LifeFone Medical Alert System Review

LifeFone offers some of the best prices and caregiver services we’ve seen from a medical alert system.
Best in-home medical alert
Lifefone
LifeFone
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starts at
$29.95
/mo
  • pro
    Lifetime warranty
  • pro
    Free spouse coverage
  • pro
    Landline and cellular options
Kasey Tross
Researcher & Writer
September 07, 2022

If you’re trying to choose a medical alert system, LifeFone is a great starting point. It’s among the most affordable medical alert systems we’ve found and has one of the best GPS units in the industry.

We like that LifeFone offers support for older adults and their caregivers with an array of medical alert systems, emergency response devices, and extra care services.

You can expect competitive pricing, friendly customer service, and a whole buffet of product options from LifeFone.

LifeFone pros and cons

pro
Pros
pro No contracts
pro No equipment fees
pro Excellent signal range
pro Caregiver resources
pro Interpreters available for any language
pro Five Diamond-certified monitoring
con
Cons
con No caregiver app for in-home system
con No voice activation

LifeFone costs, systems, and policies for 2022

Unless you buy a few accessories, you'll pay $0 for LifeFone equipment. Monthly monitoring costs between about $30 and $46 per month, depending on which medical alert device you choose.

However, LifeFone offers several upgrades that can significantly increase the monthly cost. Choosing all of them inflates LifeFone's price to between $65 and $83 per month. 

We'll break down the cost of LifeFone to help you decide what's worth paying for and what you can do without. 

How much does LifeFone cost?

LifeFone's costs can be divided into three categories:

  1. Monthly monitoring fees
  2. Optional monthly fees
  3. Optional accessory fees

The minimum starting price for a LifeFone system is $0 up front and $24.95 per month for the At-Home Landline base unit and pendant. 

1. Monthly monitoring fees

LifeFone's monthly monitoring fees depend on the equipment you want to use, and its prices run about average compared to other medical alert companies. 

LifeFone's lowest starting price ($29.95/mo.) is for the landline system, putting it on par with other top brands like Medical Guardian and Medical Care Alert.

If you can afford to pay for a full year in advance, you'll get a discounted rate equivalent to one free month of monitoring.

Compare LifeFone pricing and systems

Package
Monthly fee
Base equipment
Maximum range
Optional fall detection
Learn more
Base unit,
Waterproof pendant or wristband
1,300 ft.$5.00/mo.
Base unit,
Waterproof pendant or wristband
1,300 ft.$5.00/mo.
Base unit,
Waterproof pendant or wristband,
Mobile unit with charger
At home:
1,400 ft.

On-the-Go:
600 ft. between mobile unit and pendant
$10.00/mo.
Water-resistant mobile help button with speaker and charger Unlimited $5.00/mo.
Water-resistant mobile help button with speaker and charger Unlimited $5.00/mo.

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

2. Optional monthly fees

Here's where you'll need to hold onto your wallet if you're looking for an affordable system: LifeFone offers optional services and perks for additional monthly fees.

Most are geared toward remote caregiving and require specific LifeFone products. We've described each option, its monthly cost, and required equipment in the table below.

Compare optional LifeFone services

Service
Cost
Description
Equipment compatibility
Learn more
Daily check-inA LifeFone agent calls you to make sure you're okay or to remind you to take medication.All equipment
Activity assurancePress the button when prompted to let the monitoring center know you're up and at 'em.• At-Home Landline
• At-Home Cellular
Medication remindersYour medications are displayed on the base unit's screen when it's time to take them.• At-Home and On-the-Go
• At-Home system with fall detection
Location service + medication remindersCaregivers can request your location coordinates up to 30 times per month.• At-Home and On-the-Go
Automatic fall detectionThe pendant automatically calls monitoring center if it thinks you've fallen.• All equipment
• Costs $10/mo. for At-Home and On-the-Go system
VIPx mobile appAllows loved ones to track location, battery level, activity, and button presses.VIPx
Protection planLifeFone replaces lost or damaged equipment at a discounted rate.All equipment

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

Cost concerns aside, we love that LifeFone offers professional remote caregiving services as an extra layer of protection. Not everyone can rely on loved ones to check in with them and make sure they haven't fallen, gotten lost, or forgotten to take their medicine. This level of care sets LifeFone apart from other medical alert companies.

3. Optional accessory fees

Buying optional equipment is the only time you'll owe LifeFone an up-front fee. Here's what you can get:

medical alert necklace
Vanity pendant

LifeFone's vanity pendant covers the in-home help button, making it look like a gorgeous necklace. Since it feels good to look good, this pendant can be a great confidence booster and help you wear the button everyday. 

The vanity pendant costs $71.95 and only works with the At-Home landline or cellular systems (not the At-Home and On-the-Go system).

Wall button

LifeFone's wall button adheres to any surface with sticky tape and Velcro. We recommend putting wall buttons in the bathroom or near stairs so that you can get help if you fall and aren't wearing your pendant—which might happen during a late-night bathroom break.

Each wall-mounted help button costs $39.95. 

Lockbox

LifeFone sells a basic lockbox for $29.95. Or you can get a Master lockbox—available in hanging or wall-mounted styles—for $39.95

LifeFone agents share the lockbox code during an emergency so that first responders can enter your home quickly—and without busting down the door.

LifeFone freebies add value to each plan

Even though LifeFone charges extra for quite a few services, you do get some valuable stuff for free.

Free lifetime warranty

LifeFone is one of the few top medical alert companies to offer a free lifetime warranty. If your equipment stops working due to a manufacturer defect, LifeFone replaces it for free, no matter how long you've been a customer. 

If your equipment is damaged for any other reason, you might have to pay to replace it. LifeFone's $5-a-month Protection Plan replaces equipment for a small fee, no matter how or why it was damaged.  The replacement fee is $6 for a help button and $29 for a base unit or VIP device.

Free low-battery button replacements

The in-home pendant buttons contain batteries that last for around five years. LifeFone monitors the batteries and sends you a new one for free when needed. It's one less thing for you to think about and pay for.

Free spouse coverage

LifeFone will provide an additional pendant and monitoring service for your spouse for no additional charge. Automatic fall detection for spouses is an additional $5 a month for the At-Home systems and $10 per month for the At-Home and On-the-Go system. 

Are there any other LifeFone fees?

Shipping is the only other thing you'll need to pay for when signing up for LifeFone. Ground shipping starts at $16.95.

LifeFone charges no installation or activation fees. 

LifeFone's refund and return policies

LifeFone offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. This is the only time you can return accessories for a refund, and the 30-day period starts once the equipment ships.

Monitoring fees are refunded on a prorated basis. You can cancel halfway through the month and get money back for the days remaining in the month.

All leased equipment must be returned before the service is officially canceled and your refund is processed. You have to pay for return shipping. There may be an extra fee if the equipment is damaged and you weren't subscribed to the monthly Protection Plan. 

LifeFone vs. other medical alert systems

Brand
Fall detection
In-home range
Landline system
GPS pendant
Learn more
1,300 ft.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
1,000 ft.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
1,300 ft.
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
1,300 ft.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
400 ft.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes

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

How LifeFone stacks up

LifeFone blends in when it comes to starting prices, but its price range is much tighter than the others. Companies like Bay Alarm Medical and Philips Lifeline start just under $30 but can cost up to $50 to $60 per month with higher-tiered packages.

Once you zoom out on LifeFone, its 1,300-foot base station range is a little less impressive. This is about standard for other at-home systems in the industry, but this isn’t a bad thing. If your loved one prefers to stay cozy at home, they have plenty of options.

Where LifeFone really comes on top is with add-on features and fair prices. It charges half the price for fall detection per month, and it offers caregiver services and emergency packages the others don’t.

LifeFone tech and equipment

In-home base station

The LifeFone’s at-home Medical Alert systems use a base station that plugs into the wall. 

Once installed and ready to go, the base station provides a direct line to the monitoring center. When you press the emergency button on your pendant, wristband, or the base station itself, you’ll get a helpful monitoring pro to assist you with your emergency.

You can choose a cellular connection or one through your home’s landline. Either way, the system has a 32-hour backup battery to get you through power outages or electrical problems.

Medical alert pendant or watch

All systems also come with your choice of a waterproof emergency button pendant or watch that you can use up to 1,300 feet away from the base unit. If you choose a fall detection pendant, you’ll have a range of only up to 600 feet. When you press the help button on the medical alert device, it sends a signal to the base unit, and the base unit will call the LifeFone monitoring center for you. 

Thumbs Up
Button batteries replaced for free

LifeFone's medical alert pendant and watch help buttons have batteries designed to last two to five years, and LifeFone monitors their battery life for you.

When LifeFone agents detect that the battery life has dropped below 20%, they will send you a fully charged replacement device at no cost, so you never have to worry about changing batteries.

At-home and on-the-go GPS devices: VIP Active and VIPx

The VIP Active and VIPx units from LifeFone give you the freedom to leave the house, city, and state without being far away from help. They're like a tiny wearable base station you can tuck under your shirt or into your pocket.

Just like the LifeFone base station, you can call for help directly from these devices using two-way talk. They also have vibration feedback for those with hearing or vision impairments.

Difference between Lifefone VIP Active and VIPx

The LifeFone VIPx and VIP Active systems have nearly identical specs. We recommend the VIPx because it has a longer battery life. Other than that, the main difference is that it comes in two extra colors (white and bronze).

Add-on devices

Add-on devices include fall detection, a vanity pendant, lock boxes, a wall-mounted help button. Add-on services include caregiver tools like check-in calls by LifeFone agents or medication reminders.

Compare LifeFone's mobile apps

App
Price
Equipment requirements
OS requirements
Intended for
Learn more
Mobile AlertNoneiOS 11.4+
Android 4.4+
Individuals
Family GuardNoneiOS 11.4+
Android 4.4+
Individuals and families
VIPx Caregiver VIPxiOS 11.4+
Android 4.4+
Caregivers

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

LifeFone Mobile Alert app for individuals

LifeFone’s Mobile Alert app turns your mobile device into a medical alert system with a simple download and a monthly subscription.

This add-on feature is available for LifeFone users or caregivers. It includes three buttons so you can get specific help:

  • Panic mode connects you with a call center operator. They'll dispatch emergency responders to your location even if you can't speak.
  • Concern mode keeps a LifeFone agent on the line with you until you feel safe. 
  • Medical mode summons EMTs to your location.

The Mobile Alert app costs $8.95 for new LifeFone customers and $5.95 for current customers. 

LifeFone Family Guard app

LifeFone's Family Guard app is the same as the Mobile Alert app but includes GPS tracking for up to three family members. You can also do the following:

  • Set up geofencing alerts to know when a family member has arrived at their destination.
  • Get "lead foot" alerts to know if teen drivers are going too fast. 
  • Choose whether you want to receive alerts through email or text (or both). 

The Family Guard app starts at $9.95 per month for individuals. Each additional user increases the price by approximately $5.95 per month. Call LifeFone for a custom quote if you want to add more than three people to your account.

LifeFone VIPx caregiver app

The VIPx Caregiver Mobile App pairs with the VIPx device to keep caregivers in the loop. 

Here's what caregivers can see on the VIPx app:

  • Device location
  • Device battery level
  • Button press history
  • Step goals and step history
  • First motion of the day

There's also a "find my device" feature that prompts the VIPx to ring until located.

The LifeFone VIPx caregiver app costs $8 per month.

LifeFone installation and setup

Setting up your LifeFone is as simple as plugging it into a wall outlet. All units come preprogrammed and ready to go.

Once you have your unit plugged in, you press the help button and an agent will walk you through the rest of the setup and testing process. Agents will make sure your medical alert button pendant or watch works in all areas of your home.

LifeFone customer service

When we started researching other LifeFone reviews, we kept expecting to dig up some dirt, but LifeFone came up surprisingly clean.

It gets rave reviews from the majority of users, and the few who give it lower reviews are usually still pretty satisfied, with no major problems.

Like any product, there are a handful of decidedly unsatisfied customers, but we didn't notice any recurring trends or major red flags with this medical alert company.1 It gets an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

LifeFone's customer support is available 24/7, and we like that you can pay your bills and update your customer care profile online or by snail mail.

Emergency Care Plan

Another LifeFone feature we like is the Emergency Care Plan.

Rather than an automatic call to emergency services, or a standard list of people to call in an emergency, you can create your own customized plans of action for various potential emergency situations.

For example, if you've just gotten into a tricky spot and need a hand getting up, LifeFone can call a neighbor or nearby family member to come assist you rather than calling emergency responders.

You can make changes to your Emergency Care Plan by phone, email, web portal, or through the mail. LifeFone never charges for false alarms.

Final word

If we were to create our own medical alert system, LifeFone would be it. It's simple to install, it has quick response times, and it's easy to cancel at any time. We like the straightforward pricing and wide variety of add-on options and devices for helping seniors and their families have more peace of mind, like fall detection and the mobile app.

Like anyone, we always love a better deal, so we wouldn't mind an even lower monthly price. Still, you get a lot for your money, and LifeFone outperforms competitors on enough fronts to make the moderately higher fees worth it.

LifeFone FAQ

Yes. The LifeFone base station can use any landline connection. Just call LifeFone when you're ready to move (or even just go on vacation), and agents will update the address on your account to ensure that emergency services can find you if you call for help.

It depends. If you're still independent and like to go out on your own, but you worry about the risk of medical emergencies, an on-the-go plan with GPS is a good option.

If you're more of a homebody, or if you usually have a companion with you when you leave the house, then an at-home plan will be sufficient and cost less. Keep in mind that you can always transition between the two by subscribing to a combination plan.

In addition to getting a medical alert system with fall detection, it's important to do what you can to reduce the risk of falls.

Regular checkups to test hearing, balance, and vision are important, as well as frequent blood pressure testing and treatment of illnesses that may cause low blood pressure or muscle weakness.

At home, you can look for and remove potential trip hazards like loose rugs and items on the floor. Add secure handholds and extra traction to areas that might be tricky to navigate, like the tub.2

Our Senior Safety FAQ can help you learn more about keeping your aging loved ones safe.

How we prepped for our LifeFone medical alert review

For our LifeFone review, we combed through the LifeFone website, watched every video, and read every FAQ to better understand the ins and outs. We read what LifeFone customers had to say about using the service, and we checked its Better Business Bureau profile for red flags. We also compared its prices, features, and policies to other companies on our list of best medical alert systems to determine LifeFone's relative value.

Read our full methodology to better understand how we rate and review products.

Related articles on SafeWise


Sources

  1. Consumer Affairs, "Top 734 Reviews and Complaints about LifeFone," August 2021. Accessed September 7, 2022. 
  2. National Institute on Aging, "Prevent Falls and Fractures," March 2017. Accessed September 7, 2022.
Kasey Tross
Written by
Kasey Tross
Kasey is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer with expertise in emergency preparedness and security. As the mother of four kids, including two teens, Kasey knows the safety concerns parents face as they raise tech-savvy kids in a connected world, and she loves to research the latest security options for her own family and for SafeWise readers.

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