Both Medical Guardian and Life Alert provide reliable protection to seniors; however, the two differ greatly in terms of their devices and their pricing. In particular, Medical Guardian offers much more flexible contracts.
When it comes to price, even the best medical alert systems require contracts and a monthly cost for service. Still, Life Alert’s three-year minimum commitment is likely more than most people would feel comfortable with.
This article will provide an overview of both Medical Guardian and Life Alert and detail their features, pricing, and accessories.
Medical Guardian Overview
Medical Guardian was founded in Philadelphia in 2005. While the company is relatively new, the company has quickly grown its operations and offerings. They have a wide variety of medical alert offerings, including smartwatches and mobile systems that suit a number of lifestyles. Whether you mainly stay inside or leave the house often, Medical Guardian systems also offer some of the quickest call response times of any company.
Our Medical Guardian review provides a hands-on demonstration of how Medical Guardian products work. Medical Guardian offers U.S.-based monitoring in all 50 states, and their emergency operators offer service in English, Spanish, and other languages. They offer free lockboxes for every purchase and a number of optional add-ons, including voice-activated wall buttons.
Medical Guardian Systems
|System||Monthly Starting Cost||Connection||For Use||Ideal For|
|Classic Guardian||$29.95||Landline||In-home||Those with a landline who spend most of their time in the house|
|Home Guardian||$34.95||Cellular||In-home||Those without a landline who spend most of their time in the house|
|Mobile Guardian||$44.95||Cellular||On-the-go||Those who want a mobile medical alert device with GPS outside the home|
|Active Guardian||$44.95||Cellular, Wifi, and GPS||On-the-go||Those who want a mobile medical alert device and fall detection outside the home|
|Freedom Guardian||$44.95 (plus $299.95 one-time equipment cost)||Cellular, Wifi, and GPS||On-the-go||Those who want a smartwatch with medical alert technology|
|Mini Guardian||$39.95 (plus $124.95 one-time equipment cost)||Cellular, Wifi, GPS||On-the-go||Those who want a small, discreet medical alert device to take with them anywhere|
What We Love About Medical Guardian
- Wide range of systems: Medical Guardian prices range from $29.95 to $44.95 per month. The flexible pricing structure supports a variety of lifestyles as some devices do not require landline connections and, instead, work on a mobile network. This is great for world travelers as the AARP estimated that adults over 50 plan on average four to five trips per year.
- No contracts: For most systems, Medical Guardian only requires three months of service. After that, customers may terminate service for a nominal fee.
- Discounts: The per-day rate is discounted if customers pay upfront for one year of service.
- Voice-activated wall buttons: You don’t even have to touch a button to get in touch with an emergency operator. If users cannot reach their device, the voice-activated wall button allows people to simply say “Call Medical Guardian” out loud twice to receive help.
- Free lockbox: When you purchase an annual subscription, Medical Guardian will throw in a free lockbox.
Tip: The Freedom Guardian smartwatch sends medication reminders to stay on top of multiple medications. This reduces medication errors that account for 1 million emergency department visits each year.
What We Don’t Love
- Extra monthly charges: While Medical Guardian offers many add-ons like fall detection, voice-activated wall buttons, equipment protection plans, enhanced emergency notification, and additional pendants — each feature requires an additional monthly charge so pricing can become much more expensive quickly.
- Damaged equipment fee: Unless you get a protection plan ($6.99 extra per month), replacement costs for damaged equipment can be as high as $350.
Life Alert Overview
Life Alert is one of the oldest medical alert companies. You may know them for their “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” TV commercial catchphrase. This fame has made them one of the most recognizable medical alert devices on the market.
Life Alert has been in business for over 30 years and their website includes 41,000 testimonials. The monthly fees are pricey, mostly because of their award-winning monitoring service. The in-home equipment itself is easy-to-use with a lifetime warranty and an impressive 10-year battery life.
FYI: To learn more about this company, check out my Life Alert review.
Life Alert Systems
|System||Monthly Starting Cost||Connection||For Use||Ideal For|
|Life Alert Basic||$49.95||Landline or Cellular||At home||Those who rarely leave the house looking for peace of mind|
|Life Alert Basic with Shower button or GPS||$69.95||Landline or cellular||At home||Those who need extra protection in the bathroom|
|Life Alert Basic with Shower button + GPS||$89.95||Landline or cellular||At home and on-the-go||Those looking for protection on-the-go and in the home|
What We Love About Life Alert
- Warranty: Life Alert systems come with a free lifetime warranty.
- Accessories: Each detachable button comes with a wristband and a hypoallergenic lanyard.
- U.S.-based monitoring: Life Alert monitoring representatives are based in California and have medical histories on file. They can call caregivers or first responders in the event of an emergency.
- On-the-go monitoring: Life Alert offers support for emergencies away from the home. GPS devices do not need charging or incur additional charges.
Fact: According to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 80 percent of 78-year-old adults leave the house daily. Leaving the house results in greater mental and physical well-being.
What We Don’t Love
- Long contracts: Life Alert has lengthy three-year contracts and no trial period for returns.
- No fall detection: The systems do not come with fall detection technology.
- Cost: The per-month pricing and activation fees are higher than other companies for comparable packages. Life Alert is not transparent on pricing on their website and customers must call for more information.
Life Alert and Medical Guardian Similarities
Life Alert and Medical Guardian each offer award-winning products and services. Each system provides excellent medical alert monitoring with water-resistant help buttons and wall-mounted devices perfect for bathrooms where falling is twice as likely to result in injury. Additionally, both systems have response times of under 30 seconds and U.S.-based monitoring centers.
Some other similarities include:
- Medical alerts with GPS
- In-home landline systems
- Cellular systems
- Long in-home ranges
- Two-way speaker systems
- Wristbands or lanyards
- 24/7 customer service
Medical Guardian and Life Alert Differences
The main differences between Medical Guardian and Life Alert are their products and pricing structure. While Medical Guardian devices start at $29.95 per month, Life Alert starts at $49.95 per month. Medical Guardian also offers a wide variety of products, services, and add-ons while Life Alert has more basic offerings.
Systems and Devices
Medical Guardian offers a variety of different devices based on your needs and lifestyle. The battery lifespan is between three to five years and lasts up to seven days between charges. The company also offers their Freedom Guardian watch and a lightweight option so users can avoid heavy, large devices.
Life Alert offers a help button, a GPS device, and a wall-mounted device or any combination of those offerings. Life Alert batteries never need charging and last up to 10 years. The company also offers a lifetime warranty with free replacement of any broken equipment.
FYI: To learn more about Medical Guardian’s mobile systems, read my Active Guardian review.
Emergency Response and Call Centers
Life Alert uses a CSAA Five Diamond Certified Monitor Center. Highly trained operators can contact emergency responders or caregivers depending on their preference. These operators will also have your medical history on file so they can give responders detailed and accurate information.
Medical Guardian also uses a CSAA Five Diamond Certified Monitor Center. Mobile systems work on AT&T cellular networks so there is crystal clear reception wherever you are. Their service supports over 100 languages.
The biggest difference between Medical Guardian and Life Alert is that Medical Guardian offers more device options and pricing tiers than Life Alert. Medical Guardian also has a wide variety of devices, including smartwatches and mobile options, while Life Alert only has three basic packages.
That being said, Life Alert is one of the oldest and most-recognizable medical alert device brands. Their hardware is basic and solid with a battery life of 10 years. Medical Guardian has more high-tech models but that comes at the cost of reduced battery life.
Fact: The CDC found that falls account for the number one cause of injury and death among older Americans.
In the end, the determining factor was fall detection. Medical Guardian offers automatic fall detection functionality so if you fall and are rendered unconscious, operators can send help even when you can’t physically press the button. Life Alert does not offer automatic fall detection. With this and the higher cost of Life Alert in mind, we recommend Medical Guardian for greater independence and peace of mind at an unbeatable price.