Life Alert Systems Review

We dug through customer reviews and spoke with a Life Alert rep. We're not impressed.
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 post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Cathy Habas
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
November 15, 2022
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Bell

The Life Alert brand is practically synonymous with medical alerts in general—much like Kleenex has come to mean any kind of tissue. So before we go any further, we want to make sure you're in the right place:

  • Do you want medical alert info in general? Head to our best medical alerts round-up.
  • Are you here for Life Alert specifically? Great! Keep scrolling. 

Life Alert is very expensive and offers just the basics. We can count its advantages on one hand—namely its long-lasting batteries and reputation for speedy, professional service once the help button is pressed. 

The disadvantages of Life Alert include its high price, 3-year contract, lack of fall detection, and lack of a caregiving app. Life Alert's pricing structure makes it difficult to get à la carte equipment, and you can only order a system over the phone. 

pro
Pros
pro 30+ years in business
pro Insured equipment
pro Long-lasting batteries
pro Five Diamond-certified monitoring center
pro Wall button with 2-way talk
con
Cons
con Hidden prices and fees
con 3-year contract
con Pushy sales
con No fall detection
con No caregiver features
con Phone ordering only

Life Alert cost

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 Lifeline comes close to this price for one device, and it cost $5 less per month.

There’s also a $96–$198 activation fee for each plan, but it comes with personal orientation for your equipment to sweeten the deal.

Even though you technically lease the equipment from Life Alert, expect to pay at least $95 in equipment fees as well.

You have to call to order or get 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.

Compare Life Alert's monthly costs

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.

How Life Alert compares to the competition

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.

Learn more about our recommended Life Alert alternatives or check out our head-to-head comparisons:

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 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 for fall detectionIncluded in planNone • 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 contracts and warranties

Life Alert is the only major medical alert company that requires a contract. You sign up for a 3-year service plan with Life Alert. You get a price lock guarantee for the duration of your contract, but the price may go up upon renewal. Companies like Bay Alarm Medical and ADT Medical Alert offer price lock guarantees with no contracts.

Because you lease Life Alert's equipment, you can get replacements if the devices stop working. But there are a lot of "buts" here—Life Alert won't cover damage that it deems is due to negligence. To avoid fines in the case of lost or damaged equipment, you'll need to pay extra for a protection plan.

Life Alert also sends replacement units once the batteries run out—and they monitor battery life for you so you're never without coverage.

Life Alert tech and equipment

Life Alert sells three types of medical alert devices or personal emergency response systems (PERS)—a home medical alert system with an emergency panic pendant, a waterproof shower button, and a mobile system with GPS.

Two-way communication in every Life Alert device

Each Life Alert device—except the wearable in-home help button—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. 

Life Alert's wall button is unique in this regard. Many other medical alert companies talk to you through the base station speaker when you press a wall button, but that can make it difficult to communicate when you're in the next room. 

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 medical alert 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.

View our list of best medical alerts with GPS to see which ones are more caregiver-friendly.

Life Alert product guide

Image: Life Alert

Base station and pendant

  • Landline and cellular options
  • 72-hour backup battery
  • Button can be worn as pendant or bracelet
  • Pendant works up to 800 feet from base station
  • Pendant batteries last up to 10 years
Life Alert button

Image: Life Alert

Wall button

  • Cellular
  • 10-year battery
  • 2-way talk
  • Water-resistant
  • Must be bundled with base station

Image: Life Alert

On-the-Go with GPS

  • Cellular
  • 10-year battery
  • 2-way talk
  • GPS location not available to caregivers
  • No fall detection

Life Alert customer service and support

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.

Is Life Alert right for you?

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 only thing to get excited about is Life Alert's wall button, since two-way talk can be hard to find in these devices.

But 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 people, you can read about the companies we do recommend as the best medical alert systems.

Life Alert FAQ

Does Life Alert have fall detection?

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.

See our recommended medical alert systems with fall detection.

Can I use Life Alert in the shower?

Yes, Life Alert’s wearable pendant, wall button, and GPS device are all waterproof.  

How do I cancel Life Alert?

Life Alert won't let you cancel your contract without proof that the user has been moved into a nursing home or assisted living facility, receives 24-hour in-home care, or has died.

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.

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over eight 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 is a certified Safe Sleep Ambassador and 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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