Product Scores: How Vaporizer Ratings Are Calculated
Medical Jane uses a proprietary review and scoring method to analyze more than 20 data points for each vaporizer to come up with an objective score that can be applied to any product included in Medical Jane’s Shop & Compare tool. Below are the categories our team breaks data points into when comparing vaporizers from a patient’s perspective.
There are many circumstances where the use of the following materials may not in fact produce toxins or harmful chemicals. Some compounds have a very high heat tolerance depending on how it is produced and may be safe in some circumstances, but it can be hard to track down the grade used for each component in any given vaporizer. While there is no hard evidence that vaporizers may or may not hit the combustable temperatures, we prefer to err on the side of caution and recommend patients avoid products that use these materials in the vapor/air pathway:
The most important aspect of Medical Jane’s grading system is rating vaporizers based on how healthy they actually are. After all, it is our mission to ensure that patients are having the healthiest vaporizing experience possible.
- Temperature Control – The vaporizer must allow the user to control the temperature and set it to a value less than 390°F.
- Non-Toxic Air Pathway – The material used to produce the mouthpiece, pathway (if applicable, the part that connects the chamber to the mouthpiece), and the atomizer/chamber must not be composed of the toxic materials listed above.
- Heating Type – For dry herb vaporizers, we consider true convection vapes to be the best choice. Hybrid vaporizers (convection/conduction) score some points, however conduction only vapes do not.
Because a large part of our score is derived from vaporizer specifications, it is important to consider user and critic feedback. We calculate more weight for critic reviews as they typically have the experience to know what to look for in various products. Additionally, we like to see vaporizers that have been sent to many critics for review and include that in our score.
The entire point of going with a portable vaporizer is its utility when taken on the go!
- Weight – Any device under 300 grams is considered small enough to take on the go without much of a burden.
- Size – Any device that measures larger than 6″ in any dimension would be considered too large to fit in your pocket or a small pouch.
- Mouthpiece Attachment – Vaporizers that require you to use an attached mouthpiece often are less durable and increase the size of the device.
- Heat Up Time – Using a sliding scale, vaporizers are graded based on the time to heat up, with 1 minute being the maximum acceptable.
- Battery Life – Any device with over two hours of battery life is considered good and less than 1 hour is considered bad.
While there are many devices on the market that can adhere to a checklist of items, it is important that you have confidence and trust in the product you select. Choose the wrong one and it may be nothing more than a paper weight after a few uses.
- Distribution – When a vaporizer is carried by multiple retailers, it is a good sign that there is enough market support to justify carrying inventory.
- Known Issues – If there are known defects or problems with a vaporizer (or the manufacturer), it is important to know that upfront before making the purchase.
- Warranty Length – Manufacturers who stand by the build quality of their products are rewarded by a positive score when offering product warranties for more than one year.
- Successor – If a device has a new version (or an entirely new product all together) that is intended to replace a prior one, the support score for the old version will be impacted significantly (negatively).
- Time on Market – Products that have been released recently cannot be trusted while they are still under their initial warranty. Before we can consider a product safe to purchase, we expect it to have been out for at least 18 months with no known issues.
Ease of Use
Although we value ease of use and understand its importance when shopping and comparing vaporizers, Medical Jane also recognizes that once you have used the vaporizer long enough, you will become more comfortable with it.
- Instruction Required – If you were to hand the device to someone who has little or no knowledge of vaporizers, would they be able to use it without looking at the manual?
- Activation – Is the device clearly labeled and easy to turn on? For example, any vaporizers that requires you to press a button x number of times before it activates is not an intuitive experience.
- Temperature Control – Are there dedicated controls to adjust the temperature that do not require looking at the manual to understand how to operate it?
- Combustion Safe – If a novice was given a device to use for dry herb/concentrate, how hard would it be for them to burn the material?
While flavor is a extremely subjective topic, Medical Jane has focused its flavor score to look purely at the makeup of the device. We do not rely on any one person’s opinion. It is because of this that it does not impact the overall score much (however there tends to be a strong correlation between healthy vaporizers and flavorful vaporizers). If there is a known issue within the community that the vaporizer produces terrible/bad tasting vapor, it will be noted and score 0 for this category.
- Mouthpiece Material – Cannot be made from compounds listed in toxic materials above.
- Chamber Material – Cannot be made from compounds listed in toxic materials above.
- Temperature Control – The vaporizer must allow the user to control the temperature.
- Minimum Temperature – If the vaporizer is used for dry herb, it must support a rating of 370°F or lower.
Last on the list, the look and feel of a vaporizer does speak to the quality of the end product and is included in the overall score (but with minimal impact). Of all the categories used for rating, this one is somewhat subjective.
- Aesthetics – Compared to other vaporizers, how unique or well designed is the device? Does it look like something a high tech company would produce, or does it look like a cheap product made in a foreign country with substandard quality control?
- Customizable – Some people like their vaporizers to have personality and reflect who they are. Any device that comes in different color variations or provides some level of customization gets a slight bump.
- Materials – A vaporizer can have a very simple looking design but feel great to the touch and use higher quality materials vs. the cheapest plastic.
- Durability – If you were to drop it on the floor, how likely is it to survive the impact? For the most part, any vaporizer that includes glass would not be considered durable.
- Read Out – If the device allows the user to adjust the temperature it should show some indication of the current heat setting on the device. If it is a portable vaporizer, we’d prefer it include a battery indicator to show how much charge is left.
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