It’s not cool to be responsible. No one likes to whip out their breathalyzer at the end of a good time and see if they’re good enough to drive. But with the mounting costs of DUI’s – estimated by msn money at $10,000 or more, buying a personal breathalyzer could be the best $100 you spend. And considering that police constantly are stepping up security and checkpoints, an investment (and usage) of a personal breathalyzer is a really “cool” thing.
So if you bought my soapbox spiel about buying a portable breathalyzer, here’s a couple that we recommend.
One thing you’ll notice is that they’re both on the expensive end of the digital breathalyzer price range. You can actually find breathalyzers out there that only cost 20 bucks or so. Even if you were to defy the logic of “you get what you pay for”, there’s a good reason not buy cheap breathalyzers. All of the cheap breathalyzers use a semiconductor that’s little more than cheap tin oxide heated to extremely high temperatures. These types of digital breathalyzers are plagued with problems such as false positives (things like perfumes, colognes, cigarette smoke, gasoline can set them off), terrible inaccuracy and reliability and they often breakdown. And the reviews show it: all of the low price breathalyzers are poorly rated and mention at least one of the above issues.
We want to make sure you get a breathalyzer that’s got your back when you need to drive home after the big game. Here’s what we recommend:
BACtrack S75 Pro Breathalyzer – BACtrack is the most trusted name in breathalyzers and is used professionally by police forces everywhere. The S75 model is the most affordable professional breathalyzer available from BACtrack. By professional they mean that it passes all of the FDA and DOT requirements to measure Blood Alcohol Content and not just “screen” it (which is what semiconductor breathalyzers are). It uses fuel cell sensors to eliminate all of the issues that semiconductor breathalyzers have and has a very simple interface which makes it incredibly easy to use. No worries about breathing too soon and getting a poor result. The digital readout is easy to read with an extra digit so you know whether you’re on the edge or good to go. Basically, it’s your safest bet to get the most accurate reading.
AlcoMate Prestige Breathalyzer – The AlcoMate Prestige Breathalyzer is another well respected professional grade breathalyzer. Offering many of the same features as the BACtrack S75, the AlcoMate’s one clear advantage is that it has a removable calibration sensor. Normal breathalyzers have to be sent in to a manufacturer or calibrator to calibrate the unit and make sure that nothing’s changed. The AlcoMate sells a replacement calibrated sensor that can easily be swapped in and out to avoid the hassle and expense of getting the unit calibrated. And if you’re already thinking you’re not going to bother calibrating it, forget about it. An uncalibrated unit is just as bad if not worse than not having one at all. The last thing you need is the false confidence that you’re under the legal limit when you’re not.
If you’re serious about being safe while having a good time, a personal breathalyzer is one of those miscellaneous tailgating items that you need to keep with your gear.