Handheld Gas Detectors-which ones are best?

Gas Detectors
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Handheld gas detectors are those portable gas detectors that can be held in your hand. These gas detectors include  toxic gas detectors,  oxygen meters , explosive gas meters (also known as lel meters, lel being the acronym for lower explosive limit) or PID meters used for workplace monitoring of VOCs and other compounds. This post is to get reader feedback about such instruments, which ones are best? Best technologies? Makes? User friendliness?

I must say that we have come a long way since the early 70s and even 80s, when many of these technologies were not developed and not as reliable as they are today. Workers and professionals working in process plants used to rely more on chemical tubes (also referred to as Drager tubes) and other methods to check for presence of toxic gases, or for workplace monitoring. Now the monitoring has become simpler for the end user with lost of competing technologies, sophisticated instruments and powerful data storage and handling capacities. Today’s handheld gas detectors can sense the gas/ vapor, store the readings over a 8 hour period and record & calculate values such as the Time Weighted Average. This was not possible with the earlier technologies. However these newer gas detection instruments require the users as well as the Instrumentation staff to be trained, as the performance of the instrument is highly dependent on the selection of the sensor or technology (like photoionization versus electrochemical for instance), calibration of the instrument and general maintenance and upkeep.  My question to all of you is, do we have a winning model of a handheld gas detector that has excellent performance, is easy on today’s shrinking safety budgets, yet does an exemplary job of sniffing gases? If so, please name it and the reasons why.

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