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How to Choose a Breathalyzer

Breathalyzers have never been more popular. In fact, they have become “must have” devices for many consumers in an age of heightened self-awareness. You wouldn't drive without knowing how fast you were going--why drink without knowing what your blood alcohol content (BAC) is? 

With a breathalyzer, you can accurately measure your BAC in a more convenient and affordable manner than ever before, enabling you to make more informed decisions. And with the advent of smartphone-connected devices like BACtrack Mobile and BACtrack Vio, the ability to track your drinking patterns and even see how your BAC will drop over time is at your fingertips. But which is the right product for you? v


A Blurry Line between Professional and Personal Use

Breathalyzers are generally grouped into two categories: professional use and personal use, corresponding to the sensors they employ. Your decision to purchase one or the other depends on your specific needs.

BACtrack Professional Grade Breathalyzers have Xtend® Fuel Cell Sensor Technology and offer extremely high accuracy and sensitivity. They employ the same advanced sensor technology that is used by law enforcement for roadside alcohol testing, as well as substance abuse centers, clinics, and businesses. Because prices for fuel cell devices have come down in recent years, they are increasingly popular for personal use, as well.

BACtrack Professional Series fuel cell sensor breathalyzers are used by individuals who desire the highest level of accuracy in their alcohol testing, as well as in an expanding range of industries.

Breathalyzers that use semiconductor sensors are often associated with personal, home, and low-volume professional testing, and have proven to perform well when detecting the presence of alcohol. The BACtrack S35, BACtrack Vio, BACtrack Go and BACtrack Keychain breathalyzers all use a special, high end semiconductor sensor technology called MicroCheck®. Using a semiconductor sensor as a base, these sensors go through a patented burn-in process that equalizes the response, for higher performance and more accurate, reliable results when compared to standard semiconductor sensors. 


Pro Grade

Non-Pro Grade





Breathalyzers that use semiconductor sensor technology are generally less expensive than fuel cell devices.


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Each type of device offers handheld convenience.




Fuel cell breathalyzers provide more accurate and consistent BAC results.

BAC Testing Range



Fuel cell breathalyzers are slightly more accurate and consistent across a wider alcohol concentration range (0.000-0.400% BAC) than MicroCheck devices.

Reliability in Repeat Tests



Fuel cell breathalyzers require shorter startup time and can perform consecutive readings accurately without interruption. 




Fuel cell breathalyzers will remain accurate for thousands of tests, yet should still be calibrated annually. We recommend getting MicroCheck breathalyzers calibrated about once every six months.

Long Working Life



Fuel cell devices have a longer lifespan than MicroCheck devices.

Professional Series Breathalyzers

BACtrack Professional Series fuel cell sensor breathalyzers are used by individuals who desire the highest level of accuracy in their alcohol testing, as well as in an expanding range of industries. BACtrack breathalyzers are being employed in all the following lines of work:

  • Transportation - both public and private agencies
  • DOT-screening
  • Customer Service
  • Staffing Agencies / Human Resources
  • Corrections
  • Military
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics 
  • Substance-abuse / Treatment Facilities
  • Law Enforcement 

BACtrack Professional Grade Breathalyzers with advanced Xtend® Fuel Cell Sensor Technology offer an extremely high level of BAC testing accuracy and sensitivity. They are the alcohol testing devices of choice in situations that demand the most reliable results. Professional Grade units provides BAC readings that are over 99% accurate. Four-digit test results can pick up even trace amounts of alcohol – as low as 0.001% BAC.

Pro Grade Breathalyzers also perform more consistently at higher BAC concentrations. In addition, they will not produce a false positive for individuals who are diabetic or on a low calorie diet. 


BACtrack Professional Grade Breathalyzers

Features & Benefits

BACtrack Mobile

Our award winning smartphone breathalyzer connects via Bluetooth to offer accuracy in addition to a range of powerful tracking and sharing features.

BACtrack S80 Pro

Our best-selling pro-grade model for personal and professional use.

BACtrack Trace

Police-grade breathalyzer with practical and convenient test memory function.

BACtrack Element

Easy, one-button operation for fast and reliable BAC results.


Non-Professional Grade Breathalyzers

BACtrack's Non-Professional Grade Breathalyzers use a special type of semiconductor sensor--MicroCheck®. These breathalyzers are often used to test for the presence of alcohol. Many principals and administrators use them in schools and before dances where minors may show up drunk. They are also used by those wanting to test family members with drinking problems. For personal, home, and low-volume professional testing, MicroCheck® models perform well and provide reliable readings.

For personal, home, and low-volume professional testing, MicroCheck® models perform well and provide reliable readings.

MicroCheck® Sensor Technology is less expensive than fuel cell sensor technology, making these breathalyzers a terrific choice for first time customers.


Non-Professional Grade 

Features & Benefits

BACtrack Vio

BACtrack's newest smartphone breathalyzer with an ultra-compact keychain design.

BACtrack S35

Sleek and compact palm-of-hand unit for personal use.

BACtrack Go

A modern, cleaner take on our classic Keychain unit.

BACtrack Keychain

Affordable with a take-anywhere small, sturdy design.

Choosing a Breathalyzer that’s Right for You

If you are planning to purchase a breathalyzer, consider the purpose for which you intend to use it. For business, clinical, and other applications that demand the highest degree of accuracy, a Professional Grade breathalyzer best suits your needs. If checking for the presence of alcohol or monitoring loved ones is the drive, a non-Professional Grade Breathalyzer is an ideal choice.

Shop for BACtrack Breathalyzers now.