Best Exhaust Gas Analyzer (Forklift, Grinders, Power Tools, Motorcycle, Automotive)
An exhaust gas analyzer is a device that measures the exhaust emissions from engines such as those found in forklifts, grinders, power tools, motorcycles, automobiles, and small gasoline engines such as portable generators. By analyzing the composition of the exhaust gas, the analyzer can provide valuable information about the engine's performance and efficiency, as well as identify potential problems that may be affecting its operation and cause toxic gas inhalation. Using a small engine exhaust gas analyzer is a simple and effective way to ensure that your small engine is running correctly and safely.
Best Exhaust Gas Analyzers?
The most trusted and best Exhaust Gas Analyzer are the following:
- Forensics Detectors - Exhaust Gas Analyzer (CO only)
- Bridge Analyzers - Exhaust Gas (2 gas, 4 gas, or 5 gas)
- Nova Analytical Instruments - Portable Exhaust Gas Analyzer (6 gas)
- Ansed Diagnostic Solutions - Automotive Exhaust Gas Analyzer Kit (5 gas)
- InfraRed Industries - Vehicle Exhaust Gas Analyzer (5 gas)
- MRU Instruments - Exhaust Emission Analyzer (7 gas)
What is an Exhaust Gas Analyzer?
A exhaust gas analyzer is a device that measures the exhaust gases emitted by combustion engines. It measures exhaust gas concentrations such as CO (ppm or %), Hydrocarbons (HC), Oxygen (O2), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Nitric Oxide (NO).
How does an Exhaust Gas Analyzer work?
An exhaust gas analyzer works by:
- First drawing the exhaust gas from the engine exhaust tailpipe. This is accomplished via a stainless steel probe.
- The probe is attached to an alligator clip so that the user can mount the probe nicely onto the exhaust tip.
- High temperature silicone is used for the tubing material to deliver the gas through the components and into the gas analyzer.
- The gas experiences a rapid change in temperature and the dew point changes resulting in condensate (water). The water trap functions to trap the condensate water so it does not reach and damage the gas analyzer.
- The gas continues through the water trap and through the NOx filter which filters the acidic gas components such as NO2 and NO. NO2 and NO may create cross interference within the CO sensor that will severely hamper the accuracy of reported CO concentration.
- The gas then enters the gas analyzer at about room temperate. The gas is ready for gas sensor analysis. The analyzer presents the user with the detected gas concentration.
- The gas is then emitted from the analyzer output port and into the ambient environment.
How does an Exhaust Analyzer help to Diagnose Engine Problems?
An exhaust gas analyzer is used for the following reasons:
- Occupational Safety: By measuring the emissions produced by an engine, the carbon monoxide concentration can be determined, so excessive CO is not produced. This information can then be used to make any necessary repairs or adjustments so carbon monoxide does not inundate the indoor space and exceed 50ppm TWA (OSHA).
- Performance: By measuring the emissions produced by an engine, a small engine exhaust gas analyzer can help identify problems that may be affecting performance. For example, if the analyzer detects high levels of carbon monoxide or hydrocarbons, it may indicate a problem with the fuel mixture or ignition timing. By identifying and correcting these issues, the engine can run more efficiently and produce more power.
- Emission Regulations (CARB): Combustion engines are subject to emissions regulations, and using a small engine exhaust gas analyzer can help ensure that they are meeting these requirements. For example, small off road engines (SORE) are subject to carbon monoxide emissions in grams per kilowatt-hour as stipulated by CARB.
Exhaust Gas Analyzers
Engine exhaust gas analyzers come in different styles, each designed to meet specific needs. Here are the three main types:
Professional Exhaust Gas Analyzers (Large and Expensive)
These are used for official SMOG automotive exhaust gas analysis to measure the emissions from a vehicle's exhaust system. They are typically used in automotive repair shops and authorized smog inspection stations to ensure that vehicles meet emissions standards. These analyzers measure CO, CO2, O2, and NOx emissions.
Portable Gas Analyzers (Medium Size and Cost)
Portable gas analyzers are designed to be carried to different locations and are often used by mechanics for check-up, safety diagnostic and tune-up, performance objectives. Used for small gasoline engines, motorcycles and forklifts. They are lightweight and compact with most often built in printing functions and typical analyze NOx, CO, HC, and O2 emissions.
Hand-Held Gas Analyzers (Lowest Cost)
Hand-held exhaust gas analyzers are similar to portable gas analyzers, but they are smaller and more compact. They are designed to be held in the hand and be battery operated. Most popular used with forklifts, motorcycles, small gasoline engines, portable generators, leaf blowers, lawn mowers, grinders, small engine power tools and portable generators. These analyzers can measure CO, CO2, HC, and O2 emissions and have a sensor life of several years.
Below is a nice example the Forensics Detectors Exhaust Gas Analyzer detecting Carbon Monoxide on a 2003 BMW Z4.
What is the Recommended Tool to Check Exhaust Gas Emissions?
Motorcycle Exhaust Gas Analysis
Motorcycles have smaller engines compared to cars, but also are culprits in carbon monoxide emissions. They are classified as "light duty". For motorcycles, carbon monoxide emissions are 12 g/km while Euro 5 standard calls for 1 g/km.
Portable Generators Exhaust Gas
Portable generators are commonly used in outdoor activities, such as camping, tailgating, and construction sites. Portable generators kill many victims every year due to misuse or underestimated carbon monoxide emissions.
Power Tools Exhaust Gas Analysis
Power tools, such as chainsaws, leaf blowers, and lawn mowers, are commonly used in landscaping and construction. Small engines are also used in mixers and other specialty construction equipment.
Below is an example of a small engine mixer that Dr. Koz measured to have carbon monoxide emission of over (0.4%) 4000ppm.
Forklift Exhaust Gas Analysis
Forklifts are commonly used in warehouses, construction sites, and manufacturing plants. Because they are used indoors, they should be regularly inspected for high carbon monoxide emissions. Federal OSHA regulations don't specify the allowable emissions in forklift engine exhaust, but California OSHA regulations limit emissions to 1.5 percent CO for the larger engines (above 140 cubic engines), with higher limits for smaller engines, see table below.
Maximum Allowable Standards for Internal Combustion Engine Exhaust Emissions.
Engine displacement in Cubic Inches
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Concentration %vol / (ppm)
2.0 %vol (20,000ppm)
140 or greater
Although in theory a properly tuned LPG-fueled engines such as forklifts should not emit any carbon monoxide gas, this is never the case simply because the engine and all components are not perfect, they degrade, change with time, conditions and hence, never a theoretically perfect combustion process.
Therefore, the only alternative, is to regularly check the CO emission levels and tune the engine for minimal CO emissions using a carbon monoxide exhaust gas analyzer.
At the ideal air-fuel ratio, the CO concentration in the exhaust gas of an LPG-fueled engine will be 0.4 percent (4,000 ppm). In a warehouse with limited ventilation and continuous use of the forklift, even this so called "industry acceptable CO level" may present deadly consequences.
OSHA CFR 1910 states CO exposure levels cannot exceed 50 Parts per Million (PPM) over a Time-Weighted Average (T.W.A.) for an 8-hour period. This level refers to the air within the indoor space, not the CO percentage coming out of the forklift’s tailpipe. If the warehouse or facility is small or doesn’t have sufficient air exchange for the number of operating lifts trucks, the 50ppm TWA level may be quickly exceeded. Hence the need for a low level CO detector within such facilities or a portable CO meter when operating the engines (which cost less than $100).
What is the Difference between a Combustion Analyzer and an Exhaust Gas Analyzer?
A combustion analyzer is made for home appliances such as heaters, boilers and ovens. Typically fueled by natural gas or propane. The carbon monoxide range in these analyzer are typically 0-1000ppm which is more than sufficient.
Exhaust Gas Analyzers are similar, but have a larger carbon monoxide detection range, typically 0-2% (0-20,000ppm). This because gasoline engines have the potential to emit high concentrations of carbon monoxide.
So the point is the following. Do not use a combustion analyzer to perform a gasoline engine exhaust gas measurement. You will most likely blow the CO sensor (known as sensor poisoning) in the combustion analyzer as gasoline exhaust CO gas emission on a cold start exceeds the maximum combustion analyzer CO limit, which is usually 1000ppm. In addition, do not use a exhaust gas analyzer to perform a combustion analysis. The fidelity of the exhaust gas analyzer's CO sensor resolution is 0.01% volume. The resolution is not fine enough to perform a useful combustion analysis. So pay attention to this subtly.
Other components such as water traps, NOx filters and gas sensors are similar.
- An exhaust gas analyzer measures engine exhaust emissions found in forklifts, motorcycles, small engines, vehicles, power tools, and generators.
- It measures exhaust gas concentrations such as CO, HC, O2, CO2, NO2, and NO to provide information about the engine's performance, efficiency, and potential problems.
- Using an exhaust gas analyzer can ensure that engines are running safely, meeting emission regulations, and performing optimally.
- There are different types of exhaust gas analyzers, including automotive, portable, and hand-held gas analyzers, each designed for specific needs.
- The most popular exhaust gas analyzer is a carbon monoxide type, which reports the CO gas concentration to ensure indoor environment do not exceed 50ppm (OSHA).
About The Author
Dr. Koz is the President of FORENSICS DETECTORS where the company operates from the scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, California. He is a subject matter expert on gas sensor technology, gas detectors, gas meters, and gas analyzers. He has been designing, building, manufacturing, and testing toxic gas detection systems for over 20 years.
Every day is a blessing for Dr. Koz. He loves to help customers solve their unique problems. Dr. Koz also loves spending time with his wife and his three children going to the beach, grilling burgers and having a cold beer.
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