Compare The Best Medical Alert Systems of 2018

Medical GuardianPhilips LifelineMobileHelpLife AlertADTLifeFoneLifeStationBay Alarm Medical
Compare Medical Alert SystemsMedical Guardian Philips Lifeline Medical Alert SystemsMobileHelp Life Alert ADT Medical AlertsLifeFone Medical Alert ServicesLifeStationBay Alarm Medical
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Starting Cost / Month$29.95$29.95$29.95$69.90$29.99$24.95$25.95$19.95
Range 1,300 ft 600 ft 600 ft 420 ft300 ft 1,300 ft500 ft 1,000 ft
Response Time25 sec 35 sec 45 sec 33 sec 36 sec 48 sec43 sec49 sec
Emergency Buttons21111111
Wall Mounted Button$2/mo N/A $2/mo N/A $39.95$3.49/mo$1.95/mo
Fall Detection$10/mo$15/mo $10/mo N/AN/A $5/mo$7/mo $9.95/mo
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Medical alert systems remain one of the most popular and effective ways for seniors to get help in the event of a fall or medical emergency. They're extremely easy to use, very reliable and highly cost effective.

That's why the best medical alert system, or personal emergency response systems, are recommended by hospitals, geriatricians, and nurses alike – they offer peace of mind and safety at the push of a button. What’s simpler than that?

The medical alerts we rated above are some of the most popular systems available today. We don’t rate all equally. However, we believe our highest rated companies offer the best overall combination of superior technology, reliability, service, transparency and pricing.

What Makes The Best Medical Alert System, The Best?

So what makes a medical alert company excellent in our opinion? It’s not rocket science, and there’s no complicated formula.

1. The Equipment Has to be Easy To Use and Work Well!

Our readers deserve nothing less than exceptionally reliable equipment that performs beyond “OK”. Our highly rated medical alert companies offer equipment that’s easy to set-up, simple to use and does their job flawlessly.

2. Care for the Customer is The Priority

There’s no cutting corners when it comes to customer care. You deserve quick response times with courteous, helpful, patient, empathetic, well trained staff.

3. Pricing is Honest and Transparent

Despite advertising low monthly prices, some dishonest medical alert companies add on a host of deceptively hidden fees. We sifted out the bad actors. To receive a high rating you have to offer honest pricing - no hidden activation fees, cancellation fees, shipping fees or equipment fees.

4. No Long Term Contracts

We don’t believe our readers should be locked into long term contracts, especially for an item you're renting! Some less scrupulous companies try to lock you into 3 year terms. There’s absolutely no reason for it. All of our top rated companies allow you to cancel your contracts at no charge, no questions asked.

Call For the Best Medical Alert System Offers

We strongly recommend you call to get the best price and offer available from a medical alert company your considering (we've included each company's phone number in the chart above).

We’ve found that if you let them know you've done your homework, they’ll often waive certain fees or throw in some extras over the phone not available on their website. Some things you might want to ask for include a lower monthly fee, a free month or two of service, extra pendant, free lock box, or free wall help button for your shower.

Top Tips For Medical Alert Systems

  • Make sure your help button is waterproof, so you can wear it in the shower

  • If you go cellular, make sure you have excellent coverage in your home and neighborhood

  • Keep your system in good condition, it’s likely rented and returned

  • Keep it simple. Don't get lured by fancy "bells & whistles." Not too many features, options or buttons.

  • Ask if you have to recharge your battery, and how long it lasts

How To Shop and Compare Medical Alert Systems

When to Get a Medical Alert System

The idea of falling is terrifying for many older adults, especially for those who've already had a fall. The fact is, over 30% of adults over the age of 65 fall every year, causing concussions, contusions and broken bones.

However, one of the biggest dangers of falling, is the fear of falling itself. Fear alone, causes many seniors to limit their activities and social calendar, increasing their risk of physical decline, social isolation and depression.

If you, or a family member of yours, fears falling, medical alert systems can help you remain independent and possibly avoid a retirement home by giving you the confidence that, even if you live alone, you can get help quickly with the press of a button in the event of an emergency. While medical alerts have their limits, we still believe they remain the most effective, simple to use solution available.

Which Options Are Right For You

  • Landline systems plug the base station directly into your phone line. When the help button is pressed, the base station calls the monitoring center through your landline, and you talk through the base station. The one danger, is that it cannot work if your phone is left off the hook. So if you do that frequently you might want to consider a cellular system.

  • Cellular systems connect the base station to the monitoring center through a cellular network, similar to your mobile phone. Other than that, it works the exact same way as a landline system. The advantage is you don’t have to have a landline, and you don’t have to worry if you frequently leave your phone off the hook. However, if you don’t get good cellular reception in your home, it won’t work.

  • Mobile systems work both in and outside the home. It connects to the monitoring center through the cellular network. The best medical alert system solutions with mobile functionality will have the help button, two way voice, GPS and fall detection available in one sleek pendant device. Mobile is an excellent option if you’re active outside your home. It's a little more expensive and requires battery recharging.

  • Automatic fall detection will call the emergency response center if the device detects a fall and you’re not able to press the emergency button yourself. Fall detection is especially valuable if you have a high risk of black outs, fainting or loss of consciousness when falling or if you simply fear that you won’t be able to press your help button if you have a fall.

  • GPS tracking has two main purposes. First, in the event you press your help button outside your home, the medical alert company will be able to send emergency responders to within a few feet of your exact location, even if you can’t talk. Second, in the event a loved one is lost, you can locate them no matter where they are.

  • Smartwatches with help buttons connected to monitoring centers have started to make an appearance. The smartwatches we tested seem a little too complicated to use (even for our younger staff), especially in a stressful emergency situation. Multiple small buttons, screens and options complicate what we believe should be a very simple press of a button.

3 Keys To Getting The Best Equipment

  • Ease of Use: You want a system that is simple to install, easy to use and easy to maintain. In our view, a one button watch or pendent remains the safest option, especially in the panic and confusion of an emergency. One click and help is on the way.

  • Wearability: Having a help button that is comfortable and not too bulky is essential to wearability. When you compare medical alert systems, make sure you narrow it down to a company that offers both a watch and pendent.

  • Range: Range is the maximum distance the pendent can still work from the base station. Not everyone needs 1,300 feet (more than 3 football fields long), but having it can protect you when gardening, going to the mailbox or taking out the trash.

Emergency Response Service

  • Average response times: Response time is the amount of time it takes for the monitoring station to answer you once you've pressed the help button. In general, you should look for an average response time of less than 45 seconds. The less time the better.

  • Multiple emergency contacts: One of the advantages medical alert systems have over 911, is that operators can dispatch ambulance services or contact family members depending on the situation. Verify how many emergency contacts and phone numbers you're allowed to list and that it suits your situation.

  • Reputation / experience: There are a LOT of medical alert companies out there. You do not want to put you or a loved one's life in the hands of an outfit that is just starting out, has a poor reputation or a bad track record. We believe our list above is a great starting point to find the best medical alert system company. For more research, check a site like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to review complaints.

  • Certification: All of our top ranked medical alert companies have third party certified monitoring centers that are either 5 Diamond certified by the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) or certified by Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Meeting either of those standards provides assurance staff will be able to handle your emergency call properly.

Find the Best Pricing Plan

  • Free cancellation: When you compare medical alert systems, make sure you're able to cancel the contract whenever you need to, no questions asked. Some companies, such as Life Alert, have 3 year contracts, which can be onerous for seniors who may only need the service for a short period of time, or transition to a senior home and no longer need the service.

  • Pro-rated refunds: Some companies offer discounts on monthly pricing if you pay for the subscription for 1 year up-front. It's a great deal, but make sure you that if you cancel before your year is up, you get a pro-rated refund for the unused portion of the contract.

  • Free return shipping: Make sure that if you cancel early, the company will send you a return shipping label, with all costs paid for in advance.

  • Hidden fees: Watch out for the small print! Many providers make big promises but then have hidden charges like an activation fee, installation fee, cancellation fee, shipping fee, annual price increase, etc...

Conclusion

In our opinion, medical alert systems remain the easiest and most effective way to get immediate help in the event of a fall or medical emergency at all times, in a non-intrusive way. With cancellable contracts, you can always give one a try, and worse comes to worse, return the system if it doesn't work out - it's worth a shot if you're on the fence!

Of all the medical alert companies we reviewed, Medical Guardian received our top rating. We loved its variety of solutions, affordability and most of all its commitment to customer care, making it the best overall medical alert system choice for most people, in our opinion.

Related Post


  1. Hi Senior Safety Reviews,

    My father died recently and my mother lives alone. We can't always be with her and we're looking for a medical alert system. What are the most important features I should be looking for?

    Thanks in advance,

    Sandra


    • Hi Sandra,

      Thanks for writing in! In our opinion, the most important features you should be looking for depend on the needs of your mother. If she doesn't leave home much and has a landline, you could probably go with a basic in-home medical alert system. Even if she leaves the house often, if she's only leaves the home accompanied by someone else, there's no need for a mobile medical alert.

      In reality, most of the medical alert hardware is comparable. In fact, many companies use the same equipment. Where the companies begin to separate themselves are on price, terms and service. It goes without saying, we'd recommend you get the service that meets you mothers needs that has the best bang for your buck. However, we'd recommend getting a plan that gives you a free 30 day trial and allows you to cancel at any time with no penalties. Read the fine print or use our comparison chart to make sure your getting the deal you think you're getting.

      Hope that helps!

      SeniorSafetyReviews.com Staff


  2. Hello Senior Safety Reviews,

    The landline product displayed for Bay Alarm has a backup battery of 80 hours, not 32 hours. I hope this information is helpful.

    Best,

    Ryan


    • Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for the comment. We did a double to check, and Bay Alarm's website itself says "In the event of a blackout or power outage, our system will continue to run for up to 32 hours."

      Perhaps you're referring to the 72 hour charge of Medical Guardian's mobile alert system. Hope that helps!

      Best,

      Seniorsafetyreviews.com Staff


  3. I called Life Alert after seeing them on TV. They are sending a brochure to me. Would not give me pricing over the phone (which really annoyed me). Why do you have them rated so poorly.


    • Hi Peter,

      Thanks for writing in. Given Life Alert's wide presence on TV that's a great question!

      We have life alert with a poor rating because of its customer service and pricing. It has 3 year contracts which you cannot cancel. It has no 30 day money back trial period. Its pricing is nearly double that of its competitors for similar product (we called and received different quotes each time). Lastly, they have the highest number of complaints among medical alert companies at the Better Business Bureau.

      Hope the helps!

      Seniorsafetyreviews Staff


  4. Your review lists the need for mobile coverage yet that is not one of the criteria listed in your compare chart; why not?


    • Hi Doug,

      Thanks for that! Each of the companies listed above offers a mobile medical alert option. That said, our favorite mobile medical alert systems would be Medical Guardian or Phillips Life Line. Both offer all in one devices (mobile, fall detection, GPS), whereas many others require a separate fall detection device, and or a separate help button from the mobile device, making it inconvenient and bulky to wear outside the house.

      Hope that helps!

      SeniorSafetyReviews Staff