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      July 17, 2018

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Alert Systems

  1. Bay Alarm Medical
  2. Mobile Help
  3. LifeFone
  4. Philips Lifeline
  5. LifeStation
  6. Rescue Alert
  7. ADT
  8. Life Alert
  9. Alert 1
  10. Response Link

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Life Alert vs Alert 1

Best Medical Alert Systems

To help you find the Best Medical Alert Systems, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Life Alert and Alert 1.

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Who has the best Medical Alert Systems? As the US population ages, the need for medical alert systems grows. Given the increasing number of seniors who prefer to "age in place" - living in their own home as long as possible, rather than moving to an independent or assisted living facility for the elderly - it is easy to see why a medical alert system could make the difference between life and death.

Medical alert systems give users the ability to rapidly contact emergency services, typically through a button worn on the wrist or as a pendant around the neck. All it takes is a click of that button to get in touch with an operator who will help determine if a call to emergency medical services is needed. For added peace of mind, a number of companies offer equipment that can automatically detect when the wearer has fallen.

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Best Reviews

2018

Medical Alert System Reviews

2.5 stars
Life Alert

LIFE ALERT Visit Site

Cost:

$49.95/month, plus initial fees up to $200

Life Alert may be the most well-known provider of medical alert systems: founded in 1987 and famous for the "I've fallen and I can't get up!" TV spots, this CA-based business has a large customer base and a solid A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Unfortunately, Life Alert continues to make it difficult for prospective customers to get information about their plans and costs. The only way to get current pricing information for Life Alert is by calling to request a brochure. If you're not willing to give them your address and phone number, you'll be transferred to a customer care representative instead.

The representative we spoke with was very pleasant and emailed us the brochure right away. But, once again, there was no pricing in the brochure. The rep said the reason they don't put their pricing on the website is because they design a package to meet every individual's needs. She did say that they have three programs that range in price from $49 to $89 a month; she made no mention of an activation or startup fee, but many customers refer to it in their comments.

According to the customer representative, "We are the most expensive, but there's a reason: we're the best." She went on to say that one of the reasons that Life Alert is the best is because everything is guaranteed and put in writing.

Life Alert offers five main areas of protection:

  • Medical
  • Fire
  • Help Button
  • Home Invasion
  • Mobile Help/GPS

It is worth noting that there's no specific service that detects fire. Life Alert has the traditional base unit / pendant or wristband help button system as most medical alert systems, and the wearer would still need to push the button to tell the monitoring station that there is a fire. Similarly, the home invasion protection assumes that the user pushes the help button and tells the dispatcher that there's a break-in in progress; the dispatcher can then hear activity within the home through the monitoring system, report an invasion in progress to the police, and warn the intruders over the base unit's speaker that help is on the way.

Customers can choose between landline or cellular base units, and the help button range is up to 800 feet.

Life Alert's "Protection on the Go" offers nationwide coverage via cellular networks and uses GPS to locate the wearer if needed. The help button can be worn, carried in a bag or purse, or even in a pocket.

We respect the fact that Life Alert is reliable and reputable. But, customers pay a lot for that name-brand value, for services that seem to be readily available through several other companies with solid reputations.

In today's age of buy-it-online, Life Alert is shooting itself in the foot by not being transparent with their pricing (and by having a website that looks like it hasn't been updated for at least a decade). If their service is truly head and shoulders above the rest, people will still be willing to pay higher prices. But, without the ability to see those prices right away and even to order a package directly through the site, we think many people will just move on to other companies offering medical alert systems.

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2 stars
Alert 1

ALERT 1 Visit Site

Cost:

Starting at $19.95/month

Alert1 is based in Pennsylvania and is a partner brand of ResponseLINK - sharing a BBB listing and offering much of the same equipment. However, Alert1 seems to be the more modern version of the two, offering a total of 5 service options compared with just 2-3 sold by ResponseLINK:

  • Home: starting at $19.95/month for semi-annual and annual payment plans (or $25.95/month for quarterly plans), this system requires a landline to connect the base to the 24/7 monitoring center. A waterproof pendant-style or wristwatch button is used to communicate with the base, and it has a range of 600 feet.
  • Fall Detection: starting at $30.95 for 6- and 12-month prepayment plans (and $36.95/month for quarterly plans), this plan adds automatic fall detection and does not require a landline for service. However, this plan only supports a range of 400 feet from the panic button to the base. The button can be either a pendant or wristwatch-style device.
  • On-the-Go: this system is also priced at $30.95 (6- and 12-month plans) or $36.95 (3-month plans). This medical alert service uses a pendant-style device that looks something like a pager, and it connects the wearer to the monitoring center via T-Mobile or AT&T mobile networks. It does not include GPS technology or fall detection.
  • Mobile + Fall Detection: this service plan costs $41.95/month on semi-annual and annual payment plans, and $47.95/month when paid quarterly. It includes GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular coverage (via AT&T's network) to locate the user if the button is pushed or a fall is detected. The system uses the same pendant-style device as the On-the-Go plan.
  • Home + Mobile + Fall Detection: Alert1's top-tier plan costs $52.95/month for 6- and 12-month payment plans, and $58.95/month for 3-month plans. The system is controlled either by a pendant (home or mobile use) or wristband (home use only).

All plans can include a second user for a discounted price; on some plans it is only just $5 more per month. Each plan includes unlimited button-pushes and talk time; we thought it was interesting that Alert1 says that their system can be used even if someone just feels like having a conversation.

Also, Alert1 does not require a long-term commitment or charge equipment fees for any of their medical alert systems. They do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, but only on plans that are prepaid in 6- or 12-month installments. In other words, if you select the shortest term, quarterly, and aren't happy with your service, you will not get any money back if you cancel. We found many customer reports that Alert1 does not make it easy to take advantage of that satisfaction guarantee, even when a user passes away or the service is no longer needed for some other reason. These complaints are part of the reason that the BBB has downgraded Alert1 / ResponseLINK's rating to an "A" instead of the "A+" they previously held.

We like the greater range of products and services offered by Alert1 when compared with their partner company, but we think most customers will not love the need to pay 6 months in advance just to get a 30-day guarantee - especially when many of their competitors have medical alert systems with more features and less money per month, with no need to prepay in order to have the possibility of a refund.

Alert1 is an improvement over ResponseLINK, but doesn't quite go far enough to put it in the same league as the higher-ranked medical alert systems in our review.

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Continued from above

There are a wide variety of choices when it comes to medical alert systems: some services that have been on the market for many years, and others that are newer to the industry. When shopping around for the right product for yourself or for a loved one, you may find a straightforward, easy-to-use website that clearly explains your options. On the other hand, some companies still rely on pushy sales tactics that won't give you much information unless you speak with a representative.

As you compare the various medical alert systems currently available, there are several aspects to keep in mind:

  • Cost. How much will you spend for equipment and monitoring fees?
  • Variety of Productsand Services. Can you get the coverage you need? Does the business offer upgrades like fall detection?
  • Cellular vs. Landline. If you or your loved one doesn't have a landline, can they still use the system? Or will you need to incur the extra expenses of installing a landline and paying for a phone plan?
  • Ordering Process. Can you easily shop the site and get what you need on your own terms, or will you have to work with a representative in order to start service?
  • Contracts. Will you have to sign a lengthy service contract for the medical alert system? Can you cancel the service if it doesn't meet your expectations or the user no longer needs it?
  • Reputation. What do other customers say about the company, the equipment, the service, and the attitude of company representatives? Does the business have a rating with the BBB?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best medical alert systems on the market today. We hope these reviews give you the information you need to select the medical alert service that will give you or your loved one extra safety and peace of mind.

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