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Medical Guardian makes some of the most reliable devices around, and their latest model, the Mini Guardian, packs GPS, fall detection, and a long-lasting battery into an incredibly small package. This discreet medical alert device is smaller than a deck of cards, making it ideal for active seniors who need access to help on the go.
In this review, we’ll take a closer look at the Mini Guardian, testing its performance at home, on the go, and even in the shower. We’ll also compare this system to other devices from Medical Guardian.
FYI: Medical Guardian may be one of our favorite companies, but they’re far from the most affordable. To learn more, read our guide to the best medical alert systems.
Pros and Cons of Mini Guardian
Mini Guardian Pros
Built-in fall detection: Some mobile medical alerts require additional pendants for fall detection; however, the Mini Guardian has this feature (as well as a speakerphone and GPS) built into it. No need for extra pendants here!
Quick response times: As with Medical Guardian’s other systems, the Mini Guardian gave us quick access to response agents. On average, we waited eight seconds for someone to answer our calls.
Helpful caregiver portal: With the purchase of the Mini Guardian, you’ll get free access to the MyGuardian app, which allows loved ones to track the device’s location and receive notifications when the user calls for help.
Long battery life: The Mini Guardian lasted us five days on a single charge, making it one of the longest-lasting mobile medical alert devices we’ve tested.
IP67 water-resistance: The Mini Guardian can be worn in the shower without getting damaged.
Mini Guardian Cons
Higher price: While Bay Alarm Medical offers mobile systems from $30 per month, the Mini Guardian will cost you $44.95 per month. Fall detection will cost you an extra $10 per month.
What Is the Mini Guardian?
Mini Guardian is a mobile medical alert system. Much like home medical alert systems, this device features a speakerphone and a call button that, when pressed, will connect the user to an Urgent Response center.
What makes the Mini Guardian unique, however, is that the speakerphone, help button, GPS, and fall detection are all built into one compact unit. This makes it convenient to bring with you outside of the home.
In most ways, the Mini Guardian works exactly like the Active Guardian (Medical Guardian’s previous model). The main difference is size, with the Mini Guardian being roughly half the size of the Active Guardian.
Upon receiving my Mini Guardian system, I opened the box and found the following:
One Mini Guardian mobile unit
One belt clip
One charging cradle
The first step to using my Mini Guardian was to charge it by placing it in the charging cradle. During this time, the unit glowed red, indicating that it was charging. After roughly three hours, the red light turned to blue, indicating that my device was fully charged.
Once my device was charged, I logged onto the Medical Guardian website to activate my account. During this time, I also added a list of emergency contacts. This step is important, as it allows the Medical Guardian operators — should you press your help button — to contact family members as opposed to EMTs, in the case of a nonemergency event.
While I chose to activate my Mini Guardian online, I should note that this entire process can also be completed over the phone.
Testing My Mini Guardian
Once the Mini Guardian was live and charged, I brought the unit out into the world and began running tests. My first test, as with any medical alert system, was pressing the help button in my home. This went off without a hitch, and operators were able to answer my call in a matter of roughly 12 seconds.
My next test was to leave my apartment and run a similar test. Again, my call was answered in a matter of seconds; however, this time, I asked the operator to confirm my location, which she was able to do through both coordinates and cross streets, demonstrating the accuracy of my Mini Guardian’s GPS.
With a home medical alert system, there’s no need for location tracking, as one can assume that the user is making an emergency call from their home. When using a medical alert system with GPS, however, it’s essential for that GPS to be accurate. This way, in the event that the user places a distress call outside the home, first responders can pinpoint their location and provide help. Because the Mini Guardian runs on Verizon’s 4G network, it can go with you almost anywhere in the United States and function normally.
Over the course of my week testing the Mini Guardian, I was also impressed by its battery life. Even with daily use, the device only needed to be charged after my fifth day of testing. For mobile medical alerts, this is one of the longer battery lives I’ve seen.
Another impressive feature of the Mini Guardian was its fall detection. While many other medical alerts require additional pendants for fall detection, the Mini Guardian has this feature built into the unit.
In my tests of simulated falls, the Mini Guardian accurately detected 90 percent of falls and automatically placed calls to the Medical Guardian monitoring center. In the event that the device detects a fall, and you don’t need to contact the monitoring center — which happened several times when I dropped my unit on the ground — you can prevent a call from being placed by holding down the call button.
Fall detection with the Mini Guardian costs an additional $10 per month, and based on my tests, I think it’s a worthwhile feature.
Another useful feature of the Mini Guardian was its access to the MyGuardian portal. Accessible through either a computer or smartphone app, MyGuardian allows loved ones to keep track of a Mini Guardian device.
Viewing a device’s location, battery life, and step counts
“Ringing” the device — that is, triggering a sound that helps the user find a misplaced device
Managing payments and extra features (fall detection, protection plans, and mobile alerts)
Mini Guardian Pricing
Medical Guardian costs tend to be middle-of-the-road when compared to other medical alert devices, with their systems starting at $29.99 per month. The Mini Guardian, however, comes at a higher cost. In total, my Mini Guardian cost me $54.95 per month, including fall detection. Without this extra feature, the system would’ve cost me $44.95 per month.
Medical Guardian leases their systems as opposed to making you purchase them, so this price includes the device and monitoring. When I finished using my Mini Guardian, I canceled my service, returned my device, and stopped making monthly payments.
Additionally, Medical Guardian offers discounts for quarterly or annual payments. For example, a yearly Mini Guardian subscription costs $494.45, which comes out to $41.20 per month.
In addition to Medical Guardian’s website, Mini Guardian can also be purchased at Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart.
Mini Guardian vs. Life Alert
When it comes to mobile medical alerts, both the Mini Guardian and Life Alert are two popular options. Both provide quick access to help, at home or on the go; however, that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
In terms of cost, the Mini Guardian is slightly more affordable, at $44.95 per month ($54.95 with fall detection), and with no long-term contract required. Life Alert’s mobile unit costs $69.95 per month. You’ll also be locked into a three-year contract.
In terms of features, Life Alert doesn’t offer fall detection. There’s also no caregiver app or portal that allows loved ones to keep track of the device. While the GPS on Life Alert’s mobile unit works, only the monitoring agents can access a device’s location.
The one advantage of Life Alert’s mobile unit is its battery life, which can last for years. (You read that correctly, years.) Naturally, there’s no way to test this, as I’ve only had a Life Alert system for two years; however, I can say that the mobile unit still works, and in the event that the battery dies, Life Alert will replace it for free.
The Mini Guardian battery, however, lasts for roughly five days, after which time you’ll need to recharge it. Still, five days is a good battery life as far as mobile medical alerts go.
In terms of mobile medical alert systems, the Mini Guardian is one of the best. Despite its incredibly small size, it packs in fall detection and an accurate GPS, making it ideal for active users.
I’d recommend Mini Guardian if you’re looking for:
Small size: The Mini Guardian is the smallest medical alert we’ve tested, making it great for those who want an unobtrusive wearable device.
GPS tracking: With a mobile medical alert device, GPS location tracking is essential, and the Mini Guardian delivers, accurately reporting location to both monitoring agents and those using the MyGuardian app.
Reliable monitoring: Medical Guardian monitoring personnel responded to each of my calls within an average of eight seconds, reflecting one of the quickest response times I’ve seen from any medical alert company.
I wouldn’t recommend Mini Guardian if you want:
Low monthly costs: Mini Guardian starts at $44.95 per month, and this price increases with the addition of the protection plan and fall detection. For more affordable options, check out my favorite cheap medical alert systems.
Mini Guardian is a mobile medical alert device that uses Wi-Fi, cellular, and GPS capabilities to connect you with response agents who can view your exact location and send help in the event of an emergency.
In our tests, the Mini Guardian lasted four to six days on a single charge, and charging the device took roughly three hours.
Ryan has years of experience researching and testing products that help people successfully age in place. After years of working for various publications such as Boston Magazine and The Believer, he has found his home at The Senior List, writing about all things related to caregiving and senior healthcare.