Personal breathalyzer: What you need to know

A personal breathalyzer is a handheld device that monitors a user’s Breath Alcohol Content. To use a portable breathalyzer, the user must blow into the device for a few seconds in a steady stream. The device will indicate when to start and stop but this usually lasts for about 5 seconds. Sensors within a portable breathalyzer will then measure the alcohol level of air in the lungs and forces it through a Fuel Cell or Semiconductor sensor, which interprets the sample into BAC format.

Currently, these are the 2 main types of personal breathalyzers available. You'll want the first one, though pricier.

Fuel Cell Technology is the most accurate approach, the same used by police for mobile testing. Recommended for personal usage (if you have a higher budget), for law enforcement and in scenario where you need very precise measurement of the level of BAC in a person.
View AT8020 Fuel Cell personal breathalyzer

Semiconductor Technology is much cheaper, not as accurate, and unlike fuel cells, can give false positives if other substances are in the breath (like cigarette smoke). This device is best used to help your friends and colleagues make responsible decisions after consuming alcohol.
View AT188 Semiconductor personal breathalyzer

There’s one thing good to keep in mind when using a breathalyzer: just because you blow below the legal limit doesn’t mean you should drive. If you receive a reading of .05 on your personal breathalyzer, you’re still better off to stay safe and not drive at all.


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