The breathalyzer is a device created to measure the values of ethanol contained in the blood, invented back in 1954 by an American police captain, Robert Borkenstein.
The practice of blowing into the device, less invasive than a blood sample, had an immediate success, above all, thanks to the acceptable degree of precision of the machinery. After drinking a thirst-quenching beer or a glass of wine, the ethanol contained in these drinks is absorbed by the stomach and dilutes in the water contained in our body.
Part of this ethanol is metabolized while the remaining portion is eliminated as slag from the body. The breathalyzer can measure the concentration of what remains, returning a value that, according to the Italian road code, must not exceed 0.5 g / l.
Right below, we had listed out the best breathalyzers.
Buying Guide to Select the Best Breathalyzers
Sensor and Performance
The breathalyzer is an instrument that, through the analysis of the exhaled alveolar air, allows to measure the concentration of alcohol in the blood. In particular, the component that detects the ethanol value is the sensor.
Before buying a breathalyzer, pay attention to the type and quality of the latter because it is the most sensitive and delicate part of the appliance and is altered by humidity, pollution, and other factors; sooner or later, it will have to be replaced.
On the market, there are numerous models with a very different cost. Compare prices and features but pay attention, therefore, to the sensor’s performance. A valid one should allow several hundred, if not thousands, of tests to be performed before being replaced.
The sensors can be a semiconductor, electrochemical, and infrared, but those for personal and non-professional use are the first that also have an affordable cost. Others may even cost thousands of euros, for example, those supplied to law enforcement.
In any case, the breathalyzer must have a high degree of accuracy to be able to get driving with an absolute peace of mind. The advice is to prefer models with a tolerance of no more than ± 10%.
The sensor itself does not have a short average life, the problem is the calibration that is lost over time, and it is, therefore, necessary to carry it out periodically. Most users, however, target those models that do not require it since they provide for the simple replacement of the sensor with a new one.
Dimensions and Mouthpieces
The size of the breathalyzer might make a difference to you. Some more equipped and complete models are even sold with a briefcase that, however practical, could prove too bulky for your needs.
In this case, the best brand of breathalyzers is the one that makes the smallest and most comfortable tools to always carry with you. Most of them, however, has a compact and light design that allows you to keep them in the glove compartment of the car or even in your purse.
There are, however, some models that are even pocket-sized and can always be kept with them as a key ring to carry out the test at any time and anywhere, without having to reach the car first, which, perhaps, is very far away.
We advise you to choose those models that have several individually sealed mouthpieces in the package – maybe four or five – and not just one. They are small plastic objects at a low price, but they are instrumental because they allow the test to be carried out quickly by several people.
The operation of the breathalyzers should not be complicated but, studying the user review, you could identify what seems the simplest of all, where the instructions in Italian are included which clearly explain how to set the values for each unit of measurement.
Some have two, others more, for example,% BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration), ‰ BAC, mg / l or mg / 100 ml, useful when you are in a foreign country that uses detection parameters other than Italian ones.
In any case, it should take a few seconds to detect the amount of alcohol in the blood, and almost all models are equipped with an acoustic and visual alarm that warns the user if the previously set values have been exceeded. Finally, alcohol testers with the automatic switch-off function, to maximize battery life, are to be preferred.
Driving safety is paramount, especially when going out in the evening and pulling your elbow a little. In addition to personal safety and that of others, you were driving. At the same time, intoxicated can lead to very high fines and the withdrawal of a license, in some cases, even criminal trials.
So getting a reliable breathalyzer like this can be the right solution. It is equipped with a Bluetooth connection, thanks to which it will be able to communicate with your smartphone for precise data visualization.
By downloading the free app on your smartphone, you can access all the information detected, so on display, it will be much clearer to check whether you are fit for driving or not. The breathalyzer does not have an LCD screen, so the only way to verify the information is to use the smartphone, a feature that in some cases can be limiting especially in situations where the battery is low or at the limit.
Although for some, it is not exactly the maximum of comfort, the breathalyzer in question can provide a truly remarkable number of information that, in some cases, can save you a lot of trouble.
For example, with a particular algorithm, the breathalyzer is able even to calculate the recovery time that you will use to eliminate alcohol from the body and thus resume driving. Ideal if you are away from home and the taxi is out of the question, wait for the indicated time to pass, and you can safely get behind the wheel.
Speaking of taxis, in case you have exceeded the alcohol content permitted by law, the breathalyzer app will offer you the number of taxi companies in the city where you are. Finally, there is also the possibility of storing measurements and that of looking for a restaurant to have a bite to eat.
The product has an ergonomic and compact design, ideal for storing it in the car dashboard, bag, or jacket pocket without cluttering too much. You can easily hold it in one hand; it also does not need to be recharged and will not even use that of the smartphone.
A beneficial idea that eliminates the need to carry yet another charger. In the package, you will find 50 spare spouts that can cover a reasonable period before having to be repurchased.
How to Use a Breathalyzer?
Get Behind the Wheel Sober
Calculating the ethanolamine ratio is essential before driving, not only to avoid severe penalties but also to preserve one’s own and others’ safety. Having one of these devices during the wildest evenings can help you keep an eye on the amount of alcohol you ingest.
It is possible to find different types, based on the sensor they are equipped with: semiconductor, electrochemical, and infrared. Those on the market, and at low cost, fall into the first category. They have a limited duration and are influenced by humidity and pollution. Usually, the manufacturer indicates the maximum number of uses before replacing the sensor or the entire device.
Compared to those used by law enforcement agencies, which are much more expensive, they are more imprecise and have a decidedly high tolerance rate that must not exceed ± 10%. The returned value must, therefore, be taken with pliers and try to avoid getting behind the wheel if you fall slightly within the threshold allowed by the traffic regulations.
How to Use?
The use is straightforward, turn on the detector, wait for it to be ready, and when you receive the go-ahead via sound alarm or display, you can blow into the appropriate mouthpiece.
After a few seconds, the ethanol rate will be shown on the appropriate display or the proper phone app, if the breathalyzer communicates via Bluetooth with the smartphone.
If the device exceeds the legal threshold, depending on the model, it may emit audible and luminous warnings to attract your attention and advise you to wait before getting behind the wheel.
Purchase Additional Spouts
If you are in the company and want to perform an alcohol test on your friends to choose a sober driver, we recommend that you have additional plastic spouts, possibly sealed and disposable. This way, you don’t have to share yours and risk distorting the results. You can find for sale different models that offer practical cases to always keep in the car to perform the test at any time.