Medical Guardian is a leading medical alert company for both older adults and younger people with disabilities. It has great service and different packages to choose from. The only drawback is the higher-than-average price.
Medical Guardian Review 2020
For a long time, Medical Guardian has held a top spot on our best medical alert systems ranking. It’s no wonder: the brand leads the medical alert industry with excellent service and a variety of packages to fit different lifestyles and needs.
Compare Medical Guardian plans
|Plans||Classic Guardian||Home Guardian||Family Guardian||Mobile Guardian||Active Guardian|
|Range||1,300 ft.||600 ft.||1,300 ft.||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Battery backup||32 hrs.||30 hrs.||32 hrs.||24 hrs.||60 hrs.|
|Two-way communication||Through base unit||Through base unit||Through base unit||On portable device||On portable device|
|Works on the go|
|Devices included||Base, pendant or wristband||Base, pendant or wristband||Base, pendant or wristband, two motion sensors, door/window sensor, app||Cradle, button, pendant or wristband||Cradle, button, clip, lanyard|
The differences between plans aren’t obvious at first sight, so let’s break them down.
The Classic Guardian uses a landline-based hub that connects to both a pendant and a wristband.
The Home Guardian uses a base station with a cellular connection. It comes with a pendant and two wristbands.
The Family Guardian has auxiliary equipment for extra security, such as motion sensors. The user’s family members can monitor the system through an app so they know that their loved one is safe from outside threats. The medical alert pendant or wristband also informs family members if it goes off within the base station range.
The Mobile Guardian is a portable device used with a pendant or wristband. Users can take it on the go for mobile medical alert protection.
The Active Guardian is a pendant-based medical alert device similar to the Mobile Guardian. It has only one piece of equipment and a longer battery life.
Medical Guardian pros and cons
- No setup fee
- No long-term contracts
- Fall detection
- 1,300 foot–plus range for most systems
- Easy-to-use buttons
- 30-hour battery backup for at-home systems
- Lifetime warranty
- Mobile app option (iOS)
- Difficult-to-navigate website
- More expensive than comparable brands
Medical Guardian is one of the only brands that consistently makes it into all our medical alert reviews: traditional systems, bracelets, and watches. You’ll get a solid experience from a brand that’s proved its value no matter which price tier you go with.
Medical Guardian doesn’t charge up-front equipment or installation fees for any of the plans listed in the table above. Best of all, it doesn’t require any contracts. You can pay month to month, or you can choose to pay for a quarter, half-year, or year at once. Paying for your service for a year in advance will bring a slight discount ($3.75 a month/$45 a year). Paying for three or six months at a time, on the other hand, doesn’t give you a discount. The only benefit is convenience.
The Smart Guardian plan, which revolves around a medical alert watch, does have an equipment fee. We share more about this device in our medical alert bracelets and watches review.
Medical Guardian’s monthly cost runs more expensive than most top brands. Sometimes it’s obvious why the cost is greater, but sometimes it’s not. For example, the Classic Guardian has a 1,300-foot range, so it makes sense that it would run $10 more than leading brands with smaller ranges. In contrast, it’s not clear why the Mobile Guardian is more expensive than other mobile medical device plans.
Each plan comes with acclaimed customer service (more on that later). All packages paid annually or semiannually also come with a free lockbox for emergency personnel so they have a key to your home. And, for $2.99 per device per month, you can add extra pendants, wristbands, or voice-activated emergency wall buttons.
Equipment and features
Medical alert equipment tends to range from huge, heavy, and ugly to small, sleek, and attractive. Medical Guardian’s options generally fall in the middle: not too big or weighty, but not the prettiest we’ve seen.
You can add fall detection to any Medical Guardian plan but the Smart Guardian. This is key for medical alert devices, though some brands (like Life Alert) don’t offer it at all.
The founder of Medical Guardian, Geoff Gross, created the company to disrupt the medical alert industry, though it seems it’s not leading the industry in disruption. We’ve seen some innovations from other brands that Medical Guardian should jump on, like Bay Alarm Medical’s car alert systems or Alert1’s fancy-wear necklaces. But we like what we see with the voice-activation feature and the Family Guardian plan.
We also like that the brand offers service in more than one language.
If a user falls, doesn’t have fall detection, and can't press the emergency button on their device, they may not be able to get help. Activating a device through voice is the perfect solution to this problem.
Family Guardian plan
The Family Guardian is an unusual offering for a medical alert system company. It essentially adds a side of home security to a medical alert. Two in-home motion sensors and a door/window sensor come with this plan for a little intruder protection.
We’re not complaining; combining the two actually makes a lot of sense to us. And we think it’s super smart to gear the whole thing towards the user’s family or other non-live-in caretakers. It eases the caretakers’ minds while still giving the user independence.
Medical Guardian has customer service representatives who speak both English and Spanish. The website also states that it uses third-party translators for other languages. It doesn’t say what languages or how many, though.
Brands that focus more on language services include Bay Alarm Medical and Alert1. Bay Alarm offers help in 170 languages, and Alert1 supports 190.
Our experience with Medical Guardian
We tested the Active Guardian and Home Guardian plans to get a feel for the equipment.
Medical Guardian Active Guardian device
Medical Guardian Family Guardian package
We thought we could move the Active Guardian button from the necklace to the clip and vice versa. We found out the hard way that attaching the button to the clip is a bit of a nightmare. Once it’s on, moving it would be a pain. So if you want to switch back and forth between the necklace and the clip, you may need to order a separate button.
Limited at-home communication
The Home Guardian and other systems with at-home equipment provide two-way communication through the bases, not through the wearable devices.
Basically, in an emergency, you would press the alert button to call for help, and the monitoring service would call the device and speak through the base station. If you were outside the base system range or couldn’t hear it, you wouldn’t be able to respond.
If you didn’t respond to the call, emergency responders or contacts would be dispatched anyway, so this isn’t a major safety concern. It’s just inconvenient if you don’t actually need emergency help. For example, you might press the button accidentally but be too far away from the base station to hear the response.If you’d have more peace of mind with a wearable, you can always get an on-the-go system and wear it at home as well.
Contracts and cancellation policies
Most of the complaints about Medical Guardian involve some confusion over cancellation. Some customers weren’t able to get their service canceled on the first try. Or, when they canceled the service, they didn’t return the equipment, resulting in charges.
Like most medical alert system brands, Medical Guardian follows a rent-to-own model but without the owning part. The equipment has to be returned when service is canceled. This means that you’ll need to request a mailing label from the company when canceling.
Availability and communication
Medical Guardian customer service can be contacted anytime, anywhere. Users can reach out through phone or email.
The website is a bit of a hassle. If you search for the company on Google, sometimes you’re brought to a page where you can’t get any product details without calling a representative. Likewise, even the pages with links to online purchasing frequently try to reroute you to call instead. Customer service is moving away from the call-to-purchase model, so it’s annoying that Medical Guardian pushes it so hard.
Here’s something we appreciate though: CEO Geoff Gross often responds to Better Business Bureau comments himself.
Medical Guardian vs. the competition
So how does Medical Guardian compare overall to its top competition?
As you can see, the strongest competitor is LifeFone. Its basic plan is similar to Medical Guardian’s, just $5 to $10 cheaper.
Bay Alarm Medical and MobileHelp are less expensive than Medical Guardian and LifeFone, but they don’t have as many features.
We’d recommend a Medical Guardian alert system to anyone. It may be expensive, but it offers good equipment, professional monitoring, and good customer service.
If the price is a barrier for you, go with LifeFone.