The Best Medical Alert Systems

Hours of Research Companies Considered Ranking Criteria Evaluated Finalists Selected
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Medical alert systems are valuable life-saving devices. They can protect seniors in case of emergency while providing untold peace of mind for caregivers and loved ones. In studies, nine out of 10 subscribers reported that their medical alert system helped them maintain their independence.

Personal emergency response systems are often used for fall detection, but they can also provide a lifeline in case of medical emergencies related to diabetes, heart attack or stroke. Additionally, they can be activated in case of a fire or burglary. Medical monitoring companies can even help during unforeseen everyday situations as one subscriber discovered when she couldn’t get out of the tub.

Today, smartphones and voice-activated devices have created some alternatives for seniors who may need to contact a neighbor or relative in case of an emergency, but professionally monitored systems still have their benefits. No other system provides a direct link to trained operators or emergency contacts along with advanced features like GPS tracking.

Telephone-based monitoring companies emerged in the 1970s, and many providers have been providing services continuously since then. There are also some newcomers that focus on innovative algorithm-based technology and transparent pricing. In fact, more than 260 medical monitoring services are registered with the Better Business Bureau.

Helping Buyers Narrow Down Their Options

To help consumers sift through their options, we’ve created this guide that compares 10 of the top providers based on the quality of their service, equipment options, cost and overall value. Each profile gives you a detailed look at the company’s offerings to help you see how these products might fit into your life. We’ve also created a consumer guide that outlines some of the most important purchasing considerations. Finally, we’ve answered some common questions to help you make an informed decision if you decide that a medical alert system is right for you.

How We Chose the Best Medical Alert Systems

One of the challenges of selecting the best medical alert companies is that, particularly on the surface, many of the deals appear similar. To get past this confusion, we identified several traits that the top providers share.

Monitoring Plans

Nearly all companies offer customers the choice of landline or cellular service for in-home monitoring as well as mobile devices equipped with GPS location tracking. Across the industry, it was common to see surcharges for fall detection, wellness calls and other premium features. If you’re interested in these services, be sure to add $5-$10 to the monthly fee per item when comparing plans.

Response Times

Comparing response times is one of the most effective ways to evaluate service quality. Some providers answered help calls in less than 20 seconds while others took as long as seven minutes. When determining service quality, we looked for companies with multiple U.S.-based call centers and professional operators who have received specialized training.

Reviews and Qualifications

Subscriber satisfaction is another important consideration. We cut one provider from our list because customers had trouble getting their money back after trying the service. Industry certifications from organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories and The Monitoring Association also gave us insight into the provider’s service quality.

Equipment Features

While many providers use nearly identical base units and pendants, we noticed some differences in the product’s battery life and signal range. We also considered the system’s audio quality, weight and appearance while giving preference to devices that were easy to use and maintain.

Ethics

Deceptive pricing schemes and hidden charges booted several companies off our list of contenders. Nearly all of our top picks have monthly service agreements with no long-term commitment, and many offer a 30-day money-back guarantee that gives customers an opportunity to try the service.

The 10 Best Medical Alert Companies

Company Base Cost Starting Costs Plans Features Guarantees
Bay Alarm Medical $19.95 — $39.95 $9.95 Shipping Waived with Semi-Annual Subscription Landline, Cellular, Bundle Fall Detection
Location Tracking
Caregiver Tools
30-Day Trial
Life Alert $50 — $70 $95-$198 One-Time Activation Fee Landline, Cellular GPS Location Tracking 30-Day Money-Back
Philips Lifeline $29.95 — $54.95 $50-$149 Activation Fee
+$19.99 Shipping
+$99 Shipping and Professional Installation
Landline, Cellular Automatic Fall Detection
Medication Reminders
30-Day Returns
LifeStation $19.95 — $34.95 $50 Activation Fee for Mobile with GPS and Standard Payment Package Landline, Cellular Fall Detection
GPS Location Tracking Caregiver Apps
Alexa Integration
30-Day Money-Back
MobileHelp $19.95 — $44.95 $49.95 One-Time Fee
+$15 Shipping with Month-to-Month Payment
Landline, Cellular, Bundle Fall Detection
GPS Location Tracking
30-Day Trial
LifeFone $24.95 — $39.95 None Landline, Cellular, Bundle Fall Detection
Medication Reminders
Wellness Calls
Caregiver Apps
30-Day Money-Back
Medical Alert $22.95 — $37.95 $9.50 Shipping with Month-to-Month Plan Landline, Cellular Fall Detection
Caregiver Apps
30-Day Money-Back
BlueStar Senior Tech $23.95 — $35.95 None Landline, Cellular, Bluetooth Fall Detection
Activity Monitoring
Family and Mobile Apps
QMedic $30 — $45 None Landline, Cellular Activity Tracking
GPS Location Tracking
Caregiver Dashboard
30-Day Money-Back
Lifenet $29.95 — $49.95 None Landline, Cellular Fall Detection
GPS Location Tracking
Cancel Anytime

Bay Alarm Medical

Best for Overall Value

Bay Alarm is a longstanding security company with more than 70 years of experience. The California-based company offers quality equipment and reliable nationwide service at a competitive price. Customers can choose from in-home and mobile response systems. However, packages are one of the brand’s strengths. When it comes to monitoring credentials, Bay Alarm Medical is among the best. The company operates three U.S.-based call centers that are certified by The Monitoring Association and meet UL standards.

While medical alert systems are proven to help older adults maintain active, independent lives, they can still seem like an unwanted aid. Bay Alarm Medical overcomes this challenge by giving seniors the option to contact friends, family or neighbors before or after emergency services. If an alert is received and the subscriber is uncommunicative, operators contact 911 as an extra precaution. Bay Alarm Medical works with existing landlines as well as VoIP or cellular service, so seniors can select the most convenient option for their needs. We also like the company’s one-of-a-kind line of Bella Charm pendants that are made in the United States.

Highlights

  • Bay Alarm Medical is an established company owned by one of the nation’s leading security companies.
  • Bay Alarm Medical’s monitoring centers meet the industry’s highest quality standards as defined by UL and TMA.
  • Discounts are available to members of AARP, USAA and other national organizations.
  • Bay Alarm Medical offers a risk-free 30-day trial, and subscribers can cancel at any time.
  • Spouses receive free coverage.

The Takeaway

If you want protection that covers you at home and on the go, Bay Alarm Medical offers some of the best bundled rates in the industry. However, the company does have a $10 surcharge for cellular service. Equipment packages give you access to emergency response teams at home, on the road and nearly anywhere nationwide. Additionally, customers enjoy the peace of mind of working with an industry leader.

Plan Monthly Price Starting Costs Service Range Battery Life Extra Features
In-Home $19.95 $9.95 Shipping Waived with Semi-Annual Subscription Landline (+$10 for Cellular) 1,000′ Console: 32 Hours
Pendant: 5 Years
Optional Fall Detection
In-Car $29.95 $9.95 Shipping Waived with Semi-Annual Subscription Cellular N/A N/A Crash Detection
Caregiver App
Mobile $39.95 $9.95 Shipping Waived with Semi-Annual Subscription Cellular Nationwide 72 Hours Optional Fall Detection
Optional GPS Location Tracking
Complete Bundle $39.95 $9.95 Shipping Waived with Semi-Annual Subscription Cellular/Landline Nationwide Varies Optional Fall Detection

What Customers Like

Bay Alarm Medical’s knowledgeable, patient staff receives overwhelmingly positive feedback. One reviewer shared, “The rep was very helpful. [He] took his time so I could understand everything he was telling me. He spoke very clear and was very polite.” Reviewers also appreciate Bay Alarm’s ease of installation and range of choices. According to one subscriber, “It was easy to set up, great options and features, easy to configure for our needs … .”

What Customers Don’t Like

There are few subscriber complaints about Bay Alarm. The only issues reported concern batteries losing charge too quickly, contradictory instructions about how to correctly charge the devices and moderately long hold times when contacting customer service.

Life Alert

Best for No-Frills Service From a National Leader

Life Alert has been a leader in the emergency response industry since 1987. The company offers traditional in-home medical alert systems with wearable pendants as well as surface-mounted Help Buttons designed for use in the shower, bathroom and other high-risk areas. Emergency response devices can be worn as a pendant or a wristband. Although they have limited aesthetic appeal, the company’s pendants have an unrivaled 10-year battery life, so they never need charging. Additionally, the devices have a respectable 800-foot range.

The company’s in-home devices also offer exceptional battery performance. In case of a natural disaster, weather-related emergency or power outage, the base unit provides a constant connection for up to 72 hours, which is double the industry average.

Life Alert isn’t the most innovative medical monitoring company, but it provides dependable in-home and mobile options. Customers can use a landline or select a cellular device that includes nationwide GPS tracking, and it offers a mobile app that connects subscribers directly to emergency dispatchers at the Life Alert monitoring center.

Highlights

  • Life Alert handles more than 500,000 emergency calls per year and saves more than 5,000 lives.
  • The company has U.S.-based monitoring centers on both coasts.
  • Life Alert’s monitoring centers are Five Diamond certified and meet UL requirements.
  • Operators stay on the line until the emergency is resolved.
  • Batteries last for up to 10 years for maintenance-free performance.
  • Equipment is backed by a lifetime warranty.
  • Professional installation services are available nationwide.

The Takeaway

Life Alert is an industry stalwart. It doesn’t have the lowest prices or the most customer-friendly terms, but it’s a consistent market leader, and it’s monitoring centers meet the highest quality standards. This company covers every monitoring need with its in-home interfaces, portable help buttons and mobile devices. Its pendants are virtually maintenance free thanks to their exceptional battery performance. Life Alert is a good choice for seniors who are willing to pay more to work with one of the best-known medical monitoring companies.

Plan Monthly Price Starting Costs Service Range Battery Life Extra Features
In-Home (Landline) $50 $95 Activation Fee Landline 800′ Console: 72 Hours
Pendant: 7 Years
N/A
In-Home (No Landline) $50 $95 Activation Fee Cellular 800′ Console: 72 Hours
Pendant: 7 Years
N/A
Life Alert Mobile + GPS $70 $198 Activation Fee Cellular Nationwide Up to 10 Years GPS Location Tracking

What Customers Like

Subscribers appreciate the sense of calm Life Alert’s caring operators provide in a stressful situation. A reviewer shared, “They stayed on the phone, kept me and my granddaughter calm; it’s like someone was with us.” They also have high praise for Life Alert’s fast response. After experiencing a fall, one senior wrote, “I pushed my Life Alert button … less than a minute or so my phone rang and it was Life Alert … .”

What Customers Don’t Like

Family members of some subscribers report difficulty canceling the service after loved ones enter a care facility. The company’s comparatively high prices are the only other negative mentioned, although customers feel the extra cost is justified.

Philips Lifeline

Best for Automatic Fall Detection

Lifeline Systems is one of the nation’s oldest medical alert providers. The company was founded in 1974 by a gerontologist and his wife, and the business was acquired by the electronics giant Philips in 2006. Today, Philips Lifeline has seven million subscribers who benefit from the brand’s 40 years of industry experience.

Customers can choose from three packages designed for in-home, on-property or mobile use. Philips offers water-resistant modules and multilingual support. Subscribers can also create a personalized emergency contact list that includes friends, neighbors and relatives. With access to multiple U.S.-based call centers, response times average 20 seconds or less.

Philips Lifeline is a little bit different because it uses proprietary equipment whereas some providers rely on third-party devices. The brand’s systems are innovative, but it’s one of the few companies that has upfront equipment charges and activation fees. Still, the unique features may be worth the added cost. One of our favorite options is the brand’s AutoAlert service, which uses accelerometers, barometric sensors and algorithms based on movement patterns from 10,000 seniors to detect falls while triggering fewer false alarms.

Highlights

  • Philips Lifeline’s industry-leading equipment incorporates advanced fall detection.
  • The brand’s AutoAlert feature is endorsed by the National Council on Aging and fall-prevention groups.
  • Trained agents respond to emergency calls in as little as 12 seconds.
  • Mobile systems use six cooperative tracking technologies to pinpoint the subscriber’s location.
  • Monitoring services are available without a contract, so users can cancel at any time.
  • Philips offers a variety of related devices, including automated medication dispensers.
  • There’s a 30-day return period for equipment that’s purchased upfront.

The Takeaway

Philips Lifeline is a premium brand that offers top-notch equipment and monitoring services. Despite the slightly higher upfront and ongoing cost, Philips is a great choice for consumers looking for active tech-driven fall detection. Like many customers, we appreciate the brand’s sleek product designs. Although they sacrifice some function, such as larger homes may need a range extender, the features may be worth the higher cost.

Plan Monthly Price Starting Costs Service Range Battery Life Extra Features
HomeSafe Standard $29.95 $50 Activation
+$19.99 — $99 Shipping/Installation
Landline or Cellular (+$12) 500′ Console: 32 Hours
Pendant: 18 Months
N/A
HomeSafe with AutoAlert $44.95 $50 Activation
+$19.99 — $99 Shipping/Installation
Landline or Cellular (+$12) 500′ Console: 32 Hours
Pendant: 18 Months
Automatic Fall Detection
GoSafe $54.95 $149 Activation
+$19.99 — $99 Shipping/Installation
Landline or Cellular (+$10) Varies 7 Days Automatic Fall Detection
GPS-Assisted Location Tracking
GoSafe2 $49.95 $99.95 Activation
+$19.99 — $99 Shipping/Installation
Cellular Nationwide 2-3 Days Automatic Fall Detection
GPS-Assisted Location Tracking

What Customers Like

Lifeline’s rapid response time and automatic fall detection feature are commented on frequently by subscribers. One woman described her positive experience, “I was coming in from outside and fell … I didn’t think the device would even be activated. I didn’t push the button, but the fall did it. … I thought to myself, “Five minutes, I’m gonna have 911 here,” and indeed I did.

What Customers Don’t Like

The rare complaints concern repeated false alarms, the inability to use emergency contacts as requested and unreliable batteries. Reviewers do state they were contacted by Lifeline and sent replacement batteries before a device failed.

LifeStation

Best for Caregiver Support

LifeStation has more than 40 years in the medical monitoring business. The company has excellent ratings from Trust Pilot and Consumer Affairs, and it consistently ranks as one of the nation’s top medical alert companies. LifeStation offers cellular and landline options for in-home or mobile use, and seniors can choose from multiple service plans starting around $1 per day. Basic packages are ideal for controlling your monitoring costs, and premium options give you access to additional features, such as fall detection and device protection in case your pendant is lost or damaged.

The brand’s emergency response devices are included in your service plan, so there’s no equipment to buy. LifeStation’s portable, lightweight pendants are easy to use, and they can be worn discreetly around your neck or carried in a pocket or handbag. Additional help buttons are available for a nominal fee, and the company doesn’t have hidden charges.

The brand’s mobile systems include GPS and Wi-Fi tracking capabilities as part of its Find My Loved One feature. Each mobile pendant measures less than 3 inches long and weighs just 2 ounces. The company’s in-home pendants are even lighter. They weigh less than half an ounce or as much as five pennies, and they’re compatible with Alexa voice activation technology. LifeStation’s Alexa Skill download allows caregivers to track their loved ones location from anywhere in the world.

LifeStation also stands out for its service quality and accredited monitoring centers. Skilled operators who have completed six weeks of classroom training answer calls in 20 seconds or less, which is one of the fastest response times in the industry. It’s UL-listed monitoring centers are located in New Jersey and Texas for reliable coast-to-coast coverage.

Highlights

  • LifeStation uses UL- and TMA-certified monitoring centers.
  • Emergency calls are handled by accent-neutral operators based in the United States.
  • Interpretation services support more than 240 languages depending on your preferences.
  • There’s no contract, and customers who cancel in the first 30 days receive a full refund minus shipping.
  • LifeStation’s tracking service uses GPS, Wi-Fi and algorithms to pinpoint the subscriber’s location.
  • LifeStation provides caregiver tools and integrates with Amazon Alexa.

The Takeaway

In an industry where companies sometimes seem like clones, LifeStation has gone out of its way to develop value-added features and caregiver monitoring functions that separate it from the competition. Response times average around 20 seconds, and best of all, its rates are competitive, especially given the quality of the service.

Plan Monthly Price Starting Costs Service Range Battery Life Extra Features
In-Home Traditional $19.95 None Landline 500′ Console:  36 Hours
Pendant: 4 Years
Optional Fall Detection
In-Home Plus $29.95 None Cellular 500′ Console:  36 Hours
Pendant: 4 Years
Optional Fall Detection
Mobile with GPS $34.95 $50 Activation Fee with Standard Payment Package Cellular Nationwide 5 Days Optional Fall Detection
GPS Location Tracking

What Customers Like

Customers consistently praise LifeStation’s patient, courteous staff and the system’s ease of use. One subscriber who installed the system for his elderly parents commented, “The LifeStation team is amazing! Every person I spoke to from the initial call through shipping, setup and testing were so helpful and patient.”

What Customers Don’t Like

The few negatives subscribers report include being charged before the service is activated and difficulties switching plans and returning equipment. The length of time it takes to get a refund when canceling the service was another issue noted.

MobileHelp

Best for Bundled Service

MobileHelp makes innovative medical alert systems that use cellular and GPS technologies to provide seamless location tracking and medical monitoring. The company offers landline-based systems for in-home use, but mobile PERS have been its strength for more than 25 years. For couples who want continuous coverage at home and on the go, it’s hard to beat MobileHelp’s all-inclusive Duo package, which includes portable pedants, a stationary base unit and a mobile alert system.

MobileHelp’s portable GPS-enabled pendants allow operators to pinpoint the subscriber’s location in case of an emergency or wandering incident, which makes this option a good choice for seniors who have dementia or Alzheimer’s. The device weighs about 3 ounces and is the size of a deck of cards. However, it requires recharging every 24 hours when location tracking is enabled. Neck pendants designed for in-home use have an expected five-year battery life. They don’t support two-way voice communication, but they do have an exceptional 1,300-foot range, and they’ll continue to communicate with the base unit for up to 30 hours after a power outage.

Emergency alerts are handled by Rapid Response, an acclaimed third-party monitoring company that operates call centers in New York and California. All dispatchers are certified by the Security Industry Association and have received advanced training. Additionally, MobileHelp’s products and services hold a long list of third-party certifications from the FDA, FCC and organizations like UL.

MobileHelp offers multiple monitoring systems and service packages. Plans range from $20-$45 per month, and optional fall detection costs $10 per month. In some cases, there’s an additional equipment charge. However, customers can try the company’s services with minimal risk since there are no long-term contracts or hidden fees. MobileHelp also offers a 30-day guarantee.

Highlights

  • MobileHelp devices have earned a Good Manufacturing Practice seal from the FDA.
  • The brand’s medical alert systems have multiple third-party quality certifications.
  • MobileHelp is based in Florida and serves customers in all 50 states.
  • Dispatch services are provided by Rapid Response, one of the nation’s top monitoring companies.
  • LanguageLine connects callers to interpreters specializing in more than 240 languages.
  • According to company data, MobileHelp answers an emergency call every eight minutes.
  • The company is an accredited BBB member with an A+ rating.

The Takeaway

Whether you’re shopping for in-home or remote coverage, MobileHelp is a strong contender. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly package that you can share with a partner or spouse. The company offers a suite of free and paid caregiver tools through MobileHelp Connect as well as a line of attractive jewelry-style pendants made by Trelawear.

Plan Monthly Price Starting Costs Service Range Battery Life Extra Features
MobileHelp Classic $19.95 $49.95 One-Time Fee and $15 Shipping with Month-to-Month Payment Cellular 1,300′ Console:  30 Hours
Pendant: 5 Years
Optional Fall Detection
MobileHelp Wired Home $24.95 $15 Shipping with Month-to-Month Payment Landline 1,300′ Console:  30 Hours
Pendant: 5 Years
Optional Fall Detection
MobileHelp Solo $37.95 $15 Shipping with Month-to-Month Payment Cellular Nationwide 24 Hours GPS Location Tracking
Optional Fall Detection
MobileHelp Duo $41.95 $15 Shipping with Month-to-Month Payment Cellular Nationwide Varies GPS Location Tracking
Optional Fall Detection
Mobile Duo $44.95 $15 Shipping with Month-to-Month Payment Cellular Nationwide 24 Hours GPS Location Tracking
Optional Fall Detection

What Customers Like

Adult children researching medical alert systems for their parents repeatedly comment on MobileHelp’s reputation and number of positive online reviews. A son who subscribed for his parents said, “Several reputable entities rated MobileHelp highly in the field. Mobilehelp had 2,300+ reviews with a 4.6/5 rating overall.” Others talk about the exceptional service, including one son who stated “Great customer service from ordering to monitoring.”

What Customers Don’t Like

In the rare complaints about MobileHelp service, subscribers most often cite difficulties canceling a subscription. A problem with the GPS identifying an incorrect location is another concern reported by customers.

LifeFone

Best for Industry Experience

Based in White Plains, New York, LifeFone has specialized in medical alert services since the 1970s, and it continues to be one of the nation’s leading providers. LifeFone is a top choice for seniors seeking in-home or mobile coverage, and its two-in-one package is a great value. This enduring brand excels in all areas, which is why it’s been recognized by Harvard Medical School, Consumers Digest and review sites such as Trust Pilot.

LifeFone’s At-Home package includes a base unit, wristband and necklace-style pendant, and its user-friendly mobile system features rechargeable batteries that last for up to 30 days on standby. The company has three domestic call centers, including an in-house response team in New York and two additional call centers on both coasts. Service plans feature moderate prices that are typical for the industry. However, customers also receive a price-lock guarantee that prevents future rate hikes, and there’s no contract.

LifeFone has a number of consumer-friendly policies, including a 30-day money-back guarantee and $0 activation fees. Customers can request medication reminders and daily wellness calls that fit their schedule, and carbon monoxide detection is available for an extra fee. LifeFone also offers a monitoring portal for caregivers, and subscribers are encouraged to personalize their emergency response plan.

Highlights

  • LifeFone has been endorsed by the National Council on Aging and WebMD.
  • New customers can take advantage of a 30-day trial.
  • Helpful dispatchers respond to calls in approximately one minute.
  • The company’s monitoring centers aren’t certified, but the brand has substantial experience.
  • LifeFone has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Free basic protection is available for spouses.

The Takeaway

Established providers sometimes lose their competitive edge, but LifeFone holds its own by offering a comfortable balance of quality and value. Its equipment performs well, and its fee structure allows subscribers to save money or purchase optional upgrades, such as daily wellness checks, scheduled phone calls or medication reminders. In each area, LifeFone provides the level of service that we expect from a top-tier provider.

Plan Monthly Price Starting Costs Service Range Battery Life Extra Features
At-Home Landline $24.95 None Landline 1,300′ Console:  32 Hours
Pendant: 2—5 Years
Optional Fall Detection
At-Home Cellular $30.95 None Cellular 1,300′ Console:  32 Hours
Pendant: 2—5 Years
Optional Fall Detection
At-Home & On-The-Go With GPS $36.95 None Cellular 600′ (Home), 350′ (Mobile) 30 Hours Optional Fall Detection
GPS Location Tracking
At-Home & On-The-Go Necklace $39.95 None Cellular Nationwide 30 Days (Standby) Optional Fall Detection
GPS Location Tracking

What Customers Like

Subscribers and their family members frequently mention the positive experiences they have interacting with LifeFone customer service reps and call center operators. One daughter wrote, “I couldn’t ask for a better customer service. It was excellent. And if I have any questions, I don’t think twice about picking up the phone, calling and asking.” Customers also recommend the service and appreciate the security it provides.

What Customers Don’t Like

The sensitivity of the device and a somewhat slow response time are drawbacks mentioned by some reviewers. Other issues subscribers report are the equipment’s limited range and a lack of tech support on weekends.

Medical Alert

Best for Quality Service With Annual Discounts

Medical Alert is one of the nation’s largest PERS providers. It’s owned by Connect America, a national company that operates several monitoring firms, including Home Buddy and the American Medical Alert Corp. The company’s reliable systems are used by thousands of customers, including health care facilities that require patient monitoring. Connect America is a member of the Medical Alert Monitoring Association, an organization dedicated to defining and upholding industry standards, and the company uses multiple Five Diamond-certified call centers staffed by qualified operators.

Prospective customers can choose from three service plans. In-home systems support cellular or landline connections, and mobile response systems include satellite-aided GPS tracking. As with most providers, subscribers receive a base unit with two-way voice technology as well as a waterproof wristlet or pendant that can be worn around the neck or clipped on a waistband.

Medical Alert offers customers the choice of monthly, semiannual and annual billing agreements with no long-term commitment. In addition to receiving discounts that can bring monthly costs below $20, customers who select an annual or semiannual plan get extra benefits, such as free shipping and a lockbox that can help emergency responders enter your home. Optional fall detection is available with all plans for a monthly fee.

Highlights

  • Medical Alert serves customers in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
  • UL-certified monitoring centers employ bilingual agents who are fluent in English and Spanish.
  • Caregivers can take advantage of the 365Access app, which includes location tracking and notification tools.
  • Specially trained SIA-certified operators answer calls in 30 seconds or less and stay on the line until help arrives.
  • Medical Alert offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

The Takeaway

This Connect America company is impressive with its customer-focused features that benefit seniors and caregivers. It answers calls promptly, provides professional service and rewards loyal subscribers by offering semiannual and annual billing discounts. The company also offers a range of vanity pendants that resemble designer jewelry.

Plan Monthly Price Starting Costs Service Range Battery Life Extra Features
At-Home Landline $22.95 $9.50 Shipping with Month-to-Month Plan Landline 1,300′ Console:  32 Hours
Pendant: 2—5 Years
Optional Fall Detection
At-Home No Landline $32.95 $9.50 Shipping with Month-to-Month Plan Cellular 1,300′ Console:  32 Hours
Pendant: 2—5 Years
Optional Fall Detection
At-Home & On-The-Go Package $37.95 $9.50 Shipping with Month-to-Month Plan Cellular 600′ (Home), 350′ (Mobile) Varies GPS Location Tracking
Optional Fall Detection
At-Home & On-The-Go Voice-In-Necklace $39.95 $9.50 Shipping with Month-to-Month Plan Cellular Nationwide 5 Days (30 Days Standby) GPS Location Tracking
Optional Fall Detection

What Customers Like

Many subscribers find that Medical Alert gives them greater security and peace of mind. They also appreciate the friendless of the staff, and the company’s fast response when help is needed. One woman shares, “I’ve had Medical Alert for about 12 years … Their reps have all been nice. When I fell in the bathroom, I called them and they answered right away.”

What Customers Don’t Like

A lengthy wait for customer service assistance is one of the few downsides mentioned in reviews of Medical Alert. Other subscribers cite the weight of the device and how easy it’s activated as disadvantages.

BlueStar Senior Tech

Best for Customized Service Plans

BlueStar Senior Tech is a veteran-owned business that has provided medical monitoring and personal emergency response systems for more than 20 years. The company offers a wide selection of equipment and service plans at a variety of price points. However, the brand’s expansive product catalog adds to the complexity of the decision-making process.

In-home monitoring systems include wall-mounted push buttons and wearable pendants that support two-way voice communication. Built-in audio technology allows seniors to call for help anywhere on their property while giving them an opportunity to communicate with the operator before emergency response teams are dispatched. The budget-friendly Sentry system features an oversized emergency help button as well as a concierge feature that allows subscribers to page a caretaker.

Seniors interested in mobile protection that can follow them anywhere in the country can choose from several portable systems. The Ranger and Admiral systems provide GPS location tracking and nationwide cellular connections starting around $32 per month. The brand’s GPS tracking capabilities support a number of unique features. In case of an emergency, operators can locate subscribers at the touch of a button. The brand’s proprietary system also uses tracking information and digital breadcrumbs to provide real-time Where’s Mom location services. Caregivers and loved ones are able to track subscriber’s movements to see if they’ve reached their destination or are following their normal schedule, and the system even notifies users when a subscriber arrives or leaves a particular location.

Highlights

  • Blue Star Service Solutions is a full member of the Medical Alert Monitoring Association.
  • The company offers military discounts and supports a variety of nonprofits that serve veterans.
  • Mobile and in-home systems have two-way voice capabilities and support advanced features, including fall detection.
  • Some devices can communicate with health monitoring systems, medical devices and smartphone apps.
  • Blue Star offers a selection of value-added features, including caregiver dashboards and severe weather alerts.
  • Mobile pendants are waterproof and resist extreme temperatures.

The Takeaway

Blue Star offers a wide selection of unique products ranging from basic in-home systems to portable GPS-enabled panic buttons and stylish BellPal watches that can interact with an emergency app on your smartphone. The company sells self-monitored systems and offers some unique features for caregivers. Rates are competitive, and there are options for every lifestyle.

Plan Monthly Price Starting Costs Service Range Battery Life Extra Features
Sentry $23.95 None Landline 600′ 24 Hours w/o Power
SafeGuard $27.95 None Cellular 600′ 36 Hours w/o Power Fall Detection
Family App
Ranger 4G $31.95 None Cellular Nationwide 40 Hours (Standby) Fall Detection
GPS Location Tracking
Mobile App
Admiral Alert $35.95 None Cellular Nationwide 48 Hours Fall Detection
Mobile App
BellPal Watch $9.95 $199.95 Equipment Fee Bluetooth (Requires Smartphone) Nationwide 6 Months Fall Detection
Mobile App

What Customers Like

Reviewers consistently cite Blue Star Senior Tech’s affordable cost, quick response time and polite, knowledgeable operators. Many appreciate that the company is veteran-owned and reliable; as one woman says, “I recommend it to anybody that’s been in the military. They go beyond the call of duty. When they tell you they’re going to do something, they do it.”

What Customers Don’t Like

Subscribers report issues with the range on the mobile device and problems with the accuracy of the GPS locator. Being sent a mobile system instead of a landline equipment was another problem noted by a customer.

QMedic

Best for Innovative Features

Created by MIT scientists, Boston-based QMedic has taken medical alert technology to the next level. It provides a user-friendly experience for seniors along with advanced features geared toward tech-savvy caregivers. One of the brand’s most unique services is its online Caregiver Dashboard, which provides a visual overview of the subscriber’s activity levels, including periods of sleep or activity. Automatic alerts notify caregivers when unusual patterns are detected, and algorithms may trigger automatic wellness calls. This system is designed to prevent false alarms while providing enhanced peace of mind. Although QMedic is developing fall-detection features, its approach emphasizes the value of nonintrusive activity tracking and passive monitoring.

QMedic even allows subscribers to customize their service. Seniors can access the 24-hour monitoring center at the push of a button and request daily wellness checks. The company has two monitoring centers based in the Western United States. The well-staffed centers answer emergency calls within 30 seconds on average.

In-home pendants have a two-year battery life, and thanks to continuous self-tests, the company tracks the unit’s battery levels and sends replacements automatically. Pendants have a simple design featuring an oversized, textured help button that’s ideal for seniors and adults who are blind or disabled. QMedic’s GPS system requires recharging every 14 days, but it provides nationwide coverage in and outside the home as long as you live in an area with good AT&T coverage.

Highlights

  • QMedic is a leader in passive medical monitoring.
  • The company uses proprietary tracking technology developed by MIT experts.
  • Alert systems offer excellent performance and onboard self-testing tools that minimize maintenance requirements.
  • Calls are routed to two U.S.-based monitoring centers that respond in 30 seconds on average.
  • Contracted monitoring centers in Utah and Idaho are certified by UL and TMA.
  • QMedic supports active or proactive alerts in addition to wellness calls.
  • The service is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The Takeaway

This service stands out for its user-friendly products, no-nonsense pricing and innovative technology. We like the simple interface and onboard self-testing function, which provides enhanced peace of mind. However, seniors may need to partner with a relative to take full advantage of QMedic’s suite of activity tracking tools.

Plan Monthly Price Starting Costs Service Range Battery Life Extra Features
In-Home $30 None Landline/Cellular 1,000′ 2 Years Activity Tracking
Self-Testing
Mobile GPS $45 None Cellular Nationwide 14 Days GPS Location Tracking

What Customers Like

QMedic is highly rated for its reliability and advanced features. Family members in particular appreciate being alerted to unusual sleep or activity patterns, or when their loved one isn’t wearing the device. The uncomplicated set up is also a plus; as one reviewer says, “Set up is really easy. In a nutshell, it’s plug, test and play!”

What Customers Don’t Like

The only downside mentioned in reviews of QMedic is the lack of an automatic fall detection option for use at home or when on the go.

Lifenet Medical Alert Systems

Best for Transparent Pricing

Founded in 2008, Lifenet is a relative newcomer to the industry, and the company impresses with its refreshingly transparent pricing system. Lifenet doesn’t have activation fees or hidden charges. Customers can choose from monthly service plans as well as quarterly and annual options with discounted rates. On top of that, seniors have the freedom to cancel at any time. The company even offers prorated refunds, which is virtually unheard of in the telecom and security industries.

The simplicity of the company’s services may also appeal to seniors. Lifenet offers just two plans, including the landline-based Home & Garden system and the cellular Home & Away system, which has GPS tracking and two-way voice capabilities. The brand’s equipment is solid yet dependable. Although its designs are conventional rather than cutting edge, the company does offer some advanced features, including automatic fall detection on its mobile Home & Away system.

Another plus is the versatile pendant design, which can be worn around the neck or wrist or clipped to a belt. Each PERS is fully waterproof. The home-based system provides an impressive 1,000-foot range for complete coverage in and outside your home. The base unit features an integrated backup power source that provides 32 hours of connectivity in the event of a power outage, and pendants are equipped with long-lasting lithium ion batteries that have a four-year life expectancy.

Highlights

  • Lifenet uses 100% U.S.-based monitoring centers that are certified by the Electronic Security Association.
  • Subscribers can customize their emergency response plan and make changes at any time with no additional fee.
  • Add-ons, such as daily wellness calls and extra help buttons, are available for a nominal fee.
  • In-home equipment has an excellent transmission range and long battery life.
  • Lifenet medical monitoring is available in Canada and all 50 states.
  • The company offers shipping, returns and activation at no charge.
  • Call-center operators include EMT-certified medical professionals.

The Takeaway

Lifenet’s base rates are slightly higher than the competition, but there are no hidden fees. With this company, what you see is what you get. Lifenet is a strong choice for seniors seeking reliable service without hidden fees or sales gimmicks.

Plan Monthly Price Starting Costs Service Range Battery Life Extra Features
Home & Garden $29.95 None Landline 1,000′ Console: 32 Hours
Pendant: 4 Years
N/A
Home & Away $49.95 None Cellular Nationwide N/A Fall Detection
GPS Location Tracking

What Customers Like

Lifenet subscribers talk about the company’s fast response time, and the peace of mind that having the service provides. The patient, knowledgeable staff is also commented on. “You went above and beyond to help me. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and explain everything to me,” shares one customer.

What Customers Don’t Like

There are few negatives reported about Lifenet. One reviewer who subscribed for a parent found the system somewhat difficult to set up, even with phone assistance from a company representative.

How to Choose a Medical Alert System

Two key considerations when choosing a medical alert system are the type of coverage and extent of protection it provides. In-home systems provide coverage throughout your house and in the yard. Mobile systems offer coverage when you’re on the go. They use a combination of cell phone service and GPS satellites to maintain a constant link between emergency dispatchers and subscribers anywhere in the nation. Mobile and in-home systems are quite specialized, so it’s important to think about the type of coverage you need and what kind of system will work in your environment. Doing so can help you determine which of the following types of systems you need:

  • Landline system. Most in-home medical alert systems connect to your existing phone line using a standard telephone jack. They also work with VoIP service. However, this option may not be as reliable.
  • Cellular or mobile system. Cellular systems are ideal for mobile use as well as homes that don’t have a landline. The SIM card is provided by the company, so there’s no extra fee. However, average rates tend to be higher.
  • Dual system. Combination systems use separate at-home and mobile devices to provide complete protection no matter where you are. They’re also suitable for sharing with a spouse.

Defining the type of system you need is just the starting point. To ensure that you pick the right medical alert system, you also need to:

Consider Base Units, Pendants and Help Buttons

Equipment and device options are fairly standard across the industry, but you still have some choices to make. Most systems have limited aesthetic appeal, and there’s minimal variety between manufacturers. Here are a few of the most common options you can choose from:

  • In-home base units feature an emergency help button, paging functions and built-in speakers that allow seniors to communicate with dispatchers in case of an emergency.
  • Emergency response pendants are designed to be carried with you at all times, even in the shower. Devices can be worn like a watch or necklace, and there’s a belt-clip option for men.
  • Optional wall- or surface-mounted help buttons that you can place in the bathroom, near a nightstand, in the basement or in other areas where falls are common.
  • Jewelry-style pendants are a newer option available through several providers. They tend to have a shorter transmission range and battery life, but they’re remarkably discreet.
  • Most mobile monitoring devices resemble a small flip phone or pager. These systems can be carried in your pocket, clipped on your waistband or stored in a purse.

Factor in Audio Quality When Selecting Equipment

Audio quality is a make-or-break feature. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to gauge the system’s volume until you have the unit in your house. Sound levels for most in-home systems range from 60 to 80 decibels, which can affect your ability to communicate with operators, especially from a distance. If you have hearing concerns, it’s important to select a provider that offers a 30-day money-back guarantee in case the system doesn’t meet your needs.

Investigate Battery Life

Battery life is another important consideration that can influence your choice of system and devices. Here are some factors to consider:

  • In-home base units plug into a standard electrical outlet and are equipped with emergency battery packs. If you live in an area that’s prone to power outages or severe weather, select a model that provides at least 30 hours of backup power.
  • Traditional push-button pendants and wristbands use stable lithium-ion batteries that may last up to 7 years depending on the model. Some providers even measure battery levels during self-tests and send replacements as needed.
  • Mobile devices with advanced features, such as two-way voice communication and GPS tracking, may need recharging every few days or weeks depending on the system’s design and features.

To help you compare the available options, you should also ask yourself how often you want to recharge your device. Do you prefer simple features if they extend the battery life, or are you comfortable recharging the device often so that you’re protected when you’re driving, traveling and running errands?

Think About Service Plans

Medical alert companies typically sell their monitoring service for a fixed monthly rate and provide customers with equipment to use during that time. Most providers offer basic packages for one price and à la carte upgrades at an additional cost. For example, with an in-home system, you’ll receive a base unit and a wristband or neck pendant. If you want extra pendants or help buttons, you’ll typically pay $3-$5 extra per button, per month. Understanding what you get with a plan and the extras you need makes it easier to compare offerings and prices from different companies.

Basic plans generally include:

  • Cellular service for in-home or mobile systems
  • One base unit for in-home plans
  • The first pendant or wristband

With most providers, you pay extra for:

  • Landline phone service
  • Equipment that’s lost or damaged
  • Additional help buttons or pendants

Compare Fee Structures and Pricing Plans

In the past, some companies locked customers into ironclad three-year contracts that could only be canceled in extreme situations, such as nursing home placement. Mercifully, the industry has moved away from this model. Most top-rated providers offer month-to-month service agreements that you can cancel at any time, and there are no penalties as long as you return the equipment.

If you sign up for quarterly or annual billing, many companies give you a discount and extra benefits, such as free device protection or a lockbox for emergency responders. Just make sure that the company offers prorated refunds in case you decide to cancel. With so many providers competing for your business, there’s really no need to go with a company that has hefty activation fees or cancellation penalties.

Decide on Extra Features and Add-Ons

Standard service plans include 24/7 monitoring and basic equipment, but companies offer numerous upgrades. Here are a few of the most popular value-added features to look for:

  • GPS tracking allows emergency operators to pinpoint the subscriber’s exact location in case of an emergency. This feature is ideal for seniors with Alzheimer’s or wandering concerns.
  • Fall-detection functions use accelerometers and algorithms to detect unusual movements. This enhanced feature costs $5-$10 per month. Technology is improving, but it still has limitations.
  • Caregiver dashboards that display activity and tracking information are ideal for tech-savvy relatives who want a convenient, unobtrusive way to check on loved ones.
  • Medical alert systems can also be used as a daily wellness tool. For a nominal fee, many providers offer medication reminders and daily check-in functions.
  • As technology improves, more providers are developing mobile emergency response apps and voice-activation tools that can interact with Alexa and home automation devices.

Define Your Emergency Response Needs

Medical alert systems and other PERS are designed to get you help when you need it while preventing false alarms the rest of the time. If you activate the help button, a specially trained operator will answer your call in a matter of seconds. Communication is handled through the base unit, but you can also choose a pendant with two-way voice capabilities.

If you’re unable to communicate with the dispatcher due to medical reasons or the location within your home, the operator will contact emergency responders and treat the situation as a genuine emergency.

Nearly all companies allow subscribers to create a customized plan that instructs operators to contact a friend, relative or neighbor before calling 911. In many cases, it’s much more convenient and appropriate to contact a neighbor or relative rather than police or emergency medical services.

Companies are also moving toward passive monitoring systems that use smart technology to detect unusual movement patterns and trigger automatic wellness calls. If these are the features you want, it may narrow down your choice of systems and providers.

Weigh Provider Credentials

To help you determine if a medical alert company provides timely, reliable service that will meet your needs, be sure to check these four credentials:

  • Average response times: Ideally, the company should answer emergency calls in one minute or less. You also want to find a provider that offers consistent service around the clock.
  • Qualifications: Industry certifications can help you evaluate a provider’s commitment to quality service. TMA’s Five Diamond certification is one of the most rigorous. Underwriters Laboratories, Factory Mutual and the Electronic Security Association also offer third-party quality assurances.
  • Monitoring centers: Look for providers that have at least two onshore facilities. The best providers invest in operator training programs and often employ a nurse, EMT or medical supervisor who can assist during high-priority calls.
  • Language: For most consumers, U.S.-based operators are ideal. However, if English isn’t your first language, look for providers that employ bilingual agents or offer third-party interpretation services. Some companies support more than 200 languages.

Match a Medical Alert System to Your Particular Needs

Medical monitoring is a unique industry. The products are very similar, yet one small feature can determine whether or not the system can work for you. As you start the comparison process, identify your main requirements and any special features that you may need. Decide whether you want landline or cellular service. If you want mobile coverage, find out whether AT&T or Verizon works best in your area. Next, determine what features are important to you. Do you care about long battery life, or would you prefer a pendant that looks like an artisan necklace? As you consider the product’s features and functionality, one or two clear contenders will emerge. You can also learn more about each provider by checking online reviews to see how the system worked for customers in a similar situation.

If you’ve considered medical alert systems in the past but were overwhelmed by the number of options and underwhelmed by the lack of convenient features, the technology has improved. It’s less intrusive and more user-friendly. Consumers today have more options than ever, and we hope that this guide helps you find the right one for your lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Medical Alert Systems Expensive?

Medical alert systems typically cost between $20 to $45 per month or about $1 per day. Basic in-home systems with one pendant and a push-button base unit are the most affordable option. Mobile systems that include GPS tracking cost more, but their advanced capabilities can benefit active seniors, travelers and adults who are at risk of wandering. With fall detection and other add-ons, monthly costs can climb as high as $90. However, seniors may be able to save by signing up for annual or semiannual billing, and affinity discounts may be available to members of national organizations, such as AAA and USAA.

Will My Insurance Pay for a Medical Alert System?

Despite the proven benefits, most health insurance plans don’t cover the cost of personal emergency response systems. If you’re aged 65 or older, basic Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn’t cover the cost of medical alert systems, but some Part C Medicare Advantage Plans do provide this value-added benefit. Coverage is sometimes available to homebound individuals who receive in-home care or self-directed services through Medicaid if the device helps them live in the community safely.

Do I Need to Purchase Special Equipment?

Usually, no. The majority of medical alert companies include the cost of equipment in their monthly monitoring fees. In other words, there’s usually no upfront charge for the device, but you may have to pay if the equipment is lost or damaged or if you fail to return it after you cancel your plan. If you’re purchasing equipment upfront, determine whether it’s self-monitored or tied to a certain provider.

How Long Do the Batteries Last?

Batteries in medical alert systems last anywhere from 24 hours to 7 years depending on the technology and design. GPS-enabled systems with two-way voice communication have the shortest battery life, especially when connecting to remote cell towers in rural locations. Most in-home base units remain active for up to three days without power. Lithium-ion batteries used in pendants and push buttons generally last for several years.

What Type of Phone Service Do I Need?

Nearly every medical alert company offers multiple service options. If you have a landline, the system uses your existing service. All you need is a phone jack. Landline systems are generally compatible with VoIP technology, but it’s important to remember that this system isn’t as reliable in case of Internet malfunctions or power outages.

Mobile devices come with their own SIM card, and you don’t have to purchase cell service since it’s already included in the monthly monitoring fee. There’s one drawback, however. Most cellular systems use AT&T’s nationwide network, which has coverage gaps in Nevada, Nebraska and Montana. If you don’t have AT&T, a Verizon-based service like GreatCall may give you an alternative.

Do I Need to Hire an Installer, or can I Set up the System Myself?

Medical alert systems are easy to use and install. In most cases, it takes five minutes or less. Installation is as simple as plugging in a phone jack, connecting the power supply and turning on the unit. If you need assistance, many companies can walk you through the process over the phone. You may also want to work with a tech-savvy relative who can take advantage of online monitoring tools.


For more, read our head-to-head company comparisons to see how each stacks up against the competition:

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