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Automated Medication Dispensers: Pill Dispensers for Seniors

Our experts compare the best automated medication dispensers on the market. They’re convenient, accurate, and easy. It’s time to dial in your dose.

Our experts compare the best automated medication dispensers on the market. They’re convenient, accurate, and easy. It’s time to dial in your dose.
#1 Hero

Their automated medication dispenser:

The Hero automated medication dispenser can hold up to a 90-day’s supply of 10 different pills, regardless of the size or shape. Caregivers can be alerted to late or missed doses, refill notifications, daily usage, and notifications when pills are running low and need to be refilled.

Why We Recommend Hero

  • 30-day risk-free trial
  • $29.99 per month (plus $99 initiation fee)
  • Complimentary medication refill service included
  • Holds up to a 90-day supply of up to 10 different medications
#2 MedaCube

Their automated medication dispenser:

MedaCube is a clinically-proven automated medication dispenser that keeps seniors safe by releasing the correct medication at the prescribed time and prevents overdosing. Caregiver alerts for missed doses. Lease-to-own, rent or purchase options all available.

Why We Recommend MedaCube

  • Tamper resistant
  • Dispense up to 16 pills at a time
  • Caregiver alerts for missed doses
  • Holds up to 90-days of each medication
  • Upfront cost of $1499 or rent for $99/mo.
#3 Philips Lifeline Medication Dispenser

Their automated medication dispenser:

The Philips Lifeline automated dispensing service is a good option for people who have less complex medication needs. Caregivers can be alerted to missed doses, errors, refills and if the system loses electricity.

Why We Recommend Philips Lifeline Medication Dispenser

  • Caregiver alerts
  • Requires a phone line
  • Holds 60 cups of medicine
  • Dispenses up to six times per day

Seniors often take a combination of different medications to manage different health conditions and keep symptoms at bay.

Remembering to take the right meds at the right time is challenging, especially as the number of medications increases over time. Missing doses or taking too many doses can be dangerous.

In fact, Philips, the makers of LifeLine, states that 1 out of 10 hospital visits are the result of taking the wrong meds. An automatic system reduces hospital visits due to missed or overdosed meds.

Automated Medication Dispensers Provide Peace Of Mind

For seniors, an automatic pill dispensing system takes the stress out of remembering medication doses. Loved ones can relax knowing the system will issue a reminder when the next dose is due, and that the dose will come ready measured so there is no chance of taking the wrong amount. Using an automatic pill dispenser helps support independence in the home.

For caregivers, knowing their loved one has a system at hand for keeping track of meds, is a relief. They get peace of mind knowing that even if they are not there, their loved one’s medications are measured and ready to be dosed out at the right time. Some pill dispensers also offer monitoring options for caregivers who want to keep a closer watch on their loved ones.

There are several automated medication dispensers on the market, so which one should you choose? Here are four systems we think you’ll find useful.

Automated Pill Dispensers Comparison Chart

The comparison chart below shows a quick comparison of each of the systems we looked at. Keep reading for more in-depth reviews and differentiating features of each pill dispensing system.

CompanyDosesUpfront CostMonthly Fee
MedaCubeUp to 20x/day$1,499$0
HeroUp to 10x/day$99.00$29.99
PhilipsUp to 6x/day$0$59.95
MedReady4x/day$149$16.00
Livi24x/day$0$79.00
E-pill Accutab3x/day$39.95$0

Top Automated Medication Dispensers

#1. Hero

The automated medication dispenser can help people take their meds at the right time and with the right dose.

About: Hero is one of the newest automated medication dispensers with easy-to-fill equipment. The companion smartphone app makes it easy for caregivers to keep track of medication adherence and alerts for any missed doses. See our hands-on review of Hero here.

Doses: Holds up to ten different meds per day for up to a 90-day supply, depending on the size of the pills.

Features: Audible alarm plus flashing light to alert seniors that it’s time to take meds. Passcode protection to make sure only the right person accesses the pills. And a brilliant caregiver app that lets caregivers monitor medication adherence, or see when a dose is skipped or too many pills are taken.

The caregiver tracking and alerts on the Hero pill dispenser make it stand out. Caregivers will have more peace of mind knowing they can always check how their senior is doing with their meds. We also like the intuitive sorting – there’s no need to spend hours each month pre-sorting because the dispenser does it for you!

Cost: $29.99 per month (plus $99 initiation fee).

#2. MedaCube

With MedaCube, you can load up to 90 days worth of medications.
With MedaCube, you can load up to 90 days worth of each medication.

About: MedaCube is an automated medication dispenser that can hold up to 90 days worth of medications. MedaCube is the only medication dispenser on the market that has been clinically proven to improve medication adherence. See our in-depth review of MedaCube here.

Doses: Can hold up to 90 days worth of medications in the internal bins and can dispense up to 16 medications in a single dose.

Features: The system alerts the user when it’s time to take their scheduled medication. All the user has to do when they hear the alert is to touch the screen on the MedaCube, and a drawer pops out with their medication dose ready to take.

If the dose is missed, MedaCube sends another alert ten minutes later. Caregivers (and any other members of a “care team”) receive alerts whenever a dose is late or missed, and they can view a secure record of all doses dispensed (and which ones were missed or late) via MedaCube’s secure web portal.

Cost: A one-time no-contract purchase of $1,499

#3. Philips Automated Dispensing Service

Philips automated medication dispenser.
Philips automated medication dispenser: Photo courtesy of Philips Lifeline.

About: Philips Automated Dispensing Service is a subscription service with real-time monitoring options.

Doses: Caregivers or nurses load medications into up to 60 cups. Depending on the amount of medication, the system is good for up to 40 days of doses and can handle six different doses per day.

Features: The user hears an alarm when it is time to take a medication. They press a button, and the machine dispenses the appropriate pills.

Philips Automated Dispensing Service requires a phone line (it also works on VOIP) to work and will issue alerts to caregivers if doses are missed, if there is a dispenser error or power outage, or if medications need refilling.

The system also offers a pre-program option for on-demand or PRN meds, so seniors can request as needed medications safely.

Cost: $59.95 per month

#4. MedReady 1700 Automatic Dispenser

med ready automatic medication dispenser.
Med Ready automatic medication dispenser. Photo courtesy of Med Ready.

MedReady offers a reasonably priced basic option, with a monitored version (MedReady 1750 PLUS) available for a little extra investment.

Doses: Holds up to 28 doses and can dispense up to four times a day.

Features: This is an easy to use basic unit that comes with an AC power adapter, rechargeable battery, and a locking lid to prevent double doses.

MedReady 1750 PLUS plugs into the user’s phone line. Dose updates are posted to a secure website which caregivers can access. If a dose is missed, the unit alerts the call center, who will call up to three emergency numbers.

Cost: $149, or $159 for the MedReady 1700FL which is equipped with a flashing light as well as an audio alarm. MedReady 1750 PLUS costs $207 plus a $16 per month monitoring fee.

#5. Livi

Livi automated medication dispenser.
Livi automated medication dispenser. Photo courtesy of Livi.

About: Livi is another subscription service, which can handle several different types and shapes of pills.

Doses: Can handle up to 15 types of pills and dispenses up to 24 times per day. Stores up to 90 days worth of medication depending on dose and number of pills. We like that it handles non-standard sized pills (some systems only handle aspirin sized tablets.)

Features: Livi has an easy-pour system which lets caregivers pour each kind of pill into the machine without the need for hand sorting. The unit works for on-demand as well as regularly scheduled medications. The unit can even dispense up to 14 days worth of pills into travel packs for help with medication doses away from home. Caregivers have access to an online portal where they can manage dosing and alerts.

Cost: Livi offers different packages depending on the amount of medication taken each day. The basic plan is good for up to 10 medications per day and one caregiver has access to the unit as a rental subscription for $79 a month. The standard plan is good for up to 15 medications a day and gives multiple caregivers access for $99 a month.  Optionally, you can buy the system outright for $1,999 to do away with the monthly subscription fees.

#6. E-Pill Accutab Undershelf Dispenser

E-pill Accutab medication dispenser.
E-pill Accutab medication dispenser. Photo courtesy Epill.

E-pill offers a basic non-electric model that is geared more towards mobility issues (such as arthritis) than memory issues.

Doses: Up to three times a day for one week. Compartments are suitable for large medications or supplements.

Features: The Accutab simply slides under any countertop. It was designed to make medication management easy for those who perhaps do not struggle with remembering meds, but struggle with opening bottles and packets. Users simply slide a lever and the pills drop out into their hand. There is also a handy “last dose taken” indicator to make it easy to keep tabs on what has been taken and what has not.

Cost: $79.95, one-time cost, currently on sale for $39.95.

Whether you need monitoring, independence both in and away from home, or a simpler solution for medication dispensing, there should be something on this list to suit you. Investing in an automated medication dispensing system means peace of mind for seniors and caregivers and much less risk of medication mistakes and hospital visits as a result.

8 Comments

  1. My mom has been using Hero for about 2 months and it has been a life saver! She has macular degeneration and sorting meds became impossible for her. We discussed having an aid dispense her meds twice a day for $800 a month which would have quickly drained her savings account. After learning about Hero she agreed to give it a try. Set up was easy, she still feels independent, and it didn’t break the bank. I really like the app and the peace of mind it offers in case she misses a dose; I just give her a call and remind her the dose is ready! Without reservations I highly recommend Hero.
  2. We have both dispensers for two different family members. The MedaCube is our favorite and works seemlessly. The initial cost was more, but with we needed it to be lockable. The features are much deeper for the MedaCube. The Hero is similar and for the price, okay. It will skip pills occasionally and it is not lockable. It is much louder. I would have ranked it second, but I guess price is probably the point that was considered.

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