Philips Lifeline Review

$29.95/mo. Starts At
12 sec. Average Response Time
Overall Rating:
4.0 of 5
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Chances are, you already own a product from Philips. After all, this health technology leader is behind Sonicare toothbrushes, Norelco razors, and Philips hearing aids. But did you know that Philips was also the first company to market a medical alert system in North America, nearly fifty years ago? Fast forward to today, and Philips Lifeline continues to be an industry leader with a complete line of medical alert systems, from the HomeSafe Standard for in-home use, to GoSafe2, an all-in-one wearable system designed for on-the-go, active seniors.

For this year’s review, I ordered both the HomeSafe Standard and Go2Safe and gave them a test drive. I found both products to be easy to set up and even easier to use. If you decide on the HomeSafe Standard, you’ll want to conduct a range test to make sure it covers every room in the house and any areas directly outside the house, such as the front porch or garage. I’ll show you how to do this as I go through my buying experience, setup, and testing. Read on as I cover everything you need to know about Philips Lifeline!

From the Experts: The average response time for Philips Lifeline alert systems is around 12 seconds, which is actually a few seconds faster than the industry average (industry average is 15-45 seconds).

How To Choose a Philips Lifeline Product

Questions to Consider

Just like buying a car, doing some planning upfront goes a long way in making sure that you get exactly what you want. When thinking about Philips Lifeline’s product line-up, there are four key questions to ask:

First, will your device ever be used outside-the-home? If the answer is yes, then you’ll want to make sure to focus on the GoSafe2 parts of this review, as it works just like a cell phone and will work wherever AT&T’s network has service.1 HomeSafe Standard is Lifeline’s product for at-home use. It has a base station and a wearable pendant, and you can think of this like a cordless landline telephone. The pendant needs to be in the range of the base station to connect to an emergency response center.

Second, if you’re thinking of an in-home unit, do you have a landline? HomeSafe Standard has a landline and cellular option. The cellular option costs $15 more per month, so you’ll want to purchase the landline option to save money if you can.

Third, how big is your house, and wherein the house needs coverage? If you’re considering a HomeSafe Standard, you’ll need to conduct a range test when it arrives. I’ll show you how to do this in the setup section. Big houses may require a $10 per month add-on called the Voice Extension Communicator that essentially creates a second base station. If you’re considering a cellular unit like the GoSafe2, you’ll need to make sure that every room in your house has coverage. Again, this can be done with tests. Philips has a 30-day full refund guarantee, so if at-home testing goes sideways, you can always return the product.

Fourth, do you want fall detection? This feature is an add-on for most medical alert devices, including Philips Lifeline. For an additional $15 on HomeSafe Standard, an emergency call will be triggered if your pendant’s sensor detects movements consistent with a fall. This feature comes with the GoSafe2 system, which is a nice bonus. By the way, if all the different options and prices are causing your eyes to glaze over, don’t worry, we have a handy price chart later on in the review.

Chat With a Philips Lifeline Representative

Ok, now that you’ve answered these questions, I highly recommend calling customer service to configure your order. The website has a lot of this information, but it’s very helpful to talk over your specific situation with an expert since unnecessary add-ons can really add up. One thing you’ll want to ask is about seasonal discounts, another is to go through when and where the user will need protection (e.g., in the yard, basement, grocery store, etc.).

I should also mention Philips Lifeline’s online chat feature, available from its website. During my call to customer service, I forgot to ask if I could have paperless billing or automatic payment. I fired up a chat window and asked a real-live person (no bots) about automatic payment options. By filling out a form, you can have Philips debit from your bank account each month. I can’t rack up frequent flyer miles this way, but I can avoid having to pay via snail mail.

Pro Tip: Give the company a call and ask if there are any fees they can take off your bill. You’d be surprised how far a quick call and a polite attitude will get you!

Equipment Options

HomeSafe Standard

The HomeSafe Standard landline model is for in-home use and is the cheapest system Philips Lifeline offers, starting at $29.95 per month. Out of the box, it comes with a base station that acts as a communicator to their emergency response center and a wearable, waterproof pendant (you can alternatively choose a wristband).

To set up the HomeSafe Standard, simply plug it into a power outlet and a phone jack and wait for the light to come on. Then, press the button on your pendant and the base station will beep loudly and say it is connecting with the response center. During my test, the base station repeated this message every few seconds until an agent picked up and asked if I needed help. I said no I didn’t, and that I was just testing the system. The agent acknowledged my answer, then he ended the call, and that was it!

Testing Our Philips Lifeline Equipment

Testing Our Philips Lifeline Equipment

I should note that this system also comes in a cellular model, so if you don’t have a landline connection, you can still use a HomeSafe Standard. Just keep in mind that the cellular system runs on AT&T’s network, so you’ll need an AT&T signal where you live for the system to work. Otherwise, it should function the same.

The pendant itself is lightweight and about the size of a half-dollar. I mentioned earlier that it’s important to walk to each room of the house to see if it is in range of the base station. To do this, just hold down on the reset button on the base station and release it to go into test mode.

Then, you’ll have four minutes to walk around the house and press the pendant button to make sure the base station receives the signal.

The unit is very loud, so you shouldn’t have trouble hearing it in most cases. (There is a volume control to adjust the sound.) Nevertheless, I would recommend doing a range test with someone else.

Overall, I found this product pretty effortless. The HomeSafe Standard Landline is a great choice as an inexpensive medical alert device for smaller, one-story homes. For larger homes, you’ll just want to conduct a range test or consider a Voice Communicator Extension, which acts as a separate base station. I cover this add-on below. If you’re thinking of adding optional fall detection and getting the HomeSafe Standard Cellular, you’ll actually pay more for this configuration than with the GoSafe2 (covered below), so unless you have this more basic landline use case, I’d look closely at the GoSafe2.

GoSafe2

The GoSafe2 arrived by mail in a single box with everything I needed: the GoSafe2 mobile pendant, a charger, and a manual. I simply plugged in the charger, set the pendant in the charger, and waited until the pendant light turned from flashing green (charging in progress) to solid green (fully charged). From there, I pressed the mobile help button to get connected to Philips 24/7 response center. They picked up in about 15 seconds and confirmed I was OK. Voila! The system was fully activated and ready to go.

One thing to note is that Philips also provides a professional installation option, which will involve an in-house visit, and costs $99. In all of my testing medical alert equipment, I have never had any issues with setting up the equipment but medical alert devices are all about providing safety and peace of mind, so if you have any concerns with DIY, I feel this is a reasonable cost for this service. I did raise my eyebrows at the $19 self-installation fee for the GoSafe2. Whoever heard of being charged for installing the system on my own?

You don’t need to do a range test with the GoSafe2, although you should go through parts of your house, yard or garage where you have concerns about cell coverage and see if you can place a test call.

For the active senior, GoSafe 2 is the system I’d recommend. It’s the only Philips Lifeline system that can be used on the go, meaning it’s really the best option for anyone that leaves the house on a regular basis. GoSafe 2 is an all-in-one wearable system, so just throw it on like a necklace and you’re set. There’s a help button, two-way talk feature, and built-in fall detection. The system is enabled with GPS and cellular technology, and help will be sent straight to you no matter where you are. The pendant is lightweight, and it’s actually one of the smaller all-in-one systems offered in the industry. You could easily tuck it into a sweater or pocket and no one would even know you were wearing it. If you have stubborn, fashion-conscious family members as I do, they’ll appreciate that the system is discrete.

Testing the Philips Lifeline GoSafe 2 Neck Pendant

Testing the Philips Lifeline GoSafe 2 Neck Pendant

GoSafe 2 definitely offers the most value and versatility of all the Philips Lifeline systems. It’s actually cheaper than the HomeSafe with AutoAlert cellular model, and, unlike that system, it can be worn at home or out and about. As long as you live in an area with solid AT&T coverage, GoSafe 2 is the way to go.

Philips Lifeline provides a one-year warranty2 for the GoSafe 2 system, covering normal wear-and-tear, which is on the shorter end of included warranties (Bay Alarm has a lifetime warranty for certain products). Simply register your device after you receive it to activate the warranty.

Philips Cares

Philips Cares is a smartphone app for your iPhone3 or Android4 device that can be used to share information about your loved on among a care circle. It automatically includes data on any interactions with Lifeline service, and allows you to enter physician's notes or other caregiving updates, which can reduce the burden and stress around coordinating care. You can also manage your Lifeline bill, change payment information and view the status of the Lifeline device. Philips refers to this as enabling an “end-to-end care experience,” and I agree!

The Product Lineup Overview

Product Prices & Fees Key Features Type of System 24/7 Professional Monitoring Included?
HomeSafe Standard – Landline Model – $29.95/month
– $50 one-time activation fee
– In-home system with 24/7 professional monitoring
– Waterproof pendant
– Two-way feature for in-home communicator
Landline Yes
HomeSafe Standard – Cellular Model – $43.95/month
– $50 one-time activation fee
– In-home option with 24/7 monitoring
– Runs on AT&T cellular network
– Waterproof pendant
– Two-way talk via in-home communicator
Cellular Yes
HomeSafe with AutoAlert – Landline Model – $44.95/month
– $50 one-time activation fee
– For in-home use with 24/7 monitoring
– Comes with waterproof fall detection pendant
– Two-way talk feature
Landline Yes
HomeSafe with AutoAlert – Cellular Model – $58.95/month
– $50 one-time activation fee
– In-home option offering 24/7 monitoring
– Runs on AT&T network
– Two-way communication
– Comes with waterproof fall detection pendant
Cellular Yes
GoSafe 2 – $49.95/month
– $99.95 one-time equipment fee
– $19 self-installation fee
– All-in-one mobile system for on-the-go protection
– 24/7 professional monitoring
– Runs on AT&T network and GPS technology
– Two-way talk feature
– Waterproof, wearable system
Cellular Yes

Add-Ons to Consider

HomeSafe with AutoAlert

When I think of keeping my aging parents safe, my main concern is that they’ll fall at home when no one else is around. If that’s your main concern too, I’d recommend HomeSafe with AutoAlert over HomeSafe Standard. This system comes with built-in fall detection, which will automatically contact the emergency center if the pendant’s sensors detect a fall.

Voice Extension Communicator

For larger homes, this optional add-on for the HomeSafe system ensures the system’s signal extends throughout your house. An extra Lifeline Communicator base station costs $10 per month. I’d definitely recommend this for medium to large houses, as the coverage area for landline systems is around 400 feet and only 200 feet for cellular systems. Call a representative if you’re unsure. If you’d like to compare to a system with a longer range for its base station, consider Alert1 (up to 600 feet) or LifeStation (up to 1,000).

Key Lockbox

Opting to add a key lockbox to your system gives first responders quick and easy access to your home without forced entry. If you’re not able to get to the door during an emergency, first responders will have to knock the front door down. You’ll have to deal with the mess and pay for a new front door which is just a hassle.

Medication Dispenser

Four in five adults over the age of 65 take at least two prescription medicines5 per day! If you’re shopping for someone that has a hard time remembering to take their medication, the Philips Lifeline Medication Dispenser can help. It automatically dispenses the medication at a preset time. If the user doesn’t take their meds on time, their caregiver will be notified. It’s pretty pricey at $59.95 per month, and it has to be professionally installed. However, if a daily caregiver check-in on medication is taking too much time, this could feel like money well spent.

Pros & Cons

What We Like About Philips Lifeline

  • Trusted Industry Name: Because Philips Lifeline has been around for nearly half a century, they’re a name that can be trusted in the industry. While age isn’t everything, it’s nice to know that they’ve had such long-term experience working with seniors.
  • No Long-Term Contracts: Philips Lifeline offers all of its systems on a month-to-month basis which means you can cancel your service at any time.
  • Personalized Response Plan: Philips Lifeline offers an app called Philips Care that lets users build a care circle of friends and family that they want to keep in the loop. It allows you to personalize call responses during an emergency to meet your needs. For instance, I know my dad would just want to alert his kids when he calls for help if it’s not life-threatening, but my mom would want us to alert first responders right away no matter what.
  • Auto Equipment Replacement: When your help pendant runs low on battery, it sends an alert to Philips Lifeline, and the company automatically sends you a new replacement.
  • Professional Installation Offered: Alert systems are designed to be easy to install, but I like that Philips Lifeline still offers a professional installation option. Sometimes it’s good just to get a walkthrough of the system by a real-live representative of the company. Other companies like MobileHelp and Medical Guardian don’t offer this option, so I appreciate that they give users a choice.

Things to Keep in Mind About Philips Lifeline

  • Great Value, but Not the Least Expensive: Philips Lifeline’s lowest-priced option, HomeSafe Standard, is priced $5-$10 per month higher than the entry-level models of Bay Alarm Medical and LifeStation. If you’re comfortable paying a bit more per month, Philips Lifeline’s systems are high-quality, simple, and reliable.
  • Activation and Installation Fees: For its GoSafe2 model, Philips Lifeline charges a $99 device fee for the pendant, and then you can choose between a $19 self-installation fee (recommended for most) and a $99 professional installation fee. For the HomeSafe models, there is a $50 activation fee and the same option as a professional install. If you’d like to consider a system without any startup costs, consider Bay Alarm Medical.
  • Uses AT&T Service: If you’re looking for a cellular system, you’ll need to have strong AT&T service where you live. Philips Lifeline cellular and mobile systems use AT&T’s network, so if you live in an area with spotty AT&T coverage, you’ll want to go with an in-home landline option. If you’re looking for a Verizon-based system, check out GreatCall.
  • Limited Product Lineup: If you’re looking for a system that’s designed for simplicity and ease of use, Lifeline has several great options. However, if you’re looking for a smartwatch, in-car system, or advanced features like activity sensors, just know that Philips Lifeline doesn’t yet offer these options. Medical Guardian makes a discrete, stylish smartwatch if you’re set on that option.

The Bottom Line

Overall, Philips Lifeline offers easy to use, reliable alert systems. It’s great for those who want a no-brainer system with no frills attached. As for which Philips Lifeline product to choose, I’d go with the GoSafe2 as it can be used anywhere at home or on-the-go and is incredibly easy to set-up, maintain, and use in an emergency. If you’re on a tight budget, the HomeSafe Standard system is the cheapest option and offers great at-home protection for the user. Once the product arrives, make sure to test the unit at home for coverage, and you’re all set. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so, go with the professional installation option.

All of my interactions with Philips employees, including their customer service team, the response center, and the online chat representative, were very positive. Philips Lifeline also received an A+ rating6 from the Better Business Bureau, a big plus in my book. According to Philips Lifeline, many of their team members have been with the company for over 25 years, which says a lot about the quality of service and how the company treats its employees.

Frequently Asked Questions About Philips Lifeline

  • What does Philips Lifeline cost per month?

    Philips Lifeline alert systems start at a cost per month of $29.95, and they range up to $59.95 per month for certain packages.

  • What is the return policy for Philips Lifeline?

    You can return your Philips Lifeline system within 30 days of purchase for a full refund. None of the alert systems require a contract, so you can also cancel your service and return your Philips Lifeline equipment at any time.

  • Is Philips Lifeline waterproof?

    Yes, all of the Philips Lifeline help pendants are waterproof, so they can be worn in places like the shower, bath, or pool.

  • Does Philips Lifeline need a landline?

    Some of the Philips Lifeline alert systems need a landline to connect to the monitoring station. However, some of the company’s systems run on an AT&T cellular connection, so it depends on the package that you choose.

Citations
  1. AT&T. (2020). AT&T Coverage Map for Voice and Data Coverage.

  2. Philips. (2020). General Terms and Conditions of Sale to Consumers.

  3. Apple App Store. (2020). Philips Cares – Senior Living.

  4. Google Play Store. (May 2020). Philips Cares.

  5. Medicare Rights Center. (April 2016). AARP Survey Highlights Prescription Drug Use Among Older Adults.

  6. Better Business Bureau (BBB). (June 2020). Philips Lifeline BBB Profile.