The above statistics are a clear indication of how deep-rooted the problem of alcohol abuse is. This underscores the importance of using breathalysers to avoid exposing ourselves to alcohol-related risks. While most people are aware that breathalysers are used for measuring alcohol content, they may not know they can purchase these devices for personal use.
In this age of digital era and heightened self-aware, breathalyser should be one of ‘must have’ devices. In fact, you can carry along a breathalyser whenever you go out to a bar or dinner to ensure you don’t surpass the allowed limit before getting behind the wheels. With a breathalyser, you can measure your blood alcohol content (BCA) in a convenient manner, and as a result, make informed decisions on matters touching on personal safety. But how do you know which product is best for you? In the next section, we will help you understand what to look for in a breathalyser.
Understand the differences in breathalysers
The accuracy of a breathalyser should be the highest consideration when deciding which device is best for you. The accuracy of an alcohol breathalyser depends on the sensor it uses. Breathalysers use two main types of sensors: semiconductor and fuel cell.
In most cases, the two types of sensors give accurate results; however, units that use the fuel cell sensor technology produce more accurate results. For this reason, they are relatively expensive than semiconductor units.
a) Fuel cell Breathalysers
• How they work
Fuel cell sensor technology employs the use of two platinum electrodes divided by an electrolyte material. When a person breathes through the breathalyser, the ethyl alcohol passes through the electrodes. The platinum oxidises the ethyl alcohol into acetic acid, electrons, and protons. The electrons then generate the current that is measured to access the alcohol level. Fuel cells are accurate and consistent in responding to a variety of breathing concentrations. Since they react only to alcohol, perfume, cigarette smoke, or other chemicals have no effect on the results.
• Best application:
Fuel cells breathalysers are beneficial in a variety of usage situations. Apart from personal use, this alcohol breath test kit can be used by employers to test the alcohol content of staff, or even at random breathe test stations. If you are looking for a breathalyser that provides accurate and consistent reading, chose one using fuel cell sensor technology.
b) Semiconductor Breathalysers
• How they work
Semiconductor breathalysers test alcohol levels by checking the reaction of ethyl alcohol and acetic acid and water. The reaction usually generates an electric current. In this case, a higher current is assumed to indicate a high level of alcohol content in human blood. This sensor is prone to errors because there is the prevalence of other substances that can produce the same effect as acetic acid. There is also the vulnerability of the sensor itself to lose precision over time.
• Best application
If you are interested in testing for the presence of alcohol on somebody’s breath, then buying semiconductor breathalyser might suffice. Since their long-term accuracy is questionable, these breathalysers are usually not admissible as evidence in law courts.
c) Passive and Active Breathalysers
Besides the sensor technology, the breathalysers can be classified as either active or passive. For passive breathalysers, you only need to speak to the device to get the BAC reading; it tests whether negative or positive. Active breathalysers must be blown into in order to obtain BAC reading. They are ideal for usage situations where accuracy is not important.
How to know the type of breathalyser you are buying
Just like when shopping for any valuable device, always check products specifications before purchasing an alcohol breathalyser to know if it uses semiconductor or fuel cell sensor technology. Another trick, though not always accurate is to check the price tag. Semiconductor models cost less, usually around $50 and can stretch up to several hundred dollars. Fuel cell models can cost you a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars depending on capability and features.
Which one should I buy?
The choice on which to buy boils down to the application and understanding the different breathalysers. For instance, if you prefer getting more accurate results, consider a professional grade unit. In the recent past, cheap and low-grade consumer breathalysers flooded the market. The devices could not be relied upon to provide an accurate reading.
Fortunately, it is now possible to own a quality breathalyser that has the same accuracy levels as the ones used by law enforcement organisations. Recent advancement in manufacturing technology has led to a significant reduction in price. These breathalyser kits produce consistent results over a wide range of alcohol breath concentrations. MediNat’s recommended breathalysers include the following:
AlcoSense PRO (AL6000) Breathalyser
AlcoSense Zenith Plus Breathalyser
AlcoSense Stealth Breathalyser
AlcoSense Verity Breathalyser
Andatech Prodigy S Breathalyser
AlcoSense Surety Breathalyser
AlcoSense Precision Plus Breathalyser
AlcoSense Prodigy 2 Breathalyser
Suitable for Personal Use
Pro, Zenith, Stealth, Verity
Suitable for Workplace Use
Prodigy S, Surety, Precision Plus and Prodigy2
If you have light testing needs, then a quality affordable option is The AlcoSense AL6000. It was the first semiconductor breathalyser to be certified to Australian Standard AS3547. If you are looking for a cost-effective fuel cell breathalyser, consider AlcoSense Verity Breathalyser. This alcohol breath test kit comes with a hidden mouthpiece, and it is compact and easy to use. Another quality fuel cell kit that comes at a moderate price is AlcoSense Precision +. The AlcoSense Precision + model is ideal for schools, workplace, emergency room, alcohol treatment and can be relied upon by medical professionals.
If you are looking for a breathalyser with advanced options for screening, testing, and storing information, AlcoSense Prodigy 2 Breathalyser is one of the best options. It makes a perfect workplace breathalyser to help you comply with WHS policy. Apart from being simple to set up and quick in delivering accurate results, it is also powerful. It is powered by fuel cell sensor technology.
Breathalysers for Workplace
Alcohol abuse has been recognised as a workplace safety concern. With this in mind, alcohol testing is essential to prevent employees and businesses from exposing themselves to danger. If you are an employer, procurement manager, HR manager, or the person concerned with workplace health and safety, consider the best breathalyser that meets these criteria. The breathalyser should be capable of testing deep lung air to monitor pressure. But most importantly, the breathalyser should use fuel cell sensor technology.
Besides this, also check the frequency, calibration requirements, and who will do the calibration before buying the device. Also, make sure it complies with Australian Standard AS 3547.
With this information, we hope you are better placed to buy the right breathalyser that suits your needs. If you are planning to buy a new breathalyser that delivers accurate results, check out from our comprehensive list. All our breathalysers have been carefully chosen after detailed research and tests. They will help you stay safe on the road, at work, and keep you out of jail. With that said, never rely on breathalysers to tell you whether or not to drive. If you are already drunk, it is advisable to let someone else drive.