Bay Alarm Medical Alert System Review

Through hands-on testing and plenty of research, we found Bay Alarm is our top medical alert pick.
Best overall
Bay Alarm Medical
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$19.95
/mo
  • Pros
    30-day risk-free trial
  • Pros
    Price-lock guarantee
  • Cons
    No voice activation
Cathy Habas
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
March 07, 2022

Bay Alarm Medical offers a wide array of equipment and monitoring to help you live safely both at home and when you’re on the go. 

It can be hard to choose a medical alert system, but we break it down for you so it’s easy to see if Bay Alarm Medical is the right fit for your medical alert needs.

Bay Alarm Medical pros and cons

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Locked-in prices
Pro Bullet 30-day risk-free trial
Pro Bullet Landline or cellular monitoring
Pro Bullet Mobile, in-home, and in-car packages
Pro Bullet Free spouse coverage
Pro Bullet 1,000-foot range
Pro Bullet Automatic fall detection
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No way to call for help with voice only
Con Bullet Extra fee required for mobile app
Light Bulb

The most common medical alert systems either look out for you when you’re at home or use GPS technology to offer support when you’re on the move. Bay Alarm Medical provides both of those options. Plus, you can mix and match to get the protection that best fits your needs.

Compare the cost of Bay Alarm Medical packages

Package name
Lowest monthly cost
Equipment cost
Caregiver mobile app
Learn more
bay alarm medical device and push buttonLandline system
Free lease
Icon No  LightNo
Cellular system
Free lease
Icon No  LightNo
In-home + wall button bundle
Free lease
Icon No  LightNo
Black and grey medical alert GPS button with red indicator lightGPS Help Button
$79
Icon Yes  LightYes
Black SOS Smartwatch from Bay Alarm Medical AlertSOS Smartwatch
$179
Icon No  LightNo
In-home + GPS bundle
$79 (GPS help button)

Free lease (in-home system)

Icon Yes  LightYes
In-home + smartwatch bundle
$179 (SOS smartwatch)

Free lease (in-home system)

Icon No  LightNo

Data as of post date. Offers and availability subject to change.

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Bay Alarm Medical equipment

Bay Alarm Medical offers some pre-bundled packages to offer you a better deal on at-home and on-the-go equipment. But each package is just a starting point—they're all highly customizable. For example, Bay Alarm makes it easy to add extra buttons for your spouse.

All of the in-home equipment is provided through a free lease, but you'll pay an up-front fee for the mobile GPS unit, smartwatch, extra in-home wearable buttons, and miscellaneous accessories.

The only downside to Bay Alarm's customization possibilities is that the total monthly cost can quickly rise to $50 or $60 and up. 

Take a look at Bay Alarm's equipment selection and costs to get an idea of what you can mix-and-match during checkout.

front view of bay alarm in-home base unit

In-home base unit

  • Landline or cellular connection
  • Two-way communication
  • 32-hour battery backup
bay alarm help buttons shown in wristband or on cord

Help button

  • Waterproof design
  • 1,000-foot range
  • Necklace or wristband options
  • Extras cost $35 each

Fall detection button

  • $10 per month for first button; $15 per month for second
  • Automatic fall detection sensors
  • 800-foot range
stack of 4 bay alarm wall help buttons with white letters on red background

Wall button

  • Waterproof design
  • Wireless installation
  • 5-year battery life
  • 2-pack costs $6 per month; 4-pack costs $10 per month
Black and grey medical alert GPS button with red indicator light

Mobile GPS help button

  • Two-way communication
  • AT&T cellular connection
  • Water-resistant design
  • Costs $79 plus monitoring
Black SOS Smartwatch from Bay Alarm Medical Alert

SOS smartwatch

  • Step counter
  • IP67 Water resistant
  • 4G LTE cellular service
  • Costs $179 plus monitoring

Bella Charms

  • Fit in-home help button only
  • Four handmade designs
  • $25 each or $90 for full set
black bay alarm key lockbox with combination lock

Key lockbox

  • Uses numeric combination
  • Stores house key for fast emergency responder access
  • Costs $30

Vial of Life

Caregiver mobile app

  • Requires Mobile GPS unit 
  • Works with iOS and Android phones
  • Show location, battery levels, and current weather

No voice-activated option

One thing we don’t like is that you can’t call for help without hitting a button. If you’re not near the base unit or can’t get to a wall button or pendant, you can’t call for help.

More medical alert systems are adding voice activation so that you can get help even if you’re unable to press a button. We’d like to see Bay Alarm Medical add this feature to its base station and basic wearable mobile alert device.

Note that Bay Alarm Medical has a separate line called GetSafe that does offer a voice-activated home system. But it's not interchangeable with the equipment you see here, so it's like ordering from a totally different company.

Setting up and using Bay Alarm equipment

A copy of the Bay Alarm Medical setup manual that came with our testing unit.

Image: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

Bay Alarm systems come with a user manual that walks you through the setup and testing process. Here's what to expect.

The Bay Alarm Medical base unit plugs into a wall outlet and a phone jack (landline systems only). Once it’s plugged in, move the O/I switch on the back of the unit to the I position. The unit will beep and the status light will flash for about one minute.

When the light stays green, the system is ready.

Button range test

Next, conduct a range test with the lanyard or wrist buttons and wall buttons. This helps you confirm that the buttons work in all corners of your home.

  1. Press the Mode button on the back of the unit until you hear "range test mode."
  2. While standing next to the base unit, press and hold the button you want to test. You'll hear a loud beep confirming that the button is connected to the base unit.
  3. Walk to all corners of your home and listen for the continuous beep from the base station.
  4. If the beeping stops, the button is out of range. Place the base unit in a more centralized location and try again.
  5. Repeat with every corner of your home and with every button. 

Placing a test call

Like all medical alert companies, Bay Alarm Medical encourages users to test their equipment after initial setup and once a month thereafter. This familiarizes you with what happens during a real emergency call and confirms that the equipment can place a call.

Press any of your help buttons to test the system. The base station acts like a speakerphone, allowing for two-way communication with someone in the monitoring center.

The base station beeps repeatedly to let you know that it's placing a call. 

SafeWise tested the Bay Alarm Medical in-home cellular equipment, including the base station, wall button, wearable buttons, and accessories.

Image: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

Our Bay Alarm Medical testing experience

We had a chance to test the Bay Alarm Medical in-home cellular system with a wearable help button and a wall button, plus the Mobile GPS unit and the SOS Smartwatch.

The grandmother of one of our team members used a Bay Alarm Medical system, giving us extra insight into the in-home system and fall detection pendant. 

In-home system test

Family safety expert Cathy Habas presses the help button on the Bay Alarm Medical base station to place a test call.

Image: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

We found the in-home cellular system a breeze to set up. It provides audio and visual confirmation once it's ready to go, which took about one minute during our test.

It took 47 seconds for a monitor to answer our test call, which might feel like an eternity during an emergency. On the plus side, the monitor was easy to understand and had a friendly tone of voice. 

The base station speaker is loud. In fact, we noticed there's no volume control on the base unit. The speaker stays at full volume to make sure you can hear it throughout your home.

There's also no way to cancel an alarm if you bop the help button accidentally. Fortunately, false alarms are no big deal to Bay Alarm. Let the call go through to the monitoring center, and explain that you don't need help. 

"My grandmother has the Bay Alarm Medical at-home system with a fall detection pendant, and it’s worked flawlessly for her. Plus, there’s no penalty for false alarms, so I recommend adding this level of protection.​"

—Rebecca E., SafeWise

Wearable buttons and Bella Charms

Family safety expert Cathy Habas wears the Bay Alarm Medical wristband help button during testing.

Image: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

The wearable button is lightweight and unobtrusive, but there's something a little too "medical" about the elastic wristband. We preferred to wear the in-home button as a necklace with one of the Bella Charms. 

The Bella Charms are two-inch discs with a special bracket on the back. They snap over the help button, turning it into a fashion statement instead of something you might want to hide inside your shirt.

Images: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

Mobile GPS button

Image: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

The Bay Alarm Mobile GPS button is large and moderately heavy. It's hard to forget it's there when worn as a lanyard. 

The Mobile GPS button can be slipped into a pocket or worn on your belt with the included leather holster instead. However, if you choose a Mobile GPS button with fall detection, wear it as a lanyard for accurate fall alerts.

The lanyard is easily adjustable to ensure correct placement for fall detection (on your sternum) and features a quick-release snap just in case you get caught on something or a wild grandbaby yanks the cord.

Bell
Strong magnet warning

If you have a pacemaker, defibrillator, or any other device affected by magnets, talk to your doctor before purchasing the Mobile GPS button. 

The charging cradle is perfectly shaped to hold the GPS unit. Just make sure the pins match up. You'll hear a voice say, "Your device is now charging," and the status light will change from blinking to steady. 

The charge cord fits into any standard USB outlet and comes with a wall outlet adapter.

Images: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

Caregiver app

A screenshot of the Bay Alarm Mobile GPS button's location tracking app.

Screenshot: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

Caregivers can check the Mobile GPS button's battery status, location history, and current location through the mobile app. Most of the location pings were accurate, but occasionally the device showed that I was outside or at the neighbor's house.

The location tracking app would be better if it gave an approximate address or directions to the device's location.

SOS Smartwatch

Senior safety expert Cathy Habas wearing the Bay Alarm SOS Smartwatch and demonstrating its home screen.

Image: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

Bay Alarm Medical's SOS Smartwatch has a super soft silicone wristband and a clasp that's easy to adjust with one hand. The SOS button is prominently placed on the side of the watch for easy access, but it's subtle enough that no one else will know you're wearing a medical alert watch.

The watch tells time, tracks steps, and serves as your direct line to a professional monitoring center. That's about it. There's no fall detection option and no way for your loved ones to track your location. 

Overall, we're underwhelmed by its "smartwatch" capabilities. However, if your main concern is having quick access to monitors, this is a more stylish and comfortable alternative to the Mobile GPS button. 

Images: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

Bay Alarm Medical customer service

Bay Alarm Medical gets consistently high reviews for its equipment and monitoring. But we found negative reviews regarding fine print in the billing details and trouble with system returns. We wanted to read the fine print for ourselves, so we combed over a copy of the company’s Terms and Conditions. We don’t think it’s deceptive, but it can be confusing. We recommend reading everything carefully to avoid any surprises.

Customer support in many languages

One of Bay Alarm Medical’s standout features is multilingual customer support. Its monitoring personnel can communicate with users in 170 different languages, thanks to a partnership with Language Line Services. This is especially reassuring for caregivers assisting family members who don’t speak English.

Customer support summary

Overall, Bay Alarm Medical does a good job of supporting its customers. It has several customer-first policies, like its 30-day trial period and price-lock guarantee. What muddies the waters is the large number of package and bundling options that can lead to confusion.

We found Bay Alarm’s customer service representatives to be helpful and patient when wading through all the company’s offerings. If you’re willing to spend some time on the phone, it’s worth it to make sure you get all of your questions answered.

Compare Bay Alarm Medical to other medical alert companies

Brand
Best for
Lowest monthly price
In-home range
Backup battery
Landline option available
Learn more
Read review
Bay Alarm Medical
Best overall1000 ft.32 hrs.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Philips HomeSafe StandardPhilips LifeLine
Best for fall detection400 ft.Not available
Icon Yes  LightYes
GetSafe medical alert systemGetSafe
Best value1300 ft.32 hrs.
Icon No  LightNo
Medical Guardian Classic Guardian systemMedical Guardian
Best GPS tracking options1300 ft.32 hrs.
Icon Yes  LightYes
aloe care total careAloe Care
Best smart features200 ft.6 hrs.
Icon No  LightNo
MobileHelp
Best basic system1400 ft.24 hrs.
Icon No  LightNo

Data as of post date. Offers and availability subject to change. 

Final word

Bay Alarm Medical’s month-to-month subscription makes it an excellent medical alert service for those who may need it only on a short-term basis. Customers are also happy with the monitoring service’s compassionate professionalism.

The medical alert systems are priced affordably, and it’s easy to add or subtract features and products as your needs change. It has a few minor hiccups when it comes to billing and returns, but most of them can be resolved by studying the fine print and communicating with customer service.

Overall, we think it’s an excellent choice for older adults who want both independence and security.

Bay Alarm Medical FAQ

Bay Alarm Medical retains ownership of its in-home equipment and loans it to you during your subscription period. But you’re on the hook if there’s any damage to the equipment, which could run you between $200 and $300. Fortunately, you can avoid that risk if you purchase a warranty protection plan. The plan is $5 per month and covers equipment up to $300.

You purchase and keep the Mobile GPS button, SOS smartwatch, and Bella Charms.

The landline base unit must be plugged into a standard landline phone jack to connect with the monitoring center. For power, it needs a 110-volt electrical outlet that’s not connected to a light switch—you don’t want to turn off your medical alert system accidentally.

If you don’t have a landline, purchase the cellular system instead. Bay Alarm provides the cellular connection, and you don’t have to have a cell phone or individual plan to use it.

Bay Alarm Medical recommends testing the button on your pendant or your base unit at least once a month or as often as you need for peace of mind. Press the button and wait for the system to dial out. When the responder asks if you need help, let them know you’re just testing it. There are no charges or penalties for testing your system or false alarms.

Bay Alarm Medical's in-car device used 3G technology,  which is now outdated. It is no longer available for purchase.

How we reviewed Bay Alarm Medical

Our review of Bay Alarm Medical is the result of real-life experience from a team member's grandmother, hands-on product testing, customer reviews, and research. We considered package and equipment options, pricing, and customer service. We also looked at how easy it is to understand what the company offers and how easy it is to use the medical alert systems.

See our full rankings methodology for more information about how we rank and review products and services.

Contributing writer: Rebecca Edwards

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over seven years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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