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Which Breathalyzer is Best for Me?

posted by | 27 July 2015

All the information you need to make the right decision. 

Accuracy is likely the most important factor when making a breathalyzer purchase. What good would an inaccurate breathalyzer be? So your first consideration should be sensor type.

There are two types of sensors that our breathalyzers employ--semiconductor and fuel cell. Essentially, both options will provide accurate readings and the degree of accuracy will increase with the price. 

The fuel cell sensor units correspond to our Professional Series of breathalyzers. These units offer extremely high accuracy and sensitivity, and employ the same advanced fuel cell technology that is used by law enforcement for roadside alcohol testing, as well as in substance abuse centers, clinics, and businesses. Prices for fuel cell devices have come down in recent years, making them increasingly popular for personal use.

Breathalyzers with semiconductor sensor technology correspond to our Personal Series of units. These breathalyzers are less accurate than those with fuel cell sensors, and they are less expensive. However, they do excel at detecting the presence of alcohol.

The Advantages of Professional Grade Breathalyzers

Professional Breathalyzers (which utilize fuel cell sensors) provide the following benefits over Personal breathalyzers utilizing semiconductor sensors:  

  • They will not show a false positive for someone who is diabetic or on a low calorie diet. Semiconductor models will sometimes show a false positive result for these individuals. 
  • They provide more accurate and more consistent results as compared with semi-conductor models. For example, you are more likely to show the same test result when you test someone repeatedly in a very short period of time. In addition, they are more accurate at higher BAC concentrations, compared to semiconductor models, which often lose accuracy at higher BAC values. 
  • They can remain accurate for up to thousands of tests.
  • They provide more precise readings since BAC readings are displayed to the thousandth decimal place (0.054%) versus to the hundredth decimal place (0.05%).

Ready to Go Pro?

If you are interested in getting the highest level of accuracy in your readings, our recommendation is to spend the extra money on a Professional Series Breathalyzer that uses BACtrack's proprietary Xtend® Fuel Cell Sensor Technology. These breathalyzers offer the same advanced technology used by law enforcement for preliminary screenings for a fraction of what they have previously cost. Additionally, these Professional Grade BACtracks contain a miniature internal air pump, which also adds to the level of precision. BACtrack's Professional Grade Breathalyzers include the BACtrack Mobile, BACtrack S80, BACtrack Trace and the BACtrack Element

If you are more concerned with alcohol detection, the presence of alcohol versus the precise measurement of BAC, a Personal unit using semiconductor technology is likely satisfactory for your needs. These models are often used for self-testing or testing friends and family. The quality of these breathalyzers is far above novelty grade breathalyzers and they are both affordable and accurate. Breathalyzers we carry that fall into this category include the BACtrack Vio, BACtrack S35, and BACtrack Go

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