Things to Consider When Buying a Gas Detector

Every working environment has safety challenges and risks, which is why you need a reliable gas detector that will be able to discern the potentially dangerous substances present in your particular environment. There are several types of device on the market; the type that will best meet your needs will depend on the environment in question (such as a confined space in a pesticides factory or an open warehouse used to store chemicals).
Here are the top things you should consider when choosing a natural gas detector to ensure it suits your working environment:

1.The Display

How big is the detector’s display? What’s its resolution? What sort of information is shown? As you’ll be spending a lot of time looking at the device, you'll want a large display with fonts and icons that are easy to read. There is nothing worse than trying to peer through foggy safety goggles to take a reading off a teeny tiny display.

It’s also important that you see all of the information you need and that it’s organised in a way that aligns with your hazard priorities. In a confined space, for example, oxygen levels are usually most important, followed by combustible and then exotic gases. Would a bar chart be helpful or is simply the reading itself enough?

2.The Shape

Although the shape didn’t previously seem to matter much, natural gas detectors have really evolved over the past two decades or so. Some of the features to look for include:

- The weight, which is probably the biggest contributor to hand and arm fatigue. Look for a unit around half a kilo or less.
- The holding circumference, which should be as small as possible so that you can grip the unit comfortably.
- The grips, which are usually present on the sides to ensure that the unit doesn’t slip out of your hand.
- Hand location, which should be relative to the display and the button(s).
- The balance point, which refers to the placement of the heaviest component (the battery) and where your hand is placed in relation to this.

3.One-Button Operation

Whilst traditional detectors feature various buttons, those with single-button operation are considered more modern (simplified and tamper-proof). Users are able to run the device on and off, review key information (like peak readings), and enter specific modes (like calibration) all by pushing the same button.

It should be noted, however, that one-button operation units restrict users from changing configurations, setting correction factors and changing alarm set-points. Instead, you need other software (like a desktop or mobile app) to do this. So, is one-button operation a good fit for your particular working environment?


Pumped detectors require a clear flow between tubing and device, free of leaks and blockages. A leak could introduce air from a different area, thus giving you a false reading. Blockages could stall the pump, as well as lead to false readings. Tubing with kinks or cuts is easily identified, but blockages can be more challenging; a block detection feature is a must.

There are two to three filters in most pumped units – one is a particulate filter to keep out dust and debris, another is a hydrophobic filter to keep out liquid and moisture, and the third keeps dust, debris and moisture out whilst the pump is off. You must know where each of these filters is located and how to change them when needed.

5.Price Range

Detector prices can vary drastically based on a variety of factors (such as where it’s being purchased and sensor configurations). Some tips to help you determine a good price:

- List all the values and features you’re looking for in a device and ensure that you’re comparing apples with apples.
- Read the fine print, as some units will include a built-in pump and some won’t (which will increase your costs).
- Don’t be sceptical about choosing a more affordably priced unit, as larger manufacturers produce in large volumes to make the cost lower.

At the end of the day, choosing a natural gas monitor that suits your working environment and your workers is a completely personal decision. Remember that the safety of your team and the general public should be your number one priority, and you shouldn’t put a price tag on safety. Choose the device that best meets your intended application, even if it’s not the most up to date or technologically advanced. If you’re having trouble choosing a unit, be sure to contact a professional for advice.