Affordable Safety Services With a Myriad of Options
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Independence is important as we age, so it is no surprise that 96 percent of people over the age of 65 prefer to live on their own for as long as possible.1 Fortunately, companies like Alert1 offer a diverse lineup of medical alert systems to help people age in place while maintaining control and quality of life. They're also committed to inclusivity, offering veterans discounts, language support for nearly 200 languages, and nonverbal protocol for those with hearing loss.
The company offers a range of options for at-home and on-the-go protection. For this review, I'll be taking a closer look at the On-the-Go + Home Fall Detection. From packages to pricing to setting up the systems, read on to learn more about my experience with Alert1.
Before we dive into product details and a cost breakdown of Alert1 systems, let's look at my experience interacting with the company and trying out their systems.
Whenever I'm scoping out a company, the first place I look is its website. Alert1 gained big points with me for its transparent and informative website. Still, I wanted to learn more, so I called their customer service line.
After a short wait, a friendly woman named Alicia answered my call. She advised me that their best-selling product is the In-the-Home + Fall Detection system. Alicia let me know if I wanted to try out the On-the-Go system as well, it would be more cost-efficient to bundle the two together. She looped me in on their referral program, an easy way for customers to earn a free month of service for themselves and their friends.
Buyer's Tip: Save $9 per month by choosing the 10-month plan instead of the one-month plan. With the 10-month plan, you get one month of service free.
Alicia also filled me in on a little secret: I could avoid the one-time $19.95 activation fee by choosing the 10-month plan rather than paying month to month. This isn't the most expensive activation fee I've ever seen (Life Alert's fee is nearly $200), but every bit of savings counts!
I started by setting up my In-the-Home + Fall Detection system, first plugging the power cord of the base unit into an electrical outlet. The unit beeped, and the green power light turned on. I then plugged the included phone cord into the back of the base unit and connected the other end to my wall's phone outlet.
I tested the system by pressing the “Emergency” button on the unit. This illuminated the red “Alarm Status” light, and when the operator answered the call, I let him know that I was testing the system.
The last thing I needed to do was pair my fall-detection pendant to the base unit. This required a few extra steps:
To set up my On-the-Go + Fall Detection pendant, I plugged the charging cord into a power outlet and plugged the other end into the unit's charging port. The unit blinked red to let me know it was charging, and once it was fully charged, the light was blinking blue. I then connected the lanyard clasp to the unit and put it around my neck.
I pressed the black help button to test the system until the status light turned blue to let me know the call was being made. After about 30 seconds, I was connected to an operator and, again, I let them know I was running a test.
Setup Advice: More of a visual learner? Alert1 provides installation videos for each system, which you can find on their website.2
Once my systems were up and running, I called Alert1 to set up my Circle of Care, aka my custom responders. Overall, the devices were straightforward to set up on my own, but Alert1 is always ready to guide customers through installation over the phone, if needed.
Alert1 offers a limited warranty covering battery replacements and equipment that has become inoperable due to product defects. The warranty doesn't cover loss or damage from accidents, negligence, or repairs performed by an unauthorized service.
According to Alert1, 3 out of 4 customers opt to add the Advantage Plan for an additional $8.33 per month. This plan protects customers from paying for a new system in case of non-defect-related damage or loss. In my eyes, spending less than 30 cents a day to help protect a device I rely on daily is worth it!
|System||Pay for 1 Month||Pay for 10 Months||Equipment||Shipping||Activation fee*|
|In-the-Home||$28.95 per month||$19.95 per month + 1 free month||Free||Free||$19.95|
|In-the-Home + Fall Detection||$38.95 per month||$29.95 per month + 1 free month||Free||Free||$19.95|
|On-the-Go||$38.95 per month||$29.95 per month + 1 free month||Free||Free||$19.95|
|On-the-Go Wrist Watch with GPS + Pedometer||$38.95 per month||$29.95 per month + 1 free month||$179||Free||$19.95|
|On-the-Go + Fall Detection||$48.95 per month||$39.95 per month + 1 free month||Free||Free||$19.95|
|On-the-Go + In-the-Home + Fall Detection||$58.95 per month||$49.95 per month + 1 free month||Free||Free||$19.95|
*Activation fees waived with 10-month payment plans
This system costs $28.95 per month for the month-to-month plan or $19.95 per month for the 10-month plan. For all Alert1 systems, activation is free, and you'll receive a free month of service with the 10-month plan. For month-to-month plans, you'll pay a $19.95 activation fee. Equipment and shipping are always free, regardless of the payment plan you choose.
Alert1's monthly prices are a bit higher than other budget-friendly providers. For comparison, Bay Alarm Medical's prices start at $24.95 per month for their in-home system; you don't have to sign up for a long-term service plan like you do with Alert1 to get these lower rates.
This system comes with a landline base unit, so it's great for those who don't have reliable cellular coverage in their area. The base unit has a loud and sensitive two-way speaker, so you can hear it across the room. This system comes with a showerproof help button, which can be worn as a necklace or wristband.
Did You Know: Alert1's average response time is between 20 to 45 seconds, which is within the industry average of 15 to 45 seconds. What to know who has a faster response time, check out our best medical alert system list to see a full breakdown.
During an emergency, simply press your wearable help button, and you'll be connected to an operator. You can talk to the operator through the base unit's two-way speaker. The button works within a 600-foot range from the base unit, which is below average compared to in-home systems from competing companies we've reviewed, like One Call Alert (up to 1,400 feet).
The In-the-Home system is Alert1's most basic package, and it requires a landline connection. It's an excellent choice for seniors who spend most of their time at home or who are on a tight budget. You get 24/7 monitoring, and you can add fall detection for an additional $10 per month.
This system costs $29.95 per month if you pay for 10 months upfront. Or you can choose a month-to-month plan and pay $38.95 per month. I'd recommend going with the 10-month plan if it works for your wallet to get the most bang for your buck. You can also add GPS tracking to this system for an extra $10 per month.
This package was part of my bundle. It came with a base unit with a 400-foot range (200 feet shorter than the In-the-Home system), a showerproof fall-detection pendant, and a wristband help button. The fall-detection pendant has a lifespan of over two years, and you can request a free replacement when the battery dies. No worrying about dead batteries here!
FYI: The fall-detection pendant doesn't detect 100 percent of falls. To err on the side of caution, you should always press the help button during emergencies when possible.
Given that 3 million older adults are treated for a fall injury each year,3 I was glad to see that Alert1 has an at-home system with automatic fall detection. I recommend it for seniors who spend a lot of time at home and are concerned about their risk of falling.
Other than the added fall detection, this system works exactly like the basic In-the-Home package. I found that the speaker on the system's base unit was powerful. When I tested my help button (I was in the kitchen), I could hear the base station connecting in the living room. As long as you're within the 400-foot range, you should have no problem calling for help.
From the shower to the kitchen, if the fall-detection pendant senses a fall, it automatically connects to the base unit and calls for help, instead of requiring you to press the help button to initiate the call. Alert1's 24/7 U.S.-based monitoring center will dispatch the appropriate response to your home. This at-home system runs on a landline or AT&T cellular connection, and you can switch between them at any time. I appreciate the flexibility that comes with changing between a landline or cellular connection. Other providers we've reviewed, like Medical Alert, make you choose between the two.
This system costs $29.95 per month with a 10-month payment plan. If you'd prefer month-to-month payments, it costs $38.95 per month. You can also add fall detection for $10 per month; however, I'd recommend upgrading to the On-the-Go + Fall Detection system. That way, your extra $10 per month will go further, as the upgraded system comes with fall detection and GPS technology.
For seniors who live an active, on-the-move lifestyle, the showerproof On-the-Go system may be the best option. With a 30-day battery life and portable charging station, it's designed to be worn around the neck wherever you go but can be carried with a belt attachment as well. As long as the device is charged and within cell coverage, you'll have around-the-clock protection. I was impressed with this system's battery life, as it's much longer than many competitors' mobile systems. For instance, Medical Guardian, a top provider we've reviewed, offers various mobile units with batteries that last up to seven days.
Verizon and AT&T support the On-the-Go system, so it works anywhere with cellular service from one of these providers. Should you need help while you're out and about, all you need to do is press the button on the unit. This will connect you with a trained operator in Alert1's Command Center who can locate you (if needed) using 911 technology and dispatch emergency services.
At $29.95 with a 10-month plan, this system is both competitively priced and unique in form and function. However, keep in mind that it is the only Alert1 system that requires an equipment fee. After paying the $179 fee, this watch is yours to keep regardless of if or when you discontinue your subscription.
The On-the-Go Wrist Watch with GPS + Pedometer is one of only a few watch-style systems on the market. It is lightweight, black, and has a round face. With its two-way speaker, you can communicate with a monitoring center agent during an emergency. In addition to its safety features, the watch includes a pedometer to assist you in staying fit and a weather app for checking the forecast while you're out.
The On-the-Go Wrist Watch can use either of Alert1's cellular connections: At&T or Verizon. So you run a pretty good chance of maintaining a strong cellular connection. Like Alert1's other products, the watch connects to a monitoring center that is open around the clock. It also has built-in GPS, so you can always be located even if an emergency renders you unable to speak.
One thing to point out is the watch does not include fall detection. So if you are at a high risk of falls, you may want to stick with the On-the-Go system.
On-the-Go + Fall Detection costs $39.95 per month with the 10-month plan or $48.85 per month with the month-to-month plan. If you choose the 10-month plan, prices are comparable to other popular providers. For comparison, ADT Health's monthly costs start at $39.95 for their on-the-go system. However, Alert1's month-to-month rates are on the pricier side.
This system came with my bundle (more on that later). It includes a charging station and a showerproof, wearable GPS device with a five-day battery life, which is significantly shorter than the basic On-the-Go system. While the dip in battery life might seem extreme, I find that this is standard for devices using GPS technology. It's nothing terrible, just something you should know so that you remember to charge it! I'm pretty forgetful when it comes to charging, so I just plugged mine in every night before bed.
Alert1's On-the-Go + Fall Detection functions similarly to the standard On-the-Go system, but it offers automatic fall detection and GPS tracking. It doesn't require a landline or phone to operate. Instead, it uses AT&T or Verizon networks.
FYI: Alert1 customers can set up a Circle of Care with family, friends, neighbors, and caregivers. During an emergency, you can decide who Alert1 contacts first.
The GPS feature can track your location no matter where you are, which is an excellent option for active seniors who are always on the move – from hikes to bike rides to the dance floor. When I tested my system during a walk along the beach, I was connected to the operator within 25 seconds. They knew my exact location, so I'm confident in the GPS tracking.
This bundle is Alert1's most expensive package, costing $49.95 per month with the 10-month plan. The price rises to $58.95 per month for the month-to-month option. Although this system seems pricey, it's a great deal considering that you're getting two systems for $20 less than purchasing them separately.
This bundle includes the In-the-Home + Fall Detection and the On-the-Go + Fall Detection systems. My package came with an in-home base unit and fall-detection pendant, an extra wristband, a mobile fall-detection pendant, and a charger. All pendants are showerproof. I tested them out while showering and found that they still worked, no problem. The On-the-Go device lasts for up to five days on a single charge, while the at-home fall-detection pendant has a battery life of up to two years.
Fusing the safety features of the on-the-go and at-home fall detection, the bundle is a match made in heaven for older adults who want the highest level of protection. It covers you in your home with a landline or AT&T connection and on-the-go with Verizon or AT&T service. Both systems are backed by Alert1's 24/7 monitoring services. Plus, the on-the-go device features GPS technology, which I'm a big fan of.
Alert1 offers a multitude of add-ons to supplement any system. While I appreciate that the company provides options like colorful silicone wristbands and beaded necklaces, I found that the most important items to consider are functional add-ons, such as the Advantage Plan and the Medication Reminder and Organizer. Let's take a closer look.
The Advantage Plan ($8.33 per month) protects customers from paying for any damage to their devices. With this plan, you can get one free equipment replacement per contractual year due to unforeseen damage.
For seniors living with a spouse or roommate, Alert1 offers steep discounts on their systems when you add a second user to your plan.
While some companies we've reviewed, including LifeFone, offer medication reminders, Alert1 has an accessory to help seniors keep their medications organized for a one-time fee of $149.95. Alert1's tamper-proof Medication Reminder and Organizer holds up to 28 doses. It allows you or your caregivers to program up to four medication reminders per day, a task that's similar to setting a digital clock.
Even though Alert1's base unit has a 600-foot range and can easily pick up sounds, in-home landline system users may want to consider purchasing a voice extender. This device was specifically designed to extend the two-way voice feature of the system throughout larger homes or homes with multiple stories. It costs $99 and can easily be mounted to the wall or tabletop.
Alert1's Fall Protection Package costs $200 and is perfect for older adults at risk of falling who want an extra layer of protection. The package comes with two Wall-Mounted Emergency Buttons, two wireless motion-sensing night lights, 12 corner guards, and adhesive tub grip strips.
Many medical alert companies offer emergency lockboxes to avoid the cost of broken-in doors during an emergency. Alert1's Emergency Lockbox is $39.95 and can be set up on the front doorknob, or any other secure item near the door. It can hold up to five keys, and you can set or change its four-digit PIN any time.
Alert1's Wall-Mounted Emergency Buttons are wireless, equipped with a battery that lasts for over two years, and mounted to surfaces using Velcro adhesive strips. They can be placed anywhere! The buttons are also 100 percent showerproof, making them perfect for the bathroom, as well as the bedroom or stairs. Each button costs $39.95.
Pro Tip: To compare Alert1 to other top providers, visit our list of the best medical alert systems for seniors.
Alert1 offers a Monitored Smoke Detector for a low monthly price of $10. While it serves the same purpose as a regular smoke detector, Alert1 goes the extra mile by automatically connecting the customer with an operator. Other providers we've reviewed, such as Bay Alarm Medical, don't offer smoke detectors, so it's a unique add-on.
Alert1 offers additional pendants and wristbands, including the Mobile Fall Detection Pendant ($39.95), the Fall Detection Pendant ($29.95), the PAX Plus Classic Wristband ($29.95), an Alarm Bracelet ($19.95), and an Alert Pendant ($19.95). Keep in mind that the prices are for the devices only and must be paired with the proper medical alert system.
For Alert1's home emergency buttons, the company offers fun silicone wristbands in gray, blue, and purple for $9.95. These are not compatible with mobile or fall-detection pendants.
Alert1 offers Medical ID Bracelets for $34.95 in large and small sizes. The bracelets feature an accessible panel with space for patient information. They're great for older adults with allergies, health conditions, and specific emergency instructions.
For seniors with a passion for fashion, adding a touch of color or bling can make medical alert pendants fun to wear. These necklaces come in many different styles and cost $19.95.
All in all, I was impressed with Alert1's systems for in-home and on-the-go use. Though I was unenthused about the lack of a lifetime warranty and the at-home systems' limited base-to-button range, the company's life-saving features and customizable packages made it worthwhile.
Alert1 provides a level of care that some other companies don't, offering assistance in multiple languages, discounts for veterans, and nonverbal protocol for those with hearing loss. When reviewing a medical alert system, I'm not just looking at how the company will treat a customer during an emergency, I'm also looking at how they treat their customers daily, and Alert1 exceeded my expectations.
Watch our Alert1 video review below for a closer look at this provider.
Alert1’s monthly costs vary depending on the system, payment plan, and additional add-ons. Without add-ons, prices range between $19.95 to $58.95 per month.
Alert1 offers new customers a 30-day, risk-free trial. To qualify for a refund, the customer must place a successful test call to the Command Center and mail the device back in its original condition. If you want to return your device in the middle of your service plan, you can donate any remaining time to a low-income person or a veteran through the Alert1 Cares Program.
Yes, Alert1 offers discounts for veterans, AAA members, and AARP members. The company also offers a free month of service through its refer-a-friend program. Users who want to add a second unit or button to cover another household member also receive a discount.
All of Alert1’s systems come with unlimited button pushes, so you can feel comfortable pushing your button even for minor emergencies. You will not be charged for accidental pushes either.
Once the emergency button is pressed on a device, the user is connected with an Alert1 operator in the Command Center. The operator will answer the call and access the customer’s information in just 20 to 45 seconds.