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What Is the Best Portable Defibrillator?

There are about 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year in the United States, the vast majority of which are fatal. Many of these deaths are preventable, and having the right portable defibrillator on hand can make all the difference. When buyers ask us to recommend the best portable defibrillator, we usually provide the same answer: The Philips HeartStart OnSite.

How to Choose a Portable Defibrillator

First and foremost, you should always choose an AED that’s approved by the FDA and protected by a manufacturer’s warranty. In addition, certain qualities are non-negotiable when you’re comparing defibrillators:

  • Ease of Use
  • Biphasic Defibrillation
  • Child-Friendliness
  • A Lightweight, Rugged Build
  • Readiness at a Moment’s Notice

In addition, a quality defibrillator should be cost-effective so that it’s accessible to the greatest number of people and more likely to be available in an emergency.

Philips HeartStart OnSite Is the Top Portable Defibrillator


The Philips OnSite earns our pick for the best portable defibrillator because it meets or exceeds all of the standards listed above and still offers a record-low cost of ownership. Consider the features.

Ease of Use

Philips HeartStart OnSite AED Defibrillator M5066AUsability is the most important feature you want in an AED.

Immediate CPR coupled with defibrillation has been shown to more than quadruple a patient’s chance of survival following SCA, but the prognosis decreases with every minute of delay. In other words, it’s largely up to bystanders and lay responders to take action before emergency services can arrive.

Most lay responders won’t know how to make split-second decisions about whether or not to administer shocks, and a majority won’t know the proper CPR protocols. An easy-to-use AED will account for that, providing calm and clear voice instructions that put treatment within reach of any novice user.

Why the Philips OnSite Hits the Mark: This is one of the easiest AEDs to operate. Just press the green button to get started, and follow the calm voice instructions. The pads are labeled for optimal chest placement, and the SMART Analysis feature conducts precise heart assessments to optimize treatment according to the patient’s condition. If it’s unsafe or ill-advised to deliver an electric shock, the device won’t let you. It’s safe for anyone to use. The OnSite is even equipped with audible CPR guidance and a metronome to help you maintain the optimal pace of chest compressions.

Biphasic Defibrillation

A biphasic defibrillator delivers current in two directions, reversing course between phases. Biphasic waveforms have been proven in numerous peer-reviewed studies to deliver better patient outcomes with fewer side effects.

Why the Philips OnSite Hits the Mark: Philips is the world leader in biphasic AED technologies. The company was the first to use biphasic waveforms in an automated external defibrillator (the HeartStart ForeRunner), and its patented SMART Biphasic technology is featured in the OnSite.


Children under 8 years old and less than 55 pounds have special defibrillation needs. They require less shock, unique pad placement, and less aggressive CPR chest compressions. A child-friendly AED will have specialized settings or pediatric pads that instantly modify the instruction and shock delivery for pediatric use.

Why the Philips OnSite Hits the Mark: The Onsite is compatible with Philips’ Infant/Child SMART Pads. Simply connect the pads cartridge to the AED, and the device instantly modifies its voice instruction and reduces the shock delivery from 150 Joules to 50 Joules. The pads are clearly labeled for child use, and they’re diagrammed for easy placement.

A Lightweight, Rugged Build

When shopping for the best portable defibrillator, you want a device that’s small, easy to carry, and able to take a beating. Quite often, you’ll have to run long distances in a frantic hurry to deliver treatment. The device may get jostled, dinged, or dropped. You also have no way of knowing the kinds of weather conditions you’ll be facing when you provide treatment. With that in mind, you need a device that’s designed to withstand drops, shocks, vibrations, moisture, dust penetration, and extreme temperatures.

Why the Philips OnSite Hits the Mark: The OnSite weighs just 3.3 pounds, making it one of the lightest AEDs in its class. It can withstand a 1-meter drop to any edge, corner, or surface, and it’s capable of operating in temperatures ranging from 32 °F to 122 °F. It can even function in up to 95% relative humidity.

Readiness at a Moment’s Notice

You need a device that’s ready to respond as soon as an emergency strikes. You won’t have time to perform readiness tests or switch out an expired battery. The best AEDs perform daily, weekly, and monthly self-tests, ensuring continuous readiness without delay.

Why the Philips OnSite Hits the Mark: The OnSite performs a full 80 self-tests per month. If any issues are detected, or if you’re nearing the expiration date on your pads or battery, you’ll receive instant alerts.

Is the OnSite the Best Portable Defibrillator for You?

If you have some medical training and are looking for an advanced defibrillator with real-time ECG information, you might find the OnSite to be limited or restrictive.

If you work in a high-use environment and expect a lot of mileage from your AED, you might prefer a device that uses rechargeable batteries.

However, if you’re just looking for an AED that’s affordable, easy to use, and fully equipped, the OnSite is your absolute best portable defibrillator. With its $1,465 price point and 8-year warranty, the cost of ownership is unrivaled. And best of all, anybody can use it with confidence.

You simply won’t find an AED with more advantages.

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