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Life Alert vs Medical Alert

Both medical alert systems deliver quality coverage, but with several differences including contract length. See which gets our pick.

Side-by-side comparison:

Side-by-side comparison: Life Alert Logo Medical Alert logo. Medical Alert is a medical alert company.
Editor's Rating
3 / 5 stars
4.5 / 5 stars
Costs
Equipment Leased Leased
Monthly Price Range $49.95 - $89.95/mo $19.95 - $37.95/mo
Shipping Cost Free Free
Contracts 3-year contract required Not Required
Return Policy Only in the event of a death or transition to a care facility 30-Day Risk-Free Trial; Equipment can be returned at any time
Product Features
Connection Landline or Cellular Landline or Cellular
Two-Way Talk
In-Home Backup Battery Life 72 Hours
In-Home Backup Battery Life 800 ft 600 ft
On-the-Go Battery Life Up to 10 years; Disposable Up to 5 days; Rechargeable
Water-Resistant Help Buttons
GPS
24/7 USA-Based Monitoring
Add-Ons
Fall Detection No Yes - $10 per month
Spouse Monitoring $49 one-time fee, plus $10 per month Extra button included at no additional charge
Wall-Mounted Help Buttons
Lockboxes
Contact
Phone Number* 877-909-6735
Website   View Website

*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 If you identify any outdated or inaccurate information, please contact us here.

Editors Recommendation

Generally, we recommend Medical Alert over Life Alert for their low costs and no contracts. Medical Alert’s pricing is less expensive whether you choose the monthly, semi-annual or annual plan. Medical Alert also includes two buttons with each plan so that a spouse or significant other is covered for no additional fee. However, if you are looking for a medical alert company that will install your system for you, Life Alert does offer that service for a fee.

Life Alert and Medical Alert are well-known throughout the medical alert industry for their reliability and commitment to helping seniors maintain their independence. Both of these companies offer waterproof, wearable devices that can help your loved one obtain help in the event of an emergency. In this piece, we’ll examine which one of these providers has the best medical alert system.

Before you go ahead with purchasing from one of these companies, you should take a closer look. On the surface, both of them offer very similar services; however, their respective prices and features are very different.

Life Alert Overview

Thanks to their classic commercials, Life Alert is arguably the most widely known medical alert system out there. Founded in 1987, they’ve been keeping older adults safe through their range of in-home and on-the-go medical alert systems.

Presently, they offer four different medical alert systems, all of which provide quick access to their American-based professional monitoring centers. Here is an overview of each one.

Life Alert Systems

System Monthly Starting Cost Connection For Use Ideal For
In-Home $49.95 Landline In-Home Those who spend most of their time at home and have a landline.
In-Home Cellular $59.95 Cellular In-Home Those who spend much of their time at home but have no landline.
In-Home with Help Button $69.95 Cellular In-Home A person who wants additional protection in the bathroom.
In-Home and Mobile $89.95 Cellular On-the-Go A person who wants a mobile medical alert system.

FYI: Life Alert does not list their prices on their website, meaning that some people receive discounts through negotiation.

What We Love About Life Alert

  • Professional installation
  • In-home and on-the-go options
  • Useful smartphone app
  • Impressive mobile battery life
  • Discounts for annual payments
  • U.S. Based monitoring

What We Don’t Love

  • High monthly costs
  • Three-year contract required
  • No motion sensors
  • No automatic fall detection
  • Prices vary depending upon negotiation

Medical Alert Overview

Part of Connect America, the largest independent provider of medical alert systems, Medical Alert provides affordable solutions to those looking to retain their independence both in and outside their homes.

With each of their systems, Medical Alert also includes two help buttons (as opposed to the standard of one), making this system ideal for those who live with spouses or roommates. Here is an overview of their offerings.

Medical Alert At Home No Landline
Medical Alert At Home No Landline Equipment

Medical Alert Systems

System Monthly Starting Cost Connection For Use Ideal For
At-Home Landline $19.95 Landline In-Home Someone who spends most of their time at home.
At-Home Cellular $29.95 Cellular In-Home Those who want a mobile medical alert system with the option of fall detection.
On-the-Go $34.95 Cellular On-the-Go Someone who wants a mobile medical alert system.
On-the-Go + Button $39.95 Cellular On-the-Go An active adult who wants protection outside the home.

What We Love About Medical Alert

  • No hidden charges
  • Automatic fall detection option
  • UL-certified equipment
  • Handy smartphone app
  • Water-resistant help buttons
  • Multilingual monitoring center
  • Free spouse protection for in-home units

What We Don’t Love

  • No activity monitoring
  • Fall detection requires an additional button

Medical Alert vs. Life Alert Similarities

In terms of the actual equipment, both Life Alert and Medical Alert have similar offerings. They each offer both cellular and landline medical alert systems, in addition to mobile medical alert systems equipped with GPS location technology.

In our tests, both of their U.S.-based monitoring centers received our calls in under 45 seconds. Additionally, their response agents were courteous and professional.

Some other similarities include:

  • Waterproof devices
  • Free warranty on equipment
  • In-home landline and cellular options
  • Additional help buttons
  • Free customer support
  • You lease, rather than purchase, their equipment

Life Alert and Medical Alert Differences

Despite offering nearly identical equipment, there are a few key differences between Life Alert and Medical Alert.

Fall Detection

Automatic fall detection is one of the most important features you can have in a medical alert system. While it usually costs an additional monthly fee, this feature can be life-saving, particularly for those with dexterity issues.

While Medical Alert offers this feature for an extra $10 per month, Life Alert does not have a fall detection feature. Instead, they offer a wall-mounted help button that can be placed anywhere in your home. While this is certainly a welcome add-on, we would have liked to see fall detection actually built into their devices.

Life Alert Equipment
Life Alert Base Station and Pendants

Pricing and Contracts

Immediately, it’s clear that Life Alert charges much more for their medical alert systems. Their in-home system starts at $49.95 per month, not to mention the addition of startup fees. Medical Alert, however, offers their in-home system for as low as $19.95 per month, making them one of the most affordable medical alert providers.

In addition to pricing, both of these providers differ in their service agreements. Medical Alert does not require any long-term contracts. While you may opt to pay annually, rather than monthly, in order to receive discounts, this is not required, and you may cancel your service at any time.

Life Alert, however, requires you to lock into a three-year service agreement, and this can only be canceled through death or a user’s transition to 24-hour care. Like Medical Alert, you may pay either monthly or annually, the latter of which gives you a discounted rate.

Our Favorite

Most often, it’s difficult to put one medical alert system over another. The selection process is less about which company is best and more about which one is best for you. In this case, however, Medical Alert clearly comes out on top.

Unlike Life Alert, Medical Alert offers fall detection, and they don’t require you to lock into a long-term contract. Life Alert is also far more costly, no matter which way you spin it. While Life Alert definitely offers durable equipment and excellent customer service, we could say the same of Medical Alert, making the decision clear. Unless you’re uninterested in fall detection, and money is not a concern, Medical Alert is the clear winner.