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)
ChemSee, Inc. (2)
DetectaChem (1)
Draeger Safety, Inc. (3)
Field Forensics, Inc. (1)
FLIR Systems, Inc. (1)
Ketech (1)
Lindon Defense (1)
Mistral Security, Inc. (3)
Scintrex Trace Corp. (1)
Spectrex Corp. (2)
Transportability
Handheld (7)
Person-Portable (2)
Other (9)
Unit Cost
< $100 (2)
$100 - $500 (7)
$1,000 - $5,000 (3)
$5,000 - $10,000 (2)
$10,000 - $20,000 (2)
$20,000 - $50,000 (1)
N/A (1)
Sample Introduction
Solid (14)
Other (4)
Sensitivity / Detection Limit
ppm (3)
ppb (3)
mg (1)
µg (2)
ng (7)
Other (1)
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Ai-HME

Ai-HME

American Innovations, Inc.

The AI-HME kit detects homemade explosives. The kit is primarily designed for bulk sampling, but sup...

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Civil Defense Simultest (CDS) Kit

Civil Defense Simultest (CDS) Kit

Draeger 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

Draeger 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

Draeger Safety, Inc.

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

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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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E3500® and E4500 Portable Advanced Explosives Detector

E3500® and E4500 Portable Advanced Explosives Detector

Scintrex Trace Corp.

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

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ETK-250, Pocket ETK-FN

ETK-250, Pocket ETK-FN

Lindon Defense

The Explosives Test Kit (ETK-250) detects a wide range of explosive targets with a single hand-held ...

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Ex-Det HE/HM

Ex-Det HE/HM

Ketech

The EX-Det-HE and HM detection kits are colorimetric detectors for high and homemade explosives at t...

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Ex-Det XD-2

Ex-Det XD-2

Spectrex Corp.

EX-DETECT™ Model XD-2 is a semi-automated system, with the time required for the operator to obtain ...

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Ex-Detect XD-5C

Ex-Detect XD-5C

Spectrex Corp.

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 indicating the presence of nitro-organics, nit...

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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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Exspray Plus Explosive Detection Kit

Exspray Plus Explosive Detection Kit

Mistral Security, Inc.

For detection and identification of nitrate, chlorate, and peroxide-based explosives. Consists of tw...

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Fido C3

Fido C3

FLIR Systems, Inc.

Based on the enzyme polymer technology behind the Fido C1, the enzymatic detection capabilities are ...

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IDEX

IDEX

Field Forensics, Inc.

The IDEX kits are colorimetric detectors for materials and precursors commonly used in the productio...

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NSK Kit

NSK Kit

ChemSee, Inc.

The Nitro Screening Kit is a colorimetric detector for explosive residues of nitro-organics, nitrami...

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