For most seniors living on a fixed income, it can be hard to fit lifesaving technology into a budget. Medical alert systems allow seniors to live independently without the fear of fatal falls and accidents, but the monthly costs can be difficult to afford. There are hundreds of medical alert systems with no monthly fee on the market, but many of them do not operate as advertised. To prevent you from buying a worthless piece of plastic, we evaluated 87 unmonitored medical alert devices, comparing cost, call features, range options and battery life to find the five best no-fee medical alert systems.
What are the best medical alerts with no monthly fee?
To find the best medical alert systems with no monthly fee, we looked at cost, call features, range and battery life. We only chose systems that are water-resistant and have no hidden fees. These medical alert systems contact 911, in-home caretakers, loved ones or a combination of them.
How no-fee medical alert systems work
Medical alert systems with no monthly fees operate similarly to those with monthly fees. The main difference is who receives the call for help in an emergency. Whereas monitored medical alert systems connect to a call center where a representative determines the severity of the emergency, an unmonitored system directly dials loved ones or 911.
Of the no-fee medical alert systems on the market, there are two main types: those that sound an alarm on your property and those that call an external number. The former is typically used by seniors with in-home caretakers while the latter is for those living independently. Some medical alert devices can be programmed to contact certain loved ones in a specific order, with a call to 911 as a last resort. Other devices are not customizable.
Unmonitored medical alert systems are best for seniors who have caretakers nearby that can respond quickly in the event of a call.
What to look for in an unmonitored medical alert system
When shopping for a nonmonitored medical alert system, think about your level of activity. If you spend a lot of time out of the house, find a mobile medical alert with GPS. If you live independently, get a medical alert system that calls external numbers. If you live with a caretaker, a medical alert that sounds an alarm within your home is recommended. Make sure the maximum range of the system is more than what you need in your own home.
Additionally, look for a no-fee medical alert that is comfortable, water-resistant, easy to set up and simple to use. You probably won’t wear a pendant that doesn’t meet this criteria as often as you should, so check all the boxes.
Even if a medical alert device has no monthly fees, be sure to call the company and read reviews, looking for any hidden fees. The best medical alert systems for seniors with no monthly fees have a warranty, trial or return policy so users can return an unsatisfactory product.
Our pick for battery life:
LogicMark Guardian Alert 911
With a battery life of up to one year, the LogicMark Guardian Alert 911 acts as a reliable safeguard in case of emergency. Pushing the blue button connects you directly with 911, so you can live independently without an in-home caretaker. LogicMark promises no service charges or contracts with this device. The system and its battery can be tested periodically to ensure that it’ll work when needed. The pendant is water-resistant and provides two-way communication.
Great for caretakers:
SadoTech Model H
Unlike unmonitored medical alert systems that call 911, SadoTech’s Model H sends a signal to an in-home caretaker who comes to your aid when alerted. Because it has a range of 500 to 1,000 feet, caregivers can be out in the yard and still hear your call from the second-floor bathroom. The chime device clips to the caregiver’s clothes for easy carrying. Batteries for the chime device are not included. The SadoTech Model H is weatherproof, allowing caretakers and seniors to take portable pieces outside.
Multiple call options:
If you’re living independently and want the option to call family, friends or 911, the LogicMark FreedomAlert is an excellent option. This no-fee medical alert system is customizable to call up to four contacts and 911. If a caretaker wants to forward your call to 911, they simply dial 911 from their own phone and the system hangs up with the caretaker and calls 911 directly. The system and batteries can be tested. Customers may purchase up to four waterproof pendants to go with a single base station.
Good for budget shoppers:
CallToU Caregiver Pager
At just $21.99, the CallToU Caregiver Pager is a great low-cost option for seniors who have an in-home caregiver. When the button is pressed, the call pendant sounds an alarm in the chime unit, alerting a caregiver of an emergency. The portable push button is waterproof and can be held in a pocket or around your neck. The chime unit has 55 ring tone options. Additional call pendants and chime units can be purchased for wider coverage in your home.
Our favorite no-fee medical alert with GPS:
The Silent Beacon is an emergency pendant to take on the go. As long as it's paired with the Silent Beacon app on a smartphone and is in Bluetooth range of that device, a user can take the device anywhere. At the push of a button, the Silent Beacon automatically calls prestored numbers, such as loved ones or 911. The Silent Beacon knows your location, which it shares with call recipients, such as emergency responders. Battery life notifications are available in the app. Though the device requires no monthly fee, users have the option to upgrade to a monthly subscription for additional features.
Pros and cons of medical alert systems with no monthly fee
Medical alert systems with no monthly fees are not perfect, and consumers should understand the pros and cons before purchasing.
Pros of medical alert devices with no monthly fee:
- No monthly fees
- You own the equipment
- Devices are simple and without complicated features
Cons of medical alert devices with no monthly fee:
- No call center to determine your needs
- Caregiver may miss phone call
- Responders don’t have record of medical conditions like call center may
- No confirmation that 911 was contacted
Though unmonitored medical alert systems have a fixed, one-time cost, they have quite a few limitations. Read more about both monitored and unmonitored medical alert systems to find the one that’s right for you.
Unmonitored medical alert systems FAQ
- What’s the average cost of an unmonitored medical alert system?
- Unmonitored medical alert systems typically cost between $20 and $300, depending on the technology of the device you choose. Some systems have the option to upgrade to a monitored system for a monthly fee, but most are fixed at a one-time cost.
- Do unmonitored medical alert systems have fall detection?
- Some models of unmonitored medical alert systems have fall detection, but the technology is imperfect. For automatic fall detection, we recommend choosing a monitored service.
- Do unmonitored medical alert systems have GPS?
- GPS-enabled devices are available with no monthly fees, though this feature is rare. Typically they need to be paired with a cellular device and network, so seniors without an existing cellular plan may not have access to this feature.
Bottom line: Are medical alerts with no monthly fee worth it?
If you, like most seniors, are living on a fixed income, medical alerts with no monthly fees are a reasonable option. However, we recommend that you gather quotes from monitored medical alert companies. Your first year of service with a monitored medical alert company may be as low as $220, which is less than the upfront pricing of some unmonitored medical alert systems. Whether the system you choose is monitored or not, we encourage you to purchase a medical alert system. Medical alert systems act as a safety net, allowing you to live independently and move confidently without fear of having an accident and not being able to call for help.