3 Tips to Pick the Best AED

3 Tips to Pick the Best AED

Julie Preiss – UniFirst First Aid + Safety First Aid & Safety (Certified AHA/MEDIC/ASHI Instructor)


Thinking of buying an AED? Not sure if you need to replace your existing AED?

If you are thinking about purchasing a new AED, or curious if you’re old AED needs to be replaced, you’re probably scratching your head trying to figure out which AED is best for you. Relax, we wrote this article to take the stress out of buying an AED and provide you with real world insights to help you make an informed decision to buy the right AED for you.


Let’s start off with a little background

Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, have been helping both first responders and ordinary individuals safely resuscitate SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest) victims and save lives without complex medical training. AEDs work by producing a small electrical charge that can reset a patient’s heart to its correct rhythm.

While easy-to-use portable defibrillators are only a few decades old, AEDs are so effective at saving lives that they’re estimated to increase SCA survival rates by a staggering 70%. Despite these statistics, many areas of the U.S. simply don’t have enough AEDs to go around. Experts estimate that an increase in AEDs to optimal levels could save more than 40,000 American lives each year – and that’s just one reason why it’s essential for more people to learn about and have access to this lifesaving device.

The latest guidelines from resuscitation councils are clear: successful defibrillation must be supported with high-quality CPR. If the AED’s first heart analysis calls for no shock, only high-quality CPR can lead to a shockable rhythm on the next heart analysis.

What to look for when purchasing an AED

Now we understand the role of an AED let’s take a look at 3 key factors you should take into consideration when purchasing an AED.



#1 Cost

Upfront Vs. Lifetime

One of the biggest mistakes we see when purchasing an AED is that buyers are looking at the upfront cost of the unit. However, not all AED’s are created equally. When considering purchasing a new or replacement AED it is important to look at “Lifetime ownership costs“. Typically we see most people own an AED for 10+ years, during that time you will replace batteries and pads several times. However, each manufacturer has a different life of their batteries and pads. So what may appear to be a more cost effective AED solution upfront, actually turns out to be more expensive over the lifetime of the AED as you may have to replace batteries and pads more frequently in some units.


#2 Quality Compression Feedback

Because you don’t always remember what you learned in class

Another important factor when selecting an AED is quality compression feedback, some AED’s have a very beneficial feature of providing real time feedback for compression depth and rates. Even though you learned CPR in class, having this live feedback during a SCA can be very helpful, after all having a little extra guidance can make the situation a little less stressful.


#3 Synchronized Expiration Dates

You dont want pads to expire while the battery still show’s good

Some AED’s have different life duration between pads and batteries. The problem here is that you will end up replacing pads while the battery is still good.



As many people would expect, the vast majority of AEDs (59%) in the U.S. are currently owned by first responders such as a policemen, firefighters, and EMTs. The next largest group of AED owners are schools (17%), followed by faith-based and recreational organizations, nursing homes and senior centers, and hospitals, clinics, and other medical centers. It’s a good idea to know the general places in which the equipment is most likely to be located, so, in case of emergency, you have a better shot at finding (or helping others to find) a nearby AED. In addition, if you or a loved one has a close family member with a heart condition, you may want to inquire about where the closest AED is, especially if traveling to remote or rural areas.

In the first 10 months after Chicago’s O’Hare Airport installed 49 AEDs on the premises, the devices were used 14 times, saving a total of nine lives – nearly 1 each month (and that’s only one airport). When it comes to helping an SCA victim, every second counts. According to statistics published by the American Heart Association, every additional minute AED use is delayed corresponds with a 10% reduction in patient survival rates. This means that in especially large areas or buildings, such as airports like O’Hare, it pays to have multiple AEDs located in different areas in order to facilitate easy access to the devices.


Which AED should we buy?


Our Pick

Zoll AED Plus – $1,699

The Zoll AED Plus is a great all round AED that provides the best value for money with key features such as Quality Compression Feedback and Synchronized Expiration Dates that will help anyone save a life, the big advantage with the Zoll AED Plus unit is the lower cost of ownership combined with great features.

Cost to maintain it over 10 years – $488 (batteries and pads)

Total cost of ownership for 10 years – $2,187 (Including AED unit)


What we like

DOES HAVE Quality Compression Feedback – says “push harder” also includes a built in metronome to ensure the rescuer is providing compressions at the correct rate. 

DOES HAVE synchronized expiration dates – replace supplies every 5th year.

Easy battery replacement with  Duracell 123 Lithium Batteries available at many stores


What we don’t like 

Heavier than other AED’s


Final thoughts

From compression feedback, synchronized battery and pads expiration along to the fact you can use Duracell 123 Lithium batteries which are available at many stores, this is a robust, featured packed AED that we highly recommend.

Click here to learn more about the Zoll AED Plus






HeartSine 450P AED – $1,595

The HeartSine 450P AED is a close second to the Zoll AED Plus, the 450P has quality compression feedback and synchronized expirations dates and is less expensive for total ownership versus the Zoll unit.

Cost to maintain it over 10 years – $352 (batteries and pads)

Total cost of ownership for 10 years is $1,947 (Including AED unit)


What we like 

DOES HAVE Quality Compression Feedback – Says “push faster” “push slower”

DOES HAVE synchronized expiration dates – replace supplies every 4th year.


What we don’t like 

2 piece pad design – A little trickier to install pads versus a one piece pad design

Does Not have the ability to use off the shelf batteries

Final thoughts

The HeartSine 450 is a great AED, with compression feedback and synchronized expiration dates this is a solid AED. It’s a tad cheaper than the Zoll unit, just consider that the batteries are specialized and can’t be purchased at just any store. Also, the two piece pad design may be a little trickier for placement versus the one piece Zoll design.

Click here to learn more about the HeartSine 450




Budget Pick

HeartSine 350P AED – $1,225

Cost to maintain it over 10 years – $352  (batteries and pads)

Total cost of ownership for 10 years – $1,577 (Including AED unit)

Similar to the 450P with one major exception, the 350 does not have the quality compression feedback feature. The feedback feature can be a huge difference and something to be considered for your buying decision.


What we like 

DOES HAVE synchronized expiration dates – replace supplies every 4th year.


What we don’t like 

DOES NOT HAVE Quality compression feedback


Final thoughts

The HeartSine 350P is a cost effective budget minded AED, a great unit for those that have a tight budget.

Click here to learn more about the HeartSine 350



Why you should trust me

I am a certified AHA/MEDIC/ASHI CPR Instructor working with companies/groups providing CPR Classes and AED’s to help save lives for the past 8 years.


Click here to learn about CPR Training