Guide To Buying AED: How to Purchase Defibrillators
How To Evaluate The Features That Matter When Buying AED Units
Deciphering AED features and deciding what device to purchase can be overwhelming. What are the most affordable AEDs? What even is an IP rating? We hope to clarify your questions, share important facts, and help you find what AED unit is right for you!
Let’s start with the most important features to consider.
AED Accessibility: Getting AEDs Where They’re Needed When They’re Needed
AEDs are only useful if they’re retrieved and used when they’re needed. AEDs left in a cabinet on the wall offer no protection during an emergency. Similarly, AEDs that are bulky or unsightly often get relegated to closets or hidden locations where they can’t be found when they’re needed the most.
Several elements can help lead to improved AED accessibility:
- AEDs made for your user group. Some models are intended for use by people who have had hours of CPR/AED training, not lay responders.
- A modern, user-friendly design.
- Smaller, lighter AEDs.
AED Portability: Comparing AED Size and Weight
The most effective AED programs are often those with mobile and portable units, which can increase the odds that an AED will be near a cardiac arrest victim in need. Since cardiac arrests are unpredictable and rapid defibrillation is critical for survival, it’s important to have an AED that is both small and light enough to carry on the go.
Large and bulky AEDs are obviously more difficult to transport, so highly-portable devices are a desirable option.
Find the smallest AED that meets your needs by comparing AED size and weight.
Once you’ve done the most important part, getting the AED to the patient when it’s needed, it’s time to make sure it’s easy to operate.
AEDs can be intimidating, particularly for untrained responders.
It’s critical to find a defibrillator that is easy-to-use by you, and anyone else who might come into contact with the device during an emergency. One way to test how easy a unit is to use is to try it out with zero instructions. Try going through the full rescue scenario and time yourself to see how long it takes to use it properly. After testing out a few models, you should start to identify some differences. Was the AED easy to power on? Were the instructions clear? Were the electrode pads easy to find and use?
Common AED usability observations:
- Clear “power on” button or AED activation. Lids or confusing and unclear methods of activation waste time during an emergency; time that can’t be spared.
- Clean and simple usability features. Too many graphics can be difficult to follow during high stress events.
- Once the AED is powered on, the electrode pads will need to be properly placed. The pads should be easy to follow with side-by-side graphics clearly showing you where they should be placed. Some AEDs make this easier than others.
Once you find a product that’s accessible and easy to operate during an emergency, learn more about what it takes to manage and oversee your AED so that it’s always ready in the event of an emergency.
How much time and effort it takes to maintain?
Twenty years ago, when some of the first public access AEDs were introduced to the public, owners would have to check the AED’s manually to ensure they are working and that their consumables hadn’t expired, but in the last decade like everything in the world – connectivity has streamlined AED maintenance.
The burdensome, time-consuming, and error-prone task of AED maintenance, is no longer a factor if you are buying AED units that are right for you.
Learn why keeping your AEDs maintained is important, and also compare the maintenance requirements for each AED model (as recommended by the manufacturer), as well as the advantages of owning a connected AED with our AED Connectivity guide.
Improper maintenance risks the life of cardiac arrest victims and exposes AED owners to liability. There is nothing good that comes from poor AED maintenance.
Unfortunately, most AED maintenance is a burdensome, time-consuming, and error-prone task, especially if you own multiple AEDs!
Is the AED “smart”?
In a world where connectivity is everything, AEDs are finally getting connected!
For years, a lack of connectivity has made AED maintenance and Program Management overly burdensome. This lack of connectivity also has created barriers to sharing important cardiac arrest event data.
Learn about the advantages of owning a connected AED, and also compare the capabilities of connected devices, with our AED Connectivity guide.
AED Cost Comparison
Consider the upfront and lifetime costs
Sticker prices and ongoing maintenance costs vary dramatically between different AED models! With some AEDs, there may be hidden expenses you should be aware of before purchasing. A low sticker price does not always mean that you’ll be spared future expenses.
Our AED cost comparison breaks down all the potential costs associated with owning an AED. For each AED model, we share the difference between the up-front AED cost and the ongoing expenses AEDs require over time.
AED Durability & IP
How long will the AED last?
Learn how AED durability is measured and which devices offer the best protection with our AED durability comparison.
Other AED Comparison Resources:
- The Ultimate Guide to AED Child Pads
- Pros and Cons of Fully-automatic vs. Semi-automatic AEDs
- AED Upgrades: How to update an AED’s software
- The Importance of AED Unit Indemnification Policies, made simple!