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Bay Alarm Medical vs. Life Alert Comparison

While both Bay Alarm and Life Alert offer reliable monitoring, Bay Alarm has more advanced features that come with far lower price tags.
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  Bay Alarm Medical Life Alert Logo
Editor's Ratings
4.8 / 5
3 / 5
COSTS    
Equipment Costs
  • $0 for most systems
  • $89 for the GPS Help Button
  • $179 for the SOS Smartwatch
$0
Monthly Price Range $24.95 - $41.95 $49.95 - $89.95
Activation Fee $0 $95-$198
Shipping Cost Free Free
Contracts Month-to-month 3-year minimum contract
Return Policy 30 days (with $50 restocking fee) Only in the event of a move to a care facility or death
PRODUCT FEATURES    
Connection Landline or Cellular Landline or Cellular
Two-Way Talk Yes Yes
In-Home Backup Battery Life 30-32 hours 72 hours
In-Home Range 600-1,300 feet 800 feet
On-the-Go Battery Life
  • 24 hours for GPS Help Button
  • 18 hours for SOS Smartwatch
10 years
Water-Resistant Help Button Yes Yes
GPS Yes Yes
24/7 U.S.-Based Monitoring Yes Yes
ADD-ONS    
Fall Detection $10 per month Not Available
Wall-Mounted Help Buttons Yes Yes
Contact    
Phone Number
Call for best price:
855-675-0754
Website View Packages

*We recommend calling because representatives can sometimes offer special deals or pricing. We make every effort to provide and maintain accurate information on our site. However, the businesses reviewed on our site may periodically change their pricing, equipment, and packages and there may be a lag between the time they make such changes and the time we become aware of such changes. If you identify any outdated or inaccurate information, please contact us here.

Two of the most popular medical alert providers –– Life Alert and Bay Alarm Medical –– promise to protect seniors both in their homes and on the go; however, the two companies differ greatly in terms of their features, prices, and contract requirements.

Unless you want to lock into a three-year contract, Bay Alarm Medical is likely the better option for most people. Let’s take a closer look.

Pro Tip: Which medical alert company comes out on top? To learn more, check out our pick for this year’s best medical alert system.

Bay Alarm Medical Overview

One of the most affordable medical alerts, Bay Alarm Medical, is also one of our favorites due to their reliable monitoring, simple devices, and fall detection options. For in-home systems, they offer landline or cellular systems, both of which can be paired with a fall detection pendant. For mobile systems, they offer their GPS Help Button or the SOS Smartwatch, the latter being a discreet medical alert with health tracking features.

Bay Alarm Medical Equipment
Bay Alarm Medical Equipment

Additionally, Bay Alarm Medical offers bundles of its systems, allowing you to pair an in-home system with a GPS Help Button, SOS Smartwatch, or In-Car Medical Alert. These bundles come at rates discounted from purchasing each system separately.

In our tests with Bay Alarm Medical, their monitoring agents answered our calls in an average of 16 seconds, which is pretty fast overall. The agents were also professional and helpful.

To learn more about our experience with this company, check out our Bay Alarm medical alert review.

Bay Alarm Medical Devices

System Monthly Starting Cost Connection For Use Additional Features
In-Home Landline $24.95 Landline In the home
  • Optional fall detection
  • 32-hour backup battery
  • Waterproof help buttons
In-Home Cellular $29.95 Cellular In the home
  • Optional fall detection
  • 32-hour backup battery
  • Waterproof help buttons
GPS Help Button $89 Cellular In the home or on the go
  • GPS tracking
  • Water-resistance
  • Caregiver tracking
SOS Smartwatch $179 Cellular In the home or on the go
  • GPS tracking
  • Water-resistance
  • Built-in step tracker

Life Alert Overview

Unlike Bay Alarm Medical, Life Alert doesn’t sell packages that contain base units and help buttons. Instead, you purchase a Life Alert Master Unit –– a base unit –– and then add on a help button, a mobile unit, or both. This causes Life Alert’s systems to look deceptively priced. While $49.95 isn’t a terribly high price for a medical alert system, this cost includes no help buttons. In most cases, a system with a help button will cost you $69.95 per month.

All that said, Life Alert’s devices perform exceptionally well. Whether we were using the in-home help button or mobile unit with GPS, all of our test calls were answered quickly and professionally.

To learn more about our experience with their systems, check out our Life Alert bracelet review.

Life Alert Devices

System Monthly Starting Cost Connection For Use Additional Features
Life Alert Master Unit $49.95 Landline or Cellular At home
  • 72-hour backup battery
  • Two-way speaker
Life Alert Mobile System $20* Landline or cellular At home
  • 10-year battery life
  • GPS capabilities
Life Alert Help Button $20* Landline or cellular At home and on the go
  • Fully waterproof
  • 10-year battery life

*These devices are add-ons and must be purchased in addition to the Life Alert Master Unit.

Life Alert and Bay Alarm Medical Similarities

Life Alert and Bay Alarm Medical are two of the most trusted names in the medical alert industry. Both companies provide in-home and mobile solutions to senior safety, and both of their monitoring centers are based in the United States.

Among similarities the companies share include:

Life Alert and Bay Alarm Differences

When putting Bay Alarm Medical and Life Alert head to head, we noticed stark differences in their costs and contracts. Additionally, Life Alert doesn’t offer fall detection or smartwatch options, which could be a deal-breaker for some.

Device Options

Currently, Life Alert offers an in-home system and a mobile GPS system. For most people, this will provide the ideal protection you’re looking for; however, if you’re looking for a medical alert watch, then you’ll want to go with Bay Alarm Medical. Their SOS Smartwatch provides a discreet way to stay protected on the go. What most people appreciate about medical alert watches is that they resemble any other smartwatch, making them a great option for those who are bashful about the appearance of a medical alert system.

Additionally, Bay Alarm Medical also has an in-car medical alert system. This GPS-enabled device can automatically detect collisions and contact help in the event the user is unable to do so on their own.

Fall Detection

When it comes to Life Alert, another sticking point for us is that they don’t have any devices for fall detection. While this type of technology is not always accurate, fall detection devices are designed to automatically sense a majority of falls, and contact monitoring agents who will assess the situation.

In contrast, Bay Alarm Medical offers fall detection as an add-on service for all of its systems (apart from in-car and the smartwatch). While fall detection costs an extra $10 per month with Bay Alarm Medical, we think that this technology can be a lifesaver for those with mobility issues.

FYI: To learn more about our favorite fall detection devices, check out our guide to medical alerts with fall detection.

Costs and Contracts

The most significant difference between Life Alert and Bay Alarm Medical would have to be their costs and contracts. For starters, Bay Alarm Medical systems are easily more affordable in terms of monthly payments. Their most affordable system costs $24.95 per month, and their mobile system costs $29.95 per month. Even if you add on fall detection –– an extra $10 per month –– you’ll still pay far less than you would for a Life Alert System.

On top of this, Life Alert requires you to lock into three-year contracts. While you’ll still pay on a monthly basis, you’ll be locked in for the next three years, and the only way to get out of your contract is if a user passes away or transitions to a care facility.

Bay Alarm Medical, however, requires no long-term contracts. You pay on a month-to-month basis, and you can cancel your service and return your equipment at any time.

To learn more about the costs of these systems and their accessories, be sure to check out my guide to Bay Alarm Medical costs and Life Alert costs.

Our Top Choice

The answer is clear as day; Bay Alarm Medical is the better medical alert provider. Whether you want protection in or outside your home, Bay Alarm systems will perform as well as Life Alert’s, and they’ll cost you a whole lot less. This is why Bay Alarm Medical is one of our favorite Life Alert alternatives.

Bay Alarm Medical GPS Help Button
Bay Alarm Medical GPS Help Button

That said, Life Alert does make a quality product. All of their systems performed very well in our tests; however, we can’t wholeheartedly recommend them due to their lack of fall detection and –– more importantly –– inflexible contract policy. Life Alert may be the most widely known medical alert system, but this can’t make up for the financial costs.

To learn more about our favorite medical alert systems, be sure to check out our helpful guides:

Frequently Asked Questions

ryan-molloy
Written By
Ryan Molloy

Ryan has years of experience researching and testing products that help people successfully age in place. After years of working for various publications such as Boston Magazine and The Believer, he has found his home at The Senior List, writing about all things related to caregiving and senior healthcare.

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