What to look for in a tDCS device
Choosing the best tDCS device can be tricky. With so many choices now available, it is important to know what features to look for.
- The 5 most important features you should consider when choosing a tDCS device are:
- Build Quality - The highest quality consumer devices are professional grade.
- Accurate Current Delivery - Does the device have enough power (minimum 20 volts max output) to provide an accurate current delivery with varying skin resistances?
- Automatic Current Ramp Up / Down - Does the device automatically increase and decrease the current to allow your neurons to accommodate to the sensation of stimulation?
- Built-in Timer - Does the device automatically ramp down and shut off after your pre-set amount of time?
- Low Battery Indicator - Does the device let you know when the battery is too low to complete a session?
By using the above list as a reference, it is possible to narrow down your choice to a handful of devices. It is then important to consider your budget. There remain a few more budget friendly devices available such as the Focus Go Flow tDCS Device or the BrainDriver tDCS device. However, if you want the best tDCS device available, researchers and professionals recommend the Activadose tDCS device.
Most people who want to use tDCS for research, treatment or performance enhancement want to reproduce a tDCS protocol that has been studied and published in a scientific paper. These include several popular approaches such as bi-frontal stimulation (for mood and attention), motor stimulation (for motor learning and pain control) and the so-called DARPA montage (for learning and vigilance). Though there are many variations in “dosage” used (how much current, time, number of sessions), the idea is always reproducibility; reproducing what was done before not only from the perspective of efficacy (outcomes) but also tolerability (safety, how things feel). The right device, along with the correct electrodes and headgear, are critical for reproducibility. It is a mistake to assume that any device that provides stimulation is acceptable. With this in mind, Caputron has put together the above points to help guide you through the important features. Caputron kits are designed to make sure you get a complete system designed to work together. You can also see our electrode guide for what is important regarding tDCS electrodes.