Home > Chemical Detection > Technology > Colorimetric

Colorimetric detectors indicate the presence of a target chemical through a chemical reaction that results in a color change. Colorimetric test kits are available for a wide variety of CBRNE targets and includes M8 paper for CWA detection to the SPX 300 for trace explosives detection.  The tests are usually analyte and/or class specific and are well suited for presumptive testing of compounds with suspected identity.  Results are typically examined by comparison of the resulting color to a key in the test kit.  However, a few vendors offer electronic readers that provide more objective results than visual comparison and can store the results of a test.  Detection limits are typically in the part-per-million to part-per-thousand range (ppm-ppth), depending on the analyte.

Typically colorimetric detection has a small form factor and can be easily transported by hand.  As the tests are based on chemical reactions, they generally require little or no additional power to conduct.  There are a large number of colorimetric test kits available.  Kit cost varies depending on the analyte and the number of reagent packets in the kit.  They typically require one-time use consumables such as cartridges, reagents, papers or swabs for each target chemical.

Manufacturer
American Innovations, Inc. (2)
Anachemia Canada, Inc. (1)
Ansera Analytics (S2) (3)
BBI Detection (1)
ChemSee, Inc. (4)
CopQuest, Inc. (1)
DetectaChem (1)
Draeger Safety, Inc. (5)
Field Forensics, Inc. (3)
FLIR Systems, Inc. (3)
Forensic Source (ODV) (2)
Hach (1)
HazChem, LLC (1)
Haztech Systems, Inc. (5)
Honeywell Analytics (1)
Industrial Test Systems, Inc. (1)
KeTech Systems Ltd (4)
Koslow Scientific Company (1)
Lindon Defense (1)
Luxfer Magtech, Inc. (4)
Matheson Tri Gas (1)
MilliporeSigma (1)
Mistral Security, Inc. (4)
Morphix Technologies (4)
MSA (1)
Nextteq LLC (3)
NPS Corporation (1)
Oritest Ltd (3)
Plexus Scientific (1)
Safety Solutions, Inc. (2)
Scintrex Trace Corp. (division of Autoclear) (1)
Scott Health & Safety (1)
Sensidyne LLP (1)
Serim Research Corporation (1)
Spectrex Corporation (4)
Tradeways Ltd (2)
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Transportability
Pocket Size (33)
Handheld (29)
Person-Portable (13)
Benchtop/Fixed (1)
Availability
Commercially Available (68)
Discontinued (8)
Unit Cost
< $100 (16)
$100 - $500 (21)
$500 - $1,000 (8)
$1,000 - $5,000 (10)
$5,000 - $10,000 (6)
$20,000 - $50,000 (2)
N/A (13)
Sample Introduction
Solid (45)
Liquid (15)
Vapor/Gas (16)
Sensitivity / Detection Limit
% (1)
ppm (26)
ppb (6)
mg (5)
µg (5)
ng (16)
Ci (8)
Other (8)
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