Purchasing a life-saving device like an AED is a big responsibility. When you’re going to be relying on this piece of equipment in a moment of need, you have to be sure that choose the best model available on the market today.
Thankfully, there are a lot of different AED options that you can choose from. Whether you’re planning to supply an office, school, or your home with this device, the right AED for your situation is out there.
This in-depth article will cover the best AED on the market according to the criteria we’ll lay out in the buyer’s guide. Keep reading to learn all about AEDs!
Top 5 AED Comparison Chart
Best AED Reviews
1. Philips HeartStart OnSite Defibrillator AED
This AED from well-known brand Philips is a mid-range product that offers new technology and battery options at affordable prices.
The HeartStart Onsite is a great model for any facility that needs an AED for both training and live functionality as it can switch between both, and it has standout CPR assist instructions that you won’t get on older AEDs.
- Philips HeartStart OnSite AED with 8-yr guarantee
- Philips Slim Carry Case, Rescue Ready Kit
- 1 set of HS1 Adult Electrodes and 1 Battery
What's to like about the Philips HeartStart OnSite Defibrillator AED
The CPR assist on the Onsite AED is top-of-the-line. The unit will give on-demand CPR instructions throughout the defibrillation process which makes it a more effective, easy-to-use tool during a rescusitation procedure. This system even has a metronome which will help you keep time during compression periods of CPR.
Another positive of this model is the battery setup. The lithium-ion batteries should be replaced every four years and are very easy to change since the battery has a simple back compartment. This model can even be used with aviation-grade batteries, which is a unique feature that is not often found with AEDs.
What's not to like about the Philips HeartStart OnSite Defibrillator AED
The pads and batteries both need to be replaced fairly frequently at 2 years and 4 years, respectively. While this may not seem that often, other AEDs don’t need to be replaced until 5 years or more, so it can be a large add-on cost.
This model is not so advanced that it has any ECG information on its display screen. It does show some graphical information, but EMS and medical users may want an AED that has a more advanced screen.
2. Prestan Professional AED Trainer
This is a budget training system that is perfect for learning the basics of AED use without spending too much money.
This AED trainer from popular brand Prestan cannot function as a live AED, but it can function to teach you how to save a life with an AED. The unit gives clear instructions while also working with preset scenarios to help you learn to save a life.
- Spanish/English Bilingual - Easy to replace module containing current CPR guidelines and two languages.
- Clear confident voice prompts. Also CPR prompts to help the student keep pace with chest compressions
- Made in the USA. Now with a Three Year Warranty
What's to like about the Prestan Professional AED Trainer
This training unit comes equipped with multiple preset scenarios that will help you prepare for what a real-life emergency situations might look like. From using an AED on a child to working thru a CPR/AED combo problem, this training unit will help you prepare for everything.
The Prestan AED trainer is simple to use. Everything you need is right inside the trainer. When activated, it will very clearly walk you through the process, and there is a voice that instructs trainees what to do. It will be as if you are using a live AED. Additionally, the lessons come in both English and Spanish.
What's not to like about the Prestan Professional AED Trainer
Simply put, this is not a live AED unit. It is not possible to use it to actually complete the defibrillation process, so you have to invest in both units. Still, this is a good choice for anyone who needs to train to use one for various emergency situations.
Another drawback is that you may need to invest in some additional items to make the most of this training set. There is a remote control that can be very helpful if you are training other people, and extra pads will be necessary in case the main ones get damaged.
3. WNL Safety Products Practi-Trainer Defibrillator Training Unit
Another training unit, this practice AED from WNL makes it possible to learn both CPR and AED-use practices without a huge upfront investment.
This budget product from WNL Safety Products sacrifices some durability to a great price, but it still has all of the key components needed to learn how to do CPR and use a defibrillator effectively. Weighing only 1.4 pounds, this is a good option for traveling lessons.
- AED DEFIBRILLATOR TRAINING KIT - This AED trainer includes: AED trainer, 1 set of reusable adult and 1 set of reusable child training pads and connectors, 3 AA batteries, Nylon carrying case, and instructor manual
- REALISTIC DEFIBRILLATOR TRAINING - This AED training unit provides realistic AED training but cannot deliver an actual defibrillation shock. This item is for training purposes only and cannot be used for patient defibrillation
- FULLY COMPLIANT WITH AHA 2019 GUIDELINES - Voice prompts guide students through simulated rescue situations, metronome sets proper pace for effective chest CPR compression, and compatible with most CPR manikins that are intended for AED training
What's to like about the WNL Safety Products Practi-Trainer Defibrillator Training Unit
This training unit is super lightweight and thus very portable. It’s small size and compact case make it possible to take this unit to different schools, homes, or offices to provide training on how to do CPR or use an AED. Even if you’re using this to train at home, it won’t take up much space.
Another nice feature of this practice unit it still has the tech features needed to be a truly effective teaching device. Two preset scenarios in both English and Spanish are included, and the system gives voice instructions and a metronome sound to make learning CPR and AED techniques easy.
What's not to like about the WNL Safety Products Practi-Trainer Defibrillator Training Unit
Because of the low price, durability suffers in this model. The pads may rip easily and need to be replaced, and the carrying case is not very durable. Expect to need to invest in some replacement parts if you use this unit frequently. Again, this is NOT a live AED. It cannot be used to actually shock someone and will not be helpful in a true emergency situation.
4. Trainer AED OnSite Stand Alone
Another training AED, this OnSite Stand Alone training AED is a great option to learn from because the OnSite AED is so frequently used.
This model features a design that differs enough from the OnSite Live AED so that no one gets confused and things that it can be used in a real emergency. Instead, the product features very thorough and clear instructions on how to use an AED and will survive hundreds of training sessions.
What's to like about the Trainer AED OnSite Stand Alone
The Philips OnSite AED is one of the most commonly used AED units, so training on this unit really makes sense. Once you learn how to use it from this model, it will be possible to help in an emergency on the OnSite Live AED with little to no confusion thanks to streamlined training.
Another pro of this device is the durability. Many training units are not built to last. This one, however, can go through many sessions without fail. It runs off of 4 AA batteries which are simple to purchase and make the entire process easier.
What's not to like about the Trainer AED OnSite Stand Alone
Once again, it is important to remind everyone that this is not a live AED. It will not deliver shocks; it is only for training purposes.
Another drawback of this model is the pad cost. While the training pads are reusable, they will wear out before the device so you will need to replace them every few months if doing a lot of training sessions.
5. AED Trainers 4-Pack
This four-pack of AED trainers is the same unit used by the Red Cross in their AED training classes, making it a solid choice to learn from.
This particular trainer is very simplified and removes many of the bells and whistles that other trainers have for a more streamlined experience. While this takes away some fun things, it makes it a more effective learning tool.
What's to like about the AED Trainers 4-Pack
This device is the same one used in Red Cross classes, so you know that it is going to be a solid unit to learn from. The buttons are streamlined and simple to understand alongside any AED lesson.
Another plus of using this particular unit is that it requires you to learn and remember the steps as it doesn’t offer much vocal instruction. Instead, the student will need to pay attention to the lesson and really learn about the AED process, which could be beneficial.
What's not to like about the AED Trainers 4-Pack
Durability suffers on these units. Because they are simple training devices meant to be used for short periods of time, they are not built to last through heavy damage. Frequent use will show on these units. The circuits have been known to fail, though they can easily be repaired .
Another issue is that the batteries must be removed when not in use to prevent the unit from turning itself on. It can be frustrating to be constantly inserting and removing batteries.
Buying an AED can be a difficult process. You’re buying the product with the knowledge that it might someday be used to save someone’s life, so you have put careful consideration into its selection.
But what characteristics matter most? This guide will help you determine that.
While you can’t put a price on saving a life, the simple fact is that every school, business, home, or public establishment is going to have a budget on how much they can spend on an AED.
Some very expensive AED can cost well over $3,000, but most range from $1,000 to $2,000. There are a lot of small variations between these models, but you should plan to budget somewhere in this range when adding an AED to your safety protocol equipment.
There are a number of reliable companies that sell AEDs. Each brand has its own reputation and price point, but there isn’t a huge difference between them.
All of the following brands are known to have reliable products that can help you save a life. Select a product from one of these brands for the best results:
- Philips Heartstart
- Physio Control LIFEPAK
- Cardiac Science Powerheart
If you can’t choose between these brands, it is recommended that you choose a brand that can be serviced locally. It’s important that you do the AED maintenance periodically to be sure it is working, so you will want to be able to do this somewhere nearby.
Ease Of Use
Like all technology, some is simply more intuitive to use. When it life-threatening, seconds are ticking by, you want to make sure the AED you own is easy to use. If it’s too complicated, it will be easy to forget what to do in a moment of stress.
There are important differences to pay attention to when making your choice. Some AEDs have audio and visual aids; while older or less technologically advanced models may only have written instructions. Some are set up to assist with CPR.
CPR assist is becoming more and more popular with AED devices since CPR is required in 100% of AED-use cases while shocks are only delivered about 70% of the time. With CPR-assist, the AED will instruct you on how to adjust your CPR depth and rate of compression to ensure the most effective help is being delivered.
In a time of emergency, this can be incredibly beneficial as it gives you a clear guide on how to help the patient as much as possible, so consider looking for a CPR assist-enabled device if possible.
You also want to make sure that the upgrade process with your chosen AED is easy for you to do. Some AED models may have to be taken to a service center to be upgraded; others can be upgraded at home by connecting them to the internet. Check this when choosing your device.
For any establishment that plans to do CPR/AED training with the purchased AED, you will want to make sure you are buying an AED that is compatible with the course material. Though AEDs all function in very similar ways, different courses expect you to use different AEDs, so it is important to check this information before making any purchases.
Remember the following if training compatibility is important for your AED unit:
- Not all AEDs can be used in training mode; some require that you buy a separate training version that should be used during this process
- For AEDs that can be used for training, you must replace both the live batteries and the pads to do the training. The specifics of this may alter between various devices
- Having a separate training AED may be beneficial so that you do not damage or deplete your main AEDs battery during training hours
- Training AEDs cost more upfront but may save you on maintenance costs in the long run since you won’t be using your main unit too frequently
Whether you decide to have a separate training unit or not, the key point is to remember to check that the AED you choose is compatible with your training courses.
Consumables (Batteries and Pads)
An AED does need to be serviced from time to time to ensure that it keeps functioning properly. The main things that need to be serviced are the batteries and the pads.
Batteries on an AED should be replaced every 1 to 3 years depending on the particular model that you purchase. Pads are typically replaced every 2 to 5 years. Again, this may vary.
The particulars of when pads and batteries need to be replaced will be detailed in your AED’s instructions, but you want to look up this information before making a purchase.
Why? Because battery and pad replacements are going to add to the total cost of your AED over time. The price of these replacements varies largely between devices, so knowing the cost in advance can help you to save money or at least be prepared for the future cost.
Every AED will come with some type of warranty. As a base standard, this is usually 5-years. However, every company has some differences.
The best AED will come with at least a 5-year warranty and offer the option to allow you to buy an extended warranty for even longer. The longer the warranty, but better off you are. The warranty value may differ between providers, but you want to ensure you have at least some warranty on your AED to protect you from the cost of errors or damages.
What Is An AED?
AED is short for an automated external defibrillator. An AED is a light, portable device. When used, it sends an electric shock through the chest and into the heart. The goal of using an AED is to push a heart back into a normal rhythm when an arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) develops after a sudden cardiac arrest.
Tutorial: How To Use An AED?
An AED can make a huge difference in someone’s chance of survival, but how do you actually use one?
Every AED is different, but they have the same basic characteristics which make it possible for anyone who knows how to use one AED know how to use them all. This is key, so you should learn the basic steps and remember them carefully.
This video gives a great overview of how most AEDs can be used:
How Does A Defibrillator Work?
Now that you know the basics of how to use an AED, you may want to know more about why and how a defibrillator works.
When the heart’s rhythm begins to beat irregularly due to cardiac arrest, this can be life-threatening if a regular rhythm is not restored quickly. A defibrillator delivers an electrical shock in an attempt to restore the heart’s natural rhythm.
In the case of an AED, an automatic external defibrillator, the device analyzes the heart’s rhythm to determine whether or not an irregular rhythm is happening. If it does, the AED will calculate when and how much to shock the patient in an attempt to help them.
Electrodes are placed on the patient’s chest, and the AED analysis occurs. Then, the AED sends a shock to the heart through the chest. Ideally, this electric shock would stop the irregular rhythm and “reset” the rhythm back to normal.
Using an AED in combination with CPR can increase the rate of survival in cardiac arrest cases by more than 70%, so having one available is key in this kind of situation.
Timing: When To Use An AED?
In an emergency situation, it can be very stressful to determine when to use the AED. Thankfully, there is an advised method that should be followed in situations where cardiac arrest seems to be affecting the patient:
- Call 911. This should always be done first so that trained medical professionals get there as fast as possible.
- Begin CPR while someone retrieves and starts up the AED.
- Follow the AED instructions to set up, and then use the AED to shock the patient.
- Continue giving CPR and following the AED’s instructions about when to deliver another shock until emergency services arrive.
Once EMS arrive, they will take over. Starting CPR immediately and using the AED as quickly as possible is key to saving a life. The first five minutes of cardiac arrest are the essential care period, so be sure to act quickly and confidently even if you are afraid.
How Many Joules Does An AED Deliver?
Older AED models deliver between 360 and 400 joules. In some cases, this caused burns at the pad sites and even some cardiac injury.
Since then, newer models that deliver lower-energy, sequential shocks at between 100 and 200 joules. This reduces the risk of injuries occurring while also reducing the amount of recovery time needed after the use of a defibrillator.
Without quest, the best AED on the market is the Philips HeartStart OnSite Defibrillator AED. This widely used AED is reliable, easy-to-use, and provides both AED and CPR assist during emergencies.
If you need a training unit, the complementary OnSite Professional Trainer is a great choice as it will prepare you to use your live AED effectively.