AED Buying Guide
AEDpeople.com is pleased to offer AEDs from each of today’s leading manufacturers. At AEDpeople.com we desire to provide educational guidance for informed decisions. Let’s face it - buying an AED is a daunting task, not to mention an investment you are depending on to save a life. You want to be 100% certain that you made the right decision…this is not the time for buyer’s remorse!
More than likely, you’ll want to do some research (which is probably why you are here in the first place) before purchasing the first AED you come across. Our goal is to be a resource for you in that process...from start to finish.
Ready to get started? Here are some things you should know first about ALL AEDs:
- All AEDs are FDA approved and operate according to the American Heart Association’s most recent guidelines - While there has been no supporting research to indicate that one brand saves more lives than another, there are many features and benefits to consider when purchasing an AED.
- All AEDs are safe and easy to use - One of the first things we always tell our customers: You CANNOT hurt yourself or anyone else with an AED. AEDs will ONLY deliver therapy to a patient if it determines it is necessary. You cannot override it…even if you push the shock button. All AEDs today are simple enough to operate that even completely untrained individuals can use them.
- All AEDs are effective - Biphasic Waveform Shock Therapy was introduced to AEDs in September of 1996. Since then, the effectiveness of Biphasic Waveform has been widely recognized and accepted. Today, ALL AEDs manufactured utilize Biphasic Waveform Technology. This results in much higher first shock conversion rates.
- AED Maintenance & Warranty - All AEDs perform a daily, weekly or monthly self test and have status indicators for status notification. All AEDs today offer a minimum 5 year warranty.
- Cost of Ownership & Price - All AEDs have a Cost of Ownership determined by the lifespan of the electrode pads & batteries. All AEDs have decreased in cost significantly in recent years due to technology advances and availability. Today, AEDs range in price from around $1,200 for home use models to around $3,000 for professional grade units. Ready to review the details?
AED Ease of Use
- Available Modes - Today all Public Access Defibrillators (PAD) are available in one of two different modes: Semi Automatic or Fully Automatic. Simply put, the difference between the two is merely that the Semi Automatic AEDs have a button to push to deliver the shock, and the Fully Automatic AEDs do not, as they deliver the shock on their own. Don’t worry though, Fully Automatic AEDs are still safe because they warn you ahead of time, initiate a countdown and have motion detection capabilities to prevent a shock before you are ready. The reasoning behind Fully Automatic AEDs is that some studies have shown people sometimes hesitate to push the shock button even after being instructed to do so by the AED. In a situation where every second counts, a Fully Automatic AED reduces the chance that any therapy delay might occur.
- Rescue Prompt Type - All AEDs use simple, easy to follow voice prompts to guide the user through a rescue. Some AEDs also utilize LED indicators to confirm correct pad placement and guide the user. Text displays and video displays are becoming more common as an additional tool to guide rescuers and provide assistance to hearing impaired individuals and in loud environments.
- CPR Help - All AEDs manufactured today are in compliance with the American Heart Association’s most current guidelines in accordance with 2 minutes of CPR between defibrillation. Some AED models offer a CPR coach to intuitively coach the rescuer through each step of CPR. Others utilize a metronome to aid with an accurate compression rate.
- Pre-Connected Pads - Some AEDs come with one set of electrode pads pre-connected to the AED to ensure readiness.
- Enhanced Pad Placement Prompts - Some AEDs “know” when the user has removed an electrode from the backing and will instruct users specifically where to place the pad.
- Trainer Options - Some AEDs have a “conversion kit” (trainer data card, trainer electrodes, or a training battery pack) that allows you to “convert” your live AED into a trainer. Most manufacturers also offer a “stand-alone” trainer as a separate unit.
- Energy Type & Range - This is undoubtedly the most contested feature of AEDs today, and we discuss it thoroughly under our “FAQ’s” section of the AED Expert Center on AEDpeople.com. Simply put, some AEDs shock within “low energy” parameters (200J or less) while other AEDs “escalate” energy levels (starting at 200J and escalating to 360J). The FDA and AHA have stated that both ways are appropriate ways of defibrillating and that all AEDs are effective.
- Self-Testing Ability & Frequency - All AEDs perform self tests on various components daily, weekly or monthly. These self tests ensure that the AED is ready when you need it and alert you if a problem arises.
- Self-Test Status Indicators - All AEDs have some form of “status indicator” to alert the user to the status of the AED. All models have a visual LED indicator or “OK” symbol, and some AEDs combine an audible “chirp” in addition to the visual indicator.
- Pediatric Capability - All AEDs manufactured today have pediatric capabilities (children 8yrs old or less or 55lbs or less). Some units utilize special electrode pads while others use a “key” to initiate the pediatric mode.
- Internal Memory Capacity - All AEDs make some sort of internal record of rescue events and ECG info that can be downloaded to a computer for review.
- IP Rating - Stands for “Ingress Protection” and is a measurement of how resistant the AED is to foreign object intrusion, such as dust and water. The first number is the “solid foreign object” rating and the second number is the “liquid foreign object” rating. You can view the IP Rating Table in our AED Expert Center for information on the rating scale.
- Size and Weight - AEDs vary quite a bit in size and weight. This is something to consider if you are going to be taking your AED on a backpacking trip!
AED Price and Cost of Ownership
- Manufacturer Advertised Price - This is the price that all AED resellers are required to advertise.
- Estimated Annual Operating Cost - This is simply a way we help customers budget annually for their AED. It is based on maintaining 2 sets of adult electrodes (recommended) and based on the AED not being used. We divide the cost of the electrodes and battery by their lifespan. You will not incur these costs annually - this just makes it easier to interpret.
- Spare Electrode Cost - AEDpeople.com recommends that you ALWAYS have a spare set of adult electrodes on hand with each AED. Many manufacturers also recommend this. Some AED models are shipped with a spare set in addition to the pre-installed set.
- Event Download Equipment - This is the equipment that you’ll need in the event that you use your AED and want to download the patient data for review. You will also use this equipment in the event that you need to update your AED to new AHA standards or install a software update to your AED. Some manufacturers provide this equipment with the AED free of charge.
AED Maintenance and Life Expectancy
- AED and Battery Warranty - All AEDs today come with a minimum 5 year warranty. Many customers ask about the life expectancy of an AED. This is a difficult question to answer as many AEDs will remain in-service well beyond their warranty period. However, we maintain that when considering the effective lifespan of an AED or budgeting for replacement units that you use the manufacturer’s warranty period as the estimated lifespan.
- Battery Lifespan - We recommend using the manufacturer’s warranty period as the expected lifespan. For batteries not having a warranty we have provided an average lifespan based upon our customer’s experience.
- Electrode Pad Lifespan - All AEDs have Electrode Pad expiration dates that are mandated and determined by the FDA due to the tendency of the ionic gel surrounding the metal electrode plates to dry out and corrode the plates. Traditionally, these have been set at 2 years, but recently some manufacturers have been granted approval by the FDA for up to a 5 year lifespan.
Need more info? We understand! Feel free to
‘Live Chat’ with us for a quick question at the bottom of your screen, or give us a call…we love to discuss AEDs, and if for some reason we don’t know the answer to your question…we WILL find out!