Reviews

The Best First Aid Kits (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

Make safety a priority by always having a first aid kit handy.

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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON June 23, 2021

If you're involved in a medical emergency, you need supplies that are close by and easy to access to treat an illness or injury. That's where first aid kits come in. They contain essential items that allow you to handle everything from an insect bite or laceration to a twisted ankle or minor burn. Most first aid kits include items such as bandages, gauze pads, and antiseptic wipes or ointment. Many also have pain relievers such as ibuprofen and other over-the-counter items to treat allergic reactions and even nausea. You can keep a first aid kit in your home, car, or office. They're also vital for small businesses, churches, and other organizations. However, it can be tough to choose the right kit because there are so many available. Check out our guide for the best first aid kits available, so you're prepared for anything.

Best Overall
First Aid Only 299 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit
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Summary
Summary

This kit includes nearly 300 pieces and has items that can treat pain, swelling, cuts, and minor burns.

Pros
Pros
  • Clear pockets let you find items easily
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Good for home and travel
Cons
Cons
  • Not a good option to treat major trauma
  • Lacks duplicates of several items
Best Overall
First Aid Only 299 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit
Best Value
Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose First Aid Kit
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Summary
Summary

This kit has 140 items for minor wounds as well as burns, cuts, scrapes, and rashes.

Pros
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Excellent starter first aid kit
  • Contains many brand-name items
Cons
Cons
  • Case isn’t the best quality
  • Items aren’t organized very well
Best Value
Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose First Aid Kit
Honorable Mention
Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit
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Summary
Summary

This premium first aid kit has 348 items and is ideal for small businesses, churches, schools, etc.

Pros
Pros
  • Heavy-duty case
  • Multiple easy-to-access compartments
  • Includes bonus travel-size mini-kit
Cons
Cons
  • Missing some key over-the-counter items
  • Box fasteners aren’t the best quality
Honorable Mention
Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit
Gir Using First Aid Kits
Amazon

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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of a First Aid Kit

  • Be prepared for emergencies. Accidents happen, and it's better to have items to treat minor injuries on hand than to have nothing at all. It's especially important if you're camping or hiking and not close to a pharmacy or an emergency facility.
  • Aid others before help arrives. Basic first aid kits are the first line of defense and aren't intended to treat all types of injuries. However, they can be beneficial to someone before medical assistance arrives on the scene.
  • Reduce infections. Open wounds can get infected quite easily, but if you have the right tools in your at-home or on-the-go first aid kit, you can minimize the risk of infection.

Types of First Aid Kits

Basic First Aid Kits for Families

Most families can benefit from a generalized first aid kit but may seek certain components based on the age of the members in the household. For example, those with babies and toddlers may need a thermometer, while those with slightly older children may require additional bandages for cuts and scrapes. 

Large First Aid Kits for Businesses

If you run a small business, volunteer at a church, or operate an institution with several employees or volunteers, you need a first aid kid that can accommodate the needs of those who work there. These kits are much larger in scope and include more supplies than a portable kit you would keep at home.

Activity-Geared First Aid Kits

You can customize some first aid kits to match certain activities. For example, if you like camping or hiking, it's a good idea to get a kit that includes treatments for bug bites. If you like water activities, you probably want a kit with a waterproof case. If you keep a first aid kit in your vehicle, it should include items that may treat major trauma, such as a car accident.

Top Brands

Johnson & Johnson

Three brothers founded Johnson & Johnson in 1886. Based in New Brunswick, N.J., the company produces various medical devices, pharmaceutical items, and other types of consumer goods, as well as first aid kits. 

Swiss Safe

Based in Las Vegas, Swiss Safe makes various emergency medical supplies for first aid, EMT use, and emergency preparedness. The company also provides a wide range of outdoor safety supplies

First Aid Only

First Aid Only is under the Acme United Corporation umbrella. First Aid Only assembles all of its first aid kits in the United States and has been helping businesses meet federally mandated First Aid and safety regulations since 1988. 

Protect Life

Based in Jackson, Wyo., Protect Life is run by doctors and CPR instructors. The company makes compact, lightweight, and high-quality first aid kits as well as surgical face masks

First Aid Kit Pricing

  • Under $10: You can find some small first aid kits that are very inexpensive. However, they will not contain very many items, and you will have to restock them regularly if you use them frequently.
  • $10-$30: Most basic first aid kits fall within this price range. They can contain a variety of different survival items that can treat various medical issues. Higher-end products will typically have more components and bags or hard cases that are of better quality.
  • $30 and up: Larger, pricier first aid kits are typically designed to serve a larger population. These kits are made for small businesses, churches, etc. Some of these kits can be mounted on walls and have large quantities of bandages and other everyday items.

Key Features

Quality 

As you know by now, not all first aid kits are the same. One way in which they differ is their quality. For example, some kits are stored in softcover bags, while others have hard cases. Make sure the case is tough and durable so that it will last. Read reviews, and check the construction. The items inside should also be high quality. Some feature brand names, such as Band-Aid, while others don't.

Quantity of Items

How many items does one really need in a basic first aid kit? That depends on who's using it and for what purpose. You can customize a kit based on your specific needs. Do you need one to keep in your vehicle or at the office? While you may want one with disposable gloves in the workplace, you may not need to use gloves at home, for example. 

Weight and Size

If you plan on taking a first aid kit with you when you go hiking, you need one that's small enough to put in a backpack because being compact and lightweight is critical. On the other hand, if you're leaving it at home, it can be slightly larger with more items. If you want to store a kit in your car, it should be portable. 

Other Considerations

  • Extra Space. Some first aid kits are designed so you can add other items of your choice. This is ideal because while they are a one-size-fits-all type of product, they can lack some essentials, which is particularly true if they run on the smaller side. Look for kits that allow you to squeeze in a few more products that you feel are important.
  • Internal Organization. When you have an emergency, the last thing you want to do is fumble through the first aid kit to try and locate survival gear. Some kits are much better organized and have several pockets and dividers. If you have to dig through the bag, it can be very frustrating for you and the person waiting for medical attention.

Best First Aid Kits Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
First Aid Only 299 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit

This first aid kit has supplies to treat various calamities, including pain and swelling related to cuts, scrapes, and minor burns. Included are both fabric and plastic adhesives for abrasions and puncture wounds and burn cream, and a cold pack for sunburns and scalding injuries. The kit also contains pain relievers for headaches, muscle aches, and arthritis. It has clear pockets, so the items are easier to find. It measures a compact and lightweight 9.25 x 2.875 x 7 inches, so you can fit it into a drawer or backpack without any issues. 


Even though it has several adhesives, it only contains one trauma pad, one 4x4 sterile gauze, one gauze roll, and one burn gel. It's not a good option if you experience major trauma because it doesn't contain the right products for that type of emergency.

Best Value
Johnson and Johnson All-Purpose First Aid Kit

If you're looking for a more affordable option, the Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose First Aid Kit ticks all the right boxes. It contains 140 items to treat burns, cuts, insect bites, and minor wounds, as well as scrapes and rashes. It has things such as bandages, rolled gauze and gauze pads, a cold pack (Bengay), antibiotic cream (Neosporin), anti-itch cream (Benadryl), and acetaminophen caplets (Tylenol Extra Strength). It also includes brand-name Band-Aid adhesive bandages and related products. The kit even has two pairs of gloves and a first-aid informational pamphlet. Overall, it's an excellent value for your money, and it's a great starter first aid kit. 


One problem with this kit is that the case isn't the best quality and may not hold up well over time. Also, the kit doesn't provide much organization. The items slide around the box, making them hard to locate.

Premium Pick
Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit

All the supplies come in a heavy-duty hard case built to last and tolerate busy environments. The manufacturer also claims it's the only first aid kit with a double-sided front and back opening. It contains 348 items, including bandages, trauma shears, gauze pads, finger splints, an emergency blanket, an ice pack, and a first aid guide book. All of the items are organized in 20 easy-to-access compartments. The kit has extra room to add additional items, and it also comes with a bonus, travel-size mini-kit with 32 items. The company will also provide a 100 percent refund if you are not satisfied with its performance. 


Unfortunately, it doesn't contain items such as acetaminophen, Benadryl, or burn cream. It has space to fit these products, but you have to purchase them separately. Also, the fasteners that close the box are a little flimsy.

Most Versatile
Protect Life First Aid Kit

The Protect Life First Aid Kit is designed for use while at home, at the office, camping, hiking, and playing sports. It features various items (200 in all) that will come in handy during a crisis, particularly if you're involved in a natural disaster, such as an earthquake. Contents include adhesive bandages, gauze pads, scissors, gloves, an emergency whistle, an ice pack, and other high-quality components. It's small enough to fit in a vehicle's glove compartment, backpack, or bug-out bag. The hard case keeps the contents safe and secure, and items are easy to access. The red color makes it easy to spot during an emergency, and there's also space for extra items you might need to pack. 


However, it could use a couple of extra pockets or dividers to keep items better organized. It also lacks antibiotic cream, hydrocortisone, burn gel, and pain relievers.

Most Basic
Be Smart Get Prepared 100Piece First Aid Kit

The Be Smart Get Prepared 100Piece First Aid Kit is another affordable and portable kit for home, office, and vehicle use. The kit meets standards set by the FDA and measures 7.5 x 2.5 x 6.8 inches, so it's easy to store in various places. Users love its small size and its ability to fit into a glove box. The latches lock securely in place, so it won't inadvertently come undone, and the case is strong and impact resistant. It contains items for cleaning wounds, such as alcohol wipes and antiseptic towelettes, as well as bandages, gauze pads, antibiotic ointment, cotton tip applicators, and finger splints. All items are secured in organized compartments. 


However, the latches can be a little tough to open. Another downside to this first aid kit is that it doesn't include large bandages.

Honorable Mention
Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit (120 Piece)

The great thing about the Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit is that it has been updated and upgraded for 2021. It's designed for use at home, at work, and for outdoor emergencies. The kit features 120 medical-grade items, such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, moleskin blister relief, first-aid tape, a sewing kit, gauze pads, an ice pack, a CPR mask, and trauma shears. It also comes with a mini first aid pouch with 32 more items for added convenience. The case is sturdy and contains several interior compartments for organization. Like the other Swiss Safe product on this list, it comes with a 100 percent money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied with the kit. 


Unfortunately, it doesn't contain basic over-the-counter medications like Advil or Pepto Bismol. While it's suitable for basic first aid, some of the items aren't of the best quality.

Honorable Mention
Active Era Small First Aid Kit

The Active Era Small First Aid Kit contains 90 items for essential first aid treatment. It includes bandages, alcohol prep pads, antiseptic towels, butterfly closures, safety pins, first-aid tape, medical scissors, two cold packs, an emergency blanket, and eye pads. It's an excellent kit for home and when you're camping or hiking. The soft case is durable and water-resistant, so you don't have to worry if it's exposed to moisture. It's also compact and lightweight, so it's easy to carry or store in your vehicle. Also, it has several compartments to organize its contents and some extra space for additional supplies. 


However, some users complain that it's a little too small. It may also emit an unpleasant odor when you first receive it, but this should go away over time.

Honorable Mention
M2 BASICS 350 Piece Emergency First Aid Kit

The M2 BASICS 350 Piece Emergency First Aid Kit contains professional-grade medical and safety supplies to help families and businesses. It's also a good option if you are gathering supplies for disaster preparedness. Featuring 350 items, the two-layer case is solid and rugged and can be mounted on a wall for easy access. The shelves also tilt for added convenience. It comes with various bandages, gauze sponges, alcohol prep wipes, antiseptic towelettes, disposable gloves, safety pins, finger splints, cotton tip applicators, and much more. Users report that it's a great option for churches and small business settings. 


Unfortunately, there's not enough space to add other items, such as pain relievers. Also, if you hang it on the wall, some things may fall out when you open it.

Tips

  • Personalize your first aid kit with items your family may need, including medications. Also include emergency phone numbers, such as that of your health care provider.
  • Check and refill the first aid kit regularly. Make sure any items that have expired are tossed and replace them with equal or better-quality components.
  • Keep a first aid kit at your home, and put one in your vehicle. Make sure you know where it is located so that you can find it quickly during an emergency. Also, make sure you know where the first aid kit is as your office, school, etc.

FAQs

Q: What are the top 10 items to have in a first aid kit?

Ten items you should keep in a first aid kit include bandages, gauze rolls/pads, alcohol wipes, allergy medicine, antibiotic ointment, allergy medicine, pain relievers, adhesive tape, a cold pack, and a first aid guide.

Q: What are the best first aid kits?

There are a variety of excellent first aid kits available online and in stores. We include several options in this list. 

Q: Is it cheaper to buy or build a first aid kit?

Ready-made kits tend to be less expensive than ones you put together yourself. However, premium kits may target certain situations like a car emergency or contain supplies you don't know how to use. In contrast, lower-quality kits may not have exactly what you need.

Final Thoughts

Our pick for the best first-aid kit is the First Aid Only 299 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit. It has 299 pieces and is perfect for keeping at home or for using while on a trip or at the workplace. It has all sorts of supplies and is also small enough to be portable. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose First Aid Kit.