The Best Medical Alert Systems of 2019

#1. Our Top Pick
Medical Guardian
4.8 out of 5 stars4.8
Starting at  
$29.95
/mo.
#2
LifeFone
4.8 out of 5 stars4.8
Starting at  
$24.95
/mo.
#3
Bay Alarm Medical
4.7 out of 5 stars4.7
Starting at  
$19.95
/mo.
#4
MobileHelp
4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
Starting at  
$19.95
/mo.
#5
GreatCall
4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
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.

Nearly 50% of respondents to a recent ASecureLife survey said "falling and causing bodily injury or death” is a main security concern for them.* This is especially true for those who might fall for medical reasons. Luckily, medical alert systems exist to ease these valid worries.

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

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 is easy to use, and it has the biggest variety of plans. It offers an app for iOS and has a large range of movement.

Medical Guardian
Our rating:
4.8 out of 5.0
4.8 out of 5 stars4.8
Customer service
5 out of 5 stars5.0
Price
4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
Features & equipment
5 out of 5 stars5.0
Plans starting at 
$29.95
/mo.

    Medical Guardian pros and cons

    Pros
    • Pro BulletNo setup fee
    • Pro BulletNo long-term contracts
    • Pro BulletFall detection
    • Pro Bullet1,300-foot range
    • Pro BulletEasy-to-use buttons
    • Pro Bullet30-hour battery backup
    • Pro BulletMobile/GPS tracking option
    • Pro BulletLifetime warranty
    • Pro BulletMobile app option (iOS)
    • Pro BulletLots of plan options
    Cons
    • Con BulletDifficult-to-navigate website

    How much does Medical Guardian cost?

    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.

    Medical Guardian Family Guardian package
    Fall alert necklace
    Protip

    In fall 2019, Medical Guardian released a line of medical alert necklaces that look like regular jewelry. This more stylish option is great for those who don’t like the aesthetic of typical medical alert devices.

    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

    When we weigh pricing, features, and customer service, LifeFone is a solid overall system. Among other benefits, it charges the least of any system to add fall detection.

    Lifefone
    Our rating:
    4.8 out of 5.0
    4.8 out of 5 stars4.8
    Customer service
    5 out of 5 stars5.0
    Price
    4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
    Features & equipment
    5 out of 5 stars5.0
    Plans starting at 
    $24.95
    /mo.

      LifeFone pros and cons

      Pros
      • Pro BulletNo setup fee
      • Pro BulletNo long-term contracts
      • Pro Bullet30-day free trial
      • Pro BulletFall detection
      • Pro Bullet1,300-foot range
      • Pro Bullet32-hour battery backup
      • Pro BulletMobile/GPS tracking option
      • Pro BulletLifetime warranty
      • Pro BulletMobile app option (iOS, Android)
      • Pro BulletProrated refund
      Cons
      • Con BulletSmaller buttons on bracelet than on competitor wearables

      How much does LifeFone cost?

      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 at Home

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

      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

      The ultra-compact and lightweight GPS medical alert system Bay Alarm Medical is available at an affordable price. If you want prorated refunds, a price-lock guarantee, and the option to get a second pendant monitored at no extra cost, this is the brand for you.

      Bay Alarm Medical
      Our rating:
      4.7 out of 5.0
      4.7 out of 5 stars4.7
      Customer service
      5 out of 5 stars5.0
      Price
      5 out of 5 stars5.0
      Features & equipment
      4 out of 5 stars4.0
      Plans starting at 
      $19.95
      /mo.

        Bay Alarm Medical pros and cons

        Pros
        • Pro BulletNo contracts
        • Pro Bullet30-day trial period
        • Pro BulletFall detection
        • Pro Bullet1,000-foot range
        • Pro Bullet32-hour battery backup
        • Pro BulletMobile/GPS tracking option
        • Pro BulletMobile app option (iOS, Android)
        • Pro BulletProrated refund
        • Pro BulletPrice-lock guarantee
        • Pro BulletAmerican Seniors Association, AMAC, AARP, and USAA discounts
        • Pro BulletFree spouse monitoring coverage with purchase of second pendant
        Cons
        • Con BulletBulky equipment
        • Con BulletExtra cost for warranty plan
        • Con BulletExtra $10 cost for cellular connection
        • Con BulletSmaller fall detection range
        • Con BulletAT&T coverage required in area to use mobile and in-home cellular

        How much does Bay Alarm Medical cost?

        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.

        Other Bay Alarm Medical plans
        Protip
        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 offers standard medical alert device features, but it doesn’t have the range of its competitors.

        MobileHelp
        Our rating:
        4.5 out of 5.0
        4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
        Customer service
        5 out of 5 stars5.0
        Price
        5 out of 5 stars5.0
        Features & equipment
        3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
        Plans starting at 
        $19.95
        /mo.

          MobileHelp pros and cons

          Pros
          • Pro BulletNo contracts
          • Pro Bullet30-day trial period
          • Pro BulletFall detection
          • Pro Bullet24-hour battery backup
          • Pro BulletMobile/GPS tracking option
          • Pro BulletMobile app option (iOS, Android)
          Cons
          • Con BulletDifficult-to-use website
          • Con BulletNo warranty
          • Con BulletLimited range compared to competition
          • Con BulletAT&T coverage required in area

          How much does MobileHelp cost?

          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 Device

          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 is a mobile-only service with an unlimited range. It’s great for users who are frequently out of the house, but it does require an up-front equipment purchase.

          GreatCall
          Our rating:
          4.5 out of 5.0
          4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
          Customer service
          4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
          Price
          4 out of 5 stars4.0
          Features & equipment
          5 out of 5 stars5.0
          Plans starting at 
          $19.95
          /mo.

            GreatCall pros and cons

            Pros
            • Pro BulletNo contracts
            • Pro BulletUnlimited range
            • Pro Bullet80-hour battery backup
            • Pro BulletMobile/GPS tracking option
            • Pro BulletOne-year warranty
            • Pro BulletMobile app option (iOS and Android)
            Cons
            • Con BulletMobile only; no in-home base
            • Con BulletPhone orders only
            • Con BulletEquipment fee up front
            • Con BulletFall detection available only with priciest plan
            • Con BulletNo app access with Basic plan

            How much does GreatCall cost?

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

            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.

            Lively Mobile from GreatCall
            GreatCall and Lively Mobile
            Take Note
            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

            Base Station - Medical Guardian

            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.

            Medical alert pendants and bracelets

            Wearables - Medical Guardian

            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 or the best medical alert watches.

            GPS medical alert device
            Medical Guardian GPS Devices

            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 GuardianLifeFoneBay 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.


            Stats and facts about falling

            Being prepared is essential to emergency situations. We've created this infographic to highlight some of the dangers of falling in the home and to stress the importance of being prepared.

            Medical Alert Infographic

            As we mentioned, medical alert systems are helpful for aging adults. In fact, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 25% of all people over the age of 65 fall each year.¹

            But remember, you don’t have to be getting older to get one. They’re also designed for people with disabilities, individuals with chronic ailments, or anyone who feels the potential need for medical attention. We’d especially recommend them for individuals living alone without friends or family nearby.

            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.

            *In our survey, we asked 5,000 respondents were asked how concerned they were about different health and wellness issues. Falling and causing bodily injury or death was one option.
            Sources: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “Preventing Falls Among the Elderly