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Page Reviewed / Updated – October 09, 2020

A medical alert system is a specialized alarm that helps keep seniors safe in their homes by enabling communication in case of an injury or fall. When triggered, these systems send signals to 24/7 monitoring centers where trained personnel can contact family or dispatch emergency services. Our side-by-side comparison helps seniors choose the best medical alert system for their needs by cutting through the marketing jargon and getting straight to the most important information: features, range and affordability.

While not the most affordable option, Medical Guardian offers an array of specialized features that can be worth the price to some users. Technology choices like smartwatches and home safety sensors paired with aesthetic options make Medical Guardian ideal for seniors seeking modern and fashionable solutions.

Medical Alert’s range of devices, highly trained operators and international service capabilities make it a great choice for seniors who travel. Its low monthly costs and affordable optional add-ons make it an all-around versatile option for those who seek a cost-effective yet high-quality service.

Category Side By Side Comparison Medical Guardian Medical Care Alert
COSTS
Up-Front Equipment $0 $0
Monthly Monitoring $29.95 – $79.95 +$10/month for optional fall detection monitoring $29.95 – $39.95 +$10/month for optional fall detection monitoring
Activation Fee $0 $0
Contract Month-to-month, quarterly, semi-annual and annual Quarterly, semi-annual or annual with month-to-month renewals available
Optional Monthly Add-On Services Lockboxes – $2 Wall buttons – $2 Fall detection monitoring – $10 Fall detection monitoring – $10
FEATURES
Water-Resistant Wearable Devices Pendant or wristband Pendant or wristband
Connection Landline or cellular (AT&T network) Landline or cellular (AT&T network)
2-Way Voice Communication Via in-home base or built-in two-way speaker available on Mobile Guardian and Active Guardian devices Via in-home base unit and wearable pendant in HOME & YARD and HOME & AWAY ELITE and PRIMO models
Range (From in-home base unit for landline service) Up to 1300′ Up to 1000′ or 600′ for two-way communication
Battery life Rechargeable batteries in wristband/pendant of Mobile Guardian and Active Guardian devices — up to 24-hour battery life in Mobile Guardian and up to 5-day battery life in Active Guardian 32-hour battery backup in Classic Guardian and Family Guardian base unit, 30-hour backup in Home Guardian devices Up to 36 hours of rechargeable battery life for HOME & AWAY ELITE and 4 days rechargeable battery life in HOME & AWAY PRIMO units 72-hour battery backup in HOME and HOME-3G base station, 24-hour backup in HOME & YARD systems
FALL DETECTION, LOCATION and RESPONSE SERVICE
Fall Detection Optional monthly add-on with Classic Guardian, Home Guardian, Family Guardian and Active Guardian units Optional monthly add-on with all devices
GPS Locator Included in Mobile Guardian and Active Guardian devices Included in HOME & AWAY ELITE and HOME & AWAY PRIMO devices
Coverage Away From Home Included in Mobile Guardian and Active Guardian devices Included in HOME & AWAY ELITE and HOME & AWAY PRIMO devices, limited away-from-home coverage with the HOME & YARD system
24/7 USA Call Center Yes; translators available for languages other than English and Spanish Yes; Spanish-speaking operators available around the clock, all operators are EMT/EMD certified
OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
Hanging and wall-mounted master lockboxes, free with annual plans Limitless Icons Collection offers fashionable pendant choices Wall-mounted call buttons with optional voice activation Motion sensors, a door sensor, and access to a family and caregiver app with the Family Guardian Hanging and wall-mounted master lockboxes for a one-time fee Wall-mounted call buttons Remote Care 24/7 app allows family to check in anytime

Overview of Medical Guardian

As one of the country’s top medical alert systems, Medical Guardian offers an array of unique features. These include jewelry-style alert pendants through the Limitless Icons Collection as well as the Freedom Guardian, a medical alert smartwatch.

Available in black or white, this smartwatch features a touch-screen interface where users can check the weather, time or calendar as well as use a voice program to send SMS messages. For $44.95 per month, this GPS-enabled device allows emergency responders and caregivers to pinpoint user locations nationwide. Plans for other devices can start at $29.95 for basic services and go up to $79.95 per month for the Family Guardian plan, which includes in-home safety sensors and an app that lets trusted family members check user locations.

Pros

  • Unique accessories include motion and door sensors with the Family Guardian system
  • The Limitless Icons Collection offers pendants encased in decorative resin and adorned with gold and silver hardware for a costume jewelry look
  • Emergency response experts have access to translators from around the world
  • Offers the Freedom Guardian, a modern smartwatch-style call button enabled with GPS and optional caregiver tracking
  • Wearable devices are water resistant and shower-safe

Cons

  • Add-ons like lockboxes and wall-mounted call buttons come at a monthly fee
  • Automated fall detection is not guaranteed and may fail to trigger in some cases
  • Annual or semi-annual subscriptions are required to lock in the most affordable rates

Overview of Medical Care Alert

Medical Care Alert has some of the lowest monthly monitoring costs of any major medical alert system. Unlike many of its competitors, it charges no monthly equipment fees and staffs its response center with highly qualified EMTs.

Spanish-speaking operators are available around-the-clock, and service is available on cellular networks in the United States, Canada, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. All devices can be enabled with optional fall detection capabilities for $10 per month. While Medical Care Alert’s basic service prices start out on par with industry standards, at $29.95, its additional services are very affordable and its most expensive monitoring plan is only $39.95.

Pros

  • Every system can be enabled with fall detection for only $10 per month
  • Lockboxes come at an affordable one-time only fee
  • Service is compatible with cellular networks in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
  • Highly trained EMT operators who have completed a minimum of two years’ training
  • An app allows family members and caregivers to check user locations.

Cons

  • Fewer customizable extras and no smartwatch option
  • Pendants and bracelets are discreet but undecorated
  • Must complete a quarterly, semi-annual or annual subscription in order to access monthly payments

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Our Pick

While both companies offer similar basic elements, Medical Guardian has a longer list of specialized features, such as optional home safety sensors and a call center staffed with expert translators. However, Medical Care Alert has some of the most affordable devices on the market and charges low one-time fees for extras like wall-mounted call buttons. Due to the affordability of its systems and strong list of available extras, Medical Care Alert is a better all-around choice for basics, but the advanced technology offered by Medical Guardian is ideal for users seeking modern solutions.

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