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David TuckerDavid Tucker 04/20/2021 at 00:540 Comments

I'm frustrated with the current state of standards in America.  Not political standards but weights and measurements.  There is a good reason we have standards, they help the consumer make better choices and reduce fraud. However it seems more and more businesses are hiding or even obfuscating there product specifications on purpose to confuse the consumer.

Most of the tests I have been doing for the last few weeks could have been set aside if the air pumps had published specs, especially specs that followed some semblance of a testing standard.  I found pumps that were rated by tank size (20-40 gallon, whatever that is), wattage, liters per hour, cubic foot per minute, gallons per hour (gallons of air?), and a wide range of pressure values as well.  If I could have looked at all the pumps and seen there cfm without pressure and cfm at 80% of max pressure I could have much more easily picked one for my machine.

The same goes for everything else.  Men's pants for example are measured in inches for the waist and length, but lack any real info beyond that.  Women's pants for some reason have 25" subtracted from there waist, and typically don't list the leg length at all, you get 'short' or 'long' instead.  Kids pants have there own measurements that further confuse everything.  To make it all worse a lot of close drop sizes all together and just go with small/medium/large.  Finally some clothing stores take a few inches off there size to make you feel better.  The end result is you can't reliably buy clothes online because the size may be all  over the place depending on where you get them from. Europe seems to have this sorted with much more standardized measurements on there clothes.

This goes on and on, mattresses have different model numbers at different stores so you can't compare them together.  Air filters may have a MERV rating, or may have there own made up value like Home Depots FPR rating.  Some consumer air purifier filters have there own made up ratings as well (HRF for Honeywell).  I have even seen filters that have a 'HEPA like' rating.  What is hepa like anyway?  Again just listing the flow rate in CFM and the filter MERV rating would be enough to easily compare units against each other and to help judge what size would fit best for your use.

In my day job I do audio programming, among other things. Audio equipment is the worst. Go line up several speakers from your favorite pc peripheral manufacturer and you will see that they use different ratings between there own products so you can't compare them to each other.  The shenanigan's in audio land know no bounds.

I don't blame the businesses who fail to add proper ratings to there devices.  It is hard to do the right thing when someone else does the wrong. But that is what standardizing bodies and governments are for, to encourage or even demand at times that businesses act in a way that benefits the customer more than there bottom line.  We need standards and need companies to follow them, it seems mundane but it is an important part of helping consumers make informed decisions and that in turn encourages good innovations rather than smoke and mirrors to confuse and trick consumers.

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