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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
Monthly Starting Cost
Those who spend most of their time at home and have a landline.
Those who spend much of their time at home but have no landline.
In-Home with Help Button
A person who wants additional protection in the bathroom.
In-Home and Mobile
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
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 Systems
Monthly Starting Cost
Someone who spends most of their time at home.
Those who want a mobile medical alert system with the option of fall detection.
Someone who wants a mobile medical alert system.
On-the-Go + Button
An active adult who wants protection outside the home.
What We Love About Medical Alert
No hidden charges
Automatic fall detection option
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here