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Best Breathalyzers

BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer Review

If you’re looking for a smartphone breathalyzer that can deliver accurate blood alcohol content levels, the BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer is a smart choice. The BACtrack Mobile is easy to use and uses Bluetooth connectivity to communicate with your phone. The cell sensor technology is trusted by law enforcement and healthcare professionals countrywide and that’s why it made our best breathalyzer list.

Why We Like It – BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer

The BACtrack mobile smartphone breathalyzer uses fuel sensor technology to deliver accurate blood alcohol content BAC results. This mobile breathalyzer comes in a compact size and is easy to use. The BACtrack app allows you to store your results from months ago and track any changes.

Pros
  • Ultra-portable
  • Accurate results
  • Has a mobile smartphone app
Cons
  • Can interfere with phone’s Bluetooth
  • Requires a smartphone to work
  • Questionable social media options

Performance

The BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer is one of the best products in its class and is known for providing accurate blood alcohol results. The secret to getting the most accurate results is the fuel cell sensor. The fuel cell is far more effective than the old semiconductor sensors and delivers accurate BAC results. This mobile smartphone breathalyzer is compatible with most Apple and Android phones, and also works with the Apple Watch. It delivers exceptional performance, just like the BACtrack S80 Breathalyzer.

Design

The BACtrack Mobile comes in a compact design in sleek white plastic with a dark-blue trim. The small size makes it easy to carry in your pocket or in your bag, and it can be taken anywhere discreetly. It features a single button for operation and comes with multiple removable mouthpieces. The app is also user-friendly and has social media sharing options as well as a direct link to Uber. A gadget like this was impossible just a few years ago and we are lucky to have it. For an even smaller breathalyzer, check out the BACtrack C6 Keychain Breathalyzer.

Value

The BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer is compact enough to carry with you and can be used discreetly. More importantly, it also delivers quick blood alcohol results in a matter of seconds. Thanks to the app, you can even store your results for later, or call an Uber if you wish. It also comes with BACtrack’s legendary reputation that’s recognized by health professionals and law enforcement countrywide. BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer offers incredible value for money with or without free shipping. It’s affordable and does a great job, just like the BACtrack Trace.

BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer Wrap Up

This mobile breathalyzer gives accurate BAC readings in just a few seconds. It is also small enough to go anywhere, and the smartphone app can store your results. Other BACtrack models can be used without a smartphone, but the app makes it easier to store data and hitch a ride if you need to. It comes highly recommended for your night out and may even save a life.

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Best Breathalyzers

BACtrack C6 Keychain Breathalyzer Review

If you’re having a night out and enjoying a few drinks, it makes sense to get accurate BAC results before you leave. The BACtrack Keychain is a professional-grade alcohol sensor with Microcheck sensor technology. It’s compact enough to fit in your pocket or on your keys and only uses a single AAA battery. This keychain breathalyzer is one of the best products in the United States and made our best breathalyzer list.

Why We Like It – BACtrack C6 Keychain Breathalyzer

The BACtrack Keychain Breathalyzer is one of the easiest ways to check your blood alcohol content while you’re out and about. Its compact size means it can fit into your pocket, and it can be used with or without the smartphone app. Simply power it on, breath alcohol into the fold-out mouthpiece, and the advanced Microcheck Sensor Technology will deliver accurate BAC results.

Pros
  • Compact Size
  • Instant Readings
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Suspect social sharing features
  • Inconsistent readings at lower levels

Performance

For such a small breathalyzer Bactrack’s keychain offers great performance that’s confirmed by many buyer verified reviews. Thanks to its advanced Microcheck sensor, it can deliver almost instant BAC results. This great product can be used together with the smartphone app, or on its own. One of the useful features of the app is that it can call Uber directly. It can also store your results from months ago. The C6 can even tell you when your blood alcohol level will get back to 0.00%. For an FDA-approved breathalyzer, check out the BACtrack S80 Breathalyzer.

Design

The BACtrack C6 boasts a compact and innovative design. The white color looks smart and it doesn’t come in the color black. The Microcheck sensor together with the fuel cell sensor allows accurate results that are just not possible with the old semiconductor sensors. Years ago additional size and weight would be required to make a device like this. Many verified buyer reviews also praised the fact that the built-in, easy to read display doesn’t need the app to work. We would recommend the BACtrack Trace as a viable alternative.

Value

The Backtrack C6 offers a compact and efficient way of measuring your BAC thanks to its sensor technology. The design is solid and comes with a one-year warranty. It’s also a very popular product and with a big question and answer community to reply to support-based questions. You can’t put a price on people’s lives and their safety. The C6 comes at a great price and offers incredible value with or without free shipping. The BACtrack Mobile Smartphone breathalyzer is a better bet if you want a unit with a rechargeable battery.

BACtrack C6 Keychain Breathalyzer Wrap Up

The BACtrack C6 Keychain Breathalyzer is an innovative gadget, which simply couldn’t exist a few years ago. You can accurately check your BAC results discreetly and at any time. It may be more expensive than some of its rivals, but you are paying for the convenience of a compact size. This is one device that’s worth having on your night out. We hope you found this review helpful.

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Best Breathalyzers

BACtrack Trace Breathalyzer Review

If you’re going out for some drinks with friends, it’s great to be able to test your blood alcohol content. The Trace Professional Breathalyzer is compact enough to fit in your bag or pocket and has a high level of accuracy thanks to the fuel cell sensors. It’s also easy to use and BAC testing delivers almost instant results. The BACtrack Trace Professional Breathalyzer made our best breathalyzer list thanks to its features.

Why We Like It – BACtrack Trace Breathalyzer

The BACtrack Trace Professional Breathalyzer is a compact unit that uses innovative fuel sensor technology to give you accurate blood alcohol levels. This device comes from a reputable company that’s recognized by law enforcement, health professionals, and other organizations in the United States for making outstanding products.

Pros
  • Sensor technology
  • Compact size
  • High accuracy
Cons
  • Not as accurate as the BACtrack S80
  • Not the smallest in the range
  • No smartphone connectivity

Performance

BACtrack Breathalyzers have a stellar reputation and the Trace is no different. The Xtend fuel cell sensor technology is more accurate than the older semiconductor sensors and delivers faster results. Because of its accuracy and performance, this professional breathalyzer is approved by DOT NHTSA and various law enforcement agencies. Using it is also simple. Just switch it on, wait a few seconds, then breath alcohol into the mouthpiece. The BAC results are displayed in seconds. One of its main rivals is the BACtrack S80 Breathalyzer, which also uses a fuel cell sensor.

Design

The design of the BACtrack Professional is simple and functional. It comes in a compact size, with rounded edges, that can easily fit into your bag or pocket. The matte black plastic exterior looks great and is also durable. The side is dominated by an LCD display which shows large and easy to read figures. To make things more convenient, the BACtrack Trace comes with six different mouthpieces. It also has a long battery life and uses AAA batteries. This device is compact but if you want something smaller, make sure you check out be compact the BACtrack C6 Keychain Breathalyzer.

Value

The BACtrack Trace is rated as a medical device by the FDA and could possibly save a life. The fuel cell sensors allow the most accurate results possible and they are available in seconds. The Trace is also compact enough for you to take anywhere and use discreetly. It’s very easy to use and can store up to ten BAC results to view later. Considering that this is a world-class product, it provides excellent value for money regardless of whether there’s free shipping or not. The BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer is a better option for people who prefer an app.

BACtrack Trace Breathalyzer Wrap Up

The BACtrack Trace uses cell sensors and is approved by DOT, the NHTSA, and other organizations to provide accurate BAC results. It’s also easy to use and gives the results in seconds. It’s not as accurate as the flagship S80 model, but it’s also much cheaper. This is an excellent device and comes at a fantastic price.

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Best Breathalyzers

Alcohawk PT500 Review

Do you need something to make sure you know when to drive and when to not? Something to help with preventing those DUI’s from law enforcement? Well, the Alcohawk PT500 will make that a whole lot easier as with a single blow into its fuel cell sensor will give you the breath alcohol level, showing you whether or not you should be driving. And while some customer reviews may report having received defective parts, with a replacement you can get yourself a device with a great lcd display which shows everything with precision and accuracy of potentially the best breathalyzer out there.

Why We Like It – Alcohawk PT500

Coming with the PT Core Electrochemical Fuel Cell, the Alcohawk PT500 makes taking alcohol level tests a whole lot easier with a much more accurate result than most breathalyzers. The 4 Digit display shows results more precisely and reduces false positives for diabetes, all while being powered by the common AA batteries instead of AAA. And so, with all that and being certified by DOT/NHTSA as well as the FDA for blood alcohol detection, the Alcohawk PT500 is a great breathalyzer, worth considering.

Pros
  • Pretty Accurate
  • FDA and DOT approved
  • Powered by easy to find AA batteries
Cons
  • Customer reports of not being sensitive enough

Performance

The PT Core Fuel Cell sensor technology implemented into the Alcohawk PT500 breathalyzer makes sure that there are far less false positives for those with diabetes or a low calorie diet, as unlike semiconductor breathalyzers, the fuel cell sensor does not take into account the ketones which are present in the breath of those suffering from diabetes or have a low fat diet. This is similar to the BacTrack S80 Breathalyzer as well as the BACtrack Trace Breathalyzer both which are also fuel cell breathalyzers.

Moreover, when it comes to accuracy, the Alcohawk PT500 offers linear responses to the changes in measured alcohol, with a BAC uncertainty of 0.05% and a total range of 0 to 0.4%. And paired with the LCD screen displaying the results in 4 digits which can even pick up trace amounts of BAC, it will help you from contemplating about whether to drive or not after drinks. When it comes to using the device itself, the device needs 10-20 seconds of a warmup time and then 5 seconds of blowing into the sensor and then 5 to 10 more seconds for the result to show up on the display. Unfortunately, it does require frequent calibration with taking an air sample for 5 seconds for every new environment which can get irritating for most people.

As for the battery life on the device, it is powered by two AA batteries which provides you with upto 200 tests before the batteries run out. This makes it a bit more easier to use than the BACtrack Trace Breathalyzer which requires the more rare AAA batteries. Apart from that, thanks to the PT Core Fuel-Cell, the Alcohawk PT500 will last you up to a solid 1000 tests before becoming unusable, making it less costly in the long run.

Design

Measuring to be 5 x 2.63 x 1.25 Inches and weighing about 5.29 ounces with the batteries and the Shock resistant, molded plastic housing, the Alcohawk PT500 makes for a pretty compact and simultaneously capable breathalyzer. While it doesn’t come with a keychain like the BACtrack C6 Keychain Breathalyzer, it does still provide you with more than enough portability.

As for the controls on the device, you get a simple menu-driven operation with three buttons allowing you to navigate it. And considering the fact that it even comes with 5 included mouthpieces make it more flexible to be used multiple times by different people. Plus with a visual warning on the easy to read display apart from the audio alarm when the BAC crosses the acceptable limit, makes it much more convenient to use for people when drunk.

Value

Priced at about $113, the Alcohawk PT500 falls within the more higher priced breathalyzers out there. And with everything it offers ranging from the accuracy to the easy to use design as well as the DOT and FDA certification, it can definitely be worth money, rather than paying the high DUI fees in the United States. But, if you happen to get a defective part and you think that using the return policy on amazon com can become a difficult process, then consider getting yourself another breathalyzer. But other than that, if you do get the working model, the Alcohawk PT500 is definitely worth the price as a breathalyzer.

Alcohawk PT500 Wrap Up

While it may not have any form of keychain to carry it in or be the most affordable breathalyzer, with an easy to use design along with both accuracy and precision thanks to the PT Core Fuel Cell Sensor Technology the Alcohawk PT500 will make your life a whole lot easier. No longer will you have to contemplate driving after some drinks. And thus, allowing both civilians and professionals to understand the limits of alcohol, the Alcohawk PT500 is among one of the best breathalyzers out there right now.

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Best Breathalyzers

Alcomate Revo TS200 Review

If you’re planning on going out for drinks, it’s great if you have a compact breathalyzer that can help you make better decisions. The Revo TS200 Breathalyzer is made by a company called AK Globaltech and one of the best devices of its kind in the United States. This US Coast Guard approved breathalyzer made it onto our best breathalyzer list thanks to its pre-calibrated replaceable sensor module.

Why We Like It – Alcomate Revo TS200

The Alcomate Revo is a compact breathalyzer that can accurately detect blood alcohol levels thanks to its fuel cell technology. The Alcomate Revo Breathalyzer matches professional standards and is trusted by law enforcement, the US Navy, and the Marine Corps.

Pros
  • Compact size
  • Accurate results
  • Replaceable sensor
Cons
  • Expensive
  • A bit heavy
  • No smartphone integration

Performance

The Alcomate Revo TS200 is one of the best alcohol screening products and is approved by the US Coast Guard and other military branches. It offers a very high level of testing accuracy and delivers the results in seconds. The reason for the superb accuracy is the Prism technology sensor modules which are far more reliable than the older semiconductor type. The Revo TS200 is very simple to use and all you have to do is breath alcohol into the alcohol sensor and your results are displayed in seconds. For something more compact, check out the BACtrack C6 Keychain Breathalyzer.

Design

The design of the Alcomate Revo TS200 is simple and elegant. It comes in a compact size that can be carried anywhere and has a matte grey finish with metallic trim. One of the main selling points is the removable prism sensor. Other fuel cell breathalyzers degrade over time and need to go in for recalibration. With the Alcomate TS200, all you have to do is take out the old one and replace it with the spare that’s provided. This device compares well against rivals like the BACtrack S80 Breathalyzer and the cheaper Alcomate Premium.

Value

The TS200 may come at a high price, but it has fantastic features to justify it. This device provides accurate alcohol screening in a compact package that can be carried anywhere and used discreetly. It’s also easy to use and displays the results in seconds. It also has better long-term durability than its rivals because of its removable sensor. Despite the high price, the Alcomate Revo TS200 provides excellent value thanks to its features and durability. If you need something cheaper, try the BACtrack Trace.

Alcomate Revo TS200 Wrap Up

When it comes to compact breathalyzers, the Alcomate Revo TS200 is up there with the best. It has excellent accuracy and is trusted by many military branches, law enforcement, and health care professionals. It comes at a high price, but you can’t put a price on safety. Overall this is one of the best breathalyzers you can buy and also the most durable.

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Best Breathalyzers

BACtrack S80 Breathalyzer Review

If you like to go out and have a few drinks, you know how important it is to make responsible decisions. The BACtrack S80 Breathalyzer is a simple device that uses the latest sensor technology to get the most accurate blood alcohol results possible. It comes in a fairly compact size and is very easy to use. It came out tops on our best breathalyzer list thanks to its performance.

Why We Like It – BACtrack S80 Breathalyzer

The S80 BACktrack mobile breathalyzer is trusted by law enforcement and is approved by DOT and the NHTSA. All you have to do is switch it on, breath alcohol into the mouthpiece, and you’ll get your BAC results within seconds. The fuel cell sensor allows this breathalyzer to deliver unparalleled accuracy compared to the older semiconductor sensor.

Pros
  • Compact size
  • Accurate readings
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • The sensor will eventually need replacing
  • Can’t connect to devices
  • A bit expensive

Performance

Most people including the NHTSA, law enforcement, and even customer reviews agree that the S80 is one of the best breathalyzer products on the market. Its main selling point is it’s the high level of accuracy that’s possible thanks to the new fuel cell technology. The BACtrack S80 takes a few seconds to warm up before you can exhale into it. You just have to let out one strong, consistent breath and the S80 will have your results displayed in seconds. If you’d prefer a tester with AAA batteries, the BACtrack Trace is a fantastic alternative.

Design

BACtrack is famous for its user-friendly and durable products. The S80 comes in matte plastic with a large LCD display and two buttons. It also comes with multiple washable mouthpieces so you can share it with friends. Everything about this gadget is based on simplicity and functionality. There’s no app to worry about and you only need two buttons to make it work. Even the results come out in large and easy to read figures. For something smaller, make sure you check out the BACtrack C6 Keychain Breathalyzer.

Value

The BACtrack S80 is a fantastic mobile breathalyzer that does exactly as advertised. It’s small enough to go anywhere with you and can take accurate BAC results in a matter of seconds. It’s used by healthcare professionals, law enforcement agents, and other organizations around the country so its pedigree is undisputed. The bottom line is that this is probably the best breathalyzer available today. It’s also probably the simplest to use. If you’d prefer a smartphone scanner, the BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer is the best alternative.

BACtrack S80 Breathalyzer Wrap Up

The BACtrack S80 Breathalyzer is a simple and accurate way to check your BAC levels. It’s small enough to go anywhere and can help you make life-saving decisions. The sensor will eventually need replacing, but it only costs $20. Overall, the S80 is one of the best devices in its class and well worth the money.

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Best Breathalyzers

Breathometer Mint Tracks Bad Breath and Hydrations Levels

Some people have bad breath and don’t even realize it. It’s sad to know that they don’t care about their oral health or really about other people. Then there are those who are obsessed with having good breath and are always popping gum, breath mints and other things to make sure that their breath doesn’t smell. Well, the new Indigogo campaign for the Breathometer Mint will help users determine if they have bad breath, in addition to providing them information on their hydration level.

Importance Of Oral Care and Staying Hydrated

Oral health can provide insight into your overall health. Not many know that problems in their mouth can actually affect the rest of their body. Good oral care and dental hygiene can actually help reduce bath breath, gum disease and tooth decay. A healthy mouth means a healthy body. And to stay healthy, one has to stay hydrated. Water is the key to life since it benefits our bodies in so many ways – it eliminates toxic substances in our bodies, produces digestive enzymes, maintains healthy skin and so much more. The Breathometer Mint was created with these two things in mind so that users can be aware of bad breath and of dehydration.

Easy To Use

Breathometer Mint

To use the world’s first portable breath quality and hydration level detection device, just place it in your mouth, let it automatically draw a sample of air, then within a matter of seconds the accompanying app on your phone will let you know your hydration level and quality of breath. It measures breath quality by measuring your Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSCs) that are created by anaerobic bacteria biofilms inside your mouth, which is what causes bad breath. For hydration, the device measures the moisture level of your mucus membrane in your mouth. 

The Breatometer App

Breathometer Mint

The Breathometer app works with iPhone 5 and up, as well as select Android smartphones. The app will track activity for both your breath and hydration, which can then be exported for sharing with doctors and dentists. It’ll make recommendations so that you achieve hydration and breath quality goals, as well as offering reward programs for consistently achieving optimal breath and hydration levels.

Stop worrying about your breath and get the Breatometer Mint for $89 on Indiegogo.

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Best Breathalyzers

Breathometer Breeze Breathalyzer Review

Driving drunk is for the birds.  Meaning you’d be an idiot to do so, especially in this day and age of Uber and Lyft.  But let’s face it.  We’ve all done it: head to the a bar or restaurant, plan on having just one and end up slugging back three or four.  Not good.  And that’s why every one should carry a portable breathalyzer, such as the Breathometer Breeze. Always get the best breathalyzer.

Now, the Breathometer Breeze isn’t the first portable breathalyzer I’ve reviewed.  But it’s the first that doesn’t require charging.  Powering the keychain sized device is an included watch battery.  To install, just unscrew the top half of the Breathometer Breeze and pop it into place.  I struggled for a few minutes to get it back together, but with some trial and error did so.

Included in the box are a few mouth pieces an attachments.  I immediately tossed the mouth pieces aside since they just mean more to lose, which will surely happen, and more to carry around.  As alluded to, there is a keychain attachment, but since I drive just one car I’ll be storing the Breathometer Breeze in my car for those “just in case” moments of weakness.

With the battery installed, it’s as simple as hitting the button near the mouth piece to power it on.  You’ll know you’ve done so when the LEDs light up. The last few steps are pairing it to your phone and downloading the Breathometer app.  Both are a quick and painless process, so no qualms there.

To begin a reading it’s a single button press on the app and then blowing into the Breathometer Breeze.  Comparatively speaking the Breathometer Breeze works very fast; it only requires that you breath into the device for 5-seconds, where as other Breathylyzers require more time.  Moreover, the device resets fairly quickly after each use, though it will error out if used too many times in a row (this only happened once after excessive testing).

Because the Breathometer Breeze runs off a watch (cell) battery, which is good for up to 16 months, it does shut off automatically fairly quickly.  I never measured the actual amount of time, but it’s a moot issue since it powers on just as fast.

Compared to other Breathylzers, it tended to understate my BAC (that, or the other ones overstated it). But only marginally.  And since the exercise isn’t to determine how drunk I was (well, sometimes) but whether or not I was close to or had exceeded the legal limit.  Regardless, it seems to be a strong indicator of this, though I would have prefer to have it overstate my BAC; a “better safe than sorry” mentality.

You can buy the Breeze Breathometer direct for $100.

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Best Breathalyzers

BACtrack Vio Breathalyzer Review: Say Goodbye to BAC Conjecture

Invest in the best breathalyzer, here’s why. I always err on the side of caution when I’ve been imbibing in alcohol.  Which is to say, give me one beer and I likely won’t operate a motor vehicle.  Call it a previous bad experience.  And while not fatal or liable, it was one that left my ego bruised yet my conscience firmly intact.  But rarely, especially here in LA, do you find that to be the popular decision, since it’s difficult to travel from one part of the city to the next without incurring a massive taxi bill, though “ridesharing” has helped ease that pain a bit.  Nevertheless, my point is that people, especially those below the age of 30, are rarely a good judge when it comes to gauging their level of intoxication with respects to driving.  So, the answer would seem to be in the form of this: the BACtrack Vio.

To date the Vio is the company’s smallest, lightest and most portable breathalyzer.  In fact, so small that it can attach to a keychain and while not totally devoid of some encumbering effects, it’s reasonable in the grand scheme of things (and costs just $50).  Included is a single AAA battery and since I’ve only been using the Vio for a better part of a week I can’t tell you how long it’s battery will last.  By comparison, their more expensive Mobile includes a microUSB rechargeable battery, but costs $80 more and uses more expensive and what I’d guess energy draining parts due to its accuracy.

BACtrack_Vio_table

That said, I compared the accuracy of the Vio to that of the Mobile.  You see the Mobile claims to use a police grade sensor to determine BAC (blood alcohol content), where as the Vio uses a smaller, less powerful sensor.   No matter, as the Vio consistently produced the same results as the BACtrack Mobile version.  Though I guess the true test would be to walk into a police station and compare both of these against a machine that could remove you of the possession of a driver’s license for up to a year.  If not for nothing, perhaps it’s fair to point out that at least BACtrack isn’t without consistency.

Using the BACtrack Vio isn’t a sorted affair.  Dump the included AAA battery into it, download the just refreshed BACtrack app (iOS or Android) and pair the two devices by way of Bluetooth.  It’s all simple stuff that doesn’t require multiple button presses or a set of instructions.  Moreover, re-pairing the device after you re-power it up, via a small button on the side of the Vio (power on is indicated by a small blue LED light which mind you flickers when powering down – a nice touch) is quick and painless.  Finally, to acquire a reading, it’s just a question of flipping up the mouthpiece – 3 sanitary attachments are included, though no one will carry those with them since it defeats its portable nature – and blowing when the app tells you to do so for 5 seconds (there is a 10 second warm up time and about 45 seconds required between readings).  Unlike the BACtrack Mobile, which uses a sensor that clicks when the reading has been completed, the Vio makes no such noise.  It’s also a bit tougher to blow into since the ventilation pipe is just that much smaller.  If all is done correctly a reading should appear on the screen along with an estimate to the time of sobriety – something BACtrack calls ZeroLine technology.

BACtrack_VioAppScreen_12ResultZeroline_Medium

So, for the most part I have very few negative things to say about BACtrack’s latest, the Vio.  The mouthpiece attachments are pretty much useless since you’ll never have them on hand, unless your at home.  Battery life is questionable, or up in the air at this point, but you already knew that.  Accuracy, well, it’s hard to say.  But of all the people that I tested it on, it seemed to fairly well represent their BAC with respects to how much they said they had drank and their level of impairment.  And on a final note, for those concerned about the weight of the device and size consider this: the size is more encumbering than the weight of it and…and what’s the price you’re willing to pay to avoid a DUI?  A slightly bloated pants pocket and 50 less dollars in your wallet?  Not a bad deal if you ask me…or a cop.

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Best Breathalyzers

Toshiba’s New Breathalyzer Can Detect Diseases

toshiba breathalyzer

Always on the hunt for the best breathalyzer, we came across this one.

We all worry when it comes to our health and Toshiba wants to ease our worries a bit with their new disease-detecting breathalyzer. The only thing is that it’s only available in Japan at the moment. The breathalyzer can supposedly detect a bunch of diseases in just under 30 seconds after one blows into the machine that’s the size of a small dishwasher. It features a nozzle where the users blow several times to analyze the puffs for traces of several gasses that can signal the presence of a variety of diseases, such as diabetes, stomach problems and even a hangover (as if you need to officially be diagnosed with that). In a company statement, Toshiba said that the machine is irradiated with an infrared laser that will trace gasses to detect any ailments. The gases traced include acetaldehyde, methane and acetone, all of which can point to the presence of various health problems. Of course, the company will continue to expand the number of gases and diseases the machine can detect and will start commercial production on it within the next year.

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Best Breathalyzers

BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer Review

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’d normally start by saying that only a fool expects a consumer-based electronic device to give them accurate information about their health: that’s what having a checkup at the doctor is all about. But the effects of drinking alcohol are so insidious — and so ingrained into our culture — that few really realize how dangerous a couple of drinks at the wrong time or in the wrong situation can be. So yeah, I’m all in favor of those portable Breathalyzer units, provided they actually worked. The trouble has been that the ones on the market have been sold more for their “novelty” effect. But while getting a bit tipsy might be OK at home, getting behind the wheel in an impaired state isn’t a joke. So having a quantifiable number staring back at you is a lot better than “guestimating” how you’re feeling.

BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer

That’s why I feel good about using the BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer. Granted it’s not keychain-sized small and requires a Bluetooth connection to an iPhone to function, but having a police-grade fuel cell sensor inside gives me confidence: of the various forms of sensors placed in these type of devices, those with fuel cells are used by professionals who expect accurate and consistent readings (these type of breathalyzers are also resistant to false positives). And there’s nothing involved or hard about getting a reading since all you’re doing is blowing into the device.

The BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer is about the height of a smartphone, although much wider. It recharges via USB so I plugged it into an AC adapter and let an hour go by. In the meantime I download the free BACtrack app on my iPhone 5.

BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer app take a reading

I needed to establish a baseline — what my BAC (blood alcohol content) is without any alcohol in my system. BACtrack says you should wait at least 15 minutes, so I gave it a 1/2  hour after breakfast. I turned the BACKtrack on and paired it to my iPhone’s Bluetooth from the app’s initial screen — which is a great convenience, although I had to do it each time. I clicked on “Take a Reading” and waited as an onscreen clock counted down the startup process.  When I was given the go-ahead, I took a deep breath and blew forcefully into the breathalyzer (remind me to use one of the included mouthpieces next time as they’re easier to clean off afterwards than the hole in the device) and kept doing it while a series of bars onscreen illuminated from bottom to top. The app stopped when they were all lit up. A few seconds then went by and the app gave me the results numerically as well as in plain English. It said that I was sober, which came as no surprise since it wasn’t brunch at the Hilton.

BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer app baseline

So I turned the breathalyzer off and left it in the kitchen until dinnertime, during which I consumed a bottle of beer. After the meal was over I used it again and saw that, while the amount of alcohol in me wasn’t massive by any means, the single bottle had been enough to be able to affect my behavior. I tried using my now being slightly impaired as an excuse to not do the dishes — no luck.

BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer app higher results

But the real test was when I went to a microbrew bar with friends to celebrate my birthday: read that as having them buy me beers. Plural. I took a reading after having consumed three beers and, no surprise, the reading showed that I wasn’t ready to go on the high-wire. I was also able to take a picture in app of one of the now-empty beer bottles to commemorate its contribution to my insides. The app also lets you share the results of your testing in a private message or to the public at large via twitter or Facebook — doubtful I’d be doing any of that. But it was interesting to see the satellite view that displays other user’s results worldwide, as was using the graphing function that tracked my alcohol consumption over time. And for those who drink regularly and care, the app also gives you an estimate of how long before your BAC levels return to normal. In my case it wasn’t happening before I left the bar, but since I wasn’t the designated driver, no big deal. But if I had been drinking alone, getting behind the wheel would have been a really, really bad idea as California’s legal definition of DUI impairment is 0.08% BAC. If I had been stopped while driving, I might have kissed my license goodbye.

BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer app worldview

Bottom line: Alcohol affects your judgement, so having the cold hard facts of your BAC presented by a device you can’t laugh off as a “novelty” can help you make the right decisions about how competent you are. Because you’re using the BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer, that decision could be as small as knowing you’re not as funny as you think so you keep that stupid, dumb joke bottled up, or as major as avoiding driving which could result in an accident where someone gets hurt or worse. The BACtrack is just a tool and not your mommy, but it’s an accurate tool that you can’t ignore. Oh and good luck using it to try and get out of a speeding ticket even if you’re sober.