Fixed vs Portable Gas Detectors

Customers often ask us whether they should use a fixed or portable gas detection device. While the difference may seem obvious, there are some key differences you should know about before you make a selection.

Fixed Gas Detectors

Fixed, or wall-mount gas detectors are primarily used in applications where the requirement for gas detection is permanent and ongoing over long periods of time. In areas where tanks of liquid gas are stored, fixed gas detectors are mounted on the wall. They may be hard-wired into the building’s HVAC 24VDC power circuit, or if 120-240VAC wall power is used, they are permanently affixed with a plug guard.

One example of this is an oxygen depletion safety alarm. It continuously monitors for low oxygen levels in an enclosed area for the safety of occupants. This 24/7 protection requires not only a permanent device, but constant power.

Other examples include wall-mounted carbon dioxide monitors for indoor air quality and incubator CO2 sensors like the MicroSense IR which constantly monitors the CO2 level inside a biological incubator.

Portable Gas Detectors

Personal CO2 Safety Monitor

Portable or hand held gas detectors are primarily used in applications where the need is temporary. This may be the result of only needing to measure a gas for a few minutes, or because the gas detector is worn by someone in an area with potentially dangerous gas levels. Most portable gas detectors are battery operated or rechargeable.

An example of a portable gas detector is the SAN-10 Personal CO2 Safety Monitor or the SAN-20 Personal Oxygen Safety Monitor,  wearable devices that monitor for low oxygen levels around the user. It can run for hours on a single charge.

A different kind of portable gas detector is the TecPen Modified Atmosphere Packaging Monitor or the TecPen Weld Purge Monitor. These devices are used as part of a quality control process where trace oxygen levels need to be measured.

Fixed and Portable Gas Detectors Combined

Some products bridge the gap between the long-term and portability requirements of a gas detector. They are able to do this in one of two ways: by using both batteries and a wall adapter, or by using very low power.

multi gas detector

For example, the GasLab Plus Multi-Gas Detector is a portable gas detector that can run on either batteries or using a wall adapter. This device is used to measure carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, oxygen, PM 2.5 & PM 10 particle count, relative humidity and temperature in real time. The display allows the user to instantly determine the level of gases indoors or outdoors.

The latest generation of fixed gas detector is the CozIR-LP CO2 Sensor. This device uses so little power (3mW) that it can run for weeks or months on a compact battery. Because it uses so little power, it combines the long-term sensing of a fixed gas detector with the portability of a hand-held device.

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