Over the years that I have been in business, one of the top questions asked by my customers has been “how much does an AED cost ?”.
There is a detailed answer to that question, which I will discuss later in this article, but the simple answer for now is, it depends. That is often a frustrating answer for some consumers to hear, but it’s the truth. I could give you a ballpark figure, but by the time we talk about the “details”, that number could be lower, could be higher, it just depends.
With all of the different manufacturers currently selling AEDs, there tends to be a wide price range from a “good, better, best” perspective, which often confuses consumers. There are retailers that sell new, used and refurbished AEDs and others that only sell new or any combination of the three.
The information below should help you be prepared when you are ready to order as well as share some industry norms with you, the consumer so that you can make a smart, well educated AED purchase decision.
Know Your Budget
There are many factors that should go in to making your final purchase decision. The biggest factor should be how much money you have to spend. Some customers call me with that number, others do not and I can tell you from experience, that it is better for a consumer to know how much you have to spend, before you call. With the internet available to us pretty much anywhere, even in the palm of our hands on our phones, it is easy to know well in advance if an AED is within your budget to buy or not.
If you are a volunteer organization, sports league, non-profit, etc. and have to fundraise for the equipment, call a couple of different distributors and get quotes in advance so that you will have your “budget” before you start to raise money. This will make the purchase much easier and help you to get your new AEDs in place sooner without having to deal with possibly not having enough funds.
Now it’s time to get down to business on discussing price. Most AED distributors receive a decent discount (could be 40% or more) on AEDs either direct from the manufacturer or from a larger distributor. I buy my AEDs from another distributor who buys direct from the manufacturers so my discount is not as great. That is not to say that I don’t make money, I do but I have a much lower overhead cost because my distributor will ship product direct to my customers for me so I do not have to keep stock. With the previous being said, there is usually room for a discount to the customer and all you have to do is ask for one. If you shop on an online AED retail site and don’t talk with anyone during your shopping trip, you may be paying too much. Take a few moments to call and speak with someone. The online retailers make it easy for you to buy online so they can sell for maximum price without any haggling. Do you buy an appliance or a car without haggling a little bit?
Expect to pay $1200 (Heartsine PAD 350P)-$3000 (Zoll AED Pro) for an AED. If the price is less than $1200, be suspicious and if it is over $3000, make sure you know what you are buying. Working with a local AED sales rep will afford you the best discount possible in most cases.
Now we should talk about the person at the other end of the retailers phone. Keep in mind that this in most cases is a salesperson, whose job is to make as much money as they can for their employer. Remembering this is important for 3 reasons. First, the sales person is likely not going to be able to guide you in to making the right decision about AEDs. Again, their job is to make money, so why not try and sell you the most expensive equipment? Second, the rep will try and “upsell” you on items that you may not need. Everything from spare batteries, program management and pediatric pads will be offered to you during your call. Finally, don’t you want to buy your AED from someone who has real life experience using them? I can assure that is not likely the rep that you are talking to. This is why it is important to do you research before you call.
For example, I have a customer who is a financial services firm. When they first contacted me about their AED project, they said they wanted pediatric pads, as well as adult pads. Keeping in mind that they are an office, open 9-5 and only adults work there. I advised them that they don’t need pediatric pads because of the location of the AED in their adult filled office building. Not to mention I saved them $400 over the life of the machine in replacement pediatric pad costs.
MAP Pricing and AED Cost
Most AED manufacturers require that their distributors abide by something called MAP (minimum advertised price) pricing. Pricing that you will find on most internet retail sites, should be just about the same for AEDs due to the MAP pricing policies. MAP pricing keeps the competition fair for all and keeps small retailers such as me on a level playing field with pricing.
So you may be asking, “why do I as a consumer care about this?” Well, this info can be vey helpful when you are trying to compare “apples to apples” in your research. If company A, B and C have the same pricing for the same AED and company D has it for hundreds less, then there may be an issue with company D. My advice to you would be to stay away from company D, there is something fishy going on there. They may be substituting after market accessories for brand name products, which can lead to a bad situation for the buyer if something goes wrong during use of the equipment. Go through each item when shopping and comparing AED packages because different substitutions will be made on occasion and you may not know what you are getting.
For example, many Philips distributors will advertise a Philips HeartStart OnSite AED Package at MAP pricing; with a slim carry case instead of the standard carry case. The slim carry case kinda stinks because it cannot fit anything besides the AED in it. If you have pediatric pads, spare adult pads or perhaps a spare battery, they do not fit in this case. So keeping that in mind, if you ask the guy on the phone about the case, they will gladly “upgrade” the carry case for you at a cost. So MAP pricing is important for the consumer to understand because it makes the competition all look equal, but in reality it may not be equal when product substitutions are made.
Most AED retailers will bundle an AED and some accessories in to “packages”. Buying an AED this way is usually the most economical way, however it makes it complicated to do an “apples to apples” comparison because most companies will include different items in their packages. Please note that many items are included as “free” items in AED package deals. The retailer may list it as “free” to make the packages look bigger, with all that free stuff! Items such as owners’ manuals, warranties, carry cases, data cables and so on, are sometimes listed as “free”. The truth is, most of it comes with the AED anyway.
AED cabinets, wall signs, door stickers, inspection tags, prescriptions (if you need one) and AED tracking programs are all true “extras” and do not come with most AEDs. Take advantage of these items if they are included for free with the package.
AED In-service Training
So you have received your new AED in the mail, now what? Well, you have to make sure that the folks that are most likely to use it know how to operate it. It is not good practice for an organization to just buy the unit and not offer any type of follow up training on the unit they purchased. If an organization is adding a unit or two to their existing fleet of AEDs, they may not need any initial training. In contrast, if the new AED is going to a first time owner, then there is some initial training that needs to be done.
This training can be a 20-30 minute “show and tell” session to a formal 4-8 hours CPR/AED training class by a training company. Either way, there should be something offered. I offer the AED inservice training for free to my customers and if they are out of reasonable driving distance, I have online resources for them to view. Either way, it helps the customer understand what the AED does and how it works.
To Sum It All Up
There are many different AED retailers out there so do your homework and know your budget before you contact someone. Local retailers can generally offer much better service and can offer an onsite demonstration for you before you are ready to buy. Also, if pricing looks too good to be true, it probably is so make sure you compare apples to apples.