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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 92 Models Considered
  • 9 Hours Spent
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 132 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.


    Shopping Guide for Best First Aid Kits

    Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, and it’s better to be prepared than to find yourself scrambling around for a bandage or disinfectant. Everyone should own a first aid kit and have it on hand to deal with minor incidents that don’t require a trip to the emergency room.

    The possible scenarios in which you could use a first aid kit are virtually endless. If you’re camping and get too close to the fire, a first aid kit can supply the ointment and bandaging you need. If you’re building a new deck and get a bad splinter, the tweezers in your first aid kit can help lift it out in a jiffy. A first aid kit is meant to be used to treat minor cuts, abrasions, and burns. However, you should not rely on a first aid kit to handle more severe injuries.

    At BestReviews, we looked into numerous first aid kits in order to help our readers find the very best. We interviewed expert Amy Horton, outdoor enthusiast and backpacking guide, about her experiences with first aid kits to help inform this guide. Below, you’ll find helpful information that will point you in the right direction as you shop.

    At the top of this page, you’ll find a summary of the five first aid kits we think are the best. Because we never take free samples or other items from manufacturers, you can relax in the fact that our recommendations are free of bias. Because the truth is, everyone should have a first aid kit in their home and workplace. If you travel frequently, you should have one in your car or suitcase, too.

    Consider taking a first aid training course to ensure you’re prepared and ready to use your first aid kit if the need should strike.

    Types of First Aid Kits

    Variations

    Basic First Aid Kits

    A basic first aid kit includes the essentials. This type of kit is readily available for purchase and is usually intended for home use. Basic kits vary in size. A larger family should definitely opt for a bigger kit. Examples of what you might find in a basic first aid include the following.

    • Antiseptic

    • Ice packs/heat packs

    • Bandages and gauze

    • Tools (tweezers, scissors)

    • Medications (Tylenol, personal prescriptions)

    Some people may prefer to select their own items to create a homemade first aid kit. Doing so is usually less economical than buying a ready-made kit, but end cost will depend on your specific needs and items included.

    Variations

    Travel First Aid Kits

    A travel first aid kit is a compact kit designed to fit in a bag, backpack, or suitcase for folks on the go. Tools included are often smaller than those in a basic first aid, kit but the contents are essentially the same.

    Make sure your first aid kit is easy to access. In an emergency, you don’t want to be tearing through cabinets trying to find it.

    Variations

    Commercial First Aid Kits

    A commercial first aid kit is larger than an at-home kit. It’s meant to be used in an office or other workplace setting and includes enough supplies for multiple users. There are regulations that vary from country to country and state to state regarding first aid kits in the workplace. In the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists minimal requirements for workplace first aid kits. The number of items varies depending on the number of employees. Some specific examples of required contents include the following.

    • Latex gloves

    • Splint

    • Resuscitation equipment

    • Antiseptic

    • Gauze

    Avoid storing your first aid kit in your bathroom; the environment gets too humid in there. Opt to store it in your kitchen instead.

    Variations

    Outdoor-Specific First Aid Kits

    While there are a wide variety of outdoor-oriented first aid kits available, they all have one thing in common: they feature specific items that would only be used for first aid in the wild. Examples of what you might find in an outdoor-specific first aid kit include the following.

    • Allergy medication

    • Insect bite medication

    • Various emergency supplies (fire starter, whistle)

    Some outdoor-specific first aid kits also contain useful survival gear such as foil blankets, matches, and water purification tablets.

    Variations

    Sports-Specific First Aid Kits

    A sports-specific first aid kit is designed to treat sports injuries. A physical therapist who is on the scene at a sports game may carry a sports-specific first aid kit for this reason. Examples of what you might find in a sports-specific first aid kit are as follows.

    • Splints

    • Gloves

    • Emergency blanket

    • Cold compress

    • Analgesics
       

    Amy, our expert consultant, explains that it’s important to evaluate your specific needs before deciding on a particular first aid kit. Ask yourself how many people you need supplies for. This is particularly important for outdoor settings where you won’t have the opportunity to restock materials. Do you need a kit for hiking or backpacking? You’ll likely require different items than those traditionally found inside a basic first aid kit. Where do you intend to keep your first aid kit? If it’s for home use, a kit with the essentials should suffice.

    EXPERT TIP

    First aid kits aren’t just for people in homes and cars. Backpackers, campers, and other outdoor buffs should carry a first aid kit in case of emergency, too.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    First Aid Kit Features

    In addition to the contents, what should you look for in a first aid kit? Here are some features to pay attention to as you shop.

    Features

    Weight and Size

    For home use, the weight and size of your first aid kit probably won’t matter – unless you have very limited space in which to store it. Weight and size matter a whole lot more if you plan to take the first aid kit backpacking or on a trip. For those scenarios, the first aid kit you select should be light enough to easily transport and small enough to fit inside a suitcase or backpack.

    Many larger first aid kits come with smaller zippered pouches that can be taken on shorter trips and day hikes. Instead of bringing your whole kit, which has enough supplies for a family, you could bring along the right amount of stuff for your solo or couples adventure.

    Features

    Waterproofing

    Do you need a first aid kit that’s waterproof? Amy explains that some kits are designed specifically to be watertight and airtight. If you’re heading outdoors and could potentially get caught in a rainstorm or other wet conditions, this is a feature to consider.

    Features

    Compartments

    Many first aid kits are outfitted with compartments to help with organization. Separating materials from one another makes it easier to grab the necessary tools in an emergency.  If a box is filled with jumbled materials, it might take longer to locate the proper items in a hurry.

    Is your new first aid kit unlabeled? Take the time to label the compartments and items yourself. Broad categories might include “Dressings,” “Burn Treatment,” and “Wound Treatment.”

    Features

    Labelling

    Some kits feature helpful labels on materials and tools so you can quickly identify what you need.

    Features

    Reflective Trim

    Amy tells us that some first aid kits are designed to be easy to find at night or in low-light conditions thanks to reflective trim. The trim makes the kit easy to spot if you need access to materials in the dark.

    If you’re not very savvy with first aid skills, it can be helpful to purchase a kit that has a manual included.

    Features

    Instruction Manual

    Some first aid kits come with written first aid instructions and information. A manual is helpful if you’re unsure of your first aid skills, and it can help refresh your memory if you already have some basic knowledge.

    First Aid Kit Prices

    The cost of a pre-assembled first aid kit could be as low as $10 or as high as $200+.

    Price Range

    Under $50

    Pre-assembled first aid kits for home use typically cost under $50. The cost varies according to the number of materials included in the kit. Basic low-cost kits are easy to find and suit the needs of the majority of users.

    Price Range

    Under $100

    Outdoor-specific kits tend to be a bit pricier because they contain more specialized first aid materials. Cost also varies per the size of the kit in question.

    Price Range

    Under $200

    The more people a first aid kit can serve, the more expensive it will likely be. Kits that are waterproof and kits that include specialized tools (CPR materials, stethoscope, forceps) or emergency preparedness supplies will also fetch a higher price.

    Remember to restock your first aid kit when necessary. It’s a good idea to replace an item as soon as you use it.

    FAQ

    Q. I have diabetes/allergies/asthma. Do I need to include my medication in my first aid kit?
    A.
    It’s a good idea to have an extra prescription in your first aid kit, especially in an adventure or travel kit. Ask your pharmacist to supply you with an extra refill for this express purpose. Alternatively, you could ask your doctor for an extra sample.

    Q. Do I need to take a first aid course to use the items in a first aid kit?
    A.
    Not at all. Though taking a class is highly recommended and can help you be better prepared in an emergency, you do not need to be certified to purchase or use a first aid kit.

    Q. Where should I put my first aid kit if I have kids?
    A.
    Some first aid kits come with a locking mechanism to keep kids from getting at what’s inside. Regardless, it’s best to keep a first aid kit stored out of the reach of children – and curious pets, too.

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