscillation plates usually offer a lower frequency range, from 5Hz to 15Hz.

Some pivotal oscillation plates have adjustable frequency range of 5 - 10Hz; some can get to 5 - 15Hz. The higher the frequency the higher the intensity.

Please note that when vibration frequency reaches a certain level, like above 12Hz, the oscillation plate can jump on the ground if there is no body weight on it.

frequency of linear vibration

Linear vibration plates are usually designed to work on a frequency range from 15Hz to 40Hz. Very few go beyond 50Hz. Manufacturers of linear vibration plates usually list the frequency of their machines.

Some linear vibration plate models are designed to run at a fixed frequency. However, for a fixed frequency vibration plate model, the frequency differs from machine to machine. For example, for a vibration plate marked as 30Hz, the actual running frequency is probably between 28Hz and 32Hz. This is because of the difference of each individual motor and circuit, as well as the influence of power voltage fluctuation. To achieve an accurate frequency, there must be a feedback loop to measure the motor speed and adjust the voltage in real-time. However, there is no vibration plate designed that way.

Some linear vibration plate models are designed with adjustable frequency, e.g. adjustable from 15Hz to 40Hz.

For a home use linear vibration plate, we would recommend adjustable frequency models. Adjustable frequency can help new user to start with lower frequency and ease into higher frequency. It also allows the user to choose different frequency for different exercises. Some seniors or people with certain conditions are not able to endure high frequency. Adjustable frequency can give them the chance to find out their best frequency spots.

Adjustable frequency also allows built-in programs.

The frequency range of a linear vibration plate should be designed to match the natural frequency of human soft tissues to maximize the vibration stimulation.

Vibration Amplitude

Vibration amplitude indicates the maximum travel distance of the vibrating exercise board, usually on vertical direction.

[Example] A pivotal oscillation plate has a 10mm amplitude means the distance between the highest point and the lowest point of its exercise board is 10mm.

amplitude of pivotal oscillation

Pivotal oscillation plates can be designed to achieve higher amplitude. The amplitude of most pivotal oscillation plates are in a range between 8mm and 10mm.

Due to its see-saw motion pattern, the amplitude at the center pivotal axis is zero, and towards the edges of the platform, the amplitude reaches the maximum, like 10mm.

Pivotal oscillation plates do not have adjustable amplitude setting.

amplitude of linear vibration

Linear vibration plates can only provide low amplitude, usually less than 3mm.

For linear vibration plate, the amplitude is evenly distributed on the entire exercise board.

Some linear vibration plates have two amplitude settings.

G-force

G-force is an important indicator of vibration intensity. Some manufacturers don't provide the G-force value of their vibration plates, but if you have the frequency and the amplitude, you can calculate the G-force.

G-force value is determined by frequency and amplitude. So called G-force, it is actually not a force, but an acceleration rate expressed in the units of G, the accelerate of gravity.

G-force also provides a good way to compare the intensity of different vibration plates.

Motor Power

For a pivotal oscillation plate, a 200 - 300W motor is sufficient for a 300LB user body weight.

For a linear vibration plate, a 80W - 120W motor is sufficient for a 300LB user body weight.

The user body weight recommendation also relates to the structure and the build of the machine.

VT007 motor VT007 motor

You don't necessarily need to choose a vibration plate with a large motor. Motor capacity is decided to achieve the designed frequency, amplitude, structure, user body weight, and anticipated potential load surge. Trust manufacturers all know to properly select a suitable motor. Some sellers exaggerate the motor capacity for a sales hype.

Commercial grade linear vibration plates are usually designed with bigger motor (up to 300W), because they are designed with bigger eccentric wheels and higher stiffness springs, in order to achieve better stability and less amplitude yield to heavier body weight.

Power Plate Pro7 Power Plate Pro7

[Example] Power Plate Model Pro7, a large commercial grade vibration plate, has a nominal operation power in the range between 160W and 265W.

[Example] VT007 linear vibration plate has a 80W motor (rated capacity). It's operation power consumption is between 50W and 60W.

Linear vibration plate employs smaller motor than pivotal oscillation plate because of it is a flexible link system. The load change does not affect the power consumption.

Pivotal oscillation plates usually come with larger motor to provide need buffer for power surge.

3. Usability of a Vibration Plate

Exercise Board Size

A large and flat exercise board is preferable for a whole body vibration plate. Large and flat board can accommodate many exercise postures. For example, if you want to comfortably practice Yoga on a vibration plate.

Obviously you need to decide if a large and heavy machine is a good fit for your house.

Sea-saw Motion vs Vertical Motion

Pivotal oscillation plate has a sea-saw motion which limits many exercise postures.

Linear vibration plate has evenly distributed vertical vibration on the entire exercise board, which can accommodate more exercise postures.

Hand-rail

Confidence vibration plate Confidence vibration plate

Hand-rail is a good feature for physically weak users. Some exercise postures are designed to use a hand-rail.

Handrail may limit the use of vibration plate for many postures. It also makes the machine heavy and bulky.

Vibration plate with small base and light weight machine may not provide the needed stability for a handrail.

Without a hand-rail, user can utilize a stable chair or table to serve a hand-rail function.

Floor Shake Issue

You need to know floor shake issue for using a vibration plate in your home.

Vibration plate should be used on a solid floor, like a concrete floor or a wood floor that is tightly glued on a concrete substrate.

anti-vibration mat using a cushion mat below vibration plate

If using a vibration plate on a frame structure wood floor, the machine can vibrate the floor and the connecting structure. Overtime, vibration will loose the house structure.

A high frequency linear vibration plate creates more impact to the house than a low frequency pivotal oscillation plate.

Basement and garage are the best places to use a vibration plate.

If necessary, you can use a thick exercise mat beneath your vibration plate to absorb some downwards vibration.

Machine Jump or Drift

Home-use vibration plates are light weight, and not attached to the floor. If your body weight is not on the machine, at certain vibration intensity, the vibration force can overcome the machine weight and cause the machine to jump or drift on the floor,

It is not an issue as long as you keep your body on the machine when it is running.

It is recommended to use your vibration plate on a carpeted floor. The carpet provides some buffer and friction that can prevent the machine from jumping or drifting.

Below video demonstrates a pivotal oscillation plate starts to jump when the frequency reach a certain value.


pivotal oscillation plate jumping on the floor

Vibration Noise

noise of vibration

Noises created by home-use vibration plate are usually acceptable. Excessive noise most like indicates a quality problem.

Pivotal oscillation plates usually run very quietly because of they vibrate at low frequency (below 15Hz). You can watch TV while using a pivotal oscillation plate.

Linear vibration plates create significantly more noise when running above 30Hz, but usually no more louder than a vacuum cleaner at the highest level.

Floor vibration can also create noise.

On the same noise level (dBA), our ears perceive higher frequency noise as louder and more annoying.

EMF

EMF exposure of Vibration plate

Vibration plate produces electric and magnetic fields (EMF), like other household electric appliances.

The type of EMF generated by a vibration plate is called extremely low frequency, or ELF EMF. Scientists have not found this type of EMF poses any safety concern to human.

EPA advises that there is no clear scientific evidence that EMF affects health. EPA does not define a safe or hazardous level of EMF exposure.

Vibration Plate designs

Vibration plates have many designs. Of the hundreds models available in the market, most designs are just redundant. Pay attention to the size of exercise board when choosing a design. If you have balance issue, choose one with a handrail.


Linear Vibration Plates
collection of vibration plate
Pivotal Oscillation Plates

Complex Motion Vibration Plates
models of 3D vibration plates

4. What Vibration Plate to Select?

We have discussed the types of vibration plate, parameters and usability. These are the major aspects to check and confirm for making a choice.

Vibration frequency and amplitude are the most important factors. These two parameters are the key experimental conditions that scientists select to conduct clinical trials.

Linear vibration plate produce vibration in a frequency range that can more effective stimulate muscle contraction.

You know your condition the best. Now you know all major aspects of a vibration plate. Hopefully you can connect the dots and find a good solution.

Our Recommendation

Of the 4 types of vibration plate, we don't recommend complex motion models. There has not been any scientific study conducted to test whether the complex motion has any advantage over a simple pivotal oscillation or linear vibration. Complex motions created by multiple motors are not synchronized. That is probably a disadvantage too.

We strongly oppose using lateral oscillation, which we believe is harmful to knee joint. Unfortunately manufacturers like to add this type of motion to their complex models, in order to make it "3D" or "4D" for a marketing hype.

Our general recommendation for anyone to start exploring vibration therapy is either using a simple pivotal oscillation plate or a linear vibration plate. The shared user experiences of these two types of machines are abundant on the internet. They have been proved safe to use.

We consider linear vibration deserves a close look or a trial. Scientists usually select linear vibration plates for their research trials. Be aware that linear vibration can upset your stomach and brain, causing nausea and dizziness. People with serious motion sickness should not use linear vibration plate.

The link blow is a third party review of a list of the most popular vibration plates sold in the market.

 

try for free

Most sellers offer free 30 day return policy. You can certainly take the advantage of this favorable policy and give vibration therapy a try.

Just please keep the machine and the packaging in good condition for potential return. This is a nice way to show your appreciation to the sellers. It costs them round-trip shipping and handling for a return. Even for orders fulfilled by Amazon, all shipping costs are actually charged to the sellers.

Introducing VT Vibration Plates

Vibration Therapeutic® make both pivotal oscillation and linear vibration models. We only focus on a few models with optimized structures and refine materials, and bring in new concepts, innovations and proprietary design to make these models better.

We strongly and confidently recommend our pivotal oscillation plate model VT027 and linear vibration plate model VT007.

Pivotal Oscillation Plate VT027

VT027 pivotal oscillation

VT027 is our ultimate design for a pivotal oscillation plate after several years of of experience of making three other pivotal oscillation plates of similar parameters.

The biggest difference of VT027 compared with other pivotal oscillation plate models in the market is its patented aluminum alloy twin-coupler design.

Other pivotal oscillation plates use regular single coupler made of nylon and sheet metal which will reach material fatigue much sooner.

With the same frequency, amplitude and exercise board size, VT027 is the shortest in height among all pivotal oscillation plates you can find. This is also because of the patented twin-coupler design.


Linear Vibration Plate VT007

VT007 linear vibration

VT007 is re-engineered from our popular model VT003F, which have been widely accepted by thousands of users for its quality and effectiveness. VT007 comes with further improved quality, performance and usability, and produces much less mechanical noise.

The major initiatives of VT007 are 1) reduction of the number of parts and 2) separation of the control box from the vibrating machine body.

The separated control box is made entirely by our specialty EMS factory for the needed testing and quality control processes.

VT007 has an industrial style design, robust, durable, and reliable. The open style makes service easier in case needed.

VT007 is probably the best home-use linear vibration plate in the market.

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