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Best first-aid kit

Which first-aid kits are best?

Accidents and emergencies occur without warning, which is why having a well-stocked first-aid kit is the first step toward being prepared. A proper first-aid kit can come in handy in a number of situations, from addressing minor cuts and scrapes at home to burns, bites and stings while out camping.

Every scenario is slightly different, but for those searching for a large variety of bandages, medications and medical equipment, the First Aid Only SmartCompliance Cabinet is an excellent choice. Some first-aid kits come without sterile gloves, so for protection, add a pair or two to any kit you purchase that doesn’t come with gloves.

What to know before you buy a first-aid kit

Decide whether you need an all-purpose option or one catered to a specific activity. 


Basic first-aid kit

Most people are familiar with this type of standard first-aid kit designed for use at home or for everyday activities. Most basic first-aid kits include bandages, pain and allergy medications, assorted ointments, antiseptics, ice packs and sometimes a few simple tools. 

Commercial first-aid kit

A commercial option is designed for use within a workplace. This often means a larger kit with slightly different equipment and items depending on employee numbers and required regulations. While you’ll likely find many of the same items as in an at-home first-aid kit, a commercial kit is more likely to have items such as gauze pads, blankets, splints and wraps, gloves, resuscitation equipment and masks.

Travel first-aid kit

For anyone on the go, a compact travel first-aid kit is a must-have. These first-aid kits usually consist of the items found in a basic kit, but usually in reduced quantity for space-saving reasons.

Outdoor/camping first-aid kit

When spending prolonged time outdoors, bring an outdoor-specific first-aid kit. These often are smaller and lightweight to fit in a pack and may sport waterproof cases. An outdoor first-aid kit may include additional items such as a whistle, fire starter, compass and insect bite/sting medication.

Sports first-aid kit

Athletes are more likely to be injured when playing contact sports or heavily exerting themselves, which is why sports first-aid kits usually include splints, wraps, athletic tape, cold compresses and pain relievers.


At-home kits likely won’t need to be overly compact or lightweight, but those needing to carry their first-aid kit in a bag, suitcase or backpack will want to pay attention to the overall dimensions and weight of the kit.

What to look for in a quality first-aid kit

Carrying case

The best first-aid kits feature a convenient and easy-to-carry case or pouch. Look for options that have a quality seal and closure method to prevent the contents from falling out or being damaged during travel.

Durability and waterproofness

Depending on the environment in which you intend to use your first-aid kit, you may want a model that has a waterproof casing. This keeps the contents dry and protected.

Organizational compartments

The best first-aid kit includes individual interior compartments or pockets designed for specific items. This feature is extremely important for keeping medications, bandages and protective equipment well organized and easy to access in the case of an emergency.

Instructional guide 

Having a guide to refer to in certain situations will help ensure you are using any medications and equipment properly and safely.

How much you can expect to spend on a first-aid kit 

Premade at-home first-aid kits are likely to cost between $10-$50, with activity specific options sometimes ranging up to $100. Large-capacity or specialized kits can cost up to $200.

First-aid kit FAQ

Do first-aid kits expire?

A. While the first-aid kit itself does not expire, many of the contents, such as certain medications and ointments, will have an expiration date. Always replace any outdated or expired items to ensure their effectiveness.

Can you make your own first-aid kit? 

A. Yes. You can make your own personal first-aid kit tailored to your specific needs. Choosing a premade first-aid kit then customizing it to your needs sometimes helps save you time by providing a solid base from which to begin.

What are the best first-aid kits to buy?

Top first-aid kit

First Aid Only 50-Person SmartCompliance First Aid Cabinet

What you need to know: This well-stocked first-aid kit is a customer favorite due to its wide variety of equipment and supplies.

What you’ll love: Being OSHA compliant makes this a great option for workplaces. The cabinet design is easily mountable on the wall for quick access. The SmartTab refill system is simple to restock as needed.

What you should consider: This may be overkill as a home first-aid kit.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top first-aid kit for the money

Coleman 205-Piece Expedition First-Aid Kit

What you need to know: You can use this all-purpose budget-friendly first-aid kit for camping or at home.

What you’ll love: The durable carrying case keeps all items safe and organized, while the lightweight design makes it easy to take on longer camping trips or outdoor expeditions. Many of the contents are hospital-grade quality.

What you should consider: The selection of basic emergency items is somewhat lacking.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Adventure Medical Kits Easy Care Sportsman Bighorn

What you need to know: The Bighorn series first-aid kit is ideal for a group of people spending time in remote areas.

What you’ll love: The included trauma kit and more advanced tools can help in more serious emergency situations. It also includes a wilderness and travel medical guide for up-to-date survival instructions.

What you should consider: As a whole, the kit is slightly smaller than it appears online.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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