To compare the effects of the Herbst appliance and the Activator at the completion of two-phase treatment, with respect to the vertical facial pattern (VFP) and to identify possible predictors of treatment effect.Pretreatment, post-treatment and overall cephalometric change data were used to assess the dental and skeletal effects. Results for the change in mandibular length were also compared with changes reported for an untreated external control group.Clinically significant dental and skeletal changes (including mandibular incisor proclination and overjet reduction) were characteristics of both treatment methods. Any increases in mandibular length and chin prominence were not greater than those expected following natural growth. The pretreatment VFP remained essentially unaltered, while mean changes as a result of treatment were similar for brachyfacial, mesofacial, and dolichofacial subjects. No predictive factors were identified.Clinicians are advised to expect significant overlet reduction and mandibular incisor proclination with either treatment method. Significant skeletal change may be observed in growing subjects; however, any increase in mandibular length or chin projection is not likely to be beyond the limit set by nature. While there will be some individual variation, no significant long-term alteration in the pretreatment vertical facial pattern should be expected with either treatment. Long faces will remain long and short faces will remain short.