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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.
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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.

Every year, between 7,000 and 9,000 people die through medication errors. These can include taking the wrong medications, taking an improper dosage, or even missing a round of meds altogether. Automatic medication dispensers offer a secure and straightforward way for caregivers to manage medication for their loved ones.

These devices, while varied in terms of their features, streamline the process of administering medication. At their core, medication dispensers function as an upgrade from classic pill organizers—you know, those plastic trays with individualized compartments for each day of the week. Today’s automated pill dispensers add several high-tech features that make them indispensable for those with intricate medication regiments.

#1 Hero

The Hero automated medication dispenser can hold up to a 90-day supply of 10 different pills, regardless of their size and shape. Caregivers receive alerts about missed doses, refill dates, daily usage, and battery levels.

Why We Recommend Hero

  • Affordable Pricing
  • Complimentary Medication Refill Service
  • Holds up to 90 Days of Pills
  • 30-Day Risk-Free Trial
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#2 Pria

A newcomer in the world of medication dispensers, Pria holds up to 28 days of medications in its adorably designed frame. This device also has smart features such as voice assistant integration, facial recognition, and video calling capabilities.

Why We Recommend Pria

  • Smart Features
  • Easy to Use
  • Innovative Design
  • Customizable Dispensing Regiments
#3 MedaCube

MedaCube is a clinically-proven automated medication dispenser that keeps seniors safe by releasing the correct medication at the prescribed time and prevents overdosing. It also features caregiver alerts for missed doses, tamper-resistance, and flexible payment options.

Why We Recommend MedaCube

  • Tamper-Resistant
  • Caregiver Alerts
  • Holds up to 90 Days of Medication
  • Flexible Payment Options

Best Medication Dispensers of 2021

#1 Hero: Best Overal Medication Dispenser
#2 Pria: Best Smart Features
#3 MedaCube: Best Tamper Proof Device
#4 Philips Automated Dispensing Service: Best On-Demand Dispensing
#5 Livi: Best Cellular Medication Dispenser

Automatic Medication Dispensers Features and Pricing

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.

Medication Dispenser Comparison

Company Doses Upfront Cost Monthly Fee
MedaCube Up to 20x/day $1,399 (New) $1,199 (Refurbished) $0
Pria No Limit $299.99 $9.99
Hero Up to 10x/day $99 $29.99
Philips Up to 6x/day $0 $59.95
Livi Up to 24x/day $49 $99

Benefits of Automatic Pill Dispensers

For seniors, an automatic pill dispensing system takes the stress out of remembering medication doses. With 40 percent of older adults living with memory impairment, establishing a medication regimen can be a lifesaver.

Loved ones can relax, knowing the system will issue a reminder when the next dose is due, and since the dose will come ready measured, 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.

Top Automatic Medication Dispensers

These days, there are many options when it comes to medication dispensers. Luckily, we at The Senior List have done the legwork for you. Through months of testing, we’ve examined the most popular devices in the industry and have narrowed them down to only the top-performing dispensers.

Without further ado, here is our list of the best automatic medication dispensers of 2021.

#1 Hero: Best Overal Medication Dispenser

Hero Medication Dispenser Push Button
Hero Medication Dispenser Push Button

Hero is one of the newest automated medication dispensers on the market. It combines all of the features we love into an attractive unit that fits nicely on your countertop.

First off, it can hold up to ten different medications per day for up to a 90-day supply. It also comes with a companion smartphone app that makes it easy for caregivers to keep track of medication adherence. With this app, you’ll receive alerts any time your loved one misses a dose or, conversely, takes too many pills. Additionally, Hero will emit an audible alarm to alert you when it’s time to take your meds.

Another great feature of Hero is the ease with which you can fill it. Unlike other dispensers with clunky, time-consuming fill processes, the Hero streamlines this process through its intuitive sorting mechanism, which could potentially save you hours.

What’s more, Hero is one of the most affordable automated medication dispensers. Although you’ll have to rent the device, as opposed to owning it, you’ll only have to pay $99 upfront, followed by a monthly $29.99 subscription fee, which gives you access to the caregiver app.

For a more detailed look at Hero, take a look at our full review.

#2 Pria: Best Smart Features

Pria Medication Dispenser
Pria Medication Dispenser

Manufactured by Black and Decker, the Pria automatic medication dispenser is a durable device that gives a facelift to automatic medication dispensers’ staid designs. With its compact size and adorable LED facial expressions, Pria has personality by the pound.

In terms of medication storage, Pria’s pill wheel has 28 separate compartments, meaning that it could potentially hold up to 28 days worth of meds. With that said, your loved one will likely take more than one batch of medication daily, so you’ll have to reload Pria more than other devices on this list.

What we love most about Pria, however, is its array of smart features. With your Pria subscription, you’ll receive access to the Pria app. With this tool, you can enter your medication schedule, in addition to other handy reminders such as doctor appointments or social events. Additionally, through this app, caregivers can track the user’s medication history, receiving notifications for missed or late doses. You can even make video calls using Pria’s camera and speaker.

In terms of cost, Pria is highly affordable, at an initial cost of $299. While this is higher than Hero’s activation fee, you’ll actually own Pria as opposed to renting it. This, combined with the Pria’s $9.99 subscription fee, makes it one of our favorite automatic medication dispensers.

If Pria sounds like the medication dispenser for you, then check out our Pria review.

#3 MedaCube: Best Tamper Proof Device

MedaCube Automatic Medication Dispenser
MedaCube Automatic Medication Dispenser

MedaCube is an automatic medication dispenser that can hold a staggering 90 days worth of medications, making it an ideal choice for those who’d like to avoid constant refilling. It’s also the only device on this list that has been clinically proven to improve a user’s medication adherence.

Each of MedaCube’s internal storage bins can store and dispense up to 16 pills at once, though this varies based on their respective sizes. Through its speaker, MedaCube alerts users 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 a dose is missed, MedaCube will alert the user, in addition to notifying caregivers through a free web portal. Through this platform, users can also view a secure record of the dosing schedule and which ones were missed or late.

Costing $1,499, MedaCube is technically the most expensive device on this list; however, it’s also the only one that does not require any sort of recurring fee. This is excellent news for those who wish to avoid locking into contracts.

Check out our full MedaCube review to learn more about this system.

#4 Philips Automated Dispensing Service: Best On-Demand Dispensing

Philips Medication Dispenser
Philips Medication Dispenser

Philips Automated Dispensing Service is a subscription service with real-time monitoring options. It also features an internal rechargeable battery, ensuring that medications will remain properly dispensed, even in the case of a power outage.

Caregivers or nurses load medications into up to 60 cups. Depending on the amount of drugs, the system is good for up to 40 days of doses and can handle six different doses per day. 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 to work (it also works on VOIP) and will issue alerts to caregivers if doses are missed, if there is a dispenser error, 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.

The Philips Automated Dispensing Service has no startup costs; rather, you simply subscribe for $59.95 per month.

#5 Livi: Best Cellular Medication Dispenser

Livi automated medication dispenser.
Livi automated medication dispenser

Livi is both a subscription service and pill dispenser, one that can handle up to 15 types of pills and dispense them up to 24 times per day. It stores up to 90 days worth of medication, depending on the dose and number of pills. We also like that it handles non-standard sized pills, whereas some systems can only support aspirin sized tablets.

Livi has an easy-pour system that lets caregivers pour each kind of pill into the machine without the need for hand sorting. The unit features a button for on-demand dispensing as well as regularly scheduled medications. It can even dispense up to 14 days worth of pills into travel packs for help with medication doses away from home.

With Livi, caregivers can access an online portal where they can manage dosing in addition to receiving alerts for device function and late or missed doses.

Depending on the amount of medication taken per day, Livi offers several different packages. The cost of Livi is $99 per month. This includes a pre-configured cellular data plan plus technical support. A $49 shipping and setup fee and the first-month rental fee is required upon checkout. Livi also does not require any long-term contracts, meaning the device can be returned at any time.

How We Judged the Automatic Medication Dispensers

When it came to evaluating each automatic pill dispenser, I had many options to review. Each device offers its own unique set of pros and cons, so, despite the number appended to each of them, the real question you should ask yourself is which dispenser is right for you. Still, there are some overarching qualities that I looked for.

Here is how I rated each device:

In Closing

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

Automatic Medication Dispenser Frequently Asked Questions

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


    1. Hi Karen, It would depend on how many times per day you take the meds? None of the systems will hold 30 pills to be dispensed at once, but if the meds are broken up into several different passes per day, then it may be possible. For the best answer, I would recommend calling the company directly to chat about your individual situation.
  1. I have been using Hero for about 7 months now. When it works, its absolutely beautiful. Easy to set up and works well. Having said that, however, we have had to replace 2 Heros and I’m currently waiting on the 3rd, so there do seem to be some technical issues with it (or I have just been unlucky. for the price and functionality, its certainly one of the best out there but once I receive our 3rd machine, if it also develops technical problems, then likely I will move on to a different system as there is downtime in diagnosing a problem and then waiting for its replacement.
    1. So sorry to hear about this Martha, thank you for sharing your experience with Hero with us. Please keep us updated! Best, Amie
  2. What do you do if you’re going on vacation, via plane?? Not of these look like they’ll transport well, since they’re rather large/bulky….and what to do if it’s a quick, spur of the moment trip?
    1. Hi Andrea, you are correct, it would be difficult to take these high-tech machines on a plane. I would recommend an old-fashioned pillbox for travel and if medication reminders are needed, there are several simple apps that can help with reminders. Hope that helps, Amie
  3. Our family recently purchased a Medicube for our aging Mom due to the number of medications, times per day and complexity. After managing Mom’s medications manually .vs medicube for the past three weeks, I have some findings to share. In fairness, I didn’t trust the medicube “completely”. I watched and checked every dose the medicube provided for three weeks. RESULTS: 3 times out of 609 pills scheduled, the medicube failed to provide one pill. (21 days x 3 times per day (15+11+3 pills) = 609 total pills). Notifications were sent by medicube via phone, SMS & email to the caregiver(s) about each problem. Mr. Chip (our medicube nickname) sometimes has issues with one very LARGE pill (that is within the size range medicube claims to handle). Every other pill from micro-small to LARGE has been handled without a SINGLE ISSUE! FEEDBACK to medicube team: 1) Comparing medicube to a manual process, medicube saves time and delivers notices when issues happen. 2) Mr. Chip connects to the Internet. A few medicube functions are available via a basic website (reporting, etc). I’d prefer to configure and adjust all medicube Caregiver settings via a web interface .vs typing on the small medicube touch screen display. I agree the local touch screen UI needs to address both Mom and some Caregiver functions (mainly around loading/refilling pills). 3) medicube’s touch screen UI needs improvements. Or, needs to be removed and replaced with a UI only for Mom. And, a Caregiver interface that is web-based and full-featured.
  4. With the Hero What if the person keeps pressing the button because they forgot that they took their pills – will it dispense more pills?
      1. I thought that was one of the “cons” to the Hero device, that it would allow the user to press the button and have meds dispensed at any time. Would like to hear from a user of the Hero. Thanks!
        1. Hi Annie, Yes, I also understood the user can press the button anytime and receive a pill. Did you confirm that is true? I worry about missed doses but worry more about erroneous double doses. Are other devices able to prevent this scenario? Thank you for any feedback!
    1. We use Hero – you tell it how many pills you have added, and then it will notify you when you are running low. Even better, you can set it up to automatically order refills when running low. Great device.
    2. The Medacube provides detailed online reports via the internet. Notices are also provided on the UI, email, phone, and SMS.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
    1. Following. Looking for funding ideas as well. We aren’t made of money, but I need help to keep mom safe.
  7. You Need to include the MED-Q Smart Pill dispenser. It uses flashing guides and really loud alarms. Great medication reminder
    1. This smart ice tray-like organizer is not on the list probably because it’s not key secured and monitored like the other examples. For grown children living outside of their parents’ home/apt, having live monitored service/apps gives peace of mind. If the individual is not going to need supervision because they only need an alarm clock dispenser then I could see Med Q being an option. I would side with the author that the listed devices are in a different league in functionality.

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