Top 5 Best Breathalyzers 2020:
- BACtrack S80 Breathalyzer
- AlcoHAWK Slim Breathalyzer
- Rofeer Breathylzer
- BACtrack C6 Keychain Breathalyzer
- VEIPAO Breathalyzer
Our focus today is on the device that is not often talked about, but it should be because one’s safety is of prime importance.
It cannot be avoided at all times – you may have had a drink or two at Sunday lunch with your family, friends, or colleagues. It is especially prevalent in the holiday season.
The question that oftentimes follows is: Are you in good condition to get behind the wheel, or you had too many drinks?
DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is amongst the top reasons for car accidents and is therefore not to be neglected.
In any case, if you feel like you aren’t in a state that you can drive – never do. And if you’re not sure an hour or so after drinking whether you’re safe to drive, what you need is the best breathalyzer that will tell you the truth.
That’s why we’ve curated the list of the five best breathalyzers that you can find on the market, based on our testing and experience.
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5 Best Breathalyzers In 2020: Detailed Reviews
1. BACtrack S80 Breathalyzer – Best Overall
BACtrack is the best-known company that produces professional-grade breathalyzers, so it’s no surprise that two of their models made it to our top list. This one, BACtrack S80, is the best-selling and most popular one, so we had pretty high expectations beforehand.
Did it meet them? Absolutely!
And here is what it offers.
Based on research, it has been proved that this breathalyzer offers police-grade accuracy.
What does that mean?
Basically, with BACtrack’s platinum-based Xtend Fuel Cell Sensor, this breathalyzer utilizes the same technology as the police, hospitals, clinics, etc. This technology is DOT approved and designed by the U.S. Department of Transportation & National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In that way, you get the most accurate results in each test to the third decimal place.
We were also impressed with how easy it was to use. You just need to insert two AA batteries (they are included in the package), turn the device on, and press the button to begin the test.
Not only the whole process is extremely easy, but it is also very fast – you’ll have the results in no longer than 15 seconds! The blowing time is 5 seconds, and 10 seconds later, the results will be displayed on a bright LCD screen. It is also versatile, as you can change units, limits, etc., according to your personal needs.
If anything goes wrong (though we doubt it), BAC has got you covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee and one-year warranty! There is a fact that cannot be denied: the S80 comes with a hefty price tag. But breathalyzer is something that you don’t buy every day, so you might as well invest in the best one!
All in all, BAC S80 will show you the BAC (blood-alcohol concentration) accurately, quickly, and trouble-free. For all these reasons, buy it if you want a professional-grade breathalyzer.
- The most accurate & reliable breathalyzer
- One-button operation
- Easy-to-read numbers on the screen
- Bright screen
- Used by professionals
- High price
2. AlcoHAWK Slim Breathalyzer – Budget-Friendly Pick
If design and portability matter to you, you’ll want to own the AlcoHAWK breathalyzer that is one of the most advanced models on our list when it comes to design and features.
Is it a professional-grade breathalyzer, like the previous one?
Well, not exactly. The fact that it is not widely recognized as professional-grade does not mean, however, that it is not accurate – quite the contrary – but the technology implemented is not recognized by the law officers, etc.
It is an excellent choice for conscious individuals who want to stay safe on the road and own a sleek and modern breathalyzer.
Being the size of an average cell phone (some might even mistake it for one), it is extra-slim and made of high-quality, durable material. What stands out is certainly its beautiful Ruby Red LED 2-digit display.
It’s perhaps no surprise that this model comes at a lower price since the technology that is utilized isn’t police-caliber. But I can assure you that the value for the price is more than excellent, and wholeheartedly recommend this breathalyzer!
Most low-cost breathalyzers aren’t rich with features, but this one is. It has an electronic airflow sensor that ensures that you continually blow through the unit. Without this quality feature, the test results would be irrelevant.
Moreover, the same sensor ensures that you exhale through the mouthpiece for 5 seconds, because a short exhale can affect the accuracy.
- Sleek design
- Advanced features
- The lowest price on the list
- Includes replaceable mouthpieces
- Great display
- Shows two digits, whereas some models show three or four
- Not professional-grade (though highly accurate)
3. Rofeer Breathylzer – The Most Advanced Breathalyzer
The Rofeer breathalyzer strikes the right balance between the professional and affordable breathalyzer.
Although it is not as slim as some other picks, it is portable and a bit bigger than a standard iPhone, and it looks great.
You’ve probably realized by now – when we say “professional-grade” breathalyzer, we mean that it is DOT & NHTSA approved. Though this one is not often used with police departments, clinics, military, etc., it is excellent for personal use.
As you can see, it earned the title “most advanced breathalyzer,” and let’s see on what grounds.
First and foremost, you can choose among as many as six different measurement units (BAC, mg/L, g/L, etc.), and it has the memory to record the latest 32 results.
Next, and this one is our favorite, it has a sound and color warning system: in addition to the digits that you can see on display, the results are labeled by the sound and color.
A single sound signal and green color are what you want to achieve! Two sound signals and yellow are questionable, and red and “di, di, di” for around 15 seconds translate to: “Don’t drive.”
The measurement time is a few seconds longer than with other breathalyzers, but it is still under a minute or so. You should press the button a few times so that the device starts, wait around 15 seconds until it is ready, blow for 5, and wait for 15 for the result (that hopefully turns out green).
The 3AAA battery that it contains is a bit less common, but it has an energy-saving mode so that it automatically shuts off after being idle for 15 seconds and prolongs the battery life.
- High-accuracy sensor
- Six measurement units
- 32 memory results
- Sound and color signals
- Easy to use
- Includes five recyclable mouthpieces
- None that we could find!
4. BACtrack C6 Keychain Breathalyzer – The Most Compact
If you struggle with space and/or losing things often, you want a breathalyzer that doesn’t take up a lot of space, and – even better – stays on your keys! This is possible with the BACtrack C6 keychain breathalyzer.
It is constructed per all the official standards, and it features the patented BluFire Fuel Cell Sensor so that the whole process is controlled and carried out correctly. This is the technology trusted by hospitals, clinics, and law enforcement.
Besides, if you install their app, it estimates the approximate time until your BAC will again be at 0. Of course, you have to measure it again in order to drive, and this is more of a “nice-to-have” kind of feature than a norm, but it undoubtedly earned the C6 an extra few points.
Speaking of the app, it has some smart features within itself – namely, if it turns out that you’re not safe to drive, the app allows you to call an Uber directly from there, which is a nice little touch.
There are two modes of showing the result: the “standalone mode,” which shows the result on the screen of your C6, and the “app mode,” which delivers the results to your smartphone by using the Bluetooth technology.
All of this makes this breathalyzer an excellent pick for people who want to own a professional, but compact breathalyzer.
Again, it is one of the more expensive breathalyzers we picked, but it will be a sound investment if you’re in need of a reliable breathalyzer that can be easily carried anywhere.
Just like with all the other BACtrack devices, you are backed with a one-year warranty.
- Advanced features
- A well-developed app with ZeroLine technology
- Has a Bluetooth connection
- One-year warranty
- A bit pricey
5. VEIPAO Breathalyzer – The Professional Runner-Up
Whereas BACtracks’s models are by far the most popular professional-grade breathalyzers, there are some other companies that have really upped their ante on the production of professional breathalyzers for private use. One of them is Veipao that has designed this fantastic model.
This FDA-certified professional breathalyzer comes with a USB cable and is one of the rare rechargeable models, which is a huge plus. We always prefer rechargeable devices than the use of the standard batteries!
The high-accuracy sensor works very fast. You just hold the power button for around 2 seconds, wait for 15 to warm up, blow evenly for about 5 seconds (just like with all the picks), and the data will be ready in 10 seconds or so. Again, under a minute!
The digital LCD display is a bit smaller than with some other picks, but this also means that this breathalyzer belongs to the category of compact devices.
Moreover, it implements the color differentiation technique: if the screen is green, everything is okay; if it is yellow, you’re somewhere in between. and it’s better to wait, and red means “stop.” Just like the traffic lights!
There will also be an audible alarm if the result is within the red zone.
The values for the optimal results can be set and changed by you according to your personal preference, i.e., local preferences of your state or country, and you can also switch between the measurement units.
One last thing that deserves to be mentioned is that the accessory game is strong with this one. You get ten free mouthpieces that can be cleaned and recycled and a cloth bag for maintenance.
- Color & sound signals
- Memory function for keeping 32 results
- Automatic shut-off after 15 seconds of being idle
- Police-grade accuracy
- Features might be hard to navigate for some users
Factors You Should Consider Before Buying A Breathalyzer
Some factors that you need to count in when shopping for the best breathalyzer include:
Different breathalyzers utilize different technologies to measure the level of your BAC (blood alcohol concentration).
In general, most of them use fuel cells that are very accurate and reliable.
When such a technology is implemented, breathalyzers are certified and approved by the competent national authorities that regard them as “professional-grade” or “police-grade” breathalyzers. Most notably, this is the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, along with the FDA.
Most of our picks belong to this category.
The results are displayed for the readout mostly on the digital display (which is the case with all of our picks). Of course, there are some variations, such as the size of the screen, digit layout, etc.
Overall, we focused on those devices that have a display that is easy to read, intuitive, well-lit, and, occasionally, empowered with extra features.
With regard to those features, the most prominent one is color signaling:
- If the screen turns green, the level of BAC is safe
- If the screen turns yellow, it means a warning that you should wait
- If the screen turns red, you shouldn’t get behind the wheel under any circumstances.
Moreover, a lot of our picks have the possibility to change the measurement units that are displayed (BAC, mg/L, g/L, mg/100ml, ‰PROM, etc.) and set your personal preference for the limits.
In general, breathalyzers are portable units – and you want them to be since you’ll be carrying them around with you in case you need them. They can be usually stored in a pocket or in a purse, so they can be with you even on a night out. One of our picks can even be used as a keychain!
They are often the size of the cellphone or so, so you can get the idea that they aren’t robust nor heavy.
Don’t forget to count in the mouthpiece(s) that you also need to carry. Sometimes they can fold in, which is very convenient.
4. Response Time
Although many people consider this factor crucial when it comes to breathalyzers, we don’t quite see why.
Once you turn the device on, most of them will need no longer than 15 seconds to heat, and around 5 seconds of blowing to process the results that will, again, be ready in no more than 30 seconds.
Even if the response time is longer than a minute – and in most of the cases, it isn’t – that’s still extremely fast for the data that you get!
Also, it’s worth mentioning that some devices can provide you with an estimate of how long you need to wait before your BAC lowers to zero. But even if so, you need to test again and check for yourself!
Final Thoughts And Recommendations
Our top pick is the classic and reliable BACtrack S80 breathalyzer. Although this expensive breathalyzer has been around for many years, the company constantly perfected it. With certainty, we can claim that this is the most accurate breathalyzer on the market now.
Alternatively, you don’t have to spend that much to get a quality breathalyzer. Our top budget pick, the AlcoHAWK Ultra Slim breathalyzer, offers excellent accuracy and a slim design at a fifth of the price of some more advanced breathalyzers.
Finally, if you want something in the middle – a reliable, premium breathalyzer that offers a lot of features, go for the Roofer breathalyzer.