Do ab stimulators really work? That is the question. Ab stimulator reviews are certainly mixed, however, there’s some solid proof weighing in their favor. We’re here to share with you the best ab stimulators that have loads of happy campers to back up their effectiveness.
In this comprehensive guide, we share:
- The 10 Best Electronic Ab Stimulators
- Ab Stimulator Reviews
- Answer: How do ab stimulators work?
- Bonus Buyer’s Guide
Best Ab Stimulator Reviews
Are you ready to take a closer look at the ab stimulators in our Top 10? In this section, we share our individual reviews of the most popular ab stimulators in our Top 10 and the pros & cons reported by current owners. Let’s get started with the Slendertone belt!
Why did we choose Slendertone Abs as the best ab stimulator belt? In a rather dubious niche, Slendertone is one of very few ab stimulators that’s “FDA cleared (FDA 510(k) Clearance #K070142).” The keyword here is “cleared,” not “approved.” Regardless, FDA clearance assures users that the Slendertone Abs belt is cleared to tone, firm, and strengthen abdominal muscles.
Aside from FDA clearance, Slendertone conducted clinical trials at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with very promising results. After six weeks of recommended use, roughly half of the participants experienced an increase in abdominal strength. 72% of users increased abdominal endurance, and 100% of users reported firmer abs after eight weeks with noticeably firmer abs after six weeks.
When choosing an ab stimulator belt, it’s best to stick with companies that show clinical test results and have FDA clearance, because remember, there’s electricity involved. Ab stimulator belts use Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) to mimic the contractions of real exercise.
Lastly, one feature that sets Slendertone apart is the number of settings. There are 7 toning programs with 99 intensity levels. This allows you to really dial in your personalized settings for the most effective and comfortable stimulation sessions.
- Excellent for recovering abs after postpartum recovery (especially after C-section delivery)
- Excellent for toning more than just abs: back, arms and legs are in play as well
- Awesome before & after photos
- Better than doing crunches alone
- Very comfortable, and stimulation sessions feel great
- Repeat customers who love the results
- A noticeably more toned abdomen
- Great for relieving back pain
- The convenience of a rechargeable battery
- Noticeably stronger and firmer abs
- Limited 2-Year Warranty
- Built-In Pouch to stow the controller during use
- Battery Life (requires a daily charge)
- Remember, ab stimulators are for toning, not weight loss (a lot of users forget this)
- The belt is not wide enough to cover the entire abdomen in one session
- Can get bulky for travel (consider the more compact Slendertone Abs5 model)
The Flex Belt
The Flex Belt is very similar to the Slendertone Abs belt with the same Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) technology. Like Slendertone, The Flex Belt is “FDA Cleared” to tone, firm, and strengthen abdominal muscles. At the time of this writing, The Flex Belt costs a good chunk more than the Slendertone Abs belt. Is it worth the extra money? That’s debatable.
We want to point out that the same company, Bio-Medical Research, manufactures Slendertone belts and The Flex Belt, but you wouldn’t know that without doing a little digging. We also want to point out that The Flex Belt is the model that was used in the Wisconsin study we referenced above. What’s the difference? The key difference is the intensity level.
The Flex Belt offers an intensity range of 1-150, while the Slendertone belt is 1-99. This is where the difference in price comes into play. It’s up to you whether you feel the extra intensity will benefit you. Men and women with stronger abdominal muscles will benefit the most from the higher intensity levels.
Lastly, we noticed that the Slendertone Abs7 model – which costs more than The Flex Belt – also goes up to 150 intensity. Overall, The Flex Belt is a better option than the Abs7 model.
- Improved posture and lower back pain relief
- The modular design allows for the rechargeable battery and/or controller to be replaced (instead of having to buy a whole new belt)
- High-Quality Materials and Very Comfortable
- Included pad shields keep them working a long time with proper care
- Serious abdominal muscle toning results
- Noticeable increase in ab strength
- The side benefit of better digestion
- Super easy to use
- Flatter, more-defined tummy
- Excellent for people with mobility issues who can’t go to the gym or work out
- The 150 intensity level is intense and more than enough for most people
- Tighter Abs
- The need to replace the pads (be sure to remove all oil from your skin before use to extend the pad life)
- Working up to intensity level 150 takes more time and patience
- Durability Issues (several reports about units malfunctioning)
FlexTone Ab Stimulator
Of all the non-belt ab stimulators we reviewed, the FlexTone Ab Stimulator impressed us the most. According to FlexTone, it manufactures the only “Six-Pack and Eight-Pack Abs Toner” that’s “FDA 510K Cleared” in the world.
As you probably already noticed, the FlexTone Ab Stimulator covers your entire abdominal region with up to 8 sensors. Non-belt ab stimulators also use EMS technology to contract your muscles.
One of the drawbacks of Slendertone belts is the need to do multiple sessions to stimulate all the muscles in the abdomen. The FlexTone stimulator takes care of that problem.
The FlexTone Ab Stimulator package is fully loaded. It comes with (2-3) Motors, (1) 8-pack FlexAbs Electrode, (2) 6-pack FlexAbs Electrodes, (2) FlexBody Electrodes, (1) bottle of TensXtends Electrode Gel. The FlexBody electrodes are useful for other parts of the body including the buttocks, legs, arms, and obliques.
Other features we like are the Auto-Off Timer after 25 minutes, Wireless Motor for touch-and-go use, 20 Intensity Levels, Mixed Mode, and USB Rechargeable (unlike Slendertone belts). Each gel pad lasts for 20-30 uses and can be revived with the TensXtends Electrode Life Extension Gel.
Overall, FlexTone is the best ab stimulator on the market for people who are serious about sculpting the six-pack of their dreams and willing to put in the additional diet & exercise work to get there.
- Incredible Before & After Results
- Excellent for toning love handles and the under-arm bra area
- Powerful Muscle Contractions
- Awesome Customer Service (something you won’t find with knockoff stimulators)
- Tighter Core (real results for users age 60+)
- Pain Relief
- You may experience the ab burn of a hard workout
- Firmer Arms
- Flatter tummy in just weeks when combined with a healthier diet
- More defined abs in weeks, not months
- Easy Operation
- A handful of shock reports, despite the FDA clearance
- Too intimidating to use for some people
- Several complaints about malfunctioning electrodes
- Battery Issues
Antmona Abs Stimulator
Once you go beyond Slendertone, The Flex Belt, and FlexTone, you begin to enter murkier waters. Once again, remember, these are electrical devices. We read reports written by people who experienced shocks with the FlexTone stimulator, despite the FDA clearance.
Antmona is the best-rated ab stimulator without FDA clearance. It’s important to consider how much your safety is worth before choosing the best ab stimulator belt for you. Sure, a lot of people are using non-FDA cleared belts without any problems and getting great results, but it’s obviously more of a dice roll.
Having said that, the Antmona Abs Stimulator also uses EMS technology and is very similar to FlexTone. It costs significantly less, however, it also comes with fewer electrodes and intensity level options. The FlexTone stimulator is clearly the most powerful non-belt ab stimulator on the market.
The Antmona stimulator is good for people who want to test an ab stimulator without forking out a bunch of dough.
- Strong muscle contractions for a budget price
- Lightweight and easy to take anywhere (good for traveling)
- Easy to cycle through modes
- Sore next-day abs after use
- Comfortable to wear while completing daily tasks
- Firmer Abs
- Not as powerful as the FlexTone stimulator
- Fewer electrodes than the FlexTone package
- Not rechargeable (requires AAA batteries)
Additional Ab Stimulator Reviews
As we mentioned already, once you go beyond our top 3 picks, you go beyond FDA clearance. The remaining belts & stimulators in our Top 10 are all essentially the same. We chose the remaining belts based on user reviews, price, and quality of materials. All ab stimulator belts use EMS technology to firm abdominal muscles through muscle contractions.
Your best option is to hop back to our Top 10 chart by clicking here to see if there’s a different belt or stimulator that catches your eye.
In the following section, we share our helpful buyer’s guide that includes tips on choosing the best ab stimulator belt and answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Ab Stimulator Buyer’s Guide
Let’s start with the most important question…
Does an ab stimulator really work?
Yes, they do. Believe it or not, there’s a lot of clinical research proving that with consistent use, EMS ab stimulators:
- Increase muscle strength and endurance
- Users notice firmer and more toned abs
- Reduce waist size (*)
Bio-Medical Research, the maker of Slendertone and The Flex Belt, is the most trustworthy ab stimulator belt manufacturer. Click here to check out an entire page dedicated to the clinical research proving their ab stimulators work.
Below is a list of ab stimulator benefits Slendertone users can expect:
- Increased abdominal tone, strength, endurance, and firmness
- Enhanced abdominal tightness
- A boost in overall core strength
- More body satisfaction
What’s the best ab stimulator for weight loss?
The answer is none! Be careful when you see ab stimulators that promote weight loss as a benefit because that’s not their intended purpose.
You’ll notice that Slendertone is honest and does not claim weight loss as a benefit. The company even explicitly says that its belts are not a weight loss product. This is another reason why we trust Slendertone the most.
Here’s where ab stimulators for weight loss become tricky. The study we cited above next to “reduce waist size” found a reduction in waist circumference, yet no difference in body weight or amount of subcutaneous fat tissue.
In other words, ab stimulator users shed inches from their waist without losing any weight.
For weight loss, waist trimmers that ignite thermogenesis in the body are better options.
The bottom line is to buy an ab stimulator to tone and strengthen your abs, not to lose weight. However, ab stimulators are great to use along with diet & exercise to tone your abs and flatten your tummy while losing weight.
How do ab stimulators work?
Ab stimulators mimic muscle contractions you experience during real exercise through Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS). The concept is actually straightforward.
Think of it this way, an ab stimulator makes your abdominal muscles do the same contractions that happen when you do crunches, except it’s on autopilot. You’re essentially doing crunches while watching TV or even cooking dinner.
People with busy schedules who have no time for the gym or are unable to work out due to injuries or health conditions benefit the most from ab stimulators.
The key point to remember is that you’re not going to burn calories with an ab stimulator as you do with a cardio workout, and this is where the weight loss misconception comes into play.
Burning calories is essential for successful weight loss, and since ab stimulators don’t help you to burn a significant number of calories, you’ll need to use other means such as exercise or diet to burn calories.
The main takeaway is ab stimulators use EMS technology to create muscle contractions wherever they’re applied to the body. They’re useful for toning and strengthening muscles. That’s why physical therapists use EMS machines to help athletes recover from injuries and to prevent muscle atrophy.
What’s the best ab stimulator on the market?
Slendertone and The Flex Belt by Bio-Medical Research and FlexTone are the only brands with FDA clearance. These are the highest quality ab stimulators on the market.
There are several Slendertone belts available including the original Slendertone Abs model, Connect model with a phone app, Abs5, Abs7, and CoreFit.
The most reliable model is the original Slendertone Abs, and that’s why we chose it as the best ab stimulator in our Top 10.
The Flex Belt offers higher intensity than the Slendertone Abs model, however, most users never work all the way up to the 150 intensity level, making the highest level of 99 on the original Abs version more than enough for most people.
The greatest advantage of the FlexTone stimulator is the larger surface area to cover your entire abdomen in one session.
Overall, we prefer the convenience of the remote-controlled Slendertone that makes tracking progress and working up slowly through each intensity level more convenient.
Where to buy ab stimulators?
The widest selection and best prices we found are online. Click Here to jump back to our Top 10 chart and use the links to navigate directly to the product of your choosing.
Do ab stimulators really work? The final answer is yes. Just remember that a trustworthy ab stimulator company does not claim that its stimulators are for weight loss. Secondly, always remember to follow the instructions to a T and stay consistent to achieve the desired results.
Slendertone, FlexTone, and The Flex Belt are the most reliable stimulators on the market with FDA clearance. Be sure to choose these brands first if you’re serious about getting the most from your ab stimulator journey and staying safe while on it.
Ab stimulators are a great way to keep your abdominal muscles engaged daily without exercise or going to the gym. They’re an excellent choice for keeping abs firmer, stronger, and flatter without extra effort.