Medical alert systems such as Alert1 and Life Alert help seniors stay active and independent and remain in their own homes longer. They give seniors and their loved ones peace of mind that should they take ill or have an accident, help is just one push of a button away.
There are a number of medical alert companies providing 24/7 access to a help center. Some brands include services such as fall detection and caregiver apps. Choosing between systems and providers can be tricky because of the marketing language used in advertisements and the way monthly fees, activation costs and optional features are presented.
Both Alert1 and Life Alert offer high-quality products. Our side-by-side comparison of these two systems and their unique features can help seniors decide which one meets their needs and offers the best value.
We discovered that Alert1 and Life Alert both have a lot to offer seniors and their families. Overall, Alert1 is a better value thanks to its affordable fees and lack of a contract. The fall detection feature offered by Alert1 is another valuable option. Falls account for one-third of non-fatal injuries in the United States and are particularly serious for older adults.
Life Alert’s services are more expensive; however, their caregiver app that allows family members to check-in on the well-being of a senior and get updates on their location may make the extra cost worthwhile.
|Up-Front Fee||None||$95 to $198|
|Monthly Fee||$25.95 to $47.95||$49 to $89|
|Add-Ons||Spouse Monitoring – $10 per month||Spouse monitoring for $49 one-time fee|
|Connection Type||Landline or cellular, Mobile + GPS||Landline or cellular, Mobile + GPS|
|Battery Life||Up to 5 days for Mobile+GPS device||72-hour backup for an in-home device, up to 10-year battery life on the pendant|
|Fall Detection||Offered on some membership tiers||N/A|
|GPS||Included with the mobile GPS device||Included with the HELP On-The-Go GPS device|
|Outdoor Coverage||Included with mobile GPS device||Included with HELP On-The-Go|
|Call Center||24/7 support, U.S.-based and multilingual||24/7 support, U.S.-based, multilingual support team|
|Range from Base Center||Up to 600 feet||Up to 1,000 feet|
|Two-Way Voice Communication||Included as standard||Included as standard|
|Optional Extras||Lockbox, wall mount, extra alert button||N/A|
Alert1 has been providing medical alert monitoring systems for more than two decades and is trusted by health care professionals and families across the country. It offers a variety of solutions, including standard and wireless base units for use around the home, and GPS-enabled devices for active seniors.
Alert1 is affordable to get started with. There are no up-front fees or activation costs, and there’s no long-term contract to worry about. This makes the system a good choice for someone considering a medical alert system who’s unsure whether they may need more hands-on care in the near future, making long contracts unappealing.
The downside of Alert1 is that the user is responsible for the care of the device. Should they lose or damage their alert system, they will have to pay for a replacement. A replacement mobile help button costs around $60, while a replacement base unit or mobile device can cost up to $500. In contrast, Life Alert provides free replacements for those with device coverage as a part of their package.
Alert1 is easy to sign up for, and the devices are easy to use, too. There are several options, including belt clips, wrist bands and pendants. All wearables are waterproof, allowing seniors to use them in the shower for added peace of mind. Alert1 doesn’t own its call center, but it is Five Diamond Certified and aims to answer all alerts in less than 45 seconds. The team member stays on the line once a call is answered until help arrives. When a senior contacts the call center, text messages are sent to the subscriber’s list of contacts, and local emergency services are dispatched if necessary. The unit offers two-way communication, making it easy for seniors to seek help, but it has only a 600-foot range.
Life Alert are well-known in the medical alert system community because they pioneered the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” advertisement. The company claims that their team helps save one person every 11 minutes from potentially catastrophic issues, thanks to their rapid call response time and high call handling volume.
The company’s popularity and massive ad campaigns come at a high price, however. Unlike Alert1, Life Alert charges an activation fee and also requires a three-year contract. The monthly fee is higher and the available features are more limited as well. The lack of a fall detection feature is also a big omission in the eyes of many families.
The system does stand out in other ways, however. The in-home unit has a longer usable range than Alert1’s. In addition, the company owns and runs its own call center, and the center offers more services, including personal protection at home, and medical emergency assistance. In addition, the seven-year battery life on the pendant and 10-year backup battery life are better than the offerings of many competitors.
Another area where Life Alert stands out is its caregiver mobile app. This app allows the user to share information with family members. Those who have the app can look up the user’s location and view other information about their well-being. The Life Alert companion app is one of the best in the industry and is one reason the system remains so popular among seniors and their families.
The low fees and lack of a contract make Alert1 a great value for most families. The service is affordable, offers 24/7 access to multilingual support teams based in the United States, and includes fall detection. All of the key features are covered for an affordable fee and no contract is required. In most cases, it’s hard to justify the higher fees of Life Alert. However, the Life Alert system does make sense for some families. The device replacement service could be useful for forgetful or accident-prone seniors. The caregiver app is industry-leading, and may appeal to those who want to have regular updates about the well-being of their loved ones. Life Alert and Alert1 both rank as some of the best medical alert systems available. Seniors and their families can be confident that whichever system they choose, they’ll have a friendly listening ear ready to help them within seconds of pressing the call button. It’s hard to put a price on that kind of peace of mind.