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Alco Breathalyzer vs BACtrack: A Comparison Guide

11 October, 2023

A breathalyser and smartphone on the table.

People utilise portable breathalyzers to monitor their alcohol consumption and maintain control over their alcohol levels. Two commonly used devices are the Alco breathalyzer and BACtrack. These devices assess Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), indicating the level of alcohol present in the blood. They offer a wide range of devices, from personal units to professional-grade testing devices. However, they may differ in features, such as battery types and controls.

Impaired or drink driving is a significant contributor to traffic accidents and injuries. Excessive alcohol consumption can hinder a person’s ability to drive safely, as it can impact concentration, perception, reaction time, and coordination. As a result, many people utilise a breathalyzer to assess their BAC prior to operating a vehicle. This article will present a comparison guide between Alco breath testers and BACtrack, including their accuracy, features, ease of use and convenience.

Alco Breathalyzer vs BACtrack: Accuracy and Digital Display

When it comes to accuracy in alcohol breath testing, both the Alco breathalyzer and BACtrack are reliable choices. They utilise fuel cell sensors, which are known for their high level of accuracy and reliability in measuring alcohol levels in breath samples. The accuracy range of these devices typically falls between 0.00% and 0.40% BAC range, making them suitable for a variety of testing scenarios.

In terms of displaying the alcohol levels, both the Alco and BACtrack feature LCD screens. These provide users with clear and easy-to-read results, ensuring fast and precise measurements. The LCD display on these devices allows users to quickly determine their alcohol level, making it convenient and user-friendly.

Having accurate readings and a clear digital display is of utmost importance for users of alcohol breathalyzers. It ensures reliable assessments of one’s alcohol level, which is crucial in making informed decisions about driving or operating machinery. A clear digital display makes it easy for users to interpret their results, eliminating any confusion or uncertainty.

Sensor Technology

  • Fuel cell sensor: this technology uses a platinum electrode and an acid solution to measure the alcohol concentration in the breath. It provides highly accurate and reliable results and is commonly used in professional-grade breathalyzers.
  • Semiconductor sensor: this type of sensor relies on a tin oxide or metal oxide film to detect alcohol molecules in the breath. It is often used in personal breathalyzers due to its affordability and compact design.
  • Electrochemical sensor: this sensor utilises a chemical reaction to produce an electrical current that corresponds to the alcohol concentration. It offers accuracy and stability.

A man showing a breathalyser connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth

Alco Breathalyzer vs BACtrack: Response Time and Battery Life

The Alco breathalyzer models can work on either rechargeable or disposable batteries, depending on the model. The rechargeable batteries offer extended usage before needing a recharge. With this feature, users can rely on the device for multiple testing sessions without worrying about the battery dying. Additionally, the rechargeable battery makes this breathalyzer a cost-effective solution as users do not have to constantly replace batteries.

On the other hand, the BACtrack breathalyzer relies on alkaline batteries for power. Depending on the model, its battery life can last approximately 75 to 3000 tests. This ensures that users will not run out of power during a critical moment.

Response time refers to the time it takes for the device to provide a reading after the user exhales into it. It is a crucial factor in determining the efficiency and practicality of a breathalyzer. A faster turnaround time means that the device can provide a measurement more swiftly. BACtrack and Alco testers provide a response time within seconds. This makes them both suitable for quick assessments.

Quality Standards

Quality standards are crucial when it comes to breathalyzers, as they ensure accurate and reliable results. These benchmarks provide confidence in the performance and functionality of the device. Adhering to quality criteria is of utmost importance to manufacturers, as it establishes their commitment to producing high-quality products.

One such standard for breathalyzers is the New Zealand/Australian Standards AS/NZS3547 accreditation. This accreditation is specifically tailored for breath testing devices and sets the benchmark for their performance and reliability. Alco and BACtrack have achieved this accreditation, demonstrating their commitment to quality. By choosing a breathalyzer with this accreditation, users can have confidence in their readings.

A woman using a mini breathalyser

Alco Breathalyzer vs BACtrack: Ease of Use and Convenience

The Alco breathalyzer offers user-friendly features, enhancing ease of use and convenience. Its large digital screen ensures effortless reading, while Bluetooth capability enables seamless connectivity to mobile phones for real-time monitoring. The presence of a green light signals accurate results, while flow control technology ensures precision. Users appreciate the double-beep notification for clarity. Moreover, the app mode simplifies data tracking purposes.

On the other hand, BACtrack features a one-button control, which simplifies the testing process. Upon pressing the power button, the device proceeds to warm up the sensors and initiate a countdown timer. Then, people can blow into the device to receive the results in seconds. Additionally, Bluetooth-enabled breathalyzers, such as the BACtrack Mobile Pro, provide the BAC results directly to the smartphone for easy reading.

Furthermore, the BACtrack has a short warm-up time and recycling time, making it convenient for individuals to retest quickly. It also presents the results on a brightly lit screen, ensuring effortless visibility even in dimly lit surroundings. Moreover, individuals have the option to set an alarm that will go off when their BAC has reached a specific limit.

General Operation Guide

Operating a breathalyzer is a simple process. To begin, the user should ensure that the device has adequate power. Once the device is on, it will undergo a warm-up process, typically indicated by a blinking light or beep. Next, individuals should take a deep breath and then blow into the mouthpiece.

It is important to provide a consistent breath and not to blow too forcefully or too weakly. The breathalyzer will measure the flow rate of air and detect the presence of alcohol vapour in the breath sample. It will then analyse the sample and display the blood alcohol level on the screen.

Conclusion

Both Alco breathalyzer and BACtrack offer reliable and accurate alcohol breathalyzer options for users. They utilise fuel cell sensors for precise readings and feature clear LCD displays, ensuring easy interpretation of results. Some Alco breath testers feature a rechargeable battery, promoting cost-effectiveness and extended usage. Meanwhile, BACtrack relies on alkaline batteries with varying lifespans, catering to different user needs. Both devices provide swift response times, making them efficient for quick findings.

Furthermore, Alco and BACtrack prioritise user convenience and adhere to rigorous standards like AS/NZS3547 accreditation. Alco provides users with its intuitive digital screen, Bluetooth connectivity, and flow control technology, enhancing ease of use. BACtrack’s one-button control, quick results, and smartphone integration make it a user-friendly choice. Both brands’ commitment to quality standards ensures users can trust the accuracy and reliability of their breathalyzer readings. They provide peace of mind when it matters most.

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