July 19, 2010
We've encountered quite a few breathalyzers in our time (for testing purposes only, of course), and one brand we've seen good results with is Alcohawk. They're our industry standard for personal breathalyzers, and we find them to be consistent and accurate without much need for recalibration.*
The newest addition to the Alcohawk stable we've come across is the Slim Ultra, a pocket-sized contraption, which at only 1.7 oz is a pygmy compared to some of the breathalyzers we've encountered. It's designed for single-button operation and features a folding mouthpiece that really slims down its profile in your pocket or purse. It even comes with a few extra mouthpieces so your friends don't slobber all over yours.
AlcoHAWK Q3I-2800 Slim Ultra [via Q3 Innovations]
* We use our breathalyzers for informative purposes only - we've said it before and we'll say it again...if you've had enough to drink that you think you might need a breathalyzer before you get behind the wheel, you've probably had too much to drive. Find another way home, you magnificently self-aware bastard you.
December 22, 2008
We're going to file this under "Why weren't we notified sooner," but this might be the coolest thing we've seen this holiday season. Imagine, if you will, a device you can plug into your iPhone or iPod that contains both an FM transmitter and a breathalyzer. No, this miracle machine isn't the product of some Utopian fantasy - it's available now, and you might not be able to get it in time for Christmas, but we bet if you order it now you'll be able to see delivery before New Year's Eve, which is when you really need it. Just imagine, if you blow in the breathalyzer and find you're a little too tipsy to drive, you can listen to your iPod through the radio transmitter until the cab comes to pick you up. Brilliant!
iBreath [via Chicago Tribune, engadget]
Check out their full promotional video after the jump.
(Thanks for the tip, Jason)
Continue reading: "iBreath: The iPhone/iPod Breathalyzer"
November 24, 2008
We've reviewed our share of breathalyzers in the past, but there's something about Alcohawk's PT5000 that really catches our eye. Maybe it's the giant LCD display that makes it easier to read when you can only peer through one eye. Maybe it's the fact it has an audio warning for those who are too bleary to see said display. Maybe it's the updated sensor that helps make false positives a thing of the past. But probably, it's the fact it looks like a tricorder from the old Star Trek episodes, and we're getting excited to see the new movie next spring.
AlcoHAWK PT500 Breathalyzer
July 30, 2008
We've covered a lot of breathalyzers in our time, but we're not sure we've seen one that looks quite as space-aged as the BacTrack. With its Bluefire sensor technology and the circular light ring display, it looks more like something Mr. Spock would consult before mind-melding somebody than a tool to keep you from getting a DUI.
We think it looks badass - we're just worried if we got one we'd start pretending it was a phaser. The last thing we need is to piss of a bouncer because we called him a redshirt.
BACtrack Breathalyzer - Polished Black
June 11, 2008
Here's a weird little gadget being developed in (where else?) Japan - a teddy bear that acts as a GPS and breathalyzer. Apparently it uses some Tron-like robot technology from the future to be able to tell you about nearby landmarks as you drive, and contains a sensor in its neck that allows it to "smell" if you've been drinking and yell at you.
Our question is - if it thinks you're going to drink and drive, does it auto-dial 911 or does it continue to glibly tell you about nearby Chuck E Cheese restaurants?
Pink Tentacle [via Popgadget]
(PS - did you know Chuck E Cheese was started by the guy who invented Pong? Neither did we until yesterday!)
October 22, 2007
We've covered quite a few breathalyzers here at Liquor Snob, and we're sure it can be quite confusing if you want to pick one up. We've rounded up all of our key breathalyzer coverage and product reviews to make your decision easier while you're shopping around.
Alcohawk Elite Breathalyzer Pro Package Kit
Current Price: $189.99
Review Snippet: "We were impressed with how pimped out this thing was, with a blue LED readout and an internal thermometer to make sure your readout is as accurate as possible, not thrown off by temperature factors. The battery is good for 100-200 testings."
Alcohawk Elite Review
Continue reading: "Big, Bad Breathalyzer Roundup"
Current Price: $139.95
Review Snippet: "it's got a patent pending gizmo they call a "pre-calibrated alcohol sensor module," which you can replace on your own without the hassle of mailing the whole unit back. God we love progress."
Alcomate Prestige Review
April 24, 2007
We have to admit, we've been on a bit of a breathalyzer (Amazon)kick lately, but hey, you never know when you're going to need one around. Dropping a little cake on one of these puppies might help you or one of your friends know when there's been a little too much celebrating going on, and it's a damn sight cheaper than the costs of driving drunk.
The latest breathalyzer we've discovered lately is the Alcomate Prestige, a handheld model that makes the claim to be law enforcement grade, which would imply it's very sensitive and accurate. One thing about most breathalyzers is they're so sensitive they'll get out of whack after repeated use, and you have to send the machine back to the manufacturer annually in order to get them recalibrated.
Not so with the Alcomate Prestige - it's got a patent pending gizmo they call a "pre-calibrated alcohol sensor module," which you can replace on your own without the hassle of mailing the whole unit back. God we love progress.
Amazon - Alcomate Prestige Breathalyzer - available in red or silver
April 20, 2007
Check out this bad boy - an Alcohawk Elite breathalyzer (which we reviewed highly
), but it comes in a sweet briefcase-looking thing. Now that's something we can see ourselves walking into the bar with before one of our trademark "long nights."
Amazon - Alcohawk Elite Breathalyzer Pro Package Kit
March 29, 2007
Sometimes what you're looking for in your breathalyzer is some portability. You want to make sure you're not driving over the limit, but you also don't want to carry around a box bigger than your cell phone to do it. That's where the PB2000 comes in - it's small enough to fit on a keychain, plus it's easy to use. You just blow - the light turns yellow if you're between .04 and .08, and red if you're above .08.
Amazon - Connectables PB2000 Alcohol Tester
February 15, 2007
We've found another breathalyzer that's piqued our interest - this one is made by an outfit called AlcoScan. Their AL-6000 model reads blood alcohol percentages up to 0.40 in increments of 0.01%...we know from experience that point 40 is pretty durned drunk. The breathalyzer is sold as professional grade, which means...well, we don't know what it means but they also claim to be DOT approved and the unit comes with a leather pouch and a whole gang of mouthpieces. How can you go wrong?
AlcoScan AL-6000 Breathalyzer
December 29, 2006
With New Year's Eve rapidly approaching, 'tis the season to be thinking about how much you've had to drink before you get in the car. Actually, it's always that season for that, but you know what we mean. It can be difficult to know whether you're in the red zone and shouldn't drive, and there can even be situations where you're above the legal limit without even feeling much of a buzz. This is when a breathalyzer comes in handy, and if you're like us you'd rather administer it yourself rather than wait for a cop to do it.
We've been hearing a lot about the AlcoHawk Pro lately, and they've all been good things. We especially liked the notes over at Gizmodo and Uncrate, and we're hoping to get our hands on a Pro to test it ourselves.
You can pick up an AlcoHawk Pro or check out other breathalyzers at Amazon, and don't forget to read our Alcohawk breathalyzer reviews from last year to find other options for your breathalyzing needs.
July 12, 2006
We've always been big proponents of breathalyzers because they can give you a little bit of information about your BAC before you get behind the wheel. However, Sharper Image just had to pay over a million bucks in a settlement because their breathalyzers weren't quite as accurate as they claimed.
That's not saying pocket breathalyzers aren't useful - just take them with a grain of salt. Our old rule of thumb - use a pocket breathalyzer before getting behind the wheel. Our new rule of thumb - if we think we need a breathalyzer, we shouldn't be getting behind the wheel anyway. Why? Because the cops have breathalyzers that are VERY accurate.
Electronics retailer Sharper Image agreed on Friday to stop selling personal breathalyzers and pay $1.2 million in restitution as part of a settlement regarding the devices.
The company incorrectly claimed the "Digital Breath Alcohol Tester" devices were accurate to .001 percent blood alcohol content, according to tests by San Diego’s Consumer Protection Unit.
via Boston Herald
February 20, 2006
We're of Scottish stock here at Liquor Snob, so if there are two things we know about, it's drunkenness and sunburns. You've probably already guessed that our livers are pale and poxy, but you might not know that our skin is so fair that sun exposure has been known to cause us to burst into flames like a Guy Fawkes dummy. Finally the gods have smiled on us and given us a tool to monitor both our alcohol consumption and our intake of UV rays from our greatest enemy, the sun:
So you’re at your favorite sports bar watching the big game with your friends. Before heading out and driving home, perhaps it’d be a good idea to make sure you’re not legally intoxicated. At this point, it’s just a matter of whipping out the Alcohol Breath Test Pen, blowing into the top and hoping that the green LED doesn’t turn red. If it’s red, hail a taxi, buddy, because you’re in no condition to drive. Also included in the pen is a UV indicator, letting you know whether or not you should be wearing sunscreen. Yes, this $35 little pen can help save your life and prevent a nasty sunburn.
via Gizmodo: The Only Pen a Drunk Could Ask For
December 15, 2005
We're big proponents of breathalyzers here at the Liquor Snob offices, because we think their judicious use can really help you keep out of trouble. One of the biggest names in the consumer breathalyzer industry is Alcohawk from Q3 Innovations, which offers a large line of these Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) testers at varying price points.
A couple months ago we covered the Alcohawk Micro keychain breathalyzer, which has been very popular with our readers, and now we've rounded up three more Alcohawk models for review and comparison. We've outlined the statistics of each model, as well as our favorite features, and then compared them to one another as well so you'll have the information you need when you buy your own.
Breathalyzer Information: On paper, all three of these units are very similar. They're all compact enough to fit in your palm, and weigh in at less than half a pound. They all come with extra mouthpieces, in case you're testing multiple people. They all use sensitive semiconductor technology in their testing, which is pretty much as accurate as you can get without getting up into the professional testers, which cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Also, they all test BAC up to 0.4, which is a heck of a lot higher than the typical legal limit of 0.08.
Typical Price: $139.95
Amazon: Q3I ELITE DIGITAL ALCOHOL BREATH TESTER
Q3ATS: Product Page
Notes: At first we were impatient with the Elite's 60 second warm-up time, because we wanted to blow into it NOW! Then we realized the wait probably had something to do with calibration, and we decided we'd rather have it be accurate than quick. We blew into it for the requisite 5 seconds, and a few seconds later it had responded with a BAC down to 3 decimal points (.027 after our first double).
We were impressed with how pimped out this thing was, with a blue LED readout and an internal thermometer to make sure your readout is as accurate as possible, not thrown off by temperature factors. The battery is good for 100-200 testings.
Typical Price: $109.95
Amazon: Alcohawk ABI Digital Alcohol Breath Tester
Q3ATS: Product Page
Notes: The first thing that struck us about the ABI was the cool protective zipper case it came in. The other two units were in disposable plastic trays with accompanying mesh carrying bags, but this guy was in a hard shell carrying case, just in case we wanted to do any EXTREME testing. Next time we use it, we'll make sure we're at the top of a mountain or jumping out of a plane.
We were also big fans of the shorter load time, closer to 20 seconds than the full minute we got from the Elite, but the ABI only gave us info down to two decimal places, so that's the tradeoff. But honestly, how many decimals do you need for what you'll be using it for? Another high point is the fact that this puppy is good for more than 300 tests on one battery. Now that's a lot of drinkin'. Oh, and plus, it comes with an AC adaptor, so you can test and drive at the same time. Just kidding.
Typical Price: $79.95
Amazon: Alcohawk Precision Digital Alcohol Breath Tester
Q3ATS: Product Page
Notes: The warm-up time on the Precision splits the difference between the Elite and the ABI, at about 45 seconds. Like the Elite, the readout is to three decimal places, but we did find that the readout on the Precision clocked a bit lower than what we got from the Elite on occasion. According to the paperwork we got with our Precision it offers the same accuracy as the other models, so it may have been drunken operator error that caused the problem.
Our Favorite: We liked all three of these products. They all felt well-constructed, and we trusted the results we got, especially the consistency. All in all, the three of them gave us a good feel for how tipsy we were, and we felt they let us guage our drunkenness much more accurately than the old "Was that girl hot 20 minutes ago" test.
If we have to pick one as our favorite, however, we have to go with the ABI as our favorite, mostly because of the snazzy carrying case and the AC adaptor. Plug it in before you go to the bar, and wind the cord around the steering wheel as a reminder for a loved one who likes to drive a little on the sloshed side, maybe? Sounds like a good idea to us.
Get more information on these and other breathalyzers, plus buy your own, at Q3 Innovations, which offers a lot of helpful information on their site, including tips on how to choose a breathalyzer. There is also BAC cheat sheet by weight, as well as info on BAC limits by state. The legal limit is .08 almost across the board, but there are some slight variations by state for BAC content and the penalties for exceeding the legal limit. You can also compare and buy breathalyzers at Amazon where you can read other consumer reviews.