I evaluated the best AED defibrillators of the year, ranking their performance, features and reliability. Read these hands-on reviews to make sure you’re prepared in case of an emergency.
FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.
1. HeartStart - Philips OnSite AED Defibrillator
Top-rated: 62 ratings | 7 answered questions
Highlight: Can be converted as a trainer with installation of SMART Training Pads cartridge.
Helpful review: "I did lots of research and price hunting before making my purchase, and this was by far the best deal. I can't imagine a better machine. I need one more, and this will definitely be the second one I purchase. Cleveland Clinic is perhaps the most renowned heart clinic in the world. My grandfather went there for cardiac treatment and I noticed this unit throughout the halls for public access defibrillators. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me!" — Rob Sunderland
Trending review: "Great product. Something I’ve waited far too long to stock up on. Brings peace of mind knowing we have what we need in the instance we may need it. Directions are clear and bring confidence you could get it right. Nice little carrying case with pockets for everything you need for the AED trainer. I use it to teach Lifeguarding classes. The product has been around water and still works extremely well. I highly recommend it." — Christian Smith
Reassuring review: "Trained with this particular AED at work and very familiar to it. Very simple machine. Every house should have one. Shipping was very fast. The instructions are easy to follow and it’s easy to stow in a visible location. I’m very happy that the prices have come down to a reasonable price-I hope to never use it!" — Jed Raskin
Get it from Amazon now: $1,479.00 & FREE Returns
2. Prestan - AED UltraTrainer
Top-rated: 332 ratings | 29 answered questions
Highlight: Dual-graphic (Adult/Child) training pads.
Helpful review: "I have been a private CPR instructor for fifteen years. This is my fourth attempt to find the "last AED trainer I will ever buy". Heh... the jury is still out but I'm hopeful. I purchased twelve over the last few months to completely replace my then-current trainers (they rhymed with Ted Kross and were abysmal).
Sizing is nice and compact, taking less storage space.
The pads have a sticky side that isn't adhesive - more like the wacky-wall-walkers material from the 80's. No more self-destructing pads like my old ones. Love them. The pressure sensor is a neat idea but you really have to ensure that they are pressed onto the manikin firmly or they don't register placement on the surface. The pad backing is a plastic tray that helps keep the pads protected until the next use.
The programmable options are easy to select from and add a personal customization to your chosen method of instruction.
Not really a gold star worthy add-on, but it is kind of neat that the device makes a "whoomph" sound to mimic an actual shock.
It takes C-batteries. Seriously?
I actually had a student ask rhetorically (W)hat is this, 1990? Who uses C-batteries? I thought that was funny. Anyway, C batteries are a bummer. They cost a lot.
Why am I giving this only a three-star rating? Well, one of the twelve does not work at all and had to be returned. Amazon made that easy. Also, the product description lists that batteries are included. They were not. Not on the four pack and not on the individual packs. That was about $50 in batteries. Amazon took care of that too - but it was an hour conversation to get free batteries. I'm going to wait a year before I update this review and add a star or two. Right now, I'm happy with the product and hope they last. And, they are a million times better than the Ted Kross ones that I threw into the trash.
Fourth star added for reliability. (The fifth star would be if the batteries actually came with the purchase like they are advertised.) They are still going strong. In fact, I just purchased a twelfth AED for a nice even number. I've only had to replace two pads in twelve months. That's over 700 students divided by 11 units. I just purchased replacement batteries but only as a precaution - the originals are still working. I was sad to see that Amazon now requires a business account and a healthcare license to purchase. So, I had to go elsewhere for the twelfth unit. Homie don't play that! Prestan has a strong game here. Totally recommended for CPR training needs." — Lance Maynard
Get it from Amazon now: $119.00 & FREE Returns
3. WNL Products - AED Defibrillator Practi-Trainer Kit
Top-rated: 614 ratings | 34 answered questions
Highlight: 'Voice Prompts' will guide you through simulated rescue situations.
Helpful review: "Product is absolutely perfect for all AED training. It includes everything you may need: Adult/Pediatric pads, 2 sets of cables, batteries, two pre-programmed scenarios. Excellent speaker that is very loud, but remains clear when turned up. I can say it works flawlessly, having used these for instruction for over a year. I can also say they are reliable. They put up with rugged use and do as much as any expensive trainer, but at a far better cost. Size makes it super easy to transport and even move around to multiple students in a classroom. Love this AED Trainer!" — Dexter Brandon
Trending review: "I switched over to these and now I own 19 of them. They work great for CPR training and the pads are easy to replace when they wear out. I wipe the trainer and pass down after each use. They do not work well for the final scenarios in the lifeguard class because they absorb water, even when just dripped on. The pads are ruined if they get dripped on. Otherwise, they are good." — Carrie Brownle
Reassuring review: "Been training cpr/first aid for 20 years. Always had to borrow an AED. Finally I found this on amazon. It's a little smaller than the more expensive ones but it works. The wires to the pads are very thin but do not deter from the plug working properly. Overall, it works just as advertised, and the reusable gel pads are better than our previous version. Thanks for helping us teach how to save lives! So if you're looking for an inexpensive unit that does the job... I would highly recommend it." — Julie Hansen
Get it from Amazon now: $99.95 & FREE Returns
4. WNL Products - AED Defribrillator Essentials Combo Kit
Top-rated: 64 ratings
Highlight: Provides realistic AED training.
Helpful review: "I bought this AED bundle to educate teens and it was very helpful. The teens (ages 12-16) were apprehensive before using and had never touched an AED prior to the workshop but after using this practice device, they were more comfortable. The device is smaller than I thought that it would be and is very basic but worked well and gave them two scenarios. It allowed them to turn it on, place pads, analyze and press the shock button (no real shock of course).
In addition, it provided real time after the shock for CPR to be provided which allowed the teens to see just how long it takes and we were able to discuss the need to switch partners for a two person CPR and discuss other situations. They spent a lot of time playing with this device and seemed to be more comfortable at the end of our session. I am glad that I purchased this and will continue to use it when working with our teen groups.
A FEW WORDS FROM A FRIEND:
This is everything you need to do aed training for adults and infants (if you already have a dummy). This trainer is super small and lightweight. Easy to throw into a bag with the dummy. There are only a few pads so keep that in mind when purchasing. I don't actually stick them on the dummy because they leave a residue. I bought tiny glue dots at Walmart to hold them in place while we do the class. Easier to clean up the glue. If you peel off the sticker and stick it to the dummy it's like a REAL pad and it sticks like no one's business. Otherwise this kit is everything you need to teach AED." — Michelle L Philpot
Get it from Amazon now: $105.95 & FREE Returns