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What is the difference between fuel cell sensor (Professional Series) and semiconductor sensor (Elite Series) BACtracks?

Last Updated: Apr 17, 2019 09:27AM PDT
All BACtrack Breathalyzers are high quality and accurate products, and meet the standards of a FDA 510(k) cleared device, which means that product information and accuracy have been deemed "safe and effective" for consumer use.

We've simplified the process of selecting a breathalyzer by dividing models into two categories: Elite Series breathalyzers, which use MicroCheck® Technology (a type of semiconductor oxide sensor), and Professional Series breathalyzers, which use Xtend® Fuel Cell Sensor Technology. Fuel cell sensors are the standard technology used in police breathalyzers for roadside tests.

The Professional Series BACtracks provide the following benefits over the Elite Series BACtracks: 
  • They provide more accurate and more consistent results. For example, you are more likely to show the same test result when you test someone repeatedly in a very short period of time. In addition, they are more accurate at higher BAC concentrations.
  • They provide more precise readings since %BAC readings are displayed to the thousandth decimal place (0.054%) versus to the hundredth decimal place (0.05%).
  • They can remain accurate for up to thousands of tests, given regular calibration. (Read more about breathalyzer calibration.)
  • They can operate for a longer span of time before requiring calibration.
  • They will not show a false positive for someone who is diabetic or on a low calorie diet. Semiconductor models will sometimes show a false positive result for these individuals. Read more about diabetics, dieters and breathalyzers.
Breathalyzers that utilize fuel cell sensors typically sell for over $450; however, this technology is becoming more affordable with models like the BACtrack Mobile, BACtrack S80 Pro, BACtrack Trace and BACtrack Element, available for under $150. 

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