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The Best Medical Alert Systems of 2019

#1. Our Top Pick

Medical Guardian

4.83

Starting at $29.95/mo.

#2

LifeFone

4.83

Starting at $24.95/mo.

#3

Bay Alarm Medical

4.67

Starting at $19.95/mo.

#4
MobileHelp Review

MobileHelp

4.5

Starting at $19.95/mo.

#5
Greatcall Logo

GreatCall

4.5

Starting at $19.99/mo.

Overview
If you or a loved one needs a bit of extra help navigating around the house while maintaining independence, a medical alert system can be the lifeline to assistance when it’s needed.

To help you find a system you can rely on, we’ve researched, ranked, and reviewed the top medical alert systems in the industry this year.

Here are the best medical alert systems currently on the market:

 

Let’s take a closer look at our picks.

Compare the top medical alert systems

Medical alert system1. Medical Guardian2. LifeFone3. Bay Alarm Medical4. MobileHelp 5. GreatCall
LogoMobileHelp ReviewGreatcall Logo
Lowest monitoring price$29.95/mo.$24.95/mo.$19.95/mo.$19.95/mo.$19.99/mo.
With fall detection+$10+$5+$10+$10+$15
Movement range1,300 ft.1,300 ft.1,000 ft.600 ft.Unlimited
Fall detection range1,300 ft.1,300 ft.800 ft.600 ft.Unlimited
Battery backup30–32 hrs.32 hrs.32 hrs.24 hrs.80 hrs.
WarrantyLifetimeLifetimeMust purchase protection planNone1 year
App
Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes
Landline connection
Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No
Cellular connection
Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes
Learn moreView PlansView PlansView PlansView PlansView Plans
Medical alert system
Logo
Lowest monitoring price
With fall detection
Movement range
Fall detection range
Battery backup
Warranty
App
Landline connection
Cellular connection
Learn more
1. Medical Guardian 2. LifeFone 3. Bay Alarm Medical 4. MobileHelp 5. GreatCall
MobileHelp Review Greatcall Logo
$29.95/mo. $24.95/mo. $19.95/mo. $19.95/mo. $19.99/mo.
+$10 +$5 +$10 +$10 +$15
1,300 ft. 1,300 ft. 1,000 ft. 600 ft. Unlimited
1,300 ft. 1,300 ft. 800 ft. 600 ft. Unlimited
30–32 hrs. 32 hrs. 32 hrs. 24 hrs. 80 hrs.
Lifetime Lifetime Must purchase protection plan None 1 year

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes
View Plans View Plans View Plans View Plans View Plans

Data effective 05/16/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

How we chose

We looked at things like equipment, usability, pricing, and overall experience to determine which medical alert systems we’d recommend to our own family members. With them in mind, we put each medical alert service under the microscope and compared hundreds of different data points.

Other brands we considered

Are you wondering why your preferred medical alert system isn’t on our list? We investigated 13 different medical alert systems, including Alert1, Philips Lifeline, and Life Alert. These brands didn’t quite make the cut. For instance, Alert1 has poor customer reviews, while Philips Lifeline’s basic fall detection price is higher than average. And Life Alert? It doesn’t offer fall detection at all.

There are also some types of systems we didn’t review for this post, like medical alert devices that can integrate into home security systems. These include brands like Vivint, ADT, Frontpoint, Cove, and Link Interactive.

1. Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian pros and cons

Pros

  • No setup fee
  • No long-term contracts
  • Fall detection
  • 1,300-foot range
  • Easy-to-use buttons
  • 30-hour battery backup
  • Mobile/GPS tracking option
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Mobile app option (iOS)
  • Lots of plan options

Cons

  • Difficult-to-navigate website

How much does Medical Guardian cost?

PackageClassic GuardianHome GuardianFamily GuardianMobile GuardianActive Guardian
Price$29.95/mo.$34.95/mo.$79.95/mo.$39.95/mo.$49.95/mo.
With fall detection+$10+$10+$10+$10+$10
Learn moreView PlansView PlansView PlansView PlansView Plans
Package
Price
With fall detection
Learn more
Classic Guardian Home Guardian Family Guardian Mobile Guardian Active Guardian
$29.95/mo. $34.95/mo. $79.95/mo. $39.95/mo. $49.95/mo.
+$10 +$10 +$10 +$10 +$10
View Plans View Plans View Plans View Plans View Plans

Data effective 05/16/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Some brands advertise only their discounted rates. It can be frustrating when you go to check out and realize you can’t get the low price unless you pay for several months up front.

Instead of advertising the monthly rate based on the annual rate discount, Medical Guardian states the month-to-month price up front ($29.95). The discount actually feels like a discount instead of a bait and switch.

Medical Guardian also has multiple package options to choose from, including landline, cellular, GPS, and fall alert options. It even has a well-priced family option.

Medical Guardian features

Medical Guardian keeps its systems simple without sacrificing quality or usability. The emergency pendants and bracelets stand out because they have large, easy-to-press buttons yet look like digital watches.

Medical Guardian pendants work up to 1,300 feet away from the base station device. This gives the user the freedom to move about their home or yard without going beyond the base unit range. Of the medical alert brands we reviewed, no home-based systems had a bigger range.

In addition to the 1,300-foot range of the home base, Medical Guardian also offers a mobile option with an unlimited range. Fall detection can be added to this option, so if the system is for a user who regularly leaves home, mobile might be a better choice instead of or in addition to the standard at-home option.

Finally, we like that Medical Guardian lets you choose who they contact first when the user presses the button. So if you’d rather have family check in before EMTs or police, emergency help is still there, but a family member could take the lead.

Medical Guardian customer service

One thing we noticed about this brand: on some pages, the website encourages and sometimes redirects users to call or email a representative before or during purchase. If you don’t know how to navigate past these requests, you may not be able to order without contacting Medical Guardian. While some customers would surely appreciate the assistance, it’s inconvenient for consumers who prefer to research and order products on their own.

Medical Guardian customer service representatives are available both through phone and by email.

>>Learn more: Read full Medical Guardian review.
>>View Plans

2. LifeFone

LifeFone

LifeFone pros and cons

Pros

  • No setup fee
  • No long-term contracts
  • 30-day free trial
  • Fall detection
  • 1,300-foot range
  • 32-hour battery backup
  • Mobile/GPS tracking option
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Mobile app option (iOS, Android)
  • Prorated refund

Cons

  • Smaller buttons on bracelet than on competitor wearables

How much does LifeFone cost?

PackageAt-Home LandlineAt-Home CellularAt-Home & On-the-Go GPSAt-Home & On-the-Go GPS, Voice in Necklace
Price$24.95/mo.$30.95/mo.$36.95/mo.$39.95/mo.
With fall detection+$5+$5+$10+$5
Learn moreView PlansView PlansView PlansView Plans
Package
Price
With fall detection
Learn more
At-Home Landline At-Home Cellular At-Home & On-the-Go GPS At-Home & On-the-Go GPS, Voice in Necklace
$24.95/mo. $30.95/mo. $36.95/mo. $39.95/mo.
+$5 +$5 +$10 +$5
View Plans View Plans View Plans View Plans

Data effective 05/16/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

You’ll have to prepay for your LifeFone services for a year to guarantee the $24.95-per-month rate. With LifeFone’s prorated refund policy, you can pay up front knowing you won’t lose money if you need to cancel your service. If you can afford to pay in a lump sum, you might as well save money by purchasing a whole year at once.

LifeFone lets you add a fall detection pendant to its services for $5 to $10 more a month. This makes LifeFone one of the three best options if you’re looking for super affordable fall detection.

Overall, LifeFone is cheaper than Medical Guardian, but it’s ranked lower because it doesn’t have as many options. You also have to pay more for a plan with both landline and cellular connections with LifeFone than you do with Medical Guardian.

LifeFone features

Like Medical Guardian, LifeFone has a range of up to 1,300 feet from your base station device with certain packages. This range means the user can go in the basement, work in the garage, or relax in the yard without going beyond the range limits.

LifeFone also offers a mobile app option that turns your cellphone into a medical alert system.

LifeFone also offers a mobile app option that turns your cellphone into a medical alert system if you don’t want to carry around a GPS device. You can choose between the Mobile Alert plan for $5.95 per month and the Family Guard plan that starts at $9.95 per month. These alternatives work great for someone constantly on the go, but keep in mind neither of these options offers any form of fall detection. Check out the LifeFone mobile app to learn more.

LifeFone customer service

You can talk to the LifeFone customer care team by phone or by email. LifeFone’s people are available 24 hours a day.

>>Learn more: Read full LifeFone review.
>>View Plans

3. Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical pros and cons

Pros

  • No contracts
  • 30-day trial period
  • Fall detection
  • 1,000-foot range
  • 32-hour battery backup
  • Mobile/GPS tracking option
  • Mobile app option (iOS, Android)
  • Prorated refund
  • Price-lock guarantee
  • American Seniors Association, AMAC, AARP, and USAA discounts
  • Free spouse monitoring coverage with purchase of second pendant

Cons

  • Bulky equipment
  • Extra cost for warranty plan
  • Extra $10 cost for cellular connection
  • Smaller fall detection range
  • AT&T coverage required in area to use mobile and in-home cellular

How much does Bay Alarm Medical cost?

PackageBasic ProtectionPreferred ProtectionPremium Protection
Price$19.95/mo.$39.95/mo.$59.95/mo.
With fall detection+$10SameSame
Learn moreView PlansView PlansView Plans
Package
Price
With fall detection
Learn more
Basic Protection Preferred Protection Premium Protection
$19.95/mo. $39.95/mo. $59.95/mo.
+$10 Same Same
View Plans View Plans View Plans

Data effective 05/16/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Bay Alarm Medical tied as the cheapest option from month to month ($19.95) for a starting package. It’s also tied with LifeFone and Mobile Help for the lowest fall detection price.

For the price, you get a large range of motion and a good battery life. If you need to add a second person to your plan, you can simply purchase a second pendant. Your monitoring costs won’t go up.

ASL Insider Tip

Other Bay Alarm Medical plans

Apart from these typical medical alert plans, Bay Alarm Medical has medical alert systems specifically for your car. You can even get packages that combine in-home, mobile, and car alert systems.

Bay Alarm Medical is the only option in our top five with a price-lock guarantee. If the brand increases its price, existing users don’t have to pay more. And if you decide to cancel, you get back any prepaid months minus return shipping costs.

Unlike our top two options, Bay Alarm Medical equipment doesn’t come with a lifetime warranty. If you want a warranty, you’ll have to buy it for $5 a month.

Bay Alarm Medical features

Bay Alarm Medical’s medical alert systems come with a 1,000-foot range from the base station. The user won’t have quite as much freedom as with Medical Guardian or LifeFone, but they should still be able to get around the home without trouble. The fall detection range, sadly, is a little smaller: 800 feet. If you live in a small apartment, though, that’s not an issue.

This brand also offers a mobile app compatible with both iPhones and Androids. The app is geared towards the caretaker, so if you purchase the Bay Alarm Medical system for a loved one, you can use the app to check on them.

Bay Alarm Medical customer service

Bay Alarm tech support is available by phone.

>>Learn more: Read full Bay Alarm Medical review.
>>View Plans

4. MobileHelp

MobileHelp

MobileHelp pros and cons

Pros

  • No contracts
  • 30-day trial period
  • Fall detection
  • 24-hour battery backup
  • Mobile/GPS tracking option
  • Mobile app option (iOS, Android)

Cons

  • Difficult-to-use website
  • No warranty
  • Limited range compared to competition
  • AT&T coverage required in area

How much does MobileHelp cost?

PackageMobileHelp ClassicMobileHelp SoloMobileHelp Duo
Price$19.95/mo.$37.95/mo.$41.95/mo.
With fall detection+$10+$10+$10
Learn moreView PlansView PlansView Plans
Package
Price
With fall detection
Learn more
MobileHelp Classic MobileHelp Solo MobileHelp Duo
$19.95/mo. $37.95/mo. $41.95/mo.
+$10 +$10 +$10
View Plans View Plans View Plans

Data effective 05/16/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

MobileHelp’s pricing is neck and neck with Bay Alarm Medical. It has a smaller device range and a lower battery backup time, so you don’t get as much for your money with MobileHelp as you do with Bay Alarm Medical.

MobileHelp features

MobileHelp offers similar functionality as our top three options, just on a smaller scale. The range isn’t as expansive (600 feet vs. 1,000+) and the battery backup is lower (24 hours vs. 30+).

MobileHelp has an app for caretakers. It allows them to see their loved one’s location, review their alert history, and even remind them to take their medication. It’s a great way to keep tabs on a loved one when you’re too busy or too far away to physically check in.

MobileHelp customer service

Like all our top options, MobileHelp has well-reviewed customer service. The website is a bit difficult to navigate, though. We weren’t able to find the range of MobileHelp devices until we downloaded a brochure.

You can call, message, or even snail mail MobileHelp’s customer service folks.

>>Learn more: Read full MobileHelp review.
>>View Plans

5. GreatCall

GreatCall

GreatCall pros and cons

Pros

  • No contracts
  • Unlimited range
  • 80-hour battery backup
  • Mobile/GPS tracking option
  • One-year warranty
  • Mobile app option (iOS and Android)

Cons

  • Mobile only; no in-home base
  • Phone orders only
  • Equipment fee up front
  • Fall detection available only with priciest plan
  • No app access with Basic plan

How much does GreatCall cost?

PackageBasicPreferredUltimate
Price$19.99/mo.$24.99/mo.$34.99/mo.
Fall detection
No

No

Yes
Learn moreView PlansView PlansView Plans
Package
Price
Fall detection
Learn more
Basic Preferred Ultimate
$19.99/mo. $24.99/mo. $34.99/mo.

No

No

Yes
View Plans View Plans View Plans

Data effective 05/16/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Lively Mobile from GreatCall

GreatCall’s monthly wearable device plans start at $19.99, making it our second-cheapest option by four cents. But when you calculate in the initial $49.99 to buy a Lively Mobile Plus device, the savings aren’t as good as they appear—especially since you have to spend at least $34.99 to get a plan with fall detection. The price may be worth it though. You can go anywhere and be covered with GreatCall, rather than being restricted to your house.

GreatCall’s caretaker app can be used with the Preferred and Ultimate plans. It has similar functions as MobileHelp’s. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t let a caretaker set reminders for the user.

GreatCall features

As a mobile-only service, GreatCall offers an unlimited range of motion. The wearable devices don’t have to connect to a home base, so they can be used anywhere. They do have to be accompanied by an up-to-date iPhone or Android.

ASL Take Note

GreatCall and Lively Mobile

Lively Mobile is the name of some of the devices produced by the GreatCall brand. If you want to look up reviews, they may be by product name instead of by brand name.

GreatCall customer service

You can reach GreatCall customer service by phone or by a contact form on their website.

>>View Plans

Medical alert systems FAQ

When should I or my loved one consider a medical alert system?

The fact that you’re even considering a medical alert system means it’s time. Think of a medical alert system like a seat belt—99% of the time you won’t need one, but it can save your life the other 1% of the time.

Here are some questions for you or your loved one to ask yourselves to determine whether you need a medical alert system:

  • In the past year, have I stumbled, fallen, or felt dizzy?
  • In the past year, have I been in the hospital or the emergency room for any reason?
  • Do I suffer from any of the following chronic ailments?
    • Arthritis
    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    • Diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • Osteoporosis
    • Stroke
  • Do I take any medications that could make me dizzy or drowsy?
  • Do I use a cane, walker, wheelchair, etc. for day-to-day mobility?
  • Do I need help bathing, dressing, or preparing meals?
  • How often am I home alone?

If you’re nodding your head as you’re reading these, it’s time to make the investment in a medical alert system.

What should I look for in a medical alert system?

Here’s what to look for when deciding which medical alert system will work best for your needs.

Price

So how much will a medical alert system cost? Most medical alarm companies have month-to-month or prepaid service agreements instead of contracted services. If you pay for six or 12 months up front, you can get a discounted price on your medical alert monitoring service.

Not all medical alert companies offer refunds on prepaid services.

It’s worth noting that not all medical alert companies offer refunds on prepaid services. So if you cancel for any reason (including death), you might not get your money back. We recommend choosing a company with a prorated refund policy.

>>ASecureLife’s recommendation: Bay Alarm Medical is an especially good option if you have concerns about price. With the affordable services and price-lock guarantee, you’ll get a good bang for your buck.

Monitoring cost

Few medical alert companies lock you into contracts. Instead, most give you a discount on your monthly rate for paying up front—typically three, six, or 12 months at a time. Double check whether the medical alert company offers a money-back guarantee or prorated refund for prepaid services—not all of them do.

Fees

You won’t pay activation, installation, or cancellation fees with most medical alert companies, but keep your eye out for a few potential pricing pitfalls that feel a lot like fees.

Companies may charge up to a $350 replacement fee if you don’t return the equipment within 30 days of cancellation. Most medical alert companies lease their equipment instead of letting you buy it outright, so if they don’t get their equipment back, it’s like theft. Remember that you’re not buying this equipment and that you’ll have to return it when you cancel your service.

Some companies don’t offer prorated refunds for prepaid services. If you cancel after six months of service after prepaying for 12 months, you’re paying for six months of service you don’t need. Again, we recommend asking the medical alert company you choose whether it offers prorated refunds before prepaying for service. It could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Fall detection

In our opinion, fall detection is the most important feature of any medical alert system. When a fall detection device triggers, it automatically contacts the medical alert monitoring station on the wearer’s behalf.

Most medical alert systems don’t offer fall detection as a standard feature, so you’ll need to spend extra to add it.

More severe falls can prevent a user from reaching or pressing the emergency help button. Fall detection provides aid in instances where the user may be unconscious or otherwise unable to activate their wearable device. It takes the “What if I can’t call for help?” question out of the equation, which is why we recommend it so highly.

Most medical alert systems don’t offer fall detection as a standard feature, so you’ll need to spend extra to add this feature. You can see the minimum entry prices for fall detection in the comparison table.

Base Station - Medical Guardian

Base station

Most medical alert systems use the same basic setup. There’s the main console, or base station, that connects through either a landline or cellular signal. These base units are lifelines that provide two-way communication to a medical alert monitoring center. The base station has a big emergency button and a two-way audio speaker that lets you communicate with the medical alert central monitoring center.

Range

By range, we mean how far from the base station a wearable pendant or bracelet will work. Choose a medical alert system that allows enough space to roam and live life.

Cellular vs. landline

Most medical alert companies offer both landline and cellular options. Landline options generally have lower monthly costs but limit your mobility to the range of your base station device. Cellular devices allow for a wider range of use and even function as mobile GPS devices as long as you can get a cellular signal.

>>ASecureLife’s recommendation: Users who don’t have a landline set up can still enjoy home medical alert protection with MobileHelp and GreatCall.

Customer service

Customer service ranks high on our priority list when recommending services. Many companies use similar technologies and prices, so customer service and the overall experience sets them apart. All five of our top recommendations have well-reviewed customer service.

Reputation

We like to give the benefit of the doubt to any service that we review, but we do look heavily into what consumers say about the service they receive. We looked at overall comments from existing customers for each company to see whether their experiences were positive or negative. We suggest digging in to customer feedback as well as how the company responded to complaints to help guide you in your decision.

How does a medical alert device work?

A medical alert system gives you the ability to contact family, friends, or professionals during a medical emergency:

  • Step 1: Press the Help button.
  • Step 2: Speak to a trained medical alert operator to verify you need help.
  • Step 3: The medical alert operator will alert a family member or friend or dispatch emergency response on your behalf.

Although a medical alert system will not prevent a medical emergency, it can help reduce its severity by providing immediate emergency response.

What’s the difference between different medical alert devices?

There are some differences between medical alert devices. Here’s what’s what.

Wearables - Medical Guardian

Medical alert pendants and bracelets

Many medical alert systems offer both pendants and bracelets with wearable buttons to trigger your medical alert system. We recommend using whichever is easiest and most comfortable for your lifestyle.

A few things to consider with wearables:

  • Most fall detection devices are pendants.
  • Most wearables aren’t equipped with two-way voice. You’ll have to be within vocal range of the base station or have GPS to speak with a medical alert representative. If the system triggers and the medical alert representative can’t hear you, they’ll automatically dispatch an emergency response team to your location.
  • You must stay within range of your base station or GPS device.

 

If wearables are the main thing you’re looking for in a medical alert device, check out our review on the companies with the best medical alert necklaces.

Medical Guardian GPS Devices

GPS medical alert device

GPS medical alert devices allow you to go anywhere you want, as long as you have a cellular signal. If your daily routine takes you all around the house, into the yard, or away from your home entirely, you may want to consider a GPS medical alert option.

These devices work the same way as standard medical alert systems but are more compact and portable. They’ll easily fit inside a purse or coat pocket.

All of our top recommended options have GPS available.

What if English isn’t my or my loved one’s first language?

A user gets more out of a medical alert device when they can communicate with the medical alert operator. Medical Guardian, LifeFone, Bay Alarm Medical, and GreatCall offer services in many languages. Alert1, though we don’t recommend it in other areas, also serves customers in 190 languages.

Our recommendation

We’d recommend any of these five systems for you depending on your personal needs. If you want to learn more, check out our individual reviews for Medical Guardian, LifeFone, Bay Alarm Medical, and MobileHelp.

Contributing author: Brianne Sandorf

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