FAQ Breathalysers


Below are some frequently asked questions about choosing an alcohol breathalyser that you may find helpful.  We are here to help you choose which type of alcohol breathalyser best suits your needs and what type of breathalyzer to buy.

What is the blood alcohol limit in the UK?

The blood alcohol limit if you are on a normal driving license for all of the UK except Scotland is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres, 80mg/ml, 0.08 BAC, 0.8 Promille.

What is the blood alcohol limit in Scotland?

In 2014 the Scottish parliament lowered the drink drive prosecution levels in Scotland. The blood alcohol limit, if you are on a normal driving license, for Scotland is 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres, 50mg/ml, 0.05 BAC, 0.5 Promille.

What is the blood alcohol limit in the rest of Europe?

The blood alcohol limits across the rest of Europe vary from country to country with most except the UK being 0.05% BAC or lower. Some operate a different level for newly qualified drivers, some operate zero tolerance, and some have stiffer penalties depending on how high their blood alcohol level is.  
More information on drink-drive levels by country

Which is the best breathalyser to buy this year?

The answer depends on what you using it for. You may find the answer in the breathalyser FAQ below. With digital breathalysers, you do get what you pay for, and the more costly breathalyzer models do tend to be more accurate. If you are still unsure which of our breathalysers best suits your requirements please call our customer services on 01263 731 168 during office hours Monday to Friday 8.30am -4.30pm or send us an email.

Best digital breathalyzer to buy for the workplace for 2023 if money is no object

"I need the most accurate breathalyser and it needs to be evidential. I have a large budget. Which is the best digital breathalyzer to buy for our workplace?"

We are often asked this question by UK companies who need the most accurate digital breathalyser available and have a big budget.

Answer-This year the latest model Draeger 6820 home office approved workplace evidential digital breathalyser with a printer is in our opinion the best breathalyser on the market in the UK. It is highly accurate but it will require regular recalibration service to maintain its accuracy. 
It is a popular choice for businesses wishing to test their employees.

Best digital breathalyzer to buy for 2023?

"My budget is under £200. Which is the best digital breathalyzer to buy?"

We are frequently asked this question particularly on the run up to Christmas & new year as a personal breathalyser can be a popular gift choice for husbands, dads, and boyfriends.

Answer-this year the latest model AlcoDigital Platinum Fuel Cell Digital Breathalyser is in our opinion the best digital breathalyzer to buy. It is highly accurate and the sensor module can be changed by the user, meaning it does not have to be sent away for costly recalibration service, like many other fuel cell breathalyzers. Replacement sensors can be purchased online. Click on the link to find out why it is one of our best selling digital breathalyzers and is also a popular choice for businesses wishing to screen their employees.

Which is the best value digital breathalyzer to buy for 2023 under £100?

We are also frequently asked this question again particularly on the run up to Christmas & new year as a personal breathalyser can be a popular gift choice for dads and boyfriends.

Answer-this year the latest model Alcodigital AL7000 digital breathalyzer is in our opinion the best value personal digital breathalyser to buy for under £100. Click on the link to find out why. It is our best selling personal digital breathalysers and is also a popular choice for businesses wishing to screen their employees and schools wishing to screen pupils. Click on the link to find out why the AL7000 is one of our best selling digital breathalysers. 

Which is the best value personal digital breathalyser to buy for under £50?

"I want to spend around £50 maximum. Which is the best value for money digital breathalyser to buy for 2021?"

Answer-the AL6000 digital breathalyser in our opinion is the best personal digital breathalyser you can buy for under £50, but if you can it is worth spending a little more around £65 and buy an AL7000 digital breathalyser, as we have found them to be a much more robust and reliable digital breathalyser than the AL6000 and changing the breathalyser sensor is much easier.

Is it necessary to purchase a mouthpiece for your disposable breathalysers?

Answer-The disposable alcohol breathalyzer kits are complete ie they do not require any additional mouthpieces

I need a breathalyser kit that measures a breath alcohol content BAC of 0.05 for France which one would you recommend?

Answer: This is a common question due to a previous requirement in France that drivers carry breathalyzer kits in their cars. The single use disposable breathalyzer kits that are set to 0.05 % BAC ( EU driving limit for most countries within EU) should be suitable for this. Scotland also has the lower drink driving limit the same as France.

Can you reuse breathalyzer mouthpieces?

If you are using the digital breathalyser in a workplace or healthcare setting, then a new breathalyser mouthpiece must be used for each person that you are breath testing. In this situation the breathalyser mouthpieces are usually treated as disposable, and discarded after use. 

if you are using the breathalyser for personal use only, then the breathalyser mouthpieces can be reused. It is advisable to wash the breathalyser mouthpiece after each use in hot soapy water, and then rinse thoroughly with clean fresh water and let it dry before the next use.

if you are using the breathalyser as a home breathalyser in your family to test teenagers or family members, or in a school or institution for repeat alcohol breath testing, it would be reasonable to give each person you are testing their own breathalyser mouthpiece to look after, and to reuse it just for that person.  

Which is the most reliable & accurate breathalyzer to use for self-testing?

"I want a breathalyser for self-testing with reliable accuracy which breathalyser would you advise me to buy? "
Answer: Have a look at these digital breathalyzers which should all meet your requirements for under £80 :

Which is the best digital breathalyzer for onsite business screening?

"I need a high accuracy consumer digital breathalyser for front-line business alcohol screening"
Answer -All the digital breathalysers that we stock are suitable for this purpose. Have a look at the digital breathalyser section of our website and decide which features you need and whether you need an evidential breathalyser ( ie one with a printer )

Look at these digital breathalysers

If you want an evidential breathalyser, look at the Draeger 6820 breathalyser with a printer.

Which is the best digital breathalyzer for NHS clinics?

In our experience, the AL7000 digital breathalyser offers excellent value for money, with high reliability in daily use for NHS users. It is also a very robust and reliable breathalyser for the price, and comes in a protective case.

Which is the best breathalyzer for HSE critical screening?


  • Single-use Breath Alcohol Detectors 0.02% BAC (screen)
  • AlcoDigital Platinum Fuel Cell Breathalyser (screen)
  • Draeger fuel cell breathalyser (evidential)

Which is the best low-cost breathalyzer for personal use?

Consider the single use disposable breathalyser kits  for just £1.99 or if you are going to use it more often an AL7000 digital breathalyzer. Beware of very cheap digital breathalysers as they are not usually accurate. With digital breathalysers you tend to get what you pay for.

What are the breathalyzer readings legal limit for driving?

The legal limits are different for different types of driving licenses and also for different countries.

Below are the current UK limits (excluding Scotland which is now lower)

For vehicles operated on a normal driving license:

  • Blood test - 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres, 80mg/ml, 0.08 BAC, 0.8 Promille
  • Breath Test - 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath BrAC

For all professional drivers and operatives

  • Blood test - 20 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres, 20mg/ml, 0.02 BAC, 0.2 Promille
  • Breath test - 9 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath (BrAC) 

Under the new Railways Transportation Safety Bill, the Government has now introduced new limits for those working in the transport industry. The new limit is just 0.02% - one quarter the UK Drink-Drive limit of 0.08% and the lowest detectable level possible allowing for the residual levels that can exist in anyone whether they've been drinking or not.

The new rules also apply to pilots, cabin crew, air traffic controllers, aircraft engineers, train drivers, and commercial seamen.

More information on legal limits including Scotland and Europe

How long does alcohol take to leave your system?

How long does alcohol stay in your system depends on many factors including: 

  • How much alcohol was consumed
  • Whether the alcohol was consumed with food or on an empty stomach
  • The body weight of the person consuming the alcohol
  • Whether you are male or female (generally males process alcohol faster than females as their livers are usually larger)
  • Your age
  • Your metabolism including how effectively your liver enzymes process & clear alcohol
  • Whether you are a regular drinker or an occasional drinker
  • The type and strength of the alcohol consumed
  • How well your liver is working
  • Whether you are taking any medication 

On average it takes the body about one hour to break down one unit of alcohol. However, this can vary hugely from individual to individual depending on the above factors.

What is the accuracy of the digital breathalyzers?

This depends on the model of breathalyzer that you are looking at. The latest model digital breathalyzers that we sell are all highly accurate if used according to the manufacturer's instructions. For example for a professional digital breathalyzer such as the Alcodigital Platinum Fuel Cell Digital Breathalyser the accuracy is ±0.005 %BAC

Will the breathalyzers detect alcohol the morning after?

If the alcohol levels in your blood are still at a level that can be detected by a breathalyzer test then the breathalyzer will detect this. The rate at which alcohol is cleared from the body after a heavy drinking session varies from individual to individual depending on body weight, sex, liver function, and whether the alcohol is taken with food or not and many other factors. You may well find that you are over the legal limit the morning after a heavy drinking session the night before, even if you feel fine.

Which is the best cheap breathalyzer? My budget is under £20?

Have a look at the single-use disposable breathalyser kits at just £1.99 they offer excellent value for money. Our advice is don't waste your money on a keychain or very cheap digital breathalysers. Expect to pay around £60 or more for a digital breathalyser for reliability.

Should I buy a cheap digital breathalyzer?

Our advice is don't waste your money on a keychain or very cheap digital breathalysers. Expect to pay from £50-£60 upward for a digital breathalyser for reliability. You get higher reliability with the more expensive digital breathalysers

Which is the best home breathalyzer?

We received this question recently:'My teenagers have just passed their driving test & are borrowing the car. I want to make sure they are not drinking and driving when they are going out in the evenings. They have promised they won't but I know they are susceptible to peer pressure and I want to be sure. Which breathalyzer would you recommend ?'

Answer As they are young inexperienced drivers you probably want to operate a zero tolerance for drinking alcohol while driving in this situation. Look at the single-use breath alcohol detectors. Select the zero tolerance sensitivity if you want them to abstain completely which would be our advice. Click here to see single-use breath alcohol detectors. Alternatively, any of the digital breathalyzers that we supply are suitable for screening in this situation. Knowing you are going to test them will help them to resist the peer pressure as they know they will lose their car privilege if they test positive.

Which breathalyzer is the best for the money?

We receive this breathalyzer question on an almost daily basis:

I am looking for a digital breathalyzer for my own personal use. I need it to be accurate & reliable, and I do not want to spend more than I need to. Which breathalyzer is the best for the money?

Our answer: As the choice of breathalyzers for personal use has increased this has made choosing a breathalyzer more difficult for the consumer.

In our opinion the latest model AL7000 digital breathalyzer still offers the best value for money for the following reasons:

  • AL7000 breathalyzer is excellent accuracy
  • Reliable alcohol breath testing in regular use
  • Excellent value for money breathalyzer at just under £65
  • Clip in clip out changeable sensor module-means the AL7000 breathalyzer does not need to be returned for servicing you simply order a new replacement breathalyser sensor which is simple to install.
  • 1-year warranty
  • Comes with a presentation box, battery, user manual, 6 breathalyser mouthpieces & carry case with strap.
  • CE RoHS Certified

How often should my digital breathalyser sensor be changed?

This is a very common question that we are asked at least five times per week as many of the digital breathalysers now have clip in clip out sensors that you replace yourself. The advantage to this is that the breathalyser does not need to be sent back to a service centre for re-calibration.

Answer The current recommendations are that to maintain the accuracy of the readings, the sensor in your digital breathalyser should be replaced with a new one every 200 tests, or every 6 months if the breathalyser is not being used this much.

How should my breathalyser be stored and does it affect the accuracy?

Answer: We are constantly astounded by the treatment some of our digital breathalysers receive. Many are stored in glove boxes of cars which is not ideal.

The problem with storing the breathalyzer in the glovebox is the extremes of temperature that can be encountered inside the cars glove box. In winters the overnight temperature may be well below freezing and in summer the temperatures inside the car can be extremely high.

Ideally, it is best not to store the breathalyser inside the car but to keep it in a bag or briefcase that you remove from the car, particularly at times of extreme cold of heat, as the accuracy of the breathalyser can be affected, if it is stored in extreme temperature variations.

Which is the most accurate breathalyzer on the market in the UK?

The most accurate breathalyser currently on the market in the UK is the Draeger evidential breathalysers which are similar to the ones the UK police use.

Which is the most accurate personal breathalyzer you stock?

The most accurate of the breathalyzers are the Alcodigital platinum fuel cell breathalyser. High accuracy and specificity for alcohol (±0.005 %BAC at 0.050 %BAC equivalents)

Which is the best breathalyzer to buy for Scotland?

The main thing to remember is if you are buying a breathalyser to use in Scotland make sure the alarm is set off to go off at the new lower limit in Scotland of 0.05% BAC or 50mg per 100ml BAC. If you are using a disposable breathalyser then you need to have a 0.05% BAC one for Scotland

Can you buy accurate breathalyzers in the UK?

This one is easy to answer. Yes, the technology has moved on in the last few years, and there are now lots of affordable accurate breathalyzers to choose from, including the single-use breathalyser kits, which are a great option, if you only want to test occasionally.

Can you test for alcohol in urine?

There is now a specific drug test kit for ETG the first line metabolite of ethanol making it possible to screen for alcohol use for up to 72 hours after ingestion.
ETG urine testing strips for alcohol

What's the difference between a standard and a professional breathalyser mouthpiece?

Professional mouthpieces are longer and have a one-way valve built in for greater accuracy. Standard breathalyser mouthpieces are a little shorter and have no valve. If you are buying mouthpieces for use with a breathalyser in a workplace or healthcare setting, opt for the professional breathalyser mouthpieces, as the one-way valve prevents the subject being tested cheating, by sucking instead of blowing.
If you are buying mouthpieces for use with a personal breathalyser the standard breathalyser mouthpieces will be fine as you are unlikely to cheat yourself.

What breathalyzer should I buy?

The answer really depends on your requirements. If you have not found the answer in our breathalyser FAQ section above then give us a call on 01263 731 168 during our office hours or send us an e-mail and we will be happy to assist you.

Recommended digital breathalysers

Where can I buy a breathalyzer?

Breathalysers are widely available to buy online in the UK. You can also buy them in some Halfords stores. 

How much can I drink and drive?

There is no simple answer to this question, and our advice would be that you should not drink and drive.

Alcohol is processed differently by different individuals and any alcohol in your system will impair your driving ability. The best & safest thing on a night out is to have a designated driver who abstains from drinking alcohol completely or use public transport or a taxi to get you back from your night out.

In our opinion, the UK current drink-drive limit is far too high at 0.08 %BAC and should be brought down to the Scottish limit of 0.05% BAC.

Are your breathalyser mouthpieces compatible with the AL7000 breathalyser?

Our professional uni-directional, our standard mouthpieces and our opaque soft plastic mouthpieces are all compatible with the following breathalysers:

  • AL7000 
  • AL6000
  • DA5000
  • DA7000
  • AL6000i
  • DA8000
  • Alcomate
  • Alcomate Pro
  • Alcohawk Pro & ABI
  • Alcomate Prestige
  • CA2000
  • AL5000 

They are not compatible with the Draeger breathalysers which have specific mouthpieces, which we also stock. 

Breathalyser mouthpiece FAQ

Just received replacement professional mouthpieces which appear smaller than the previous professional mouthpieces we bought from you. Are these suitable for use with the AL7000 breathalyser?

Answer: Yes they are smaller. We had to change the manufacturer for our breathalyser mouth pieces, and this is our new stock. The larger ones have all gone. The key feature of the professional breathalyzer mouthpiece is that it has a one-way uni-directional valve which means that the breathalyzer cannot be cheated or triggered by sucking instead of blowing.

The new professional breathalyser mouthpieces are compatible with the following alcohol breathalysers:

  • AL7000 digital breathalyzer
  • AL6000 digital breathalyser
  • DA5000 digital breathalyser.

Where can I buy alcohol test strips

Alcohol test strips are available to test for alcohol in saliva, breast milk and other liquids and can be purchased online from this website. 

Alcohol breathalayser FAQ page last updated 8/11/23