Regardless of your age, you’ve probably heard of Life Alert. As a result of their famous commercials, the phrase, I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up, is well known by many Americans. In fact, many of my older clients––when planning to live alone––tell me they need a Life Alert, not knowing that there are better options.
Life Alert fits into a broader category of technology known as medical alert systems. While these devices will vary in terms of shape and size, they all accomplish a similar function. At the press of a button, a medical alert system allows a user to contact help in the event of an emergency.
While Life Alert can certainly accomplish this function, there are some major drawbacks to this company.
FYI: When it comes to pricing, most medical alert companies will charge you a monthly fee. This will include the cost of leasing their equipment in addition to the subscription fee for professional monitoring.
Life Alert Cons
- High Costs: Most medical alert systems cost about $30-$40 per month, with more affordable systems going as low as $19.95. Life Alert’s cheapest system will run you $49.95 per month, not to mention the $96 one-time activation fee.
- Lengthy Contracts: While most medical alert systems allow you to cancel your service at any time, Life Alert requires you to lock into a three-year contract, which is practically unheard of in this industry. The only ways to get out of your contract are through death or transition to a 24/7 care facility.
- No Automatic Fall Detection: When it comes to Life Alert, most of my gripes are with the price; however, they are also one of few systems not to offer automatic fall detection. If your loved one should fall and be unable to push their help button, they’ll have no way of contacting help.
The Best Alternatives to Life Alert
The most important thing to remember about medical alert systems is that there are better options than Life Alert. I have tested many devices out there and can attest to the quality of the following choices. Not only do they offer reliable equipment, but they also come at more affordable price points with no long-term contracts required.
Mobile Protection: Most medical alert companies offer systems for use both in-home and on-the-go, the latter usually costing more.
Best Alternatives to Life Alert
|Life Alert||Medical Guardian||Bay Alarm Medical||Medical Alert||GetSafe||LifeFone|
|Cost for In-Home System||$49.95/mo||$29.95/mo||$19.95/mo||$19.95/mo||$24.95/mo + $79 one-time equipment charge||$29.95/mo|
|Cost for Mobile System||$89.95/mo*||$39.95/mo||$24.95/mo + $79 one-time equipment charge||$39.95/mo||N/A||$36.95/mo|
|Contracts||3-Year Contract Required||Not Required||Not Required||Not Required||Not Required||Not Required|
*Presently, Life Alert does not offer their mobile system as a standalone purchase, so this price reflects the cost of the combined in-home and mobile system.
What makes Medical Guardian one of the best medical alert systems is its variety of equipment. With three in-home systems, three mobile systems, and a medical alert smartwatch, they are sure to have an ideal option for anyone looking to stay safe in their home. What’s more, their customer support and U.S-based monitoring centers provide a stellar customer experience.
When it comes to pricing, Medical Guardian’s systems start as low as $29.95 per month, making them nearly half the cost of Life Alert’s most basic system. Additionally, Medical Guardian does not require long-term contracts, meaning that you may cancel your service and return your equipment with little hassle and no extra costs.
Bay Alarm Medical
Bay Alarm Medical is one of the most affordable medical alert providers on the market. With their in-home systems starting as low as $19.95 per month, you could add on fall detection and still save significantly when compared to a Life Alert system. They also offer a mobile system, an in-car system, and a medical alert smartwatch. You may also add on extra help buttons for $2 per month, making Bay Alarm Medical a great option for those who live with spouses or roommates.
Compared to Life Alert, Bay Alarm Medical does not require any long-term contracts. If you wish to cancel your service at any time, you may do so by returning your equipment, though you’ll have to pay the cost of shipping.
With systems starting as low as $19.95 per month, Medical Alert is another solid option. They offer in-home systems and mobile systems. Like the other systems on this list, they require no long-term contracts, and they also offer fall detection for the standard $10 per month.
They also feature a handy smartphone app that allows caregivers to keep track of their loved one’s device, checking in on any distress calls and ensuring that the device is functioning properly.
One of the newer medical alert systems on the market, GetSafe is the only provider on this list without a mobile unit. What makes them a great option, though, is the way in which you can customize your GetSafe system to protect you throughout your entire house. Through a combination of base units, voice-activated help buttons, and wall-mounted buttons, a GetSafe system is ideal for those with larger homes.
Compared to Life Alert, their systems are far more affordable, starting at $25 per month, plus the cost of any additional buttons. They also don’t require contracts, and they offer automatic fall detection.
LifeFone offers easy-to-use medical alert devices that don’t break the bank. Starting at just $24.95 per month, their in-home medical alert system is far more affordable than that of Life Alert. Additionally, LifeFone only charges $5 per month for their automatic fall detection––the lowest price I’ve seen on the market. We also appreciated that LifeFone offers different bundles of their systems, making them a great option for those who live with spouses or roommates who need protection.
As with all the medical alert systems on this list, LifeFone does not require you to lock into a long-term contract. If at any time you are unsatisfied with your equipment, all you need to do is send it back to the manufacturer for no additional charges.