Bay Alarm Medical vs Medical Guardian
We like Medical Guardian for:
- Seniors who like high-tech features
- Those who have a flexible budget
- Seniors who are looking for a discreet medical alert device
We like Bay Alarm Medical for:
- Seniors who are looking for an affordable system
- Users who appreciate simplicity
- Consumers who want to try out the product before committing to it
Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian are two popular medical alert systems on the market. If you find yourself deciding between the two, we’ve got you covered. Bay Alarm Medical is our pick for budget-conscious seniors who want simple, reliable medical alert systems. Medical Guardian is our choice for high-tech, sleek equipment and extra features. We’ll get into all the details comparing these providers so you can make the right choice for your needs in the guide below.
Below we’ll get into all the details comparing these providers so you can make the right choice for your needs.
An Overview of Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian
Bay Alarm Medical was formed in 2007 as a subsidiary of Bay Alarm, a leader in security services for over 70 years. The company has a user-friendly website, 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 2023 list, so you’ll be in good hands with either provider.
In comparison, Medical Guardian, founded in 2005, has more high-tech features like a smartwatch system with texting, calendar alerts, a companion app, and location tracking 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 they don’t have any hidden fees or long-term contracts. Seniors and caregivers value their sleek and innovative medical alert systems.
Comparing Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian
|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||$27.95-$60.95 per month||$29.95-$44.95 per month*|
*Prices vary by chosen payment plan
Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical both offer at-home and on-the-go systems, with Medical Guardian offering a bit more variety in their lineup.
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
Bay Alarm Medical’s SOS Smartwatch is a modern alternative to traditional medical alert systems. Users can check the time, track their steps, set daily goals, and call for help with an easy-to-navigate menu. This touchscreen smartwatch is more streamlined 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.
More recently, Bay Alarm Medical updated its traditional mobile device offering, the SOS Mobile. It is now smaller and sleeker and includes a few additional features that their previous GPS Help Button did not. For example, you have your choice of an AT&T or Verizon connection for better coverage. In addition, GPS location tracking is available for caregivers and monitoring agents.
Bay Alarm also offers a system great for both at-home and on-the-go use. The SOS All-in-One is a mobile device rich with features. This mobile device pairs with a lighter, more discreet help button that can be worn on the wrist or around the neck.
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 newest offering is the MGMove, a watch with calendar alerts, messaging capabilities, and a companion mobile app. Like Bay Alarm Medical’s SOS Smartwatch, it also has step tracking 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.
Medical Guardian vs. Bay Alarm Medical Equipment and Features
How Much Do Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian Cost?
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.
Bay Alarm Medical
For seniors who desire low-cost and essential protection, Bay Alarm Medical’s prices are hard to beat. Their SOS Home is just $27.95 per month, which is $2 cheaper than the equivalent from Medical Guardian. 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 $37.95 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 seniors who spend a lot of time at home.
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 starts at $34.95 per month with a one-time $159 device fee. Its monthly fees and equipment costs are less expensive than Medical Guardian’s MGMove watch. MGMove costs $39.95 per month and $199.95 for the one-time equipment charge.
Extra costs you may encounter when purchasing a medical alert system from Bay Alarm Medical:
- $99-$159 one-time equipment fees on some packages
- $10 per month for automatic fall detection
- $2-$3 per month for an extended warranty
- $30 for lockboxes
- $8 for Vial of Life emergency medical information
- $39 one-time fee to purchase an extra help button
FYI: Bella Charms, a unique add-on offered by Bay Alarm Medical, can be placed over your help button for discretion and a bit of flair. For those who are self-conscious about wearing a medical alert system, this layer of fashion and personality may be worth considering.
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,2 high-tech medical alert systems are alluring to 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 MGMove, 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:
- $124.95-$199.95 one-time equipment fee for some systems
- $10 per month for fall detection
- $6.99 per month protection plan
- $2.99 per month for extra help button
- $12.50 for shipping (waived on annual plans)
- $2.99 per month for enhanced emergency notifications on select plans
Accessories and Add-Ons
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.
Add-on Equipment Offered by Both Providers
- Lockbox: This secure box is placed on your front door with a key inside. Emergency services will not have to break down your door to enter, saving you hundreds of dollars in repairs.
- Additional Help Button: Available in wrist and pendant style, users can press these water-resistant help buttons in the event of an emergency.
- Wall button: Users can place these red buttons around the home in fall-prone areas such as the bathroom or kitchen. When pressed, they alert the provider’s call center.
- Charms/Jewelry Pendants: Sprucing up your help button pendants can be fun and make your alert system less obvious. Bay Alarm Medical offers charms that can be placed over your help button, while Medical Guardian has jewelry necklaces with built-in help buttons.
Medical Guardian or Bay Alarm Medical: Which is Best?
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.
Don’t Miss the Fine Print
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 for $2 to $3 per month, depending on the system you choose. 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. 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. If you want more information, check out our Medical Guardian review and Bay Alarm Medical review.
NCOA. (2020). Economic Security for Seniors Facts.
AARP. (2020). Older Adults Keep Pace on Tech Usage.