Choosing a home breathalyzer for a driver: types and features


The device for measuring alcohol in the blood can be attributed to professional devices, because most often ordinary people meet them in the hands of a traffic inspector or in medical institutions. But the scope is wide, and some drivers decide to buy their own device. Below is how to choose a breathalyzer so as not to pay a lot of money and get an accurate measurement result.

Types of breathalyzers

As mentioned above, the breathalyzer is a device that has become widespread. Obviously, depending on the scope of the model may differ.

  1. Professional Devices, designed for multiple use in one day — from 150 to 300 times with additional equipment. Used in large companies and traffic police. An example is devices from the Drager brand, they have very accurate sensors.
    Professional breathalyzer
  2. Special breathalyzers have a low error, can be used up to 30 times in twenty-four hours. They are found in medical laboratories, in private enterprises, in traffic police departments.
  3. Club — stationary models, the middle option between the above. Replacement mouthpieces are supplied. Used in entertainment venues.
    Club breathalyzer
  4. Personal (individual). They are used no more than 4 times during the day, they work on batteries, they are designed for short-term use. Useful for motorists to check themselves before the trip.
    Personal breathalyzer
  5. Disposable breathalyzers. Already from the name it is clear that this option is designed for a single use. It is compact and inexpensive, used for personal purposes. The readings of the device have no force in legal disputes and cannot be used as evidence.
    Disposable breathalyzer

There is another classification of breathalyzers: contact and non-contact devices. Contacts are equipped with a special mouthpiece through which air is blown in, they are distinguished by increased accuracy. There is a hole on the body of the non-contact device, into which, according to the instructions, you need to blow from a distance of 2 cm. Such a device can give an erroneous result, since many factors affect the accuracy of the readings.

Types of sensors

The principle of operation of the breathalyzer is based on the analysis of exhaled air for ethanol content. According to the type of sensor or sensitive element, the following types of breathalyzers are distinguished.


A special element, when ethanol enters, begins to heat up due to a chemical process, which causes the arrow to deviate from zero. Devices equipped with this sensor are sensitive to the temperature of the medium in which the test is carried out, and require frequent calibration or replacement of the reaction element.

Important! These models are considered the most inaccurate, and the result may differ from the real value by 20%.



In this case, a catalyst is applied to the sensor inside the device, which reacts to the presence of ethanol. An electrochemical breathalyzer is considered accurate, and its error is within 5-10%, which is considered an acceptable norm.. Models with this sensor often used in the traffic police, since, unlike the previous version, they allow multiple use during the day and need to be checked and adjusted every 500-1500 applications. It is also a good option for home use for those who want to achieve accurate data and do not often carry the device for repairs.

Photometric or infrared

In this case, the intensity of light passing through the exhaled air is measured. Breathalyzers with such a sensor are expensive and are used exclusively for professional purposes.


it new modelsthat the traffic police plan to use. To some extent, the principle of operation is similar to photometric, with the exception that the test will be carried out at a distance and in automatic mode, in other words, drivers will not even know that they are being tested. A laser breathalyzer is installed on a straight section of the road, a special diode emits a beam passing through the car windows. At the end of the area to be scanned, there is a reflective element that returns the beam to its place. By measuring how much the beam was scattered during these procedures, you can understand whether the driver drank or not.


On a note! The first stationary prototype was presented in 2008, and at the same time an order was created for their development and delivery to the police, but at the moment these devices are not widely used.

According to the developers, the device has high accuracy, allows you to quickly scan both lanes and identify those violators who outwardly do not cause the police to stop them. Also on the basis of technology will be created professional breathalyzer of traffic police for local use, in other words, the mobile version. It can be ready to go in 5 minutes.

How is a breathalyzer different from a breathalyzer?

On sale you can find all of the above devices, but sometimes buyers are confused by the concept of «alcometer». There is practically no difference between a breathalyzer and a breathalyzer. The fact is that in a professional environment it is customary to call models designed for use for work purposes a breathalyser. A breathalyzer, respectively, is a device designed for personal use. The functionality and principle of operation for both types is the same: a special sensor captures alcohol and, depending on its type, performs different verification procedures, after which it displays the result.

So, breathalyzers differ in the type of sensor that reacts to alcohol, as well as the scope. Photometric and laser devices are used in professional environments, most commonly by police officers or in medical settings. Electrochemical models are allowed for personal use, but still, due to the price tag, they are purchased by institutions that need to check their employees: for example, for pre-trip inspections of employees of transport companies, in enterprises with hazardous substances or working conditions. Semiconductor breathalyzers are an option for home use, which can be sold in a variety of variations. They are disposable or reusable, pocket, in the form of a key ring or in a classic design.

How to choose a breathalyzer

The need to buy a home breathalyzer can arise for a number of reasons: unwillingness to be deceived by traffic police officers, for personal self-control, due to health problems. Before choosing a personal breathalyzer, you need to answer a few questions:

  • for what purposes it is necessary;
  • how often it will be used;
  • there is a need to save the result, or you just need to know it;
  • whether you want to print the results.

Based on the above, it becomes clear which tester is better to buy, and how much money it will take.

The need for certification

You can choose a breathalyzer for personal use for various reasons, but if in the first place it is necessary in order to be able to get into an argument with the police in case of disagreement with the results of their apparatus, it should be understood that not every model can become a reason for evidence in court.

Motorist breathalyzer

Important! Due to frequent requests from motorists, a list of breathalyzers approved by the Ministry of Health has been released, it is periodically updated. If the selected household breathalyzer is on this list, then in court its testimony can be used as a defense. Otherwise, these results have no validity, and the only option for using non-certified devices is for personal self-control.

Thus, if an option is needed that can be used in court, then the choice will be from certified models. If the driver is just going to check himself before the trip, because he knows that he has deviations from the norm, or he drank the day before, then you can look at more affordable models.

Which type of sensor to choose

The sensors that are used in the testers were described above. Most often, buyers are faced with a choice between electrochemical and semiconductor breathalyzer, since photometric ones are too expensive. The first option is more accurate and is designed for more frequent use. It makes sense to buy it if the check is constant, for example, every morning or twice a day. If you have to use it from time to time, then there is no point in overpaying, and the best option is a semiconductor breathalyzer.

Device form factor

It was said above that digital breathalyzers can have different types. Most often, models for personal use are small devices that fit in the hand with a nozzle or a special nozzle (mouthpiece). Such models are convenient to use at home.

Portable breathalyzer

In addition, you can find more compact devices, for example, keychain breathalyzer or disposable device. These are options for portable models that you can always keep at hand in case of unforeseen situations. Such a pocket option is not burdensome for the driver and can be combined with a more expensive breathalyzer that is kept at home. For example, a truck driver at home uses a stationary model, but takes a small electronic breathalyzer with him on the road, which is not designed for frequent use and has a budget price.

On a note! Among other things, the tester may have additional functions, such as a flashlight. Their need is decided individually by each buyer.

Availability of a printer

Some car tester models are sold with a printer. The essence of the work is that the device saves the result, and later connects to the printer. There are two options for printing data:

  • a model that connects to a PC, and information is stored on it, and later printed;
  • breathalyzer with printer included.

Breathalyzer with printer

The latter have a high price, but are convenient in that in the event of a dispute, the user can record the result in front of the policeand later print them out and present them at the trial.


So, you should buy a model with a low error, the best breathalyzer with an electrochemical sensor. It allows you to carry out several checks per day, individual models can save the result, but what is important — they do not need to be calibrated often. In particular, electromechanical sensors that operate once a day can be calibrated once a year.

Important! These procedures should be carried out in special metric institutions, and visits should be recorded. Otherwise, even models approved by the Ministry of Health lose their status, because untimely verification affects the accuracy of the result.

The most reliable breathalyzers of 2019

Breathalyzer Alcogran AG-100 on Yandex Market

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Breathalyzer Dingo AT-2020 on Yandex Market

Breathalyzer Inspector AT600 on Yandex Market

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