This is a question that gets asked quite often. And believe it or not, most people do not know there are actually 3 different types of Whole Body Vibration. You should have a better understanding of these main types by the end of this read. Many companies do not want people to know what you are about to read.
The most popular is vertical, meaning the platform moves in a uniform motion vertically straight up and down. There are other names that some companies have developed such as tri-dimensional or cWBV (controlled WBV) but they all boil down to the same type of movement. The reason this type of equipment is most popular is because it is the one that is best for accelerated training and it has gained the most media in recent years. Usually vertical machines run anywhere from $5000-$15000. This equipment is usually very good quality, however more often than not it is made for a gym setting where an athlete will be using it. Most of the time the vibrations are very strong and in some cases can be uncomfortable for unconditioned users.
The second most popular is oscillating which means the platform moves back in forth, left to right, in a seesaw type movement. This was the type of technology the Russians originally invented what we know as Whole Body Vibration with. Oscillating machines are a little less popular due to under exposure but are a great way to get more of an exercise feeling. Because they lift one leg and then the other it is almost like running in place, just with extremely high repetition. This type of exercise is best for weight loss because it helps to break up visceral fat and strengthen core muscles. As we all know the promotion of lean muscle mass helps to burn fat, paired with a high intensity workout like oscillating vibration is a recipe for success.
Finally, the least know type of Whole Body Vibration is called elliptical. The platform moves in an elliptical motion along the horizontal plane. Almost like a wobble board but much more challenging to the neuromuscular senses. These machines are usually the most inexpensive as they are very easy to construct and do not need to be very powerful. They are best suited for rehabilitating a lower extremity injury along with improving balance especially in elderly. You will not feel much of the vibration above your waist due to the type of vibration that the machine creates.
Now you should have a better understanding of the main types of Whole Body Vibration and what they are best used for. This should help in your decision making as you can pair a proper modality with your desired results.