Breathalysers : help choosing a breathalyser and which features are important

Digital Alcohol Breathalysers are now widely available to buy. If the breathalyser is to be used for personal alcohol breath testing or for employment breathalyser or clinic breathalyser testing, there are a few key features, which vary from breathalyser to breathalyser, to look out for.

Firstly, ensure that you buy from a reputable distributor or supplier, with a long trading history and experience in the breathalyser market. Ensure the breathalyser company is registered in the UK and VAT registered. Ensure their contact details are to a full and complete UK address and not a PO box or registered mail drop. The company should be offering a full 12 month UK based guarantee for all breathalysers sold.

Breathalyser Calibration : What is it ?  Many buyers get confused by the term calibration. Put simply calibration is the technical service, performed by manufacturers and dealers, to set up the accuracy of the breathalyser and ensure it give a standardised reading at set concentrations of alcohol. At each calibration service the breathalyser is reset to give accurate readings. For cheap breathalysers, the cost of re-calibration service is greater than the purchase price and for this reason you will not see calibration or sensor modules being offered, These breathalysers are effectively consumables, to be replaced when there calibration has been exhausted. The risk is these cheap units don’t tell you when this occurs and can go on giving inaccurate measurements.  Calibration service has to be performed at the site of the dealer, so breathalysers requiring calibration service have to be returned to the dealer periodically. Most breathalyser units will give 300-700 tests between each calibration service, but all digital breathalysers should have their calibration checked at 6-12 monthly intervals to ensure accurate breathalyser results.

Modern breathalysers have sensor modules which are removeable and the user simply exchanges the old module and sensor with a pre-calibrated replacement. This takes about 2-5 minutes to complete and the most modern breathalyser designs incorporate technology which tells the user when to change the sensor. This design is for more convenient for the user, and replacement sensors are cheaper than calibration service (a large element of the cost is labour)

For more advice on choosing breathalysers read this