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Best Medical Alert Systems of 2020

Our experts tested and researched 15 medical alert devices and narrowed the list to their top 10 recommendations.

How we wrote this guide:
  • 5 expert consults

  • 200+ hours of research

  • 15 products considered

  • 10 products selected

The 3 Best Brands
Accolades Best Overall Most Affordable Best In-Home Alert
Contract No No No
Monthly Plan Cost Starts at $27.45 (with annual purchase) Starts at $19.95 Starts at $24.95
Fall Detection Available Yes Yes Yes
Cellular Coverage Yes Yes Yes
Activation Fees No No Yes
How to Order
Call for best price:
855-919-4522
Call for best price:
844-946-1712
Call for best price:
(844) 292-4049
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Provider Medical Guardian Bay Alarm Medical LifeFone Philips Lifeline Medical Alert GreatCall MobileHelp Alert1 QMedic LifeStation
Prices Starting at $27.45 per month $19.95 per month $24.95 per month $29.95 per month $18.29 per month $37.49 per month $19.95 per month $16.95 per month $30 per month $21.95 per month
Fall Detection $10 per month $10 per month $5-$10 per month $15 per month $10 per month $10 per month $10 per month $10-$11 per month N/A $5-$10 per month
Activation Fees No No No Up to $50 No Up to $35 No Up to $50 No No
Connection Type Landline or Cellular Landline or Cellular Landline or Cellular Landline or Cellular Landline or Cellular Cellular Landline or Cellular Landline or Cellular Landline or Cellular Landline or Cellular
GPS Equipment Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
In-Home Coverage Range Up to 1,300 feet Up to 1,000 feet Up to 1,300 feet Up to 400 feet Up to 600 feet No in-home systems Up to 1,400 feet Up to 600 feet Up to 1,000 feet Up to 600 feet
Waterproof Help Buttons Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Warranty Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Up to 1 year Lifetime 1 year Limited Iifetime Limited lifetime Lifetime Lifetime
Money-Back Guarantee None 30 days 30 days 30 days 30 days 30 days 30 days 30 days 30 days 30 days
Long-Term Contracts No No No No No No No Optional but not required No No
Spouse Monitoring Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes

How We Chose The Top Medical Alert Systems

Medical Alert Systems

After more than 200 hours of research, testing, and group discussion of all the medical alert devices we could get our hands on, our team narrowed down the list to our top ten picks. We evaluated each system for quality, reliability, speed of emergency responses, price, aesthetics, extra perks, and overall value to create a well-rounded ranking for each product. We placed test calls to each response center and during the purchase process spoke to customer service representatives at each company.

In addition to evaluating every system based on our research and hands-on testing, every company had to meet the five standard requirements we find most important for all medical alert systems. Check out our requirements for making the cut below:

  1. No Long-Term Contracts: Some medical alert companies still require customers to sign long-term contracts for up to three years, which we’re not big fans of. All of the providers included in our top ten offer month-to-month options to give customers the ultimate flexibility.
  2. 24/7 Professional Monitoring: In case of a fall or other emergency, fast response times and 365/24/7 monitoring are essential for getting the help you need. While some companies don’t include professional monitoring, we think it’s an essential feature, so our list only has those that do.
  3. In-Home Coverage Range: All of the providers on our list offer coverage ranges for their in-home systems that are at least 400 feet in length. That means you won’t have to worry about your help pendant being out of range of the base station when you need to call for help, even if you and your base station are on the opposite sides of the house. Most providers on our list offer coverage ranges much larger than 400 feet.
  4. GPS Options: All of the companies in our top ten offer GPS mobile options. For seniors that still spend time outside the home, it’s essential that the monitoring center can locate you and send help to your exact location during an emergency. GPS technology makes this possible.
  5. Monthly Rates Starting Under $40: Every provider on our list offers at least one system for under $40 per month. We want seniors to find an affordable system and keep them from breaking the bank just to stay protected. While monthly rates may be higher for premium plans, those on a budget will still have options with our top picks.

For more details on medical alert systems, jump down to our guide to choosing a medical alert system below. Without further ado, let’s get into our top ten medical alert systems of the year.

  • 1. Medical Guardian

    Why They Made the Cut

    Medical Guardian’s industry-leading smartwatch helped to place them at the very top of our rankings. This company is always one step ahead when it comes to high-tech, customizable features for medical alert systems. With everything from activity sensors to a companion mobile app, Medical Guardian adds flair and versatility that many competitors simply don’t offer. Whether you’re looking for a simple medical alert system or one with all the bells and whistles, Medial Guardian offers seven different packages to meet your needs. They have all of the standard features and add ons, including fall detection, a base station with two-way audio, waterproof help buttons, and systems built for at-home and outside use.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Customizable features
    • High-tech systems
    • Smartwatch option
    • Diverse product lineup
    • Large in-home coverage range
    • No hidden fees
    • No long-term contracts
    • U.S.-based monitoring center
    Cons
    • No free trial
    • Pricier premium systems
    • Cellular systems require AT&T coverage

    The Product Lineup and Pricing

    Product Name Prices Starting at Connection Type Designed for Fall Detection
    Classic Guardian $29.95 per month Landline At-home use $10 per month
    Home Guardian $34.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) At-home use $10 per month
    Family Guardian $79.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) At-home use with Family Alerts & Activity Sensors $10 per month
    Mini Guardian $39.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) Discrete on-the-go use (all-in-one system) $10 per month
    Active Guardian $44.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) On-the-go use (all-in-one system) Included
    Mobile Guardian $49.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) On-the-go use $10 per month
    Freedom Guardian $44.95 per month (one-time equipment fee of $249.95) Cellular (AT&T) On-the-go smartwatch with family alerts Not available

    Is Medical Guardian Right for Me?

    Medical Guardian’s diverse product lineup is a great fit for all sorts of users. We’d highly recommend Medical Guardian for the following people:

    • Active users looking for a smartwatch alert system
    • Families who need an advanced at-home system
    • Users who want the latest high-tech features
    • Those with a little more wiggle room in their budget
    • Seniors who want a more aesthetic mobile system

    Check out this year’s Medical Guardian review for more details on their offerings.

    Call Medical Guardian

    Call to speak with a Medical Guardian representative. Get your questions answered, products recommended, and ask about current deals and promotions.

    Visit MedicalGuardian.com

    Answer a few questions on Medical Guardian's website to get a quote on the best product and plan for you. This process is slower than calling a representative.

  • 2. Bay Alarm Medical

    Why They Made the Cut

    Bay Alarm Medical’s systems start at just $19.95 per month, and even their top-tier packages remain affordable, which is why Bay Alarm once again placed in our top ten. They offer inexpensive systems for use at home, out on the town, and even in the car. Not only are the prices affordable compared to the competition, but the systems also come packed with top-of-the-line features and value, so you really get the most bang for your buck. Each package comes in different tiers that vary in price and features, so you can choose as little or as much coverage as you want. The flexibility to customize your packages makes Bay Alarm a great option for any budget. Plus, if you want more than one system, you can bundle two for even bigger savings.

    Bay Alarm Medical’s unique in-car system pairs with a mobile app, so users, family members, and caregivers can keep track of the user’s location and receive instant notifications in case of a car crash. Not only is it useful for older drivers, but it’s also perfect for young drivers who are just learning the ropes. Bay Alarm’s mobile GPS help button is sleek, small, and lightweight, so it’s perfect for active users who don’t want to carry around a bulky system. The SOS Smartwatch, the company’s latest system, allows you to track your steps, set daily goals, and connect to their 24/7 monitoring center. It’s excellent for active seniors who want a discreet system that functions like a smartwatch. The in-home unit comes with all the standard features: a base unit, help pendant, and optional fall detection. Plus, you can add wall help buttons to any package.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Inexpensive systems
    • Sleek equipment
    • In-car system
    • Price-lock guarantee
    • No hidden fees
    • 30-day risk free trial
    • Customizable packages
    • Bundling options
    • Smartwatch system
    Cons
    • Free shipping only for premium package
    • Certain add ons aren’t very durable

    The Product Lineup and Pricing

    Bay Alarm Medical Product Prices starting at Best For Connection Type
    In-Home Medical Alert $19.95 per month At-home users; those without strong AT&T service Landline or cellular AT&T connection
    GPS Help Button $24.95 per month + $79 equipment fee On-the-go use AT&T cellular connection
    SOS Smartwatch $24.95 per month + $149 equipment fee Active, on-the-go users AT&T cellular connection
    In-Car Medical Alert $29.95 per month In-car users; new drivers; those who travel frequently AT&T cellular connection

    Is Bay Alarm Medical Right for Me?

    We’d recommend Bay Alarm Medical’s affordable, sleek systems for the following users:

    • Those on a tight budget
    • Users looking to bundle two or three systems
    • Families who want in-car protection for older adults or young drivers
    • Someone looking for an inexpensive in-home system
    • Users who would like less bulky equipment
    • Active seniors who want to track their daily activity

    For more details on this provider’s alert systems, take a look at our Bay Alarm Medical review.

    Call Bay Alarm Medical

    Call to speak with a Bay Alarm Medical representative. Get your questions answered, products recommended, and ask about current deals and promotions.

    Visit BayAlarmMedical.com

    Answer a few questions on Bay Alarm Medical's website to get a quote on the best product and plan for you. This process is slower than calling a representative.

  • 3. LifeFone

    Why They Made the Cut

    LifeFone is a top ten contender, as they offer one of the largest in-home coverage ranges in the industry. It’s essential that older adults will be able to call for help during an emergency, no matter where they are in the house. At 1,300 feet, LifeFone’s range from its base station to wearable help buttons is two or even three times the in-home coverage of many of its competitors. Plus, LifeFone’s signal range is the same for both its cellular and landline systems. Oftentimes, companies offer a larger coverage range for landline systems when compared to their cellular options, which is frustrating for those without a landline. You can enhance your in-home systems even further with automatic fall detection for just $5 per month, which is very affordable for the industry. LifeFone’s systems have several other great perks that put them on our list, including a caregiver mobile app, features for those with hearing or visual impairments, and a 30-day battery life for the GPS Voice in Necklace system.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Lifetime price guarantee
    • Large in-home coverage range
    • No extra fees
    • Lifetime warranty for all equipment
    • Inexpensive fall detection
    • Features for hearing and visually-impaired users
    • Great ongoing promotions and deals
    • Free spouse monitoring
    • 30-day battery life for mobile GPS system
    Cons
    • No language support
    • Add ons can add up

    Product Lineup and Pricing

    Product Name Prices Starting at Connection Type Designed for Fall Detection
    At-Home Landline $24.95 per month Landline In-home use $5 per month
    At-Home Cellular $30.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) In-home use $5 per month
    At-Home & On-the-Go GPS $36.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) In-home & on-the-go use $10 per month
    At-Home & On-the-Go GPS, Voice in Necklace $39.95 per month Cellular (AT&T or Verizon) In-home & on-the-go use (all-in-one system) $5 per month

    Is LifeFone Right for Me?

    LifeFone’s affordable and versatile at-home and on-the-go systems will be a great match for many different types of users in their golden years:

    • Users looking for large in-home signal range
    • Those who want affordable fall detection
    • Hearing or visually-impaired seniors
    • Those who want a mobile system with an ultra-long battery life

    For more information, take a look at our full LifeFone review.

  • 4. Philips Lifeline

    Why They Made the Cut

    Philips Lifeline’s parent company, Philips, is a leading provider in the health technology sector, producing everything from hearing aids to toothbrushes, which is why they made our top ten list. As the very first company to offer a medical alert system in North America, Philips Lifeline has nearly 50 years of industry experience protecting seniors that simply can’t be beaten. Philips Lifeline offers systems for both in-home and on-the-go use with all of the essential features, like waterproof help buttons and a two-way communicator that connects to their 24/7 monitoring center. Plus, the HomeSafe with AutoAlert system comes with built-in fall detection, so you don’t have to purchase it as an add-on feature. The peace of mind and assurance that comes with this health technology leader makes it a mainstay in the industry and one of our top picks.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Above Average Excellent Above Average Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Trusted industry name
    • Nearly 50 years of experience protecting seniors
    • Personalized emergency response plans
    • Professional installation available
    • Simple, straightforward technology
    • Fall detection included at no extra cost for select systems
    Cons
    • Pricer monthly rates than the competition
    • Several extra fees
    • No warranty for in-home systems
    • Smaller in-home range than the competition

    Product Lineup and Pricing

    Product Name Landline Prices Starting at Cellular Prices Starting at Connection Type Designed for Fall Detection
    HomeSafe Standard $29.95 per month $43.95 per month Landline or cellular (AT&T) At-home use Not Available
    HomeSafe with AutoAlert $44.95 per month $58.95 per month Landline or cellular (AT&T) At-home use for those at high risk of falling Included
    GoSafe 2 Not Available $49.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) On-the-go use Included

    Is Philips Lifeline Right for Me?

    As an industry veteran with a lineup of high-quality alert systems, we recommend Philips Lifeline for several different users:

    • Those looking for a trusted brand name
    • Seniors who want built-in fall detection
    • Users who want more options for landline systems
    • Older adults who want simple on-the-go protection

    We tested out all of Philips Lifeline’s products in this year’s Philips Lifeline review, so check it out for more details.

  • 5. Medical Alert

    Why They Made the Cut

    Medical Alert offers one of the industry’s best mobile apps, making it a top ten provider. Being able to track a medical alert subscriber’s whereabouts, emergency calls, and device status adds an extra level of assurance for family members and caregivers. Medical Alert’s mobile app lets the user’s loved ones do just that. With the added peace of mind, you won’t feel the need to check in on your aging loved ones multiple times a day, and they won’t feel like you’re hovering. All you have to do is open the mobile app straight from your smartphone to view their call history and device status, create testing schedules, build an emergency contact list, and check the user’s location. Medical Alert offers other essential features for their at-home and on-the-go systems, including optional fall detection, GPS location tracking, and waterproof help buttons. Plus, setup for every system is as simple as it gets, requiring just one or two plugins. With all of these great features, Medical Alert was an easy top ten pick.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Above Average Above Average Above Average Above Average
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • No extra fees
    • Mobile app with real-time notifications
    • Location tracking
    • Seasonal promotions
    • 30-day risk-free trial
    • Custom emergency response plans
    • Simple setup
    • Big discounts for paying annually
    Cons
    • Limited product lineup
    • No volume control for the base unit
    • No add-on features or accessories

    Product Lineup and Pricing

    Product Name Prices Starting at Connection Type Designed for Fall Detection
    At-Home Landline $24.95 per month Landline In-home use $5 per month
    At-Home Cellular $30.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) In-home use $5 per month
    At-Home & On-the-Go GPS $36.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) In-home & on-the-go use $10 per month
    At-Home & On-the-Go GPS, Voice in Necklace $39.95 per month Cellular (AT&T or Verizon) In-home & on-the-go use (all-in-one system) $5 per month

    Is Medical Alert Right for Me?

    With easy-to-use systems, a top-of-the-line mobile app, and affordable monthly rates, we’d recommend Medical Alert for the following seniors:

    • Families or caregivers looking for a mobile app
    • Seniors who want custom response plans
    • Those who don’t want extra bells and whistles
    • Users that want real-time alerts

    If Medical Alert sounds like the right choice for you, see our full Medical Alert review here.

  • 6. GreatCall’s Lively Wearable2

    Why We Love the Lively Wearable2

    GreatCall is a company we’ve featured several times before due to their senior-friendly phones, alert devices, and mobile app. So, knowing that they also provide watches is reassuring, especially if you already have a senior cellular plan with GreatCall. Lively Wearable2 is a small, lightweight, and sleek watch, so no one will even realize you’re wearing it. It pairs with GreatCall’s smartphone app to give you access to a wide range of features and let your loved ones and caregivers check in on you.

    Many of the health and safety features from their cellular plans also cross over into the GreatCall Lively Wearable2. For example, the device comes with a 5Star urgent response button to contact their 24/7 monitoring center, urgent care and doctor consultations, GreatCall Link to keep your loved ones in the loop, and automatic fall detection services. What’s great is that you can choose from three packages with different features to find the one that best suits your needs.

    The Lively Wearable2 watch makes it easy for you to stay active and monitor your health. It comes with a built-in step tracker, along with daily health challenges, tips, and fun brain games to keep you on track for your goals. Whether you just love taking long walks or you want to track your daily hikes or runs, this watch makes it simple to see your progress. While it doesn’t monitor your heart rate or come with advanced features like text messaging and built-in mobile apps, it’s great for those who want to stay protected and monitor their health without too many bells and whistles.

    As for the watch’s design itself, the standout feature has to be the fact you can also detach the main component and wear it as a pendant. This is ideal for scenarios such as showering, as the interface is also water-resistant. Its simplicity lends itself to the long battery life, which at four months far exceeds any similar model on the market.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Above Average Above Average Above Average Above Average
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
      • Inexpensive equipment fee
      • Advanced health and safety features available
      • Four-month battery life
      • Fall detection available
      • 24/7 monitoring
      • Simple to use
      • Small, lightweight design
      • Water-resistant
      • Medical alert features for on-the-go use
    Cons
      • Fall detection only available with premium subscription
      • No texting feature

    How Much Does Lively Wearable2 Cost?

    Lively Wearable2 has an upfront equipment fee of $49.99, which is very inexpensive compared to other medical alert watches on the market. In addition to this one-time fee, you’ll also need to pay for a monthly subscription to one of GreatCall’s three Health & Safety Packages to access all of the features available. These packages range in price from $24.99 to $39.99 per month. Keep in mind that automatic fall detection only comes with the top-tier package, so you’ll be paying $39.99 per month if this feature is important to you. While this might sound a bit steep, it’s a great option for those who are prone to falls or struggle with mobility. Plus, some smartwatches don’t even offer fall detection, so we appreciate that it’s available with GreatCall.

    The Lively Wearable2 is recommended for:

    • Seniors who want a watch with fall detection
    • Those who want step tracking and health tips
    • Users who want advanced health and safety features

    Head over to our GreatCall review for more information on the Lively Wearable2.

  • 7. MobileHelp

    Why They Made the Cut

    MobileHelp made our top ten thanks to their Duo alert systems designed specifically for two users at one inexpensive rate. They offer a versatile lineup of medical alert systems designed for both at-home and on-the-go use, whether you need protection for just yourself or for a partner as well. While many companies will require you to pay an extra fee or purchase two separate systems to add a spouse, MobileHelp offers multiple two-in-one systems. That way, you and a spouse or roommate will be covered at one affordable monthly rate. Whether you both spend your days out and about or you’re homebodies, MobileHelp’s Duo plans will keep you protected at all times. MobileHelp also offers a high-tech touch screen system, MobileHelp Touch, enabled with medication reminders, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, and other health and safety features for those who need a little more coverage. They really have it all when it comes to equipment options and features.v

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Above Average Above Average Above Average Above Average
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Versatile product lineup
    • Multiple two-for-one systems
    • Affordable spouse monitoring
    • Free shipping on all packages
    • 30-day risk-free trial
    • Touchscreen system with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology
    • Two help buttons with most systems
    Cons
    • Smartwach system discontinued
    • Cellular systems rely on AT&T service
    • Monitoring center is not company-owned
    • Automatic fall detection isn’t built into mobile devices; extra device required

    The Product Lineup and Pricing

    Product Name Prices Starting at Connection Type Designed for Fall Detection
    MobileHelp Classic $19.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) At-home use $10 per month
    MobileHelp Wired Home $24.95 per month Landline At-home use $10 per month
    MobileHelp Duo $41.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) At-home & on-the-go for one or two users $10 per month
    Mobile Duo $44.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) On-the-go for two users $10 per month
    MobileHelp Solo $37.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) On-the-go for one user $10 per month
    MobileHelp Touch $299.70 semi-annually or $599.40 annually* Cellular (AT&T) At-home & on-the-go use with touchscreen and advanced health and safety features $10 per month

    * MobileHelp Touch can only be paid on a semi-annual or annual basis

    Is MobileHelp Right for Me?

    Whether you’re looking for a system for one person or two, there are several users that would benefit from a MobileHelp system:

    • Those who need spouse monitoring or a two-in-one system
    • Users looking for a high-tech touchscreen system
    • Older adults who need an affordable at-home system
    • People with strong AT&T coverage

    If MobileHelp sounds like a good fit for you, check out this year’s MobileHelp review for more details.

  • 8. Alert1

    Why They Made the Cut

    Alert1 offers the most extensive language support we’ve seen, with support for 190 different languages, and that’s why they made this year’s list. For the millions of Americans who primarily speak a language other than English at home, speaking with an operator in their native language during an emergency adds extra peace of mind and takes away some of the tension from an already stressful situation. When you sign up for Alert1, you’ll be able to set up your preferred language. From then on, whenever you press the help button on your pendant or base station, a live operator speaking your language will be there to send the help you need.

    In addition to being an industry leader in language support, Alert1 also offers affordable at-home and mobile alert system options. You’ll receive major discounts if you pay for your system quarterly and annually or bundle two systems together, and the company is always offering some sort of promotion to waive fees and reduce rates. If you’re looking for a reliable on-the-go system, Alert1’s Kelsi: On-the-Go mobile help pendant has a battery life of 30 days, which is much longer than many other options in the industry. With high-quality equipment, top-notch language support, and great deals, it’s no wonder Alert1 made our list.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Above Average Above Average Above Average Above Average
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Support for 190 languages
    • 30-day battery life for on-the-go system
    • Great deals when paying annually or quarterly
    • No hidden fees
    • Customized emergency responses
    • Bundle options
    • Month-to-month and long-term options
    • Extensive add-on features and equipment
    Cons
    • No returns after trial period ends
    • Limited warranty
    • Monitoring center is not company owned

    Product Lineup and Pricing

    Product Name Prices Starting at Connection Type Designed for Fall Detection
    Home $16.95 per month Landline At-home use Not available
    Home Fall Detection $27.95 per month Cellular (T-Mobile) At-home use with fall detection Included
    Kelsi: On-the-Go $33.95 per month Cellular (T-Mobile) On-the-go use Not available
    Kelsi: On-The-Go Fall Detection $43.95 per month Cellular (T-Mobile) On-the-go use with fall detection Included

    Is Alert1 Right for Me?

    Alert1 offers affordable systems for all types of users. Here are the main seniors we’d recommend Alert1 for:

    • Seniors whose primary language isn’t English
    • Those looking for a mobile system with long battery life
    • Users who want to bundle an in-home and mobile system
    • Older adults with reliable T-Mobile service

    You can read our full Alert1 review here.

  • 9. QMedic

    Why They Made the Cut

    QMedic is a top ten finalist because they offer advanced, high-tech activity and compliance monitoring with every package. For seniors with serious health conditions or families and caregivers who want to keep an extra close eye on them, activity tracking is a great feature. QMedic tracks the user’s behavior, and if their activity or sleeping patterns are abnormal, real-time alerts will be sent to their loved ones via the Caregiver Dashboard and mobile app. Whether they’ve been in bed for an unusual amount of time or have been inactive throughout the day, QMedic will be there to notify the right people and send whatever help is needed through their 24/7 monitoring center. The technology can even detect when a subscriber isn’t wearing their alert system. Family members can also check in on the user’s activity and call history at any time. This level of activity monitoring that proactively learns from the user provides a whole new level of peace of mind for seniors and their families alike.

    QMedic currently doesn’t offer automatic fall detection for their at-home or mobile systems, because their founder believes that the technology isn’t accurate enough and leads to too many false alarms. While we normally recommend fall detection, QMedic’s activity and compliance monitoring with real-time alerts are a solid replacement.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Above Average Above Average Above Average Above Average
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Advanced activity and compliance monitoring
    • No equipment fees
    • Same price for at-home landline and cellular systems
    • No long-term contracts
    • Water-resistant mobile GPS system
    • Caregiver dashboard and mobile alerts
    • 14-day battery life for mobile system
    Cons
    • No fall detection
    • Small product lineup

    Product Lineup and Pricing

    Product Name Prices Starting at Connection Type Designed for Fall Detection Activity and Compliance Monitoring
    Landline Medical Alert System $30 per month Landline In-home use Not available Included
    Cellular Medical Alert System $30 per month Cellular (AT&T) At-home use Not available Included
    Mobile GPS Medical Alert System $45 per month Cellular (AT&T) On-the-go use Not available Included

    Is QMedic Right for Me?

    QMedic’s straightforward product lineup and top-of-the-line activity monitoring will be suitable for several different types of users:

    • Older adults who don’t need fall detection
    • Those looking for advanced activity tracking
    • Families or caregivers who want real-time updates and alerts
    • In-home users who don’t want to pay extra for a cellular system

    We get into all the details of QMedic’s medical alert systems in this year’s QMedic review.

  • 10. LifeStation

    Why They Made the Cut

    LifeStation’s high-tech smart home features made them a top ten finalist. Their systems can be paired with any Alexa-enabled device. All you have to do is ask Alexa “where’s mom?” and she’ll give you the subscriber’s location in real-time. If you love your smart home tech or you just want to be able to quickly locate your older family members, this feature makes staying in the loop a breeze. You can also text LifeStation for the wearer’s location when you’re not home, and you’ll be sent the user’s exact location pinpointed on a map. LifeStation offers other advanced features to make your life a bit easier, including a partnership with Uber Health. If the user is unable to drive, they can ask a LifeStation operator to call them an Uber. Whether they need to get to a doctor’s appointment or pick up a prescription, subscribers can use this feature at any time.

    For those who aren’t that interested in these extra bells and whistles, don’t worry! LifeStation’s systems still offer all of the standard, essential features like a powerful two-way speaker, waterproof help buttons, fall detection, and mobile options.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Average Average Average Average
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Price-lock guarantee
    • Pair with your Alexa-enabled devices
    • Over 40 years of industry experience
    • Affordable spouse monitoring
    • Partnered with Uber Health
    • Powerful speaker
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
    Cons
    • Smaller at-home range
    • Activation fees may be required
    • More expensive for cellular options
    • Small product lineup

    Product Lineup and Pricing

    Product Name Prices Starting at Connection Type Designed for Fall Detection
    In-Home $21.95 per month Landline At-home use $10 per month
    In-Home No Landline $30.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) At-home use $10 per month
    Mobile LTE $37.95 per month Cellular (AT&T) On-the-go use $10 per month

    Is LifeStation Right for Me?

    With built-in smart home technology, affordable monthly rates, and extra perks like Uber Health, we think LifeStation is a good fit for the following users:

    • Those looking for smart home integration
    • Family members or caregivers who want real-time location tracking
    • Seniors in need of transportation to appointments
    • Users who want a company with long-term industry experience

    You can find our full review of full review of LifeStation’s offerings here.

What is a Medical Alert System?

So what exactly is a medical alert system and why do you need one? Personal medical alert systems are designed to keep seniors safe and prevent life-threatening injuries from falls and other health emergencies that become more common as we age. Systems typically come with a base unit equipped with a help button and two-way speaker, and a wearable help pendant or bracelet.

During an emergency, all the user has to do is press the help button on the base station or pendant and they’ll be connected to the company’s 24/7 monitoring center. A live operator will help the user get the assistance they need based on the situation, whether it’s a family member, neighbor, or first responders. If the operator is unable to get a response from the user, they’ll send help straight away. Some systems are designed for in-home or on-the-go, while others are a hybrid of the two, so users can stay protected whether they’re at home or traveling. Learn more about medical alert systems in our “Introduction to Medical Alert Systems” video below.

One-in-four seniors experience a fall every single year, which is also the leading cause of life-threatening injuries for older adults. Plus, once a senior has one fall, they’re twice as likely to fall again. Because falls are a very prevalent and serious danger to older adults, it’s important to be prepared for them even before they happen. That’s where medical alert systems come in. They can literally save the user’s life by sending help immediately after a fall. These systems give both seniors and their loved ones an added layer of peace of mind and protection, especially for older adults who live alone or away from family.

Medical Alert System Buying Guide

There are several types of medical alert systems tailored to meet the needs of different users. To decide which system is best for you and feel confident in your choice, here are the main topics to consider.

Landline vs. Cellular Systems

In-home alert systems will either run on a landline or cellular connection. If you live in an area with spotty cellular coverage, a landline system will be ideal for a steady and reliable connection. However, if you don’t have a landline or would rather not have to connect your system to a phone jack, a cellular system is a great option. For those looking for an on-the-go system, essentially all mobile systems run on a cellular connection, so again, you’ll want to ensure that the provider you choose uses a cellular network that’s reliable in your area.

Pendants, Smartwatches, or Portable Base Stations?

If you want a system that can be used on the go, you’ll need to decide how you want to carry or wear the system, as there are a few different options on the market. The first option is an all-in-one wearable system that can be put on like a necklace. These systems are great for those who don’t want to deal with keeping track of multiple pieces of equipment. However, they’re typically a bit bulkier than other options since everything is built into one piece of equipment.

The second option is a two-piece system that comes with a help button that can be worn as either a necklace or bracelet and a small, portable base station. For these systems, the base station is typically small enough to be thrown in a purse or put in a pocket, and the pendant is small and lightweight. These two-piece systems are good for those who want a more discrete pendant. Just know that you’ll have to remember both pieces of equipment whenever you leave the house, and you’ll need to keep the portable base station close by.

The last option is an all-in-one smartwatch system. It functions similarly to an Apple Watch, as it tracks user activity and allows you to send and receive messages, but it also has medical alert features like a help button and 24/7 monitoring. Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical are currently the two major medical alert providers that offer a smartwatch option, so it’s pretty unique. If you’re looking for this high-tech option, you’ll want to consider Medical Guardian’s Freedom Guardian system or Bay Alarm Medical’s SOS Smartwatch.

What is Automatic Fall Detection?

Medical alert providers typically offer automatic fall detection pendants in certain packages or as an add-on feature. With fall detection, the user won’t even have to press a button after a fall. The pendant will detect the downward motion followed by inactivity and automatically connect to the monitoring center. This is a useful feature for any users, but especially for those more prone to falls due to health conditions or mobility issues. When choosing a system, look into the company’s fall detection options. Consider if the person you’re buying for will need, or feel more secure with, fall detection and determine whether or not this add on will fit in your budget.

How to Share Data with Caregivers and Family Members

Many providers, like Medical Alert and Bay Alarm Medical, offer companion mobile apps that pair up with your medical alert system. If you want to be able to keep track of your aging family member and receive real-time alerts to any incidents, you’ll want to make sure you choose a company and package that comes with mobile app access. Each app offers different features, but some of the most standard include GPS tracking, user call history, and real-time alerts for emergency calls.

Typical Costs of a System

You’ll need to make sure that the medical alert system you choose fits in your budget. The cost of a medical alert system varies greatly by the provider and type of system you choose. You’ll find that the most affordable systems on the market start at around $20 per month. For mobile GPS systems or more advanced in-home systems with activity monitoring or other unique features, prices typically jump to about $30 to $45 per month.

In addition to monthly monitoring fees, you’ll also need to consider the cost of any add-on equipment or features. Fall detection, the most common add-on feature, typically costs around $10 per month, while some providers offer it for a few bucks more or less. Other add ons like protection plans, jewelry accessories, and additional equipment can cost anywhere from $5 to $15 per month, or you may just pay a one-time fee for extra equipment. Once you’ve chosen your ideal system, be sure to do the math and add up all of your monthly costs along with any upfront fees so you know what to expect on your bill.

What Type of Maintenance is Required?

Medical alert systems are built to be durable and last for years to come, so typically there isn’t a lot of required maintenance. Most help pendants have batteries that last for a few years, and providers will usually replace them when they die at no extra cost. If your system is malfunctioning and it’s not due to user error or intentional damage, most providers will fix or replace the equipment for free.

When choosing a system, be sure to check the company’s warranty and what exactly it covers. Some providers offer a lifetime warranty that will cover all maintenance, while others are more limited or short term. Many companies that don’t have lifetime warranties offer monthly protection plans instead for around $5 per month that will cover expensive equipment replacements.

FAQs About Medical Alert Systems

  • What is a medical alert system?

    A medical alert system usually comes with one or more devices that helps the user stay safe. The device comes in the form of a bracelet, necklace or pendant. It is connected to a speaker that allows the user to come into contact with a trained operator with the simple press of a button. The trained operator can determine whether to send emergency help.

  • Who will benefit from wearing a medical alert system?

    It’s not uncommon for people to believe that seniors are the only ones to benefit from wearing a medical alert system. Truth is, though, anyone of any age can benefit from a medical alert system, particularly those who want peace of mind in knowing they will receive around-the-clock protection during medical emergencies, fires, and break-ins.

  • What should I look for in a medical alert system?

    The most important aspect to look for in a medical alert system is reliability. No matter how well the medical alert system performs, unless it’s connected to a live agent who can instantly take your call, then the system will prove of little value. Beyond reliability, it’s important to look for a system that is easy to use and install. Always get a system that offers a backup battery, as well. With a backup battery, you obtain peace of mind in knowing the system will still operate during a power outage.

  • How do medical alert systems work?

    A medical alert system is worn by the user. Many systems also come with a base in which the medical alert device sends a signal to. All the user has to do to call for help is press the HELP button on the base or device being worn. Once the signal from the device reaches the base, it is immediately forwarded to the system’s monitoring center, which includes trained emergency response operators. The operator will answer your call and using two-way voice communication, you will hear the operator ask you questions. If you can speak, you tell the operator what type of help you need. If you can’t speak, you can simply stay on the line with the operator in silence. The operator will assess the situation and determine what type of emergency help to send.

  • What to look for in a medical alert system provider?

    You should shop for a medical alert system that comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a hassle-free return policy. Also, check the provider’s ranking with the Better Business Bureau.

  • What are the different types of medical alert systems?

    Medical alert systems are available in many forms. Some connect to a home’s landline, some are wireless, and some are considered mobile. A landline medical alert system comes with a phone cord that connects from the base device to the phone jack on your wall. Wireless medical alert systems connect to a wall outlet and works off of a cellular network, meaning you don’t have to connect it to a landline. Mobile medical alert systems come with a mobile device that easily fits in your hand or is worn around the neck or wrist. You get a carrying pouch as well and a charging cradle along with a power cord. No matter the type of system that you choose, fall detection is usually optional. Please keep in mind that wireless systems usually work all throughout the United States. Mobile systems work all throughout the 50 states, however, they only work outside of the country when you are in an area that has cellular network coverage.

  • Do medical alert systems come with GPS tracking?

    Yes, they do! And that’s another great reason you need one. You never know what situation you may find yourself in. Sometimes, GPS tracking may be the difference between saving your life and losing it. Anything from memory loss to a seizure can cause you to wander off to places where you aren’t safe, but with a medical alert system with GPS tracking, both you and your caregivers can keep track of your location. If you go missing, your caregivers will know to call your monitoring service provider to get your GPS coordinates.

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Linda’s Acclaimed Career in Senior Care Linda Schlenker is a comforting voice for seniors and caregivers across the U.S. For nearly three decades, Linda has helped seniors remain safe in their own homes, while helping them to regain priceless independence and peace… Learn More About Linda Schlenker

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt