Differences Between Workplace and Personal Breathalyzers

One of the most common questions we receive at Andatech is which breathalyzer should be purchased, or which is our recommended model of choice. The first thing that one may note is that there is actually a substantial difference between a breathalyzer used in the workplace, and buying a breathalyzer for personal or family use- the differences may even surprise you!

What this article aims to do is to better educate the reader about the differences between personal and workplace breathalyzers, and which device suits your needs the best.  

How Does a Breathalyzer Work?

For starters, a breathalyzer tests deep lung samples for alcohol content, which then converts it into a BAC result in your breathalyzer. In order to read this result, your breathalyzer utilizes a sensor- of which there are two forms: semiconductor and fuel cell sensors.

Semiconductor testers are oxide-based testers (which are vastly cheaper in comparison to their platinum fuel cell counterparts), and as such, they are a relatively new and affordable form of breathalyzers. Semiconductor breathalyzers are most commonly used for low-volume testing, personal, and even home use due to their fairly reliable readings.

Fuel cell testers offer a high range of accuracy- all while being portable and pocketable. Fuel cell breathalyzers measure BAC levels by creating a chemical reaction, which proceeds to oxidise the alcohol within the breath sample and produce an electrical current (which scales in accordance to the amount of alcohol being oxidised).These specific breathalyzers are used within law enforcement, businesses, clinics, and substance abuse centers.

Personal Breathalyzers

As mentioned previously, semiconductor sensors are used within a number of cheaper and more budget-friendly breathalyzers, which is feasible, due to the nature of why individuals choose to purchase them. Although there are many models of personal breathalyzers on the market, there are also incredibly inaccurate semiconductor based breathalyzers- most of them ranging sub RM200.

The majority of cheaper breathalyzer units are unfit for use. Due to the nature of the elements comprising a breathalyzer, it is not uncommon for people to experience issues with cheaper models, due to their inferior build quality and materials.

As such, even though personal breathalyzers are unable to perform rapid back-to-back testing like their workplace counterparts, their ease-of-use, portability, and ability to give an estimated reading of your BAC proves them to be invaluable assets for your safety and personal well-being.  

Workplace Breathalyzers

When it comes to workplace breathalyzers, accuracy, dependability, and response time are the most important factors that come to mind when choosing a workplace breathalyzer. As workplace breathalyzers are used across many industries where alcohol and drug usage is not permitted and/or closely monitored, a workplace breathalyzer is essential in terms of testing. The ability to perform rapid tests due to their industrial grade fuel cell sensor, high rate of accuracy, and specific and passive testing turns these devices into workplace necessities.

Workplace breathalyzers are not only accurate, but some models such as our Prodigy S and Prodigy 2 afford the user the ability to even print out results and store records internally within the device. What we at Andatech usually tell our clients to do while testing large amounts of people is to perform tests via passive mode. If ever a positive reading should occur, the tester should switch from the sampling cup (used for passive testing in lieu of a mouthpiece) to a mouthpiece, and perform a specific test. During this time, most workplace breathalyzers afford the user to input specific and fully customizable details about the testee, and store the results for records.

In the event you own a Prodigy S or a Prodigy 2, you could also print out results on the spot. but bear in mind that workplace breathalyzers are quite large- making them great workplace units for for usage within various industries, but not small enough to pocket for use on a day to day basis or a night out on the town.

If you would like to learn more or buy an alcohol breathalyzer, you could view and browse through our range of breathalyzers.