COVID-19 Update: Since the medical alert industry is considered to be “essential” during the COVID crisis, monitoring and customer service centers are still open and ready to help. To learn more about how a medical alert device can help keep you or your elderly loved one safe and connected during this pandemic, take a look at our list of essential products for seniors during COVID-19.

Through the life-saving technologies and services of medical alert systems, seniors can continue to enjoy freedom and independence even as their medical needs change or increase. These innovative systems equip seniors with often-wearable help buttons that connect directly to 24/7 monitoring centers. The centers’ trained dispatchers notify the appropriate service providers and personal contacts in case of medical emergencies, health concerns and events such as fires. The help buttons operate through landlines, cellular, or Wi-Fi connections, which gives seniors a choose of at-home or mobile services depending on their preferences and needs.

Since the industry’s beginnings in the 1970s, dozens of medical alert system companies have entered the market and the range of offerings and service packages has expanded dramatically. Many providers now offer features such as fall detection, medication alerts, and GPS location tracking.

Choosing the Right Medical Alert System

With so many choices available, it can be difficult for seniors to select a provider and package that best fits their budget and service needs. That’s why we’ve created an in-depth guide with side-by-side comparisons of some of the top medical alert system companies.

Below, we compare features and pricing plans offered by Alert1 and MobileHelp, two established U.S. companies that provide affordable plans with unique offerings, such as language translation services and a web application with activity tracking.

Side By Side ComparisonAlert1MobileHelp
COSTS
Up-Front Equipment$0$15 ground shipping for Classic monthly payment plan
$349.95 for Smart
Monthly Monitoring$19.95 - $58.95$19.95 - $41.95
+$10/month for optional fall detection monitoring with Classic, Solo, and Duo systems
Activation Fee$0$49.95 for Classic monthly plan
ContractQuarterly, semi-annual or annual payment plans
30-day risk-free trial for semi-annual and annual payment plans
Month-to-month, quarterly, semi-annual or annual payment plans
Free cancellations with prorated refunds
Optional Monthly Add-On ServicesN/AMedication reminders - $5
Wall-mounted help buttons - $2
FEATURES
Water-Resistant Wearable DevicesPendant, wristband and belt clip protective case for On-the-Go shower-proof pendantPendant and wristband
ConnectionLandline or cellular (AT&T network with option for T-Mobile with On-the-Go system)Cellular (AT&T network)
2-Way Voice CommunicationThrough in-home base or On-the-Go portable deviceThrough In-Home base, mobile Solo device and Smartwatch-style device
Range (From in-home base unit for landline service)Up to 600' for Home system
Up to 400' for Home with Fall Detection
Up to 600' for Classic and Duo in-home systems
Battery life24-hour backup for Home and Home Fall Detection systems
Up to 30 days with On-the-Go
Up to 5 days with On-the-Go Fall Detection
Up to 24 hours with On-the-Go + Home Fall Detection
30-hour backup with Classic in-home system
24 hours with Solo mobile system
48 hours with Smart device
FALL DETECTION, LOCATION and RESPONSE SERVICE
Fall DetectionIncluded with Home Fall Detection, On-the-Go Fall Detection, and On-the-Go + Home Fall DetectionOptional monthly add-on with Classic, Solo and Duo plans
GPS LocatorIncluded with On-the-Go Fall Detection and On-the-Go + Home Fall DetectionIncluded with mobile Solo and Smart devices
Coverage Away From HomeIncluded with On-the-Go systemsIncluded with Solo, Duo, and Smart systems
24/7 USA Call CenterYes; service available in over 190 languagesYes
OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
Automatic Medication Dispenser and Organizers - $149.95
Voice Extender - $99
Fall Protection Package (wall-mounted help buttons, night lights, tub strips, and corner guards) - $200
Lockbox - $39.95 (included with semi-annual and annual plans)
Wall-mounted help button - $39.95
Lockboxes - $0

Alert1 Overview

A long-standing presence in the medical alert systems industry, Alert1 was founded in 1988. The company offers users the option of five robust plans, ranging from a very affordable in-home landline system to its highest-priced plan offering mobile and home-based coverage with fall detection. While the company doesn’t accept month-to-month payments, seniors can cancel at no cost and add extra devices such as voice extenders, wall-mounted help buttons, and medication dispensers.

Alert1’s two monitoring centers work with the Voiance interpreter service to provide users with assistance in over 190 languages. Additionally, users can create a customizable Circle of Care contact list that allows them to designate which emergency personnel or loved ones they want to be called in an emergency.

Pros of Alert1:

  • Interpreter service provides assistance in over 190 languages
  • No one-time fees
  • Fall-detection plans available
  • Discounts for paying semi-annually and annually
  • On-the-Go system without fall detection offers AT&T or T-Mobile service
  • Penalty-free cancellations and 30-day risk-free trials with semi-annual and annual plans
  • Customizable Circle of Care feature allows users to choose contacts alerted in case of emergency
  • Automatic medication dispenser and organizer available
  • Extra features available such as fall detection package, lockboxes and wall-mountable help buttons

Cons of Alert1:

  • No option for month-to-month payments
  • No cellular option for base in-home plan
  • No activity monitoring
  • Fall detection not available with all systems

MobileHelp Overview

Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, MobileHelp is a newer entry to the medical alert systems industry and serves users across the U.S. Its innovative offerings include cellular connections for each of its home-based and mobile systems. This lets seniors without landlines take advantage of the lowest-priced at-home plan.

Fall detection can be added to any of its three primary systems, or users can purchase a Samsung-designed device similar to a smartwatch that provides emergency call services, activity tracking, and weather forecasts without having ongoing monthly payments. Optional devices and medication reminder services are available for low monthly fees, and all users and their caregivers have access to the convenient and informative MobileHelp Connect app and online portal.

Pros of MobileHelp:

  • All plans available to users without landlines
  • No added fees for cellular service
  • Smartwatch-style Samsung device available
  • No long-term contracts required
  • Free cancellations with prorated refunds for any prepayments
  • Low-cost option to add medication reminders and wall-mounted help buttons
  • Free lockboxes
  • Caregiver web app with activity tracking and event notifications

Cons of MobileHelp:

  • Activation fee required with some plans
  • Fall detection not available with all systems
  • Medication dispensers and in-home voice extenders not available
  • No language translation service
  • Pricing Comparison

Pricing Comparison

Overall, Alert1’s and MobileHelp’s plans are affordable and similarly priced, but there are some differences worth noting. Because Alert1 doesn’t accept month-to-month payments, its users must pay at least quarterly to enjoy prices comparable to MobileHelp’s monthly plans. For those paying annually, for example, Alert1 charges the same $19.95 monthly rate as MobileHelp for a base in-home package without fall detection. However, the Alert1 base system requires a landline, while MobileHelp offers the same services through a cellular connection, making this low-cost option more widely available. MobileHelp annual users also save approximately $3 per month on mobile plans compared to Alert1.

Even though MobileHelp has three different packages compared to Alert1’s five, it offers fall detection for an extra $10 per month with any plan so users have as many customizable options. Additionally, MobileHelp provides free lockboxes with any plan, while Alert1 charges a $39.95 purchase fee for quarterly subscribers. MobileHelp provides wall-mountable help buttons at $2 per month, whereas Alert1 users must purchase them for $39.95.

Our Pick

Because each company offers unique additional devices and features, it’s difficult for us to choose a clear winner. Alert1’s language translation service is ideal users who speak languages other than English, whereas MobileHelp’s in-home package best serves those who don’t need mobile protection and don’t have a landline. Alert1 is best for in-home users who want to add a voice extender, fall protection, or can benefit from a medication dispenser and up to four medication reminders per day.

MobileHelp better serves seniors and their loved ones who need a caregiver and activity monitoring web application that tracks users’ data, whereabouts, and device usage. MobileHelp’s unique smartwatch-style device option also may interest those who want a convenient, simple mobile system with an upfront charge rather than ongoing payments.


Compare More Medical Alert Systems

Click on the links below to read about Medical Alert system comparisons.