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Page Reviewed / Updated – December 15, 2020

Medical alert systems help seniors retain their independence by enabling communication with emergency services and caregivers in case of a fall or injury. With so many options on the market, choosing the best features at the best price can be complicated, particularly with so many options, such as automatic fall detection and voice-to-text communication. Our comparison of some of the top medical alert systems is designed to help seniors choose the best systems to meet their needs at a price that fits their budget.

Our comparison of Medical Guardian vs. Medical Care Alert systems found that while the former offers a wider array of devices, the latter has lower all-around costs. We found that active seniors who want to keep connected might prefer Medical Guardian’s Freedom Guardian smartwatch, while those more concerned with costs might prefer Medical Care Alert’s basic systems and lower monitoring prices.

Category Side By Side Comparison Medical Guardian Medical Care Alert

COSTS
Up-Front Equipment $0-$99 $0
Monthly Monitoring $29.95 – $79.95 +$10/month for optional fall detection monitoring in select devices $27.45 – $36.62 +$10/month for optional fall detection monitoring in enabled devices


Activation Fee $0 $0
Contract No contract; month-to-month, quarterly, semi-annual and annual plans Quarterly, semi-annual and annual contracts with month-to-month continuations available
Optional Monthly Add-On Services Lockboxes – $2 or free for annual users Wall buttons – $2 per month Fall detection monitoring – $10 per month Fall detection monitoring – $10 per month Wall buttons – $29.95 purchase fee Lockboxes – $29.95 purchase fee
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 two-way speaker built into Mobile Guardian and Active Guardian devices Via in-home base unit and wearable pendant
Range (From in-home base unit for landline service) Up to 1300′ Up to 1000 feet in HOME systems, 600 feet in HOME & YARD systems
Battery Life Rechargeable batteries in wristband and pendant of Mobile Guardian and Active Guardian units. 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 home bases, 30-hour backup in Home Guardian devices
Up to 72 hours of backup battery life in all home base units Up to 36 hours battery life in HOME & AWAY ELITE systems Up to 96 hours of battery life in HOME & AWAY PRIMO devices
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 except HOME & YARD
GPS Locator Available in Mobile Guardian and Active Guardian devices Available in HOME & AWAY ELITE and HOME & AWAY PRIMO devices
Coverage Away From Home Available in Mobile Guardian and Active Guardian devices Available in HOME & AWAY ELITE and HOME & AWAY PRIMO devices
24/7 USA Call Center Yes; Service in English and Spanish, translators available for other languages Yes; Two award-winning U.S. operating centers with service available in Spanish

Overview of Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian is one of the top-rated medical alert systems in the United States. It is one of the only companies to offer a smartwatch-style device, called the Freedom Guardian. For a price of $99, this device offers voice-to-text messaging, a day planner and wellness apps. This is the only Medical Guardian device with a purchase price. Monthly monitoring fees can range from $29.95 for basic home units up to $79.99 for mobile devices, and service is available in English and Spanish.

Pros:

  • Offers a smartwatch and a wide range of device choices
  • Limitless Icons collection makes wearable devices customizable to look like jewelry
  • Wider range of device options
  • Free caregiver portal

Cons:

  • Equipment fee for Freedom Guardian smartwatch
  • Mobile coverage prices are higher than industry averages
  • Mobile Guardian requires users to carry a pager-style device in addition to the wearable pendant.

Overview of Medical Care Alert

Medical Care Alert offers three devices, one for home protection, one for home and yard protection, and one with service across the United States. Its monthly monitoring plans start out at $27.45, a price slightly more affordable than Medical Guardian’s basic coverage. Coverage for roaming units starts at $36.62, which are some of the lowest prices in the industry for country-wide coverage. Medical Care Alert operates two call centers in order to ensure 365-day coverage, and Spanish-speaking and EMT-certified operators are available.

Pros:

  • Service available in Canada, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
  • Lockboxes and wall buttons available for a one-time fee instead of monthly rental
  • Affordable monitoring prices with semi-annual and annual plans
  • EMT-certified operators

Cons:

  • Must purchase extended plan to get the best monitoring prices
  • No smartwatch-style device
  • Limited range of device and coverage options

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Our Pick

While each company offers the same traditional coverage options, Medical Guardian’s wider range of devices makes it a great choice for tech-savvy seniors who like to stay connected. On the other hand, due to its high monthly monitoring prices, it may be cost-prohibitive to seniors on fixed incomes. Because of Medical Care Alert’s lower prices and highly trained call center operators, it comes out on top as the better all-around medical alert provider for basic services.

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