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Ab toning belts are an effective way of stimulating muscle growth in the abdominal muscles. The reason they are often regarded as not being effective is not due to their ability to help develop muscle in the mid section it is more that they cannot undo the impact of poor nutrition or excess body fat.
The truth is that unless you have a body fat percentage of 12-15% or lower for men and 15-18% for women then it is highly unlikely you are going to see the impact of an ab toner.
So, before we get in to our comprehensive review of the best ab toning belts, it is important to understand that if your goal is to reveal your abs you will also need to ensure your body fat levels are low enough to reveal the muscle.
Of course, the more you grow your upper and lower abs and your obliques, the higher body fat percentage you can get away with and that is where ab toners such as the infamous Slendertone can come in handy.
Toning belts work by sending a series of electrical pulses through your body and these pulses help to stimulate the muscles in the body. Ab toners in particular will of course target the abdominals.
This technology is known as EMS which stands for Electric Muscle Stimulation and the science behind the theory is pretty well researched, it is safe to use and can be highly effective when used consistently over time.
Ab toners are highly convenient as they can be worn while undertaking various tasks. They are usually battery operated with a controller being added to the belt that requires charging prior to use.
You will need to use a belt for longer than you might undertake a standard ab training session but the added benefit of being able to clean the house, watch tv, go for a walk or cook the dinner while working on your abs is pretty liberating.
Ab toners can be worn by men and women and most belts are now unisex – but be sure to check before you buy as some belts are specifically designed for women. Ab toners don’t tend to be overly expensive these days with Slendertone dominating the premium end of the market.
We have featured no less than three of Slendertone’s belts in our top ab toning belts review as they really are just about the best toners available. If they are out of your price range there are some other options that do a pretty good job so we have also included those on this page for you to compare.
Best Ab Toning Belts Reviewed
So now you know that ab toner belts are completely safe and effective lets take a look at the best options on the market. We tested 7 different belts, 5 of which made it to our list.
The key elements we were looking for when reviewing the belts were muscle definition gained, how comfortable they are to use, ease of use, visual appearance after a month and value for money.
All of the belts we have reviewed can be worn by males and females and are ranked in order with our favourites first.
Slendertone Connect Abs
There is not a huge amount between the top three ab toners that we have selected from Slendertone but the Connect Abs is the one that stands out thanks to it being more powerful, slimline in design and crucially having mobile app connectivity.
Slendertone claim that their products are clinically proven to tone and firm your abdominal muscles in just 4 weeks and we certainly did note an improvement in firmness after a one month testing period.
We would suggest that in the longer term you will need to supplement your use of the Connect Abs with some targeted and varied ab exercises but the Connect Abs is a great place to start.
For anyone looking to get in to the habit of undertaking daily ab training (5 days per week is recommended) then the Slendertone Connect Abs is by far and away the best choice.
The main reason for this is that you get full access to the Slendertone app (iOS and Android compatible) which not only records your progress and allows you to control the toning belt but also gives you reminders for your next workout and helps keep you motivated and on track – this is perfect for positive habit forming behaviour which really is key for ab training and getting those abs to show.
The belt itself is backed by a money back guarantee and a two year warranty. It comes with three gel pads, the rechargeable controller, the unisex ab belt and a charging cable.
The Connect Abs is the most powerful variant of all the Slendertone belts but it is also pretty comfortable to wear and has intensity levels ranging from 0-100. You will usually opt for a 30 minute toning session and you can wear it whilst seated, standing or even moving around.
There are 5 built in programmes to choose from, all of which have a different focus and for new mums looking to tone their tummies there is even a dedicated post-natal toning programme that is safe and effective.
The Connect Abs will fit mid-sections between 24 and 42 inches and is fully adjustable. If you need an extension to that then you can opt for the extension belt which extends the range by 7-9 inches.
The Connect Abs is without a doubt the best ab toning belt in the UK right now – but if you don’t need the app connectivity or a looking for a more budget option then read on.
The newest in the Slendertone line up is their Abs8 which is a direct follow up to the Abs7. This new model is a significant upgrade on its predecessor with much of the focus going in to the new OLED display that sits face up so it can easily be seen by the user.
There is also an upgrade to the pre-set programmes of which there are 10 in total and all offer a really good range of intensity and workout types.
The pre-set programmes really are what set this belt apart from the rest and everything is quickly and easily controlled by the simple controller interface that sits at the front of the belt.
There are 7 passive programmes and 3 active programmes. The passive pre-sets are designed to be used without needing to focus on the workout – e.g. while watching TV, walking, sitting etc. The active pre-sets are designed to be used whilst actively exercising whether that be jogging, cycling, ab crunches etc.
These different options allow you to really get the most out of your ab contractions or to passively use the belt when it is not convenient to fit in an active workout.
Like the Connect, there are 0-100 levels of intensity and we found this belt to be equally effective as the Connect Abs in terms of power and results – the key difference being the lack of the accompanying app.
What you lose in connectivity though, you gain in pre-set programmes and the intensity range available on the Abs8 really is impressive.
The belt is powered by a removable controller and this is chargeable via the included USB cable – it takes around 3 hours to get a full charge and each charge should provide 2-3 full uses of the belt.
The Abs8 is a unisex ab toning belt and comes with everything you need to get started – including 3 gel pads, quick start guide and the rechargeable controller. Expect to get the standard money back guarantee and 2 year warranty included as standard.
Overall, this is an excellent toning belt and unless you need to push your budget further then you need read no more – if you do need a cheaper ab belt, then perhaps the Abs7 is for you.
The Abs7 from Slendertone is still a quality ab toning belt and although it precedes the two models above it will save you 15% (or so) off the cost of the latest model and is still a really good option.
Of course you don’t get the app connectivity of the Connect and you don’t get quite the same pre-set programmes as the Abs8 or the OLED screen – but you do still get one of the best belts for ab toning.
Like the Abs8 there are 10 pre-set programmes (7 passive, 3 active) and there are intensity levels ranging from 0-150.
Don’t be fooled by this higher number, the overall power of this belt is actually a little bit under what the Connect and the Abs8 delivers but still it is good to have the range and the intensity levels are plenty to feel your abs working and contracting.
The Abs7 has a slightly increased size range of 24-47 inches and this can also be extended by a further 7-9 inches with the extension belt. Like the other models you will need to use gel pads with each lasting 25-30 uses.
It is recommended to use this ab belt 5 times per week for around 30 minutes and like the other models we noticed a significant difference in visible upper abs in this time when used by our tester who started at 14% body fat and followed a well balanced nutritional plan.
The controller for the Abs7 works perfectly as you would expect and also features a small display with controls below to cycle through the various settings. Overall, this is one the cheapest ab toning belts that works effectively and should be considered if on a tighter budget.
The Beurer EM37 ab belt is the cheapest ab belt we tested and as such we did hold out too much hope for its effectiveness.
Although we would say it is not up to the high standard set by the Slendertone models, for less than half the price it does a reasonable job and certainly helps activate the abdominal muscles.
One key advantage of the EM37 is that it fits a waist size up to 55 inches and although we would suggest anyone with a 55 inch waist should start by focusing on nutrition and fat loss rather than electronic muscle stimulation, if it helps motivate healthy eating habits then starting the ab training early isn’t a bad thing.
The first thing you will notice about the EM37 when compared to Slendertone ab belts is that it is quite large. It is actually very comfortable to wear but the surface area of the belt itself is pretty big which can make it uncomfortable to wear in hotter temperatures.
The controller is removable and has a face up display showing you which programme you are on, time elapsed and battery levels. There are 5 pre-set programmes to choose from in total with varying levels of intensity.
If you are on the tightest of budgets then the EM37 is a good option, but if you want the best possible ab contractions then we would suggest opting for one of the models above. That being said, the Beurer does offer exceptional value for money.
Ab Flex Toning Belt
The Ab Flex toning belt is the final belt to make our list and although it was our least preferred overall it is still streets ahead of some of the other cheaper models available.
If you can manage to buy the Ab Flex for the same price or less than the Beurer then we would suggest opting for this model instead as it is slightly better overall.
The Ab Flex is backed by a 100% satisfaction or money back guarantee which is pretty impressive and the reviews from thousands of users speaks volumes for the long term effectiveness of the Ab Flex.
We used it for 30 days and found it be an easy to use belt that does produce results when matched with a healthy diet (as can be said for any of these belts).
Like the EM37, the Ab Flex belt is pretty large and it also has one of the largest controllers of all the models we tested. It has a large screen with easy to use controls to choose from one of the 10 programmes. There are 0-100 levels of intensity so you can increase it as and when you feel you can take the added stimulus to your muscles.
The Ab Flex comes with a gel that is used on your mid-section so rather than changing the pads you simply buy more gel instead. This works really well but does mean it is less likely that you would want to use the same ab belt for multiple users.
It comes with a handy carry case and we have to say that we saw good results with this ab belt – at least in line with the EM37.
James is a full time personal trainer and an award winning writer with over 10 years of experience behind him. So far, he has helped hundreds of people with their health and fitness through his career.