How to Choose the Best Interlock Device: A Helpful Guide

September 5, 2018

In the fight against drunk driving, states have implemented a variety of laws and tools to curb the potential consequences that come with driving under the influence, including injuries, death, and damage to property. Effective strategies have included:

  • Enforcing existing laws for 0.08 percent BAC limits
  • Minimum legal drinking age laws
  • Zero tolerance laws for drivers under the age of 21
  • Sobriety checkpoints

Ignition interlock devices, or car breathalyzers, have also become much more common in DUI cases. Currently, all states have some sort of law requiring the use of an ignition interlock device after a drunk driving conviction, sometimes even for first-time offenders. Choosing the right ignition interlock device can be confusing if you’re not sure what to look for. Here is a quick guide to help you choose the best interlock device.

Finding a Vendor

If your court or licensing agency has ordered you to install an ignition interlock device in your car, they will usually provide a list of vendors that you can choose from. You can only have your ignition interlock device installed and serviced by a court-approved vendor.

Often the quality of the device comes down to the reliability of the provider. A provider who is suspended or has received a suspension in the past may indicate issues with their interlock device. A clean record means that the vendor follows court requirements and complies with state IID laws and standards, which are often updated or changed.

The vendor’s experience and quality of service is also a good indicator of the quality of the device. You need someone who knows what they are doing and can guide you through each step of the process, from submitting paperwork to eventually removing the ignition interlock device once you have completed your requirements.

Some vendors may not be capable of installing an IID on your vehicle. For example, many providers may not be able to install a device on a motorcycle. Others may not have the tools or experience to install an IID in a push-start vehicle, a hybrid, or eco-vehicle featuring a start-stop engine.

Your Specific Requirements

Before you actually settle on any single ignition interlock device, you also need to understand your requirements as ordered by the court or licensing agency. This includes the period of time wherein you need to keep your IID, but there are other requirements based on the jurisdiction. Your state may require other features in your ignition interlock device, including a camera, a GPS, and real-time reporting of every test result.

Your vendor can generally walk you through your court order and determine the device that best fits your needs.

What to Look for in an Ignition Interlock Device

Although all ignition interlock devices generally operate in the same way, not all of them are created equal. The main things to look for in a good ignition interlock device include:

  • Efficiency – Ignition interlock devices need to warm up before you can provide a breath sample, but some can take longer than others, especially depending on the weather and temperature. Some also take longer to process your breath sample. This all inevitably leaves you waiting instead of driving. More efficient devices get you on the road quickly and also allow for easier calibration and maintenance.
  • Ease of use – Many ignition interlock devices require a complex breathing pattern of humming, blowing, and sucking. Aside from taking extra time, these patterns can get confusing and may require you to submit multiple samples until you get the pattern right.
  • Hygiene – Considering how often you’ll be putting your lips on the mouthpiece, you want a device that will ensure sanitary operation with every breath sample. You don’t want to get sick from using your own ignition interlock devices. More germs and bacteria on the mouthpiece also mean a higher risk of false or inaccurate readings. Devices that feature those complex breathing patterns will be less sanitary.


A good vendor will work within your budget to make sure that you can afford an ignition interlock device. Make sure you consider installation and leasing fees. Ask what is included with the calibration and maintenance fees. Some vendors will offer long-term contracts, which may be convenient depending on your needs. However, be aware that opting out of these contracts early can be difficult and may come with some expensive fees.

Ultimately, you want an ignition interlock device that is affordable, reliable, and efficient while delivering on all the requirements from the court. Do your due diligence, and you shouldn’t have a problem finding an IID that works best for you.

Wrapping Up

Here at Low Cost Interlock, we offer the most affordable ignition interlock device installation and services in many states. Our high-quality ignition interlock device combined with our superior customer service make us a clear choice when searching for an IID provider.

For more information about how to choose the best interlock device and how to start the process, contact us today!


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