Best Tourniquets: Stop Arterial Blood Loss Effectively
A quality tourniquet can stop the bleeding of an injured limb in just seconds
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.
PUBLISHED ON December 19, 2019
Studies have shown that most deaths caused by accidents are a result of hemorrhaging or excessive bleeding. This is because bare hand pressure and bandaging can only prevent superficial capillary bleeding. When the bleeding is from the main artery, the victim will lose too much blood in a very short time and might die before the ambulance arrives. That’s why you need an effective kit that can stop severe main artery bleeding—the tourniquet. In this guide, we review the best three tourniquets on the market.
- Best OverallNorth American Rescue Military IssueSummarySummary
This is the official U.S. military kit, and it is effective in stopping blood flow in the upper and lower extremities. It features a windlass clip for an enhanced bleeding stoppage. Its security tab has a writeable area to record the time of application.ProsPros
This kit is lightweight and easy to use. It is proven and certified by the military and medics. It is made of quality material to enhance its durabilityConsCons
Its hardware is made of breakable plastic instead of metal. Some users claim that there is a counterfeit version that breaks easily.
- Best ValueSWAT-T Tourniquet, BlackSummarySummaryFor an economical and efficient tourniquet, consider this SWAT-T kit. It is a latex-free multipurpose kit that stops severe bleeding within seconds. It features a unique design that allows application higher into the groin and axilla.ProsProsIts ease of application ensures individuals with no prior training can use it effectively. It weighs just 4 ounces, making it portable. What’s more, this device is tough, unbreakable, and long-lasting.ConsCons
It is not easy to apply the kit for self-rescue. Some users claim that the device applies so much pressure that it can cause nerve damage.
- Honorable MentionRATS Tourniquet with READYMAN Carry BeltSummarySummaryThis kit features a unique, lightweight design to ensure easy backpacking and portability. It can efficiently occlude blood flow in both the upper and lower extremities. It’s ideal for small limbs of children and working dogs.ProsProsThis tourniquet is proven by the U.S. Army's Institute of Surgical Research. It is easy and fast to use, combat-proven, and durable. Also, it comes with a money-back guarantee.ConsConsUsers claim it is so tight that it can damage the tissues. It does not come with a belt holder, and the elastic carrying sleeve included may not be good enough.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
- When buying a tourniquet, its length, width, size, and material are all necessary considerations. Always try to choose a convenient size that can fit into your emergency kit.
- A kit with a wider cuff surface area is recommended. This is because narrow straps can cause a lot of pain or tissue damage.
- There are four main types of tourniquet: windlass, elastic band, pneumatic, and ratcheting. The windlass design is military approved because it features a solid stick that can be twisted to create pressure.
Q: Are tourniquets safe?
A: Yes. Some people have concerns that using a tourniquet will only make matters worse. However, research has shown that only 0.4 percent of patients who applied a tourniquet underwent limb amputation, and it had nothing to do with the kit. Also, only 1.5 percent of these patients suffered severe nerve damage. Therefore, a tourniquet is the safest way to stop severe bleeding.
Q: When should I use a tourniquet?
A: Use a tourniquet when the hemorrhage is life-threatening and cannot be stopped by direct pressure. However, if the bleeding can be controlled by hand pressure or bandaging, then a tourniquet is not necessary.
Q: How should I use a tourniquet?
A: It is recommended that the tourniquet is placed directly on the skin several inches above the wound. However, avoid placing it on the joint, since it might not be as effective and can also cause damage to the joint.
Our top pick for the best tourniquet is the North American Rescue Military Issue. It’s effective, durable, easy to use, and portable.
If you are on a budget, we recommend the SWAT-T Tourniquet. It’s very efficient, easy to carry, and military-proven.