Elastic Non-Pneumatic Tourniquets – Pros & Cons

Elastic Non-Pneumatic Tourniquets – Pros & Cons

January 11, 2018 0 Comments

Elastic Non-Pneumatic Tourniquets – Pros & Cons

The best tourniquet is the tourniquet that is right for you. 

As we’ve previously stated before the best tourniquet is the tourniquet that is right for you. If you feel more comfortable with a particular type, or brand of tourniquet, that is the best tourniquet for you, just ensure you periodically review new innovations, and thoroughly test all types of tourniquets. Currently, there are four primary types of tourniquets on the market. Depending on whom you talk to about tourniquets, you will get a wide array of opinions and recommendations. Always consider the source of the information, identify any conflicts of interest, and take the knowledge gained from that interaction and apply whatever percentage works best for you. In addition, take into consideration that it is very possible that social media accounts that look like actual people, may in fact be marketing teams or company representatives posing as external independent people. So do your research. For the purpose of this article we will only discuss the elastic band tourniquet type. The other types will be written about in follow-on articles.


  1. Windlass
  2. Elastic
  3. Pneumatic
  4. Ratcheting


Elastic Band Tourniquets can take a few forms, with the most common being a long, wide, elastic band with instructions for use printed on them. These tourniquets are constructed out of an elastic band, and are applied by stretching, wrapping, and tucking the band around the limb of the user multiple times until bleeding stops. There are no moving parts, or mechanics involved with this type of tourniquet. They retail for about $10.00 - $15.00 USD.

            In addition to the wide elastic band type of elastic tourniquet, there are also some that use a narrow cord, with a locking mechanism. They retail for $15.00 - $20.00 USD.

            Another more common elastic tourniquet is the one typically used in hospitals by phlebotomists and nurses when they draw your blood. This type of tourniquet is not designed or intended for arterial bleeding though. This type of elastic tourniquet is only designed to occlude venous blood flow. They slow or control the return of blood in the veins that was pumped from the arteries. This provides the pressure needed to draw blood.



  1. Can Occlude Arterial Blood Flow: Elastic band non-pneumatic tourniquets can occlude blood flow in the limbs.
  2. Manufacturing Expense: Elastic tourniquets are simple and very inexpensive to manufacture. This means they can be made quickly, and for less than $5 USD.
  3. Simple Operation: Elastic tourniquets are simple to use, and only require gross motor skills. When under duress it is likely that fine motor skills will be compromised, thus, the need for the ability to apply the tourniquet with only gross motor movements.



  1. One Time Use: The nature of the materials used in an elastic tourniquet dictate that they should only be used one time. If you decide you want to train with this tourniquet style you should purchase more than one and select one or multiple tourniquets to be designated as the training tourniquets.
  2. Can’t Be Applied One-Handed: The sacrifice in elastic tourniquets is that they more often than not require two hands to apply. The low cost design precludes the device from having a more user-friendly one-handed mechanism for reaching occlusion pressure.
  3. Narrow Elastic Cord: Reaching the necessary limb occlusion pressure is a combination of a few parameters. Limb Occlusion Pressure is calculated with the following formula:

LOP = (Limb Circumference * TQ Width) * 16.67 + 67


Narrow elastic bands while able to be wrapped multiple times still have a narrow width. Yes, you can possibly wrap them multiple times but the compression is still inferior to a tourniquet that has the full integrity of 2” flat webbing.

  1. False Claims Of Recommendation: In the past, some narrow elastic cord tourniquets have claimed that they were TCCC approved, when in fact they were not. This was misleading to consumers because it implied that the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC) had recommended this specific tourniquet, which if had not. This was perceived by some to have been a shady business practice.
  2. May Contain Latex: Some elastic tourniquets may use latex, which is a known allergen. Make sure you select a latex free elastic tourniquet, and know if you or the person hurt has a latex allergy.



The best tourniquet is the tourniquet that is right for you. If you think the Pro’s outweigh the Con’s give some elastic band or elastic cord tourniquets a try.