Published on March 28th, 2015 | by Greg0
AlcoMate Premium: BAC Without Recalibration
Breathalyzers might seem like an unusual piece of equipment for the average consumer to consider purchasing. But the fact is that if you drink alcohol, you should definitely consider having one, and doubly so if you have a car. Driving even a little “buzzed” can be dangerous, and a single DUI ticket, even if you think you’re in the clear from a single drink, can be very expensive and create some real difficulties. Being able to test yourself is handy, and might just save your life, along with your wallet.
The AlcoMate Premium (AL7000) is a single-purpose, high-reliability device designed by the company behind professional gear, suitable for a wide array of environments. They’ve gotten full approval from the DOT for law enforcement, with an accuracy of +/-0.01 at 0.10% BAC. There’s a single button, a digital readout, and a cumulative test counter that keeps track of how many times it’s been used (important for reasons that we will get to shortly). We’ve seen a few breathalyzers over the years, including some that connect to your phone, but this one is handy, lightweight, and convenient and just needs a couple of AA batteries (included).
The AlcoMate Premium is certainly easy to use- we recommend taking a deep breath before using. The interesting thing is that it uses ‘patented pre-calibrated replaceable sensor module technology’- with typical high-end sensors, they require regular calibration to maintain accuracy and that means sending your unit away for a while. AlcoMate uses an interesting swappable system that means you can simply replace the sensor itself. That can add up fast- it’s $30 for a new module- and they need to be switched every 200 tests or at least once a year.
You’ll also need to consider the mouthpieces themselves- the part that you blow into. Only five of them are included in the package, and then you’ll have to get some more (100 will cost you about $40). A car adapter is available that prevents the need to change out the batteries, which is a nice option. In our tests, the AlcoMate Premium seemed fairly accurate, but can take a bit of time to use and it isn’t the sexiest or most full-featured unit on the market. The company does make other models at a variety of price points, but the AL7000 is available online and in stores for around $170.