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AED Basics

AED Types

While there are quite a few AED models in production today, there is no need to be overwhelmed and here is why: ALL of the AEDs manufactured today can be divided into two easy-to-identify groups:

  • Public Access Defibrillators (PAD)
  • First Responder / Manual Mode Defibrillators


A Public Access Defibrillator is essentially ANY AED designed for use by untrained individuals and suited for a variety of public environments and applications. You can find information and features specific to each group below. Most people will find themselves in the PAD group. Put simply, ANY AED within the PAD group could potentially be a good fit for your application. Since all AEDs are approved by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), choosing an AED is really just a matter of evaluating: pricing, features and available accessories. If you prefer to shop for AEDs by industry we’ve identified four main industries and features that we feel will be beneficial for each below:

Home Use AEDs

Price Range = $1,100 - $1,500


Home Use AEDs are similar to Public Access AEDs in feature and identical in function. In fact, all of the Public Access AEDs could be considered “Home Use”. However, a few models are especially well suited for home use due to their simplicity and affordability.

Home Use AED’s are designed to be AFFORDABLE and therefore are not recommended for rugged use or commercial use. They usually do not come with protective cases, rescue kits, or backup electrodes (generally standard on “Public Access” AEDs). They also generally have shorter warranties (5 years) than “Public Access” AEDs.

Examples of this type of AED include: Medtronic / Physio-Control LifePak Express, Philips HeartStart OnSite, HeartSine Samaritan PAD

School, Community and Business AEDs

Price Range = $1,300 - $2,000


School, Community and Business AEDs are designed to be used by lay rescuers (people who aren’t professionally trained) and are designed to be used in public places such as: schools, universities, parks, office buildings, malls, churches, factories, etc.

These AED’s are built to withstand commercial use and generally are more rugged, better protected, more fully equipped and come with long warranties (5 – 10 years) than “Home Use” AEDs.

Examples of this type of AED include: Medtronic / Physio-Control LifePak CR Plus, Cardiac Science Powerheart G3 Plus, Defibtech Lifeline or Lifeline View, HeartSine Samaritan PAD, Philips HeartStart OnSite or FRx, ZOLL AED Plus

Aviation AEDs

Price Range = $1,300 - $2,000


Aviation AEDs are identical to the School, Community and Business AEDs except that they all feature an FAA TSO Certified Battery that is approved for use aboard aircraft.


First Responder AEDs

Price Range = $2,000 - $3,000


First Responder AEDs can be used by BOTH lay rescuers as well as professionally trained responders. However, due to the higher costs and potentially unnecessary features for untrained rescuers they tend to be limited to First Responder use. These units have a manual mode and ECG display that allows trained responders to override the default AED mode.

These units may be found in many of the same locations as “Public Access” AEDs, but generally due to cost and unnecessary features, are reserved for applications such as: hospitals, nursing homes, private ambulances, EMS providers, military use, police use and locations where ACLS responders may be nearby.

These AEDs are generally VERY rugged and feature high IP ratings. They are designed to operate in extreme conditions and withstand abuse.

Examples of this type of AED include: Medtronic / Physio-Control LifePak 1000, Cardiac Science Powerheart G3 Pro, Zoll AED Pro