Massage Table Buyers Guide Part 2; Strength Rating
June 5, 2012 1 Comment
Submitted by Leif Montgomery
Strength Ratings/How to evaluate the strength of Portable Massage Tables
A portable massage table is actually an engineering marvel. It’s generally lightweight, portable, folds in half, and has to support up to 20 times its own weight. In choosing a portable massage table of course strength will be one of your considerations. And if you are like most people, you will look for the manufacturer’s strength rating and choose the one with the highest number. Unfortunately, like a lot of things in life, it’s not this simple. The strength ratings offered by manufactures are ambiguous, the terms are not clearly defined and it’s impossible to compare apples to apples. Some companies will not even tell you how they test their tables! You see, there is no one standard, no objective 3rd party auditing claims or agreeing on definitions or standards. You have to take all these ratings with a huge grain of sea salt from the Dead Sea. These ratings are meant to obfuscate; to confuse and muddy the waters. I dislike obfuscation. Fortunately for you, Leif is here to lead you down the righteous and enlightened path to owning a massage table. So now that you agree the ratings are mostly meaningless, or to be made fun of (see below) how do you grade strength?
I am going to show you two ways to achieve this by putting more knowledge and information into your hands and empowering you to confidently make decisions.
One way, though not scientific (but certainly as scientific as “strength ratings”) is to see how a particular table has performed over time. It’s a valid way to measure things and you probably do it with other categories of products already. Find an objective source that handles or sells lots of tables. This can be a dealer or school that handles or sells a variety of tables and can offer objective views on them.
The other way is to learn a little bit about table design. Here are the keys to good table design.
1) Raw Materials – start with components of high quality with no defects. Hardwoods in leg structures, proper gauge metal and aluminum, properly graded bolts and hardware, etc.
2) Quality Control – Inspect the raw materials for integrity and also the components at each stage of manufacturing
3) Integrated Design – the parts, hardware and components all need to work in harmony once the table is put to work and is load bearing.
Please do not take offense at this next section! I am not commenting on whether these tables are good or bad I am merely showing the crazy world of strength rating.
A Look at the wonderful world of Strength Ratings
|Manufacturer||Model||Static Weight Rating||Working Weight: also known as Max working weight, Operating weight, etc|
|Earthlite||Spirit||3200 lbs||800 lbs|
|Oakworks||Nova||Doesn’t say||550 lbs|
|Pisces||New Wave||2000 lbs||500 lbs|
|Astralite||Pro||2026 lbs||450 lbs or 250 on ends|
|Master||Champion||1500 lbs||Doesn’t say|
|Stronglite||Classic||4000 lbs||Doesn’t say|
|Best Massage||Eco Body Choice||1800 lbs||700 lbs|
We have the Eco Body Choice @ $139 with 700 working weight vs the Oakworks Nova @$400 at 550 working weight. The Oakworks Nova, with a long history and probably the most internal testing loses to a table from Best Massage. Hard to believe, unless you add in a dose of BS and hype.
Look at the difference in static weight between Stronglite (4000 lbs) and Earthlite (3200 lbs). It’s no secret that Earthlite and Stronglite are owned by the same parent company. Don’t they share their trade secrets?
Why did Astralite stop at 2026? Why not 2026.53? Is every table tested by the pound? Did just one table test to this weight and we now assume all test this this precise measurement?
Pisces sports a very average 2000 and 500lbs. Years ago, these would be great numbers. Here is some advise for Pisces: Your table lies on the floor : Claim that it can support a Mach Truck! Then you will fit right in with the crowd!
And the winner goes to…
Master Apollo Chair (not a table, but I had to add it in!) claims 1000lbs working weight and static weight. It’s unclear which as their literature states both. Imagine a cow running and jumping onto the chair. This would be the equivalent of 1000lbs of working weight. I am going to make a wager here – Me and my cow break this chair before they change their strength rating.
In conclusion, if you still insist on using strength ratings, I have created, with the help of some math PhD’s, the following equation:
SR = (SW * WW) / H + BS^2
where SR = strength rating, SW = static weight, WW = working weight, H
= hyperbole factor, and BS = best guesstimate.