Home > Explosives Detection > Technology > Colorimetric

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
American Innovations, Inc. (2)
BBI Detection (3)
ChemSee, Inc. (4)
DetectaChem (2)
Dräger Safety, Inc. (3)
Field Forensics, Inc. (3)
HazChem, LLC (1)
Haztech Systems, Inc. (1)
KeTech Systems Ltd (2)
Lindon Defense (1)
MilliporeSigma (1)
Mistral Security, Inc. (4)
Morphix Technologies (1)
NPS Corporation (1)
Plexus Scientific (1)
Scintrex Trace Corp. (division of Autoclear) (1)
Serim Research Corporation (1)
Spectrex Corporation (4)
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Transportability
Pocket Size (20)
Handheld (13)
Person-Portable (3)
Availability
Commercially Available (32)
Discontinued (4)
Unit Cost
< $100 (7)
$100 - $500 (10)
$500 - $1,000 (3)
$1,000 - $5,000 (2)
$5,000 - $10,000 (4)
$20,000 - $50,000 (2)
N/A (8)
Sample Introduction
Solid (28)
Liquid (5)
Vapor/Gas (3)
Sensitivity / Detection Limit
Bulk (1)
ppm (6)
ppb (4)
mg (2)
µg (5)
ng (13)
Ci (3)
Other (1)
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Ai-HME

Ai-HME

American Innovations, Inc.

The Ai-HME is an 11 step bulk Homemade Explosives (HME) precursor detection kit detects all Nitrates...

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Civil Defense Simultest (CDS) Kit

Civil Defense Simultest (CDS) Kit

Dräger Safety, Inc.

Two simultaneous Test Sets measure chemical substances including nerve, blood, lung, and blister age...

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Clan Lab Kit

Clan Lab Kit

Dräger Safety, Inc.

The Clan Lab Simultest Sets and Kits identify the presence of chemicals commonly used in the illicit...

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CMS Emergency Response Kit

CMS Emergency Response Kit

Dräger Safety, Inc.

Digitized colorimetric kit designed to detect select hazardous chemicals. TWA levels are typically a...

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Discern® HME Detection Kit

Discern® HME Detection Kit

Serim Research Corporation

The Discern® HME Detection Kit provides a test that rapidly detects and distinguishes between ammoni...

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DropEx Plus

DropEx Plus

Plexus Scientific

DropEx is a non-aerosol explosive detection kit based on the same chemistry as EXPRAY. However, the ...

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DropEx Plus Explosive Detection Kit

DropEx Plus Explosive Detection Kit

Mistral Security, Inc.

The DropEx Plus kits are for the detection and identification of nitrate, chlorate, and peroxide-bas...

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Dry Explosive Test Kit (DETK)

Dry Explosive Test Kit (DETK)

BBI Detection

A product of S2 Threat Detection Technologies, the Dry Explosive Test Kit (DETK) is a single use col...

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E3500® and E4500 Portable Advanced Explosives Detector

E3500® and E4500 Portable Advanced Explosives Detector

Scintrex Trace Corp. (division of Autoclear)

The E3500® is a portable explosives trace detector that uses Luminol Chemiluminescence (Chemilumina)...

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ELITE Test Kit Series

ELITE Test Kit Series

Field Forensics, Inc.

The E.L.I.T.E. Explosives Detection Kits are a colorimetric detection system that can be used to det...

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ETK-210, Pocket ETK-FN

ETK-210, Pocket ETK-FN

Lindon Defense

The Explosives Test Kit (ETK-210) detects a wide range of explosive targets with a hand-held kit. T...

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Ex-Det XD-2

Ex-Det XD-2

Spectrex Corporation

EX-DETECT™ Model XD-2 is a semi-automated colorimetric-based explosives detection system. Detection ...

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EX-DETECT Mini XD-2

EX-DETECT Mini XD-2

Spectrex Corporation

EX-DETECT™, MiniXD-2, is a hand-held (1.5 lbs), rugged, fast (30 seconds) colorimetric screening dev...

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Ex-Detect XD-5C

Ex-Detect XD-5C

Spectrex Corporation

The XD-5C is a trace-level explosives detector for military, commercial gun propellants, and home-ma...

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EXP Kit

EXP Kit

ChemSee, Inc.

The EXP Kit is a collection of colorimetric detectors that indicate the presence of nitro-organics, ...

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ExPen

ExPen

Mistral Security, Inc.

The ExPens are sold separately (1, 2, 3, A, B+, P, AN, U) and when used together are able to detect ...

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