Creative. Innovative. Practical. All words that came to mind when we examined the ZOLL AED Plus. It was an effort in itself just finding even the most diminutive of flaws. We were pleased to find that we failed in finding any faults of significant importance in this product. All that really stood out was that the ZOLL AED Plus might not be the most financially efficient for those who would use an AED often. This particular AED is really designed to be used easily by somebody with not so much experience.

Nevertheless, even the most highly trained officials can panic under pressure and the ZOLL AED Plus offers them the support they need. It doesn't matter what your profession is there are always times when you may feel a level of pressure. You could be a bingo caller and sometimes feel the strain when calling for Games of Bingo or you could be a vet and feel stressed during important surgery. Therefore it is really essential, particularly in the medical profession to have equipment that will help you keep calm and perform properly. The ZOLL AED Plus does thisIt can also be configured to skip certain steps if an ALS responder is the primary user of the unit, which can save precious seconds.

The biggest issues with ZOLL’s units don’t really relate to the product itself but more with the company’s transition from distributing to hospitals to distributing to the public. ZOLL’s previous conservative credit terms and rigid attitude from within the organization when communicating with distributors by January 2004 seem to have work itself out.

However, distributors still have significant restrictions in distributing to police, fire and EMS; due to direct sales initiatives and such restrictions are getting worse with Zoll's attempts to build a big internal sales staff while Cardiac Science and other manufacturers are cutting back internal efforts and expanding their distributor network.

What they don't seem to understand is that it is impossible to build a big distribution network and and internal sales network at the same time. Another issue with Zoll is that although they sell the most sophisticated Hospital Grade Defibrillator-Zoll M Series (the kind with paddles that requires a paramedic, nurse or physician to operate), they refuse to sell through distributors.

Because of this they are quickly losing market share to competitors who see the opportunity like Cardiac Science who is coming to market with their own Hospital Grade Defibrillator and are selling through distributors.

We know of one Zoll AED distributor that turns away hundreds of potential sales per month because they don't have product to sell and with the increase in Community Based Heath Initiatives with clinics, surgical centers and nurse practitioner staffing; the need for Hospital Grade Defibrillators is increasing dramatically.

If Zoll were to market it's M Series through current distributors we imagine that sales would increase 30% in the first year for the M Series. Since it is the medical professionals that also advise the community on which type of AED to purchase with increased saturation of the M Series (probably the most sophisticated Hospital Grade Defibrillator on the market); the AED Plus would significantly benefit from the exposure, since it uses the same technology.

ZOLL’s AED gets 1st Place Award
from Product Design and Development
& “Best Rated AED”

ZOLL seems to have employed the same thorough approach to building an AED as they put into building their M-Series which has been the leader in defibrillators in use in the best teaching hospitals around the world. ZOLL conducted intensive focus studies among EMS personnel prior to launching its AED product.

The ZOLL’s AED Plus has more unique features then any of the other AED's we evaluated. The most impressive of these features are those that focus on the CPR portion of resuscitating a patient. ZOLL provides a step-by-step prompt, guiding its user through the CPR process.

The lid of the AED double-acts as a head tilt chin lift, opening the patient’s airway while the resuscitation process is in effect. Most inexperienced users are too timid while performing the chest compressions of CPR. The ZOLL AED Plus has a CPR puck strategically placed between the convenient one piece electrodes that provides constant feedback to the rescuer on compression depth and rate.

The AED Plus provides you with audio reassurance that the compression depth being applied is sufficient or if you need to “Push Harder.” The AED Plus also provides the rescuer with an adaptive metronome which gradually increases speed to bring the rescuer up to the proper amount of compressions per minute.

The one piece electrode system; which fits 99% of patients helps the user to avoid misplacing the electrode pads and can be adapted by pulling the pin on the apex electrode and placing appropriately on the larger patient.

ZOLL’s One Piece Pad System Coaches Rescuer through CPR Compressions

There are many more advantages to using the ZOLL AED Plus. The picture instruction prompt coincides with the audio prompt making it accessible for use to the hearing impaired or those who are having trouble hearing due to loud noises and commotion which usually comes hand and hand with emergency.

The user friendly device uses consumer type 123 lithium batteries. This makes it possible to buy new batteries at a fraction of the price of ZOLL’s competitors. The battery system only uses half the batteries it has stored so if something goes wrong with a few of them, there are backups already in place.

Among the most impressive of qualities was the creative design of the electrode pads. Not only the extremely efficient one piece design, but the easy pull system which was the only pads that could be readied for use extremely fast without fumbling with the adhesive gel on the pads.

It’s because of ZOLL’s extensive and careful planning and out of the box thinking that won them an award from a well respected medical review organization that totally flipped out when we disclosed their findings on our site (we had to remove their name).

Needless to say as a result of our studies, we also rank the ZOLL AED Plus to be the all around best AED on the market. ZOLL prevails in the areas of user friendliness, reasonable pricing, safety and effort towards improvement.

PASS Cover Slides under Shoulders of Patient to create Patent Airway


Individually Installed Consumer Batteries Creates Significant
Redundancy for defective batteries in Water Tight Sealed Compartment

We hope in the future to see software upgrades that include a built in training feature to the live unit; that automatically detects training pads allowing consumers to not invest in separate training unit; a few different color choices so we can match the unit to our office decor; a backpack carrier; a car trunk mount.



It seems obvious that an essential search to purchase an Automated External Defibrillator should be among the viable contenders and that could only include the manufacturers that are adequately financed to assume all the responsibilities associated with manufacturing a medical device. Although attractively priced HeartSine’s Samaritan AED and Access CardioSystem’s AED can not seriously be considered because they just don’t have the money to play in the game.

Welch Allyn; ZOLL AED, Cardiac Science and Philips Corporation all have fairly deep pockets and in our opinion manufacture high quality AED units. However, there scaled down consumer models in the $1300-$2000 range have some very obvious short comings. We do NOT like ANY of the @ home models we've reviewed; stick with the more reliable public access models. But for the consumers who simply want to comply with local protocol without regard to the obvious liability of using a unit that might not function on a snowy sidewalk or survive a fall from 3 feet; these units will suffice.

Some units comply with requirement to have an AED

Of these manufacturers one manufacturer clearly stands out in the crowd; ZOLL Medical. Although we had concerns about consumers getting product in a timely fashion because of restrictive credit terms Gestapo collection techniques placed upon distributors; they seem to have rectified this issue as of January 2004. concerns with not making M series available through distributors seems to be more of a internal management turf issue not at all related to product quality--hopefully internal distribution issues does not interfere with product production and quality control in the future- we'll keep our eyes open.

Our research indicates that ZOLL conducted extensive research utilizing 1 ½ years of focus studies where senior management interviewed countless professionals in EMS, Police & Fire whom had used AED’s in a professional setting and had concerns. ZOLL not only listened to these concerns but integrated a response to these concerns in their ZOLL AED Plus unit, it was about time that someone listened.

Concerns that professionals had were as follows:

a) PAD PLACEMENT—incorrect pad placement by 1st Responders—ZOLL created “one piece pads” eliminating incorrect pad placement and pads sticking to rescuer’s gloved hands. While teach AED use in one of my recent classes I noticed that many students put two piece pads in the wrong place even through they were clearly marked (I guess they were nervous---caught up in the moment-perhaps not too different from a real life situation? ZOLL also rocked the industry by creating the longest life pads—4 years;

b) CPR COMPRESSIONS—disturbing confusion exhibited by just about all first time 1st Responders that performed CPR (ribs separating from sternum)—ZOLL introduced “Compression Puck” that measures depth and rate of CPR compressions and provides verbal feedback and assurance that CPR is performed correctly;

c) PATENT AIRWAY—patients suffocating after heart is revived by improper or no airway management by 1st Responders—ZOLL created the “PASS” (Passive Airway Support System) for their unit, which utilizes the unit’s cover to slide under the patient’s shoulder blades, thus creating a patent airway;

d) WATER RESISTANCE Although NO known accidents have occurred where a unit got wet and caused a fire to start or a rescuer to be injured or killed, it was an accident waiting to happen by the fact that NO AED manufacturer provided protection for rescuer’s by incorporating significant water resistance—ZOLL rather than wait for the inevitable and demonstrate the industry’s norm of willful ignorance integrated by far the most resistance AED to water;

e) HEARING IMPAIRED—where an elderly person attempted to utilize an AED on a mate or fellow patient they were frequently hard of hearing and misunderstood the voice prompts—ZOLL integrated illuminated pictures for each portion of the rescue that guide children, the hard of hearing and the elderly on proper use of their AED;

f) PEDIATRIC PADS—although it almost never happens that an infant develops Sudden Cardiac Arrest as a result of anything but obstructed airway in which case the airway must be cleared before reviving the heart, many politically minded companies utilizing scare tactics rushed to the table and offering Pediatric Pads for an AED. In fact the American Heart Association’s position on CPR instructors teaching AED use on an infant “optional”.

We find selecting an AED to use on infants ridiculous, of the EMS and emergency nursing staff interviewed none thought an AED purchase for use on an infant was warranted. However, with that in mind all the manufacturers are addressing the political issue of pediatric pads. The position that most manufacturers have taken is that since the unit would most likely not be used on an infant not much money would be invested in development; therefore the only modification we were able to determine was that the amount of joules administered to the patient was decreased by using a resister.

This may seem like a viable alternative but in the rare case of an infant actually needing a defibrillator from an extreme fall or electric shock such an alternative of limiting the joules might seem like a viable option but when interviewing ZOLL’s employees we discovered the obvious; that infants have different body composition than adults and require not only less joules but a different wave form specifically developed for infant’s muscle, tissue and bone density—ZOLL’s pediatric pads (expected January 2004) are the only pads to address the infant’s unique body structure.

g) MONOPHASIC vs BIPHASIC—when defibrillation started 500 joules was the standard; folks quickly discovered that stopping the heart from quivering was only part of the problem-- keeping the patient alive after successfully defibrillating the heart was a greater concern; with that in mind folks discovered that few survived shocks of greater than 360 joules.

In recent years it was discovered that changing to biphasic would enable the majority of patients to actually survive with energy levels not exceeding 200 joules. Personally I go with what the guys who have much more experience in these areas than I do; Harvard University recently switched to Zoll's Biphasic AED. It is kind of like cooking... Everyone knows that if you turn up the heat things cook quickly.. Keep your eye on the ball.

h) UPDATING OPERATING SYSTEM—every AED utilizes complex computerized operating systems. When Windows 95 was developed everyone was certain that no future systems would be needed; and then came Windows 98; then came Windows 2000; then came Windows ME; then came Windows XP. Zoll's is the only operating system that we know of that allows a user to update it. Maybe not a big deal—but if the American Heart Association decides that every AED should give it's first shock at 50 joules and continue on from there—every unit would need to be retrofitted by it's manufacturer—except Zoll's. If you ever needed to reload Windows operating system, download patches or updated drivers; you'll understand the importance of being able to update your AED.

i) CONSUMER BATTERIES vs. MEDICAL BATTERIES—where batteries sometimes died unexpectedly by being exposed to extreme temperatures and moisture, rescuers were at the mercy of the AED companies for proprietary batteries and forced to stock multiple high priced batteries ($195.00 - $350.00)—ZOLL integrated consumer lithium batteries manufactured by companies that actually know what they are doing. ZOLL’s unit utilizes 10 separately installed consumer batteries that provide tremendous redundancy because up to 5 batteries can die and the unit still remains functional.

The cost of replacement batteries for ZOLL’s unit when searching the Internet was just $25 for all ten batteries. It used to be that "Medical" batteries were much much better than any consumer battery but with the advent and proliferation of digital cameras—this is no longer the case, no one makes a better battery than a consumer lithium battery;

Not only did ZOLL make considerable improvements to the units on the market they changed the playing field, they did so by introducing a product that was approximately $1000 less than competitive models.

The other manufacturers have begun to respond with Philips developing a one-piece pad system (due to market 2nd quarter 2004) and manufacturers developing a consumer model that is a scaled down version of their EMS model but none seems to be able to deliver the same bang for the buck that ZOLL has.

This is all good. It seems that Zoll has set the standard for AED development and we look forward to the response by other manufacturers in the 2nd quarter of 2004.

NEW STUDY BY HARVARD UNIVERSITY Rates Zoll's AED Easiest to use by lay rescuers.

Zoll AED Plus Packages:

Consumer Batteries


Water Tight Seal

One Piece Pads


Zoll AED Specifics:

Picture the Entire Rescue in One Device
When sudden collapse occurs, successful resuscitation involves far more than pushing a button to deliver a shock. Rescuers must recall all their training to save a life. That's why rescuers want more than just a defibrillator. From ABC assessment to defibrillation and CPR, the ZOLL AED Plus is the first and only AED that guides rescuers through the entire rescue process.

A Complete Resuscitation Roadmap
A picture is worth a thousand words, so the ZOLL AED Plus uses a brilliant new graphical/voice user interface to help the rescuer every step of the way. It's a confidence-building coach at a moment of critical importance, helping the rescuer do the most important things, and do them well.

Audio and Visual Coaching
The AED Plus's CPR Feedback is unique. Audio and visual cues help prevent the two most common errors of CPR: inadequate depth and inadequate rate.The AED Plus delivers voice prompts like "press harder" or "good compression" while its adaptive metronome leads the rescuer to the recommended 100 compression-per-minute rate.

An Electrode Pad with a Sensitive Side
The world's only one-piece electrode pads (CPR-D Padz) eliminate placement mistakes. Only the ZOLL AED Plus helps the rescuer perform CPR. A sensor on the CPR-D Padz tracks the rescuer's compression depth and rate as soon as CPR begins.

Long-lasting Consumer Batteries for Convenience and Savings
The ZOLL AED Plus runs on inexpensive, consumer "retail" lithium batteries. On average, batteries will provide thirty shocks after two years of automatic self tests.

For all the features that set it apart from other AEDs, the ZOLL AED Plus hasn't sacrificed any of the hallmarks of ZOLL durability, advanced technology, quality and value.

The AED Plus is Fully Configurable
From ECG all the way to the sequences of the user interface.