If you’re thinking about implementing an AED program or looking for potential cost-saving measures for an existing program, you may have wondered about whether a rechargeable battery would make sense. Great question!
The short answer is that rechargeable batteries make more sense for paramedics, EMTs, or other medical professionals to use. For the non-professional or in a setting like an office where the AED doesn’t get regular use, a non-rechargeable, long-life lithium battery is the better option. Let’s look at some of the considerations for both types of battery.
Lifespan: Non-rechargeable lithium batteries generally have a useful life of four to five years in standby mode. “Standby mode” is when the AED is ready for use and the only drain on the battery is from the AED performing its daily, weekly, or monthly self-tests.
Maintenance: These batteries are also low maintenance (or no maintenance) when compared to rechargeable AED batteries. You place the battery in the AED and it’s ready for service for the next several years.
Cost: AED batteries range from $149 to $398, depending on the model and manufacturer.
Lifespan: Replacement every two years is not uncommon. Most AEDs will alert you when the battery needs to be replaced.
Charging time: Charging time for the various models can be anywhere from two hours to 10 hours (depending on which AED you have), and while the battery is charging it is not in the AED. Unless you have multiple batteries, this means your AED is not in service.
Charging frequency: Rechargeable AED batteries need to be recharged often, at least monthly in most cases. Rechargeable batteries need to be changed every two or three years or after a finite number of charging cycles.
Cost: The cost of the battery by itself is nearly identical to a comparable non-rechargeable battery, but when you’re using a rechargeable battery, you don’t need just the battery. To operate safely, you need:
- Charging station: This is not included with the battery. It’s an extra expense, ranging from $155 for a Cardiac Science Powerheart G3 Pro RECHARGEABLE Battery Charger to $2275 for the ZOLL SurePower Charge Station.
- Extra battery: While not technically necessary, a second battery is highly recommended because a charging battery is out of commission and unavailable for use until it is charged. If you don’t have a second battery to alternate, you effectively don’t have an AED while your battery is charging (remember, charging takes between two and 10 hours).
Maintenance and Use
The rechargeable battery is more often found in the realm of the professional rescuer, where the AED is in a high-usage environment. Recharging is more practical and efficient than regularly replacing a non-rechargeable battery, which might happen as often as on a monthly basis if an AED was being used daily.
Professional responders also possess the diligence to ensure the batteries are being recharged regularly and are always ready for use. Maintaining the readiness of their equipment is an essential part of the job, but is definitely not the case for a lay user. How many times have you gone to use one of your infrequently used electronic devices, only to find the batteries have drained?
Most lay users will find keeping a schedule of charging AED batteries is tedious or they may not realize its importance. It’s necessary for the AED to be ready for use when needed. Having an AED with a non-rechargeable battery, which only requires occasional maintenance like replacing electrode pads and the battery every couple of years, and otherwise requires little consideration at all, is surely preferable in a low-usage environment.
The Bottom Line
We recommend the rechargeable battery option for professionals, where the AED is used often, either in multiple rescues or patient monitoring. For non-medical infrequent usage, non-rechargeable batteries are the way to go. When choosing a battery, please consider the environment in which your AED will be deployed. Take into account the various factors involved in maintaining your AED.
Remember: High usage, high maintenance. Low usage, low maintenance.
Need to pick up a replacement battery? AED Superstore has both rechargeable and non-rechargeable replacement batteries for all AEDs with fast, free shipping on orders $99 and over!