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LifeFone vs. Medical Guardian, Compared and Tested by Tech Experts

LifeFone offers a variety of systems and affordable fall detection, while Medical Guardian has sleek, high-tech systems.

Taylor Shuman Taylor Shuman Senior Tech Expert & Editor
Linda Schlenker Linda Schlenker Occupational Therapist

SeniorLiving.org is supported by commissions from providers listed on our site. Read our Editorial Guidelines

Key Takeaways

  • LifeFone is our top pick for older adults looking for a quality service and packages without equipment fees.
  • Medical Guardian is best if you’re looking for a high-tech system with customizable add-ons.

When it comes to the best medical alert systems, LifeFone and Medical Guardian are two well-known companies. At a glance, the companies seem quite similar. Both offer landline and cellular solutions for at-home and on-the-go use, and neither company requires contracts. But there are some key differences between LifeFone and Medical Guardian that you’ll want to know about when choosing your medical alert system.

Our tech experts have highlighted the must-know details about the medical alert systems, including plenty of side-by-side comparisons so you can easily see the differences. From pricing to equipment fees to battery life, we’ll cover how the systems compare so you can choose the one that’s right for you. We’ve also included insights from our work testing medical alert systems, so you can learn from our experiences.

A Side-by-Side Look at LifeFone vs. Medical Guardian

Our favorite is LifeFone
  LifeFone Logo Medical Guardian logo
Price range $29.95 to $49.95 per month $29.95 to $44.95 per month
Discounts for quarterly or annual payment plans Quarterly payments get the fourth month free and free shipping; annual payments get the 12th month free, free shipping, and a free lock box Annual payments save 16% and get a free lockbox and free shipping
Equipment fees No activation or equipment fees No activation fees; equipment fees range from $0 to $199.95
Long-term contracts None None
Money-back guarantee 30 days Prorated refund available for unused service period for monthly or annual subscriptions
Fall-detection cost $5 per month $10 per month
Mobile app Yes Yes
Water-resistant equipment Yes Yes
24/7 monitoring Yes Yes
Two-way communication Yes Yes
In-home range Up to 1,300 feet Up to 1,300 feet
Battery life for on-the-go systems 24 hours to 10 days Up to five days
Cellular connection AT&T’s 4G network AT&T or Verizon
Language support English and Spanish English and Spanish; translation service available for other languages
Website

About LifeFone

Testing out LifeFone's At-Home system

Testing out LifeFone's At-Home system

Founded in 1976, LifeFone has earned a reputation for providing quality monitoring and safety devices. LifeFone offers at-home, on-the-go, and smartwatch systems with affordably priced plans. U.S.-based customer-care agents are available to help you 24/7. Based on our experience with LifeFone, the at-home and VIP Flex units are easy to set up. We were quickly connected to a representative when testing the systems.

» Learn More: 2024 LifeFone Review

LifeFone’s prices are comparable to Medical Guardian’s costs if you pay annually, but some of its monthly rates are higher. There are, however, no equipment fees. LifeFone doesn’t have any contracts, and your monthly plan costs will never increase, which is a feature Medical Guardian doesn’t offer. You can also cancel at any time and get a full refund for the unused portion of your prepayment. LifeFone offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try the system to make sure it’s a good fit for your needs. Medical Guardian doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee.

Pros About LifeFone

  • At-home, on-the-go, and smartwatch systems available
  • Fall detection is just $5 per month
  • Monthly plan prices start at $24.95 per month
  • Subscriber Price Guarantee means your service cost will never increase
  • No activation or equipment fees
  • LifeFone gives you a free month of service for every new subscriber you refer
  • Monthly, quarterly, and annual billing options available

Cons About LifeFone

  • Only English and Spanish are supported
  • Services such as daily wellness checks cost more
  • Spouse monitoring isn’t available with mobile systems

About Medical Guardian

Testing out the MGMini Lite

Testing out Medical Guardian's MGMini Lite

Medical Guardian offers at-home, on-the-go, and smartwatch medical alert systems. U.S.-based monitoring services are available 24/7, and the company offers translation services if you need help and speak a language other than English or Spanish. LifeFone doesn’t provide that feature. Medical Guardian’s plans are reasonably priced, but its equipment fees can significantly increase the overall costs.

» Learn More: Medical Guardian Review

Medical Guardian stands out for its add-ons and accessories, such as OnGuard alerts, which notify everyone on your care list if you experience an emergency. We found Medical Guardian’s customer-service representatives friendly and eager to help, and the website and mobile app were easy to navigate. The company’s equipment is also sleek with high-tech features. We enjoyed using the mobile app to track our system, receive real-time alerts, and view the system’s status.

Using Medical Guardians MyGuardian mobile app

Using Medical Guardians MyGuardian mobile app

Pros About Medical Guardian

  • At-home, on-the-go, and smartwatch systems are available
  • No contracts, so you can cancel anytime
  • Monitoring centers are based in the U.S.
  • Online member portal for device management
  • Fall protection is available
  • Add-ons and accessories let you customize your system
  • Translation services are available for languages other than English and Spanish

Cons About Medical Guardian

  • No free trial
  • Equipment fees cost up to $199.95
  • Offers only a 90-day warranty
Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: Features such as fall protection can summon help in case of a fall, but it’s even better to prevent the fall entirely. Review senior fall-prevention tips to help reduce the chance of a fall occurring.

Comparing LifeFone and Medical Guardian Medical Alert Systems

LifeFone

System Price Equipment fee Connection Designed for Best for
At-Home Landline $29.95 per month None Landline In home Older adults who spend lots of time at home and have limited cell reception
At-Home Cellular $34.95 per month None Cellular In home People who spend lots of time at home
At-Home & On-the-Go VIPx $45.95 per month None Cellular On the go Seniors who don’t want to worry about recharging a battery often
At-Home & On-the-Go VIP Active $43.95 per month None Cellular On the go Active seniors who often go out
At-Home & On-the-Go VIP flex $45.95 per month None Cellular On the go Seniors who want a slim, simple watch without all the bells and whistles
At-Home & On-the-Go Safe Watch Active $49.95 per month None Cellular On the go Older adults who want a sporty watch

Medical Guardian

System Price Equipment fee Connection Designed for Best for
MGClassic $29.95 per month None Landline In home Older adults who spend lots of time at home and have limited cell reception
MGHome Cellular $37.95 per month $149.95 Cellular In home People who spend lots of time at home
MGMini Lite $44.95 per month $149.95 Cellular On the go Seniors who want a slim, simple watch without all the bells and whistles
MGMini $39.95 per month $149.95 Cellular On the go Older adults who want a slim, stylish, wearable device they can take on a walk, running errands, and more
MGMove $39.95 per month $199.95 Cellular On the go Active seniors who want a device that can go with them

Add-On Features and Equipment

Both LifeFone and Medical Guardian offer add-ons, so you can customize the systems and service to your needs.

LifeFone

  • Fall detection is optional and costs $5 per month.
  • The daily check-in reminder service includes a daily call from LifeFone agents at a preselected time. It costs $19 per month.
  • A wall-mounted help button can be attached to a spot in your home, so you can press it if you need help. It costs $39.95.
  • LifeFone offers a wall mount or hanging master lock box that allows emergency help to access a key to your home without breaking in. It costs $39.95.

Medical Guardian

  • Fall detection is optional and costs $10 per month.
  • OnGuard alerts will send everyone on your caregiver list a text or email if an emergency occurs. The service costs $2.99 per month.
  • A wall-mounted button can be installed in a convenient location and connects you to the monitoring center when you press the button. The button costs $2.99 per month.
  • A voice-activated wall-mounted button can be triggered by pulling a pull cord or saying a command. It costs $4.99 per month.
  • With a lock box, emergency responders can access a key and get into your home without having to break in. That add-on costs $2.99 per month, but it’s included for free in some packages.
Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: Medical alert systems play a key role in helping to keep seniors safe, but they’re just one example of how technology helps seniors live better lives. Visit our guide to the different types of technology for seniors.

Our Final Thoughts on LifeFone vs. Medical Guardian

Both LifeFone and Medical Guardian offer a variety of at-home, on-the-go, and smartwatch medical alert systems that work for a variety of users. LifeFone has slightly higher rates, but the company charges no equipment fees and offers discounts for quarterly and annual payments. Medical Guardian’s subscription plans are slightly less expensive, but it charges equipment fees for some packages, so you’ll need to be prepared for a higher up-front cost. Medical Guardian offers sleeker equipment than LifeFone, however, which is great for older adults who want a discreet system.

LifeFone is best for:

  • Those who want a 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Those who want affordable fall detection, at just $5 per month
  • Those who want a system without equipment fees

Medical Guardian is best for:

  • Those who want a high-tech system
  • Those who are looking for lots of customization options
  • Those who need response services in languages other than English or Spanish
Written By:
Taylor Shuman
Senior Tech Expert & Editor
As SeniorLiving.org’s tech expert and editor, Taylor has years of experience reviewing products and services for seniors. She is passionate about breaking down stigmas related to seniors and technology. She loves finding innovative ways to teach seniors about products and… Learn More About Taylor Shuman
Reviewed By:
Linda Schlenker
Occupational Therapist
Linda earned her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University and has assisted 10,000+ seniors throughout her 25-year career. She specializes in home health care and fall prevention for seniors and has nearly three decades of experience recommending medical… Learn More About Linda Schlenker