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Best AED for Home Use in 2023

What is an AED?

Before we cover our recommended AEDs for home use, it’s important to understand exactly what an AED is.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a specialized medical device used in case of a victim’s collapse due to a heart emergency called ventricular fibrillation. This collapse is referred to as a “sudden cardiac arrest event” (SCA).

As described by the American Heart Association,

“An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can potentially stop an irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. If not treated within minutes, it quickly leads to death.”

Why own an AED?

Having a home AED machine in the first aid kit is becoming more common. These machines, now highly developed for use by lay rescuers, are becoming well known for treating events of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). If you have decided to purchase a personal AED device for home use, you are making an excellent choice. This is especially true if there is a family member at risk of sudden cardiac arrest due to irregular heart rhythms, etc.

Why You Need an AED for Home

  • Nearly 75% of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) events among adults occur in a residential setting.
  • With each minute that passes without defibrillation, the risk of death due to SCA increases dramatically.
  • While any SCA response should include calling for medical help, the time it takes until emergency services arrive is typically too long to wait. Immediate CPR and rapid defibrillation give a victim the single best chance of survival before and after medical professionals arrive.
  • A family member or caregiver who has had proper training in an AED course can be the one to perform CPR immediately and then provide the needed defibrillation to save a life if an AED unit is already present in the home.

How do I Choose a Home AED?

There are many different AED models and brands to consider when looking for an AED defibrillator. As a result, prices and features vary greatly. This is advantageous for the shopper, but it takes some effort to make the best choice.

There are a number of considerations to make when choosing a home AED. Which is the best home AED unit to buy varies according to the circumstances of the particular home. Study of the AED device options available and time spent seeking advice of medical professionals, educators, and expert sales representatives is advisable. It is important to take the shopping process for the best AED seriously. Remember that having a good quality unit that functions well is what can make a life-or-death difference should a cardiac arrest occur.

Heartsmart Recommended AED for Home: The Philips Heartstart Onsite AED

All that said, there is a single AED that should be recommended at this point, especially for those who are overwhelmed in terms of investing the amount of time and effort to make a choice they can feel confident about.

The Philips Heartstart Onsite Home AED, sold at a medium price point of $1,465.00, has three major factors in its favor:

  • It’s easy to use, lightweight, and includes CPR guidance features.
  • No prescription needed.
  • It’s the Only AED with FDA approval for home use.

The Philips Heartstart may be all you need to know about in order to make your home AED choice, and is our choice for a home AED due to the FDA approval for home use.

Other Points to Consider

There may be those who wish to become more informed regarding what is available when considering basic AEDs available from various major manufacturers. These certainly could be used in the home, while at the same time also be considered for other personal uses. Following are some questions to consider as you continue on the road to making your own purchase:

  • How much does a home AED cost?
  • What is the best source for an AED?
  • What brands make the best AEDs?
  • What AED features are available, and which are actually needed?
  • Should I pay extra for a more ruggedly-built AED defibrillator?

Initial answers to these questions are provided below.

How much does an AED cost?

Typically, a new AED will cost between $1,200.00 and $3,000.00. A used defibrillator device may cost significantly less. Refurbished AEDs are discussed more below, and you can learn more about AED cost here.

Consider the family budget first when planning to buy an AED defibrillator. On the one hand, buying a high level unit may be desirable if justified by the needs and budget of the buyer. However, one can buy a seemingly “cheap” AED that will work as needed with proper use and still be of good quality as well. (Note that a health insurance company will typically not pay for an AED).

Refurbished AEDs

At the low end of the price spectrum are used, refurbished automated external defibrillators. This is perhaps one of the most fitting options for obtaining a home AED. Used/refurbished Portable home AED defibrillators are available from reputable online vendors for under $750.

Care must be taken, however, to make sure that the AED device has been properly restored by the seller to the best condition possible. In addition, the accessory batteries and pads should be replaced. Finally, the buyer must be aware that even a refurbished AED may have a limited remaining life, becoming obsolete as new developments in AED design occur.

New AEDs

As mentioned above, new at home defibrillators start at twice the price of a used model, costing from about $1200 to as much as $3,000. The more expensive units typically have unique features, are more versatile, and are designed for rugged use.

Where to Buy an AED for Home

Unless one lives in a metropolitan area, or can make direct contact with a trainer who also sells AEDs, it is difficult to find a local source for purchasing an AED. On the other hand, a number of reputable companies whose primary business is the marketing of AEDs and accessories are readily accessible on the internet.

While we admit we are slightly biased, specialty online retailers are most often the best for purchasing AEDs. Well-known online AED vendors of home AEDs will provide reliable, expert up-to-date advice regarding used and new units. Some have detailed buyer’s guides available for download, and they often have special ongoing discounts for one or another of the AEDs they offer. Currently, most AEDs cannot be sold outside of specialized retailers, and you should investigate a unit carefully before purchasing off of a big-box marketplace where anyone can post certain versions of used units.

Home AED Buyer Guidance

Online AED vendors are available for email, chat, or phone contact; they can match a customer with the best new or used portable defibrillator they have available at the time they are contacted.

Find a concerned sales expert who will work carefully with you as you make your decision. Their reputation depends on the performance of any AED device they sell, and on connecting the client with the best AED possible. Detailed guides, spec sheets, and warranty printouts are also available for download at many of these websites.

Best Basic AEDs for Sale in 2023

Below is a list of the best basic AEDs, in order from current lowest to highest price:

Defibtech Lifeline AED $1,315.00

Defibtech Lifeline CPR/AED Training Video

  • Voice prompts and text with indicator lights
  • 8-year warranty; 4-yr battery, w/9-volt test battery included
  • Semi-auto shock button (or automatic shock if fully automatic AED option)
  • CPR prompts and metronome
  • Rugged construction (IP Rating 54)
  • Weight 4 lbs
  • pediatric pads (child) available
  • Can choose upgrade to Lifeline/AUTO View for video guidance and ECG (+$500)

Heartsine Samaritan PAD 350P AED – $1,350.00

Heartsine Samaritan PAD 350P CPR/AED Training Video

  • Voice prompts and printed graphics with indicator lights
  • 8-year warranty; 4-yr battery
  • Semi-auto shock button (automatic shock available)
  • pediatric (child) pads available
  • Semi-auto shock button or automatic shock
  • Rugged construction (IP Rating 56)
  • Lightest weight 2.4 lbs
  • CPR prompts with simple guidance and metronome
  • Can upgrade to fully automatic w/ motion sensing shock protection
  • Unique “Pad-Pak” Battery/Electrode Pad combo

(Heartsmart Recommended AED) Philips Heartstart Onsite Home AED $1,465.00

Philips HeartStart OnSite CPR/AED Training Video

  • Voice prompts (w/”i-button” for extra cpr coaching, etc) and metronome
  • 8-year warranty; 4-yr battery
  • Semi-automatic shock button
  • CPR prompts and metronome
  • Less rugged construction (IP Rating 21, less than half of competing units)
  • Weight 3.3 lbs
  • Pediatric (child) pads available
  • No prescription needed
  • Only AED device exclusively approved by FDA for home use

Cardiac Science Powerheart G5 AED$1,920.00

Cardiac Science PowerHeart G5 CPR/AED Training Video

  • Voice prompts and text display with easy language switch
  • CPR feedback pad senses depth and rate, provides metronome and audio/visual coaching
  • 8-year warranty; 4 yr battery
  • Semi-automatic shock button (automatic shock option available)
  • CPR prompts with metronome (includes rescue breaths)
  • Rugged construction (IP Rating 55)
  • Heaviest Weight (10 lbs)
  • Pediatric (child) pads available

ZOLL AED Plus – $1,799

ZOLL AED Plus CPR/AED Training Video

  • Thorough voice prompts, including operational readiness, patient check, and call for help
  • 7-year warranty; 5-yr batteries (User replaceable, lower-cost batteries; 10 type 123A Photo Flash LMDiox)
  • Semi-automatic shock button (automatic shock available)
  • Outstanding CPR coaching with metronome and feedback on compression depth and rate
  • Rugged construction (IP Rating 55)
  • Weight 6.7 lbs.
  • Unique/best pad system (5-yr warranty, “D”-pad simplifies pad placement and attachment, with CPR sensor for high-quality audio/visual feedback); pediatric (child pads available)

What Features Do I Need in an AED?

AED Training Helps

In order to decide what available features to choose in considering various AED devices, it is helpful to have had AED training. Through this training one becomes familiar with the steps in performing a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) rescue, known as the SCA Chain of Survival.

Most importantly, one practices the core actions in the “chain” protocol, namely the combination of administering CPR and deploying an AED defibrillator.

This knowledge and training in CPR plus AED deployment will help in deciding which of the various AED formats are most fitting for the buyer. Answer for your home and/or personal use the straightforward questions of who, when, and where the AED will be used. This will guide the decision-making process.

View Demos of AED Devices

As you narrow your AED selection, be willing to spend time viewing demonstrations of the machines on your list of likely buys (see links, above). If there is sufficient time, it would be worth a look at all of the devices listed above, since there are unique qualities and features differentiating them from one another. Most of us have not been exposed to all of the various AEDs. There are many surprising aspects of the available systems, awareness of which will help in making a final choice.

AEDs and the Chain of Survival

Though AEDs perform the same essential function as the devices used by medical professionals in responding to cardiac arrest, namely defibrillation, they now do much more.

Once turned on (or lid opened), the AED machine’s built-in voice and/or audio-visual guidance will begin providing detailed instructions for using that particular unit. Along the way, the unique features of the defibrillator being used will become apparent. All of the AEDs listed above will do the job of guiding even a less-trained individual in performing an SCA rescue.

  • They will all guide a rescuer through the first aid steps to take, known as the “SCA Chain of Survival”.
  • They will all instruct users on when to begin CPR.
  • Each unit provides a metronome to guarantee the proper amount of CPR “presses.”
    • NOTE: Mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing, previously included in first aid courses, may or may not be included in all training for response to SCA. IT IS NOT TYPICALLY INCLUDED IN THE SCRIPTS OF MOST AEDS.
  • The best AEDs include detailed CPR guidance as part of their deployment protocol.
    • Note: The Cardiac Science Powerheart G5 and the ZOLL AED Plus even have sensors that measure the quality (depth and rate) of CPR as it is being performed. Real-time feedback is given to improve the CPR “presses”.
  • All automatically perform continuous monitoring of the heart’s rhythm once pads are attached to a victim’s chest.

Are some AEDs built better than others?

A review of the specifications for an AED will clarify how ruggedly built it truly is.

AEDs are tested in various ways to ensure they will operate in most all conditions. They are subjected to extremes in temperature, both for storage and full operation. For example, the ZOLL AED Plus has an operating temperature range of 0 to 50 degrees C. Along with temperature range, tolerance for humidity is measured as well.

Vibration and shock of impact (dropping) are tested. Comparisons are made to the extreme vibration of machines, such as a helicopter. Actual shock tests are conducted, in which the AEDs are dropped to see how much impact they can withstand.

Effects of gravity and altitude are measured. (eg: range of altitudes -91m to 4573 m).

Each AED device has a rating, called the IP Rating. The highest rating for the encasement of any electronic item is 66. This pair of numbers actually represents two measurements done on scales of 0-6. The first is the Ingress Protection, the second is the Moisture Protection. One of the indicators of AED ruggedness is the IP rating. These IP ratings are listed in the description for each of the AEDs listed above.

So, what are the best AEDs for home?

First Place:  Philips Heartstart AED (Onsite)

As discussed above, this is the only FDA-approved AED for home use. It requires no prescription and a relatively low price tag with solid features to help any user in a rescue.

In addition to the which earns our top recommendation for home AEDs, we have selected two alternative AEDs from the list above as additional favorites:

Second Place (Low cost): Heartsine Samaritan PAD 350P Home AED Package 

Update: the Heartsine Samaritan PAD 350P AED is now available without a prescription and home use approved

Among the lower cost AEDs we find the Heartsine Samaritan PAD 350P AED to our liking. We chose it for its:

  • light, rugged design (2.4 lbs, IP rating 56 (66 max)
  • numerous clear voice prompts and excellent lighted graphics
  • innovative combined pad/battery system
    • simple to maintain
    • assures readiness of the two crucial accessories
    • makes easy the switch between adult and pediatric pads

Second Place (Higher cost, full featured): 

The higher cost ZOLL AED Plus gets our nod for the higher end of the price range. 

We liked:

  • Its thorough voice prompt script, including:
    • operational readiness
    • patient check
    • call for help
  • User replaceable, lower-cost 5-yr batteries (10 type 123A Photo Flash LMDiox)
  • Outstanding CPR coaching with:
    • metronome
    • real-time feedback on compression depth and rate
    • live on-screen graphic
  • Rugged construction IP Rating 55 ( 66 max)
  • Unique, ZOLL-created and patented CPR-D-padz system, with:
    • 5-yr warranty; staleness protected gel-coating
    • CPR-D-padz which simplifies pad placement and attachment
    • built-in CPR sensor for high-quality audio/visual feedback

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