The best first aid kits 2020: arm yourself against minor injuries | T3

The best first aid kits 2020: arm yourself against minor injuries

Be fully prepared when out and about or in the home with our pick of the best first aid kits for every occasion

Woman helping sportsman with injury during cardio training
Are you prepared for minor injuries in your home or workplace?
(Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

You want you and your loved ones to be safe, and to be able to deal with minor accidents and injuries, it makes sense to kit yourself out with one of the best first aid kits. So it's important to have a well-stocked first aid kit in you bag on outdoor activities or trips you enjoy, to enable you to deal with cuts, grazes, splinters, sprains, blisters and burns, quickly and efficiently. It's also a good idea to have a second first aid kit in the car, and another in your home.

Don't be fooled by marketing, though: despite often promising 'everything you need', many first aid kits don't contain much beyond a few bandages and plasters, and you'd spend a lot less money buying everything separately. 

Most of us don't have time for that, though. So in this post, we bring you six first-aid kits which cover most, if not all, of the bases, at a reasonable price. And even if you have to add in a few extra bits to complete them later, they still represent excellent value for money.

Beyond that, what makes a good first aid kit is that it's well organised (so you can find what you're looking for quickly when the time comes) and that items have expiry dates, so you can keep your kit updated over time. All of the first aid kits on this list tick those boxes too, so the one you choose will depend on your personal needs and the kind of first aid kit you're looking for. 

With that in mind, read on as we bring you the best comprehensive first aid kit, the best budget first aid kit, the best pocket-sized first aid kit, the best cheap first aid kit, the best first aid kit for your car, and the best waterproof first aid kit available today.

First aid kits: JFA Medical

(Image credit: JFA Medical)

1. JFA Medical 212 Piece Premium First Aid Kit

The best comprehensive first aid kit

Specifications
Size: 35 x 28 x 8cm
Weight: 1.35kg
Contents: Guidance leaflet, 6 medium sterile dressings, 4 large sterile dressings, 4 triangular bandages, 24 safety pins, 4 eye pad sterile dressings, 100 sterile adhesive dressings (plasters), 40 sterile cleansing wipes, 3 x adhesive tape, 12 pairs disposable gloves, 4 finger sterile dressings, 2 resuscitation shields, 3 foil blankets 2 hydrogel burn dressings, shears, 2 conforming bandages
Reasons to buy
+Wide range of items +High quality products
Reasons to avoid
-Too heavy for travel use -Too large for car use

If you want a comprehensive first aid kit that covers a wide range of eventualities, this is our top pick. It’s actually designed for large workplaces, but there’s no reason you couldn’t get it for your own home, especially considering the reasonable price.

This kit comes in a sturdy green box, which is wall mountable, and contains 212 items, all of which typically have an expiry date of between three and five years. These include a number of things you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a standard first aid kit, such as burn gel dressings, resuscitation shield, emergency foil blanket and tough cut shears. There are a few notable omissions, such as eye wash and a tourniquet, but in general this is a very well thought-through collection of items.  

The main downsides are those that will logically come with any large first aid kit: many items will never get used, and the number of included items means it can take a bit longer to find what you’re looking for. 

First aid kits: Body Source Store 90-piece first aid kit

(Image credit: Body Source Store)

2. The Body Source Store 90 Piece First Aid Kit

The best basic first aid kit

Specifications
Size: 23 x 17 x 8cm
Weight: 599g
Contents: 2 instant cold (ice packs), sterile eye wash, 4 conforming bandages, 2 triangular bandages, first aid tape roll, 3 wound dressings, crepe bandage roll, 2 sterile eye pads, 40 adhesive plasters, foil emergency blanket, non adherent pad, 2 knuckle fabric strips, 2 fingertip fabric strips, 10 antiseptic wipes, 12 safety pins, 2 vinyl medical gloves, plastic tweezers, medical scissors
Reasons to buy
+Good selection of items +Reasonably priced
Reasons to avoid
-Not waterproof-Lacks antiseptic cream

Buying the most comprehensive and expensive first-aid kit might seem like the most responsible approach to protect yourself and your loved ones. But you may actually be better off buying a basic first aid kit and then adding the specific things you’re likely to need, depending on your activities, the area you live, any medical conditions you have, and so on. If that’s the way you’d like to go, then we’d recommend this great value first aid kit from The Body Source Store, for three specific reasons. 

The first reason is that it has a well chosen selection of items. With the notable exception of antiseptic cream, you will find pretty much everything you’d expect in a standard family first aid kit. 

The second reason is that the case itself is decent and hard-wearing. At 23 x 17 x 8cm, it’s also small enough to fit into a car or backpack, so is suitable for most purposes, although note that it’s water-resistant but not actually waterproof. 

The third, and perhaps most important, reason we like this kit is that it’s not too overpacked. This means there’s ample room to add in some extras and round out your kit; indeed, the makers have specifically included interior pockets for this purpose.

First aid kits: Safety First Home First Aid Kit

(Image credit: Safety First)

3. Safety First Aid Home First Aid Kit

The best cheap first aid kit

Specifications
Size: 20 x 13 and 5cm
Weight: 458g
Contents: First aid guidance leaflet, first aid for children leaflet, 2 sterile dressings, 2 triangular bandages, 12 safety pins, 2 sterile eye dressings, 20 washproof plasters, microporous tape, 2 pairs vinyl gloves, 10 moist wipes, 2 low adherent dressings, scissors, conforming bandage, 20 stretch fabric plasters, 20 blue catering plasters, eyewash pods, burn gel sachet, instant cold pack
Reasons to buy
+Low price+Compact 
Reasons to avoid
-Some obvious omissions -No room for extras

Given its rock bottom price, this first aid kit offers a fairly decent selection of basic items. There are a few notable omissions — no tweezers or antiseptic cream, for instance — but on the whole most bases have been covered. 

Another nice addition is two printed first aid guide booklets, one for children and one for adults, which are very well put together. 

At 20 x 13 and 5cm, this kit is also nicely compact and portable. The nylon case is pretty decent quality too, although be aware that the items are crammed together tightly inside it, which means there's absolutely no room to add in any extras, unless you take other things out first. So do check the list of contents above carefully before making the choice to purchase. 

First aid kits: First aid kits: Lifesystems Pocket First Aid Kit

(Image credit: Lifesystems)

4. Lifesystems Pocket First Aid Kit

The best pocket-sized first aid kit

Specifications
Size: 12.5 x 8 x 4.5cm
Weight: 180g
Contents: Primary care leaflet, small low-adherent dressing, woven bandage, small crepe bandage, fabric plasters, scissors, safety pins, micropore tape, gauze swabs, antiseptic cream, antiseptic wipes, tweezers
Reasons to buy
+Small +Lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-No gloves-No eyewash

Going rambling, hiking or trekking, and need a super lightweight first aid kit? At just 12.5 x 8 x 4.5cm and weighing 180g, this fits the bill nicely. Especially as a loop on the back of the pack allows you to carry it on a belt, or on the outside of a rucksack. 

Containing a good range of standard items, including antiseptic cream, fabric dressing and a woven bandage, it’s well equipped for most minor injuries you might encounter on your trip. Yes, it’s by no means a complete first aid – there are no gloves or eyewash, for example – and you can get more items for the same money with bigger kits. But if minimising size and weight is what’s important to you, then this really does live up to its pocket-size promise admirably. Do note, though, that the case isn’t waterproof.

First aid kits: AA Ultimate First Aid Kit

(Image credit: AA)

5. AA Ultimate First Aid Kit

The best first aid kit for your car

Specifications
Size: 20 x 15 x 7cm
Weight: 440g
Contents: 6 wound dressings, 2 triangular badges, 2 first aid dressings, first aid dressing, 3 first aid compress, 2 bandages, 3 bandages, emergency blanket, 8 adhesive plasters, scissors, adhesive tape, information sheet, emergency procedures sheet
Reasons to buy
+Pocket storage system +Cheap
Reasons to avoid
-Limited selection of items-Not easy to spot

The AA Ultimate First Aid Kit is designed specifically for car, camping or caravanning use. Measuring 20 x 15 x 72cm, the case is certainly compact enough to fit in your vehicle. And being made of soft nylon, it can even be squished a little, to help fit a tight space, if necessary. 

Despite its diminutive size, this first aid kit nevertheless contains a good selection of standard items. Admittedly, you won’t find everything you need here: most notably, there are no gloves, antiseptic cream, tweezers or safety pins, so you may want to add to it before you set off. 

Another issue is that, being plain black, it might be tricky to find in an emergency, particularly in the dark, so you might want to add a colourful sticker or two to make it more visible. To balance that out, though, the interior of this case features a very clear pocket storage system, which makes it extra-easy to find what you’re looking for in a panicked situation.

First aid kits: Lifesystems Waterproof First Aid Kit

(Image credit: Lifesystems)

6. Lifesystems Waterproof First Aid Kit

The best waterproof first aid kit

Specifications
Size: 33 x 16 x 8cm
Weight: 500g
Contents: Primary care leaflet, 6 safety pins, resuscitation face shield, scissors, spot check thermometer, tweezers, 2 pairs vinyl gloves, 16 paracetamol tablets, crepe bandage, triangular calico bandage, open woven bandage, 5 four-ply sterile gauze swabs, 5 micropore tape, 6 hygienic cleansing wipes, burn gel sachet, pack of assorted plasters, 2 blister plasters, 2 low adherent dressings, 5 medium wound dressings, small plaster fabric strip
Reasons to buy
+Watertight+Robust
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Not the smallest

If you’re taking part in water-based activity, such as canoeing, kayaking and rafting expeditions, or other any other undertaking where you’re likely to get wet, you’ll need a waterproof first aid kit. And this offering from Lifesystems is just the ticket. 

This first aid kit is a little pricier than the others on our list, but we still consider it excellent value. For a start, it’s made from tough material that’s impact-resistant and fully watertight, and the bag is very easy to open and close. And secondly, it contains a good selection of items including a resuscitation face shield and a spot check thermometer, as well as most of the basics, excepting antiseptic cream. 

This is by no means the smallest kit on our list, at 33 x 16 x 8cm, and a little on the heavy side at 500g. But for a waterproof first aid kit, there’s nothing finer on the market today.