Best Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for Gyms and Sports

September 02, 2020 | Last Updated: November 17, 2021

Finding the best Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for a gym or health club can feel overwhelming. First, it’s important to note that there is no “bad option” when purchasing an AED. All defibrillators work and will save lives.

That being said, there are certainly AED models that have features and capabilities best suited for the needs and budget of your gym, health club, or sports team. There are five important factors to consider when purchasing an AED: 

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

The thing about AEDs is that the “upfront cost” is not that last expense you’ll have to finance. Essential parts of the device like batteries and electrode pads can expire and must be periodically replaced. So rather than looking just at the sticker price, it is important to consider the real or Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). 

The TCO = the upfront purchase price + the cost of replacing expired parts over time

We know that gyms, fitness centers, and sports teams often operate with tight budgets, so be sure that the AED you purchase for your facility or organization is on the lower end of the TCO spectrum. This can save you a lot of money over time!

Need help securing funding for an AED? Here are some ideas.

Best AED for: Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Recommendation: purchase the AED with the lowest TCO

AED Model Winner: HeartSine samaritan PAD 350P or 360P

Size & Weight:

If you are involved with sports or athletics, you’re already lugging around a lot of gear. The last thing you probably want to add is a bulky, 6-pound box or AED. 

Therefore, you’ll likely want to purchase the smallest and most lightweight device. Having a small, portable AED ensures that it’s actually brought to the places where it is needed, rather than sitting on a desk collecting dust. 

For gyms and health clubs, there are also significant benefits to having a small and lightweight device. When Sudden Cardiac Arrest happens, you want to act fast. Every minute that a victim suffering SCA does not receive a shock from an AED, their chances of survival decreases by 7-10%. Having a small, light, and portable device makes it easier to retrieve quickly in an emergency.

AED Weight & Size Comparison

Weight & Size shown with no carry case

AED ModelWeight (lbs)Size (cubic inches)
Cardiac Science G36.6433.75
Cardiac Science G55.7361.08
Defibtech Lifeline4.2270.81
Defibtech Lifeline View3.0163.87
HeartSine (all models)2.4110.20
Philips HeartStart Onsite3.3110.20
Philips HeartStart FRx3.5149.95
Physio-Control LIFEPAK EXPRESS4.5319.20
Physio-Control LIFEPAK CR PLUS4.5319.20
Physio-Control LIFEPAK CR24.5365.26
ZOLL AED Plus6.7573.56

Best AED for: Size & Weight

Recommendation: purchase the smallest and most lightweight AED possible

AED Model Winner: Any HeartSine device


All AED models need to be checked and maintained on a regular basis. Unfortunately, most AEDs don’t have any connectivity built-in. This means that, at least once a month, you must manually check the device to make sure it is ready for emergency. If an AED is not ready for emergency use, it cannot deliver a life-saving defibrillation shock to a patient in Sudden Cardiac Arrest. This failure to have a maintained AED can also hurt you, the AED owner, in terms of legal repercussions. 

Manually checking AED devices every month can be a burden. Maintenance is even more challenging and time consuming if you have multiple devices for your fitness center, gym, or sports league. Even if you have a regular AED maintenance schedule, the device can still become non-functional between those checks

A defibrillator with “connectivity” can help with all of this!

1 in 5 AEDs are not ready for an emergency – having connectivity will make sure that yours is!

Best AED for: Connectivity

Recommendation: purchase an AED model that has connectivity features that allow for remote monitoring and maintenance of your device

AED Model Winner: HeartSine samaritan PAD 350P or 360P (more affordable than the Physio-Control CR2 product with similar connectivity feature set)

Pediatric Capabilities:

All AEDs have the ability to deliver a life-saving defibrillation shock to both children and adults. For children under 55 pounds or 8 years old, the shock is “attenuated” meaning that it is modified to a lower energy level. With most AEDs, you need to insert a separate set of pediatric electrode pads into the device to deliver this attenuated shock to a child. This can lead to burdensome costs and maintenance because you must: 

  • Pay for the replacement of two sets of electrode pads when they expire
  • Keep track of both the adults pads AND the pediatric pads

AEDs are meant to protect everyone, no matter where they are located. For ease of use during an emergency and less burdensome maintenance, sports teams, gyms, and health clubs will benefit from a defibrillator that has a pediatric button and universal electrode pads. With these devices, simply pressing the pediatric button quickly switches the AED into the appropriate mode for the patient!

Best AED for: Pediatric Capabilities

Recommendation: purchase an AED that has a pediatric button and universal electrode pads.

AED Model Winner: Physio-Control CR2

Fully Automatic vs. Semi-Automatic:

Every AED type on the market except for Philips comes in two configurations: semi-automatic and fully-automatic. 

  • Semi-automatic AEDs require that the user press a “shock button” to deliver a defibrillation shock to the patient
  • Fully-automatic defibrillators will automatically and safely deliver a shock to the patient if the device detects that the patient is in shockable heart rhythm

Purchasing a fully-automatic device can remove responder hesitation and error!

Best AED for: Fully Automatic vs. Semi-Automatic

Recommendation: purchase the fully automatic version of the AED model you choose

AED Model Winner: HeartSine samaritan PAD 360P


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