Semi-Automatic AED or Fully Automatic AED: Which Should you Choose?

If you are considering investing in an AED (Automated External Defibrillator), then congratulations on making the decision to help save lives.  Only 1 in 10 people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest but with an AED close by, and the right training, this figure can be dramatically improved.

You may be wondering whether to purchase a semi-automatic or fully automatic AED, so we’ve combined some useful information to help you decide which defibrillator would be best for your facility.

An AED is a portable electronic device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to restore the normal rhythm when a victim has gone into sudden cardiac arrest.  There are two types of devices available – semi automatic AEDs and fully automatic AEDs.

Whilst both models will analyse the victim’s heart rhythm and determine whether a shock is required, the difference lies in the functionality.  Semi-automatic AEDs will ask the rescuer to press a button to deliver a shock to the victim, thus leaving it up to them to actually deliver the treatment.  Fully automatic AEDs, on the other hand, automate this entire process and will deliver the shock automatically.

Semi-Automatic Vs Fully Automatic AED



Semi-Automatic AED Fully Automatic AED
  • Clear concise instructions throughout the process
  • More control over when shock is delivered
  • Clear concise instructions throughout the process
  • Even a hesitant rescuer can use the AED as they are not required to push a shock button
  • Rescuer is relied upon to press the shock button and may not be able to do so if they are treating a loved one or are in a state of shock
  • Rescuer will need to ensure no-one else is touching the patient or holding their hand before shocks are delivered

When deciding between a semi or fully automatic AED you will need to think about all of the people who may potentially need to use the defibrillator – will they stay cool, calm and collected and be able to push the shock button when required or will they (understandably) panic under the pressure of literally having someone’s life in their hands?

At the end of the day, the fact that you are considering investing in an AED already puts you ahead when it comes to saving lives, so if you need more help in making the decision between semi and fully automatic defibrillators please speak to us today on 01543 372888 or email us at