ConsumerLab Review: Are Their Ratings Trustworthy?

ConsumerLab Review: Are Their Ratings Trustworthy?

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One of the first places that many supplement consumers turn to for guidance on supplement safety and efficacy is ConsumerLab. Their website publishes research and product testing that's available with a paid subscription.

But are ConsumerLab's ratings and testing data trustworthy? Does the company use appropriate testing methodologies? How does ConsumerLab compare to Labdoor? And who's behind ConsumerLab?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we explain what ConsumerLab tests for, and the quality of their data, to give our take on whether or not the service is worth the money.

We'll also compare ConsumerLab to another supplement testing site called Labdoor, explain who's behind ConsumerLab and why their respective credentials matter, and share our one major complaint about using the service.

What Does ConsumerLab Test For?

ConsumerLab primarily tests for two things in both their food and supplement reviews: label accuracy and purity.

Label accuracy testing examines whether a product actually contains what its label says it contains.

As an example, if a ginseng supplement claims to provide 500 milligrams (mg) of ginseng extract standardized to 8% ginsenosides (the active phytochemical in ginseng), both of these things can be tested, and it's important both for consumer safety and for the potential efficacy of the supplement to know if a product passes label accuracy tests.

Purity testing involves analyzing contaminant levels, such as heavy metals and pesticides.

Even if a supplement or food product is effectively dosed, it's likely worth avoiding if it contains high levels of toxins that are harmful to human health.

ConsumerLab tests some products for disintegration as well. This indicates how well a product dissolves into water, which can be important for ease-of-use.

ConsumerLab publishes the full set of data in most of their testing, which makes their site more useful to consumers than a simple "pass" or "fail" grade.

As an example, in their ginseng supplement review, ConsumerLab published the ginsenoside level of each supplement, allowing consumers to see for themselves which are the most potent, as shown below:

ConsumerLab ginseng test result data

On their About page, ConsumerLab outlines the specific testing methodologies used. 

The company uses high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) for quantitative assessment of potency, and spectroscopy (ICP-MS) for heavy metals testing. 

The testing methodologies used by ConsumerLab meet industry best practices, and we commend the brand for using accurate scientific methods in their research and analysis.

Missing Test Results in Some Reviews

One the whole, the data quality on ConsumerLab is excellent, well-referenced, and presented in a neat manner.

However, in our opinion, there are some improvements that could be made.

In some ConsumerLab herbal supplement reviews, the contaminant test results are missing.

You can see in the image below an “N/A” score for the heavy metals section of an ashwagandha supplement:

ConsumerLab ashwagandha test result example

We believe that it would be beneficial for consumers if ConsumerLab tested all products for contaminants. This data is arguably more important than the label accuracy data. 

However, it's worth noting that ConsumerLab has significantly improved one aspect of their test result reporting since the initial publication of our review.

In the past, ConsumerLab didn't publish the contaminant data when a supplement "passed" their internal metrics. We called out this information as important for consumer health, and now ConsumerLab does transparently publish the contaminant data for supplements that pass.

This is important because even within a passing range, there may be significant discrepancies.

For example, a pregnant woman may choose a supplement with lead levels 3x lower than another supplement, even if both "pass."

ConsumerLab vs. Labdoor

Labdoor is another supplement testing site, so consumers are often curious about which resource is a better option for assuring product safety.

In our opinion, ConsumerLab is a vastly superior option to Labdoor.

Here's why:

1) ConsumerLab publishes a much more comprehensive set of test results for each review than Labdoor.

ConsumerLab reviews contain data on dosage, phytonutrient levels and in some cases contaminant levels (typically when contaminant levels are high).

Many Labdoor products we reviewed contained no raw data at all, just rankings.

2) ConsumerLab rankings are based on objective, useful metrics like price-per-dose of a supplement, while Labdoor rankings are subjective and we consider some of their methodologies to be seriously flawed, as we documented in the above-linked review.

3) ConsumerLab is run by publicly-listed scientists, so we trust their data more.

Labdoor does not clearly publish any information on their website about who manages their testing and what their respective credentials are.

Who Runs ConsumerLab?

ConsumerLab is run by scientists and researchers with impressive credentials.

The company's founder is an MD named Dr. Tod Cooperman who has helped guide government policy on dietary supplement regulation.

The company's VP for Research, Mark Anderson, has authored 10 peer-reviewed publications and has a PhD in pharmacology/toxicology.

ConsumerLab's Senior Research Manager has a master's degree in biotechnology, and is obtaining a PhD in chemistry.

There are other medical experts on their team, and we consider it a good sign of a brand's trustworthiness and expertise when they clearly list their team members and how their respective credentials apply to the work they do. 

Information Not Presented Well

Our main complaint about ConsumerLab is not about the data quality or the mission of the company.

It's about the user experience of their website.

Their reviews are extremely extensive, and are a bit too wordy in our opinion.

As an example, their ashwagandha review page has around 3,000 words. It contains a large amount of contextual information about ashwagandha, which is not why people use their site.

We use their site to see test results on supplements and health products we're considering purchasing.

It's an inconvenience to scroll through a significant amount of poorly-laid-out text to reach the important data (the test results), and we believe ConsumerLab could provide more value to users with an extensive UX and UI redesign.

Put simply, their articles provide a significant amount of value, but they look as though they were designed in 1990, and the website can be frustrating for a modern internet user to engage with.

Quality Certification Program Review

ConsumerLab quality certification program product example

ConsumerLab has a Quality Certification Program which certifies the label accuracy and purity of supplements.

Products that are certified bear the ConsumerLab seal to the right of the product title, as shown in the example above.

Brands can opt-in to this program, pay a fee, and ConsumerLab will test their products and display the seal if they pass.

We consider this program to be more useful than Labdoor's program, because ConsumerLab only tests off-the-shelf supplements.

This means they disallow brands from directly sending them products to test, which reduces the risk of bias or fraud.

When ConsumerLab tests a supplement, they're testing it after purchasing it through regular retail channels just like a consumer would.

All else being equal, we would recommend a supplement with ConsumerLab's Quality Certification Seal over a similar supplement without the seal.

ConsumerLab Pros and Cons

Here are the pros and cons of ConsumerLab in our opinion:


  • Best online resource for supplement test results
  • Conducts label accuracy tests
  • Conducts contaminant tests
  • Company now publishes raw data for contaminants
  • Affordable
  • Quality Certification Program assures label accuracy
  • Quality Certification Program assures purity
  • Continues to update old articles with new tests


  • Requires annual membership fee
  • Poor website UX
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ConsumerLab is the leading resource for third-party test results of health products for a reason.

The company is run by scientists and their testing is high-quality. 

The ConsumerLab website helps consumers make informed decisions about the products they put in their body.

While we believe there is room for minor improvements, we definitely recommend ConsumerLab to any supplement user who wants to ensure the safety and efficacy of the products they're considering purchasing.

ConsumerLab currently costs $99.95 for a two year membership, which breaks down to $4.16 per month.

This is a very reasonable price, and if the membership can save someone from purchasing a product that's high in lead, or that fails to contain the listed active ingredient, it's definitely worth it.

We recommend ConsumerLab over Labdoor for supplement reviews and rankings.