I have previously reviewed the Alcosense Pro home breathalyser and found it a great gadget to have on hand to ensure you stay within the limits for driving.
This time around I have been reviewing the AlcoSense Ultra which is a Red Dot Design winner in 2016.
Priced at £249.99 it is the most expensive breathalyser Alcosense sell, and it is probably out of the price range for most users, but if you want the most accurate breathalyser possible then this is it.
The AlcoSense Ultra uses the same 200mm² professional fuel cell alcohol sensor as several UK, US & European Police Breathalyzers, taking accuracy, reliability and dependability to a new level. This makes it more than twice as accurate as the AlcoSense Elite from my previous review
The AlcoSense Ultra uses a professional grade sampling system to ensure that only deep lung air (the most accurate part of the breath) is measured by the sensor. It uses professional grade sensors to measure the blow pressure, flow rate and volume of breath exhaled and took a reading when 1 litre of air has been exhaled, ensuring the most accurate sample is always taken. To improve accuracy even further, readings are fine-tuned according to temperature. These sensors also allow the Ultra to get clever with BlowCoach
The AlcoSense Ultra will store 128 results in its onboard memory with date and time stamps, using USB and AlcoSense’s software the results can be downloaded to your Windows PC for analysis and record keeping.
As with the previous review you can assign which country you are using it for, and this will allow you check your blood alcohol content and find out if you are allowed to drive for that country. This is very important as the drink driving laws vary from country to country with some countries having stringent laws and harsh punishments.
For example, in England the limit is 35 per micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath but if you drive over into Scotland that drops to 22 micrograms. The blood alcohol values are 80 mg/100 ml (~0.08% BAC) alcohol in blood and 50 mg/100 ml (~0.05% BAC) alcohol in the blood. The penalty for driving in the UK while drunk is up to 6 months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a driving ban for at least 1 year (3 years if convicted twice in 10 years)
If you decide to go on a road trip around Europe you will be allowed 0.05% in France and many other European countries, but if you go through the Czech Republic they have a zero-tolerance approach and you could quickly get yourself into trouble.
Ideally, you would never drink and drive, but one area where a lot of people fall foul is having a lot to drink in the evening then attempting to drive in the morning.
Alcohol is metabolised (broken down) by the body at a rate of 0.016% per hour. It doesn’t matter if you are 6’4” or 4’6” or if you drank red wine or moonshine. Once your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches a specific level no matter how it got to that level-your body needs time to break the alcohol down and remove it from your system.
If you end the night with a blood alcohol content of 0.16 it will take 5 hours before you are at the upper end of the legal limit for driving in the UK. At 0.2 that time is 7.5 hours, or 12.5 to be totally sober. So, if you came home at 4 you wouldn’t be safe to drive to work for 9 am. In the UK if you work on the unit’s scale, it is roughly 1 unit per hour.
The Ultra can provide your readings in either breath (mg/L or µg/100mL) or blood (%BAC or ‰BAC) readings. If you’re close to or over your chosen limit, the Ultra will alert you not to drive.
Using the device is incredibly straightforward, you just need to open it up, plug in the tube and provide a steady flow of breath. The device will tell you how hard to breathe and for how long, it only takes a few seconds then it gives you an immediate reading.
I tested the device on a birthday night out in Manchester and managed to get a bit drunker than my last review. I had it at the default setting of blood alcohol levels in the g/l format so my upper limit was 0.8‰ for England. After 3 pints of quite strong beer over the space of around 2 hours I went from 0‰ to 0.39‰ so I would have been technically safe to drive. However, that was shortly after my last pint, so my alcohol levels would have continued to rise at this point.
I nipped to the toilet during my meal to take me next reading, at this point (I think) I had the first 3 pints plus another 2 pints of strong IPA around 6% and a 330ml bottle of Peroni. At this point I blew a 0.88‰ making it illegal to drive, and again this would have continued to rise even if I had stopped drinking at this point.
Unfortunately, the problem with trying to review a breathalyser when drinking is that I must have gotten too drunk to carry on doing the readings and the 0.88 was the last result I measured.
When I tested myself around 12 hours later, I blew a 0‰
This is a great device that does exactly what it advertises. It is extremely easy to easy and exceptionally accurate. It does come at a high price through, £249.99 is extremely expensive, most users would be fine with one of the cheaper models. However, if your job is reliant on driving and you a prone to having a few drinks then spending £250 on this to make sure you are always legal to drive is probably a good investment. I imagine it would be particularly useful for lorry drivers transporting goods internationally, as you can get accurate readings for any country you are in.
AlcoSense Ultra Home Breathalyzer
Product Name: AlcoSense Ultra Home Breathalyzer