Ab Stimulators: Do They Work? Best Ab Stimulators You Can Try

Hassle-free method of toning abdominal muscles without intense and sweaty workouts.

Reviewed by Hannah Shine, AFA Certified Personal Trainer
Written by Sakshi Bahal
Edited by Medha Deb
Fact-checked by Aditi Naskar, Diploma In Health & Wellness  • 
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When summer is approaching, and you’re closer to your vacation at the beach that you planned ages ago in hopes of having toned abs or even six-pack abs, you need the best abs simulator to do the trick for you. Ab simulators can help you tone and strengthen the abdominal muscles in the most hassle-free way. All you need to do is wrap them around your tummy area and wait for it to do its magic. If you’re all about knowing more about this wonder product for your fitness and bodybuilding journey, here’s everything about ab simulators that you need to know, along with some of the best products out there on the market.

Top PicksCheck Price
Best Clinically Proven: Slendertone Ab Abdominal Muscle Toner
Price on Amazon
Best FDA-Cleared: The Flex Belt Abdominal Muscle Toner
Price on Amazon

What Is An Ab Stimulator?

An ab stimulator is a belt that employs electrical muscle stimulation (EMS). The small electrodes attached to the belt pass an electrical current through the bare skin, causing the muscles in the abdominal region to contract. While EMS may sound similar to Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) devices, they have different uses.

TENS stimulates the nerves to provide therapy and pain relief, while EMS stimulates muscles to contract and is used for muscle retaining and to help prevent muscle atrophy in bedridden patients.

How Does An Ab Stimulator Work?

The principle behind the functioning of an ab stimulator is an electrical stimulation that causes the muscles to contract. This presumably helps in the strengthening and growth of muscles, acting as a substitute for your daily exercise.

The electrodes are attached to the bare skin and send electrical impulses through your skin. When the device is run at a low intensity, you may experience a tingling sensation, while when the intensity is increased, your muscles begin to contract.

Sellers’ descriptions for ab stimulators promise results after 6 to 8 weeks of continuous use for 10 to 30 minutes every day. Ab stimulators are regulated by the FDA. This means that the companies selling these devices should comply fully with all the FDA requirements. EMS devices are given clearance by the FDA for use in physical therapy and rehabilitation under medical supervision.

Very few ab stimulators are approved by the FDA. Since ab stimulators are EMS devices, an FDA clearance is a must. Here’s a list of brands that have got clearance from the FDA.

Best Ab Stimulators

1. Best Clinically Proven: Slendertone Ab Abdominal Muscle Toner

The Slendertone Abdominal Muscle Toner is one of the most popular models on the market that aims for defined abs and muscle growth. This stimulator is equipped with a rechargeable handheld controller and seven toning programs that offer 99 adjustable intensity levels allowing for personalized workouts focusing on strength training. It is cleared by the FDA and clinically demonstrated to firm, tone, and strengthen the abdominal muscles.

This product is used by sports professionals and physical therapists worldwide for endurance training. The recommended use for this device by the seller is 30 minutes a day, five days a week. For best results, combine the Slendertone with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Here’s a personal review video to help you get a better understanding of the product.


  • FDA-cleared
  • Clinically proven
  • Rechargeable handheld controller
  • 7 toning programs
  • 99 adjustable intensity level


  • Good quality material
  • FDA-cleared
  • Easy to use
  • Comfortable
  • Value for money


  • Size range is limited

protip_icon Quick Tip
It is best to use an ab simulator with a balanced and high-protein diet accompanied by weekly cardio sessions to get quicker results.

Price at the time of publication: $129.99

2. Best FDA-Cleared: The Flex Belt Abdominal Muscle Toner

The Flex Belt is an FDA-cleared belt for strengthening, toning, and firming of the abdominal muscles. It employs medical-grade abdominal toning technology.

This belt uses clinically proven EMS technology that exercises all the muscles of the abdomen.

The unique construction of this belt features three pre-positioned, medical-grade gel pads covering your central abdominal and external obliques. This YouTuber’s review will help you learn more about the product.


  • FDA-cleared
  • Clinically proven
  • Medical-grade gel pads
  • Belt fits waist sizes 24 to 47 inches


  • Ergonomic design
  • Large pads
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for unisex use


  • Not durable

protip_icon Quick Tip
It is best to wash your skin with warm water before and after using a muscle toner to mitigate the chances of skin irritation.

Price at the time of publication: $199.99

There are many different types of ab stimulators on the market, so it can be hard to decide which is the best for you. Here are some elements to look for when selecting an ab stimulator.

Things To Look For In An Ab Stimulator

Type Of Stimulation: The most important thing to consider is the type of stimulation the device provides. There are three main types of stimulation: electrical, pressure, and vibration.

  • Electrical stimulators use electrical currents to provide stimulation. These devices are considered the most effective because they produce consistent stimulation throughout the range of motion.
  • Pressure stimulators use pressure waves to provide stimulation. These stimulators are less effective than electrical stimulators, as they do not produce consistent stimulation throughout the range of motion. However, pressure stimulators are more comfortable as they do not require surgery or other forms of anesthesia.
  • Vibration stimulators use vibrations to provide stimulation. This type of stimulator is less effective than either pressure or electric stimulators because it does not produce consistent stimulation throughout the range of motion. However, some people find that it provides more intense stimulation than other stimulators.

Therefore, choose your stimulator based on your needs, preferences, and target area.

Special Features: Some unique features of ab stimulators that you should look for are: adjustable straps, multiple intensity levels, resistance bands, and vibration modes. Some devices even have built-in cameras or sensors that track your performance and provide feedback on how you are doing. Make sure the device has safety features, such as automatic shut-off in the event of battery depletion or overheating.

Size And Weight: It is important to find a stimulator that is both small and lightweight, so that you can easily carry it wherever you go. Some models even come with portable chargers for easy on-the-go usage.

Battery Life And Charging Time: Make sure the ab stimulator has a long battery life — at least several hours — so you can use it multiple times per day without having to recharge it frequently. Also, ensure it comes with a charging cable so you can easily plug it in when you are not using it.

Ease Of Use: One of the biggest factors when choosing an ab stimulator is ease of use. Make sure the device is easy to set up and navigate, whether it requires batteries or not.

Warranty: Most ab stimulators have a warranty, covering defects in the product’s construction or materials. If you experience issues with your ab stimulator— discomfort, difficulty using the device, or decreased results—you can get it fixed or replaced free of charge.

Let’s now understand more about EMS devices – what they are, how to use them, benefits, and caveats.

What Is An EMS Device?

Electronic muscle stimulators are devices that come under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. All the firms selling EMS devices should comply with the premarket regulatory requirements laid down by FDA before they can legally sell their stimulators.

Most of the EMS devices reviewed by the FDA are meant to be used for physical therapy and rehabilitation work that should take place under the supervision of medical professionals.

Electrical muscle stimulators are being advertised not only to tone, firm, and strengthen muscles but also to aid weight loss and girth reduction and for getting rock hard abs. But remember, no EMS devices have been cleared currently for weight loss, girth reduction, or for getting rock hard abs. ” While EMS can help you build muscle and enhance performance, it’s essential to understand that it’s not a substitute for a well-rounded exercise and nutrition plan.” – Hannah Shine, Personal Trainer.

How To Use An Abs Stimulator

Here’s a list of steps that you need to follow while using an ab stimulator.

Step 1: Stretch the abs belt around your abdomen, ensuring that the large middle pad rests on your belly button. The smaller pads should lie on either side over the soft area of your abdominal muscles.

Step 2: Secure the ab stimulator belt. Ensure that the muscle stimulator pads lie snugly against your skin.

Step 3: Switch on the device by using the button located on the front panel of the device.

Step 4: Adjust the toning level so that you can feel your abs contract comfortably.

Step 5: Use the ab stimulator for the duration as recommended by the company.

Step 6: Once you are done, turn off the device, remove the belt and store it in a safe place until the next use.

Electric muscle stimulators are becoming quite popular products on the market. They claim to strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles. Listed below are the possible benefits of ab stimulators.

Benefits Of Ab Stimulators

  • Ab stimulators help to tone your muscles with minimal effort. The electric currents make your muscles contract. This helps you to stimulate your muscles while simply sitting at your work desk or watching television at home. The muscle contractions produce body heat that helps to speed up your metabolism and enhance your home workout.
  • Ab stimulators help in physical therapy. The FDA states that most of the EMS devices they review are intended for the purpose of physical therapy and rehabilitation environment and not for aiding in fat loss.


Devices that make health claims also carry a certain amount of risks for the users. The FDA has received reports of shocks, burns, skin irritation, bruising, and pain associated with the use of some of these devices (1).

You shouldn’t use an electrical muscle stimulator if you have:

  • Electrical implants like pacemakers and defibrillators
  • Undergone abdominal or other surgeries

Remember, all bodies are beautiful. The decision to look fit and healthy should be driven by health concerns and not to conform to some unrealistic societal beauty standards. The keys to a good and healthy body are a good diet and regular exercise. If you intend to buy an ab stimulator, we strongly recommend you speak to your healthcare professional before buying one.

Infographic: Things To Know Before Using An Ab Stimulator

Ab stimulators are amazing for toning your muscles. They help strengthen your abdominal muscles and are a great way to achieve that ripped look. But it is important to know that every machine has its set of disadvantages and shortcomings. Check out the infographic below for some pointers to keep in mind for a safe workout routine.

Things To Know Before Using An Ab Stimulator(infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

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Download Infographic in PDF version

Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to shave body hair before using an ab stimulator?

You need to shave your body hair for the ab stimulator to work effectively.

Can we use an ab stimulator while doing exercise?

If you combine the two, you will likely achieve better results than just by using ab stimulator. Exercise and a good diet will yield better results than an ab stimulator.

Can one get muscle soreness by using an ab stimulator?

If you have sore muscles, keep the intensity low while using the ab stimulator. If redness and discomfort persist, discontinue using the machine and contact the manufacturer.

Does an ab stimulator work on belly fat?

No, ab stimulators do not reduce weight or burn belly fat. These devices strengthen the abdominal muscles during your workout sessions.

How often should I use an ab stimulator?

Use an ab stimulator twice per day. Do not use it if you feel too sore and tired.


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