Medical Guardian vs. Life Alert

We compared Life Alert and Medical Guardian across more than 45 specs. Life Alert won just one category.
Winner
Medical Guardian
Medical Guardian
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.75
Starts at
$29.95
/mo
  • pro
    No contracts
  • pro
    14-day refund period
  • pro
    Automatic fall detection
Runner up
Life Alert logo
Life Alert
2 out of 5 stars
2
Starts at
$49.95
/mo
  • con
    3-year contracts
  • con
    No refund period
  • con
    No automatic fall detection

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

Medical Guardian beats Life Alert in almost every way—from price to equipment selection to quality. Life Alert’s only triumph is its 10-year battery life, but we don’t think that’s enough to turn the tide in its favor for this match-up.

In fact, many other medical alert systems offer more variety at a lower price compared to Life Alert. Medical Guardian is one of the best.


Medical Guardian vs. Life Alert at a glance


Medical Guardian pros and cons

pro
Medical Guardian pros
pro Landline and cellular options
pro Mobile devices
pro Five Diamond Certified monitoring
pro 1,400-foot range from base station
pro Wide selection of equipment
pro No activation fees
pro Automatic fall detection
pro Caregiver features
con
Medical Guardian cons
con No free warranty
con No price lock guarantee
con Equipment fees

Medical Guardian is best overall

Medical Guardian has medical alert equipment to match anyone’s preferences—and at palatable prices to boot. We also like how the company is constantly innovating—something Life Alert doesn’t seem to have done since its inception in 1987.

Just be careful not to overdo it with Medical Guardian’s accessories, since each one raises the monthly bill. Despite that, Medical Guardian still manages to be cheaper than Life Alert.

Read our Medical Guardian review to learn more.

Life Alert pros and cons

pro
Life Alert pros
pro Landline and cellular options
pro Mobile device
pro Leased equipment
pro Long-lasting batteries
pro 800-foot range from base station
con
Life Alert cons
con Activation fees
con Expensive monthly fees
con 3-year contracts
con Lack of equipment variety
con Lack of services and features
con Must call to buy

Life Alert is best to avoid

Thanks to its unforgettable commercials, the Life Alert brand is synonymous with medical alerts for many people. But brand recognition is really the only thing Life Alert has going for it.

In fact, in our proprietary ranking system, 15 other medical alert brands score higher than Life Alert. This company is expensive and offers minimal devices or services—nothing you can’t get elsewhere at a better price.

Read our Life Alert review to learn more.

How Medical Guardian and Life Alert compare

Company
Lowest monitoring price
Star rating
Refund period
Contract length
Fall detection option
Learn more
Read review
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.75
14 daysMonth to month
Icon Yes  LightYes
2 out of 5 stars
2
None3 years
Icon No  LightNo

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

Medical Guardian vs. Life Alert similarities

Medical Guardian sells everything Life Alert sells—and then some. Here’s what you can expect from both companies:

  • Landline or cellular systems
  • Lanyard button
  • Pendant button batteries monitored and replaced for free
  • Optional waterproof wall buttons that cost extra each month
  • Optional paid lifetime warranty
  • Five Diamond Certified monitoring

Medical Guardian vs. Life Alert differences

Longest battery life: Life Alert

Base station batteries

Life Alert’s base station backup battery lasts up to 72 hours, whereas Medical Guardian’s lasts up to 32 hours. The base station continues to work even if your power goes out or someone jostles the power cord.

Pendant batteries

Life Alert claims its panic pendant battery lasts up to 10 years, while Medical Guardian’s battery has an expected lifetime of about five years. But the difference here is moot: both medical alert companies monitor the pendant’s battery life for you. When the battery runs low, they send a replacement pendant for free.

Whether that happens once every five or 10 years, you don’t have to lift a finger either way.

Mobile device batteries

Life Alert also claims its on-the-go GPS button “never needs charging” and lasts up to 10 years. Medical Guardian’s Mobile 2.0 and Mini Guardian last up to five days between charges, and the MGMove medical alert smartwatch needs daily charging.

Best for fall detection: Medical Guardian

Life Alert doesn’t offer automatic fall detection on any of its devices. Medical Guardian does. Easy win.

Okay, let’s take a closer look at what this means for you. If you fall and can’t push your emergency button, automatic fall detection devices place an emergency call for you. So if you pass out before or after falling, or if you suffer a head injury and feel too confused to place the call, this can be a life-saving measure. 

The caveat is that fall detection technology doesn’t detect 100% of falls. It’s smart to have a backup option that helps loved ones know you’re okay, like daily phone calls from caregivers or movement and activity monitoring.

Still, if you’re at risk of falling, even a less-than-100% chance of detecting falls is better than a 0% chance.

Most affordable: Medical Guardian

Life Alert’s prices start around $50 per month with an activation fee of about $95. Adding any additional equipment significantly increases the cost of a Life Alert system.

In contrast, Medical Guardian’s monthly fees start at around $30 per month with no activation fees. You do have to pay upfront for Medical Guardian’s equipment, though—except for the landline base station, which is on loan to you for free.

That said, it’s possible to rack up a hefty bill with Medical Guardian because every accessory or service increases your monthly bill.

For example, we said “Yes” to every optional accessory, service, and warranty available for the Home 2.0, and our monthly total came to over $75. Still, that gave us more than we could get for a similar cost through Life Alert. 

Finally, there’s a 3-year financial commitment with Life Alert—and there’s no trial period. With Medical Guardian, you don’t sign a contract, and you can get a full refund within 14 days of purchase.

Compare Medical Guardian vs. Life Alert plans

Plan
Starting price
One-time fee
Fall detection
Learn more
Life Alert Pendant-Only Plan$96.00None
Medical Guardian ClassicNone$10.00/mo.
Life Alert Pendant + Wall Button$96.00None
Medical Guardian Classic + Wall ButtonNone$10.00/mo.
Life Alert Pendant, Wall Button, GPS$198.00None
Medical Guardian Mobile 2.0 + Wall button$124.95$10.00/mo.

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

Life Alert offers three basic packages. We found the most affordable Medical Guardian equivalents for easy comparison in the table above. There are many more Medical Guardian products than what you see here.

Regardless, Life Alert’s monthly fees are almost always twice as expensive as Medical Guardian’s.

Check out our list of the most affordable medical alert systems for even better prices.

Best for caregivers: Medical Guardian

Some medical alert systems make it easy for friends, family, and even medical professionals to keep an eye on you through caregiver apps or web-based dashboards.

But not Life Alert—it’s sticking with the same formula used for years. You press the button, talk to the monitoring center, and let the monitoring center contact loved ones for you.

Medical Guardian’s MyGuardian web portal allows caregivers to check device status, battery levels, and GPS location (if applicable). Some caregiving features cost extra each month, such as instant notifications when someone presses the emergency button.

Best for voice activation: Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian sells an optional voice-activated accessory that you can place throughout your home. It’s a good backup option if you’re not sure you want to wear a pendant all of the time—or if there’s a chance you’ll forget to put it on each day.

Just say “help me” twice to connect to the monitoring center.

Life Alert sticks to the basics: a waterproof wall button that activates when pressed. (Medical Guardian sells one of those too.)

Winner: Medical Guardian beats Life Alert

No matter what you’re looking for, Medical Guardian offers a better deal than Life Alert. And that doesn’t mean you’re getting poor-quality equipment—Medical Guardian is one of the best brands in the medical alert industry.

Now that you know Medical Guardian’s a great option, read our guide to choosing a medical alert system to narrow down the equipment you need.

How we decided: Medical Guardian vs. Life Alert

Image: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

We have a proprietary ranking and comparison system for medical alerts that allows us to compare companies across more than 45 data points. We leaned on these comparisons for our Medical Guardian vs. Life Alert review. We also spoke directly to Life Alert sales representatives and Medical Guardian customer service, got our hands on some Medical Alert equipment, and read real user reviews. Learn more on the SafeWise methodology page.

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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