Buying Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), AED Batteries and Pads

An investment in an automatic external defibrillator (AED defibrillator) is an investment in a life, but you should be aware that there are several types of defibrillators on the market and prices are wide-ranging.

You will also have to figure in the cost of buying an AED replacement battery and pad replacements as recommended.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about AEDs, AED defibrillator batteries and pads if you are considering such a purchase:

Why Are Automatic External Defibrillators Important?

One of the most common reasons for a heart attack is due to an arrhythmia (ventricular fibrillation, or VF) that can cause cardiac arrest. Even if it takes only minutes for an ambulance to get to a victim experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, the person could die. Until this medical help arrives, an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED Defibrillator) is a device that can give the average, non-medical person the ability to restore the heartbeat to its normal rhythm.

Which AED is the Best and Easiest to Use?

All AEDS on the market are FDA approved and all operate similarly to give visual and voice prompts telling you exactly how to use. All you have to do is turn on the machine and follow the commands. Newer AED machines, however, will perform electronic self-tests on their circuitry and batteries. Newer devices also have warranties for 5-7 years. Some AED brands offer a large visual display, which is handy but may be more expensive.

Do AEDs have Different Shock Rates, And If So, Which is Best?

Different brands and models of AEDs use different energy levels to deliver shocks. While AED dealers consider this a significant issue, many AED experts disagree. This is because regardless of power output, all new AEDs use a proprietary biphasic waveform to deliver the shock appropriately, at its own internal power setting, suitable to the victim.

Do you Need Training to Use an AED?

No, you do not need training, but it is always beneficial to receive training so that you are more comfortable should such a medical situation arise. Visit the American Heart Association for CPR and AED training information.*

Why Do I Need an AED if I Plan to Learn CPR?

CPR cannot convert ventricular fibrillation into a normal heart rhythm, but the electric shock from the AED can. CPR, however, does buys time by circulating a small trickle of oxygenated blood to vital organ, which slows the dying process. If no AED is available, CPR can help save a life as well.

How difficult is the AED to maintain?

AEDs are pretty easy to maintain. Since the AED performs its own self-test, you just want to make sure you replace the AED batteries every 3 years and the pads every 2 years as recommended.

How long do AED batteries last?

Generally, although it does vary by device, AED batteries last 4-5 years only if optimally maintained. It is recommended to replace the battery every 3 years, however, even if the AED receives no patient use. It is important to know that just turning the AED on uses up battery capacity. Also, each year, battery capacity decreases while the battery is in the AED due to the normal self-discharge rate.

Do AED Batteries Have a Warranty?

Quality AED replacement battery companies offer a 1 year free replacement warranty.

What About Rechargeable AED Batteries?
Rechargeable AED batteries and AED battery chargers are available for some defibrillator units, but those types are most frequently purchased by EMS units or others who anticipate higher rates of use.

How long do the pads last?

Generally, although it does vary by device, AED pads are good for 2-3 years. It is recommended that you change every 2 years.

*American Heart Association CPR and AED training