Review Details

AlcoSense Pro Fuel Cell Breathalyzer

Product Review (submitted on 8 February 2016):
Firstly let me explain that I am in no way connected to AlcoSense and have not received any “reward” for providing this review, it is a genuine unbiased and truthful review.

I have updated this review after now having used the AlcoSense for a while now, and after having received the most helpful clarifications from the AlcoSense Laboratory. My previous “Cons” (“Zero Reading” and see below for explanation) was unfounded as what I perceived as a limitation was in fact a result of complying with BS-EN16280 which has now also been taken as a European wide standard.

- Very useful in that it covers many countries automatically setting limit according to that country.
- Uses similar fuel cell technology as the UK police, so is comparable with theirs with regards to accuracy. See the Top Gear YouTube video as evidence of this.
- Nice Display that predicts you what time you will be below limit.
- Remarkably easy to use.
- The tubes re-usable. This is not made clear in the description so I've wasted money on buying two packs of 25 tubes - silly me.

Wait at least 30 minutes between last alcohol intake and use, as described the sensor is sensitive and can be damaged by too high an alcohol concentration.

Cons: None whatsoever. It would have been nice if the unit was “French NF” compliant, though since 2014 the French authorities have scrapped the fine for not carrying an NF certified breathalyser for an indefinite period. So no great shakes!

Zero Readings:
Do be aware, and it is stated in the instructions, the unit will not display a reading other than zero below 0.10‰BAC (0.05mg/L) because that AlcoSense have designed the unit to comply with the new British Standard (BSI) for breathalysers, BS-EN16280. The standard is actually technically a very high standard and mandates a very high level of accuracy from the product, however one quirk of this standard dictates that an reading below 0.10‰BAC (0.05mg/L) must be rounded down to ZERO and AlcoSense cannot display any other message – for example on the Elite it displays “LOW”. As this is a standard unfortunately AlcoSense cannot pick and choose which parts to comply with.

Other notes provided to me by AlcoSense:
“With regard to giving you an estimate of what alcohol consumption will show what reading on a breathalyser the following is a rule of thumb but does vary between different people. Roughly one unit of alcohol IN THE BLOOD will produce a reading of 0.10-0.15‰BAC on a breathalyser, depending on body weight and a number of other factors. So, for example, to be at the legal limit in England, you would need to have between 5.3 and 8 units of alcohol in the blood AT THE SAME TIME. Alcohol which is still in the stomach is not in the blood and therefore is not impairing you or measurable until it is processed into the blood stream. It must be remembered that the body is constantly processing alcohol into the blood stream from the digestive system and out of the blood stream at the same time. With no food in the stomach the alcohol gets into the blood stream in 15-30 minutes after drinking, with food this can extend up to 90 minutes. Without food more alcohol enters the blood stream more quickly and you have a higher peak reading, but the time from drinking to the alcohol leaving the body is shorter. With food in the stomach the rate of absorption into the blood stream is much slower and the peak alcohol reading will be significantly lower, but from the time to drinking to the alcohol leaving the system is longer as a result of the delay in entering the blood stream.
Applying the above to the situation you describe below, each can of Stella contains 2.1 units of alcohol = total of 4.2 units. If this was all in your blood stream at the same time you would register around 0.40-0.60‰BAC. However, as you drank this over 2 hours, after eating, the body will have absorbed some of the alcohol into the blood stream but not all when you measured yourself. The body will also be processing out one unit per hour so even though you drank 4.2 units I would normally estimate you would only ever see 1-2 units in the blood at any one time. As a result this corresponds with the readings you have seen.”