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Page Reviewed / Updated – November 12, 2020

Medical alert systems enable communication with response teams and family members in case of an emergency and can help keep people of all ages safe while traveling. These devices can have a variety of features, including wireless two-way communication and automatic fall detection, and can be connected to both landlines and cellular networks. The vast array of available plans and features can make choosing a medical alert device a daunting task. Our comparison of the top medical alert providers is designed to lay out the most important facts to help seniors choose the best devices to meet their needs.

Below, we compare Bay Alarm Medical  and Philips Lifeline systems. While both companies are well-known and trusted by consumers, the former offers a wider array of devices at lower monthly prices. This, paired with Bay Alarm Medical’s longer range for in-home devices and aesthetic customization options for wearables, makes it stand out as the winner of this comparison.

Category Side-By-Side Comparison Bay Alarm Medical

GreatCall
COSTS
Up-Front Equipment $79 for 4G LTE Help Button $99 for GoSafe2
Monthly Monitoring $19.95 – $39.95 +$10 for optional fall detection monitoring $29.95 – $49.95 +$10 – $12 for optional cellular models
Activation Fee $0 $50 for in-home devices
Contract No contract; month-to-month, semiannual and annual plans No contract; month-to-month billing
Optional Monthly Add-On Services Fall detection monitoring – $10 Wall buttons – $3 Device protection plan – $5 Extra call buttons for spouses or roommates – $3 Caregiver tracking app – up to $5 4G/LTE cellular connection for in-home units – $10 Optional cellular connection for home-based systems – $10 – $12
FEATURES
Water-Resistant Wearable Devices Pendant or wristband Pendant or wristband
Connection Landline or cellular (AT&T network) Landline or cellular (AT&T network)
Two-Way Voice Communication Via in-home base units and wearable GoSafe 2 pendant Via speakerphone in home-bases unit and wearable pendant
Range (from in-home base unit for landline service) Up to 800 feet Up to 500 feet
Battery Life Up to 3 days of rechargeable battery life in On The Go devices Up to 32-hour battery backup in all home base stations 32-hour backup and 3-day mobile battery with 360° Protection units 5-day in-home mobile call button battery life Up to 48-hour backup battery life in home base stations Up to 3-day rechargeable battery life in GoSafe 2 devices Non-rechargeable batteries in mobile devices automatically replaced by Philips
FALL DETECTION, LOCATION and RESPONSE SERVICE
Fall Detection Optional monthly add-on with all devices Included in HomeSafe with AutoAlert devices and GoSafe 2 pendants
GPS Locator Included with On The Go and On The Road devices Included with GoSafe 2 devices
Coverage Away From Home Included with On The Go and On The Road devices Included with GoSafe 2 devices
24/7 USA Call Center Yes; multilingual agents Yes; multilingual support with an average 12-second response time
OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
Hanging and wall-mounted lockboxes Additional medical alert buttons for spouses or roommates Wearable devices customizable with decorative Bella Charms Caregiver tracking app Automatic medication dispensers Hanging and wall-mounted lockboxes

Overview of Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical is one of the most affordable medical alert options, with low monthly monitoring fees and no one-time activation fees. It offers systems for the home, the car and a mobile pendant that can be worn anywhere. This company’s On The Road device is equipped with GPS and automatic crash detection and can dispatch emergency services or a family member if the need arises.

At $19.95 per month, Bay Alarm Medical’s basic monthly plan includes 24/7 monitoring and a personal call button. Its mobile plans are some of the most affordable on the market today, starting at $24.95 per month. Bundle options that include mobile, auto and home coverage come to $39.95 per month. Add-on services can bring this cost up quickly, with fall detection costing an extra $10 per month on all devices.

Pros:

  • Affordable monthly monitoring starts at $19.95.
  • The in-car device has automatic crash reporting.
  • Bella Charms allow the customization of wearable devices.
  • Bundles further reduce costs.

Cons:

  • Add-ons can quickly raise monthly costs.
  • Shipping fees are additional for most plans.
  • Device fees charged for 4G LTE help buttons.

Overview of Philips Lifeline

Philips Lifeline is one of the longest-operating providers of medical alert systems in the United States and Canada. The company offers two devices for the home and one for on-the-go use. The GoSafe 2 pendant is equipped with advanced GPS technology, two-way voice communication and fall detection capabilities. Personalized response plans allow users to create a contact list of family, who can be automatically notified in case of an emergency.

Basic home monitoring with Philips Lifeline starts at $29.95 per month, a full $10 more expensive than comparable services from Bay Alert Medical. The HomeSafe with AutoAlert, Philips’ only home system to offer automatic fall detection, costs $44.95 per month for landline service and an additional $10 per month for cellular-based service. Service plans start at $49.95 per month for the fully mobile GoSafe 2 pendant.

Pros:

  • Philips Cares allows users to share their status with trusted friends and family members.
  • GoSafe 2 devices have advanced GPS capabilities.
  • Fall detection is automatically included with HomeSafe with AutoAlert and GoSafe 2 systems.
  • Automatic medication dispensers help users easily keep track of prescriptions.

Cons:

  • High monthly monitoring fees
  • Activation fees for in-home devices
  • High device fees for mobile units

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Our Pick

Bay Alarm Medical and Philips Lifeline are both well-established companies that are highly trusted by their users. They each offer basic home-based systems as well as mobile devices; however, Bay Alarm Medical also provides an On The Road device with automatic crash reporting.

Because Bay Alarm Medical offers services like fall recognition and caregiver tracking apps as add-ons, its monthly monitoring costs are significantly more affordable. However, factoring in the costs of these features included in Philips’ plans, Bay Alarm Medical’s services still cost less. For example, for at-home fall detection, Philips’ $44.95 AutoAlert device is far more expensive than Bay Alert’s $19.95 plan with a $10 add-on. Its lack of activation fees for in-home devices and the Price-Lock Guarantee make it even more cost-effective than its competitor, bringing Bay Alert Medical to the top of this comparison.

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