Wearable medical alert technology gives the elderly and those with a disability peace of mind, knowing that help in a medical emergency is just a button-push away. Medical alert devices use advanced GPS and cellular technology, which allow emergency services to easily locate the wearer or the user to signal for help quickly. Many wearable medical devices also allow communication between the user and emergency services or designated contacts. These devices offer greater independence for the wearer because they can summon help without using a phone.
There are several major medical alert manufacturers, and each company produces an array of makes and models. These devices have many similarities, but sometimes the language about each can be confusing. Plus, companies wish to present their projects in the best light. We’ve created this comparison to help people determine the best medical alert device for their needs.
We’re comparing MobileHelp and Medical Guardian, two established medical device makers with solid histories of creating high-quality products. We’ve noted that both companies offer very similar products, and while MobileHelp devices are less expensive, the variety of plans from Medical Guardian may suit more users.
|Category||Side-By-Side Comparison||MobileHelp||Medical Guardian|
|Up-Front Equipment||$0||$99 for Freedom Guardian $0 for all other models|
|Monthly Monitoring||$19.95 for MobileHelp Classic (includes cellular connectivity) $24.95 for Wired Home $37.95 for MobileHelp Solo $41.95 for MobileHelp Duo $44.95 for Mobile Duo $59.45 for MobileHelp Touch||$29.95 for Classic Guardian $34.95 for Home Guardian $79.95 for Family Guardian $39.95 for Mobile Guardian $49.95 for Active Guardian $44.95 for Freedom Guardian|
|Activation Fee||$49.95 for Mobile Classic $0 for all other models $15 shipping; waived for quarterly, semiannual and annual subscribers||$0|
|Contract||6-month minimum for MobileHelp Touch; contract must be semiannual or annual Monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually available for all other devices 30-day free trial period for all devices||Monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually (discounts for all contracts except month-to-month)|
|Optional Monthly Add-On Services||Fall detection – $10 per month||Fall detection – $10 per month|
|Water-Resistant Wearable Devices||Yes, for all models except MobileHelp Touch||Yes for Mobile and Active Guardian No for Freedom Guardian N/A for all other models|
|Connection||Landline for Wired Home Cellular for all other devices||Landline for Classic Guardian Cellular for all other models|
|Two-Way Voice Communication||Yes||Yes for Home Guardian and Family Guardian, through the device speaker Yes for Mobile Guardian Companion app for Freedom Guardian so friends and family can track the wearer; also, voice-to-text services|
|Range (from in-home base unit for landline service)||600 feet for Classic N/A for Solo 600 feet for Duo||1,300 feet for Classic and Family Guardian 600 feet for Home Guardian Unlimited for Mobile, Active and Freedom Guardian|
|Battery Life||30-hours backup for Classic and Wired Home 24 hours for Solo and Mobile Duo 24 hours plus 30-hour backup for Duo 24 hours for MobileHelp Touch and 12-hour backup for tablet||32-hour backup for Classic Guardian 30-hour backup for Home Guardian 32-hour backup for Family Guardian 24 hours for Mobile Guardian 5 days for Active Guardian 2 days for Freedom Guardian|
|FALL DETECTION, LOCATION and RESPONSE SERVICE|
|Fall Detection||$10 per month for all models||$10 a month for Classic, Home, Family and Active Guardian N/A for Mobile and Freedom Guardian|
|GPS Locator||Yes for mobile devices||GPS for Mobile Guardian Wi-Fi for Active and Freedom Guardian N/A for all other models|
|Coverage Away From Home||Yes for mobile devices No for Wired Home system||Yes for Mobile, Active and Freedom Guardian No for Classic, Home and Family Guardian|
|24/7 USA Call Center||Yes||Yes|
|$2 a month for wall-mounted help button $5 per month for medication management and reminder system Free lockbox to allow EMS access Jewelry-style wearable pendants for $69.95 – $79.95 MobileHelp Connect Premium service plan, including device replacement and discounts for $5 per month||$2 per month for lockbox services $2 per month for manual wall-mounted button $5 for voice-activated wall-mounted button (only for Family and Classic Guardian models)|
MobileHelp is based in Florida and serves clients in all 50 states. It was the first to launch innovative products that combine GPS and cellular technology and to focus on medical devices that don’t require landline services. It also integrates family and caregivers of the wearer with the MobileHelp Connect program, which combines event notifications with an online tracking platform.
MobileHelp’s cellular in-home devices are more affordable than many others in the industry. The extra features are also well-priced; the one we like best is the lockbox, which allows EMS access to the home in emergencies. A medication management system, helpful for people who may forget to take medicine or who have a complicated medication schedule, may help both the user and their loved ones feel more at ease.
One item we liked about MobileHelp is the MobileHelp Touch, a tablet that acts as the user’s home base and includes medication management and brain games to help users retain sharp wits.
While the base plans for MobileHelp are fairly accessible, the add-ons can quickly add up, which some people on a budget may not appreciate. The system is responsive, however, and the devices are durable, with battery backup for in-home devices, which ensures that the owner is always covered.
The company was founded with a family-first approach and an emphasis on making it easy for seniors to remain safely in their homes. CEO Geoff Cross seeks innovative products that give seniors the freedom to age in place with confidence that medical help is quickly available.
Medical Guardian offers the most options for medical alert devices of any of the major brands. This gives the owner flexibility; they can choose to only have an in-home option or to combine an in-home monitoring device with the Freedom Guardian, a smartwatch-style alert device with a companion app. The pricing for the in-home Medical Guardian plans is higher than others in the industry, though.
The Classic, Home and Family Guardian devices are in-home medical alert devices that can monitor everyone in the home, a good solution for couples aging in place together. Plus, the emergency call button is large, visible and has Braille printing. The on-the-go Guardian models provide two-way communication and can pair with the in-home devices. A free caregiver portal lets loved ones or a designated companion track the wearer through the Freedom Guardian, receiving voice-to-text alerts. This can be helpful if the wearer needs assistance but not emergency services.
Both companies offer easy-to-use devices that incorporate smart technology and cellular and GPS services. While MobileHelp plans are more affordable, the Medical Guardian plans offer more options for users. Ultimately, we found that the companies are fairly even, and the deciding factor may be the buyer’s price point.