Best Medical Alert Systems of 2021

Medical alerts are built to be a reliable lifeline In case of an emergency. We’ve compared the best providers and devices to give you the best value and protection for your loved ones. See what each medical alert has to offer for your health and safety needs.
Updated May 24, 2021
Written By
Dashia Starr | Home Security Writer
Evaluated over 90 safety products to help you protect what matters most. Check our Methodology

Medical Alert Systems

Medical alert systems are emergency medical devices designed to contact a monitoring specialist, caregiver, or designated individual if you need assistance. 

If you fall or need emergency medical assistance, your medical alert will dispatch for help immediately. There are different medical alert systems to choose from, including wearables, in-home systems and mobile devices to give you peace of mind when you’re on the go. Your choice should depend on your lifestyle and needs. 

Best Medical Alert Systems

How to Choose a Medical Alert System

  • Ease of use

    If you’re in need of immediate medical assistance, you should be able to press a button to monitoring professionals for help. Most medical alert systems are equipped with a base station or cellular signals for built-in two-way audio to clearly speak with professionals. Your monitoring center professionals will then send emergency responders on your behalf. If your medical alert system isn’t professionally monitored, when you press the button it will call from a list of pre-selected contacts. Make sure you understand how the medical alert system and it’s features work before buying so you’ll know what to do in the event of an emergency.

  • Response time

    When considering medical alert systems, factor in the time it will take to get emergency assistance. While most medical alert systems offer professional monitoring, it may take from seconds to minutes before a professional can assist you. Response times from agents vary depending on the medical alert system’s provider.

  • Landline vs. cellular connection

    Some medical alert systems are designed with base stations that connect to your home’s landline to signal for help when you press a button to speak to emergency responders or to a cellular network. If you’re considering a landline system, it’s important to know how far the range extends from the home console or base station to stay within reach if accidents happen. If you’re on the go, consider a system with a cellular connection. Medical alert systems with 4G LTE or other cellular connections allow you to call for help anywhere using GPS technology to notify emergency responders of your location.

  • Professional monitoring

    The best medical alert systems offer professional monitoring services to notify your listed loved ones and emergency responders on your behalf for a monthly fee. Most medical alert system monitoring costs can range from $20/mo. up to $90/mo. depending on the provider. If you opt not to have professional monitoring, some providers include a one-press button to immediately call your pre-determined emergency contacts.

  • Medical needs

    Medical systems are not ‘one size fits all.’ Think about what features you may want now and in the near future. Evaluate any disorders and hindrances such as dementia or amnesia to find the best easy-to-use medical alert system with the features you need. Some ailments may require your medical alert system to be catered to health concerns including fall detection, more visible visual alerts or automatic activity monitoring to regularly check on loved ones.

  • Cost

    Some medical alert systems have hefty monthly costs that can add up. Additional costs may include equipment, professional monitoring and fall detection to automatically send an alert for help if your medical alert detects a fall without pressing a button or calling. Some monthly fees can range from as little as $30/mo. up to $90/mo. on a month-to-month basis. Be cautious of any long-term contracts, activation and cancellation costs found in the terms and conditions.

Compare the Best Medical Alerts

Medical Alert Medical Alert Systems


GetSafe


Bay Alarm


Medical Guardian

Life Alert


GreatCall


Philips Lifeline


ResponseNow


Safety Score
8.68.68.27.57.17.17.17.17.16.4
Monthly Cost
$27.45$24.95$24.99$19.95$24.95$24.95$24.95$24.95$24.95
Connectivity
CellularCellularCellularCellularLandline and cellularLandline and cellularCellularLandline and cellularLandline and cellularLandline and cellular
Range
200 feet2,000 feet Anywhere in the U.S. 1,000 feet1,3000 feet800 feet150 feetN/A1,0000 feet6000 feet
Battery Life
14 days30 days5 days32 hours5 days30 days30 days30 days30 daysN/A
Fall detection
YesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYes
Lockbox
NoYesYesYesYesNoNoNoYesYes
GPS
YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Water-resistant?
YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes

Compare Medical Alert Systems

  • Best Overall

    Medical Alert Systems

    Starting at
    $19.95/mo

    Our take

    Medical Alert prides itself on a hassle-free approach to medical monitoring, either at home or on the go. More than just a monitoring system, it’s a “support network available at all times.” Medical Alert reps stay with you on the line until help arrives, and the company’s systems are simple and easy to set up.

    Medical Alert offers three basic levels of protection, from land-lined base to cellular at-home service, to the full-service “On The Go” package, which protects you whether you’re at home or out. In addition, it has safety specialists to help customize solutions, and it will go the extra mile by informing your loved ones if anything happens.

    Pros

    • Price breaks for semi-annual and annual payment
    • 24/7 monitoring
    • Mobile app available

    Cons

    • Fall detection costs extra
    • Limited plans and equipment
    • Cellular monitoring not available at lowest tier
  • Best Smart Medical Alert

    Aloe Care Medical Alerts Review

    Starting at
    $24.99/mo
    1- 844-933-1228

    - or -

    View Packages

    Our take

    Aloe Care is one of our top picks for medical alerts, with a variety of features to help keep your loved one safe. We love Aloe Care’s modern approach to medical alert systems. Caregivers can check on their loved ones and get real-time updates easily using the mobile app. Aloe Care’s Five Diamond Emergency Response Center has 24/7 monitoring whenever you call for help. You can signal several ways, including voice commands, a one-press mobile button or the wearable Care button.

    Pros

    • Voice-activated smart hub with built-in temperature, motion and air quality sensors
    • Ease of use, simply plug the device in and it begins working.
    • Five Diamond Emergency Response Center

    Cons

    • Upfront payment for equipment
  • Best Bang for Your Buck

    GetSafe

    Starting at
    $24.95/mo

    Our take

    The GetSafe medical alert system offers medical alert systems using a 4G LTE cellular network. You can push a voice-activated button or pull a cord to get emergency medical attention. GetSafe also offers waterproof alert buttons with a five-year battery, various wearable ‘Help’ buttons, indoor cameras, and voice-enabled consoles.

    Pros

    • In-house coverage doesn’t require a wearable device
    • Cellular connections allow for easy installation
    • Mobile help button has an accompanying app so caregivers can keep an eye on loved ones

    Cons

    • No landline connectivity options
    • Wearable devices and mobile help buttons aren’t included with any pre-set packages – you must add them on separately
    • Add-ons get expensive quickly

    Research Get Safe

  • Best Overall

    Medical Guardian Review

    Starting at
    $29.95/mo
    1-877-523-3729

    - or -

    View Packages

    Our take

    Medical Guardian is a trusted name that offers a reliable service. This system features a simple one-press emergency button, which alerts the monitoring center instantly. Every at-home package features a base unit with a button to call for help. You’ll also get a neck pendant or wristwatch that you or your loved one can use to call for help whenever and wherever needed. Mobile units offer flexibility and 4G LTE connectivity that reaches anywhere a cellular phone could get a signal.

    Medical Guardian doesn’t require a contract, and the flexible pricing structure makes it a great choice.

    Pros

    • Medical necklace included in the basic package
    • Landline or cellular options
    • Month-to-month agreement

    Cons

    • No trial period
    • Costs more for fall detection
    • Activity detection not available with all home packages

    Research Medical Guardian

  • Best option

    Bay Alarm Medical

    Starting at
    $19.95/mo

    Our take

    Bay Alarm Medical offers several medical alert packages. Each package comes with 24/7 monitoring and a necklace or wristwatch alert system. Bay Alarm also offers free spouse protection. You can add extra wall buttons or fall detection. You can also upgrade to cellular protection rather than a landline.

    Pros

    • Complimentary spouse monitoring
    • 2019 CES Innovation Award Honoree
    • Many packages and devices

    Cons

    • Costs more to add cellular monitoring
    • Costs more for fall detection

    Research Bay Alarm

  • Showing 5 of 10 items

Medical Alert Equipment and Features

  • Base Unit

    These are also known as in-home medical alert systems. Most base units include a microphone and speaker to speak with professional monitors and emergency responders if there’s an incident. You’ll be able to call for help with the press of the system’s 24/7 help button. Most units require a landline or cellular connectivity to communicate with monitoring centers. Look for base units with a backup battery to keep your unit running in case there’s a power outage.

  • Wearable

    Wearables are the most popular. They’re designed to be comfortable and reliable if you’re on the go. Some are necklaces, bracelets and even smartwatches. Most include a one-press button to call for help easily. You’ll want to look for a wearable with long battery life to stay working when you’re at home or out. Most wearables are also watery for better safety precautions in the shower. As a bonus, look for a wearable with fall detection to automatically call for help if there’s a fall or slip.

  • On-the-Go Help Button

    Mobile buttons can fit in your pocket or purse for reliable help when you’re taking a short walk around the neighborhood or doing work outdoors. Just press the button and monitoring specialists can help. Keep in mind that some help buttons only work within a certain range from the base unit to call for help. Most on-the-go buttons also include GPS for monitoring specialists to know exactly where to send for help.

  • Mobile App

    Medical alert mobile app features vary depending on your provider and equipment. Some allow you to use the app to automatically connect to monitoring specialists for help. You may also list emergency contacts, medication reminders and prescription information for easier refills and referencing. Some medical alert apps are specifically designed for caregivers to get instant emergency alerts, check to see if your loved one’s device battery is low and check their location to know they’re safe and sound.

Safety Score Methodology

The Safety Score is our way of thoroughly and fairly evaluating safety providers, products and services. The score focuses on four key categories to give you peace of mind: prevention, control, reliability and response. We look at several features, including battery life, GPS tracking, connectivity to the monitoring center fall detection and more. All those features are measured and summarized in a single, simple Safety Score.

How to Choose a Medical Alert System

Choosing a medical alert system depends on your lifestyle, medical needs and personal preferences. You’ll have several options to choose from, including whether it’s an in-home system, mobile device or wearable. You’ll also get to choose. Here are a few factors to consider when selecting the equipment that works best for you.

  • Ease of use: If you need medical assistance, you should press a button for help. Most medical alert systems are equipped with a base station or cellular signals for built-in two-way audio to speak with professionals. Make sure you understand how the system and its features work before buying so you’ll know what to do in the event of an emergency.
  • Water resistance: Many falls and incidents happen in the shower. If you or your doctor thinks you may be prone to a fall or water-related incident, you may want to look for a waterproof device that still calls for help.
  • 24/7 monitoring: Emergencies can happen at any time. Most medical alerts offer 24/7 monitoring and customer service to give you peace of mind, but some don’t. Check with the provider to make sure you’re getting the monitoring service you expect.
  • Landline vs. cellular connection: Some medical alerts connect to your home’s landline or a cellular network to signal for help. If you’re on the go, consider a cellular connection to call for help anywhere using GPS technology to notify emergency responders of your location.
  • Range: If you’re considering a landline system, it’s important to know how far your devices extend from the base station or home console. You’ll want to stay within reach to be able to signal for help in case anything happens.
  • Medical needs: Medical systems are not ‘one size fits all.’ Some ailments may require your medical alert system to be catered to health concerns, including fall detection, more visible visual alerts or automatic activity monitoring for your loved ones to check on you regularly.

Medical Alert Fees

Many medical alerts don’t have contracts, but there are a few fees associated with your equipment and service. Keep in mind that some healthcare insurance providers will cover medical alert systems using FSA or HSA cards. Here’s a quick breakdown of what to expect.

  • Activation: Some providers charge a one-time fee before they check on you regularly. The charge may vary depending on the provider, while some will start service free of charge.
  • Features: Some features, like fall detection or GPS, aren’t included in your medical alert subscription. Feature fees can be one-time or monthly payments — for example, Philips Lifeline charges a one-time fee of $29.95 for its lockbox.
  • Subscription: The subscription fee is a monthly cost to cover the monitoring service. The fee may also include other features such as instant alerts. The average subscription cost is $30 per month.

Best Medical Alert System Features to Shop For

  • Two-way audio

    You’ll be able to hear and talk to monitoring specialists using the microphone and speaker in your console or wearable. Just press the one-press button for help and use your device as a walkie-talkie or phone.

  • Fall detection

    If you fall, your medical alert will automatically alert your provider to send an emergency response quickly. Be advised, however, that fall detection usually costs extra, may not detect 100% of falls, and may send false alerts.

  • Instant alerts

    Some of the best medical alerts will send an instant alert on your device or smartphone when you need it. If your medical alert device has a low battery or if you need a reminder about your medicine, you’ll want to know right away.

  • GPS

    Medical alerts equipped with GPS will ensure that you have emergency help on your side no matter where you are. Medical alerts with GPS often require cellular connectivity to stay connected to your provider’s monitoring center for assistance.

  • Lockbox

    A lockbox uses a small box and code to store a key to your home securely. Emergency responders can get inside your home without breaking the door. Some medical alert providers offer a lockbox free of charge.

  • Vial of Life

    In case of an emergency, the Vial of Life will give responders your medical history and prescriptions in one form. Some medical alert providers offer a Vial of Life to place on your fridge, but if your provider doesn’t, you can make one.

Questions to Ask About Medical Alert System Providers

Before buying a medical alert device, the following questions should help you decide on a plan and provider to meet your medical needs best.

  • Do you offer landline or cellular connectivity for your medical alert system?
  • What is your average medical alert device range?
  • Do you offer fall detection? How much does it cost?
  • Is a professional monitoring service available? How much does it cost?
  • Is your medical alert device a wearable? Is it battery-powered? Is it waterproof?
  • Do you offer GPS tracking in your medical alert devices?
  • What is the average response time for monitoring agents?
  • Are there any activation or cancellation fees?
  • Do you offer any discounts or special offers?

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Medical Alert Systems

Before buying a medical alert device, the following questions should help you decide on a plan and provider to meet your medical needs best.

  • Do I need a medical alert system?
  • Do I need fall detection? 
  • What equipment do you recommend? 
  • Do I need a wearable or an in-house system?
  • Where should I place the base station based on my health?
  • Do you have any recommendations or other factors to consider as I decide?

 

Medical Alert System FAQs








How Do We Rank Our Medical Alerts?

Our team evaluates medical alerts based on factors that ensure your safety and make you feel safer. Medical alerts should give you peace of mind if there’s a medical emergency. Home security devices should help the moment the unexpected happens with features like GPS tracking, fall detection and two-way communication.

Medical alerts should also give you reliable service and equipment. Features including 24/7 monitoring, instant alerts, a lockbox and caregiver alerts are just a few of the ways medical alerts help keep you safe and send help quickly during an emergency. 

Our score also looks closely at other important factors, including cost, durability and reliable service. Want to know more about our Safety Score while you’re shopping? Read more about our methodology and research

Why Trust Us?

At Safety.com, we’re a team of specialists with your safety and home security top of mind. We’re dedicated to giving you the most up-to-date data, products and services to help you feel empowered and in control. Our goal is to give you everything you need to make the best decision for your safety. We’re here to help.

Every day, our team of analysts and writers spend hours comparing, reviewing and testing the best products to make your journey to better security simpler. We use the Safety Score to rate providers, products and services to give you the best safety recommendations in the industry. Our methodology evaluates over 100 features that are based on four key factors — prevention, control, reliability and response. 

We also stay abreast of the latest trending topics, product releases and recalls to keep you in the know. Whether you’re protecting your home, loved ones or personal data, we’re here for you.


Home Security Writer

Dashia Starr

Dashia researches and writes on all things home automation and security. She focuses on the latest news, products, and providers to share only the best with you.

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