Breathalyser Buying Guide

If you’re looking to purchase a breathalyser for commercial, legal or personal purposes, there are several considerations you need to make. You'll very quickly run up against two different types of alcohol breathalysers: those that use a semiconductor sensor and those that use a fuel cell sensor. Yet even within each type, there are factors that can increase or decrease accuracy as well as ease of use.

Here we examine the differences to help you decide which kind of alcohol breathalyser you should buy for different purposes.

Buying a Breathalyser: Essential Information

You should always buy breathalysers that:

  • Meet required Australian Standards. This is especially vital for workplace and law enforcement use.
  • Can be recalibrated. Over time all alcohol breathalyser sensors become less accurate and must be recalibrated.
  • Are calibrated by trained professionals. Some brands require you to replace your own pre-calibrated sensor. Will this stand up in court? Leave it to the trained specialists
  • Has a high accuracy in a controlled environment. The controlled accuracy reading should be +/-0.01% variance.
  • Has a good accuracy, +/- 10%, as per AS3547

However, you don't need to search for alcohol breathalysers that claim 100% accuracy. Variations in body types mean that +/- 0% accuracy is impossible to achieve - any breathalyser that claims this is making a false statement.

Semiconductor Breathalysers

Fuel Cell Breathalysers

Useful Information

Passive versus Active Breathalyser Buying Guide

Passive alcohol breathalysers only need to be spoken into to obtain a BAC reading (positive/negative only), whereas active alcohol breathalysers must be blown into.

Active units are slightly less prone to environmental contamination, and the reading cannot be affected by the distance at which the unit is spoken into. If accuracy is a concern (for example, in personal breathalysers), buy a breathalyser that needs to be blown into.
At Breathalyser Sales and Service, we stock only higher quality fuel cell breathalysers to buy for personal or workplace use. If you have any questions about particular models, don't hesitate to contact us!