The Best Medical Alert Systems of 2021

We talked to a medical professional and shoppers/testers to whittle down a list of over 30 medical alerts.

Best overall
bay alarm medical device and push button
Bay Alarm Medical
Starts at
$21.95
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Most equipment is free
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Location-tracking app
Best for fall detection
Philips HomeSafe Standard
Philips Lifeline HomeSafe with AutoAlert
Starts at
$44.95
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Free equipment
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Caregiver portal
Best value
Get Safe device
GetSafe
Starts at
$24.95
/mo
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Up-front equipment costs
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Location-tracking app
Best GPS tracking
Medical Guardian Mini Guardian GPS medical alert system
Medical Guardian Mini Guardian
Starts at
$39.95
/mo
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Up-front equipment costs
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Caregiver portal
Best smart features
aloe care smart hub
Aloe Care Health
Starts at
$24.99
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Up-front equipment costs
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Location-tracking app

Of the many types of medical alerts on the market, Bay Alarm Medical stands out for its consistent quality, versatility, and budget-friendly prices. From a traditional landline system to a mobile medical alert disguised as a smartwatch, Bay Alarm offers a little bit of everything.

Bay Alarm is our choice for overall best medical alert system, but other companies like Philips LifelineMedical Guardian, and Aloe Care Health excel in niche categories like automatic fall detection, GPS tracking, and smart features.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday medical alert deals
deals icon

Bay Alarm Medical deals:


Medical Guardian deals:

Aloe Care Health deals:

  • Call to order and get up to 75% off select Aloe Care Health packages.

 

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


Compare the best medical alert systems

Brand
Up-front cost
Monitoring starts at
Refund policy
Monitoring certifications
Learn more
Best overall
bay alarm medical device and push buttonBay Alarm Medical
30-day trial
Five Diamond, FM, UL, ESA
Best fall detection
Philips HomeSafe StandardPhilips Lifeline HomeSafe with AutoAlert
30-day trial, $50 restocking
Not specified
Most affordable
GetSafe medical alert systemGetSafe
30-day trial
Five Diamond, FM, UL, ESA
Best GPS tracking
Medical Guardian Mini Guardian GPS medical alert systemMedical Guardian Mini Guardian
Prorated refund
Five Diamond, FM, UL, ESA
Best smart features
aloe care smart hubAloe Care Health
30-day trial
Five Diamond
Best at-home system
Lifefone equipmentLifeFone At-Home
30-day trial
Five Diamond, FM, UL
Best basic system
mobile help productMobileHelp Classic
30-day trial, prorated refund
UL, FM, SIA
Best customer policies
HomeAndGarden lifenetLifenet
Prorated refund
UL, ESA

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

Best medical alert systems reviews

1. Bay Alarm: Best overall

Best overall

Bay Alarm Medical balances quality, variety, and affordability like no other medical alert company. Plus, its monitoring center boasts the industry’s four most prestigious certifications and offers support in around 170 languages.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Variety of wearable options
Pro Bullet 1,000-foot signal range
Pro Bullet Batteries monitored by company
Pro Bullet Mobile and in-home options
Pro Bullet Free spouse coverage
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Warranty costs extra
Con Bullet Charms don’t cover fall-detection pendant
Con Bullet No voice activation

If you feel overwhelmed by all the different medical alert systems to choose from, Bay Alarm Medical is an excellent company to start with. There’s no up-front cost for the in-home systems, and it offers a 30-day trial period.

Discreet wearables

If you’re self-conscious about wearing a bulky button, Bay Alarm has what you need to feel dignified and safe. Take your pick: a trendy necklace, a soft smartwatch, or a leather holster. No one will know that your sophisticated accessories conceal a medical alert button.

Most affordable landline system

You won’t find a more affordable landline medical alert system than Bay Alarm’s. The equipment is free to use, and monitoring costs just $21.95 per month. The cost increases if you add automatic fall detection ($10 per month) or wall buttons ($35 each). 

Learn more about Bay Alarm Medical in our full review.

2. Philips Lifeline: Best for fall detection

Best fall detection

Combining an accelerometer and barometric pressure sensor, the Philips Lifeline AutoAlert accurately detects about 95% of falls.1   You can get this fall detection device as part of an in-home or on-the-go system to suit your lifestyle. We’re also impressed by Philips Lifeline’s transparency and commitment to fall-detection education.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet 2 fall-detection technologies
Pro Bullet Waterproof pendant
Pro Bullet In-home or mobile device
Pro Bullet Batteries monitored by company
Pro Bullet Monitoring in 170+ languages
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet High monthly monitoring fee
Con Bullet Restocking fee
Con Bullet Activation fee

AutoAlert’s two sensors are a rarity

The more sensors in a device, the more accurately it detects falls. Out of more than 75 devices we considered, only three had dual fall-detection sensors.

Philips Lifeline thoroughly explains how its fall-detection devices work—including the limitations of those devices—on its website, offering a level of transparency above and beyond any other brand. Philips Lifeline also seems to take fall detection a little more seriously with data analytics and testing.

Hidden fees

Our main criticism of Philips Lifeline is its price. Yes, it’s often worth paying more for better tech and service, especially for something as serious as a medical alert system. But we don’t like the extra fees that come with setting up or canceling a Philips Lifeline account.

Budget for a $50 activation fee for the AutoAlert. If you decide to cancel, be prepared for a $50 restocking fee. 

Learn more about AutoAlert on the Philips Lifeline website or read our full Philips Lifeline review.

3. GetSafe: Most affordable

Most affordable
Get Safe
GetSafe
Starting from
$24.95
/mo

GetSafe, a branch of Bay Alarm Medical, is the only medical alert company that charges a flat rate for monitoring—$24.95—no matter how many buttons you want in your home. (GetSafe recommends one button for each room in your home for best results.) Other companies charge an extra monthly fee for every button.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Long-term affordability
Pro Bullet 30-day trial period
Pro Bullet Battery monitored by company
Pro Bullet Voice activation
Pro Bullet Pull cord activation
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Up-front equipment costs
Con Bullet No landline option

You do have to pay for the equipment up front, so GetSafe is a little more expensive initially. Choose a starter equipment package and add extra buttons during checkout. Note that purchasing an automatic fall detection device increases the monthly monitoring price by $10, and adding a mobile device with GPS increases the monthly fee by $20.

GetSafe offers voice activation

GetSafe is one of just three in-home security systems to offer voice control. We think its command—”call 911, call 911”—is the easiest to say, even though it’s a little bit misleading since you talk to the monitoring center, not 911 operators.

GetSafe’s voice-controlled buttons can be scattered throughout your home, either mounted on a wall or resting on a table. They also come with a pull cord that activates the button when yanked free from the medical alert device.

You can also buy a standard wall button (no voice control or pull cord) or an emergency button that can be worn as a pendant or wristband.

To learn more about GetSafe, read our full review

Light Bulb
Need a landline system instead?

Medical Guardian sells a voice-activated system nearly identical to GetSafe’s but with a phone jack. Medical Guardian’s a little pricier and limits you to four voice-activated wall buttons.

4. Medical Guardian: Best GPS tracking

Best GPS tracking

Medical Guardian’s Mini Guardian uses GPS tracking technology, cellular data, and Wi-Fi to pinpoint your location in an emergency. Friends and family can see your location on the MyGuardian mobile app, so they’ll know where to find you if they start to worry.

You can also talk to the monitoring center by pushing the help button. They’ll see your location too.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet 3 location tracking technologies
Pro Bullet 5-day battery life
Pro Bullet Free caregiver portal
Pro Bullet Optional fall detection ($10/mo.)
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Equipment fee
Con Bullet Short warranty (1 year)

Many other brands rely on just GPS data for location tracking. Because there’s more than one technology at work in the Mini Guardian, it’s more likely to transmit an accurate location to caregivers or the monitoring center.

The Mini Guardian comes with a lanyard and belt clip, and its battery lasts up to five days. You can add a built-in fall-detection sensor to this mobile medical alert system for an extra $10 a month.

Free caregiver app

We also like the MyGuardian app and online dashboard, which lets your caregivers see where you’ve been and where you are now. You have full control over who gets this information.

Other medical alert companies have no caregiver portal, make you pay extra for one, or only give location information through text.

MyGuardian also lets your loved ones keep an eye on the Mini Guardian’s battery or pay your monthly bill.

Light Bulb
Live outside the AT&T coverage zone?

If you live outside AT&T’s coverage zone but do have Verizon coverage, consider Lifefone’s Voice in Pendant mobile system. As far as we know, it’s the only GPS alert device that works with Verizon.

Confirm which cell towers are in your area with the FCC map.

Learn more about Medical Guardian in our full review.

5. Aloe Care Health: Best smart features

Best smart features
Aloe Care Health
Starting from
$99 + $24.99
/mo

In addition to the usual help button and two-way talk, Aloe Care Health’s base station monitors air quality, temperature, and motion. You can also call for help by repeatedly saying “Emergency” or use the hub as a speaker phone to call your caregivers.

And if all of that isn’t innovative enough, Aloe Care also offers a totally unique wall-mounted fall detection hub.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Cellular, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth
Pro Bullet Voice-activation
Pro Bullet Caregiver app
Pro Bullet Multiple types of sensors
Pro Bullet No long-term contracts
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet 200-foot in-home range
Con Bullet Separate fall-detection device
Con Bullet Equipment fee

We also like that Aloe Care sells extra motion sensors that offer a second layer of protection. The sensors learn your typical routine and alert caregivers if you aren’t active at your usual times.

Fall detection wall button

We like Aloe Care’s outside-the-box approach to fall detection. All you have to do is mount their special wall panel in the bathroom, where the risk of falling is especially high as you get out of the tub or shower.2 If you fall, the device alerts the monitoring center.

But there’s still a chance it won’t recognize your fall, a risk shared by all fall-detection devices.

Good for caregivers

We think Aloe Care’s caregiver app is one of the easiest to use and offers the most comprehensive insights. Caregivers can download the Aloe Care app and place calls directly to the base station for quick check-ins. They’re also welcome to call the monitoring center if they’re concerned about your well-being.

The app also lets loved ones know you’re up and moving based on what the equipment senses. If too much time passes without motion, they’ll know it’s time to check-in and make sure you’re okay.

A couple of flaws

Aloe Care does have a few kinks to work out like the base station backup battery—it lasts just six hours, which is way behind the 32-hour life of many other brands.

In addition, Aloe Care’s wearable button has the smallest range we encountered, so you can’t really wear it into the yard. You’ll have to grab the mobile unit on your way out.

Learn more about Aloe Care Health in our full review.

6. LifeFone: Best at-home medical alert system

Best home medical alert system
Lifefone
LifeFone At-Home
Starting from
$24.95
/mo

We like LifeFone’s in-home medical alert systems because you can add extra layers of protection with inactivity alerts, daily check-ins, or fire and smoke monitoring.

And Lifefone’s wearable devices work up to 1,300 feet away from the base station—one of the longest ranges on the market. That means most folks can go out in the yard without switching to a mobile device.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Landline and cellular systems
Pro Bullet Free spouse coverage
Pro Bullet Battery monitored by center
Pro Bullet Optional fall detection
Pro Bullet Lifetime warranty for defects
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No pro monitoring of temperature
Con Bullet Lost or damaged equipment fees
Con Bullet No caregiver portal for in-home system

LifeFone monitors all system batteries and sends you replacement devices when the battery gets low (which takes about five years). The wearable pendants can double as a phone receiver, allowing you to answer all incoming calls anywhere in the house or yard, and the base units monitor indoor temperature.

LifeFone extras

LifeFone’s extra features provide a fail-safe for people at risk of passing out or being unable to push the help button.

  • Fall detection starts at $5/month
  • Activity assurance for $6/month
  • Daily check-in calls for $19/month

Fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide monitoring is also available, but it requires a yearly contract and an annual payment that’s the equivalent of about $43 per month. That price also includes an in-home medical alert system.

Learn more about Lifefone in our full review.

7. MobileHelp Classic: Best basic system

Best basic system
MobileHelp
MobileHelp Classic
Starting at
$19.95
/mo

MobileHelp is as good as it gets for a basic push-button medical alert system and boasts the longest signal range in the industry at 1,400 feet. Although MobileHelp’s starter price is technically the most affordable on our list, adding a fall-detection pendant, wall buttons, medication reminders, or spouse coverage to your MobileHelp order makes it cost about the same as competitors like Bay Alarm or LifeFone.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet 1,400-foot signal range
Pro Bullet Lifetime warranty for defects
Pro Bullet Prorated refunds
Pro Bullet MDLive telehealth service
Pro Bullet Caregiver portal
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Activation fee
Con Bullet Additional costs for extras
Con Bullet Expensive landline system
Con Bullet Charges for lost or damaged equipment

Read our full review of the most affordable medical alert systems for more details.

Unique service: MDLive

All MobileHelp subscribers have access to a telehealth service called MDLive. MDLive allows you to speak to a doctor on demand. They can prescribe common medications, ensuring a small problem doesn’t turn into a big deal. You don’t pay a co-pay or even have to verify your insurance.

To learn more about MobileHelp, read our full review.

8. Lifenet: Best customer policies

Best customer policies
LifenetLogo
Lifenet
Starting at
$29.95
/mo

We found only one medical alert company that didn’t charge hidden or extra fees: Lifenet. With this medical alert company, you won’t get hit with activation, restocking, or cancelation fees. You don’t even have to pay shipping on orders or returns.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Signal range up to 1,000 feet
Pro Bullet Optional fall detection
Pro Bullet GPS available
Pro Bullet Affordable spouse coverage
Pro Bullet Optional check-in calls
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Limited equipment selection
Con Bullet Pricey monthly fee

Lifenet also offers a free lifetime warranty on all equipment. Many other companies will charge you for the price of lost or damaged equipment—which can easily cost over $300—or make you pay for an extended warranty.

We also like these Lifenet policies and services:

  • Prorated refunds
  • Batteries monitored and replaced by the company
  • Affordable spouse coverage ($3.99/mo.)

Lifenet equipment and cost

Lifenet sells two equipment packages: Home and Garden, and Home and Away.

Home and Garden is an in-home system. Its base unit connects to a landline, and you wear a wristband with a button on it. The button works within about 1,000 feet of the base station so you can go out into the yard and know that help is still a push away. It costs $29.95 per month, and you can add wall buttons for an additional $2.49 a month each.

Home and Away is a wearable medical alert device. It includes a help button, a speaker, and a microphone so you don’t have to stay near a base station to ask for help. This waterproof device also detects falls and features GPS technology so helpers can know where to find you if you get lost. The Home and Away costs $49.95 per month.

The only extra service offered by Lifenet is a “daily assurance” check-in. A Lifenet representative speaks to you every day, and they send help if you don’t respond.

More medical alert brands we considered

We considered more than 75 products across nearly 30 brands. Here are a few that didn’t quite make the cut.

ADT Medical Alert

If you have an ADT home security system, you can get a discount on its in-home and on-the-go medical alert packages. Otherwise, the cost of an ADT Medical Alert system is a bit high for what you get. It starts at $29.99/month for a landline system without fall detection.

We also weren’t impressed by the signal range for the in-home systems: 300 feet for the Basic and 600 feet for the Plus.

Learn more about ADT Medical Alert in our full review.

BellPal with BlueStar SeniorTech

Our hearts definitely went pitter-patter when we saw this gorgeous wristwatch. The BellPal doesn’t look like a medical alert device at all, but it includes GPS tracking, fall detection, and an SOS button. Like the Lively Wearable 2, BellPal only works when it’s close to a smartphone.

We were also bummed to see that you have to take this watch to a jeweler every four to six months to replace the battery. We know “replace battery” would end up on our to-do list for weeks. That’s why many other companies just send you a new wearable device instead of asking you to do it yourself.

BellPal costs about $200 up front. Monitoring is provided through BlueStar SeniorTech starting at around $20 a month.

FastHelp

FastHelp is not a monitored medical alert system, so we don’t recommend it for most situations.

Because it always calls 911 directly, you may get fined for false alarms. The 911 dispatchers and emergency responders also won’t have your medical history, lockbox code, or emergency contacts on file. In contrast, monitored systems retain this information and relay it to the emergency service for fast, accurate, and safe help.

The main advantage of FastHelp is that you only pay a one-time equipment fee. Since there’s no emergency monitoring, there are no monthly fees.

Learn more about FastHelp in our full review.

Life Alert

Life Alert is an industry pioneer famous for its TV commercials, but it hasn’t moved its sales and marketing into the 21st century. There’s almost no information about the system online.

We called to discover the cost of Life Alert. It’s by far the most expensive system on the market, with monitoring prices starting at nearly $50/month. The minimum activation fee is around $95. The price significantly increases if you add a GPS button, and there’s no automatic fall detection option at all.

Learn more about Life Alert in our full review.

Lively (formerly Great Call)

We nixed the Lively Wearable 2 because you have to carry a smartphone with you to talk to the monitoring center. It’s just too easy to leave home without your phone, assuming you have one to begin with.

The Lively Mobile Plus features a built-in speaker and microphone, so it’s the better option among Lively’s line-up. There’s really nothing wrong with this product—we just prefer the extra tracking technology in the Medical Guardian Mini Guardian and the superior fall detection technology in the Philips Lifeline AutoAlert.

Like MobileHelp, Lively offers a telehealth service, but it’s available only to subscribers paying at least $30 a month.

Learn more about Lively in our full review

LifeStation

LifeStation deserves a shout-out as the only other medical alert company besides Philips Lifeline to combine an accelerometer and a barometric sensor in its fall detection device. LifeStation’s basic in-home package starts at an affordable $23 per month, but GPS tracking, fall detection, wall buttons, spouse coverage, and a warranty all add to the monthly fee.

We also experienced some technical difficulties with the website that would make it difficult to order a system.

Learn more about LifeStation in our full review.

Medical Alert

We’re keeping a close eye on Medical Alert because it achieved “runner-up” status in key categories. For example, Medical Alert’s fall detection system includes two sensors, and its basic in-home system costs the same as MobileHelp’s. We also found Medical Alert’s representatives to be the most knowledgeable, which can make a big difference when shopping around.

We’ll offer more insights about how Medical Alert compares to our other top brands after hands-on testing.  

Medical Care Alert

Medical Care Alert offers similar equipment to Bay Alarm but costs around $5 to $7 more each month. We also found its website a little confusing because there’s no way to easily see its full product lineup.

It’s worth mentioning that Medical Care Alert used to offer a fall detection device with the holy trinity of sensors: an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer. This product was discontinued because it relied on the now-defunct 3G cellular network.

If Medical Care Alert releases this device again with 2G or 5G cellular service, we’ll sit up and pay attention. But for now, we think other brands offer better value. 

QMedic

QMedic offers a cellular in-home system and a mobile GPS button. This company lost our interest once we found out it doesn’t offer any fall detection at all. It’s also the only company we found that requires a full year of payment up front.

WellBe by Hands Free

The WellBe was in the running for our “Best extra features” category. We think this could be the medical alert system of the future once digital natives start to age in place. It’s a smart speaker and smartwatch with a special focus on health and wellness.

You can talk to it by saying, “OK WellBe” and then asking, for example, a medical question. WellBe can also be programmed to remind you to take your medications, to refill prescriptions, or to get ready for an upcoming appointment. It also works like a “normal” speaker by playing music, audio books, or the news.

The smartwatch doubles as a GPS tracker, health and fitness tracker, and help button. Caregivers can also keep track of your health through the app.

As cool as it is, we’re just not sure it’s the right system for everyone. You do need to be a bit tech savvy (or know someone who is) to take full advantage of it. Check it out if you already love chatting with your Amazon Echo.

Final word

We like Bay Alarm Medical best overall because it covers all the bases at a competitive price. But every person and situation is a little different, so you might prefer the price, tech, or policies of another company. The key is to find a device that makes you feel confident and independent.

FAQ

LifeFone is our top pick for an in-home medical alert system for seniors thanks to extra services like daily check-ins and activity alerts. But we prefer Philips Lifeline if you’re at risk of falling and Medical Guardian if you’re at risk of getting disoriented away from home.

The best medical alert system to buy depends on your budget and specific risk factors. We like Bay Alarm Medical the best overall, but a system like Philips Lifeline is better if you have a high fall risk, for example.

We think Bay Alarm is the best home medical alert system overall.

MobileHelp is the best and cheapest medical alert system for a cellular connection, but its cost increases with extra equipment. Bay Alarm Medical is the best and cheapest for a landline connection. For long-term affordability, we recommend GetSafe.

We recommend LifeFone for inside the home and Medical Guardian’s Mini Guardian for outside the home. Bay Alarm is our top pick for a bit of everything.

Bay Alarm Medical and Philips Lifeline are our highest-rated medical alert systems with cellular service.

Your kids, friends, or neighbors might like to have a caregiver app that lets them check in on you without being too nosy or nagging. Once you get back to feeling like your independent self, you’ll probably prefer that too.

The exact features depend on the company, but most caregiver apps let your loved ones see where you are, whether your device’s battery needs charging, and whether you pushed the help button.

How we reviewed the best medical alert systems

  • 76 products considered
  • 30 data points compared
  • 2 full weeks of product research

To prepare our medical alert system review, we compared each product’s technical specifications, talked to brand representatives, spoke with users, interviewed our advisory board member Sally Russell (MN, CMSRN, CNE, Health Expert and Educator), read scientific papers about the latest fall detection technology, and tested products hands-on.

We developed criteria for our final “best for” categories and found the products or brands that closely matched those priorities.

Learn more about our methodology.

Related articles on SafeWise


Sources

  1. Philips Lifeline, “Automatic Fall Detection.” Accessed November 11, 2021. 
  2. Judy A. Stevens, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC), “Nonfatal Bathroom Injuries Among Persons Aged ≥15 Years --- United States, 2008,” June 10, 2011. Accessed September 15, 2021.
Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past eight. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime reports and spotting trends. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.

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