Breathalyzer Frequently Asked Questions

General Breathalyzer Questions General Ordering Questions
How does a breathalyzer work?
When a person consumes alcohol, the body immediately absorbs the alcohol in the mouth, the stomach, and the intestines. This alcohol is rapidly distributed into one's blood, which affects the central nervous system. The human liver acts as a filter for the bloodstream. Alcohol is removed from the body and passed through the alveoli in the lungs. With each breath, some alcohol is exhausted from the lungs and out of the body.

Breathalyzers are designed to test this exhausted alcohol for accurate results. By taking a "deep lung air" sample, a breathalyzer is able to draw a very accurate reading of your BrAC or Breath Alcohol Concentration.

Using a breathalyzer immediately after taking a drink can not only provide a high BrAC result, but also cause damage to the sensor. This residual alcohol in the mouth takes roughly 20-30 minutes to dissipate.

More information can be found in our article "How a Breathalyzer Works".

How does an alcohol breathalyzer differ from other testing methodologies?
There are generally three methods to test for one's alcohol concentration.
  • Blood Alcohol Testing: The methodology used for blood alcohol testing is Gas Chromatography and is the most accurate forensic quality test in the industry today. However, drawing blood is an invasive and expensive procedure that most companies prefer to avoid.
  • Breath Alcohol Testing: Breath alcohol testers range from disposable screening testers to the equipment that provides legally admissible results, including very expensive digital read-out breath alcohol monitors.
  • Urine Alcohol Testing: Urine alcohol does not measure a true condition of the person. The results indicate the person's condition several hours before.
  • Saliva Alcohol Testing: A correlation between blood alcohol concentration and saliva alcohol concentration is believed to exist, the technology and chemical reaction employed has not been proven to be accurate or reliable.

More information can be found in our article "Alcohol Testing Methodologies".

Are breathalyzers accurate?
Any hand held breathalyzer sold in the market should have the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval. Essentially, that means the FDA tested it and it does what it says it does in the product literature. Other approvals that confirm that the accuracy levels reported by the breathalyzer manufacturer are consistent with their findings include DOT (Department of Transportation), NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations) and U S Coast Guard.

Please be aware of imitation breathalyzers that are sold online. Many of these breathalyzers contain a cheap Chinese knock off sensor, that does little more than trigger an LED light to blink. It is our recommendation that you do not purchase a digital breathalyzer that costs less than $50 (or seems too good to be true) as these models provide novelty results.

Can my results be used in court?
Any result from a hand held unit is deemed as non-evidential. These devices are used as screening devices to determine if a more costly evidential test is required. Most devices used by law enforcement in the field are screening devices that provide the law enforcement officer enough reason to make an arrest under suspicion of a DUI/DWI. Results obtained by your personal breathalyzer will not be held in court, and should be strictly used to increase the awareness of your blood alcohol concentration.

More information can be found in our article "Alcohol Testing Methodologies".

I don't feel fine, but my breathalyzer says I'm under the legal limit for a DUI
Everyone reacts to alcohol differently. Even at low concentrations of alcohol, the affects of dizziness and diminished judgment can occur at .02% BAC. We recommend that you never get behind the wheel with any alcohol in your system, and to be tested by a friend who has not had any alcohol.
Is it safe to test other people with the same breathalyzer?
It is completely safe to test others with the same breathalyzer. To be sanitary it is recommended to use a new and unused mouthpiece when available. Also disposable breathalyzers are a one time use device, and cannot be used multiple times. The AlcAlert BT5500 is unique that it does not require the user's lips to come into contact with the device while testing, making it ideal for testing multiple people.
Should I buy a used breathalyzer?
The answer to this question is that you should never buy a used breathalyzer either through eBay or sites like craigslist. Always ask if the breathalyzer you are buying is brand new and never used. The reason is that breathalyzer sensors wear out from contamination or just over use. When buying a used breathalyzer, you will never know for sure how many tests have been performed on the breathalyzer. Even if it works when you get it, it may stop functioning after several tests.
Is it spelled breathalyzer, breathalizer, or breathalyser?
We find that a lot of people are using a different spelling for our devices. In the United States the correct spelling is breathalyzer. In Europe, or the United Kingdom, the proper spelling is breathalizer. We're not sure why people spell it breathalyser with an "s".
What are the benefits of registration during the Checkout?
If you choose to register during cart checkout, you will automatically receive your own Visitor account. This is a completely free account allowing you to:
  • Save payment and address information to save time on future purchases
  • Track order status online and review order details including cropping
  • Keep a history of orders to reference at a later time
  • Place reorders without going through the steps again
  • Receive special promotions on future purchases
  • Access receipts from all previous transactions

Information you provide during registration will never be shared with anyone, and you can opt-out of receiving future e-mail correspondence in the Preferences of your account.

What methods of payment are accepted?
Major credit cards are accepted including VISA, Master Card, and American Express.
How long does it take for an order to ship out?
Typically, orders are processed and shipped out in 24 hours. Most orders received before 2 P.M. PST will be shipped out same day. Order are not shipped on Saturday or Sunday and any major national holiday. Additional options such as imprinting take additional time to complete.
My web browser does not load the checkout screen correctly. Can I order a different way?
Absolutely, while we make every attempt to make our online shopping experience as pleasant as possible, we understand that a feature may be experiencing technical difficulties. representatives are standing by to assist you in completing your order over the phone or via fax. Give us a call at 866-216-8700 or visit our online contact page.
I want to ship outside the United States. Can I order from BreathalyzerAlcoholTester.Com?
Yes, we currently ship to nearly all international destinations. Simply add to cart and proceed to checkout to order online with a credit card. We request that the credit card billing address match the ship to shipping adress.For large international orders, please call 1(818)701-9200 or contact us to get a price quote or for specific shipping information. Purchases over US$500 may require payment in advance by wire transfer. International orders can take up to 14 business days for delivery.
How much is Shipping?
Shipping charges are dynamically calculated at the time of ordering. You will most likely have a choice between several shipping methods depending on the destination and how quickly you want to receive the order. Keep in mind that Overnight delivery is from time of processing and not time of ordering. If you have any special needs feel free to call us so we can accommodate you.
Where can I buy a breathalyzer?
Look no further! While we have the largest information site regarding alcohol testing and we manufacture our own breathalyzers, we also sell directly to the public. Visit our breathalyzer page for the best breathalyzers for consumer or professional use. Remember to always give us a call at 866-216-8700 if you ever have a question about a breathalyzer or about ordering.