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Lifewire / Zach Sweat
Compact size, carrying pouch and mouthpiece storage
Accurate BAC tests
Custom tech to reduce errors
Takes longer to warm up before testing
Sensors need to be routinely replaced or accuracy will diminish
A bit on the higher side for price, the AlcoMate AL7000 breathalyzer combines extremely accurate testing in a more portable and convenient package. It also eliminates the need for inconvenient recalibration of sensors by making them replaceable.
The AlcoMate AL7000 breathalyzer is a premium, professional-grade device sporting sleek looks and a portable size. There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to personal breathalyzers, but this one stands out among the overcrowded market. Aside from portability, it also has excellent accuracy and user-replaceable sensors that spare you from finicky recalibration.
Just a small note here—you should never trust these devices to be 100 percent accurate when determining whether you’re too drunk to drive home after a night out. A personal-use breathalyzer such as this can be a pivotal tool for many seeking to make responsible decisions while drinking, but it’s always better to just use a rideshare service or a cab when in doubt. While these devices can deliver accurate results when properly used, you’re better off not risking it.
Design is one category that the AL7000 really shines (and not just because of its shiny silver faceplate). Comprised of ABS plastic, the AL7000 is one of the better-looking breathalyzers out there with its silver body and brushed aluminum faceplate. The overall build quality of the unit feels much sturdier than some of the competitors we reviewed, and the battery door is nice and fitted.
There are a lot of choices out there when looking at such personal breathalyzers, but this one stands out among the overcrowded market.
On the face, you’ll find an LCD display that’s a bit smaller than some other devices, but nothing too tiny, and a single power button. The side features the porthole for the disposable mouthpieces and a mini USB input. Behind, the AL7000 also has a door for swapping out the sensor when it’s time to replace it.
One really nice addition to this model is that you can keep a mouthpiece tucked away in between the batteries inside that compartment. This is a great feature that ensures you’ve always got a mouthpiece ready for testing, even if you accidentally leave the rest at home. It also keeps it from creating an awkward fit in your pocket if you prefer to just carry it sans case.
AlcoMate also includes a nice little carrying case made of neoprene with a matte silver snap link carabiner to strap it to your belt loop, bag, or anywhere else you want. The breathalyzer also includes five of the removable mouthpieces so that you can swap them out to ensure accuracy or to let someone else use it without worrying about cross-contamination.
One really nice addition to this model is that you can keep a mouthpiece tucked away in-between the batteries inside the compartment.
Most of the personal breathalyzers are simple to use, and the AL7000 is no exception to that. To begin testing, place two AA batteries in the rear compartment, pop in one of the plastic mouthpieces, hit the power button, and then wait about 30 seconds (this can vary and may take up to a minute) for the unit to reach operating temperature. When it’s ready, the breathalyzer will beep and read “Blow” on the display. Now you can begin testing with the device. Blow into the mouthpiece with a steady, constant breath for about five seconds or until it beeps to tell you to stop. A few moments later, your results will pop up on the screen.
Flashy looks are all for nothing if the breathalyzer gives you inaccurate, inconsistent test results. Luckily, the AL7000 is on par with the best personal breathalyzers in the market. During our testing, AlcoMate’s breathalyzer averaged just a little high, but was consistently within 0.01 BAC of competitors, according to our online BAC calculator. This is probably due to tuning by AlcoMate to ensure their customers are still within legal limits.
Another nice feature is that the AL7000 has an airflow sensor that can let you know if it’s insufficient for testing. This can definitely help improve accuracy during tests. The detection range is also superior to many cheaper units, giving you an extra level of accuracy with 0.000 to 0.400% BAC. Like other breathalyzers we’ve tested, the AL7000 is approved by the Department of Transportation and for use by law enforcement.
AlcoMate calls their AL7000 a “premium” breathalyzer, and the price tag definitely reflects that claim. The price for the AL7000 can vary wildly, but you can expect to get it for around $140 to $190 depending on your seller, or $189.95 at MSRP. It’s certainly more costly than other breathalyzers we’ve tested.
The added ability to swap out sensors on your own is a huge perk that can help justify the higher price.
One major consideration (and justification) for the AL7000’s high price is that you have the ability to swap out the sensor yourself, rather than having to send it back to the manufacturer, pay for them to replace it, and wait a week or two for the turnaround. Many users rely on these devices for everyday use, so that can be a big perk when making your final decision. The sensors themselves should be replaced about every 200 tests, or at least once a year, whichever comes first, according to AlcoMate’s website. While that lifespan isn’t as good as some other devices, the replacements will only run you $20 to $30 and can be changed in less than a minute. Also worth noting, the AL7000 just feels hardier than most breathalyzers and won’t break as easily thanks to its improved materials.
AlcoMate and BACtrack are two of the biggest brands for personal breathalyzers, so naturally, they make good matchups when comparing devices. The S80 is BACtrack’s flagship model, while the AL7000 is AlcoMate’s upper mid-range. That being said, the S80 is still significantly cheaper than the AL7000 depending on where you get it, often anywhere from $20 to $60 less.
The two proved just as accurate during our tests thanks to their advanced fuel cell sensors, so they’re both equally good in that regard. They each come with extra mouthpieces, a carrying case and are almost the same size—the S80 is thicker and a bit taller though. On the other hand, overall build quality feels a little sturdier with AlcoMate’s breathalyzer.
The one major difference between these two is that while the S80 requires you to send in the unit once it’s time for recalibration, the AL7000 does not. With the S80, you’ll need to pay $20 and be without your device for about a week. The AL7000’s sensor can easily be swapped out at home and costs about the same. A lot of fans seem to be keen on this feature, and it just makes a lot of sense if you rely on the breathalyzer each day.
Check out our list of the 8 best breathalyzers available to consumers today, including our top picks for them based on different categories and features.
A premium breathalyzer worth the price.
For those who want a highly accurate breathalyzer that feels a bit more “premium” compared to other units for sale, AlcoMate’s AL7000 fits the bill perfectly. The added ability to swap out sensors on your own is a huge perk that can help justify the higher price.