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Best Medical Alert Systems

Find a Medical Alert System partner near you.

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Written by Kathryn Parkman
Edited by Vincent Landino
Reviewed by Shelley Webb

The best medical alert for you or a loved one depends on living situation, activity level and preferences. Use our guide to compare companies on equipment, features and costs. We considered 23 companies and analyzed more than 1,340 recent verified reviews to select our picks for the top medical alerts.

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Our picks for top medical alert systems of 2022

These days, almost all quality medical alert systems come with 24/7 monitoring and similar standard features. Wearable devices can help track your health and well-being, and they keep getting smarter and smaller.

We compared highly rated companies on equipment features, recent reviews and pricing* to select our top picks. Read our full methodology for more on how we picked the best. Keep reading to learn how to choose a system.

*All cost information is accurate as of publishing.

Great customer service Medical Guardian AUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • Upfront cost: $0 to $124.95
  • Monthly fee: $29.95 to $44.95
  • Featured equipment: Home 2.0
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home 2.0 medical alert system

Medical Guardian has a wide range of options designed to suit all lifestyles and a straightforward purchase process with representatives available online or over the phone. Devices are monitored and connect you to a dispatch center that can get you the help you need 24/7.

You can select from in-home, mobile and smartwatch devices. The Home 2.0 has a range of 1,400 feet — one of the largest we’ve seen.

Features and availability

  • Monitored: Yes
  • Connection: Landline or cellular
  • At-home range: 1,300 to 1,400 feet
  • Mobile battery life: Five days
  • GPS: Available
  • Fall detection: Optional ($10/month)
  • Trial period: None
  • Term: Month-to-month (three-month minimum)
  • Caregiver app: Yes

Pricing and plans

Upfront equipment fees apply to a few of Medical Guardian’s devices, including the Mini Guardian and Freedom Guardian. Optional add-ons and upgrades, like fall detection, add to your subscription bill ($10 per month).

  • Mini Guardian: This portable, wearable GPS device has unlimited range. It costs $124.95 for the equipment and $39.95 per month for a monitoring subscription ($439.45 when you pay annually).
  • Mobile 2.0: This is a lightweight device that easily clips to clothing and can sync with the included pendant or wristband. It’s water-resistant and has five days of battery life. It costs $124.95 for the equipment and $39.95 per month for a monitoring subscription ($439.45 when you pay annually).
  • Active Guardian: This system comes with 4G LTE, enhanced location monitoring (GPS) and Wi-Fi protection. It includes access to the MyGuardian Portal and caregiver app. There’s no upfront equipment charge, and the monitoring subscription costs $44.95 per month ($494.45 when you pay annually).
  • Home 2.0: The Home 2.0 features a sleek design plus a voice assist button, a 1,400-foot range and 32 hours of battery backup. It costs $124.95 for the equipment and $34.95 per month for a monitoring subscription ($384.45 when you pay annually).
  • Classic Guardian: This system connects to your landline telephone and syncs with the necklace or wristband. It includes access to the MyGuardian Portal and app. The monthly cost is $29.95 ($329.45 when you pay annually). There’s no upfront equipment charge.

What to consider: It’s worth noting that there’s not a free trial period. At least one reviewer said they have trouble connecting their medical alert to an AT&T signal, and another said the equipment is a little on the bulky side. 

What reviewers like: Reliable equipment and peace of mind.

Medical Guardian is popular with people who wear the device and their loved ones. “I think they are very responsive about the time. Overall, the experience is good,” a reviewer in Arkansas said.

A reviewer in Michigan said that the system let their mother “stay independent much longer because if she fell, help would be on the way immediately. They always called me at home to notify me that her device had been activated.”

Others highlight the company’s customer service: “The Medical Guardian team has been very cooperative and very easy to deal with,” according to a reviewer in Virginia.

Sleek designs Bay Alarm Medical
  • Upfront cost: $0 to $179
  • Monthly fee: $19.95 to $39.95
  • Featured equipment: SOS Smartwatch
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bay alarm medical sos smartwatch

Bay Alarm Medical has the most affordable plan of our picks, plus one of our favorite medical alert mobile apps — and it's one of our top systems with GPS.

The SOS Smartwatch, featured above, is a modern alternative to a traditional system, but it still features a physical help button that dispatches local emergency services to your location. It comes with built-in GPS and a 4G LTE SIM card.

Features and availability

  • Monitored: Yes
  • Connection: Landline or cellular
  • At-home range: Up to 1,000 feet
  • Mobile battery life: Varies
  • GPS: Available
  • Fall detection: Available
  • Trial period: 30 days
  • Term: Month-to-month
  • Caregiver app: Yes

Pricing and plans

Bay Alarm Medical offers home-based and mobile systems with 24/7 professional monitoring services. In-home systems are leased — there are no upfront costs — and must be returned when you cancel.

  • In-Home Medical Alert: This home-based system can connect to help through either a landline ($19.95 per month) or a cellular network ($29.95 or $39.95 per month). Device options include a lanyard, wrist button, wall button package and fall detection.
  • GPS Mobile Help Button: This mobile option starts at $29.95 per month with a one-time $99 device fee. It includes location tracking, and you can pay an additional $10 a month for automatic fall detection. Devices are available in black or white and come with an optional warranty.
  • SOS Smartwatch: The smartwatch device costs $29.95 per month with a one-time $179 device fee. It includes location tracking but doesn’t offer fall protection upgrades.

What to consider: Add-on services can get expensive — upgrades for lockboxes and GPS fall detection are available for an additional charge each month. At least one reviewer says that the sensors can be too sensitive.

What reviewers like: Ongoing technical support and good value.

Systems are relatively simple to set up and operate. Technical support representatives make it easy to get devices up and running, and they take time to make sure new customers understand their systems.

“The few times it was used, the service was very prompt and given in a very kind and calm way. And when we tested the system on occasion, it was always an easy process,” according to a reviewer in Pennsylvania.

“The service is well worth the money since they are all so kind and helpful,” a reviewer in Georgia said, adding that “you can tell they are compassionate people and want to help the person that has fallen.

Great professional monitoring ADT Medical Alert AUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • Upfront cost: $0
  • Monthly fee: $29.99 to $39.99
  • Featured equipment: ADT Medical Alert Plus
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adt medical alert plus system

You may be familiar with ADT as a home security company. Its medical alert systems are monitored, and reps undergo senior sensitivity training to better communicate with older adults during an emergency.

ADT's medical alert equipment options are similar to what other top brands offer. All packages come with a pendant or wristband, two-way voice communication features and free battery replacements. What sets it apart is its professional monitoring experience.

Features and availability

  • Monitored: Yes
  • Connection: Landline or cellular
  • At-home range: 300 to 600 feet
  • Mobile battery life: 40 hours
  • GPS: Available
  • Fall detection: Optional ($10/month)
  • Trial period: None
  • Term: Month-to-month
  • Caregiver app: Yes

Pricing and plans

There are no upfront equipment costs or activation fees (the base system remains owned by ADT), but monthly charges increase as eligible items are added — for instance, fall detection is an extra $10 per month.

  • Medical Alert Basic: This package is designed for in-home use and starts at $29.99 per month. It requires a landline and includes home temperature monitoring features. The pendant has a range up to 300 feet from the base.
  • Medical Alert Plus: This package, which eliminates the need for a landline, starts at $35.99 a month. It also comes with home temperature monitoring. Fall detection is optional with this package, and the pendant has a 600-foot range.
  • On-The-Go: This package comes with a mobile base unit, GPS location capabilities and optional fall detection. It starts at $39.99 per month.

What to consider: Some reviewers say that the device can be a little too sensitive sometimes, but we don’t see that as an overly bad thing. In these situations, reps are generally patient and understanding. What’s important is that it works when you need it.

What reviewers like: Easy to sign up; sense of security.

Reviewers like that ADT Medical Alert provides a sense of security, both for the wearer and their loved ones.

A reviewer in Illinois got the device for their husband to use in the shower and outside: “It gives the entire family great reassurance that one of us would be able to help him or get him help if needed.”

“I feel more secure than I did before with my medical alert device,” a reviewer in Missouri said. “ADT does really well and their customer service is excellent. They were right on things.”

A reviewer in Alabama got an ADT medical alert for their grandfather, who is 88 and has dementia. “He has had two falls and both times, it worked perfectly,” the reviewer said. “I get a phone notification. I asked them to call me first, so at least I can get up and go respond if I realized he had fallen. The one time that I didn't even hear my phone go off, they were here within minutes. The reps have been phenomenal.”

Low starting cost Medical Alert AUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • Upfront cost: $0
  • Monthly fee: $19.95 to $42.95
  • Featured equipment: Mobile System
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medical alert mobile system

Medical Alert offers highly rated emergency equipment, and its Five Diamond, UL-certified monitoring center provides translation services for 140 languages.

Through the company’s Medical Alert Connect mobile app, caregivers can keep an eye on the medical alert device’s status, update the contact list and test the system. You can monitor more than one profile and contact support directly through the app as well.

Features and availability

  • Monitored: Yes
  • Connection: Landline or cellular
  • At-home range: 800 feet
  • Mobile battery life: Up to five days
  • GPS: Available
  • Fall detection: Available
  • Trial period: 30 days
  • Term: Month-to-month
  • Caregiver app: Yes

Pricing and plans

Medical Alert offers home-based and mobile systems. You can add fall detection to either plan for an extra $10 per month.

  • Home System: Depending on the device’s connectivity, this model starts at either $19.95 per month (landline) or $29.95 per month (cellular). It comes with a two-way speaker and a lightweight button worn around the neck or wrist.
  • Mobile System: Monthly fees start at $39.95. This system comes with a button pendant or bracelet, a two-way speaker device, GPS location services and Connect app access.

Your cost per month is lower if you pay annually instead of monthly. A protection plan to cover up to $350 in case your system is lost, damaged or stolen is available for an extra $1 per month.

What to consider: At least one reviewer said the device is uncomfortable to wear while driving. Another didn’t like the noise the alarm made.

What reviewers like: Reliable service and transferable systems.

People appreciate the fast response, even when they accidentally trigger the device. A reviewer in Maryland said, “Every time it's gone off, I've dropped it or tested it, and the agents answered me.”

Others like that reps are easy to talk to. A reviewer in Minnesota said that the Medical Alert team knows “what they are doing and explain things in a way that I can understand.”

“I used my Medical Alert two or three times when I fell down and I couldn't get up. And I was here by myself,” a reviewer in Michigan said. “They came right away, took me in the ambulance, and they started working on me to check me out.”

A reviewer in Texas highlighted that systems are transferable: “My Medical Alert was my mother's. When she passed away, I had it transferred to my name. So far, so good.”

Good for fall detection Lifeline AUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • Upfront cost: $50 to $99.95
  • Monthly fee: $29.95 to $58.95
  • Featured equipment: On the Go
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lifeline on the go pendant

Lifeline offers devices designed to be used at home or on the go. With a personalized care plan, you can choose who responds when you call for help. On average, it takes 22 seconds for users to connect to the response center.

Lifeline uses AutoAlert automatic fall detection technology, which incorporates accelerometers, barometric sensors and a “finely tuned algorithm.” No fall detection catches 100% of falls; Philips reports that AutoAlert detects 95% of “many types of falls” and triggers fewer false alarms. Fall detection comes with two of the three Lifeline systems.

Features and availability

  • Monitored: Yes
  • Connection: Landline or cellular
  • At-home range: Varies
  • Mobile battery life: Up to three days
  • GPS: Available
  • Fall detection: Available
  • Trial period: 30 days
  • Term: Month-to-month
  • Caregiver app: Yes

Pricing and plans

Pricing varies for each package based on the connection (landline or cellular) and additional equipment selected. Lifeline charges installation fees of either $19.95 for DIY installation or $99 for professional installation on top of its activation fees.

  • On the Go: This model costs $49.95 per month with a one-time $99.95 device fee. It comes with a water-resistant help button, built-in fall detection and a rechargeable battery. The system has multiple location technologies and requires a cellular connection.
  • HomeSafe Standard: This basic in-home system starts at $29.95 per month for a landline connection or $43.95 for cellular, plus a one-time $50 activation fee. It comes with two-way voice communication, a waterproof button and a pendant or wristband.
  • HomeSafe with AutoAlert: This model starts at $44.95 per month with a landline or $58.95 for cellular connection, plus a one-time $50 activation fee. It’s designed to be used at home and on the go, and it comes with everything in the standard package plus a fall-detection pendant.

What to consider: A couple of recent reviews mention delays in shipping and deliveries. At least one former customer told us that it was difficult to cancel. It also might not work during power outages caused by storms.

What reviewers like: Good value; easy of use.

For the price, Lifeline offers a dependable system with lots of feature options. “There are other companies out there that say they're cheaper but their service is not as reliable as Philips,” according to a reviewer in South Carolina.

Others highlight the safety and efficiency: “I hardly touched the button and I got somebody on the line,” a reviewer in Massachusetts said.

A reviewer in Georgia, who has worn Lifeline day and night for years, said, “When I've needed it, I have pushed it. Lifeline has called in to see if I needed help and I've been able to tell them that I was fine. I appreciate them checking in because it could very easily be that I was down, couldn't say anything and get up.”

Compare Top Medical Alert System Reviews

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Find a Medical Alert System partner near you.

    How to choose a medical alert system

    Older adults are more isolated than ever, and having an emergency response center on standby makes many people feel more secure. There are many excellent options available; it’s essential to determine which medical alert system is best for your budget, preferences and lifestyle.

    As with any important purchase, it’s a good idea to start by reading reviews and asking the right questions. This helps you learn about the average customer experience. If you still aren’t sure, follow these steps to find and compare different systems.

    1. Decide if you want professional monitoring services

    Monitored medical alert systems are great if you aren’t sure it’s time for assisted living but still want a little extra sense of security. If a monitored system detects a fall, the company might first try to call the wearer before contacting emergency personnel, depending on your plan’s agreement.

    • Unmonitored systems: When triggered, an unmonitored system dials a preprogrammed contact — typically a loved one or 911. These systems are sometimes referred to as no-monthly-fee medical alert systems because they don’t require a service contract to function.
    • Monitored systems: A monitored system connects to a live dispatch center when triggered. The operator calls a caregiver, friend, family member or 911, depending on your needs. Many centers provide help in multiple languages, and some include daily wellness checks and activity tracking. Most top companies are UL-certified or part of The Monitoring Association’s Five Diamond Designation program.

    Both monitored and unmonitored systems should include a panic button or an emergency call button, and many offer automatic fall detection.

    2. Consider your budget

    Total medical alert costs vary based on how you customize the system, what kind of connection you need (landline or cellular) and whether you pay for ongoing monitoring.

    • Unmonitored systems generally cost a few hundred dollars upfront. You own the equipment, and there's no recurring monthly fee.
    • Monitoring systems have a recurring fee, usually between $20 and $60 per month, and some companies offer packages with free equipment (as long as you have an active monitoring subscription). New customers often get a price break if they enroll in a monitoring contract with a yearly payment plan.

    Price is a significant factor in comparing medical alert companies, especially if you’re on a fixed budget. Unfortunately, a medical alert device isn’t affordable for everyone — about half of seniors rely on Social Security for the majority of their income, according to recent poverty statistics. For cheaper options, check out these products for aging in place.

    3. Think about where you’ll need it

    Before you buy a system, think about whether you want the option to use the device outside your home. Most medical alert systems fall into one of two broad categories:

    • Home-based: Traditional, home-based systems come with a pendant that wirelessly connects to a base station. They can run on landline or cellular connection and typically have an operating range of 300 to 1,400 feet from the base station.
    • Mobile: On-the-go medical alert systems are designed for more active lifestyles. They usually come with built-in GPS or geofencing features that help emergency services locate you if something bad happens while you’re out and about. The batteries have to be charged regularly. Mobile devices typically run on a cellular connection, so make sure the service is supported where you live.

    In general, mobile systems have more impressive technology, but they also come with a higher price tag than traditional home-based systems. The extra cost is often worth it if you spend a lot of time out in the yard, frequently run errands or make trips to visit with friends, though.

    4. Compare devices and features

    A standard medical alert system comes with a base unit and a help button that you wear around your neck or on your wrist. Because so many accidents happen in or around the shower, it’s good to have a help button that can get wet. Most medical alert companies manufacture waterproof or water-resistant devices.

    A personal emergency response system (PERS) can be a smart investment for anyone who lives alone.

    Additional equipment and features include the following:

    • Automatic fall detection triggers an alarm when the device senses sudden downward movement, which eliminates the need to press an emergency button to call for help after an accident. It’s an appealing feature, but it’s important to note that the technology isn’t 100% accurate or reliable.
    • GPS tracking makes it possible to pinpoint a person’s exact location even if they don’t know where they are. Global positioning systems (GPS) are popular among people with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory issues, especially if they're prone to wandering and getting lost.
    • Wellness tools are available with some monitoring plans. These services provide medication reminders and regular check-in calls as part of their plans.
    • Caregiver apps let you share activity and location updates with friends, family and caregivers. Users can generally manage their accounts and update emergency contact information through the same dashboard.
    • A lockbox securely stores a key to your home for authorized personnel in case of an emergency. This lets responders get into your home without breaking windows or damaging doorways.

    5. Read the fine print

    It’s important to read the fine print before opting into any monitoring contract — some companies charge high cancellation fees if you terminate services early. You should also look for a company that offers a price-lock guarantee to ensure the system stays affordable.

    Here are some other terms to look for:

    • Contract requirement: Most systems require a monitoring agreement. Keep an eye out for long-term contracts that are hard to cancel. Our top picks have month-to-month options.
    • Free trial period: It’s great if you can try the system out in your home for at least a month before you commit. Otherwise, you might get stuck with a system that doesn’t really work for you.
    • Service network: If you're getting a cellular system, make sure it runs on a network you know to be reliable in your area. For instance, you might live in a neighborhood where AT&T or Verizon is preferable.
    • Warranty: A good manufacturer’s warranty means that you won’t have to pay out of pocket for repairs or replacements if necessary.

    Compare our picks for top medical alert companies

    Below, we compare our favorite packages from our top picks on upfront costs, monthly fees and trial periods.

    Upfront costs*Monthly fees*Fall detection*Trial periodLearn more
    medical guardian logo$0 to $124.95$29.95 to $44.95$10/monthNoneView profile
    bay alarm medical logo$0 to $179$19.95 to $39.95$10/month30 daysView profile
    adt logo$0$29.99 to $39.99$10/monthNoneView profile
    medical alert logo$0$19.95 to $42.95$10/month30 daysView profile
    lifeline logo$50 to $99.95$29.95 to $58.95Included in some plans30 daysView profile

    *All information is accurate as of the time of publishing. Terms and conditions may apply.

    medical guardian logo$0 to $124.95$29.95 to $44.95$10/monthNoneView profile
    bay alarm medical logo$0 to $179$19.95 to $39.95$10/month30 daysView profile
    adt logo$0$29.99 to $39.99$10/monthNoneView profile
    medical alert logo$0$19.95 to $42.95$10/month30 daysView profile
    lifeline logo$50 to $99.95$29.95 to $58.95Included in some plans30 daysView profile

    Medical alert system FAQ

    What is a medical alert system?

    Medical alert systems are small devices that contact emergency assistance when you press a button. They are often made up of a base unit and an emergency help button, which can be worn on a lanyard or bracelet. However, some systems are contained in the wearable device.

    When you press the button, the system can connect you to a trained emergency response operator, a trusted friend or a relative.

    Medical alert systems are designed either to be used in the home or out and about. They can be monitored or unmonitored, come with or without fall alert features and connect to either home-based landline or cellular networks.

    How do medical alert systems work?

    Medical alert devices generally use small radio transmitters to contact their base stations (if applicable), which use cellular or landline networks to connect with monitoring centers or emergency contacts. When the wearer presses the help button, the personal emergency response system (PERS) reaches out for help.

    Medical alarm devices can be passive or active. With an active device, you have to press an alarm button to call for help, but passive systems monitor your movements to help detect an emergency, such as a fall.

    How much are medical alert systems?

    On average, medical alert costs generally include the following:

    • Monthly monitoring fees that start at about $20 to $60 per month without add-ons
    • Equipment or activation fees that usually range up to $300 if they’re not waived
    • Installation fees up to $100

    A personal emergency response system (PERS) can be a smart investment for anyone who lives alone. Still, cost is only one factor when choosing between aging in place and assisted or independent living. Read about the costs of aging in place or explore topics related to elder care planning next.

    Does Medicare cover medical alert systems?

    No, medical alert systems are not covered by Medicare parts A or B or Medicare supplemental insurance. Some Medicare Advantage plans could reimburse you for the cost of a wearable device but only for certain patient groups.

    ConsumerAffairs can’t direct buyers to Medicaid-eligible systems, and any brand you contact will typically refer you to your Medicaid caseworker for further guidance.

    Alternatively, long-term care insurance may also provide reimbursement for medical alert systems.

    Are medical alert systems tax deductible?

    The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t specifically itemize medical alert systems as eligible for tax deductions, but many medical expenses and aging-in-place home modifications are tax deductible. A tax professional can help you determine if you can deduct a medical alert system in your tax filings.

    What medical conditions require a medical alert bracelet?

    Medical alert bracelets, also called medical ID bracelets, are common for those with severe epilepsy, diabetes, serious drug or food allergies or dementia. A medical alert bracelet is an identification tag that includes lifesaving information about any medical conditions that require immediate attention should the wearer be in distress and unable to speak.

    These bracelets are wearable tags and not to be confused with medical alert systems or devices , which can also be worn around the wrist. They're pieces of jewelry that inform emergency responders and medical professionals of certain medical conditions.

    Why is a medical alert system better than a cell phone?

    A medical alert is often safer than a cell phone for seniors. The help button might be more accessible during an emergency, especially in the shower or bath; if the user falls, has a sudden accident or otherwise needs medical assistance, they don’t have to worry about reaching a phone to call for help.

    Aging in place is the preferred senior living option for many people. Products like medical alerts, walk-in bathtubs, hearing aids, bed rails and other items can make this safer and more accessible.

    medical alert systems faq with shelly webb

    Methodology

    To choose our picks, we started with a list of 23 medical alert companies. To narrow the list, we first considered overall satisfaction ratings and eliminated companies with below 3.5 stars. With 16 left, we decided to dig a little deeper.

    Medical alert companies had to have at least twice as many 5-star reviews as 1-star reviews over the last year (Jan. 10, 2021, through Jan. 10, 2022) to stay on the list. In total, we analyzed 1,344 reviews from this time period.

    When making our final selections, we gave preference to those with a secured website and wide availability.

    The ConsumerAffairs Research Team then graded the remaining companies on online reputation, equipment selection and price transparency, similarly to calculating a weighted grade-point average to rank the top five.

    To recap our picks for the best medical alert systems:

    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page.
    1. Aging and Health Technology Watch, “The Future of Wearables and Older Adults 2021.” Accessed September 28, 2021.
    2. National Council on Aging, “Get the Facts on Fall Prevention.” Accessed September 28, 2021.
    3. Philips Lifeline, “Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) with Optimized Automatic Fall Detection Shows Greater Effectiveness than PERS Alone.” Accessed September 29, 2021.

    Not sure how to choose?

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      How to talk to your loved one

      Are you trying to purchase a medical alert system for a loved one but haven’t spoken to them about it? Watch this video for tips on how to approach the topic of senior medical alert devices.

      how to talk to your elderly parent about getting a medical alert device
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