As a bit of a closet tech nerd, I've been looking forward to testing Medical Guardian's smartwatch, the Freedom Guardian. Plus, my grandma has been looking to try a medical alert watch, so I knew she'd want to test it with me! While the Freedom Guardian is an exciting device for a senior intrigued by the idea of a smartwatch, it's not for everyone. So we also tested the Classic Guardian, the company's entry-level in-home system.
All in all, Medical Guardian's lineup of medical alert systems caters to a diverse range of needs and lifestyles, whether you're on the hunt for an in-home system or a discreet on-the-go option. I also appreciate Medical Guardian's customizable features, with everything from waterproof fall-alert pendants to jewelry pendants to wall help buttons. Below, I'll walk you through my grandma's and my experience with Medical Guardian!
When shopping for a Medical Guardian system, I discovered that the easiest way to choose your package is to hop on the phone with a representative. Talking to an expert who knows the ins and outs of each system helps you choose the best one for your lifestyle. When I called, Chelsea, the representative I spoke with, was friendly and patient. I was curious about how long the battery lasts on the Freedom Guardian smartwatch. Chelsea said it lasts 48 hours and vibrates to alert the wearer when the battery falls below 10 percent — a perfect feature for me, since I always forget to charge my phone!
Buyer’s Tip: Medical Guardian doesn't have long-term contracts, so you can cancel your service at any time. If you've paid upfront for service that you haven't yet used, the company will give you a prorated refund.
The company's website is easy to navigate and includes all the details for every product, so you don't have to go hunting for information. There is also a live chat feature on the website, so you can get your questions answered quickly. When I tested the chat feature, I was pleasantly surprised by the representative's response time. It only took around five to 10 seconds to get in touch with someone!
Once I had all my questions answered, I selected several systems to try out. When you reach checkout, you'll choose your payment option: monthly, quarterly, or annually. The annual option will save you up to $45 every year, depending on your chosen package.
Our Freedom Guardian package arrived at my grandma's house with the white smartwatch (it also comes in black), an adjustable watchband, and a charger. Before you test the system, Medical Guardian recommends fully charging the watch, which takes about two hours. To charge it, I simply placed the watch over the charger's magnetic prongs so that the prongs on the back of the watch and the charger lined up.
Once it was done charging, my grandma strapped on the watch and held down the black button on the side of the watch for three seconds to power it up. The watch's home screen displayed the time and date, and my grandma was able to navigate to the watch's other features, like the weather and calendar reminders, by swiping on the screen from left to right or by pressing the red button on the side.
To test out the watch's emergency help feature, I told my grandma to hold down the red button for three seconds. From there, she was connected to an emergency operator and used the two-way audio feature to let the operator know that we were running a test.
The second system we tested was the Classic Guardian, Medical Guardian's only landline system. Our package came with a base station and a wearable help button. I plugged the base station into a phone jack and wall outlet in my grandma's bedroom. After that, my grandma pressed the power button and put on her wristband help button, and she was ready to go.
Advice from the experts: For Medical Guardian's in-home systems, the Classic Guardian and Home Guardian, it's important to place your base station in a central location of the home, like the kitchen, or a high-risk area like the bathroom.
To make a test call, she pressed the large black help button on the front of the base station until it turned blue, and we were connected to the monitoring center. I then tested out the wearable pendant by pressing the help button, and it quickly connected to the base station to call for help.
Medical Guardian has a lifetime warranty and no long-term contracts. That's pretty hard to beat! For comparison, Lifeline, a popular company we've reviewed, only offers a one-year warranty. Some replacements or repairs to your Medical Guardian system might still require a fee, but you won't have to purchase a new system. Also, the representative let me know that Medical Guardian offers an add-on protection plan for $6.99 per month if you want to avoid paying out of pocket for any lost, damaged, or stolen equipment.
|Medical Guardian product||Features||Monthly fees||Equipment fees||Connection type|
|Classic Guardian||– 1,300-foot coverage area
– Two-way audio
– 32-hour backup battery
– Waterproof pendant
|$29.95 per month||None||Landline|
|Home Guardian||– 600-foot coverage area
– 30-hour backup battery
– LED display screen
– Two-way audio
– Waterproof pendant
|$34.95 per month||None||Cellular|
|Mini Guardian||– GPS and Wi-Fi location technology
– Runs on Verizon's network
– Small, discreet system
– Two-way audio
– Five-day battery life
|$39.95 per month||$124.95||Cellular|
|Active Guardian||– GPS and Wi-Fi location tracking
– Two-way audio
– Waterproof pendant
– Portable alert system
– Seven-day battery life
|$44.95 per month||None||Cellular|
|Freedom Guardian||– GPS and Wi-Fi location tracking
– Voice-to-text messaging
– Emergency assistance button
– Companion mobile app
|$44.95 per month||$249.95||Cellular|
|Mobile Guardian||– 350-foot range
– GPS location tracking
– Two-way audio
– Waterproof pendant
|$44.95 per month||None||Cellular|
This is Medical Guardian's least expensive system, starting at $29.95 per month. From my own experience with the system, it's an excellent option for seniors on a tight budget or those living in areas with poor cell service.
The Classic Guardian comes with a base station that connects to your landline, along with a necklace or bracelet pendant (your choice!). The wearable, waterproof alert button works up to 1,300 feet from the base station. That means you can use the system whether you're taking a bubble bath, baking in the kitchen, or watching a movie in the family room. We tested the system throughout my grandma's home and backyard, and we were able to connect to the monitoring center every time without issue. In the event of a power outage, the system's 32-hour backup battery kicks in, so you'll stay protected.
From the experts: Medical Guardian's average response time is around 30 to 45 seconds. This falls within the average response time for the industry, which is 15 to 45 seconds.
Built for in-home use, the Classic Guardian is the only model that uses a landline connection, which plugs into a phone jack. You won't have to worry about your system not working during an emergency because of a bad connection. You can also add fall detection to the system for an extra $10 per month.
The Home Guardian costs $34.95 per month. Medical Guardian's prices are slightly higher than the rates for similar systems on the market. For instance, Bay Alarm Medical's monthly prices for an in-home cellular system start at $29.95.
I highly recommend the Home Guardian if you're looking for a simple at-home system with a cellular connection and an easy-to-install base station. The coverage range for this model is 600 feet, so you're covered for the length of two football fields. Talk about a touchdown! It's also equipped with a 30-hour backup battery, and you can choose to wear your waterproof help button on your wrist or as a lanyard.
The connection type is where the Classic Guardian and Home Guardian differ. The Home Guardian uses AT&T's cellular network, so it's a great option if you get strong AT&T coverage in your area. If you don't have reliable coverage, I'd recommend going with the Classic Guardian.
For a closer look at Medical Guardian's in-home systems, watch our video review below!
The monthly price for this lightweight system is $39.95, and there is also an upfront equipment fee of $124.95. Mobile systems from other companies typically cost $35 to $40 per month, so this price falls within the industry average.
We've been waiting for the day that a medical alert device would come in some more fashionable options, and the Mini Guardian fits that bill! It comes in black, white, or a nice silver option. This on-the-go system can be worn around the neck or clipped to your belt. With a lightweight, sleek design, the model is ideal for minimalists or those who want to keep their system simple and discreet. The battery lasts for five days and charges in three hours — excellent for weekend getaways. The fact that it's Medical Guardian's top-selling device says a lot about this tiny system's value and fashionable look!
Did You Know: Medical Guardian took our No. 1 spot for the best medical alert system of the year.
Using mobile technology, the Mini Guardian provides protection wherever you are: in your home, on a stroll around the neighborhood, or on vacation. Thanks to GPS, emergency operators know exactly where to send assistance if you press your help button. You can also add fall detection for $10 a month. If you have a history of falling, it may be a good call to activate this feature.
We've been waiting (honestly begging) for the day that a medical alert device would come in some more fashionable options, and Mini Guardian fits that bill! It comes in black, white, or a nice silver option (cue the “oohhs and aahhs”). With just one large help button and a built-in two-way speaker, this system is great for minimalists or those who want to keep their system simple and discrete.
The Active Guardian costs $44.95 per month, making it one of Medical Guardian's priciest systems. Similar systems from other providers are typically a few bucks cheaper. For example, Medical Alert's prices for a comparable mobile unit start at $37.95 per month.
The Active Guardian is great for those who are — you guessed it — active. This device doesn't have a bulky base station. Instead, it's an all-in-one wearable pendant, enabled with GPS and Wi-Fi technology and a seven-day battery life. My only complaint is that it isn't exactly fashionable, but that's standard across the industry, unfortunately. If you spend a lot of time on the go and want a simple wearable system, the Active Guardian is a solid choice.
This system provides a Verizon cellular connection, so you'll have peace of mind when you're gardening in the backyard or out running errands. You can also add fall detection for $10 a month. As with Medical Guardian's other systems, all you have to do is press the help button to connect to the monitoring center in an emergency. Just use the two-way audio to tell the representative the problem, and they'll dispatch help to your exact location.
The Freedom Guardian, the company's watch-style system, has a one-time $249.95 equipment fee. Then, you'll pay a monitoring fee of $44.95 per month. One of my favorite Freedom Guardian features is the voice-to-text messaging, which you can add along with calendar alerts for $5 per month.
Freedom Guardian is the perfect choice for anyone looking to live a healthy lifestyle, whether you're a runner, cyclist, or brisk walker. This medical alert system, which originally debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2018,1 hardly looks like one; it's more of a smartwatch with medical alert capabilities. With its sleek look, no one will know it's a medical alert system. Plus, the 48-hour battery life is a definite perk for users who don't want the hassle of charging it every night. My grandma wore the Freedom Guardian while walking her dog, and she really enjoyed the look and feel of the system.
FYI: Medical Guardian is preparing to launch Freedom 2.0, an upgraded version of the Freedom Guardian. This new system is currently available for preorder on the company's website.
Some of my grandma's favorite Freedom Guardian features are the location and activity tracking, calendar alerts, weather forecasts, and the touchscreen face with large, easy-to-read icons. You can even text family members and caregivers through the watch. So whether you want to check the weather before taking a walk or set reminders to take your medications or for doctor appointments, you'll be set. I appreciate these extra features that make it easy to stay connected.
Though the watch has no fall detection option, the Freedom Guardian doesn't disappoint when it comes to features. Along with all of the features covered above, the watch has a companion mobile app called Care Circle. This app helps loved ones keep track of the user. Within the app, you can track the wearer's location, send texts back and forth, view health alerts, and set up a schedule that sends reminders for important tasks.
The Mobile Guardian, a two-piece mobile system, starts at $44.95 per month. We'd recommend the annual payment plan for this system if it works for your budget; you'll save around $45 per year compared to paying month to month.
This system has two parts: a small, mobile base unit (which you can also wear) and a wearable help button. It has a coverage range of 350 feet from the button to mobile unit. That means, in most cases, you can wear your help button, leave your base unit inside, and relax in your backyard – all while being protected. While running errands, put on your help button, and place the base station in your purse or pocket, or clip it to your belt. If you're looking for a small, wearable option to use on the go, the Mobile Guardian is my recommendation.
A gentle reminder: If you're ever unsure which system is right for you, give Medical Guardian's customer support line a call. Speaking with a representative will help you understand more about the products and how they will (or won't) serve your specific needs.
The Mobile Guardian operates similarly to the Active Guardian. The difference is, instead of being an all-in-one device, it consists of a small portable base station and a wearable help button. If you don't mind carrying two pieces of equipment, it's an excellent mobile option. Since you don't have to wear the mobile base unit like you do with the Active Guardian, it's much smaller and less noticeable. For $10 a month, you can add fall detection.
Want to learn more about Medical Guardian's mobile systems? Watch the video below with our editor-in-chief, Jeff Hoyt.
The fall-alert pendant will automatically alert Medical Guardian's monitoring center when it detects a fall, even if you can't press your help button. Fall detection costs an extra $10 a month. In the U.S. around 36 million older adults fall every single year,2 so it's worth the price if you ask me! You can add this pendant to any system other than the Freedom Guardian.
You can add a wall-mounted button, which costs $2.99 per month, to your system for another level of protection. When pressed, these buttons wirelessly connect to the monitoring center. They're easy to set up and move – just stick them to the wall. I like that they don't require any complicated wiring or installation. They're ideal for bathrooms or other high-risk areas of the home!
This button, priced at $5 per month, works like the basic wall-mounted button, but it is also voice-activated and features a pull cord. The user just has to say “call Medical Guardian” twice or pull the cord to connect to the monitoring center wirelessly. I'd recommend this button over the basic model, because the voice-activated feature is handy when you can't reach the button.
Money-saving tip: If you select an annual plan, it includes a lockbox and second help button for free. Over a 12-month period, that saves you $72!
The lockbox costs $2.99 per month and allows you to store a spare house key outside your house. That way, emergency medical technicians won't have to break down your door to get inside.
Medical Guardian has designed jewelry alert pendants that are compatible with the Home and Mobile Guardian packages. These pendants cost $2.99 per month. They look like stylish necklaces, and there are several designs to choose from. You really can't tell that they're alert buttons!
With the addition of Medical Guardian's enhanced emergency notifications for $2.99 per month, caregivers in the Care Circle will receive real-time text and email notifications about their loved ones' emergencies.
Medical Guardian systems start at $29.95 per month. Top-of-the-line models, like the Freedom Guardian, cost up to $44.95 per month.
Yes, Medical Guardian’s wearable alert buttons are waterproof, so you can even wear them in the shower or bathtub.
Medical Guardian’s headquarters are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company’s alert systems are available in all 50 states, along with Puerto Rico and Canada. Equipment options outside the U.S. may be more limited.
If you are unhappy with Medical Guardian for any reason, you can cancel your service at any time, as there are no long-term contracts. Once you give the Medical Guardian Returns & Cancellations Department a call and return your equipment, your cancellation will be processed within 30 days.
Consumer Technology Association. (2020). About CES.