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.
This kit includes nearly 300 pieces and has items that can treat pain, swelling, cuts, and minor burns.
- Clear pockets let you find items easily
- Compact and lightweight
- Good for home and travel
- Not a good option to treat major trauma
- Lacks duplicates of several items
This kit has 140 items for minor wounds as well as burns, cuts, scrapes, and rashes.
- Excellent starter first aid kit
- Contains many brand-name items
- Case isn’t the best quality
- Items aren’t organized very well
This premium first aid kit has 348 items and is ideal for small businesses, churches, schools, etc.
- Heavy-duty case
- Multiple easy-to-access compartments
- Includes bonus travel-size mini-kit
- Missing some key over-the-counter items
- Box fasteners aren’t the best quality
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.