When you think of a tourniquet, you might assume it’s an item that’s reserved for police or paramedics.
But it’s something that everyone should have in their medical kit.
What, exactly, is a tourniquet?
A tourniquet is a device that’s used to stop blood flow through a vein or artery after a serious wound. It can save your life!
Injuries can happen to anyone, which is why you should purchase the best tourniquet you can find. It also offers you greater peace of mind by knowing you’ll be able to help someone in an emergency – or yourself. Here’s a list of the best tourniquets on the market.
Best Tourniquets – Reviews & Buying guide for 2020
Best Overall: North American Rescue NAR CAT Tourniquet
This CAT tourniquet is the gold standard! Here’s everything you need to know about it.
- 100-percent effective
- Durable windlass system
- Dual-securing system
- This is a Combat Action Tourniquet (CAT) that’s the real deal. It’s been found to be 100 percent effective when it comes to stopping blood flow in upper and lower extremities
- It provides a durable windlass system with a moveable internal band. This gives sufficient and effective circumferential pressure to the extremities.
- In the event of an emergency, you don’t have to fuss with screws or clips which can delay you from providing life-saving treatment to someone who’s injured. This tourniquet prevents that because it makes use of a dual-securing system.
- It’s really to use because of its Red Tip Technology tab. The red is easy to spot, which makes it easier to wrap and use.
- This is a solid product to purchase, but beware of counterfeit products as that seems to be a common concern expressed by Amazon customers.
- This tourniquet contains ribbing to provide better grip.
You’ll get two tourniquets in a pack. This tourniquet has been named one of the “Top 10 Greatest Inventions” by the U.S. Army, so it’s definitely one of the best combat tourniquets that will come to your aid when you need it.
Runner Up: CAT Combat Application Tourniquet
This is one of the best CAT tourniquets that should be in your emergency medical kit. Here’s what to know about it.
- Flexible internal band
- Easy to tighten
- This CAT tourniquet stops blood flow as a result of traumatic wounds.
- It makes use of a windlass system with a flexible internal band that moves freely to provide the right pressure to the extremities.
- You can easily tighten the belt and secure the windlass. This allows enough pressure to be produced to stop blood flow effectively – and quickly.
- This is a one-handed tourniquet, so it’s really easy to use in an emergency.
- It comes with a writeable area so you can record the time when it was applied. This is especially useful for first responders.
- People have said this product is quite expensive to purchase.
- The Velcro on this tourniquet secures well.
This tourniquet has many user-friendly features that will save the day during an emergency.
Alternative: Cozii Emergency Outdoor Tourniquet
This outdoor tourniquet has many of the same quality features you’d find in higher-end products, but is it worth purchasing?
Here’s what to know.
- Self-adhesive tape
- Rod design
- This is a tourniquet that allows for single-handed use. This means that it can help you if you hurt yourself and no one is around to apply it to your wound.
- It has self-adhesive tape that makes it easy to use and can also be reused.
- This tourniquet is really versatile for different types of use, such as in the military or when dealing with a serious wound at home.
- Some people who have purchased this tourniquet have reported that it’s a little tricky to use, which is problematic if you’re using it for the first time during an emergency. It comes with a rod that you need to twist after fastening the tourniquet until the bleeding has stopped.
- This tourniquet is really easy to carry because it’s small and light. Keep it in your emergency kit or carry it around with you.
This is a really affordable tourniquet. But, don’t be fooled by its low price as it’s got many features you want in a top-quality tourniquet.
Alternative: Recon Medical TANTQTourniquet
This Recon tourniquet has some extra features that make it even easier to use than other products, especially for beginners.
- Two tourniquets in pack
- Good grip
- This is a patent pending, finger-hole design that allows you to grip it better. This means that even if you’re in wet weather or dealing with a lot of blood, you won’t fumble during an emergency.
- It’s really easy and simple to use, thanks to its one-handed design.
- It comes with two tourniquets in a pack so you can apply a second one if you’re dealing with a very deep wound that’s bleeding a lot.
- It makes use of cold-resistant technology. The buckle of this tourniquet is resistant to the cold and won’t break easily.
- The windlass is durable while having good grip.
- The buckles, although strong, are made of plastic.
- It comes with a timestamp so you can note the time that you applied it.
- It has a tip that doesn’t curl. This prevents it from peeling.
This Recon Medical tourniquet is a top-quality tourniquet you should always have handy in case you ever need it.
Alternative: 2 Pack Genuine NAR CAT Tourniquet Gen 7 Orange
This is a tourniquet by CAT in safety orange color, which helps to make you or whoever’s injured more visible so you can get help. Here’s what to know about it.
- Finger-hole design
- Cold-resistant technology
- No-peel tip
- This tourniquet has a finger-hole design so that you can easily grip it, even if your hands are wet or muddy.
- It’s a simple design that’s easy to use, which makes it great if you’ve never had to use a tourniquet before.
- This tourniquet can also be applied with the use of just one hand, which is advantageous if you’re hurt.
- It makes use of cold-resistant technology in the buckle as it’s resistant to cold weather and cracking.
- It can be used for your arm or leg, and for more comfortable application it has a no-peel tip.
- Some people have said the tourniquet could be improved, such as by having more holes on the strap so that it would make it easier to pull and fasten.
- Others have said that it’s difficult to use this with one hand.
- This tourniquet is really strong as the windlass is made out of aluminum.
This CAT tourniquet is right up there with more expensive tourniquets.
You might wonder if you even need to own a tourniquet. But a tourniquet should be in everyone’s emergency kit! Here’s what you should know about tourniquets.
What is the tourniquet used for?
A tourniquet is basically a device that uses compression so that it can stop blood flow from injuries to the extremities.
Pressure gets applied to the skin circumferentially and it’s also applied to the limb’s underlying tissues. This pressure is then moved to a vessel wall so that it can cause a temporary occlusion or blockage to stop blood flow.
Types of tourniquets
There are lots of different types of tourniquets that you should know about so that you choose the best one for your needs. Here’s a rundown of the different types.
This is a lightweight and open-loop tourniquet that contains a durable strap as well as aluminum windlass. It opens completely so that you can put it around a limb and it doesn’t require being secured properly before the windlass is engaged.
This is great for emergency situations because even if you don’t fasten it completely, the tourniquet will still become tight to apply pressure. While this is a very good tourniquet, you have to learn how to use it properly.
Combat Application Tourniquets (CAT)
This type of tourniquet is also used by the military. It contains a strap that pulls apart so that the tourniquet can be placed properly around the limb.
It makes use of a closed system that has a restricted three-inch uptake. This requires you to secure the tourniquet strap to the wounded limb before you engage the windlass.
You also need to put the strap through a buckle, and how you do this could differ depending on what extremity it’s being placed on. This strap usually makes use of Velcro.
Special Operations Forces (SOF-T) and SOF-T Wide Tourniquets
SOF-T is a tourniquet that is an open-loop design and it makes use of a metal windlass. Its design has changed over the years, with newer ones being called the SOF-T Wide.
It has a wider strap than the SOF-T, and an alligator clip and screw. It also has a D-ring to secure the windlass after you fasten the tourniquet.
Mechanical Advantage Tourniquet (MAT)
This is a plastic tourniquet that goes around the limb in a “C” shape. It comes in different sizes – one for the leg and the other for the arm. It’s also a closed-loop system.
It makes use of a plastic dial that produces a cord inside the cuff. You have to fasten it properly before using it.
Ratcheting Medical Tourniquets
This is a closed-loop system that you tighten with a self-locking, ratcheting buckle.
It’s got a broad strap that you can open to position it properly around the wounded limb. The strap moves through a metal ring so that it can be tightened. When the pressure is administered, the buckle will lock.
Emergency Medical Tourniquets (EMT)
This looks like a blood pressure cuff. It’s an open-loop tourniquet that you can quickly and easily apply, even if it’s not secured properly. These can be a bit more bulky than other types of tourniquets, as well as a bit more costly.
NATO, TK4, and SWAT-T4 Tourniquets
These are all basically elastic bands. Some have locking parts, while others don’t.
The tourniquet is applied around the wounded limb and then the band that’s stretched provides compression. You have to stretch this tourniquet properly in order for them to work effectively.
How long can tourniquet be left on for?
After someone has been injured seriously, they need to get medical attention. A tourniquet that’s used to stop bleeding can help to save the person’s life, but it can’t be left on for a long time.
It should only be kept on for two hours. Various research (via Emergency Medicine Journal) has found that this is a safe amount of time to wear a tourniquet and it offers a low risk for permanent ischaemic injury.
Do tourniquets expire?
A tourniquet is a medical item that you want to have in storage in case the day ever comes when you’ll need it. This also means that you might worry if it will expire.
You might find that the tourniquet you purchase has an expiration date and this is basically put as a safety measure – by ensuring you use it before that date, you can be guaranteed that the product is effective.
This date is sort of like a guide, but what’s even more important than the expiration date is to ensure you prevent exposing the tourniquet to extreme conditions, such as high temperatures and direct sunlight, as this can wear down its components.
When you store your tourniquet, always make sure that you follow the above important tips. It might also be good to remove the tourniquet’s wrapper.
This is sometimes suggested so that you don’t have to fumble with packaging in an emergency situation. You want your tourniquet to be ready for use at any time.
A tourniquet is a must for any prepper to have. Even if you’re not a cop or paramedic, you never know when you’ll need to be able to use a tourniquet to save your – or someone else’s – life.
In this article, we’ve featured five of the best tourniquets on the market, looking at their benefits, drawbacks, and cost, so you can choose the best one. Buy a tourniquet and be prepared in case the worst happens.