The 12 Best Medical Alert Systems in 2022

Compare prices and features before you make a decision on the best medical alert device for your needs.

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Medical Guardian Header Best Medical Alert Systems

Shopping for a medical alert system is no easy task. The market is flooded with products from many companies and each provider sells numerous systems. It could take days just to sort through them all. Since the best medical alert systems in 2022 serve as vital support systems for seniors aging in place and their caregivers, it's important to find a system that meets a user's unique needs.

Make it easy on yourself by perusing this list of the best medical alert systems for seniors in 2022. Our product reviews team thoroughly researched each one so you don't have to. Here's everything you need to know to make the best decision for yourself or your loved one.

The 12 best medical alert systems based on your needs

Comparisons of the top medical alert systems

Fee and price comparisons

Cost is an important factor to consider when looking at different medical alert systems, especially for the elderly who may be on a fixed income. Below, compare fees for each of the best medical alert systems in 2022.

Provider Monthly fee Equipment fee Activation fee
ADT Health $30 None $30 (waived if ordering online)
Aloe Care Health $30 $150–$350 None
Bay Alarm Medical $22 $99–$179 for some products None
GetSafe $25 $79–$229 None
HandsFree Health $30 $120–$189 None
LifeFone $30 None None
LifeStation $23 None $10 in some packages
Lively $20 $50–$150 $35
Medical Alert $20 None None
Medical Care Alert $30 None None
Medical Guardian $30 $100–$125 for some products None
MobileHelp $20 $80 for the Micro $100 in some packages

Device connection, range, and battery life comparisons

Not all medical alert systems work the same—some must be connected to Wi-Fi while others use cellular connections. The right device for you will depend on your lifestyle.

Three important factors to consider in choosing the best medical alert system are connection type, device range, and battery life. Are you active around the house or in your garden? Then a longer range device may be best. If you're often away from home, a lengthy battery life is important.

Provider Range (at-home systems) Connection Battery life (on-the-go systems)
ADT Health 300–600 feet Landline,
AT&T cellular
24 hours
Aloe Care Health 200 feet AT&T cellular 5 days
Bay Alarm Medical 1,000 feet Landline, AT&T cellular 18–24 hours (smartwatch)
GetSafe Several yards—voice activation AT&T cellular 5 years
HandsFree Health Several yards—voice activation T-Mobile cellular 24 hours
LifeFone 1,300 feet Landline, AT&T or Verizon cellular 30 days
LifeStation 500–600 feet Landline, AT&T cellular 5 days
Lively No at-home system Verizon cellular Up to 4 months (Lively Wearable)
Medical Alert 800 feet Landline, AT&T cellular 5 days
Medical Care Alert 600–1,000 feet Landline,
AT&T or Verizon cellular
3 days
Medical Guardian 1,300–1,400 feet Landline,
AT&T or Verizon cellular
5 days
MobileHelp 600–1,400 feet Landline, AT&T cellular 3 days

Device special features comparisons

What sort of special features do you want in your medical alert system? Do you need automatic fall detection or a water-resistant device? Perhaps the ability to pair the system with smart home and medical devices is important to you. Compare the unique features available in each of the top medical alert systems.

Provider Fall detection? Water resistant? Warranty for normal wear and tear? Special features
ADT Health $10 per month Yes Yes -Home temperature monitoring

-Leather carrying case for mobile device

-Wall-mounted waterproof help button available

Aloe Care Health Included in 2 of the 3 packages Yes No -Temperature, air quality, and motion sensors

-Caregivers can directly contact monitoring center from app

-Multiple caregivers can communicate with each other

Bay Alarm Medical $10 per month Yes No -Smartwatch option

-Decorative pendants for help buttons

-Price lock guarantee

GetSafe $10 per month Yes No -Designed for homes of various sizes

-Voice-activated wall buttons

-Caregiver tracking option

HandsFree Health No Yes Yes -Can be paired with smart home and medical devices

-Smartwatch and smart speaker

-Medical and appointment reminders

LifeFone $5 per month for most systems Yes Yes -Advanced location detection

-Caregiver mobile app

-Several lightweight mobile options

LifeStation $5 per month Yes Yes -Can be paired with Alexa

-Advanced location detection

-Location tracking for caregivers

Lively Free with Wearable2 / $10 with Mobile Plus Yes Yes -Enlarged fonts and voice typing on smartphone

-Location tracking for caregivers

-On-demand telehealth service offered

Medical Alert $10 per month Yes No -Caregiver location detection

-All-in-one device with fall detection offered

-Caregivers notified when users press help buttons to connect with call center

Medical Care Alert $10 per month Yes Yes -Advanced location detection

-Caregivers can track location and location history

-EMT/EMD-certified monitoring center agents

Medical Guardian $10 per month Yes No -Advanced location detection

-Easy to customize

-Discreet, lightweight mobile devices

MobileHelp $10 per month Yes No -Optional telehealth program offered

-Unique touchscreen tablet option

-Medication reminders available

Medical alert system testing

Why trust our expert review?

Hours of research Experts consulted Brands considered Brands selected
1,700 4 32 12

Our review team independently researches and recommends products that we believe will provide value in the lives of our readers. In order to compile this list, we spent more than 1,700 hours doing the following:

  • Engaging in ongoing independent research
  • Consulting with geriatric physicians
  • Consulting with geriatricians and adult caregivers
  • Mystery shopping the brands
  • Surveying medical alert system users
  • Testing various medical alert systems
  • Interviewing experts in the field
  • Reading hundreds of verified customer medical alert systems reviews from trusted third parties such as Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Consumer Reports

Best medical alert system reviews

Best All-Around System: MobileHelp

MobileHelp medical alert device

Monthly fee: $20 for at-home systems and $30 for on-the-go systems

Device range: 600–1,400 feet

Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular

Fall detection: $10 per month

Pros

  • Free trial period
  • Referral program offered
  • Medication reminders available
  • A variety of systems to choose from
  • Several options for couples

Cons

  • Processing fee included with some systems, like the Touch Classic and Touch Duo
  • No fall detection with the Micro

Our team of reviewers agrees that the multifunctional tablet from MobileHelp is a one-of-a-kind product. Whether you are a single person who likes to stay at home or an active senior on the go, MobileHelp offers a range of options, which is one of the main reasons why it's our top choice for medical alert systems.

We also like the company's competitive pricing. In each product category (at home, on the go, and bundled), we found at least one device with a lower price than competitors'. For example, the MobileHelp Micro costs $30 per month, a full $10 less than many other mobile systems on the market. A couple can use two mobile devices for $45 per month, just a few dollars more than what many providers charge for one.

At-home medical alert systems

  • MobileHelp Classic: One of the highlights of this at-home system is an industry-high 1,400-foot range. This system's monthly fee is $20.
  • Touch Classic: For $55 per month, this touchscreen tablet offers the elderly brain games and a picture gallery as well as optional activity tracking and medication reminders for caregivers.
  • The Wired Home: This system uses a landline connection and costs $25 per month.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • MobileHelp Solo: This system includes optional fall detection and costs $38 per month.
  • MobileHelp Micro: This lightweight and discreet device has advanced location detection and costs $30 per month.

Bundled packages

Our product reviews team considers these bundled packages to be great for couples and roommates:

  • A combination of an at-home and on-the-go system for $42 per month
  • Two on-the-go devices for $45 per month
  • A touchscreen tablet and on-the-go device for $55 per month

Extra fees and services

You won't need to worry about equipment fees for most MobileHelp products, and if you take advantage of the referral program, you can receive a $200 discount. The company does have one hidden fee to watch out for: The Touch Classic and Touch Duo come with a $100 processing fee if you elect to use the monthly payment plan. By using a quarterly, semiannual, or annual payment plan, you can avoid the fee and save on the monthly rate.

A few notable services also make MobileHelp worthwhile. MDLive is a telehealth service that allows you to virtually visit a board-certified doctor without an appointment. MDLive does accept insurance and the company states that more than 60 million people have MDLive as part of their health insurance benefit. It is a great way to supplement your primary care. MobileHelp Connect is an online portal and app that provides free features, like location detection, and add-ons, such as activity tracking and medication reminders.

RELATED: MobileHelp Review | Plans, Pricing, Pros, and Cons in 2022

See packages: offers.mobilehelp.com or call 1-877-223-0626

Best Premium Features: Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian medical alert device

Monthly fee: $30 for at-home systems and $40 for on-the-go systems

Device range: 1,300–1,400 feet

Connection type: Landline, AT&T or Verizon cellular

Fall detection: $10 per month

Pros

  • Price transparency
  • A variety of sleek on-the-go devices
  • One of the longest device ranges in the industry
  • Five-day battery life on some devices
  • Location tracking with some devices
  • No hidden fees

Cons

  • No warranty (protection plan costs extra)
  • No free trial period
  • Prices slightly higher than other brands

If you want to customize your medical device, Medical Guardian is here to help. What sets the company apart from other providers are the extras you can add on to tailor your system to your specific needs.

At-home medical alert systems

  • Classic Guardian: For $30 per month and no equipment fee, the base unit of the Classic Guardian connects to a landline and has a range of 1,300 feet.
  • Home 2.0: Working from a cellular connection, this system includes a base station and help button with a 1,400-foot range. The equipment costs $100 and the monthly fee is $35.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • Mobile 2.0: This system comes with a help button that has a 500-foot range from the main device, advanced location detection, and a three-day battery. The equipment fee is $125 and the monthly fee is $40.
  • Mini Guardian: This device, which has a five-day battery, weighs 1.3 ounces and comes in three colors: white, black, and silver. A magnetic lanyard and belt clip are also included, and features, such as built-in fall detection, are available as add-ons. The cost is $125 for the equipment and $40 for the monthly fee.
  • Active Guardian: This system features advanced location detection and has optional built-in fall detection, plus the battery lasts for seven days. It costs $45 per month with no equipment fee.

Extra fees and services

Across the five systems, Medical Guardian offers an assortment of high-quality add-on products and services—each with an additional monthly cost. These include:

  • A caregiver's app
  • Real-time text and email caregiver notifications when the help button has been pressed
  • Fall detection
  • A protection plan
  • A lockbox
  • Standard and voice-activated wall buttons

Keep in mind that Medical Guardian charges higher monthly fees than some competitors. Any add-ons will push your monthly costs even higher. However, our product reviews team notes that you won't have to worry about hidden processing fees, and equipment fees only apply to certain systems.

Regardless of the system you choose, the Medical Guardian at-home systems match the industry high of 1,300–1,400 feet of range. The company's on-the-go systems have a longer-than-average battery life and advanced location detection.

RELATED: Medical Guardian Review 2022

See packages: medicalguardian.com or call 1-877-223-0391

Best Cost Savings: Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical Alert System

Monthly fee: Starts at $22 for the at-home system and $30 for on-the-go systems

Device range: 1,000 feet

Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular

Fall detection: $10 per month

Pros

  • Price lock guarantee
  • Selection of charms available to beautify your pendant
  • SOS smartwatch option
  • No hidden fees
  • Caregiver tracking
  • Risk-free trial period

Cons

  • Fewer device choices than some competitors
  • No warranty

Bay Alarm Medical is an affordable option for seniors who are economically insecure or individuals who simply prefer to pay as little as possible each month for a medical alert system. The company's offerings may be more limited than competitors', but our reviews team still considers them to be good investments. While most mobile systems cost between $37 and $40 per month, Bay Alarm Medical saves you $120 annually thanks to its cheaper fees.

At-home medical alert system

  • In-Home Medical Alert: For those with a landline connection, the starting monthly fee is $22 per month. The price goes up to $30 per month for a system with a cellular connection.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • GPS Help Button: This simple, lightweight help button includes caregiver tracking and optional fall detection. It costs $30 per month with a one-time $99 equipment fee. Automatic fall detection can be added for an extra $10 each month.
  • SOS smartwatch: Also $30 per month, the sleek SOS smartwatch includes a step tracker in addition to security functions. It has a $179 upfront equipment fee.

Bundled system

Bay Alarm Medical's bundled system includes the GPS help button and an at-home cellular system. The starting price is $52 per month, and it's often advertised at a sale price of $42 per month. At this lower price, you get two systems for a little more than what many providers charge for one. This is a great deal for households with multiple seniors or for those who live alone and want one system for home and one for going out. You can try a Bay Alarm Medical alert system risk free for 30 days. If you like it, the company will lock in your price (even the sale price) and never increase it. There are no hidden fees.

RELATED: Bay Alarm Medical Review 2022

See packages: bayalarmmedical.com or call 1-855-250-4066

Best System Without Wearables: GetSafe

Get Safe Alarm medical alert system

Monthly fee: Starts at $23 for the at-home system packages

Device range: System operates on voice activation (up to several yards away)

Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular

Fall detection: $10 per month

Pros

  • Risk-free trial period
  • Mobile device offered as add-on
  • Caregiver tracking offered as add-on
  • Low monitoring fees

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey equipment fees
  • Limited product choices

GetSafe is for any elderly person who frequently forgets to put on alert pendants and wristbands or who finds them uncomfortable or stigmatizing. Instead of a wearable device, different types of alerts are placed around the home. This includes a base unit that should be put in a central location, standard wall buttons placed in various spots, and voice-activated wall buttons affixed in other rooms. GetSafe does include a simple personal help button with every plan in case users want to wear it, but it is not necessary for the voice-activated system to work.

At-home medical alert system packages

  • Starter: Designed for small condos and apartments, the Starter kit includes the base unit, a voice-activated wall button, and a wearable button. It costs $79 for the equipment and has a $25 monthly fee.
  • Standard: This mid-range system is for homes with two to three bedrooms and includes a base unit, two wall-mounted buttons, a standard wall button, and a wearable help button. It costs $149 for the equipment and has a monthly fee of $25.
  • Select: GetSafe recommends this deluxe package for older adults who live in multi-level homes with four to five bedrooms. It includes a base unit, three wall-mounted buttons, two standard wall buttons, and a wearable help button. It costs $229 for the equipment and also has a $25 monthly fee.

On-the-go medical alert system

  • Optional wearables: The Mobile GPS Help Button can be used anywhere and has a one-time fee of $79. A wearable help button with fall detection for use at home costs $10 per month.

Extra fees

Each GetSafe package has an upfront equipment fee of $79 to $229. The company is one of the few providers that charges an equipment fee for both at-home and on-the-go equipment. Most providers only charge equipment fees for on-the-go equipment. However, the trade-off is the low monthly fee of $25 per month for all three systems.

Although this system is intended to be an at-home service, you can purchase a basic on-the-go device for a flat fee of $79. Other add-ons include fall detection and caregiver tracking.

See packages: getsafe.com or call 1-877-224-3754

Best Traditional All-in-One Device: Medical Alert

Medical Alert's medical alert system help button and necklace

Monthly fee: Starting at $23 for the at-home system and $43 for the on-the-go system

Device range: 800 feet

Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular

Fall detection: $10 per month

Pros

  • Risk-free trial period
  • Caregiver location tracking
  • Caregiver can call monitoring center directly from the Connect Mobile App
  • Alert sent to caregiver if user presses the help button or requests help through the speaker
  • Lightweight mobile device

Cons

  • Very few add-ons
  • Incomplete information on the website

For older adults interested in a traditional on-the-go device that can be worn around the neck or attached to a belt, Medical Alert offers a great all-in-one system. As its name implies, one device performs all the functions, eliminating the need to wear an additional pendant. The design is meant to be user-friendly and reduces the risk of losing or forgetting one of the pieces.

At-home medical alert system

  • Home System: Both the system with a landline connection, which costs $20 per month, and the system with a cellular connection, which costs $33 per month, include a help button, optional fall detection, and an 800-foot range.

On-the-go medical alert system

  • Mobile System: Costing $43 per month, this mobile device comes with a lightweight help button that will connect you to a monitoring center at all hours, two-way talk, and GPS location tracking.

Extra fees and services

At $43 per month, the mobile device starts at a higher price point than some other systems on the market. But it does include a complimentary app that allows caregivers to directly contact the monitoring center, track a user's location, and receive notifications if the emergency button has been pressed. Fall detection costs an additional $10 per month, which is the industry standard.

While many other providers offer fall protection (a high-value add-on) through a separate pendant worn on a lanyard, Medical Alert gives the option of directly programming fall detection into the on-the-go device. For those with a pacemaker or defibrillator, it is safer to attach the mobile device to a belt while wearing a fall detection pendant around the neck. Medical Alert provides both.

RELATED: Medical Alert Review: Plans, Pricing, Pros, and Cons in 2022

See packages: medicalalert.com or call 1-877-223-0830

Best Health Services: Lively

Lively medical alert device

Monthly fee: Starting at $20 for on-the-go systems

Device range: N/A (on-the-go devices only)

Connection type: Verizon cellular

Fall detection: Free with Wearable2 and $10 per month with Mobile Plus

Pros

  • Easy for seniors to navigate
  • Built-in cameras on mobile devices
  • Referral program
  • Personal operator can schedule appointments or rides with Lyft (partner company)
  • A variety of accessories to choose from

Cons

  • Activation fees
  • Fall detection only available in the most expensive package; no à la carte option

Given the choice of a smartphone or flip phone with built-in cameras, video chat, and brain games, Lively certainly appeals to active and tech-savvy seniors. But it truly shines in providing extra services for individuals with one or more health conditions.

However, it's important to note that Lively has low customer ratings on its BBB page—it's currently at a 1.1 out of 5 stars. The majority of complaints express frustration over nonresponsive customer service and difficulties with device setup. Despite the negative reviews, Lively is still accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating from the organization, meaning the company works to respond to and resolve every customer complaint.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • Jitterbug Smart3: This smartphone has a 6.2-inch screen, a camera, brain games, video chat, and voice typing. The standard price for equipment is $150 (although we frequently see sale prices as low as $75), and the monthly fee starts at $20.
  • Jitterbug Flip2: Lively's flip phone has a backlit keypad, camera, magnifier, flashlight, and Amazon Alexa. Its standard price is $100, and the monthly fee starts at $20.
  • Lively Mobile Plus: At $20 per month with a $50 equipment cost, the wearable Mobile Plus is waterproof and offers optional fall detection.
  • Lively Wearable2: The Lively watch includes a four-month battery and optional fall detection along with a step tracker and daily health tips. The fees start at $25 per month, plus a one-time $50 equipment fee.

Each of the Lively products offers a basic, preferred, and ultimate package, which provide different combinations of services at various prices so you only pay for what you need. Keep in mind that Lively does have equipment fees, and like any other smartphone service, you will be required to purchase an additional talk and text package.

Extra services

Lively offers four add-ons to its smartphone, flip phone, all-in-one wearable, and smartwatch:

  • Urgent Care: The Lively telehealth service called Urgent Care offers seniors the benefit of around-the-clock access to board-certified doctors and nurses who will answer questions and refill prescriptions. It's an excellent supplementary service to any senior's primary health care provider.
  • Caregiver app: Lively provides an app that complements each Lively product and enables caregivers to track the user's location and changes in daily activity.
  • Personal operator: When you're not feeling well, it can be difficult to manage daily tasks. A Lively personal operator is always available to assist in finding a physician's phone number, providing directions if you are on the road and having difficulty navigating, or scheduling rides to an appointment. In fact, Lively partners with Lyft, and by pressing 0 on any Lively phone, a senior can quickly reach a personal operator to schedule a ride.
  • Fall detection: Because many chronic conditions, including Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and COPD, come with an increased risk of falling, it is important to have access to automatic fall detection. Although two of the Lively products are phones, each can be paired with Lively Wearable2, which will detect falls and automatically call for help.

See packages: lively.com or call 1-800-733-6632

Best Customer-Friendly Policies: LifeFone

LifeFone medical alert system with smartwatch and necklace

Monthly fee: Starting at $30 for at-home systems and $44 for on-the-go systems

Device range: 1,300 feet

Connection type: Landline, AT&T or Verizon cellular

Fall detection: $5 per month for most systems

Pros

  • 30-day trial period
  • Price lock guarantee
  • Optional daily check-in available
  • Referral program
  • Low-priced hybrid option
  • Free spousal coverage with most packages
  • Vanity pendants to encase help buttons

Cons

  • No fall detection option for at-home systems and On-the-Go VIP
  • Add-ons can get pricey

When it comes to added perks, the LifeFone price structure and policies take the cake. For starters, the provider offers a 30-day risk-free trial period, a price lock guarantee, and a lifetime warranty for manufacturer defects.

At-home medical alert systems

  • At-Home Landline: At $30 per month, this system comes with a help button and has a 1,300-foot range and room temperature sensor.
  • At-Home Cellular: The cellular system's features include a help button,1,300-foot range, room temperature sensor, and medication reminder. The monthly fee is $35.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • At-Home & On-the-Go VIP: Lightweight and small, the VIP features an industry-high 30-day battery life and has a $44 monthly fee.
  • At-Home & On-the-Go VIPx: The VIPx has the same features as the VIP with the addition of advanced location detection, optional fall detection for an extra $5 per month, a caregiver app, and three color options. However, it does have a shorter battery life at 16 days. It costs $46 per month.
  • At-Home & On-the-Go: LifeFone's bundled system includes a base unit with either a cellular or landline connection, a help button with your choice of lanyard or wristband, and a standard mobile device. This comprehensive system costs $40 per month.

Ways to save

With LifeFone's referral program, you can receive a free month of service for every new customer that you refer. Spousal coverage is another way to save. With both at-home systems and the at-home and on-the-go system, basic service is free for spouses. LifeFone also charges just $5 per month for fall detection while most other providers charge $10 per month.

Extra services and fees

Both the VIP and VIPx systems support AT&T and Verizon cellular coverage, which is a step above other providers on this list that just offer connectivity through one service. In addition, LifeFone leads the industry when it comes to battery life. The VIP has a battery that will last up to 30 days and the VIPx's battery extends up to 16 days.

The LifeFone monthly fees will cost you a few more dollars each month than some of the other systems, but keep in mind that you will not be charged for the LifeFone equipment, which is well designed and filled with high-value functions. You won't have activation or processing fees either.

See packages: lifefone.com or call 1-855-202-6811

Best Basic System: ADT Health

ADT Health medical alert device

Monthly fee: Starting at $30 for at-home systems and $40 for the on-the-go system

Device range: 300–600 feet

Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular

Fall detection: $10 per month

Pros

  • Three basic system options
  • Free next-day shipping
  • Easy and free returns process
  • Price lock guarantee
  • Free battery replacements
  • Discounted prices if bundling with ADT Home Security

Cons

  • Small range with at-home system
  • No free trial period
  • No cancellation feature for emergency calls

ADT Health products are straightforward and simple. The at-home landline system is as basic as they come with a base station and a help button. It has a 300-foot range, which is notably small, and it does not feature optional fall detection. However, the at-home cellular system steps up the range to 600 feet and offers optional fall detection. Both base stations include temperature monitoring. The on-the-go system also sticks to the basics by providing two-way talk, GPS location detection, and optional fall detection through a separate pendant.

At-home medical alert systems

  • Medical Alert Basic System: This at-home system uses a landline connection and costs $30 per month. The base station has a 300-foot range and includes a home temperature monitor. It also comes with a complimentary help button.
  • Medical Alert Plus System: Using a cellular connection, the Medical Alert Plus has a 600-foot range and includes a home temperature monitor and optional fall detection (a complimentary help button is also thrown in). The monthly fee for this system is $36.

On-the-go medical alert system

  • On-the-Go System: At $40 per month, ADT's on-the-go system comes with a charging cradle, help button, and optional fall detection.

Extra services and fees

As far as extras go, ADT Health keeps the menu short. Add-ons include:

  • An extra help button (in the form of a wristband or neck pendant)
  • A fall detection button
  • An ADT lockbox
  • A leather carrying case for the on-the-go device
  • A waterproof wall-mount button

While your options are limited with this provider, the company makes it easy to select a system. Fees for at-home systems start at $30 per month, similar to competitors', and there are no hidden costs. This means no activation fees, shipping fees, and processing fees if you decide to return the system. ADT even sends a prepaid shipping label for returns. The provider also offers a price lock guarantee and free replacement batteries.

It's important to note that if you already own an ADT home security system, you can receive a discount on your medical alert system. Call customer service at 800-716-3640 for details.

See packages: adt.com/health or call 1-800-276-0965

Best On-the-Go System: LifeStation

Lifestation medical alert basestation, smartwatch bracelet and necklace

Monthly fee: Starting at $23 for the at-home system and $38 for on-the-go systems

Device range: 500–600 feet

Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular

Fall detection: $5 per month

Pros

  • Free trial period
  • Inexpensive spousal monitoring
  • Lightweight mobile device available
  • Smartwatch available

Cons

  • No online ordering or prices available on the website
  • Inconsistent information from customer service

LifeStation recently added two on-the-go products to its offerings. The first device, the Sidekick, is small and easy to put in a pocket or wear around your neck when going for a hike or meeting friends for lunch.

The second device, the Sidekick Smart, has a higher monthly fee than other smartwatches with medical alert capabilities on the market. However, the trade-off is that you're not required to pay an upfront equipment fee as you would with other providers.

At-home medical alert system

  • LifeStation At-Home Medical Alert System: The LifeStation medical alert system with a landline connection costs $23 per month and has a 500-foot range. Its system with a cellular connection costs $31 per month and has a 600-foot range.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • Sidekick: An all-in-one device that weighs only 1.4 ounces, the Sidekick includes advanced location detection and optional built-in fall detection for $38 per month with no equipment fee.
  • Sidekick Smart: This black smartwatch costs $56 per month and comes with advanced location detection, two-way talk, a pedometer, and a heart monitor.

Extra features

Both on-the-go products come with several additional safeguards so that seniors feel confident and secure while out and about—they also give family members and caregivers peace of mind. The monitoring center will alert predesignated family members when a loved one makes an emergency call. In addition, caregivers can track the user either through the company's "Find My Loved One" feature or through integration with Amazon Alexa.

One thing to note is that our product reviews team did receive inconsistent information from LifeStation's customer service. Although currently advertised on the company's website, LifeStation no longer partners with Uber Health to help transport users to their doctor appointments. When calling to confirm the availability of the service, our product reviews team received several conflicting answers from different customer service members.

See packages: lifestation.com or call 1-855-995-0712

Best Technically Advanced System: HandsFree Health

WellBe Medical Alert from HandsFree Health with smartwatch

Monthly fee: Starting at $30 for on-the-go systems (at-home system has no monthly fee)

Device range: System operates on voice activation (up to several yards away)

Connection type: T-Mobile cellular

Fall detection: Not available

Pros

  • High-tech, Bluetooth-enabled devices
  • Smart speaker includes health-focused database
  • Smartwatch includes pedometer and heart rate monitor
  • Reminders for appointments, medications, and prescription refills
  • Affordable bundling cost
  • Unique 8-inch touchscreen tablet offered

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey equipment fees
  • No option for fall detection

HandsFree Health is not your typical medical alert system. It expands the functionality of a medical alert through the use of advanced technology. The system operates using two pieces of equipment that can be purchased separately or together—a smart speaker and a smartwatch.

At-home medical alert system

  • WellBe Smart Speaker: This voice-activated smart speaker, similar to Alexa or Siri, reminds you of upcoming medical appointments and when to take your medication. It includes a curated health database so you can ask specific questions about vaccinations or various conditions, and it calls the monitoring center in the event of an emergency. HandsFree Health charges $189 for the equipment, plus an additional $10 per month for monitoring (though this feature is optional).

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • WellBe Smartwatch: The smartwatch provides a heart monitor and pedometer, and it's equipped with medical alert functions, including a help button, two-way talk, and GPS location detection. It can also answer health questions from WellBe's curated database. With a monthly fee of $30, the smartwatch is actually on the cheaper side for on-the-go systems. The equipment fee is $120.
  • WellBe Medical Alert PLUS: Includes both the speaker and watch for $45 per month, plus a $160 equipment fee.

A complimentary app comes with the system, allowing caregivers to manage health information from anywhere. One thing that HandsFree Health does not offer is fall detection, so a lanyard or some other medical alert device worn around the neck would be a better fit for older adults who may be at high risk of falling. HandsFree Health is best for seniors who are comfortable using smart technology.

See packages: handsfreehealth.com or call 1-855-661-3731

Best Monitoring Center: Medical Care Alert

Medical Care PERS with basestation and bracelet

Monthly fee: Starting at $28 for the at-home system and $37 for on-the-go systems

Device range: 600–1,000 feet

Connection type: Landline, AT&T or Verizon cellular

Fall detection: $10 per month

Pros

  • 14-day risk-free trial period
  • Free lockbox with most orders
  • Decorative help button available with at-home systems
  • Price lock guarantee
  • Free spousal monitoring for at-home systems and a 10% discount for a second on-the-go system
  • Text messages sent to contacts when user presses help button
  • Lightweight on-the-go device
  • Caregiver's app

Cons

  • Monthly payment plan not available
  • $50 fee if you don't test the system before returning it during trial period

Top-notch monitoring centers set this provider apart from the competition. Each facility is equipped with two diesel generators and two uninterrupted power supply units, all acting independently, that are ready to provide power and continue operating during natural disasters and other emergencies. Medical Care Alert owns and runs a center in New York and a second one in California, which is unlike some medical alert companies that outsource to overseas contact centers. Users' calls are directed to one of these two facilities no matter where they live.

Even more impressive, the centers' highly trained agents, all of whom are EMT/EMD certified, have completed at least two years of post-secondary education or military service, and have undergone a six-week training session certified by the Security Industry Association. A Spanish-speaking agent is always available, and support is provided for deaf and hearing-impaired individuals.

At-home medical alert systems

  • Home System: Priced at $30 per month for a landline connection and $35 for a cellular connection, this system comes with a help button that extends as far as 1,000 feet from the base station. Optional fall detection is available.
  • Home & Yard System: The Home & Yard includes a base unit and a pendant with two-way talk that extends up to 600 feet from the base station. It comes with a belt clip, clip with a velcro strap, and a lanyard. The cost is $35 per month.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • Home & Away Ultra: Medical Care Alert's all-in-one device has a three-day battery, optional built-in fall detection, and advanced location detection. It will connect to either AT&T or Verizon cellular. The monthly fee is $40.
  • Home & Away Duo: This system includes the Duo GPS device with a three-day battery, advanced location detection, and a wearable help button with a 400-foot range and optional fall detection. Extra buttons can be purchased for use by a spouse or other household member. The monthly fee is $40.

In addition to the reputable monitoring, Medical Care Alert excels in the app department. Its Remote Care 24/7 app comes with the Home & Away Duo system and enables caregivers to track a user's location and schedule medication and medical appointment reminders.

One thing to note about Medical Care Alert: The prices on the website are a bit confusing. While there are monthly payment plans available, you'll save money by paying quarterly, semiannually, or annually.

See packages: medicalcarealert.com or call 1-855-661-3731

Best for Busy Caregivers: Aloe Care Health

Aloe Care medical alert system base station and smartwatch

Monthly fee: Starting at $30 for the at-home system and $25 for on-the-go systems

Device range: 200 feet

Connection type: AT&T cellular

Fall detection: Included with two of the three packages

Pros

  • Caregiver's app can integrate with smart medical and home devices
  • Wall-mounted fall sensor for the bathroom
  • Advanced caregiver communication
  • Location detection that can be accessed by caregivers
  • Air quality, temperature, and motion sensors

Cons

  • No risk-free trial period
  • Limited four- to six-hour backup battery
  • Expensive equipment

Aloe Care Health enhances communication between a caregiver and the medical alert user, as well as among multiple caregivers. It all centers on the base unit, called the Smart Hub. With voice activation, seniors can ask the Hub to call a family member, caregiver, or the monitoring center. This feature is especially helpful for those with mobility or vision problems.

At-home medical alert systems

  • Essentials: This basic package includes the Hub and one help button. The equipment cost is $150 and the monthly fee is $30.
  • Essentials Plus: Essentials Plus is a bundled package. It includes the Hub, the Mobile Companion (see below), and one help button. It costs $250 for the equipment and $40 for the monthly fee.
  • Total Care: Total Care includes everything in the Essentials Plus package, plus two motion sensors and a wall-mounted fall detection sensor for the bathroom. This premium package costs $350 for equipment and $50 per month.

On-the-go medical alert system

  • Mobile Companion: The Aloe Care on-the-go device costs $25 per month with a one-time equipment fee of $150 (often on sale for $100). This price includes advanced location detection, fall detection, and multi-sensory feedback.

By using the complimentary app, a caregiver can call the user directly through the Hub or message with other caregivers. The caregiver can also check on the temperature and air quality inside a senior's home. Sensors on the Hub record this information. The Hub has motion sensors, too, which enable the caregiver to note the most recent movements within a senior's home—a sort of long-distance check-in.

Fees

Many advanced and unique features that facilitate strong and accurate communication between receivers and providers of care are available through Aloe Care. However, like any system, it has a few drawbacks, including a short range of 200 feet for the help button and pricey equipment fees that run between $150 and $350. The monthly fees are in the same range as other providers.

See packages: get.aloecare.com or call 1-844-201-2900

What is a medical alert system?

A medical alert system is a device or system of devices that can be used in the home or away from the home and provide protection for older adults. "Medical alert services can help reduce the risk of living alone—increasing independence for older adults and providing peace of mind for their caregivers," said Liron Sinvani, MD, director of the geriatric hospitalist service at Northwell Health in the New York City area. "In the event of a fall or medical emergency, an alert system makes help available at the push of a button."

At-home systems typically have a base station that communicates with trained staff at a monitoring center and a help button that connects to the base station. The base station is plugged into a centrally located outlet. With the help button, the senior can move around the house or yard and still be able to call for help by pressing the button. Most systems offer your choice of a landline or cellular connection.

An on-the-go system uses a mobile device with a cellular connection, enabling the user to travel. Some systems also use a lightweight help button that communicates with the mobile device. The user can then carry the device in their purse or on their belt while wearing the help button around their neck or wrist.

What do the top medical alert systems cost?

Monthly fees generally range from $20–$30. That doesn't include one-time equipment fees, which can range from $50–$350, and activation fees, which can cost up to $100.

The cost of medical alert systems, or personal emergency response systems (PERS), depends on several different variables. For example, some providers require you to purchase equipment upfront while others rent their equipment (all providers on this list have upfront purchasing). Some systems come with the option to add a dozen extra products or services (which means a dozen opportunities for added costs) while others might include a few freebies. One thing that all of the systems reviewed here have in common is the use of a monitoring center, which means all devices will include a monthly fee. Take a look at the four major cost categories below.

Monthly fees

The type of system you select impacts the fee. In general, at-home systems tend to be the least expensive. Most monthly prices run between $20 and $30. With on-the-go systems, you will often find monthly prices in the $37 to $40 range. However, a few outliers cost $50 or more. Bundled systems, which combine both at-home and on-the-go devices, are understandably the most expensive. Most will cost more than $40 per month.

Equipment fees

Providers either rent or sell their equipment. If renting, the cost of the equipment will be wrapped into the monthly fee and you will be required to return the equipment upon ending your subscription. If you have to buy the equipment, there will be an upfront equipment fee. Often (but not always) it is the high-tech and specially designed devices that incur a fee. This might include a smartwatch, tablet, or smartphone. When ending your subscription, the equipment is yours to keep.

Add-ons

Nearly every provider offers optional add-ons. Products often come with a one-time cost. Services will likely have a monthly fee in the $3- to $10-per-month range. Because one in three seniors fall every year, one of the more popular and beneficial add-ons is fall detection. The majority of providers charge $10 per month for this service.

Hidden fees

Hidden fees refer to activation, initiation, processing, and membership fees. Most of the top providers will not squeeze in these fees. Still, it is best to ask a customer service representative to be sure.

How to save money on medical alert systems: annual vs. monthly subscription

These systems can be cost prohibitive, but there is one proven way you can save money on medical alert systems: opt for an annual subscription versus a monthly fee. Depending on the system you choose, paying annually rather than monthly can save you up to $180 each year. See below for a breakdown of savings by provider.

Provider Monthly fee Annual subscription fee Total savings
ADT Health $30–$40 $312–$432 $48 annually
Aloe Care Health $30–$50 N/A N/A
Bay Alarm Medical $22–$40 $239–$439 $25–$41 annually
GetSafe $25 N/A N/A
HandsFree Health $45–$50 N/A N/A
LifeFone $30–$50 $299–$504 $36–$61 annually
LifeStation $23–$44 $239 $37 annually
Lively $20–$50 N/A N/A
Medical Alert $20–$30 $181-$321 $20–$35 annually
Medical Care Alert $30 $327 $180 annually
Medical Guardian $30–$67 $330–$879 $31–$75 annually
MobileHelp $20–$55 $360–$600 $60–$120 annually

Features to look for in a top medical alert device

Some features are self-explanatory while others deserve a little extra attention. Learn more about five common features below.

  • Range: This is the distance you can travel away from an at-home base station with a help button. Device ranges typically average between 300 feet and 1,400 feet. Range is not a factor you need to consider with on-the-go systems.
  • Location detection: This feature only applies to on-the-go systems. Using GPS, monitoring center agents can quickly determine the location of a user during a personal emergency.
  • Fall detection: Using sensors such as accelerometers, which detect accelerated abrupt motion, fall detection devices are designed to determine a fall and then send an alert to the provider's monitoring center. Nearly every provider includes a disclaimer on its website stating that no device is 100% accurate.
  • Help buttons: You will likely receive a help button with your system that can be worn as a necklace or wristband. The help button is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and connects to the monitoring center so that you have 24/7 coverage.
  • Battery life: Since at-home systems are plugged into an outlet, the devices use batteries (which typically last 30 to 32 hours) as a backup in the event of a power outage. On-the-go systems come with chargers and typically last one to five days on a single charge.

How to choose the best medical alert system for you

The best medical alert system for you will depend on your current situation. For example, if you're a senior buying a medical alert system for yourself, you may want a device that's easy to operate and install. For that, we recommend ADT Health, which earned the "Best Basic System" designation for its straightforward devices.

If you are a caregiver or senior care provider helping a senior choose a medical alert system, we recommend Aloe Care Health, which we rated as "Best for Busy Caregivers." The system's voice-activated Smart Hub device provides an easy way for the user and caregiver to communicate. Through the integrative app, caregivers can also check on temperature and air quality inside the home and monitor the user's movements.

If you are searching for the best medical alert system for a parent who is still active, we recommend LifeStation. We named it the "Best On-the-Go System" for its selection of mobile products as well as its "Find My Loved One" feature, which will locate the user.

Keep reading for more tips on how to choose the best medical alert system for you.

  • Evaluate your needs: This will help you determine if you need an at-home system, an on-the-go system, or a bundled system. Choose a device that will make life easier.
  • Evaluate the providers: Start by looking at a company's website since many include a chat feature, which is great for answering quick questions. Then give customer service a call to gauge the company's responsiveness, and don't forget to check medical alert system reviews on verified third-party websites such as the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.
  • Evaluate the products: Take advantage of a provider's risk-free trial period, if they have one, which usually lasts 30 days. The more comfortable the device is, the more likely you are to wear it.

Who should use a medical alert system?

The short answer: all seniors 65 and older. The best time to invest in a medical alert system for seniors is before a medical emergency occurs. If you are a healthy, active senior who enjoys being on the go, you likely don't have the same needs as someone who is homebound or living with multiple chronic medical conditions. This is the reason providers generally do not offer a one-size-fits-all product. A smartwatch or cell phone might fit your lifestyle best and offer some extra health and entertainment features. Or maybe you would prefer a simple, inexpensive system for "just in case" situations.

However, many older adults do have chronic medical conditions that necessitate a medical alert system. The CDC reports that 85% of adults 65 and older in the US live with one chronic disease and 56% live with two or more. An alert with fall detection is a good match for anyone living with a condition that puts them at high risk for falls like Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, diabetes, COPD, and weakened vision or hearing, according to Dr. Sinvani. For those with a known heart condition, some medical alert devices are specifically designed for individuals with pacemakers or defibrillators.

Those living with dementia can also benefit from using a medical alert system. Some companies manufacture products that are Bluetooth-enabled and can be integrated with smart home devices like window and door sensors. A caregiver can be alerted through their smartphone if a loved one wandered away from home.

Speaking of caregivers, nearly one in five, or 53 million, adults serve as caregivers for older adults or disabled individuals in the US, according to the National Alliance on Caregiving. Many of these individuals work full- or part-time jobs and are part of the Sandwich Generation, raising kids while simultaneously caring for an older adult. Medical alerts can help lighten their load. Most providers offer a caregiver's app, which often include helpful features like location tracking, an instant call button to the monitoring center, motion detection, and more. Medical alerts provide peace of mind, especially for long-distance caregivers or those who have a loved one living alone.

Medical alert system testing

How we chose the best medical alert systems

In determining the best medical alert systems, the criteria we considered most important were the quality and reliability of a company's monitoring center. We did not consider any unmonitored alert systems or systems that fail to provide emergency service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The gold standard in quality assurance of a medical alert system is a company's designation as one of The Monitoring Association's (TMA) Five Diamond Alert Monitoring Centers. You may see companies refer to this on their website as CSAA Five Diamond Alert Monitoring Centers since TMA was formerly known as the Central Station Alarm Association.

You'll also see companies advertise that they are "UL-listed," which is another quality indicator. UL stands for the global safety certification company Underwriters Laboratories. All UL-listed products have been tested by this independent, nationally recognized laboratory and meet specific safety requirements.

After analyzing the quality of a company's call centers, we considered these additional variables:

  • Price of installation and monthly service
  • Warranties, contracts, and hidden fees
  • Comfort and wearability of mobile devices
  • In-home range of equipment
  • Water resistance of wearable devices
  • Battery life and recharging requirements
  • Ease of installation and use
  • Cost of installation and monthly service
  • Customer service accessibility and performance
  • Customer satisfaction reviews
  • Expert opinion
  • Special features, such as automatic fall detection, smartphone apps for family members, and location tracking

The bottom line on the best medical alert systems

Medical alerts are not one-size-fits-all systems. Seniors have different needs, preferences, lifestyles, and budgets. There is likely a system available to match the priorities of each individual.

A few systems, like Medical Guardian and MobileHelp, offer lots of options and advanced features for individuals who like to customize. Others specialize in one area, like GetSafe, which appeals to seniors who prefer not to use wearables, or Aloe Care Health, which caters to caregivers. Many seniors are on a tight budget, and some providers, like Bay Alarm Medical, keep monthly fees low for these individuals. Other providers extend cost savings by offering high-quality products with no equipment costs, like LifeFone and LifeStation.

With so many systems on the market, you should feel confident that with a little research, you will discover a top medical alert system that is an ideal fit for you or your loved one.

Frequently asked questions

Are medical alert systems worth it?

Yes, medical alert systems are certainly worth it. They serve a wide variety of purposes, from immediately responding to calls for help in life-threatening situations to giving seniors the confidence they need to leave home in order to remain active and social. They provide peace of mind to caregivers and supplement health services for aging family members. Medical alert systems, or PERS, are a solid layer of protection for seniors who live with chronic illnesses, are at a greater risk of falling, and live alone.

Are medical alert systems covered by insurance?

It depends on which type of insurance you use. Most private insurance or Affordable Care Act plans will not cover the cost, and those that do require a doctor's signature. Your best chance for insurance coverage is if you have long-term care insurance or use Medicaid. In both cases, plans vary according to state. Call your provider to learn more.

Are medical alert systems covered by Medicare?

Original Medicare, otherwise known as Medicare Part A and Part B, does not cover the cost of the top medical alert systems. Medicare Advantage, also referred to as Medicare Part C, might cover part of the system's cost. The plans differ in each state, so if you use Medicare Advantage, it is best to call your plan provider to check for coverage.

Do unmonitored medical alert systems work?

Yes, unmonitored medical alert systems work but they provide limited protection. Most work by connecting with 911 or predesignated contacts in the case of an emergency. They use either a landline or connect through a cellular plan. Many of these systems are barebones, lacking important features like fall detection and a caregiver's app. The most important thing to remember is that they do not include 24/7 monitoring coverage. This also means that they are more affordable and do not require a monthly fee.

Does the Apple Watch have a medical alert system?

Technically, yes, the Apple Watch does come with some medical alert functions, though it is not a comprehensive system like others reviewed here. The watch does have a built-in Emergency SOS app. During an emergency, when you press the button, the call goes directly to 911. Alternatively, you can download the free FallCall Lite app, which provides access to a professional monitoring service for around $15 per month.

Apple Watch models SE and Series 4 are programmed with automatic fall detection. If the watch detects a fall, it will sound an alarm so that those nearby can help, and if the alarm isn't turned off within 30 seconds, it will call 911. It also sends text alerts to the user's predesignated contact list. Conventional wisdom (from medical alert providers) says that for fall detection to work effectively, it should not be worn on the wrist, where false alarms are likely.

Do experts recommend Life Alert medical alert systems?

No, experts do not recommend Life Alert medical alert systems. Life Alert is one of the most recognizable names among medical alert systems, and the company does have a TMA Five Diamond-certified 24/7 emergency monitoring center that offers reliable service with dependable equipment. However, there are some significant downsides that prevent us from recommending this brand.

Life Alert's cost structure requires a three-year contract for service, charges installation and activation fees between $100 and $300, and costs upwards of $70 per month. Many customers on the Life Alert BBB page and other consumer review sites have complained that the company increases the monthly price without notice, which the user is forced to pay due to their long-term contract. Despite charging the highest prices for its product, Life Alert doesn't offer automatic fall detection. By comparison, our top picks for a medical alert system don't lock you into a contract, have low or no start-up fees, and cost between $20 and $50 per month.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Percent of US Adults 55 and Over with Chronic Conditions.

Fleming J, et al. (2008). Inability to get up after falling, subsequent time on floor, and summoning help: prospective cohort study in people over 90.

Kaiser Family Foundation.(2018). How Many Seniors Live in Poverty?

National Institute on Aging. (2017). Prevent Falls and Fractures.

National Council on Aging. (2020). Why is Falls Prevention Important?

National Alliance for Caregiving. (2020). Caregiving in the US 2020.

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