After a month long, 30 day testing and evaluation period with hours upon hours of simulated falls and emergency medical alert scenarios, we’ve narrowed a sea of competitors down to three medical alert providers. These companies stood out from the pack when it came to reliability, response time, technology, customer service, ease of installation, technical support, and pricing.
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1. Bay Alarm Medical – Best combination of reliability, customer care, pricing (starting at $19.95/mo), and return policies.
2. MobileHelp – Proven equipment technology, designed and manufactured in-house.
3. LifeStation – Years of reliable medical alert experience paired with in-house monitoring.
#1. Bay Alarm Medical: 2018 Editor’s Choice. Industry-leading protection at non-industry leading rates.
Out of all the in-home medical alert systems we tested this year, Bay Alarm Medical, by far, stood out the most. Having decades of experience in this industry, they realize that it’s not the equipment that matters most to the customer but rather, the experience, reliability, affordable pricing, and commitment to service that a brand specializing in protecting the elderly, should adhere to.
Bay Alarm Medical is the perfect choice for anyone looking to get a simple and easy-to-use medical alert solution for themselves or their loved ones. We had a hard time finding anything negative about their in-home alert system. But don’t take our word for it – Bay Alarm Medical also has the most customer testimonials on Google, Trustpilot, and ConsumerAffairs.
#2. MobileHelp: Robust cellular service offerings for both in and away from the home.
MobileHelp is one of the few medical alert providers that design and manufacture their equipment in-house. They’re an OEM manufacturer for companies like ADT and Medical Guardian and have since started to sell direct to consumers.
If you’re looking for a suite of proven and reliable products that include protection for both in and away from the home, we highly recommend MobileHelp.
#3. LifeStation: Experienced monitoring company with proven track record of protecting seniors.
Although all of the companies we recommend are monitored in the USA, LifeStation stands out from the pack because they control and operate their own UL certified emergency monitoring stations.
Lifestation has been in the medical alert business for many years. Pricing is affordable and the service has been proven to be extremely reliable.
1. Bay Alarm Medical – Extremely knowledgeable no-pressure sales staff. Asked a lot of questions to custom-tailor a package that fit our needs and budget.
2. MobileHelp – Friendly sales team without no sales pressure. Didn’t ask too many questions about why we needed a system but provided detailed answers about hardware and equipment.
3. LifeStation – Knowledgeable sales staff and asked good questions to help us decide which system to purchase.
In a heavily commoditized industry where there’s very little differentiation among brands, by far the biggest standout was during the initial shopping experience with one of Bay Alarm Medical’s Care Reps. We were greeted by Rachel and right away, she began asking questions to really get to know our situation. Not once were we bombarded with high-pressure sales tactics or up-sells. In fact, when we inquired about possibly upgrading to an automatic fall detection system, we were told that unless my mom had a long history of frequent falls and loss of consciousness, we’d be better off without it due to a risk in false alarms. This was extremely refreshing and gave us the confidence to know we’d be taken care of.
Pricing and Refund Policy
Of all the in-home systems we tested, Bay Alarm Medical came out the most competitive and with the best refund policy. And since we purchased an additional wrist button, both my parents had access to monitoring and there wasn’t an additional monthly monitoring fee that we had to pay.
Most medical alert companies will have three plan options allowing you to pay month to month, 3 months at a time, or 6-12 months at a time. The longer you commit, the more discount you get. Most annual plans averaged out to about $25 per month but we liked Bay Alarm Medical’s pricing structure where it’s one price across the entire board. So if you’re interested in their in-home system, it’s $19.95/mo regardless if you choose monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual.
When it came time to return our system, the process was incredibly hassle-free. We chose the quarterly option and after the 30 days of evaluation, we were immediately refunded for the remaining two unused months.
Note that if you choose to go month to month, there’s a $9.95 fee for shipping. Other than that, no other fees or taxes that we needed to worry about. Bay Alarm Medical is the perfect choice for anyone looking to get a simple and easy-to-use medical alert solution for themselves or their loved ones. We had a hard time finding anything negative about their in-home alert system.
1. Bay Alarm Medical – Very versatile equipment that can store up to 16 add-ons to cast an ultra-wide safetynet in the home. Fall detection netted the least amount of false alarms during our testing.
2. MobileHelp – Aesthetically pleasing hardware with attractive wearables. In-home system displays time and temperature for added value.
3. LifeStation – Although basic, Lifestation offers time-tested and proven equipment that you can depend on.
In-Home Medical Alert Reviews
Criteria: All in-home systems included battery backups, automatic fall detection buttons, and wall buttons.
Although not very Apple-esque, most of the systems we received for testing did a good job of blending into a home’s environment. The plastics are very durable and easy to wipe clean from spills and dust. This is important because as far as in-home systems are concerned, you’ll have to return the equipment after the service is no longer needed. Having a durable matte finish is essential to keep the system in good condition.
The buttons on the both the pendants and base stations provide gave good feedback when pushed and we didn’t have any issues with accidental button pushes for any of our top providers. Bay Alarm Medical had the smallest pendants and MobileHelp had arguably the best aesthetics but generally, they’re all very light and 100% waterproof.
One thing we’re fans of is Bay Alarm Medical’s wall button offerings. If you or your loved ones hate the idea of wearing a button, Bay Alarm Medical’s in-home system allows for up 16 add-on’s to be paired with the system. So instead of wearing a button all day, simply purchase enough wall buttons to create a safety net in the house. Please these wall buttons low and near the ground in bathrooms, kitchens, stairways, and bedrooms so that help is always just a few feet away.
We recommend placing the base station as close to the center of your home as possible. If this isn’t possible, always caution to the side of placing it towards the bathrooms or kitchens where falls will most likely occur. In the event of a fall while showering, the combination of a closed door and running water can make hearing somewhat difficult for a senior. All systems were exceptionally loud and clear.
Mobile GPS System Reviews
The GPS mobile devices, on the other hand, were much sleeker. They’re essentially a compact one-button cell phone with GPS capabilities that allow you and the monitoring center to pinpoint and track the location of the device. Our tests proved that the hardware was quite accurate. Each device, has a pre-installed AT&T cellular sim card so coverage was never an issue. The units from Bay Alarm Medical and Mobilehelp include a variety of accessories including a belt pouch and lanyard should you want the device around the neck.
When it comes to battery life, we were able to get a full day’s use with enough juice to last us to the next day. We still recommend charging the device each night so if your budget allows, Bay Alarm Medical offers a bundle package so you can switch back to an inhome system in the evening.
As with any mobile device, the costs are more expensive than their in-home counterparts because the provider needs to pay AT&T, Verizon, etc. for the cost of the cellular service. Expect an additional $10-$20 per month more as well as a device fee. The good news is that the device is yours to keep and returns aren’t necessary.
|Avg Response Time||Friendliness||UL Certified||Monitored by|
|Bay Alarm Medical||39.56 seconds||A+||Yes||AvantGuard|
|MobileHelp||40.78 seconds||A+||Yes||Rapid Response|
|LifeStation||42.15 seconds||A||Yes||Affiliated Monitoring|
1. Bay Alarm Medical – We recorded the fastest average response times with Bay Alarm Medical. Available in both landline and cellular.
2. MobileHelp – Excellent connection speeds if you have adequate AT&T coverage. Check coverage map and take advantage of trial period before purchasing.
3. LifeStation – Although connection speeds weren’t as quick as the other two companies, LifeStation gets extra points for owning their monitoring station.
From the moment the button was pushed, all of the medical alert companies we tested had connection speeds of under a minute. During an emergency, the waiting period might seem longer as panic and anxiety sets in but we were generally impressed with our top three providers. As always, if you currently have a landline in the home, it’s still the most reliable form of communication and we would recommend going that route if possible.
|Updated 11/20/2017||Google Reviews||ConsumerAffairs Reviews||TrustPilot Reviews||Better Business Bureau||Facebook Reviews|
|Bay Alarm Medical||749||3536||742||A+||50|
Although we’d like to believe that we’re the most reputable medical alert systems resource on the Internet, we recommend checking out a company’s track record by reading testimonials from real customers.
A high number of positive reviews is always a good indicator of a company’s credibility but you have to also take into consideration how a company handles a complaint. How fast did they respond? Did the company genuinely make an effort to help the customer solve the problem? Did the customer have unreasonable demands?
How a company responds to a complaint says more about an organization than a company with a perfect, manufactured score card.
With so many providers seeking to win your family’s business, our job was to provide you with the best three options to protect your loved ones. We hope this buyer’s guide was helpful and assist you with making an informed buying decision. Want to research more? Check out our comprehensive ranking and comparison chart.