French Breathalyser Review
This is a review of the currently available kits that satisfy the French Breathalyser Law, introduced in 2012.
We can break these kits down into 2 types. The first is a reusable digital breathalyser which we believe is the better option. The second is the disposable breathalyser. Let’s look at the benefits:
Reusable digital breathalyser review
This is more expensive than the disposable type but has the advantage that it can be bought once and forgotten until required. It should have NF certification to comply with the French law but most now have this, check with the vendor if you are not sure.
Keeping one of these in your car is easy, they are mostly glovebox sized and they offer an instant readout. We like their portability and the fact you can take it out of one car and use it in another.
Unsurprisingly, many driving school instructors now use these, not only to test themselves but the pupils too as they are legally responsible for the driver.
A top selling point is that they are easy to read at night with good digital displays, quite unlike the disposable ones where we found the crystals could only be read under a strong light. Something worth thinking about if you enjoy the odd glass of wine and don’t want to be crouching in front of your car headlamp to see your results.
Disposable breathalyser kits review
These work well and are cheerfully cheap if you buy them here. Disposable kits must carry the NF approval mark, without this then you may be likely to get a fine as this is the only approval that the French police will accept. We wouldn’t advise buying any kit without the NF approval, it doesn’t make sense to penny-pinch here.
You’ll need to purchase two of these to be sure. Why? Because if you test yourself with one and then drive, you’ll then run the risk of being stopped by the police and not having an unused kit to comply with their law.
Blowing into most of the reusable kits that we tested gave a suprisingly small variance. Those with ‘blow bags’ were closer to our reference digital kit but the others were showing very close readings, well within the tolerances allowed.
In use these kits are very simple and have very good accuracy.
We would buy the disposable kits if we were on a very tight budget, but for all-round speed of use, longevity and common-sense, the Digital Breathalyser Kit gets our vote.