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Medical Guardian vs. Life Alert

$30/mo. Starting Price
6 Plan Options
Overall Rating:
5 of 5
View Packages
$10 Fall Detection
13+ Years in Business
Questions? Speak with a Medical Guardian Specialist:
855-919-4522

Highest Rated Brands

Medical Guardian What we like What to keep in mind
Medical Guardian
  • No long-term contracts or activation fees
  • Sleek, high-tech equipment
  • U.S.-based, TMA Five Diamond certified call center
  • Fall detection is not available on the Freedom 2.0 system
  • Equipment fees with some systems
  • There is no free trial period
Life Alert What we like What to keep in mind
Life Alert Logo
  • Long-standing reputation
  • Pendant batteries last up to 10 years on the mobile unit
  • U.S.-based, TMA Five Diamond certified call center
  • Must agree to a three-year contract
  • Expensive when compared to other top providers
  • No fall detection available

Medical Guardian and Life Alert are two of the industry's most well-known medical alert system providers. They provide protection to thousands of older adults and ease the worries of their loved ones since help is available with a press of a button.

Though Life Alert and Medical Guardian are excellent companies with long-standing reputations, there are some factors to consider if you're choosing between the two. Life Alert is one of the most expensive providers on the market, but if you're looking for a simple system with quick response times and reliable service, they may be a great choice. Medical Guardian provides protection at a lower cost and has more bells and whistles for seniors looking for advanced technology and accessories.

An Overview of Medical Guardian and Life Alert

Life Alert

Life Alert Base Unit and Wearables

Life Alert Base Unit and Wearables

Life Alert has been in the business since 1987 and employs over 600 people. If any company is an expert in providing emergency monitoring for seniors, it's Life Alert! The company has over three decades of experience backed by an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau1 and a Five Diamond2 certified call center, the highest certification given by The Monitoring Association. We wish that they offered more optional features with their six systems, such as fall detection, and we aren't thrilled with their three-year contract requirement. However, if Life Alert's systems meet your needs and budget, you won't be disappointed with their service.

Fun Fact: There are nine Life Alert offices located across the U.S., all dedicated to serving seniors and their caregivers with emergency monitoring services.

Medical Guardian

Classic Guardian

Classic Guardian with Landline

Medical Guardian, founded in 2005, is headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. The founder, Geoff Gross, was motivated to help seniors after his grandmother experienced multiple falls at home. We are impressed with their seven systems to choose from, as well as a variety of features and add-ons such as fall detection and caregiver monitoring through their My Guardian customer care portal and app. The company is one of our top picks for medical alert systems.

Breaking Down the Costs of Medical Guardian and Life Alert

Medical Guardian customers pay anywhere from $29.95 per month to $44.95 per month. Life Alert, on the other hand, is about $30 to $40 more expensive per month, and you'll have to pay a $197 installation fee. We've outlined their pricing below.

Provider Life Alert Medical Guardian
Starting rate $49.95 per month when you select only the main system $29.95 per month
Payment options
  • Main System: $49.95 per month
  • One Add-on Device: $69.95 per month
  • Two Add-on Devices: $89.95 per month
  • $29.95 – $49.95 per month
Equipment fee None
  • Freedom 2.0: $174.95
  • Mini Guardian: $124.99
  • Mobile 2.0: $124.95
  • Home 2.0: $99.95
Installation fee $197 N/A
Contracts Yes, three years No
Money-back guarantee No No
Fall detection No $10 per month

Medical Guardian Pricing

Medical Guardian's prices are comparable to other top providers. When purchasing a Medical Guardian system online, you'll see that there are three payment options: monthly, quarterly, or annual. We recommend selecting the yearly payment plan because it will save you up to $45 per year, and it includes free shipping, a lockbox, and a second help button. We can't pass up a great deal, and you shouldn't either! Medical Guardian's online purchasing process is simple, and their website is easy to navigate. To make sure you're getting the best deal, call their customer service line before finalizing your online purchase. Inquire about seasonal specials, as they run them frequently, and you won't want to miss out.

Money-Saving Tip: Medical Guardian has a “refer-a-friend” program. Current subscribers will earn $25 when they refer a friend who joins.

Life Alert Pricing

Life Alert has an unusual pricing structure. All customers will need to select a bundled deal that includes the in-home Master Unit and at least one add-on device for $69.95 per month. Add-on devices from Life Alert include the Mobile + GPS unit and the Help Button. If you would like to add both the add-on devices, it will cost you $89.95 per month. Purchasing the Master Unit alone for $49.95 per month is not typically offered. If it is something you want, push the sales representatives on it because they sometimes make special exceptions. For seniors who want ultimate protection, we recommend going with the $89.95 per month package, which includes mobile and in-home protection as well as the wall Help Button that can be placed in the bathroom or other high-risk areas of the home. Purchases have to be made by phone since the company's website does not have an online purchasing option. Overall, Life Alert is more expensive than Medical Guardian, but their systems are simple, reliable, and have fast response times.

Medical Guardian and Life Alert Product Lineup

Both Medical Guardian and Life Alert offer in-home and mobile medical alert systems for seniors. Medical Guardian has six high-tech systems to choose from while Life Alert has a simplified selection with a Master Unit and two add-on options for seniors to boost their protection in the home or on the go.

Medical Guardian Equipment

Freedom Guardian

Freedom Guardian

One of our favorite Medical Guardian systems is Freedom 2.0; this unique system features a smartwatch design, SMS messaging, calendar reminders, and a caregiver companion app. For seniors who want a small but mighty mobile device, the Mini Guardian is hard to beat. It is half the size of traditional mobile medical alert devices and holds a charge for five days. For a cheaper, classic option, older adults who mostly stay home will benefit from the Classic Guardian, but you'll want to make sure you have a landline to connect it to.

FYI: Medical Guardian recently revamped its Freedom Guardian to a new Freedom 2.0 model, which is available for pre-order on the company's website.

Medical Guardian system Mini Guardian Freedom 2.0 Active Guardian Mobile 2.0 Home 2.0 Classic Guardian
Monthly Price $39.95 $49.95 $44.95 $39.95 $34.95 $29.95
Device Fee $124.95 $174.95 None $124.95 99.95 None
GPS location tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A
Fall detection available Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Water-resistant Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Battery life 5 days 3 days 7 days 5 days 32-hour backup battery 32-hour backup battery
Best for Discreet mobile protection Mobile protection for active seniors All-in-one mobile protection for traveling seniors At-home and on-the-go protection At-home protection with no landline At-home landline protection

Life Alert Equipment

Life Alert offers bundles for homebodies and active seniors. The Master Unit comes with a base system and a pendant. As mentioned above, customers typically need to bundle the Master Unit with either the Mobile + GPS add-on or the Help Button add-on. You can also select both for $89.95 per month. The Master Unit has a base-to-button range of 800 feet, which is sufficient for most homes. It also has a two-way speaker and 72-hour backup battery in case you ever lose power. The pendant is waterproof and has a 10-year battery life. Their Mobile + GPS device has a 10-year battery life as well and GPS tracking. That's impressive since most mobile devices on the market require a charge every few days! The Help Button is equipped with two-way communication and is waterproof, so you can place it in the shower.

Life Alert system Master Unit Master Unit and Mobile + GPS or Help Button Master Unit and both add-ons
Monthly price $49.95 per month $69.90 per month $89.95 per month
Installation fee $197 $197 $197
GPS location tracking No Yes Yes
Fall detection available No No No
Water-resistant Yes Yes Yes
Battery life Pendants up to 10 years Up to 10 years Up to 10 years
Best for All Life Alert customers On-the-go seniors or those prone to falls Seniors who want complete protection

Accessories and Add-ons

When it comes to add-ons, Medical Guardian has more to offer than Life Alert. Life Alert's add-ons are their Help Button and Mobile + GPS system. They don't have lockboxes, car chargers, jewelry pendants, or fall detection available like Medical Guardian. For seniors who want to purchase some of these accessories and add-ons from Medical Guardian, keep in mind they each have an additional fee.

FYI: Life Alert's Wall Help Button is unique due to its two-way speaker. When pressed, you can speak with an emergency operator within seconds, just like you would on the Master Unit.

Since one in four Americans aged 65 and older experience a fall each year,3 it may be worth considering automatic fall detection from Medical Guardian. If you or your loved one has a history of falling or fainting, we recommend it. An emergency operator will be alerted and send help if a fall is detected, even if your loved one cannot press their help button.

Mini Guardian

Mini Guardian

Our Recommendations for Life Alert and Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian and Life Alert can both deliver reliable medical alert monitoring. Below is a breakdown of our recommendations for each company.

What We Like About Life Alert

  • Seniors who value brand reputation and don't mind paying extra for it.
  • Older adults who don't want to worry about charging devices.
  • Seniors who prefer simplicity over high-tech features.


What We Like About Medical Guardian

  • Active seniors who are on the go.
  • Older adults looking for discreet, innovative technology.
  • Those looking for a smartwatch system.

Other Important Considerations

Before you finalize your purchase, you'll want to review the fine print and policies. Below are the main points to consider with Medical Guardian and Life Alert.

Contracts

Life Alert requires all customers to sign a three-year contract, which is unusual since most medical alert providers do not require contracts. After three years, you can start paying month to month. Life Alert does allow you to get out of the contract under special circumstances, such as moving to a long-term care facility, with proper supporting documentation.

Medical Guardian does not require a contract, and if at any point you want to cancel your service, they will refund you for any unused months. Although you may have to pay a restocking fee.

Warranties

Life Alert has a lifetime warranty for defective equipment or malfunctions. If you lose or damage the equipment, you will have to pay to replace the device.

Medical Guardian offers a protection plan for $6.99 per month, which covers a replacement for the base unit once per year and help buttons twice per year. Without the protection plan, you could end up paying a few hundred dollars to replace a damaged or lost unit. Depending on your lifestyle, we think it may be worth considering a protection plan from Medical Guardian.

The Final Verdict

Life Alert has an extensive history of serving seniors and their caregivers; according to the company, they save a life every 11 minutes. Though it does cost a pretty penny to become a subscriber, seniors who value brand recognition and simplicity may find their service worth the money. You'll want to keep in mind that you'll need to sign a three-year contract at the time of purchase. On the other hand, Medical Guardian is great for tech-loving older adults and those on the go. With a wide range of devices and prices, they offer a system for most budgets and lifestyles. Though we aren't fans of the device fee on some of their systems, they don't require long-term contracts, which is always an A+ in our book.

If you're interested in learning more, head over to this year's Medical Guardian review and our latest Life Alert review.

Citations
  1. Better Business Bureau. (2020). Life Alert Emergency Response, Inc.

  2. TMA. (2020). Five Diamond Designated Monitoring Centers.

  3. NCOA. (2020). Fall Prevention Facts.