Life Alert vs Medical Guardian vs LifeFone vs Alert 1

Providing secured independence is the goal of any medical alert system. But there are so many out there. Choosing can be hard, so we are giving you a comprehensive and brief overview of 4 of the leading medical monitoring companies: Life Alert, Medical Guardian, LifeFone, and Alert 1.

Which Medical Alert System has the Best Reputation?

Since your life may depend on them, it is important to look at their reputation. You wouldn’t hire a caregiver with a bad record, would you? Similarly, you won’t get a medical alert system from a company who has a bad reputation.

BBB Rating and Complaints

The BBB or Better Business Bureau is a middle-man platform that advances the marketplace trust of businesses in the US and Canada. They are a non-profit organization who makes sure businesses, either large or small, comply with their standards of good customer service. Having high BBB rating means a business has a good reputation to customers, either because they receive no or low complaints or those complaints are treated and resolved in compliance with BBB’s standards.

Of the 4 medical monitoring companies, only Alert 1 was not accredited. LifeFone, Life Alert, and Medical Guardian are all rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. It doesn’t necessarily mean Alert 1 has a bad reputation. I checked the BBB’s website and the reason as to why there’s no rating is because they don’t have enough information about Alert 1 at this time.

If the BBB sees an issue that may threaten consumers’ welfare, they post warnings on their website. I’ve seen one on Life Alert’s profile. There have been reports from customers of a phone scam. The phone scammers are contacting seniors, introducing themselves as representatives of Life Alert. They leave a recorded message in the senior’s voice mail saying they are eligible to receive a free Life Alert System or their system has been paid for by a friend or family member. They will then be directed to speak to a company representative, who will ask them for personal information like name, social security number, and bank accounts. These are scams, so do not entertain such calls.

Customers can also leave complaints on the BBB website. What’s good about this is complaints are sorted into specific types that determine where the company failed. The types are as follows: Sales / Advertising Issue, Billing and Collection Issues, Warranty Issues, Problems with Products or Service, and Delivery Issues.

 Life_Alert_LogoLifeFone_logo_1medical-guardian-logoAlert 1 Logo
Advertising
and Sales
37 86
Billing and
Collections
22 318
Delivery  12
Guarantee/
Warranty
2  3
Products
or Service
10921016
Total #
Resolved
Complaints
17022245
SecurityGem
Review
 Life_Alert_LogoLifeFone_logo_1medical-guardian-logoAlert 1 Logo
Life_Alert_Logo
Advertising
and Sales
37
Billing and
Collections
22
Delivery
0
Guarantee/
Warranty
2
Products
or Service
109
Total #
Resolved
Complaints
170
SecurityGem
Review
Life_Alert_Logo
LifeFone_logo_1
Advertising
and Sales
0
Billing and
Collections
0
Delivery
0
Guarantee/
Warranty
0
Products
or Service
2
Total #
Resolved
Complaints
2
SecurityGem
Review
LifeFone_logo_1
medical-guardian-logo
Advertising
and Sales
8
Billing and
Collections
3
Delivery
1
Guarantee/
Warranty
0
Products
or Service
10
Total #
Resolved
Complaints
22
SecurityGem
Review
medical-guardian-logo
Alert 1 Logo
Advertising
and Sales
6
Billing and
Collections
18
Delivery
2
Guarantee/
Warranty
3
Products
or Service
16
Total #
Resolved
Complaints
45
SecurityGem
Review
Alert 1 Logo

Products and Packages

Now let’s have a brief overview of their products and its prices. I know you will be looking for products that fit your needs, so I’ll try to cover those. I will discuss 4 types of products: Basic Packages, On-the-Go Products, Fall-Detection Products, and their Complete Packages or most advanced offers.

Basic Package

Basic Packages are the cheapest and have the least features. These are usually connected to landline and come with a base unit and help button. In this section, the 4 companies will be compared according to their features, price, backup battery life, and signal range. I will also mention their customer service but will stay clear of some details because those will be mentioned in another section.

Features

Life Alert’s basic package comes with a base unit which should be connected to a landline. Although it is not recommended to use VoIP, Life Alert’s base unit works with some. It has a speakerphone and a battery which lasts for 48 hours in a single charge.

The other half of the package is the help button. You can choose between a waterproof pendant or wristband. This help button works within the range of 150 ft. from the base unit.

One package can serve 2 people living in one household. Life Alert has an extra help button available for a one-time fee of $49. Your spouse can use this button and your system without additional fees.

LifeFone’s basic package is similar. It comes with a base unit that has to be connected to a landline. The base unit is equipped with a speakerphone and backup battery that can run for 32 hours.

The base unit works in conjunction with a waterproof help button. These two work with each other within a range of 480 ft. One nice feature of this is LifeFone’s monitoring center is silently monitoring the battery of both your base unit and the help button and they will quickly notify you if it’s near empty.

One package can be used by 2 people as long as they live in the same household. An extra pendant costs $39.95.

Medical Guardian’s basic package is called Classic Guardian. Its base unit uses landline connection and it has a backup battery life of 32 hours.

Classic Guardian has one of the longest signal range. The pendant works with the base unit within a 1,300 ft. range. Aside from the waterproof help button that can be worn as a necklace pendant or wristband, you can choose to buy a wall-mounted help button that can be placed in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms, and high-danger areas.

And last, Alert 1. The base unit of their basic package connects to a landline and can run for 24 hours in power failures, thanks to its battery.

The help button is waterproof just like the others and has a signal range of 600 ft. It is also GPS activated and they will be able to locate you with the help of 911. Your unit is tested every 28 days to ensure it works fine and if they see anything wrong with it, they will quickly notify you.

Pricing

  • Life Alert’s basic package costs $29.95 a month and might incur an additional installation fee of around $95 to $115.
  • LifeFone’s basic package costs $24.95 a month if you pay annually. It will cost you more if you choose to pay monthly or quarterly. Basically, the monthly fee is $29.95
  • Medical Guardian’s Classic Guardian also costs $29.95 a month.
  • Alert 1’s basic package costs $35.95 a month. You can choose to pay quarterly or annually which will give you discounts.

Life Alert, LifeFone, and Medical Guardian all charges $29.95 a month if you pay monthly. But keep in mind Life Alert incurs an installation fee. Alert 1 has the most expensive product but this is because it has added features like the system check up done every 28 days and the help button is equipped with GPS.

So what do we recommend?

In this section, we recommend Medical Guardian’s Classic Guardian.

Why?

First, the monthly price is reasonable. It is not expensive, but not too cheap to make you think their service would be compromised. The price is in line with similar products from other companies. Second, they have the longest signal range, 1,300 ft. And third, there are no installation or activation fees.

Regardless of the price, I also recommend Alert 1 because they have good customer support, they monitor your system to make sure it works fine, and their unit has GPS. And besides, if you could pay for their system annually, your monthly average fee will be $25.95, cheaper than the other three.

On-The-Go Products

On-the-Go products are for seniors who spend a good amount of time outdoors. These may have a mobile base unit and waterproof help button, or just a single device.

Features

Alert 1’s Mobile Medical Alert comes with only one device — the Kelsi emergency pendant, a small pendant that can be worn around your neck, as a keychain, or hung in your belt loop. It is waterproof so it is safe to have it even in the shower. The pendant itself has a speakerphone so the monitoring center can speak with you in an emergency. It is battery operated and it can run for up to 60 days without charging. An important feature all on-the-go medical monitoring systems should have is a GPS. Mobile Medical Alert has a GPS and uses a location tracker that is the same as what 911 uses. The accuracy is perfect. The tracker will locate you within a 2 meter radius. The unit uses cellular network, and unlike landline, may be less efficient specially if the signal is bad in your area.

LifeFone’s At-Home and On-the-Go Emergency Response with GPS works perfectly at home or on-the-go. It has 2 base units, one for your home and one that is mobile and easy to carry. Both of them have speakerphones and are battery operated. The mobile base unit has a charging hub and a full charge will keep it going for up to 24 hours. And the good thing is, you can still use it even when charging. The other base unit can still function on power failures using its batteries which can run for up to 30 hours.

A waterproof help button also comes in this package and it works with both base units. For the at-home base unit, the help button works within the range of 600ft. And for the mobile base unit, it can work within 300 ft. In case of an emergency while away from home, the medical monitoring center will be able to find you using GPS.

There’s a good thing about having 2 base units aside from the protection you can get when you’re not at home. Since you have 2 base units, you can set them up separately at home to cover more area. For larger homes, 600 ft. may not be enough, so an additional 300 ft. from the mobile base unit may be helpful.

Life Alert offers the Emergency Help Phone. It is like a regular phone and it uses a cellular network’s signal. It is small, easy-to-carry device which has the ability to contact the medical monitoring center in an emergency. According to their website, the help phone’s battery can run for up to 10 years in a single charge.

Medical Guardian offer’s Mobile Guardian, a mobile monitoring system which includes a mobile base unit with its charging hub and a leather case, and a waterproof help button. Although it is intended to work outdoors, it also works well at home. It’s batteries work for up to 24 hours on a single charge.

The waterproof help button works within 350 ft. from the base unit and has GPS to help the monitoring center track you.

Pricing

  • Alert 1’s Mobile Medical Alert costs $45.95 a month if paid in a monthly basis, but you can have it for as low as $35.95 if you choose to pay annually.
  • At-Home and On-the-Go costs $39.95 if paid monthly. But you can cut a better deal if you pay annually. In which case, your average monthly fee will become $36.95.
  • I was not able to get the price for Life Alert’s Emergency Help Phone because of their strict marketing and sales approach. If you are interested, you can check their website or give them a call.
  • Medical Guardian’s Mobile Guardian costs $39.95 a month. I heard they also offer other billing options that will give you discounts.

Depending on your preference, there are 2 winners. If you will pay for your bill monthly, we recommend LifeFone’s At-Home and On-the-Go alert system.

Why?

The price is reasonable, and the products are good. Since you will be given 2 base units, it gives you a wider coverage of your home. The mobility isn’t an issue either because the mobile base unit is easy to carry. And, it has a fair signal range.

On the other hand, I would also recommend Alert 1’s Mobile Medical Alert, but only if you are willing to pay annually. On an annual-payment basis, this one is the cheapest. The service and product’s quality are both good. All you need to carry is a small waterproof pendant to have the security you need and it works at home, or anywhere in the US as long as there’s cellular service.

Fall-Detection Packages

Having a medical alert system may not be enough. A fall might knock you unconscious or may leave you unable to move. In such a case, fall-detectors can save your life.

Consider, though, the technology used in fall-detectors is not perfect. It may or may not detect a fall and could possibly signal false alarms as well. This is the same no matter whose equipment you use. Still, a fall-detector is an added layer of security for your protection.

Features

Medical Guardian has fall-detector units available in 2 of their packages but I will only discuss one here because the other will be discussed in the next section. The fall-detector is not a part of the original Home Guardian package, but you can get it as an upgrade.

In addition to the fall-detector, the package comes with a cellular base unit that has a 30-hour battery life and a speakerphone. The fall-detector replaces the original help button pendant and is waterproof as well. The help button is not gone, though. Because the fall-detector may not detect all falls, it is still advised to press the help button if you are able. It works within a range of 600 ft. from the base unit.

Alert 1’s fall-detection package is similar to their basic package but with a fall-detection pendant instead of the traditional help button. This package has a base unit connected to a landline and has a signal range of 600 ft. The fall-detection pendant is waterproof and works for up to 2 years without charging.

LifeFone offers the At-Home Fall Detection Service. It comes with a base unit that uses cellular service and a pendant that both has a help button and automatic fall detection. The base unit has a backup battery that gives you protection for 30 hours during power failure. The 2 units work together in a range of 600 ft.

Pricing

  • The Home Guardian with fall detection costs $44.95 a month.
  • Alert 1’s fall detection package costs $40.95 a month if paid monthly or $30.95 if paid annually.
  • At-Home Fall Detection Service from LifeFone costs $43.95 a month. If you choose to pay yearly, you can get it for an average of $38.95 a month.

Alert 1 is the cheapest this time but it doesn’t offer much. The features are good enough and it has a wide signal range. So if you’re okay using a landline, I’d recommend Alert 1.

If you don’t have a landline, you might as well choose the more expensive At-Home Fall Detection by Lifefone which has almost similar features to Alert 1’s. The only difference is that it uses a cellular network.

Most Advanced Packages

The Premium Guardian is Medical Guardian’s most advanced package. It has all the features of their other products in just one, handy device. This device can be rested in its charging station, clipped in your belt, or worn around your neck. It has a battery-life of 36 hours, GPS tracking, and automatic fall detection. It uses cellular network signal from AT&T so before getting one, it’s recommended to check the signal in your home.

One of Life Alert’s products caught my attention. It is cheap but offers excellent security. It doesn’t come with any products. It uses your own phone instead. If you are using a regular cell phone, they will program it so they are in your speed dial. If you have a smartphone, you will be given access to an app that directly calls them. Why will I pay monthly if I can simply call 911 instead, you might ask? This service gives you unlimited calls to them, so there are no air time charges.

LifeFone has a Complete Home Package. This package gives the user all the benefits of LifeFone’s medical monitoring along with 24/7 fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide monitoring. And as an extra, you will get a wall-mounted help button.

But there’s a downside. You will need to sign up for a year contract.

Pricing

  • The Premium Guardian costs $49.95 a month.
  • Life Alert’s Cellphone Alert Service costs $19.95 a month. But it incurs a one-time programming fee of $79 and it requires you to sign up for a contract of 2 years.
  • LifeFone’s Complete Home Package is billed annually for $515.40. Doing the math, it will be $42.95 a month.

What do we recommend? All of them. They have different features and different prices, and they are all worth it. Depending on what you need, you can choose between these 3.

How is their Customer Service and Emergency Response?

A good product is almost useless if their customer service is bad. So let’s see how their customer service stacks up.

Alert 1

Alert 1 has 2 UL Listed and US-Based command centers. This means they will not fall short of staff to handle your needs.

The way they handle an emergency is closely tailored to your preferences. They can either call your relatives, neighbor, friend, or 911, who will all depend on you. And in an emergency, they will stay on the line until you are safe.

Alert 1 also supports 190 languages. Seniors who doesn’t use English as their native language can choose to speak to a representative who speaks the same language. Popular choices are Spanish, Chinese, French, Vietnamese, or Russian.

There are some issues, though, unrelated to emergency cases. I’ve read through the Internet and I saw a trend of issues regarding cancellation or returns of products. Most of them were handled by Alert 1 and the issues were resolved.

Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian outsource their monitoring agents from US based monitoring centers rather than managing it in-house. Some people are not comfortable with that. But don’t worry because the call center operators are all highly-trained in 911 response and EMT. The operators keep a detailed record of their customers’ medical and personal information to give the best response possible.

Life Alert

Life Alert manages their own monitoring center in-house. It is US-based and UL listed so you can expect high quality calls. The dispatchers were trained to stay on the line with you until help arrives or until you feel safe.

On the contrary, as I was going through some customer reviews about Life Alert, I’ve noticed a trend of negative reviews particularly in their customer service. Many are complaining they are sometimes impolite, hanging up on them, or not having the right records. They also use sales approach which may trick an inattentive customer.

LifeFone

LifeFone offers their monitoring service in 200 languages. They are also one of the few companies who thoroughly check in on their customers. If you did not test your unit every month, they will be checking on you to make sure it is still working.

Their monitoring center has a detailed record of their customers. For additional monthly fees, they also offer to check in on their customer every day.

Website Quality and Features

Alert 1’s Website

Alert 1’s website is completely detailed. It gives you an overview of who they are, what they do, and what they offer. It also shows their awards and certifications. This is good because it builds up trust of customers while at the same time advertises and showcases how they can help you. The interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate and the website itself is easy on the eyes, even for seniors who may be experiencing poor eyesight. And the images showing pictures of smiling, happy seniors leaves a positive feeling to the viewer. You can also purchase any package right on their website.

Medical Guardian’s Website

Medical Guardian’s website is easy to navigate and will give you as much information as you need. They have a detailed description and price list of their products and what add-ons come with it. They are also clear and transparent as to who they are, what they do, and how they plan on doing it. One good thing with their website is the Live Chat. For questions and inquiries, you can directly chat with one of their representatives. The downside is for any cellular packages you will have to call in and speak to a sales rep, which really shouldn’t be necessary with the technology available today. This makes me think their intent is to try and up-sell everyone who calls in.

Life Alert’s Website

Life Alert’s website is focused on advertising, although it also gives an overview about them, their products and how they handle emergencies. I find it unfitting for seniors since the website is filled with random information and details. But if you try harder to understand the website, you’ll get what they mean. You cannot contact them from their website except by using their phone number.

LifeFone’s Website

LifeFone’s website is very nice on the eyes. The pictures showing a senior couple happily walking together and the depiction of a friendly customer service representative leaves a positive feeling on viewers. They also include helpful information about them; awards, certifications, and recognitions. They have a detailed list of products, services, add-ons, and accessories which includes prices and description.

All these 4 companies have good reputations and decades of experience in providing secured independence. The answer as to which of them provides the best service rests upon you and your preferences. So instead of telling you upright where to get your medical monitoring system, I encourage you to do an extensive research on your own to see what really works for you. You may directly contact them to get as much details as you need before deciding. And take your time. A medical monitoring system is an urgent need, but never rush into getting one without closely considering the pros and cons.