Whether you’re at home or on the job, a first aid kit is an essential safety item. These kits include the basic medical supplies you need to treat injuries and illnesses; they can also include supplies to help in an emergency situation until medical professionals arrive. In some cases, first aid kits are a matter of life or death — which is why it’s important to choose the right one.
Depending on the type of activities you do or the amount of people entrusted with your care, having a robust first aid kit might be essential. Buying specialized models designed for businesses or specific situations will mean that you'll have the right supplies on hand in case an emergency arises.
But with so many options to choose from, how do you make such an important decision? We’ve sifted through the numerous kits on the market to find our favorite models.
Best 5: First Aid Kits Review
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The Swiss Safe First Aid Kit is packed with all of the supplies you need to handle medical situations at home or in outdoor settings. It includes all of the basics, including bandages, cotton swabs, and gloves. To help you make the right decisions, the kit comes with an instruction manual to walk you through basic procedures.
In addition to everyday medical supplies, this Swiss Safe kit includes some supplies that can help you in a serious emergency. A large trauma pad offers extra absorbency and protection for serious cuts or large abrasions. A glow stick helps rescuers find you after a natural disaster or in a dark outdoor setting, and a whistle allows you to attract attention.
Each of the items in this first aid kit come in a bright red carrying case that’s easy spot in a closet or a drawer. The supplies are organized intuitively, so you can find what you need at a glance. The kit is small and lightweight for efficient storage in your office or at home. Weighing in at just 1.2 pounds, it even fits into a hiking backpack for extended outdoor expeditions.
As a bonus, this first aid kit also comes with a miniature bonus kit. The mini version includes 32 basic items, so you can slip it in your car or take it with you on family camping trips without adding extra weight.
This Be Smart Get Prepared TRI First Aid Kit is designed to take care of a large group of people. It exceeds the guidelines that OSHA and ANSI set for companies of 100 people. That means that if you’re creating a safety plan for a church, community organization, or a medium-sized business, this kit is a logical part of the system.
Inside the kit, you’ll find 326 individual pieces to clean, treat, and protect wounds. This includes antiseptic wipes, bandages, and painkillers. The kit also comes with tools such as scissors and finger splints.
When you’re dealing with the safety of large groups of people, quality is a key consideration. Each piece in this kit is FDA approved. It’s also made in an FDA-approved facility, so you can rest assured that it will keep your people safe when an emergency arises.
One of the most unique features of this kit is the case. Built from sturdy, dense plastic, the case is designed to stand up to bumps and impacts in the workplace — it’s ideal for industrial settings, office buildings, or warehouses. An airtight seal keeps dust and water out. The wall mount makes it easy to keep the case in a convenient location, and the tilting shelves help you find an item in seconds.
This Be Smart Get Prepared TRI First Aid Kit is designed for groups of up to 50 people. It comes with everything you need to take care of cuts, scrapes, and basic health issues. This kit is made to meet OSHA, ANSI, and ISEA standards for 50 people, so with a Be Smart you can easily stay compliant.
All of the medical supplies in this TRI kit come in a heavy-duty plastic case. A rubber gasket runs around the seal, keeping the contents dry and clean when the kit isn’t in use. With the included mounting bracket, you can mount the case on the wall in your office or break room, and accessing items when needed will be easy. To open it, simply slide the latch; between uses, the latch locks shut to keep the contents inside.
Designed for basic first aid, this kit comes with things you need for cuts and scrapes on the job. Clean wounds with antiseptic towelettes, use burn cream to treat basic heat injuries, and keep everything protected with bandages, gauze, and more.
If you spend time outside, then you know that accidents can happen. That’s where this Surviveware First Aid Kit can help. It’s designed specifically to help you treat injuries from active outdoor pursuits, including camping, hiking, and biking.
Along with the basics, such as bandages and alcohol wipes, the Surviveware kit comes with supplies for more serious emergencies. The CPR mask helps you administer mouth-to-mouth safely, which can save a life when you’re in the wild. An emergency blanket helps keep you warm, while a tourniquet can stop severe bleeding while you wait for help. Other outdoor-specific supplies include sting-relief wipes and a whistle.
All of these supplies come in a heavy-duty pouch that’s tiny and easy to carry. Constructed from 600D polyester, the kit is engineered to hold up to biking, hiking, heat, sweat, and anything else you can throw at it. The waterproof interior keeps out moisture, ensuring that your first aid supplies are safe on the water.
If you’ve ever been in an emergency setting, you know that it can be chaotic. We love that this Surviveware kit is organized carefully — that means that you can find supplies quickly when every second counts.
This Aootek First Aid Kit is designed with earthquakes in mind. It comes with the specialized supplies you need to survive if you’re injured or trapped due to an earthquake. Because it’s geared toward trauma first aid, this kit is also useful for boating, hiking, camping, and other potentially risky activities.
When an earthquake or a natural disaster strikes, it can cause downed telephone poles, exposed wires, and other hazards. That’s why this kit includes a combo set to help you free yourself from these items. Packed into one tool, you’ll find pliers, wire cutters, a saw blade, wood file, and even a file. That way, you can cut through a variety of building materials.
This kit also includes the supplies you need for survival, such as fishing line, a compass, and a flashlight. If you’re ever trapped outdoors or in an area without heat, the included fire starter helps you get a flame going even in wet conditions. Naturally, the kit also has medical basis, such as bandages and antiseptics to prevent infections.
All of these supplies come packed into a surprisingly small kit. In fact, the entire thing is compact enough to go into your car, backpack, or boat during expeditions.
Things to Consider When Buying a First Aid Kit
With hundreds or thousands of first aid kits on the market, it can be difficult to figure out how to start narrowing down your options. To start, consider these factors that affect the efficiency and usefulness of a kit.
Purpose and Specialty
Your first step in selecting a first aid kit should be to check its purpose. If you need a basic kit for home or for the car, look for a general-use first aid kit. For more specialized settings, such as an industrial workplace or an outdoor adventure, look for kits that are targeted to your specific activity.
For example, outdoor survival kits often come with an emergency blanket and a tourniquet, both things that can keep you alive in an emergency setting. By picking a purpose-built kit, you can rest assured that you have the supplies you need.
The supplies that come in a first aid kit are the most important part. To start, check the basics. Does the kit include bandages and gauze? Does it come with wound cleaners and antiseptic ointments to stave off infections? It’s also a good idea to find a kit with painkillers and the basic tools you need to use the supplies, such as medical scissors and medical tape.
Number of Supported Users
Most first aid kits are designed to support a specific number of people. It’s important to choose a model that fits your intended group. If you’re outfitting your house, make sure to choose a kit with enough supplies for your immediate family and a few guests. For the office, stay OSHA compliant by picking kits that exceed your number of employees.
The items in your first aid kit are only as good as the case they come in. If the case isn't high-quality, it can compromise the supplies. Look for durable, water-resistant cases.
In an emergency situation, a first aid kit can help save a life. That’s why it’s crucial to check the quality of each item. Are the gauze and bandages medical grade? If there are medicines, are they approved by the FDA?
Best first aid kit
While each of these kits is designed to help you in an emergency, our favorite model is the Swiss Safe kit for its comprehensive contents.
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For individual use, especially if you’re an outdoor adventurer, we recommend the Surviveware kit for its carefully tailored contents and thoughtful organization.
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Whether you’re buying a kit for home, work, or travel, check out the Swiss Safe kit and Surviveware kit today!
Commonly Asked Questions
What are some items you will find in a first aid kit?
Depending on the size of the kit, there are plenty of things that you can find that are considered standard items. These include but are not limited to bandaids, gauze, ice packs, ointments and creams, tweezers, pain relievers, antiseptic wipes and solutions, lotion, latex gloves, scissors, CPR mouthpiece, emergency blanket, flashlight with extra batteries, and a thermometer.
The larger the first aid kit, the more items that will be included.
What size first aid kit is right for you?
It will depend on the situation. If you are just going for a weekend in the woods, then a small first aid kit that will contain as many as 20 items will be sufficient. A larger first aid kit will likely be useful if you are on a road trip or camping with a some friends or family. First responders will also benefit from a large first aid kit since they will likely show up at the scene and tend to those who need medical attention before help arrives.
Even though a first aid kit is an essential EDC item, it’s always a good idea to carry it around no matter what the size. A simple individual first aid kit will be perfect if it’s just you. However, a larger first aid kit will be great for prepping if you have a small family. The items might be enough to treat your own injuries as well as injuries that are inflicted on your spouse or children.
What is EDC?
EDC stands for Everyday Carry. In other words, these are survival tools that you can use every day or have available on stand by 24 hours a day in case you need them. The first aid kit is a prime example of an EDC tool. While the items won’t be used on a daily basis, having it nearby around the clock will prepare you for any kind of cuts, scrapes, bruises, or any kind of injury that requires immediate attention.
An EDC tool is essential for survivalists, preppers, first responders, and those who keep it nearby for the sake of “Just in case”. Other EDC tools include but are not limited to flashlights, knives, concealable firearms, ponchos, and others. You do not have to be a survivalist or a prepper in order to carry some EDC tools.
Is it cheaper to make a first aid kit rather than purchase one?
If you feel that it is necessary to make a first aid kit, then you will have the luxury of building one yourself. In fact, it is proven to be the most cost-effective option compared to purchasing a full first aid kit outright. If you plan on building a first aid kit from scratch, it’s important to compile a checklist together to ensure that you are packing the right materials for when you need them most.
If you are building a first aid kit from scratch, it’s important to know which items should not be left out on the list. Here are some of the things that are highly recommended that you add in your first aid kit: Gloves, bandaids of various sizes, gauze, Ace bandages with splints or clips, Advil or Tylenol (ibuprofen or acetaminophen), rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, burn ointment, antiseptic cream (like Neosporin), calamine lotion, bug bite stick, flashlight, emergency blanket, a CPR mouthpiece, scissors, and tweezers.
It’s always a smart idea to purchase multiples of almost any item. Because one of each will never be enough since you’ll be using it for the long term. Your first aid kit should be a good enough size for only one person. However, if you want to build a larger first aid kit for your own family you can do that as well.
Another thing to consider is budget. The larger the first aid kit, the bigger the budget. If needed, consider generic brands like Equate or any kind of brand-centric generics distributed by retailers like Dollar General, Rite-Aid, Walgreens, etc. The same can be said for antiseptics, medications, ointments, creams, and others. They are made mostly from the same ingredients, but the brand name is pretty much the difference.
What are the ABCs of first aid?
The ABC of first aid stands for the following: Airway, breathing, and circulation. If none of those are present, you’ll need to administer CPR immediately. That’s because the patient should be breathing and their heart should be beating. If you need to perform CPR, you need to make sure that the person is laid flat on the ground and their head is positioned to where the airway is not being blocked or obstructed.
As for performing CPR, 15 chest compressions for adults and five for children. The rhythm should be on the pace of a 100 beats per minute heart rate. As a pro-tip, listen to the beat of the song “Stayin’ Alive” (no pun intended). While listening to the song, follow the beat and do practice compressions with a flat surface. Alternatively, if you have a CPR doll nearby, that will also be a good option to practice your chest compressions.
Should I take a CPR course?
Yes. In fact, it would be a great idea to take a course on first aid and CPR. Your local Red Cross chapter should have something available to where you can learn the basics. Be sure to contact them and ask questions as to when the next class will be. Most of these classes will award you with certifications. Performing first aid and CPR will not only be essential skills that you’ll need to learn, but they’ll also come in handy just in case the opportunity to save someone’s life arises.
These skills are a must for anyone. Because your likelihood of survival will depend on whether or not you are prepared for any kind of first aid emergency. Learn what you need to know so you are prepared for action in case you or someone is in need of medical attention.
Check these things up front; then, when you receive the kit, go through each item to check for quality. Make sure that the packaging is intact, particularly when it comes to bandages and gauze. This helps keep bacteria out while the kit is in storage.
In an emergency situation, a great first aid kit can save a life. With a little bit of research, you can choose the best kit for your environment.