Things to Consider When Buying a Personal Breathalyser

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a stupid, completely avoidable decision. People who do make this choice risk losing their driver’s license, receiving thousands of dollars in fines, and possible jail time. This is all in addition to the risk of someone being injured or possibly losing their life.

These are all great reasons why drivers who enjoy drinking with their mates are opting to purchase breathalysers for themselves. Other people who might consider a personal BAC testing device include:

  • Restaurant and Bar Owners: They use them to make sure patrons are safe to drive, as well as to check if employees are drinking on the job.  
  • Parents: Parents might use these devices to check if their underage children are drinking when they go out with friends.

Regardless of why you want one, you need to do your research to choose an accurate device. The following are some of the things to consider before buying a personal breathalyser.

Type of Sensor Used

Breathalysers use two basic types of sensors. Devices for personal and/or home use typically have semiconductor sensors that are less expensive but also usually less accurate. They can give off false positives because they can react to things like cigarette smoke or hairspray.  

Professional grade devices generally use fuel cell sensors. These are much more accurate, which is why the police use them during traffic stops to see if there is probable cause for an arrest.

What Type of Device is the Breathalyser

There are four basic categories of personal breathalysers on the market today.  They are all quite different from one another and include:

  • Portable Keychain Testers: This is the least expensive style and is more of a gimmick/conversation starter than a serious BAC analysing tool. Their portability makes them perfect to carry in your pocket or purse. While they could be fun to pull out at parties, they only give an approximate idea of your BAC so they shouldn’t be relied upon to determine if you’re safe to drive.
  • Disposable Tubes: These are single-use devices that are pre-set to test for specific levels of BAC. They are based on a chemical reaction that only senses alcohol, reducing the chance of false positives. Batteries aren’t needed, and because they’re disposable, maintenance and calibration aren’t issues. They work by breaking a tube that contains crystals that you breathe through for a few minutes until the results are shown. This kind of device is perfect for people in zero-tolerance situations.
  • Smartphone Apps: This type of breathalyser was more novelty than serious device when they first hit the market, but the technology used now is some of the most sophisticated available for personal use. Some breathalyser apps allow users to track their results and combine them with health data from products like smartwatches.  Keeping track of all the relevant data can be extremely useful and can have many more applications in the future.
  • Traditional Digital Models with LCD Display: This type of device is the one most people think of when talking about breathalysers. Like the other styles, these are small and portable but are probably best kept in the glovebox of your car. They’re by far the most accurate. A quality model is well worth the price, especially if it keeps you from getting a DUI even once.

A personal breathalyser won’t just keep you from getting a DUI. It is also a great way for parents and business owners to determine if their children or employees are drinking. But before purchasing one, look into the different options available, because this is one product where you don’t want to pick the model aimed at consumers on a budget. When your license and possibly your life are on the line, it’s a worthy investment to make.



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