If you or someone in your home is at an elevated risk of cardiac arrest, you’ll want to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) close at hand. When AED treatment is quickly administered along with CPR, a patient’s odds of survival can more than double, with more positive outcomes after hospital discharge as well.
Top Home AED #1: Defibtech Lifeline DCF-100
The Defibtech Lifeline AED is easily one of the best AED models for home use. It’s designed to bridge the gap between the layperson and the emergency professional, offering guidance that’s easy to follow as well as enhanced features for more experienced users. There are four models in the Defibtech AED series, but the original Lifeline AED machine remains the most cost-effective and easiest to operate.
Why This AED is Ideal for the Home
The two-button operation ensures maximum simplicity. Just hit the green “On” button to get started, and the Lifeline will coach you through the process until emergency services arrive. If prompted, you’ll need to press the red “Shock” button to administer a shock to an unconscious patient. Thankfully, intuitive biphasic technology analyzes the patient to determine if a shock is needed. The AED will alert you if and when you need to press the “Shock” button. If you want fully automatic capabilities, you can purchase an upgraded device.
For even more clarity, the device contains three indicator lights that provide important alerts. If you need to check your pads, stand clear of the patient, or wait for analysis completion, the appropriate indicator light will notify you.
For more advanced users, this device includes a data card that holds up to 100 minutes of audio and ECG information. The device actually records all cardiovascular activity and provides detailed readings of the patient’s heart rhythms. Even if you’re not a medical professional yourself, you can provide this data to emergency responders when they arrive.
The Lifeline weighs just 4.2 pounds and measures 8.5 x 11.8 x 2.7 inches. Best of all, it’s one of the most cost-effective AEDs on the market. It also includes a long-lasting battery that’s capable of functioning for a full five years. So you can set your home AED aside and know that it will be emergency-ready when you need it.
The biphasic waveform technology uses state-of-the-art algorithms to detect ventricular fibrillation, the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest. By detecting this type of heart abnormality, the device is able to customize treatment and reduce the odds of requiring multiple shocks. As a result, the patient has a higher chance of survival. If you’re purchasing an AED for someone with a history of ventricular fibrillation, this is the ideal model to purchase.
Top Home AED #2: Samaritan PAD 360P
The HeartSine Samaritan PAD 360P is another AED device that’s great for home use. It is intuitive, affordable, and lightweight. The Samaritan PAD series includes three popular AEDs: the HeartSine 350P, the HeartSine 450P, and the aforementioned 360P. All three are excellent portable defibrillators, but we recommend the 360P for home use because it’s more affordable than the 450P and slightly more user-friendly than the 350P.
Why This AED is Ideal for the Home
The 350P and 360P are nearly identical, but the 360P is a fully automatic AED. The AED automatically searches for a shockable rhythm and treats the patient accordingly. The device is even capable of detecting motion and determining if someone is touching the patient, which is important as a shock should never be delivered while someone’s hands are on the patient.
The 360P provides audible coaching throughout the entire process, including CPR. The on-screen display provides real-time visual assistance to aid you in applying the pads and administering chest compressions. When a shock is required, the device will alert you to stand clear of the patient.
At just 2.4 pounds and measuring just 8 x 7.25 x 1.9 inches, the 360P is among the lightest AEDs available. It hardly takes up any space at all, but don’t let the size fool you; it meets military standards for shock and vibration protection. And with an IP56 rating, it boasts a high level of protection against dust and water.
When it comes to cost, the 360P is still on the low end of the price scale for advanced AEDs. You can get it at a reasonable price with an industry-leading 8-year manufacturer’s warranty. For an even lower price, you can opt for the 350P, which has the same construction and most of the same features—but the key difference is that you’ll be required to administer a shock when instructed.
One nice feature is the Pad-Pak, a cartridge that contains your battery and your AED pads. Pads and batteries usually expire separately and require individual replacement. But with the Pad-Pak, you only have to keep track of one expiration date and replace one component. Child’s Pad-Paks are also available.
Top Home AED #3: ZOLL AED Plus
If you have a little more money to invest, consider the ZOLL AED Plus. This innovative model provides step-by-step visual and audio guidance on responding to sudden cardiac arrest so that you can provide optimal care in those first few critical minutes. Best of all, the graphical user interface has pictographs of the American Heart Association’s Chain of Survival so you can be confident you’ll never forget any steps in the heat of an emergency.
Why This AED is Ideal for the Home
This user-friendly AED unit provides real-time feedback on the rate and depth of chest compressions and tells you to push harder if necessary. Even if you’ve never attended CPR and AED training—which we still strongly suggest you do—you can be confident that your compressions are pumping blood effectively to the patient’s vital organs.
As far as size, this defibrillator is nice and compact while offering military-standard ruggedness and an IP55 rating for dust and water ingress. At 6.7 lbs (3.1 kg) with dimensions 5.25″x 9.50″ x 11.50″, it’s light to carry and sits neatly in the low-profile ZOLL AED Plus Mounting Bracket.
Sitting at the higher end of the mid-price defibrillator range, the unit is available in both semi-automatic and fully automatic configurations; this includes the defibrillator and user manual plus a carry case, battery, and set of adult pads (pre-installed), window decal, inspection tag, and first responder kit.
However, you certainly get your money’s worth from your investment. This defibrillator has a 7-year warranty and the batteries and pads last a full five years. If you have children around, you can also purchase a set of ZOLL Pedi Padz II which are good for two years from the date of manufacture.
The ZOLL AED Plus is the only external defibrillator on the market to offer pictographs for each step in the Chain of Survival, helping you provide the best possible response when every second counts. Furthermore, it’s also the only FDA-approved AED external defibrillator to run on 10 regular Type 123 lithium Duracell batteries, making it easy to ensure your batteries are always up to date. Finally, this unit is designed to withstand high altitudes and extreme temperatures, so you’re covered even in extreme weather or if you take this defibrillator with you while traveling.
Top Home AED #4: Philips HeartStart OnSite
The Philips HeartStart OnSite AED is another one of the best home AED models available. It is one of the easiest portable defibrillators to use, and the 8-year manufacturer’s warranty makes it an excellent investment. Philips is a world-renowned medical device innovator, and the OnSite is one of its most user-friendly defibrillators.
Why This AED is Ideal for the Home
The ease of use of this Philips HeartStart home AED is unparalleled. Just pull the green tab and let the OnSite guide you step by step, beginning with coaching you through pulling out and applying the defibrillator pads and talking you through their placement on the patient. The CPR guidance includes a metronome so you know the precise pace for delivering chest compressions, and instructions for rescue breathing are provided as well. The AED and pads are both designed with clear diagrams for pad placement, so there’s no guesswork on your part.
The pads come pre-installed in the AED unit, so you don’t even have to connect anything to the defibrillator. If you want to prepare yourself for a potential emergency situation, you can purchase an OnSite training cartridge and run through the process without actually delivering a shock.
If you have children in the home, you can also purchase a set of OnSite child pads. These types of pads should always be used on patients less than 8 years old and/or under 55 pounds. Only use adult pads on a child in an emergency if child pads are unavailable.
The OnSite is compact and weighs just 3.3 pounds with the cartridge and battery installed. Best of all, it’s one of the most cost-effective AEDs from a major, FDA-approved manufacturer.
The included SMART Pads set the OnSite apart from other AEDs. The intuitive pads automatically detect when they’ve been placed on the patient’s chest, and the OnSite’s coaching is optimized based on signals provided by the pads. The pads can determine if CPR is being performed and at what pace, and they automatically determine whether a shockable rhythm is present. It’s like having a medically trained coach on the scene with you.
Key Features to Look for in the Best AED for Home Use
Most AEDs are designed with the layperson in mind, but certain features are especially important to look for in a portable defibrillator for home use.
- Easy to use. Ease of use is the #1 most important factor for most home buyers as the average civilian doesn’t have medical training. You want a device that offers clear step-by-step voice instructions (and visual instructions if possible) and eliminates all of the guesswork from CPR and defibrillation.
- Cost-effective. Price is another important factor, as the average homeowner may not be able to invest as much money as a CEO seeking a portable defibrillator for the office. AEDs in the range of $1,200-1,800 offer a high-quality solution at an affordable price.
- Compact size. If you don’t have a lot of free space available or you don’t want the device drawing attention to itself, it’s best to opt for a compact home defibrillator device. In other words, the ZOLL might not be your best bet if space is a prime concern, but the Samaritan PAD would be perfect.
The good news is that there are a number of automated external defibrillators that satisfy all of these requirements and more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Home AEDs
Purchasing an external defibrillator for your home is a big step. However, it could save your life or the life of someone you love. If you have any remaining concerns about buying an AED for home use, these questions and answers might help.
Can I Have an AED At Home?
As advanced medical devices, automated external defibrillators must be purchased with a physician’s prescription and, once purchased, are subject to registration, signage, and AED maintenance requirements.
Fortunately, all of our AEDs come with a physician’s prescription and the maintenance requirements are easy to meet. For more information, see our detailed response to the question: Can Anyone Buy an AED?
What Is the Best Brand of Defibrillator?
All seven FDA-regulated AED brands manufacture defibrillators that meet the most up-to-date research on pre-hospital defibrillation for cardiac arrest.
As long as you purchase an approved device from an authorized retailer like AED Leader, you can be confident that the device will assess the patient’s heart rhythm accurately and deliver the most effective possible shock.
What Is the Easiest AED to Use at Home?
Fully automatic external defibrillators like the Defibtech Lifeline DCF-100, HeartSine Samaritan PAD 360P, and ZOLL AED Plus don’t require any action on your part to deliver a shock. This makes them “easier” to use in a sense because all you need to do is to turn on the unit, place the pads on the patient, and follow the instructions.
Aside from having or not having a shock button, all FDA-approved external defibrillators are made with the layperson in mind and provide visual and voice instructions to guide you through the process. The easiest AED for you will ultimately depend on your personal preferences and any special requirements of your home.
Choosing the Best AED for Your Home
All four of our recommended automated external defibrillators are excellent for home use, so the best model will be the one that fits your budget and offers the features you value most.
- Go with the Philips OnSite if you seek ease of use coupled with the lowest price point.
- Go with the HeartStart Samaritan PAD 360P if size and simplicity are your top concerns.
- Go with the Defibtech Lifeline if you’re looking for more advanced features or if you’re purchasing on behalf of someone with a history of ventricular fibrillation.
- Go with the ZOLL AED Plus if you want clear visual reminders of what to do in a cardiac emergency or if you live in a state that experiences extreme weather.
No matter which home AED machine you choose, you’ll be one step closer to saving a life in the event that a sudden cardiac arrest occurs in your home. And that reassurance is priceless!