Drager Safety's family of Alcotest breathalyser devices have unrivalled accuracy and reliability but there are many different models to suit various applications. In this guide we'll explain the main differences between each breathalyser.

First off, what is a breathalyser designed to do? The Alcotest's purpose is to detect concentrations of alcohol in the breath through a specific electrochemical sensor (or fuel cell) within the unit. Detectors that use fuel cell technology provide extreme accuracy.

Why would you need to use a breathalyser?

HSE regulations state that 'employers have a legal duty to protect employees' health, safety and welfare'. This includes recognising signs of alcohol misuse or abuse, and with the input of employees and your Health and Safety department, a breathalyser can be a hygienic and non-intrusive way of detecting this. Some industries may include work actions such as the operation of machinery or driving transportation, so ensuring the safety of all employees is crucial.

Visit the HSE website for more information on developing a drug/alcohol misuse or abuse policy or our Sales Team can arrange for Drager to provide you with assistance on this. Call us on 0141 771 7749 today.

What breathalysers do Drager Safety have to offer?

Currently there are 5 handheld detectors that Frontline Safety can offer from the Drager Alcotest range. This does not include the Interlock detector, which is a vehicle-immobilising breathalyser, ideal for the transport industry.

In terms of portable alcohol detectors Drager offer the Alcotest 4000 (A4000), Alcotest 5000, Alcotest 6000 (A6000), Alcotest 6820 and Alcotest 7510. You will find each of these on the Frontline Safety website.

Although their purpose is the same, there are subtle differences in these detectors such as size and weight, the way they display results and even the mouthpieces.

What type of breath tests are the Drager Alcotests capable of?

There are two different types of breath test that the Alcotest family can carry out, dependent on model type. One of these is a Passive Test and the other is an Active Test.

What is a Passive Breath Test?

A passive breath test is when the person blows on to the detector from a short distance so as not to make contact with the mouthpiece or instrument. This is not designed to test accuracy, but the presence of alcohol. This is a qualitative test and can be carried on a person who cannot carry out the active test.

What is an Active Breath Test?

An active breath test is when the person ably breathes into a hygienic mouthpiece, attached to the breathalyser. This is used when a more accurate result is required. This is a quantitative test.

Worker providing an active breathalyser test in the workplace with Drager Alcotest 6820.

So which detectors do which test?

A passive breath test is done using the:

  • Alcotest 5000
  • Alcotest 6000
  • Alcotest 6820
  • Alcotest 7510

An active breath test can be done by:

  • Alcotest 4000
  • Alcotest 6000
  • Alcotest 6820
  • Alcotest 7510

What applications and industries are the Drager Alcotests used in?

Although Drager Alcotests are used worldwide and countless applications, there are some that are more suited to certain work activities than others.

The Alcotest 4000 is the most cost-friendly monitor of the range and is designed by Drager as a preventative measure and more for personal use. It can hold around 400 tests and is a non-rechargeable, simple unit.

The Alcotest 5000 is designed for high-frequency and continuous use. As discussed it will only carry out a passive test and the display will only show 'Alcohol' or 'No Alcohol'. It's ideal for applications such event control and entry, schools, colleges, workplaces and roadblock checks. It can also be mounted on a selfie-stick to aid with social distancing or applications where the test subject is just out of normal reach.

Driver taking a passive breath test with the Drager Alcotest 5000 breathyalser from the cab of his vehicle.

Described by Drager as being ideal for professional use is the Alcotest 6000. This can be used in workplaces as part of screening checks for drug and alcohol misuse or abuse. It will show the concentration of alcohol detected.

The Alcotest 6820 is one of Drager's most tried and tested models. It's an evidential device and is suitable for law enforcement applications or industrial tribunals. It's currently used by some of the UK's police force.

Similar to the Alcotest 6820, the 7510 model proves to be a reliable evidential device in policing, commerce and industry. Another highly accurate alcohol screening device from Drager Safety.

Where can I buy the Drager Alcotest?

We have covered some of the main differences of the Alcotest breathalyser range. You can visit the Frontline Safety website and view more information on each product. You can download the product datasheets from the product pages. We also provide Drager's drug testing equipment and a selection of mouthpieces suitable for the Alcotest family.

Should you have any questions on the above then please contact our friendly Sales Team who will be happy to answer your query - [email protected] or call +44(0)141 771 7749.