Colorimetric detectors indicate the presence of a target chemical through a chemical reaction that results in a color change to a reagent. Colorimetric detection covers a wide variety of products, from simple M8 paper for CWA to the SPX 300 for trace explosives detection. All of the products in the colorimetric detection category are generally simple to operate and have well-documented product test results to support vendor claims. The main disadvantages to the colorimetric systems are:

  1. They are analyte specific and are not typically suited for determination of unknowns;
  2. They typically require one-time use consumables such as cartridges, reagents, papers or swabs for each target chemical;
  3. Detection limits are typically in the part-per-million to part-per-thousand range (ppm-ppth);
  4. Interpretation of results may be subjective;
  5. Results cannot typically be stored for review at a later time.

A few vendors offer electronic readers that provide more objective results than visual comparison and can store the results of a test. Advantages of colorimetric detection include small size, little or no power requirement, low cost, and minimal operator training.

Manufacturer
3M™ Scott™ Fire & Safety (1)
Anachemia Canada, Inc. (1)
Dräger Safety, Inc. (2)
Honeywell Analytics (1)
Luxfer Magtech, Inc. (1)
Matheson Tri Gas (1)
Mine Safety Appliances Company (MSA) (1)
Morphix Technologies (2)
Nextteq LLC (3)
ORITEST (1)
RAE Systems, Inc. (1)
Sensidyne LLP (1)
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Transportability
Pocket Size (9)
Handheld (5)
Person-Portable (2)
Availability
Commercially Available (12)
Discontinued (4)
Unit Cost
< $100 (5)
$100 - $500 (4)
$500 - $1,000 (1)
$1,000 - $5,000 (4)
$5,000 - $10,000 (1)
N/A (1)
Sample Introduction
Solid (1)
Liquid (3)
Vapor/Gas (12)
Sensitivity / Detection Limit
ppm (13)
ppb (1)

Additional Filter Options

Product Type

Instrument (16)

TRL

9 (16)

Weight

<1 Lb (8)
<5 Lbs. (3)
<30 Lbs. (4)

Power Requirement

Alkaline Battery (1)
Lithium Battery (1)
NiMH Battery (1)
AC/DC Line Power (1)
None (10)
Other (1)

Training Required

<1 hour (8)
<1 day (8)

ITAR/EAR/IATA Regulated

No (6)

Response Time

Continuous (<30 seconds) (5)
<1 minute (2)
<5 minutes (6)
<15 minutes (1)
>15 minutes (2)

Supporting Data Available

None (15)
Other (1)

Ruggedness

Dust (1)
Extreme Temperatures/Humidity (1)
None (4)

Shelf Life

<1 year (4)
<5 years (9)
>5 years (3)

Consumables Required

None (3)
<$1,000/year (5)
>$1,000/year (1)
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C2 Chemical Agent Detector Kit

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Chromair

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