If you’ve had a couple beers and want to drive home safely, read our review on the five best breathalyzers that will test your BAC level.

 
 

After a long night out at the bars, you’ll want to make sure you’re sober enough to drive home. With a personal breathalyzer, you can ensure that your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is under the legal limit. To help you decide which device out of the thousands of breathalyzers on the market best fit your needs, we compiled reviews on the five best breathalyzer options on Amazon.

In this article:

Best Overall: BACtrack S80 Breathalyzer

 
 

We’ve given the BACtrack S80 professional breathalyzer the top spot because of its reliability and ease of use. It’s comparable to high-end breathalyzers used by police departments, ensuring that you’ll get accurate results every time.

It also comes ready to use, with six reusable mouthpieces and two AA batteries, which means you can set it up and use it immediately.

Key Features

  • 2.00 x 0.75 x 4.75-inch, black body
  • 6 reusable mouthpieces
  • Slot for 2 AA batteries
  • Platinum fuel cell alcohol sensor
  • 1 year warranty
  • FDA 510(k) cleared

What Customers Are Saying


Just over 2,280 Amazon customers reviewed this product, giving it an average score of 4.3 stars out of 5. This is 0.2 stars higher than the Amazon average for all of the breathalyzers in this review. Our team also compiled review data from other leading e-commerce websites, which increased the product’s score to 4.6 stars—0.3 stars higher than the overall average for all products across all websites.

Customers raved about this breathalyzer’s accuracy. Some compared it to police-issued breathalyzers they had access to for their job, and some compared it to the BAC table, which determines how intoxicated you are based on your weight and drinks consumed. In both cases, this breathalyzer gave accurate readings as long as you waited 15 minutes after your last drink to test, like the instructions suggest. Some customers complained that the product only lasts for about 200 reads. They then had to contact the company and pay a fee to have it recalibrated. A lot of times, this didn’t work, and the customers were out the calibration fee and a working product.

Most Portable: BACtrack C6 Keychain Breathalyzer

 
 

This is BACtrack’s most portable breathalyzer. You can attach it to your keys or leave it loose in your bag or pocket. Either way, you can bring it with you to every trip to the bar and not worry about it taking up much space.

This device also comes with a Bluetooth option. You can connect it to your smartphone and track how long it will take for you to be sober or order an Uber.

Key Features

  • 2.21 x 0.66 x 1.88-inch, white body
  • Built-in mouthpiece
  • Slot for 1 AAA battery
  • Platinum fuel cell alcohol sensor
  • Keychain
  • Optional Bluetooth connectivity to smartphone
  • Estimation of when your BAC will be 0.00% with app
  • 1 year warranty

What Customers Are Saying


This product received an Amazon score of 4.2 stars from about 780 customers. Its score increased to 4.4 stars when factoring in reviews from other consumer websites, which puts it just above the overall score of 4.3 stars.

Customers liked how compact this breathalyzer was. Even if you didn’t use it as a keychain, it could easily fit inside a bag or pocket. They also liked that you could pair it to your phone because the app offers some unique features, like telling you how long it will take until your BAC is 0.00% and allowing you to order an Uber. However, some customers said the reading was too low considering how much they drank, and others said that an error message kept appearing when they would blow into it.

Most Affordable: Rofeer Digital Blue LED Screen Portable Breathalyzer

 
 

Rofeer’s breathalyzer is cheaper than others, costing less than half the amount as some of BACtrack’s models. Its ability to measure intoxication in BAC, g/L, mg/L, mg/ml, or PROM means that people around the world can use this product.

This device not only shows you your reading, but it also flashes green, yellow, or red and beeps one, two, or three times depending on if you are sober, still safe to drive, or not safe to drive.

Key Features

  • 4.84 x 2.17 x 0.75-inch, black body
  • 5 reusable mouthpieces
  • Slot for 3 AAA batteries
  • Black cloth bag
  • 5 measurement units
  • Color and sounds change for BAC ranges

What Customers Are Saying


696 Amazon customers gave this breathalyzer a rating of 3.9 stars. This puts it 0.2 stars below the Amazon average for all five breathalyzers in this review. Its score stayed the same after adding in reviews from other e-commerce websites.

Customers liked how affordable this product was. Some even compared it to more expensive options and found that the BAC results were similar if not the same. Some customers said that they received one that looked previously used, like someone had returned it. Others said that the readings weren’t always accurate because they would be completely sober and get a false positive.

#4: BACtrack Trace Breathalyzer

 
 

The BACtrack trace professional breathalyzer is designed to detect any trace of alcohol. While most breathalyzers only measure two decimal points, this one measures three, which explains why the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have approved it.

After blowing for five seconds and waiting for 10, you will receive your detailed reading. The device even saves your last 10 readings so that you can keep track of your alcohol intake.

Key Features

  • 1.87 x 0.63 x 4.25-inch, black body
  • Slot for disposable mouthpieces
  • Slot for 2 AAA batteries
  • Platinum fuel cell alcohol sensor
  • Saves your last 10 readings
  • 1 year warranty
  • Approved by the Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 

What Customers Are Saying


Close to 500 Amazon customers reviewed this product, and gave it a score of 4.2 stars out of 5. This is 0.1 stars higher than the Amazon average for all of the breathalyzers in this review. Its score increased to 4.3 stars after including reviews from other leading e-commerce websites, which makes the product’s score equal to the overall average.

Amazon customers said that the product seems to read your BAC level more accurately than breathalyzers that only read two decimal points. Several recommended switching out the mouthpiece or rinsing it out between uses to increase accuracy because the alcohol can build up in the straw, causing the reading to increase with each use. Several customers complained about it picking up a reading after using mouthwash, which is likely due to the more detailed reader.

#5: BACtrack C8 Breathalyzer

 
 

This breathalyzer looks and works like the C6 model, except it is slightly larger. This larger size means you can see how long it will take for you to be sober on the device instead of pulling it up on the mobile app.

If you want to see your BAC readings on a larger screen and have access to other features, like ordering an Uber, you can still connect it to your phone via Bluetooth.

Key Features

  • 2.50 x 0.66 x 2.20-inch, white body
  • Built-in mouthpiece
  • Slot for 1 AAA battery
  • Platinum fuel cell alcohol sensor
  • Optional Bluetooth connectivity to smartphone
  • Estimation of when your BAC will be 0.00%
  • 1 year warranty

What Customers Are Saying


This product received a rating of 4.1 stars out of 5 after 465 customers reviewed the product on Amazon. After calculating a new score with reviews from other e-commerce websites, the product received 4.3 stars. This means the product is in line with the Amazon average and the overall average.

Several customers mentioned that they were veteran BACtrack users. Some of them had previously owned the C6 version, but liked this one better because it was a little larger, which meant you could see how long it would take for you to be sober on the reader instead of having to pull up the app. Some customers said that the results are less accurate than other BACtrack breathalyzers, which means it’s not the best option for drivers with previous DUIs who want to check their BAC level before blowing into the breathalyzers built into their cars.

The 5 Best Breathalyzers (2020 Review)

Buying A Breathalyzer: Factors to Consider

Before choosing a breathalyzer, consider how these factors will affect the accuracy of your device.

Sensor Type

Breathalyzers use different types of sensors. More accurate and expensive devices will use a fuel cell sensor, while cheaper and less accurate ones will use a semiconductor sensor.

Fuel Cell Sensor

This sensor measures the concentration of alcohol molecules in the breath of the user. All of the BACtrack models in this review use this type of sensor.

Infrared Optical Sensor

This type measures the way that the alcohol molecules absorb infrared light.

Semiconductor Oxide Sensor

This type is used by the less expensive personal breathalyzers. The device has a semiconductor inside with a small electrical current. Every time you blow into it, the breathalyzer will measure how the alcohol changes the current when it reaches the semiconductor.

Design Type

The design of the device also plays a role in the reading’s accuracy.

Active

Devices that have mouthpieces that you blow into use this design. The mouthpiece prevents contamination from outside air, so you get a more accurate reading. All of the devices in this review use a mouthpiece.

Passive

A breathalyzer with this design usually has you blow across an opening. Because you aren’t blowing directly into it, the reading is subject to contamination.

Calibration

Your device will come calibrated and ready to use. However, over time, the device’s readings will become less and less accurate, and you will need to get the device re-calibrated.

Cost

Buying a breathalyzer isn’t just a one-time expense. It requires continuous maintenance in order to run properly. Here are some of the expenses you will face.

Device

The device itself will cost between $20 and $200. We didn’t include any cheap breathalyzers in this review because they tend to be less accurate, but we did include mid-to-top range devices.

Mouthpiece

If your device has an active design, you will need a mouthpiece. Your device typically comes with at least one mouthpiece, but you will need to replace it over time to avoid cross-contamination from previous readings. New ones typically cost $0.50-$1.00 each, but you can buy them in bulk.

Battery

Breathalyzers are powered by batteries. Most come with ones to get you started, but when those die, you will need new ones to continue using the device.

Recalibration

When it’s time to recalibrate your device, you will usually pay $15-$50 to have your device sent back to the company.

Breathalyzer FAQ

How do you use a breathalyzer?

Instructions will vary depending on the product, but here are some general guidelines:

  • Avoid eating or drinking anything 15-20 minutes before using a breathalyzer. This includes mouthwash.
  • After waiting that allotted time, press and hold the “On” button. 
  • Once your device’s screen says it is ready, blow into the mouthpiece for about five seconds. 
  • In about 10 seconds, your device will give you a reading.

How often should I calibrate my breathalyzer?

This will depend on the breathalyzer, but most need to be recalibrated every six to 12 months, or sooner if you use it frequently. Most devices have to be sent back to the company to be recalibrated, but newer ones allow you to purchase another precalibrated unit to replace the old one.

Are personal breathalyzers accurate?

Personal breathalyzers aren’t as accurate as ones used by law enforcement, but if you buy a high-grade one, you will get a reading that is close.

Can you cheat a breathalyzer test?


Some people believe sucking on a copper coin, smoking a cigarette, or eating pungent food will trick the breathalyzer, but these ideas have been proven false. There is some proof that hyperventilating before blowing into the mouthpiece may lower your reading. However, we recommend only having one or two drinks or using an Uber or Lyft instead of trying to cheat the test.