Life Alert Systems Review

We dug through customer reviews and specs and spoke with a Life Alert rep to see if it lives up to the hype.
Life Alert
2 out of 5 stars
2
Monitoring starts at
$49.95
/mo
  • pro
    2-way communication
  • pro
    Insured equipment
  • con
    Pushy sales

Info current as of 06/11/2020. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Katie McEntire
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
August 31, 2022

Life Alert has three types of medical alert devices—the emergency pendant, waterproof shower button, and portable GPS emergency button. Each Life Alert device comes with a lifetime warranty and with two-way communication, a standout feature in the medical alert industry.

Life Alert costs around $50–$90 per month, which may be out of reach for many people. We also encountered pushy sales staff on the phone. We don’t recommend Life Alert as a first choice because the best medical alert systems are much more cost-effective and up-to-date.

pro
Pros
pro 2-way communication on every device
pro 30+ years in business
pro Insured equipment
con
Cons
con Hidden prices and fees
con Pushy sales
con No fall detection

Life Alert pricing

Equipment
Monthly cost
Activation fee
Estimated 12-month cost
Estimated 36-month cost
$96.00$695.40$1,894.20
$96.00$935.40$2,614.20
$198.00$1,277.40$3,436.200

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

To put it plainly, Life Alert costs more than any other system we encountered. The pendant alone costs $49.95 per month on a 36-month contract. Only Philips Lifeline comes close to this price for one device, and it cost $5 less per month.

There’s also an activation fee for each plan, but it comes with personal orientation for your equipment to sweeten the deal. Expect to pay at least $95 in equipment fees as well.

You have to call for a quote

While researching, we noticed that Life Alert provides no pricing information online. If you want to learn more about the company’s equipment and rates, you have to call them directly. Even then, prices vary from location to location, so the quote you get may be different from what a relative or friend in another state may get.

Either way, you can expect to spend thousands of dollars by the end of Life Alert’s three-year contract.

Life Alert tech and equipment

Devices

Life Alert has a panic pendant that can be worn as a necklace or wristband, a GPS emergency button, and a shower button that you can buy separately or bundle together. The pendant and GPS are standard devices you’ll see in most medical alert systems, but the shower button is unique to Life Alert.

Two-way communication

Each medical alert device has a two-way intercom that connects you to a professional at Life Alert's monitoring center so you can get help wherever you are in your home. Showers, stairs, and yards can be dangerous places if you have mobility issues, so we like that you can speak directly into any nearby device to get help.

Thumbs Up
Long battery life

All three pieces of Life Alert equipment have a battery life of up to a decade, so you’ll never have to charge them.

No fall detection

Life Alert doesn't offer automatic fall detection—which is ironic for a medical alert company that coined the phrase "I've fallen and can't get up."

Fall detection is common add-on in medical alert systems that detects speed and pressure changes that happen when a person falls. These devices automatically contact an emergency responder if you’re unconscious or can’t reach your call button.

No caregiver app or GPS tracking

Life Alert isn't designed with caregivers in mind. There's no Life Alert app caregivers can use to track their loved one's location, help pay bills, or coordinate with other caregivers.

Life Alert customer service

Life Alert web page

Medical alert systems have two sides to customer service: sales and professional monitoring. With Life Alert, you’ll have to contact them first via telephone.

There’s no shopping cart feature on the company’s website, so you have to speak with a sales rep directly on the phone.

Our experience with the Life Alert sales team

We called Life Alert to get more information about the products, policies, and prices an average customer could expect.

Before we got to ask any questions, we had to provide information to get a free brochure (which we weren’t entirely interested in). Once we got in touch with a sales rep, they were pushy and barely gave us time to ask questions. The rep we spoke to used guilt tactics, dodged direct questions, and ran verbal circles around us. After only 20 minutes on the phone, we were exhausted.

Life Alert professional monitoring

It was a little harder for us to test Life Alert’s emergency response, so we turned to customer testimonials and reviews. From what we found, Life Alert is genuinely helpful in an emergency. We saw stories of subscribers able to get help in time after emergencies like falls and chest pain.

Compare Life Alert to other medical alert companies

Brand
Best for
Lowest monthly price
Lowest equipment price
Contract length
Minimum equipment package
Learn more
Quick response $95.0036 mo.• Neck or wrist pendant
Best overall Included in plan None • Landline base station
• Neck or wrist pendant
Best for fall detectionIncluded in planNone • Landline base station
• Neck or wrist pendant
Best value $79.00 None or 24 mo. • Cellular base station
• Help button
• Voice-activated wall button
Best GPS tracking Included in plan None • Landline base station
• Neck or wrist pendant
Best smart features$99.99 None • Mobile GPS and fall detection unit

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Life Alert is more costly and requires more commitment than other medical alert systems. Other popular brands like Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian don’t require a contract, have starting rates half of Life Alert’s price, and offer more equipment.

We encountered other services, like GetSafe, that require one-time equipment fees like Life Alert, but it’s a rare feature. The monthly cost you pay Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian goes towards the professional monitoring service, rather than the equipment.

Other systems use a base station connected by cellular or landline service to connect all the system’s buttons and mobile units (like pendants and GPS devices). Life Alert doesn’t use a base unit, which can be a good and a bad thing.

The pendants alone can reach the base station from up to 800 feet. If you have a larger house or are more active, the GPS unit won’t need a base station to call for assistance. And if you have a smaller house, the pendant alone should be enough.

Learn more about our recommended Life Alert alternatives.

Final word

Life Alert is quick in an emergency and has equipment with some helpful features, but these are standard for a typical medical alert system. The pushy sales, outdated (and unhelpful) website, hidden fees, and sky-high prices eclipse most of Life Alert’s best features.

With over three decades in the business, we expected more out of one of the first medical alert systems. We’d like to see some modernization in the form of new equipment, transparent pricing, and the ability to buy a system online.

While we don’t recommend Life Alert for many, you can read about the companies we do recommend as the best medical alert systems.

Life Alert FAQ

Life Alert prices start at $49.95 per month for one medical alert pendant. If you want to add a shower button or GPS unit to the package, expect to pay $69.95 to $89.95 per month. These prices don’t include activation fees, warranties, or other charges you might encounter from Life Alert.

Yes, Life Alert’s wearable pendant, shower button, and GPS device are all waterproof. They also have two-way communication, allowing you to call for help from anywhere.

Life Alert has mobile features for smartphone and cell phone users. There is a speed dial number you can add (if you have an older cell phone) that connects you to the Life Alert center. If you have a smartphone, the Life Alert app is available on iOS and Android devices as part of your subscription.

No, none of Life Alert’s equipment comes with a fall detection add-on. Fall detection can contact emergency services in the event of a fall or accident where you cannot reach your pendant.

How we reviewed Life Alert

Before writing our Life Alert review, we started by digging through its website and customer reviews from other sites. We were able to find specs on some of the equipment, but no useful product pictures or demonstrations, so we called Life Alert directly.

Once we reached a customer service rep, we took note of how they answered, what they said, and how satisfied we were with their answers. Learn more about how we review medical alert systems and other safety products in our full methodology.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.

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