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When making a purchasing decision we go through a process. This process involves recognising a need followed by researching the options. By this point you will have an idea of what your need it. In this scenario its most likely you need something to tell you what level, if any, of alcohol is in your system when you need it to. So now you know you need a breathalyzer, what breathalzer should you go for. And the first option is semi-conductor or fuel cell?


accuracyA very clear winner here; the fuel cell has the most accurate measurement technology between the two. Police breathalyzers use a fuel cell for it’s accuracy. So, if you find yourself in a position of ‘I’ve had one drink, am I fit to drive?’ or ‘I had a few drinks last night but need to drive at some point today!’ would you not want an accuracy level the police have? Unfortunately, especially over time, semi-conductors can be less reliable and have a less consistent accuracy level.



62323-640x360-money-nsSemi conductors are generally cheaper – AlcoDigital doesn’t have a fuel cell cheaper than any semi-conductor. Unfortunately price usually reflects accuracy and longevity. So with price comes sacrifice. But, they can make great gifts and there is nothing wrong in buying a breathalyser for a bit of fun. In those cases it might be more reasonable to buy one more inexpensive. Furthermore if you haven’t had a breathalyzer before and don’t think you will use it much, a semi-conductor may be your first choice. You can always upgrade if you do end up needing a more reliable one.



With all breathalysers there is a 15 minute rule. You should not be doing tests within 15 minutes of eating, smoking, or drinking….and not just drinking alcohol. Avoiding this rule can result in inaccurate readings and damaging the devices. Fuel cells are slightly less sensitive to this sort of miss-use although it is still recommended that the rule is followed. With a semi-conductor though this run can not be broken. Misuse can seriously lower the accuracy and shorten the life span.

Below is a list of needs consumers may have and the recommendation next to it.


– Semi-conductor

Novelty “I want to test my mates but we wouldn’t drive anyway”

– Semi-conductor/Fuel cell (depending how accurate you want the results to be)

Lifestyle “I drive for a living so I need really accurate”

– Fuel Cell (How much would it cost you to loose your license?)

Drinking and then driving “I go out drinking with my mates and only have one or two but I need to drive home. I don’t want to break the law”

– Fuel Cell (Any level of alcohol increases your chances of an accident, have a few but wait till you are back to zero before you drive)

If you are still indecisive consider this;

You have just been stopped by the police and they have breathalyzed you. You have a reading of 0.055% BAC (0.005% over the Scottish limit). Now lets go back 30 minutes to 6.30am when you set off in your car to go to work the morning after a night of drinking but you used your breathalzyer to check you were within the legal limit. Using an average accuracy of a semi conductor at +/- 20% and a fuel cell at +/-2%, do you want a reading that could say 0.044 (under the limit when you are over) or 0.054(over the limit when you are over)



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