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Cheap Tourniquet From China Cannot Save Lives

Research estimates that about 20 percent of people who died from traumatic injuries could have survived if there was effective bleed control, revealing that there's only so much bare hands pressure and bandaging can do. This explains why there's been a lot of talk about getting quality tourniquets from China, as it may be the difference between life and death.

When it comes to buying tourniquets, most people prefer to import them from China because of the cost-savings benefit since they're significantly cheaper. The most common tourniquet is the combat application tourniquet (CAT). Still, many newbies to emergency medical equipment are not aware that there are thousands of bad quality tourniquets being sold online and offline. Simply put, the price is attractive, but the risk is too high.

The problem is that most counterfeit tourniquets look a lot like the real thing and could pass a casual inspection of any unsuspecting buyer. When imported, these tourniquets have a high rate of failure, which may lead to the death of victims since it's unlikely to effectively stop bleeding.

What is a tourniquet?

A tourniquet is a device used to control severe bleeding from a large vein or artery. The overall purpose of a tourniquet is to save lives by stopping bleeding. When people bleed from the main artery, they tend to lose a lot of blood, and if the situation is not brought under control, they may die before the ambulance arrives. Tourniquets are the perfect item in the first aid kit to ensure that this does not happen. Tourniquets are usually lightweight and compact.

How to find quality tourniquets in China

If you are reading this guide and wondering whether there are ways to spot bad quality tourniquets, the answer is 'Yes.' However, you will need to do your due diligence as it takes some effort to actually find high-quality tourniquets. Most people usually don't have an idea of how to determine quality tourniquets, but this guide contains all you need to make the right choice.

Here are some tips to help you find quality tourniquets in China that will do exactly what tourniquets should do - save lives.

  1. Packaging

The first way to verify whether a tourniquet is of high quality is via the packaging. Most tourniquets come in two types of packaging, namely PE vacuum bag and shrink wrap. Both types of packaging have a similar appearance; both are transparent so you can see what's inside, and both have an exterior that conforms to the shape of the item in them, so most buyers do not pay attention to the difference.

However, tourniquets that are packaged in PE vacuum bags are usually low quality, while those in shrink wraps are of high quality. The process involved in packaging tourniquets using PE vacuum bags involve the use of an air nozzle or air compressor to remove all the oxygen from the package. The latter doesn't involve the removal of oxygen but features small vent holes that facilitate the escape of air trapped in the packaging.

PE vacuum bags are the ideal choice for foods as they help extend shelf life, but when used for tourniquets, they reduce the efficiency of the tourniquet over time. Shrinkwrap allows the tourniquet to stay aerated.

  1. Windlass rod

Another way to tell if a tourniquet is genuine or low-quality is by the shape of the windlass rod. A windlass rod is a leveler that can be used to twist the tourniquet tighter. It's important to pay attention to the windlass rod used as it plays a critical role in how successful efforts to stop bleeding will turn out.

You want to be sure that the windlass rod is strong to hold enough to hold the tourniquet and can be secured in place. Many people think it is not an important factor since sticks or spoons can serve as alternatives, but these might be unavailable during an emergency. It's always best to factor in the quality of the tourniquet when trying to make a purchase, as some tourniquets come with a windlass rod that breaks off during use or ends up bent, so it cannot be secure.

Cheap tourniquets windlass rod typically comes in a concave shape, while high quality comes in a convex form. The concave windlass rod curves inward like a spoon or a bowl, with the middle section being thinner than the edges, while the convex unit curves outward like a baseball.

The resultant effect is that the latter poses a serious risk of getting broken (rendering it useless), while the latter has the right thickness that ensures that it won't be broken or bent when you're trying to tighten the tourniquet. Concave windlass rods are prone to failure during actual life-saving applications.

  1. Length

The next thing to consider when shopping for tourniquets from China is the length. Many buyers are unaware that they're being ripped off because the length of the counterfeit tourniquets are significantly shorter than the genuine one. Keep in mind that the length of the tourniquet is important when applying the required pressure on a wound.

As far as tourniquets go, they are broadly designed into two systems: open-loop and close-loop. The ones with open-loop systems can easily be placed over the concerned limb, and this could be with minimal restrictions based on the length. In contrast, closed-loop systems are typically harder to apply to an injured limb if they're not of the desired length and size.

Generally, the standard length of genuine tourniquets is around 37.5-inches, while the inferior ones from China are about 25.6-inches. So while it seems the ones from China are a better bargain, you actually get less from the perspective of size. So, be sure to choose only tourniquets that meet the standard length.

  1. Weight

All tourniquets may seem the same and may check some of the criteria in this guide, but a dead giveaway about the quality of a tourniquet is its weight. The weight typically indicates the quality of any product, and the same applies to this medical emergency item.

Most cheap tourniquets weigh a lot lighter than genuine ones. If you were to hold both tourniquets in your hands, you should be able to tell the difference. However, if you're unable to get your hands on a certified genuine tourniquet and a fake one to know how they weigh, it may help to ask about the weight from the factory. If you are sampling the tourniquet before making a bulk order, you can check out the weight yourself.

The standard weight of quality tourniquets is around 83g, but the cheaper (and typically inferior) ones weigh about 50 to 65g. If the tourniquet you're planning to buy from China doesn't pass the weight test, it's best to ditch the product and look for other manufacturers.

  1. Internal band

The fifth and equally important factor to keep in mind when accessing tourniquets is the quality of the internal band used in its construction. The band plays an obvious role in the overall functioning of a tourniquet as it determines how well the self-adhering band will perform.

You can tell if the band is of good quality and how tight the self-adhering band gets if you pull the internal band. It's a bad sign if you pull the internal band and the self-adhering band is not very responsive.

Bonus tips:

A general tip that applies to choosing quality products from China is to always get a sample before you make a final order. This will help you check out the tourniquet yourself and ensure that they meet your expectations. This will also afford you the opportunity to determine the efficiency of the product, especially in the sense that it can save a life by stopping bleeding effectively. While it's a good idea to save money, you want to ensure that, among other things, the tourniquet doesn't take too long to tighten and that it can stop the bleeding in the required time.

Additionally, it's vital to arm yourself with the right information about high-quality tourniquets. Asking professional questions will save you a lot of trouble and money to show that you're knowledgeable about tourniquets. The more questions you're able to ask, the less likely you will buy low-quality tourniquets. If the answers provided are not convincing enough, it might be that the factory is not the right choice for you.


China is a global manufacturer of different products, but not all products are of good quality. The same applies to tourniquets. If you're looking to purchase high-quality tourniquets that can actually save lives, you need to do your due diligence by following the tips above.

Keep in mind that a bad tourniquet is the same as no tourniquet since it may lead to prolonged bleeding and even fatality if the situation is not quickly contained. With the tips above, you should have no trouble finding high-quality tourniquets from China.

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