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Choosing an Automated External Defibrillator can be difficult; as a buyer, you’re faced with a bewildering array of choices. No particular make and model of AED saves more lives than the others; frankly, any FDA-approved AED is a good AED. Choosing from among them is mostly a matter of selecting the features that suit you best. For the sake of comparison, here are some of the features found on leading-brand AEDs:


Not all pads are created equal. For instance, adult pads are typically less expensive than pediatric pads. If the facility where you work doesn’t serve children, then you won’t be needing pediatric pads at all, and can save quite a bit of money over time.

There is an AED key sold separately which enables the Philips FrX to use the adult pads on pediatric patients; this can also save your facility money in the long haul.

The HeartSine Samaritan 300P features a pad/battery combo with a three-and-a-half-year life. The pad/battery is very easy to replace, and you only have to keep track of a single replacement date.

The Zoll AED Plus can use optional one-piece CPR-D Adult pads. Pad placement is simplified, and each pad features a CPR sensor to help coach you on your chest compressions; the machine will prompt you to “push harder” when appropriate. Zoll’s CPR-D Adult pads also boast the longest shelf life in the industry at five years. The pads are more expensive at replacement time, but you replace them less frequently, which makes for it.

AED pads expire because the adhesive gel that allows the pads to stick to the patient’s skin loses its adhesive properties, turning brown as it ages and becomes corroded by the tin in the pads. In order to assure that your AED equipment will be ready when you need it, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for pad replacement and other maintenance.


Batteries also vary quite a bit; like pads, the battery life and features you choose now may have a significant impact on your maintenance schedule later.

Cardiac Science’s AEDs feature an Intellisense lithium battery that comes with a four-year operational replacement guarantee. The batteries have an internal chip that records daily self-test data.

Defibtech’s Lifeline AEDs come with a five- or seven-year battery option. The Defibtech battery is augmented with a nine-volt lithium secondary battery that powers the device’s self-test functions, and requires replacement annually.

The HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P’s battery is integrated with the pads, and is rated to last three-and-a-half years from the date of manufacture. The integrated pad/battery installs easily, and gives you the luxury of having only one replacement date to keep track of.

The Philips Heartstart Onsite and Heartstart FrX use easily-installed lithium batteries that last four years from the installation date. These AEDs also offer an aviation battery option, for use on aircraft.

The Zoll AED Plus is powered by ten Duracell-type 123 batteries. Many proprietary AED battery packs out there also use Duracell batteries, but charge you more for them. The batteries last five years, and you can pick them up at most retail stores.

The Lifepak 1000, Zoll AED Pro, and Cardiac Science Powerheart G3 Pro all feature rechargeable battery options, which usually only makes sense for EMS and other first responders.


CPR still plays an important role in patient survival, even with the widespread deployment of AEDs. In fact, CPR is indicated in 100% of sudden cardiac arrests, whereas some studies show that defibrillation is only indicated about 60% to 70% of the time.

The Zoll AED Plus and Pro units feature a built-in CPR sensor that provides feedback on the depth of compressions. The Zoll AED Plus also has a built-in metronome that helps you maintain a proper compression rate.

The Philips Onsite and Philips FrX AED feature a help button that can be activated to provide voice prompts and a metronome.

The new Lifeline View from Defibtech features realtime video display that augments the audio prompts with full color video. Upgrades to the Defibtech Lifeline now also include metronome features.

The Cardiac Science Powerheart G3 Plus has a metronome and rescue coaching.

All AEDs will advise you when to do CPR, and many new and enhanced CPR help features are in development.


Ever-changing CPR and AED guidelines make upgrades an important consideration. Can you do it yourself, or do you need to send it in? AED upgrading varies considerably from one manufacturer to another, but most offer a way to perform upgrades yourself.

The Zoll AED Plus can be upgraded easily via an infrared port. You’ll need a USB IRDA adapter, which plugs into your computer and allows you to transmit data to the AED.

The Defibtech Lifeline and Lifeline View AEDs feature an SD card slot for software updates.

Cardiac Science AEDs come standard with all the hardware you’ll need for updating the software. . . and the same components can be used to retrieve AED event data stored in the unit during rescues.

Model Text Prompt Voice Prompt LED Prompt ECG Display Warranty Pediatric Capability
CU Medical i-PAD YES YES 5 Years YES
Defibtech Lifeline YES YES 5 Years YES
Defibtech Lifeline View YES 5 Years YES
Medtronic Lifepak 1000 YES YES YES 5 Years YES
Medtronic Lifepak Express YES 5 Years YES
Medtronic Lifepak CR+ YES YES 5 Years YES
Philips Heartstart FR3 YES YES YES 5 Years YES
Philips Heartstart Onsite YES 8 Years YES
Philips Heartstart FrX YES YES 8 Years YES
Zoll AED Pro YES YES YES 5 Years YES
HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P YES YES YES 10 Years YES
Cardiac Science Powerheart G3 Plus YES YES 7 Years YES
Cardiac Science Powerheart G3 Pro YES YES YES 7 Years YES

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