Do a search online for alcohol breathalysers and you’ll soon see that you purchase one for far less than you can shout a round of drinks at the pub. But do cheap breathalysers actually work? Will they provide you with an accurate measurement of your ability to drive a car safely and stay under 0.05% blood alcohol level (BAC)? Or could they simply fill you with a false sense of security?
Different types of alcohol breathalysers
Before we look at whether a cheap breathalyser is worth purchasing, it’s important to point out that there are essentially two different types of personal breathalysers you can buy.
The first is the semiconductor breathalyser, which is the category all ‘cheap’ breathalysers fall into. The other is the fuel cell breathalyser, which is more expensive. Both use electric currents to measure alcohol levels. The current is generated by reaction between alcohol exhaled by the user and acetic acid and water. However, that’s where the similarities between the two different types of personal alcohol breathalysers end.
Apart from price, the fuel cell breathalyser beats the semiconductor unit on every other measure. Most importantly, it’s far more accurate (some claim an accuracy range of 0.0005% BAC, compared with 0.01% BAC for semiconductors). With a plus or minus of 0.01% BAC, a semiconductor breathalyser could easily convince you that you are okay to drive, when in fact you can be over 0.05.
Apart from accuracy, fuel cell breathalysers are also quicker to use, last a lot longer and results are far more reliable over time.
The point about reliability over time is also important and works hand in hand with accuracy. Whichever type of breathalyser you have, it will always be most accurate when it’s maintained in good condition and is calibrated regularly to ensure it is accurate. Fuel cell breathalysers can remain accurate for hundreds, if not thousands of tests, while semiconductor breathalysers need more frequent calibration just to maintain their relatively poor accuracy levels.
Suddenly, a 0.03% BAC reading on a semiconductor breathalyser could mean you’re actually over 0.05. If you’re using this type of breathalyser to determine whether you are safe to drive, you could be placing yourself in danger.
Give a gift of love this Christmas
The good news is that you can buy an extremely accurate and reliable personal breathalyser for a loved one this Christmas, without spending a fortune.
For example, Integrity Sampling sells the Drager Alcotest 4000 personal breathalyser online. It’s a fuel cell breathalyser that can provide an accurate indication on whether someone is both safe and legal to drive a vehicle. It’s the same breathalyser that is used by police forces across the globe to conduct over 30 million alcohol tests a year, so you know you can rely on it.
The Drager Alcotest 4000 features:
- A replaceable mouthpiece to allow more than one person to hygienically use the device
- A display that guides you through the correct operation, with optional audio feedback
- A replaceable lithium battery
- Quick start up technology, that’s ready to use in seconds and can provide a result quickly and easily
- A size that is small enough to fit into your pocket or purse
The cost of the Drager Alcotest 4000 is only $335, which includes free shipping and GST. Order today to place under the tree this Christmas.
Can a cheap personal alcohol breathalyser provide results as accurately as those used by the police, like the Drager Alcotest 4000 pictured?