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.

Medical alert systems are designed to make it easy for anyone to call for help, even if they’re unable to reach a phone. These high-tech systems combine a small, wearable help button with a landline or cellular phone connection that’s linked with a 24/7 emergency monitoring center. When a medical alert user activates their help button, the caller is instantly connected with an operator who can dispatch a neighbor, relative or first responders.

While all medical alert companies offer similar products and services, there are some distinct differences that can make choosing the right help button system a real challenge. To help you find the best medical alert system for yourself or your loved ones, we’ve prepared a series of comparison articles that makes it easy to see the pros and cons of each company.

Today we’re comparing Bay Alarm Medical with LifeStation. Although LifeStation is the more established of the two companies, Bay Alarm Medical offers a wider range of devices than LifeStation. Take a look at the chart below to learn more about the costs, features and services provided by LifeStation and Bay Alarm Medical.

Side By Side Comparison


Bay Alarm Medical


LifeStation


COSTS


Up-Front Equipment


$9.95 shipping (free shipping with semiannual plans)


$0


Monthly Monitoring


$19.95-$59.95


$25.95-$35.95 per month; lower prices may be available through time-limited sales and special offers


Activation Fee


$0


$0


Contract


No contracts; billed month-to-month


Monthly, quarterly or annual prepaid plans


Optional Monthly Add-On Services


+$10/month for 4G/LTE connection for in-home systems


+$5/month device protection plan


+$3/month wall button (each)


+$3/month for an additional call button for a spouse/roommate


+$0-$5/month caregiver tracking app (included in preferred and premium packages)


$2.99/month lockbox


$2.49/month per additional wall-mounted help button


$3.99/ month for an additional user


FEATURES


Water-Resistant Wearable Devices


Pendant and wristband


Pendant and wristband


Connection


Landline or cellular (AT&T network)


Landline or cellular


2-Way Voice Communication


Through in-home base unit or mobile pendant


Through speakerphone on in-home device; through pendant on mobile devices


Range (From in-home base unit for landline service)


Up to 1000'


Up to 500'


Battery life


In-home call button battery is rated to last for 5 years


Battery in fall-detection button should last up to 2 years


Battery in 4G/LTE button lasts up to 5 days


In-home call buttons are non-rechargeable


Up to 48 hours battery backup on base unit


Up to 5 days for GPS-enabled mobile call button


FALL DETECTION, LOCATION and RESPONSE SERVICE


Fall Detection


+$10 per month


Included with Select and Supreme plans


GPS Locator


Included in On-The-Go and On-The-Road devices


Yes (mobile devices only)


Coverage Away From Home


Included in On-The-Go and On-The-Road devices


Yes (mobile devices only)


24/7 USA Call Center


Two call centers located in Utah and Idaho


Yes


OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES


Wireless wall buttons


PIN-protected lockbox


Extra medical alert buttons


Bella Charms (for pendants without fall detection only)


Extra wearable help button


Wall-mounted bathroom and bedroom help buttons


PIN-protected lockbox




Bay Alarm Medical Overview

Based in California, Bay Alarm Medical is one of the top-ranked medical alert companies in the country. They offer both landline and mobile medical alert systems that are monitored through Bay Alarm’s 24/7 U.S. emergency response center, and all of their wearable personal call buttons are made in the United States.

Bay Alarm Medical’s systems include landline and cellular devices, and fall detection is available on both in-home and mobile help buttons. What really sets this company apart from the competition is their innovative Splitsecnd device, the world’s first portable in-vehicle crash detection and emergency call system.

The Splitsecnd device plugs into any vehicle and provides users with the added protection of mobile GPS tracking and automatic crash detection in addition to the usual medical alert monitoring service. If the device detects a crash, a call is automatically placed to Bay Alarm Medical’s emergency response center and an operator sends help as needed. The device also includes a mobile app that allows users to track the location of the unit, set virtual boundaries and establish custom driver profiles with essential medical information for first responders.

Pros of Bay Alarm Medical:

  • Personal call buttons are manufactured in the United States
  • No activation or shipping fees
  • A second adult in the same home can be added for free — subscribers just pay for another help button
  • All the help buttons are water-resistant and safe for use in wet environments
  • Subscribers can create a personal profile complete with a list of emergency contacts
  • Monitoring is provided through two state-of-the-art, CSAA Five Diamond certified call centers located in Utah and Idaho
  • Cellular services are connected to the nationwide AT&T 4G LTE network
  • Average call answer time is under 12 seconds
  • AMAC, AARP and USAA member discounts available
  • Vial of Life included free with every medical alert system
  • Price-Lock Guarantee means monthly monitoring costs never increase for current subscribers

Cons of Bay Alarm:

  • Pricing can be difficult to determine through the Bay Alarm Medical website
  • No medical smart watch
  • Add-on features can add up fast

LifeStation Overview

LifeStation is a New Jersey-based medical alert company that’s been in business since 1977. They operate a UL-listed, five-diamond certified U.S. call center and back all of their systems with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

LifeStation has two basic medical alert systems — an in-home system that links a wearable call button with a speakerphone-equipped base unit, and an all-in-one medical alert pendant that’s equipped with GPS, a two-way speaker and optional fall detection.

The in-home systems come with either a white pendant-style help button or a black, low-profile wrist button, and subscribers can add a second user to their system for a small additional fee.

Pros of LifeStation:

  • Price lock guarantee means monitoring costs will never increase as long as the customer stays with LifeStation
  • Each LifeStation system is automatically tested on a weekly basis
  • Systems are designed to be plug-and-play
  • Equipment repair and replacement is included in monthly fee
  • The medical alert pendant can be used to answer landline phone calls through the in-home base station
  • Shipping is free
  • The LifeStation monitoring center is located in the U.S. and is UL listed

Cons of LifeStation:

  • LifeStation pricing isn’t disclosed on their website, which forces prospective subscribers to call a sales agent for information
  • The 500-foot range between the in-home base station and the help buttons means the system is only useful for those who live in a small house or apartment
  • No medical alert smart watch
  • Fall detection doesn’t always work as intended

Pricing Comparison

Monthly monitoring costs with Bay Alarm Medical start at $19.95 for a basic landline medical alert system, while the same system with cellular service adds $10 to the monthly fee. Bay Alarm Medical’s jewelry-style pendants cost an extra $27.95 each, and fall detection is an additional $10 per month on compatible systems.

Bay Alarm Medical customers are charged a one-time purchase price of $79 for the 4G LTE GPS help button in addition to monthly monitoring costs of $24.95 – $39.95. Their in-car medical alert device costs $29.95 per month.

Pricing for LifeStation services start at $25.95 per month for an entry-level landline medical alert system when paying for a full year of service in advance. The month-to-month rate rises to $29.95 for customers who don’t want to prepay their monitoring services, and fall detection costs an additional $10 per month on cellular systems.

Our Pick

While both Bay Alarm Medical and LifeStation offer monitored in-home and mobile medical alert devices backed by U.S. call centers, we prefer Bay Alarm Medical. They have transparent pricing policies, lower overall costs than LifeStation and a wider range of systems to suit users of all ages and abilities. We dislike the fact that potential customers need to phone a LifeStation sales agent for pricing information, as this could subject seniors to undue sales pressure.

We’re especially impressed by Bay Alarm Medical’s in-car medical alert and crash-detection system that’s ideal for older drivers, lone workers and youth. We also like the interchangeable Bella Charms that allow users to transform their medical alert pendants into a piece of fashionable jewelry. Although LifeStation is an established medical alert company, their prices and medical alert systems simply can’t compare to what’s available through Bay Alarm Medical.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems