Breathalyzers Buyers Guide

Once you’ve learned a breathalyzer is a valuable purchase to ensure your personal safety and the safety of others, how do you choose which model will best meet your needs?

The consideration that is usually of highest concern when shopping for a breathalyzer is the accuracy of the product. The number one factor that affects the accuracy of the device is the sensor that it employs.

There are two types of sensors used in breathalyzers—fuel cell, and semiconductor. Essentially, both options will provide accurate readings, but the degree of accuracy will increase with the price. Breathalyzers using fuel cell sensor technology are more accurate than semiconductor units, and deliver more reliable results in repeat testing, but they are also a little more expensive.

We’ve simplified the process of selecting a breathalyzer by categorizing our models according to these two sensor types: Personal Breathalyzers use semiconductor oxide sensors, while Professional Breathalyzers use fuel cell sensors.

Which Breathalyzer Model is Right for Me?

Which breathalyzer you choose depends heavily on its application. 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 Grade Breathalyzer. Our Professional Breathalyzers include:

These units all use BACtrack’s proprietary Xtend® Fuel Cell Sensor Technology--the same advanced technology used by law enforcement for roadside screenings. Substance abuse centers, clinics, hospitals, schools, military, law enforcement and businesses typically purchase these models. They are also very popular with individuals who desire the highest level of precision in their readings. 

If you are more concerned with alcohol detection--the presence of alcohol versus the precise measurement of blood alcohol content (BAC)--a Personal Breathalyzer is likely satisfactory for your needs. Our Personal Breathalyzers include:

These Personal Breathalyzers all employ BACtrack’s Advanced MicroCheck® Sensor Technology. This state-of-the-art semiconductor sensor goes through a patented burn-in process to deliver more accurate and reliable results when compared to standard semiconductor sensors. Our Personal Breathalyzers are often used for self-testing or testing friends and family. The quality of these breathalyzers is far above novelty grade, and they will provide accurate readings with the degree of accuracy increasing with the price.

The Advantages of Going Professional

All our breathalyzers are effective in measuring BAC, however our Professional Breathalyzers do offer the following benefits over our Personal Breathalyzers:

  • They will not show a false positive for someone who is diabetic or on a low calorie diet. Personal Breathalyzers will sometimes show a false positive result for these individuals because of ketones in their breath (more about this – link to blog / FAQ).
  • They provide more accurate and more consistent results. For example, you are more likely to show the same test result when you test someone repeatedly in a very short period of time.
  • They will perform accurately at higher BAC concentrations. Personal, semiconductor models sometimes lose exactness at higher BAC values.
  • They can remain accurate for up to thousands of tests.
  • They provide more precise readings, as they can read and display to the thousandth decimal place (0.054%), as opposed to the hundredth decimal place (0.05%).

Breathalyzers that utilize fuel cell sensors typically sell for over $450; however, this technology is becoming more affordable. The BACtrack S80 Pro, BACtrack Mobile, BACtrack Trace, BACtrack S75 and BACtrack Element are all now available for under $150.

If you currently have a breathalyzer and would like to upgrade, check out the Trade-In and Save Program to see how you can get a generous discount on a new Professional Grade BACtrack

Still have questions? We’re here to help you anytime.

Contact us now.

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