How to choose a Breathalyzer

The tradition to celebrate any holiday with obligatory drinking alcohol is typical not only for the Russians, but also for many other peoples of the world. And it would be OK, but not everyone can control the amount of alcohol consumed. Body peculiarities, metabolism and other factors that influence alcohol assimilation are individual, that is why it is impossible to speak about any specific time when it is not recommended to drive because of alcohol in blood. It is for this reason that many motorists prefer to have in their glove compartment such a device as a breathalyzer, with the help of which you can instantly assess the state of your body and determine whether you can get behind the wheel or whether it is necessary to give the body some more time to rest.


  1. Top manufacturers. Alcolock which brand to choose?
  2. How it works and what kinds of alcolock
  3. Types of Breathalyzers
  4. Breathalyzer Selection Parameters
How to choose a Breathalyzer

Top manufacturers. What brand of Breathalyzer to choose?

Choosing a suitable breathalyzer is not difficult at the moment – there are many devices from different manufacturers on the market. All of them are capable of performing the functions assigned to them and making measurements with a high degree of accuracy. Preference should be given to those devices that are officially verified and used in various medical and law enforcement agencies for medical examinations. It is, of course, not about the full laboratory complexes, you should choose portable models of the following brands:

  1. AlcoHunter
  2. Dingo
  3. Sitytec;
  4. Tigon;
  5. Drager;

The above manufacturers produce a large number of different devices, differing in functionality and cost. In order to make an informed choice, one should read not only the capabilities of the particular device, but also the feedback from the users who have a particular device in their possession.

Principle and types of breathalyzers

We all know that in the process of absorbing alcohol in the blood, some of it certainly gets into the lungs and is excreted with the carbon dioxide. The more the person has consumed alcohol – the higher the percentage of ethyl alcohol vapor in human exhalation. Breathalyzer is a device designed to measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. For this purpose, a person has to blow on a special sensor for a certain period of time, and the device, having processed the incoming information, displays the data about the amount of alcohol on the screen. In many countries around the world, the allowable threshold is considered 0.3 ppm. If the figure exceeds these figures, then the person is intoxicated, with all the ensuing consequences.

Who can benefit from an Alcolock? First, the driver himself, who wants to assess his own condition before getting behind the wheel. Secondly, caring parents who do not want their children to drink alcoholic beverages – all they have to do is blow on the breathalyzer and everything will fall into place. Well, and thirdly, of course, the head of the company, assessing the condition of workers or the doctor who carries out admission of drivers on a line or in a trip. This kind of medical examination does not take long and clearly shows if the person is sober or not at all.

Despite the general principle of operation of breathalyzers, such devices can take readings in different ways.

Alcolock types

Semiconductor Breathalyzers

semiconductor breathalyzers

The most budget and compact size, which are great for regular household use. As a rule, they work with batteries and cope with their tasks very well. The disadvantages of such devices include low measurement accuracy and noticeable error. The most budget devices of such a plan, in fact, are suitable only to determine whether there is alcohol in the exhaled air or not, about its specific amounts, as a rule, it does not go.

Electrochemical Breathalyzers

Electrochemical breathalyzers

More advanced devices based on the electrochemical principle of breath analysis. Such devices are almost always equipped with interchangeable nozzles for personal measurements and are characterized by high accuracy of performed measurements, which is proved by various certificates of compliance issued by attestation laboratories. Disadvantage of such devices has only one drawback – high cost.

Photometric Breathalyzers

Photometric Breathalyzers

Devices that are considered to be quite advanced and accurate – the photometric devices have minimal error. Alcolock characterized by tiny size, working from batteries or built-in batteries, as well as on 12 or 220 volts. The disadvantages also include high cost and the need for regular maintenance and calibration, and therefore the popularity of such models are used mainly among the management personnel of enterprises, you can find them in the use of the police and ambulance services.

Breathalyzer Selection Parameters

In addition to the principle of action underlying a particular device, all alcohol meters without exception have a set of technical characteristics that directly affect the functionality of the device and can impose restrictions on the operation in certain conditions.

Measuring range and units in which the measurement is made

Currently on sale you can find a variety of devices, whose measurement range is specified in milligrams per liter of exhaled air, in ppm or as a percentage of alcohol volume to the volume of exhaled air. The formulas to convert from one value to another exist, but they are not very convenient to use. It is for this reason it is best to prefer to buy a breathalyzer that measures in ppm. First of all, because the entire regulatory base of state institutions is “adjusted” to this unit of measurement.

Allowed amount of measurements in a certain period of time

The design of modern breathalyzers implies that they take a certain number of measurements per day. Exceeding this threshold is fraught with sensor failure and expensive repair as a consequence. Besides, the more measurements the device can take, the more expensive it is. But there is a reasonable limit: if you buy the Alcolock for your own needs, a model capable of making up to 8-10 measurements per day will be enough. And on the contrary, if you choose a device for industrial use, or for the needs of the police or health care institution, you should choose a model that has no such limitations – who knows how many measurements will have to be taken?

How the sensor is affected

According to this parameter, there are contact and non-contact breathalyzers. The first ones imply the presence of a special disposable mouthpiece, while the second ones assume that the user will blow into a special hole. As a rule, contact breathalyzers are professional models that provide high quality measurement. And on the contrary, non-contact models are excellent for domestic use and are characterized by a low price.

Alcolock error

Regardless of the type of particular device and how it works, all breathalyzers have a certain range of error. It is connected with the characteristics of the sensor itself, as well as with non-ideal conditions of measurements. But even an ordinary solid state breathalyzer has a relatively small error and can provide quite an acceptable accuracy of measurement. Professional models, which are calibrated in special calibration centers and laboratories annually, have an error that is close to zero – this is affected by the specifics of use, which requires the most accurate and objective results. That is why the devices that are at the disposal of the police and ambulance staff are checked and calibrated at intervals of time and can guarantee the maximum accuracy of the results.


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