Tough, dependable gas detectors are key pieces of kit for anyone working in places where behind alerted to the presence of hazardous gases is essential. Kitting out yourself - and your team - with the best devices available is vital, but it's also important to understand the capabilities of the equipment available, and that's where we're here to help.

MSA Altair

In this guide, we're going to look at the ALTAIR and ALTAIR PRO from MSA, two very similar gas detectors, but with some key differences which we'll explain in order to help you make a smart buying choice.

To start off, watch our overview video of the ALTAIR and ALTAIR PRO here.

MSA ALTAIR and ALTAIR PRO: What are the differences?

At first glance, both detectors look very similar. Both benefit from IP67 tough, rubberised enclosures that feel grippy in the hand and are designed to take a knock, MSA having tested them to withstand up to a 3m drop. Both are the same size and weight.

Each features a large numeric display and a simple one-button operation, glove-friendly of course.

The differences are apparent in the gases each is engineered to detect, the lifetime of the unit and the data displayed on screen.


The MSA ALTAIR comes in 3 variations:


It's treated as a "disposable unit" in that it will last for 24 months once it's been turned on. This is displayed to you on screen, giving you a countdown of the lifespan. It has triple alarms - audible, vibration and visual, and will log up to 25 events, data which is downloadable for analysis using the MSA JetEye sofware. However the measured gas values are not displayed on the screen.

Altair Pro

The MSA ALTAIR PRO (click to see the range), however, isn't a so-called disposable unit. That's because it's serviceable, including having a replaceable CR2 battery, which will last for around 12 months assuming an 8 hour per day usage. While a little more expensive than the ALTAIR, it could represent better value for money, depending on your application.

And you can use a wider range of gas sensors in the PRO, depending on the gas you need to detect, including CO, H2S, O2, NH3, Cl2, ClO2, NO2, SO2, HCN, PH3.

The PRO also holds more data, up to the last 50 events stored in the memory, again downloadable for analysis, and any measured gas values are clearly displayed on the unit's backlit screen, another key difference from the ALTAIR.

Alarms are the same on the ALTAIR PRO; visual, audible and vibration, but you can configure the alarm set points, giving you more control over the unit's sensitivity.

In summary then:


  • IP67 rated, 3m drop test
  • Disposable with a 24 month lifespan
  • 3 gas variations available


  • IP67 rated, 3m drop test
  • serviceable
  • replaceable battery
  • 10 gas variations available
  • measured gas values displayed on the backlit screen

If you have any questions about these gas detectors, please let us know in the comments. Or talk to one of our team of experts by getting in touch here.