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Medical Guardian vs Life Alert

Both medical alert systems offer stellar service and quality equipment. But our experts compared them and found a clear winner.

Side-by-side comparison:

Side-by-side comparison: Medical Guardian Logo Life Alert Logo
Editor's Rating
4.8 / 5 stars
3 / 5 stars
Costs
Equipment Costs
  • $0 for most systems
  • $299.95 for Freedom Guardian Smartwatch
  • $124.95 for Mini Guardian
$0
Monthly Price Range $29.95 - $44.95 $49.95 - $89.95
Activation Fee $0 $195 and up
Shipping Cost
  • Free for ground shipping for annual orders (8-12 business days)
  • $12.50 for standard shipping
  • $25 for expedited shipping (2 business days)
  • $35 for overnight shipping (next business day)
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 N/A
In-Home Range 600-1,300 feet 800 feet
On-the-Go Battery Life
  • 24 hours for Mobile Guardian
  • 7 days for Active Guardian and Mini Guardian
  • 2 days for Freedom Guardian 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 No
Spouse Monitoring $2.99 per month Yes
Wall-Mounted Help Buttons Yes Yes
Lockboxes Yes No
Contact
Phone Number* 800-520-5889
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 If you identify any outdated or inaccurate information, please contact us here.

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 Equipment
Medical Guardian Equipment

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.

Medical Guardian Classic Guardian
Classic Guardian

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

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.


Medical Guardian wrist button
Medical Guardian wrist button

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 Equipment
Life Alert Base Station and Pendants

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

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.


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.

Our Favorite

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.

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.

Written By
Amie Clark

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