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Page Reviewed / Updated – September 17, 2020

Medical Alert and Philips Lifeline are two strong companies in the world of medical alert systems. Philips has the benefit of brand recognition, being a company that has been trusted in the United States for over four decades. Medical Alert is a part of Connect America, which is a less well-known brand, but one that is trusted by health care providers across the country.

The two brands offer similar services, connecting seniors to a support line whenever they need it via in-home base stations or a portable call button. This means seniors have peace of mind if they fall, get injured or need urgent attention, all they have to do is press a button and a calm, reassuring voice will be there for them.

Both Philips Lifeline and Medical Alert offer comprehensive medical alert systems with a multitude of features. There are some major differences in the pricing and features between the two brands, however, that may mean some seniors prefer one company over the other.

Medical Alert’s prices are generally lower than Philips Lifeline’s. Philips offers more features as standard, however, and the Philips devices have longer battery life. Both brands offer on the go coverage systems and have GPS features.

Learn more about these two medical alert systems with our side-by-side comparison.

Medical Alert vs Philips Lifeline Comparison Table

Feature Medical Alert

Philips Lifeline

PRICING
Up-Front Fee $0 $99.95 – $149 for device, $50 activation fee
Monthly Fee $22.95 to $37.95 $29.95 to $54.95
Contract None None
Add-Ons $10 per month for fall detection, $5 per month for device protection N/A
DEVICE INFORMATION
Water Resistance Yes – Pendant Yes – Wristband and Pendant
Connection Type Landline or cellular Landline or cellular
Battery Life 32-36 hour backup battery on base unit. Wearables are not rechargeable 48-hour backup battery in base unit. HomeSafe wristband and pendant are not rechargeable. GoSafe2 has a battery life of up to 3 days.
Fall Detection Optional extra add-on Included in HomeSafe with Auto Alert or GoSafe systems
GPS Included for On-the-Go systems Included for GoSafe systems
FEATURES
Outdoor Cover Included for On-the-Go Systems Included for GoSafe systems
Call Center 24/7 support, USA-based and multilingual 24/7 support, USA-based
Range from Base Center N/A Up to 800 feet
2-Way Voice Communication Available through the in-home base unit and mobile base unit Included through in-home base unit and GoSafe 2 pendant
Optional Extras N/A N/A

Medical Alert

Medical Alert is based in Philadelphia and offers systems for home users and the healthcare industry. It uses USA-based contact center teams that are open 24 hours a day and employs a large number of multilingual operators. Its service is available in 140 languages with a real-time translation service.

Medical Alert allows users to choose from an in-home landline system, in-home cellular, or a mobile medical alert system. The mobile system relies on AT&T cellular or compatible international networks and is available in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The system is easy to use and affordably priced. The backup battery in the in-home base unit is designed to last a long time and the wearable units are robust. This gives users peace of mind that they can depend on the system. There is an optional device protection plan for $5 a month which covers the portable devices should they go missing or get damaged during day-to-day use.

Medical Alert offers fall detection; however, this carries a premium of $10 a month. Fall detection is an important feature for any medical alert system. According to the CDC, three million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries every year.

The company offers an app for caregivers called Access365 that allows people authorized by the alert system’s owner to check notifications and view the location of the user, assuming they’re on a GPS-enabled plan.

Pros

  • No activation fee
  • Low monthly fee
  • No contract
  • GPS Support
  • Multilingual contact center

Cons

  • Fall detection costs $10 extra per month
  • Wearable help buttons are not rechargeable
  • On-the-Go requires the user to carry the wearable and the handheld device

Philips Lifeline

Philips are one of the most long-standing and highly trusted manufacturers of medical alert devices in the United States. They have a large range of devices designed to suit most budgets and lifestyles.

Their offering includes two in-home systems and two mobile systems. They provide waterproof, wearable devices that are suitable for use in the shower. Most systems use a help button on a pendant; however, the HomeSafe Standard offers a choice of a pendant or a wristband.

Philips offers fall detection as standard in their HomeSafe with Auto Alert and GoSafe offerings. Their simple, clear pricing with no added extras means it’s easy for seniors to choose the system that suits them and not have to worry about confusing add-ons increasing the price they pay.

The importance of fall detection cannot be emphasized enough. One of the best ways to prevent falls is to keep seniors fit and active. Giving older adults the confidence to stay independent by using a medical alert system is invaluable, and Philips does a good job of supporting independent seniors with its well-designed hardware and the features they offer.

Like Medical Alert, Philips Lifeline includes an app that will notify trusted friends and family if the help button is triggered. This app is called Philips Cares.

Those features do come at a premium, however. The up-front cost of the device, activation fee and monthly fee charged by Philips are all higher than Medical Alert’s products. For that higher fee, seniors get high-quality hardware, a clear speakerphone and a simple, transparent pricing structure. For some, that hassle-free experience is worth the extra fees.

Pros

  • Choice of wristband or pendant on some packages
  • Philips Cares app contacts trusted friends and family in an emergency
  • Transparent pricing structure
  • Pendant can be used in the shower

Cons

  • Activation fee on Homesafe Standard
  • Up-front device fee for GoSafe products
  • The monthly fees are higher than Medical Alert’s for similar service tiers

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Our Pick

Medical Alert’s lower monthly fees make it the most appealing choice for the majority of families. The multilingual service is an added bonus and could be a major selling point for those who grew up speaking a language other than English.

Philips is still deserving of a ranking among the best medical alert systems. Those who prefer a wristband to a pendant or dislike having to carry a wearable and a handheld the way Medical Alert’s On-the-Go device requires may find Philips Lifeline’s range appealing. When considering which package to choose, note additional fees for fall detection or device protection. In most cases, Medical Alert remains competitive price-wise, but the clearer and more transparent pricing of Philips Lifeline, combined with the high quality of the product means it is still worthy of consideration.

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