The best breathalysers

Last updated by mustard.co.uk on September 6th, 2021

We all know the dangers of drink driving, and the only real way to be truly sure is to not drink any alcohol at all. For the rare occasions where you have a drink at your favourite local and decide to drive home, many drivers are taking extra precautions with a handy breathalyser.

Driving whilst under the influence of alcohol can not only be dangerous to yourself and others, but if caught it could also carry a rather hefty penalty. A drink driving conviction will not only cause your insurance to skyrocket, but it could also result in issues with travel visas, cost you your job and get you banned from driving all together.

Keeping a domestic breathalyser in your car glove box is a clever, easy-to-use solution that will allow you to check whether you’re within the legal limits to drive.

What do I need to know about breathalysers?

When it comes to breathalysers, it really does pay to spend a little bit more. There are countless cheap breathalysers available online which claim to be industry-leading or ‘police standard’ but, having tried and tested some of them, often they are not trustworthy products. 10 years ago, Parkers carried out an investigation in to cheap breathalysers and unfortunately, the results do not appear to have changed since. 

It’s simply not worth the risk if you incorrectly blew legal into your breathalyser thinking you were fine, only to get pulled over by the police and find that was not the case.  

There are good, affordable disposable breathalysers available but these are one-time use products. Having carried out some research, we’ve found it’s better to spend a bit more for peace of mind and accuracy.  

Furthermore, a breathalyser with a timer is a helpful option that the majority of higher priced products will include. This alarm will notify you when you’re safe to drive and (in theory) sober. Perfect if you enjoy one too many the night before but need to travel the next day. 

How does a breathalyser work? 

breathalyser works by measuring the alcohol in your lungs. They generate and measure a small amount of electricity when the alcohol from the breath sample is detected and comes into contact with the sensor. 

Alcohol readings are dependent on different factors and the best (and slightly more expensive) breathalysers will factor these all in, to get a more accurate result. 

  • Temperature 
  • How deeply you breathe 
  • How different countries process the data to get results 

Is there any way of knowing a good quality breathalyser?

Unfortunately, there is no standard body in the UK that can make finding a quality breathalyser easier. The only EU country that has a standardised testing facility is France, so we’d recommend looking for breathalysers which come with NF approval (French Standard). These are the most likely to be accurate and trustworthy.  

Remember to be careful of models which claim they are police-grade athese are misleading buzzwords.  

Thankfully, though, mustard.co.uk have put together a list of our recommended breathalysers to help you choose wisely and save you some time… 

Mustard.co.uk’s recommended breathalysers 

Highly recommended

AlcoSense Pro Fuel Cell Breathalyser* 

Our most highly recommended breathalyser is this one from AlcosenseHaving been tried and tested by our team, it scored highly for its design and quality. The Alcosense is the perfect tool to use after enjoying a drink, featuring a Blowcoach to ensure you get accurate resultsFuthermore, it has a temperature sensor and will warn you when the sensor needs recalibrating. It is also country configurable so can be used abroad – and even gives you a timer until you’re sober. 

Bargain option 

AlcoSense Lite 2 Breathalyzer* 

recommended budget option for a digital breathalyser is the Alcosense Lite 2. Using a basic sensor, it provides accurate, clear results. While it may lack some features compared to the expensive options, it will still give accurate results for English, Irish and Scottish testing. This breathalyser is good quality and very easy to use.

Best disposable option 

AlcoSense French NF Certified Breathalyzers for France*

These NF approved disposable breathalysers can be used when driving in France (a legal requirement). While they don’t offer the same features as other brands, for single-use testing they are reliable and efficient.  

For more information on drink driving limits in the UK or how drink driving can affect your insurance premiums, you can visit more of mustard.co.uk’s trusty guides.  

If you’re concerned about finding cover because of your driving history, our guide to convicted driver insurance can help you find what you need. Alternatively, you can get a car insurance quote online in minutes or call a member of the team on 0330 022 8814. 

*We may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page but we never allow this to influence product selections. 

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