We recommend Medical Guardian for:
We recommend Bay Alarm Medical for:
Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian are two popular medical alert systems on the market. If you find yourself teeter-tottering between the two, we've got you covered. Bay Alarm Medical is our pick for budget-conscious seniors who want simple, reliable systems. Medical Guardian is our choice for high-tech, sleek equipment and extra features.
Below we'll get into all the details comparing these providers so you can make the right choice for your needs.
Bay Alarm Medical was formed in 2007 as a Bay Alarm subsidiary, which has been a leader in security services for over 70 years. The company has a great website that is easy to navigate, and customer support is available by live chat or phone. Known for its affordable prices, Bay Alarm Medical is a top-of-the-line medical alert provider that offers simple, reliable protection.
Did You Know: Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian both debuted at the top of our Best Medical Alert Systems of 2021 list, so you'll be in good hands with either provider.
Medical Guardian, founded in 2005, has more high-tech features like a smartwatch system with texting, calendar alerts, a companion app, and activity monitoring that is ideal for caregivers or adult children. Today, more than 200,000 Americans use Medical Guardian for medical alert protection. Monthly service fees are a bit higher than Bay Alarm Medical, but we're okay with that since they have no hidden fees or long-term contracts. Seniors and caregivers alike value their sleek and innovative medical alert systems.
|Provider||Bay Alarm Medical||Medical Guardian|
|Call center||U.S.-Based, Five Diamond Certified||U.S.-Based, Five Diamond Certified|
|Headquarters||Concord, CA||Philadelphia, PA|
|Price range||$21.95-$51.95 per month||$29.95-$49.95 per month*|
*Prices vary by chosen payment plan
Both providers offer two in-home medical alert systems. In addition, Medical Guardian has four on-the-go systems to choose from. Bay Alarm Medical's lineup includes two on-the-go systems and two hybrid systems.
For seniors who want a mobile on-the-go system, Medical Guardian has sleek systems in varying styles. On the other hand, Bay Alarm Medical's mobile system is bulkier but still has a great four-day battery life at a reasonable price. Let's look at some of the providers' most unique offerings.
Bay Alarm Medical's latest product, the SOS Smartwatch, is a sleek touchscreen smartwatch. Users can check the time, track their steps, set daily goals, and call for help with the easy-to-navigate menu. This watch is a bit simpler than Medical Guardian's watch and has less advanced features, so it's best for seniors who don't want too many bells and whistles.
Money-Saving Tip: If you're interested in at-home and on-the-go protection, check out Bay Alarm Medical's bundling options. You can save on your monthly rates and equipment fees, and you'll get free shipping as a bonus.
Important Note: Bay Alarm Medical used to offer a unique in-car medical alert system with GPS tracking and crash detection. However, in May of 2021, a Bay Alarm Medical representative let us know that the system is no longer offered. The company hopes to relaunch the product with upgraded technology sometime in the future.
Medical Guardian’s Freedom 2.0 is a wearable watch with calendar alerts, messaging capabilities, and a companion mobile app. It doesn't have step tracking like Bay Alarm Medical's SOS Smartwatch, so that's one thing to keep in mind for active seniors.
The company also has Mini Guardian, a small, discreet on-the-go system that's about half the size of traditional mobile units. It comes in three sleek colors, making it an excellent option for seniors who want something less bulky and more modern.
Note that as of May 2021, Medical Guardian launched Freedom 2.0, an upgraded version of Freedom Guardian. It's currently available for preorder.
|Medical Guardian||Bay Alarm Medical|
|Mobile on-the-go Systems||
|Connection options||AT&T or Verizon cellular or landline||AT&T cellular or landline|
|In-home button to base range||1,300-1,400 feet depending on system||1,000 feet|
|Monthly service fee||$29.95-$49.95 per month||$21.95-$51.95 per month|
|One-time equipment fee||$99.95-$249.95 for select systems||$99-$179 for select systems|
|Battery life for mobile systems||Up to 7 days (varies by system)||Up to 4 days (varies by system)|
|Fall detection available||Yes||Yes|
Nearly half of single seniors depend on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income,1 so finding a provider that works for your budget is essential, especially for those on fixed incomes. Fortunately, both Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian have a range of service options at varying prices. It isn't one size fits all! We'll take a closer look at the costs below.
Like we mentioned previously, for seniors who desire low cost and essential protection, Bay Alarm Medical's prices are hard to beat. Their standard in-home protection package is just $21.95 per month, which is about $6 less per month than Medical Guardian’s cheapest option (with an annual payment plan). If you have a history of falling or fainting, you may want to consider automatic fall detection, which will add $10 per month to your bill. So, for $31.95 per month, you can get basic medical alert protection in your home and automatic fall protection from Bay Alarm Medical. We believe this is adequate protection at a relatively low cost for homebody seniors that live by themselves.
FYI: Bay Alarm Medical offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. If for any reason you are unsatisfied with your system in the first 30 days, they will issue you a full refund minus the shipping costs.
For those who want a smartwatch system, Bay Alarm Medical's SOS Smartwatch is less expensive than Medical Guardian's Freedom 2.0. While you'll pay around the same price for the equipment, the monthly rates are around $20 cheaper.
Extra costs you may encounter when purchasing a medical alert system from Bay Alarm Medical:
Medical Guardian's prices are a little higher than Bay Alarm Medical, but the technology is sleeker. Plus, more features and systems are available, including a companion app and a more advanced smartwatch system. Since more older adults are continuing to adopt technology over the years, high-tech medical alert systems are alluring to the tech-savvy seniors.
Keep in mind that adding all the bells and whistles will bump up the price a bit. For example, if you're interested in Freedom 2.0, and you decide to add all the extra available features, it will cost you over $60 per month for service.
Money-saving Tip: We'd recommend choosing an annual plan from Medical Guardian. It can save you nearly $45 a year. Plus, since Medical Guardian doesn't have long-term contracts, you can get a refund for your unused months if you discontinue service within the year.
Extra costs you may encounter when purchasing a medical alert system from Medical Guardian:
You can boost the protection of your medical alert system with a variety of add-ons. Both Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical have a similar catalog of accessories, with a few nuances.
Did You Know: With certain packages, Medical Guardian offers a free month of service, a second button, a lockbox, and ground shipping when you choose to pay annually. We love freebies!
We don't believe there is a clear “winner” between the two, but one of the providers may be better suited for you or your loved one! Below, we've outlined which seniors may benefit the most from Bay Alarm Medical or Medical Guardian.
Now that we've touched on pricing and equipment let's delve into the fine print. We all enjoy surprises, but hidden fees aren't one of them! You'll be glad to know that neither Bay Alarm Medical nor Medical Guardian has long-term contracts. That means you can cancel your service at any time, and you will not be penalized. If you cancel your Medical Guardian service, you may have to pay a restocking fee, but you will be given a prorated refund for any unused days of service. The same goes for Bay Alarm Medical; if you cancel before your prepaid term ends, they will refund you for the months of service you did not use.
Did You Know: Both Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical have “refer-a-friend” reward programs. Medical Guardian rewards subscribers with $25, while Bay Alarm Medical gives you a free month of service for each referral.
Currently, Bay Alarm Medical offers a 30-day risk-free trial; Medical Guardian doesn't have anything comparable. When it comes to lost or damaged equipment, you may want to consider a protection plan from Medical Guardian for $6.99 per month. Without it, you could end up paying $350 to replace damaged or stolen equipment. Bay Alarm Medical offers a protection plan as well for $3 to $5 per month. Without it, repairing or replacing a system could cost you up to a few hundred dollars.
The good news is, you can't go wrong by selecting Bay Alarm Medical or Medical Guardian; they are both top-tier providers with reliable service. We do think Bay Alarm Medical is an excellent choice for seniors who are budget-conscious or looking for simplicity, while Medical Guardian is a better option for tech-savvy seniors with wiggle room in their budget. If you feel like one of these providers is right for you or just want more information, check out this year's Medical Guardian review and our Bay Alarm Medical review.