The Philips HeartStart OnSite AED is one of the most popular portable defibrillators on the market, in production for over a decade. But is it worth the investment when you compare it to other devices in its class? We hope that our Philips HeartStart Onsite AED review will provide clarity and make your buying choice a little easier.
HeartStart OnSite Overview
Originally introduced in 2004, The Philips HeartStart OnSite represents a technological leap forward from the earlier ForeRunner and FR2/FR2+ AEDs. With its intuitive features and user-friendly design, the OnSite remains one of the only AEDs approved by the FDA for over-the-counter sales (no prescription required).
What’s Included with OnSite Defibrillators
Philips HeartStart Onsite AED
Pads & Battery (Pre-Installed)
HeartStart OnSite Specs
Weight: 3.3 lbs. (1.5kg)
Dimensions: 9.5˝ (24 cm) x 8.5˝ (21 cm) x 4.8˝ (12 cm)
4-year standby battery life
Rapid shocks delivered within 8 seconds of CPR
Delivery of 200 shocks or more
How Much Does HeartStart OnSite Cost?
$1,275.00 (with 8-year warranty)
What We Love About the Philips HeartStart OnSite
- The Price: At $1,275, this is the most affordable AED available in its class. It’s backed by an industry-leading 8-year warranty, so the total cost of ownership is especially impressive.
- Usability: You’ll be hard-pressed to find an AED that’s easier to use. Just press the green “Power” button to get started, and the OnSite guides you through the entire CPR and defibrillation process.
- Product Readiness: This device is ready to use right out of the box. The pads and battery come pre-installed, and the software is preconfigured to respond to an emergency without any setup required. Just pull the green tab to initiate the first self-test. The OnSite takes care of the rest.
- Biphasic Waveform Technology: The OnSite is equipped with Philips’ patented SMART Biphasic waveform technology, which uses alternating currents to save lives with less electricity required.
- Quick Shock: This device can deliver a shock in as little as 8 seconds following CPR. Subsequent shocks are typically delivered in under 20 seconds. This AED is one of the fastest in its class when it comes to shock delivery, which results in more positive outcomes for cardiac arrest patients.
Drawbacks of the Philips HeartStart OnSite
- Infant/Child Pads Not Included: The OnSite doesn’t contain the Infant/Child Key that has become a staple of more recent Philips AEDs. If you’re purchasing the device for pediatric use, you’ll need to purchase a special set of pediatric SMART pads. A prescription is required for the pediatric pads.
- No Automatic Shock Delivery: This is a very minor quibble, but it’s worth noting for those users who are timid about administering electrical shocks. While some newer AEDs have the option of automatic shock delivery, this one does not. The device will assess the heart in search of a shockable rhythm and then prompt you to press the “Shock” button if treatment is advisable.
Features of the Philips HeartStart OnSite
Simply put, you’ll never find a more user-friendly AED. The Philips HeartStart series was specifically developed to make defibrillation technologies accessible to the lay user, and the OnSite more than delivers on that mission.
As soon as you turn on the device, you’re prompted step-by-step by calm, clear voice instructions. The CPR metronome gives you the confidence to perform chest compressions at the optimal pace, and the SMART pads are clearly diagrammed for easy chest placement. The AED even reminds you to call emergency medical services, so you never have to worry about missing an important step if your mind is racing in an emergency.
The device even works as a trainer. You can install a special cartridge and practice emergency procedures safely in your spare time.
Philips invented the use of biphasic waveform technology in an AED—and they still do it better than anyone. Philips SMART Biphasic technology has been demonstrated in more than 40 peer-reviewed studies to treat patients with greater effectiveness and fewer side effects.
Not only is the OnSite equipped with Philips’s patented biphasic technology, but the device uses SMART Analysis to automatically assess a patient’s heart rhythm. The device then makes a rapid determination as to whether an electrical shock would be safe and feasible.
You are only advised to press the “Shock” button if the algorithm confirms that doing so would provide a safe and beneficial outcome for the patient. If you accidentally press the “Shock” button when electricity is not advised, the device will not proceed with the shock delivery. Not every AED has these kinds of safeguards in place.
The device runs daily, weekly, and monthly self-tests to ensure readiness at all times. Over 80 tests per month are performed.
Though it’s not the lightest or most rugged AED available, the Philips HeartStart OnSite is pretty tough. It can withstand drops of up to 1 meter, and it’s designed to operate in temperatures ranging from 32 – 122 °F. And because it weighs just 3.3 pounds, it’s easy to store and transport.
Philips wrote the book on child-friendly AEDs, and the OnSite is one of, if not THE best pediatric defibrillators around. With the SMART Pads Cartridge installed, anyone can safely perform CPR and defibrillation on pediatric patients. The voice and visual coaching are automatically modified to meet the needs of young patients, and the shock delivery is decreased from 150 Joules to a safer 50 Joules.
The only drawback is that you will need to invest in a set of child-friendly pads. If you want the ability to treat both adult and pediatric patients without switching pads, consider investing in the HeartStart FRx or FR3—both of which feature Philips’ enhanced Infant/Child Key for more streamlined treatment.
The Verdict: Should You Buy the Philips HeartStart OnSite?
We strongly recommend Philips defibrillator products. They are simply the most advanced and user-friendly on the market. The only question that remains is: Is the OnSite preferable to other HeartStart models?
Newer models like the FR3 and FRx do offer more advanced, streamlined features, but they also come with a much higher price tag (and, in the case of the FR3, a steeper learning curve).
If you’re looking for a cost-effective defibrillator that will last for years and never disappoint you in an emergency, the Philips HeartStart OnSite is an excellent buy that we wholeheartedly recommend.