As seniors age, the chance they may suffer a fall, cardiac event, or other medical emergency increases. While it’s impossible to protect our loved ones against all accidents, equipping them with a medical alert system can dramatically increase the odds of a positive outcome in the case of an emergency.

Today’s modern medical alert systems are designed to be user-friendly and equipped with features and options that provide real-world solutions for seniors who want to retain their independence without compromising on safety. Pricing for these systems is now well within reach for most families, and many Medicaid plans cover the costs of a medical alert system.

With the ever-expanding variety of medical alert gadgets and service providers, selecting the right device and services can feel overwhelming. To help you choose the right system and amenities, we’ve compiled an extensive library of side-by-side comparisons of the leading brands in the industry.

In this guide, we take an in-depth look at Philips Lifeline and Bay Alarm Medical — two of the most popular services in the United States.

Side by Side ComparisonBay Alarm MedicalPhilips Lifeline
Up-Front Equipment$0$0
Monthly Monitoring$19.95-$39.95$29.95-$64.95
+$5/month for optional fall detection monitoring
+$10/month for On-The-Go fall detection necklace
+$19/month for daily wellness checks/medication reminders
Activation Fee$0$0
ContractNo contracts; billed month-to-monthMonth-to-month; full refund of any unused, prepaid services
Optional Monthly Add-On Services+$10/month for 4G/LTE connection for in-home medical alert system
+$5/month protection plan
+$3/month wall button (each)
+$3/month extra/spouse medical alert button
$0-$5/month caregiver tracking app (included in preferred and premium packages)
+$5/month device insurance
+$19/month daily wellness check/medication reminders
Water-Resistant Wearable DevicesPendant and wristbandPendant and wristband
ConnectionLandline or cellular (AT&T network)Landline or cellular (AT&T network)
2-Way Voice CommunicationThrough in-home base unit or mobile pendantThrough in-home base unit or GoSafe 2 pendant
Range (From in-home base unit for landline service)Up to 1000'Up to 800'
Battery lifeIn-home call button battery is non-rechargable; battery rated for 5 years
Battery in 4G/LTE button lasts up to 5 days
Non-rechargeable batteries in wristband/pendant of HomeSafe devices - battery remotely monitored by Philips and replaced when low
48-hour battery backup in HomeSafe base unit in case of power outage
GoSafe pendant has a user-rechargeable battery that lasts up to 7 days per charge
Fall Detection+$10 per monthIncluded in monthly monitoring fee with HomeSafe with Auto Alert plan and all GoSafe plans
GPS LocatorIncluded in On-The-Go devicesIncluded in GoSafe and GoSafe 2 devices
Coverage Away From HomeIncluded in On-The-Go devicesIncluded with GoSafe devices
24/7 USA Call CenterTwo call centers located in Utah and IdahoMultiple response centers throughout North America; service available in up to 140 languages
Wireless wall buttons
PIN-protected lockbox
Extra medical alert buttons

Philips Lifeline Overview

Established in 1974, Philips Lifeline is the original provider of medical alert systems in the United States. The system was first developed by a doctor who specialized in geriatric medicine, and since then, Philips Lifeline has grown to become the largest medical alert system in the country.

As the only FDA-approved medical alert service, all of Philip’s devices are proprietary — the company designs, manufactures, and distributes all of its own pendants, wrist buttons, and in-home base stations. While Philips isn’t the lowest-priced system on the market, it’s one of the easiest to understand as most features and services are included in the monthly packages.

Pros of Philips Lifeline:

  • Designed by a medical doctor for seniors
  • Easy to understand pricing packages
  • Discrete, waterproof user-friendly help buttons come in pendants and wrist models
  • Users don’t need to charge at-home wearable devices — Philips monitors battery life remotely and sends a replacement when the battery reaches the end of its service life
  • Systems are available with automatic fall detection and GPS technology
  • No monthly or annual contract

Cons of Philips Lifeline:

  • Every user must pay full price for their medical alert system — no roommate or spouse discounts
  • The medical alert buttons and in-home communicator are only guaranteed for one year
  • Users pay activation fees

Bay Alarm Medical Overview

Bay Alarm Medical consistently receives high reviews for its low monthly monitoring costs and free shipping, simple installation and no up-front device fees.

Bay Alarm Medical stands out for offering medical alert systems that are geared towards users of any age, not just seniors. They actively market their devices and systems to parents of school-age children and teens, women who live and travel alone, and adults who want the added peace of mind that having a simple, push-to-activate help button provides.

One of the most unique features of Bay Alarm Medical is its newly launched On The Road device and monitoring system. The plug-in, GPS-enabled device has advanced integrated crash detection technology that launch two-way communication with the call center in the event of an accident. The device also has a user-activated help button that works the same way as a wearable medical alert device, and the package comes with access to a mobile phone app that lets users monitor the location of the vehicle, set boundary alerts and track driver behavior.

Pros of Bay Alarm Medical:

  • Established U.S. company headquartered in California
  • Lifetime warranty of all LifeFone units with a no-charge replacement service
  • No activation, shipping or up-front device fees
  • Free roommate or spouse monitoring
  • Call monitoring technicians are certified emergency dispatchers
  • Users can add their choice of contacts who’ll be called before emergency responders are dispatched
  • The only medical alert system worldwide to offer an in-car medical alert system with automatic crash detection
  • Services available in dozens of languages

Cons of Bay Alarm:

  • Costs can be difficult to understand
  • Upgrades can quickly increase the total monthly service costs
  • The mobile app may not be user-friendly for seniors

Pricing Comparison

Pricing for Bay Alarm Medical starts at $10 less per month than Philips Lifeline for its basic service, which can lead to significant savings for seniors who live on a fixed income. Bay Alarm Medical also gives users the choice to select the services and features they want as stand-alone options, while most of the features on Philips Lifeline are bundled into packages.

Philips Lifeline makes it easy for users who want a simple to understand, reliable medical alert system and the ability to simply choose a package that fits their needs, without worrying about selecting add-ons. This makes the Philips Lifeline system especially popular among family members who want to set up their loved ones with a medical alert device that they can count on.

Our Pick

Each of these medical alert systems receive top marks from users in terms of how easy the call buttons are to use, the service coverage area, and the quick response of the respective call centers. Each company offers valuable features, such as automatic fall detection and GPS locating, and both work off the AT&T mobile network. Bay Alarm Medical does come out on top in terms of affordability since their plans are priced lower than the Philips Lifeline plans, particularly when you consider that Bay Alarm Medical includes spouse or roommate service at no additional cost.

Bay Alarm Medical also offers a distinct advantage for users who want to take advantage of its innovative in-car emergency response system, as this is the only company that currently has this device available. Overall, Bay Alarm Medical may be a great choice for users who need a medical alert system that lets them have complete control over their medical alert plan and features.

Philips Lifeline may be the best choice for seniors who need a basic, easy-to-use system that’s available in bundled packages geared towards the needs of specific users.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems

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