Check yourself before you wreck yourself: Here’s the top 4 portable breathalyzers

After a few drinks, it can be difficult to tell whether you’re under or over the legal driving limit. Considering the fact that hundreds of people are injured or killed annually by impaired motorists — and that a DUI will set you back thousands of dollars — it’s best to err on the side of caution. That being said, shelling out a a little cash for a personal breathalyzer is only a drop in the bucket when compared to fines, legal fees, and a criminal record. Fortunately, there are plenty of devices on the market designed to help you better gauge your blood alcohol levels. Below are our favorites.

Best overall — BACtrack S80 Professional Breathalyzer ($125)


The BACtrack S80 is one of the most advanced breathalyzers on the market. With a precision BAC range of 0.000 to 0.400, this unit is more than capable of letting you know whether you’re legally capable of driving and when you should potentially check in at the nearest hospital.

Seeing as you are dealing with inebriated humans, the more streamlined the breathalyzer process the better. Thankfully, the BACtrack S80 is incredibly easy to use. Simply press the start button, wait for the unit to count down from 10, and then blow into the mouthpiece for five seconds. Within three seconds, your BAC reading will be available on the LED display. The unit includes six extra mouthpieces as well, meaning you and your bar buddies can each have your own.

The most important specification when it comes to breathalyzers is, without a doubt, accuracy. The BACtrack S80 has a margin of error of only .005, making it one of the most precise portable units on the market. Still, it is a bit bulkier than some of the other portables out there. It measures 5.6 inches in length and 2.3 inches in width, and since it weighs 5.6 ounces, the unit may be better suited for your glovebox, purse, or backpack than your pocket. Regardless, when it comes to precision, this device is hard to top.


Best smartphone-enabled — BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer ($98)


The BACtrack Mobile is the breathalyzer for app and wearable enthusiasts. The Bluetooth-enabled device allows you to connect most Android and iOS devices, including the Apple Watch. Once connected, you can utilize the free BACtrack app, which lets you store a digital drinking log or hail an Uber if you’ve quaffed a bit too much on a particular evening. The next time you’re at the watering hole, you can even refer to the app to remember whether you liked a specific libation.

One of the best features of the unit, however, is the ZeroLine application. Once you’ve completed your breathalyzer test, this handy tool estimates when your BAC level will return to 0.00. Unlike the other units on our list, the BACtrack Mobile also uses a rechargeable battery. There are cheaper and more precise units on the market for the price, however, from an integration standpoint, the BACtrack Mobile is as good as it gets. Read more here.


Best portable model — BACtrack Keychain Breathalyzer Portable ($26+)


A breathalyzer that you can store on your keychain is about a sensible and convenient as it gets — just ask anyone who’s opted for the lightweight BACtrack Keychain. To perform a quick test, simply power on the device, wait approximately 12 seconds, and then blow into the built-in tube for a minimum of five seconds. Your results will then appear on the device’s backlit display within seconds.

The foldable mouthpiece can be extended or stowed, however, one still has to question just how sanitary a mouthpiece on your keychain really is. Regardless, the unit is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and can be stowed in your purse or pocket if you’d like to be more discrete. The unit is also available in purple, green, blue, or black, rendering it the perfect companion for those looking to coordinate with their outfit before hitting the bars.

The main drawback to the Keychain, however, is its accuracy. This unit has a margin or error .02 percent, which is enough leeway to put you over the limit in certain situations.


Best budget breathalyzer — Vastar AB120 Professional ($20)


Sometimes you don’t need a breathalyzer with the ability to call you a ride or estimate when you should be able to drive a vehicle. No, sometimes a budget device will do. With a margin of error of just 0.01 percent, the Vastar AB120 Professional is the perfect option for individuals in the market for a basic breathalyzer.

While you are saving a few bucks by opting for the budget option, you certainly aren’t doing yourself any favors when it comes to ease of use. Once the unit is powered on, it takes about 15 seconds to warm up (you’ll hear a beep when it’s ready). Afterward, simply blow into the mouthpiece and await your results. If you’ve drunkenly managed to mess up this process, you’ll have to wait another three minutes before you can take the test again, meaning impatient tipplers may need to look elsewhere.

Nevertheless, at just 2.2 ounces, the unit is as light as any other model on our list, which makes it convenient for stowing on the go. If you’re looking for a breathalyzer that lacks bells and whistles, this unit will do just fine.


Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.
Emerging Tech

Meet Wiliot, a battery-less Bluetooth chip that pulls power from thin air

A tiny chip from a semiconductor company called Wiliot could harvest energy out of thin air, the company claims. No battery needed. The paper-thin device pulls power from ambient radio frequencies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cell signals.
Emerging Tech

Hexbot is a modular robot arm that does everything from drawing to playing chess

Who wouldn’t want their own personal robot arm to do everything from laser engraving to competing against you in a game of chess? That's what Hexbot, a new modular robot, promises to deliver.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.