Buyer’s Guide: Defibrillators



What is a defibrillator/AED?

A defibrillator, or AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to someone who is in cardiac arrest.

During sudden cardiac arrest, the electrical impulses that cause the heart to beat regularly start to discharge chaotically, causing an irregular heartbeat. Victims of a sudden cardiac arrest will stop breathing and become unresponsive.

A defibrillator applies a brief pulse of electrical current to the heart. This allows the heart’s normal electrical system to resume control, and is essential to saving lives. Defibrillators are safe and easy to use with clear step-by-step instructions either via audio or video prompts. They do not require training to use, and can be used by anyone on both children and adults.

As well as this, they perform regular self-tests to check for faults and battery levels, and have minimal running costs.

Why should I have a defibrillator?

A cardiac arrest can happen anytime, anywhere and to anyone. Over 3,500 people in Scotland each year are treated by the Ambulance Service for an out of hospital cardiac arrest. (Save a Life Scotland)

Currently, in Scotland only 1 in 20 will survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest.

Alongside effective CPR, early defibrillation is the single most effective life-saving treatment for sudden cardiac arrest.

Unless emergency treatment is provided quickly, the chance of survival decreases by 10 percent with every minute that defibrillation is delayed. However, defibrillation within three minutes of a casualty collapsing can increase the chance of survival to over 70 percent.

While there is no legal requirement to have one, by purchasing a defibrillator for your company, venue, school or organisation you could help save the life of a work colleague, friend or member of the public.

Over the course of eight years, a defibrillator will only cost between 28p and 41p per day.

Which defibrillator is right for me?

While all defibrillators will help save lives in the event of sudden cardiac arrest, many come with additional features to help with their operation or maintenance. Here are some of the more important features to look out for when deciding what kind of defibrillator is best for you.

Fully automatic or semi automatic?

A semi-automatic defibrillator requires a button to be pushed in order for a shock to be delivered. A fully automatic defibrillator senses when a shock is required, and automatically delivers a shock without the requirement to push a button.

For more information, watch this guide to using a fully automatic defibrillator.

Adult, or adult and child?

If your organisation is one that regularly works with children, it’s worth considering how each defibrillator can be used on children.

Some defibrillators have separate paediatric pads that reduce the charge output, and are to be used on children between 1 and 8 years old. Other defibrillators allow the user to use a single set of pads by simply switching to child mode.

How do I maintain my defibrillator?

Defibrillators perform daily, weekly or monthly self-tests to check for faults and battery levels.

Running costs are minimal with electrode pads having a shelf life of between two and five years depending on the AED model.

Pads are designed for single use only and should be replaced each time the defibrillator is used in an emergency situation. The life of a battery can vary depending on the manufacturer and number of occasions the defibrillator is used with most needing to be replaced between two and five years.

Our defibrillators

We stock defibrillators from a variety of brands, and also offer training defibrillators, as well as storage solutions and accessories.


Contact us

If you require any advice or guidance please do not hesitate to get in touch with our sales team by phoning 0300 4 666 999 or email

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