Semiconductor vs Fuel Cell Breathalyzers

Not sure what the differences between fuel cell and semiconductor breathalyzers are? Read on for information on the differences between the two sensors, so you can better decide which breathalyzer to buy.


Feature Semiconductor

Fuel Cell




Semiconductor sensor technology is generally cheaper than fuel cell sensor technology. Semiconductor breathalyzers are good, affordable options for personal use, but for better accuracy and reliability, consider investing in a fuel cell breathalyzer instead. Our range of personal breathalyzers include both semiconductor and fuel cell technology, whereas all AlcoSense industrial breathalyzers use fuel cell technology.


  x Fuel cell breathalyzers provide more accurate and consistent BAC results, with an accuracy range of +/- 0.005%BAC. The semiconductor units are suitable for personal use when you want to test for the presence of alcohol; their accuracy range is +/- 0.01%BAC.


  x Fuel cell breathalyzers require a shorter startup time and can perform consecutive readings accurately without interruption. Semiconductor breathalyzers are generally slower and show a wider variation in readings, which only increases over time.

BAC Range

  x Fuel cell breathalyzers are consistently more accurate across a wider alcohol concentration range (0.000-0.400% BAC) than semiconductor devices. Fuel cell devices also provide BAC readings up to 3 decimal places, whereas most semiconductor units are only accurate to 2 decimal places.


x x All breathalyzers must be calibrated to ensure their ongoing accuracy. Semiconductor breathalyzers generally require more frequent calibration, whereas fuel cell devices can remain accurate for thousands of tests.
Long Life   x Fuel cell breathalyzers have a much longer lifespan than semiconductor devices.

Alcohol Specific

  x Fuel cell devices screen exclusively for ethyl alcohol, or drinking alcohol. Semiconductor devices can give positive alcohol readings even when alcohol is not present, and may also register a false positive for someone who is diabetic or on a low calorie diet.
Christina Cini

Christina Cini

Christina is our very skilled Quality Assurance Manager/ Technician. With her degree in Mechatronics Engineering, she is able to apply her field of studies to her current occupation, also providing a better understanding into our more technical blog posts such as calibration, maintenance of your breathalyser, as well as sensors.