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 allow subscribers to call for help at any time by simply activating a small, wearable panic button worn on the wrist or as a pendant. Some help buttons even have automatic fall detection that triggers a call to a 24/7 emergency call monitoring center when the wearer suffers a sudden fall, making these devices ideal for seniors who want to remain independent as they age.

Medical alert systems connect to a monitored call center through either a landline phone or cellular service. In-home, landline help button systems tend to be priced lower than cellular systems, because landline medical alert systems work off the subscriber’s existing phone service. While many cellular medical alert systems work nationwide wherever cell service is available, landline-based systems have a limited range between the base unit and each wearable help button.

In-home medical alert systems usually include a base unit equipped with a two-way speaker. This base unit plugs into a standard household outlet, and for landline-based systems, also contains a phone jack. When a user activates their wearable help button, a wireless signal is sent to the base unit, triggering the unit to dial the emergency call monitoring center. In order for the system to work properly, the help button needs to be within range of the base unit.

This guide covers the best long-range medical alert systems with a wired base unit for in-home use.

MobileHelp Classic

Range between base unit and help button: Up to 1,300 feet

MobileHelp is an established medical alert company with 100% U.S.-based sales, customer service and call centers. The company is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, and offers service nationwide.

MobileHelp maintains two redundant call centers in Syracuse, NY, and Corona, CA, to ensure every call for assistance is answered promptly. Emergency response staff speak English and Spanish, and 240 additional languages are supported through LanguageLine, a real-time interpreting service.

MobileHelp’s base unit is equipped with a backup battery that’s rated to last up to 30 hours in the event of a power failure, and the included waterproof help button is powered by a non-rechargeable battery that lasts up to 5 years.

Monthly costs for MobileHelp’s Classic system start at $19.95, and there’s a one time activation fee that’s waived if subscribers prepay for one year of service. Wrist, pendant and waterproof wall buttons are available, and fall detection pendants are an additional $10 per month.

LifeFone At-Home

Range between base unit and help button: Up to 1,300 feet

Based in White Plains, New York, LifeFone is a top-ranked medical alert company that has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. There are no activation or equipment fees, and the company has a price-lock policy that guarantees subscribers’ monitoring fees will never increase.

LifeFone has been in business since 1976, and all LifeFone services are based in the United States. Subscribers can cancel at any time without penalty, and current customers earn a free month of service for each new customer they refer to LifeFone.

The LifeFone At-Home medical alert system has a range of up to 1,300 feet, and the wearable help buttons are waterproof for use in the shower or bath. Costs for the At-Home system start at $24.95 per month based on an annual prepaid plan, and fall detection is available for an additional $5 per month.

LifeStation In-Home Traditional

Range between base unit and help button: Up to 1,000 feet

With prices starting at just under $20 per month, LifeStation’s in-home traditional medical alert system is one of the most affordable long-range medical alert systems on the market today.

This system comes with a base station that’s equipped with a 48-hour backup battery, and one waterproof help button that can be worn on the wrist or as a pendant. Users who want fall detection need to upgrade to either a Select or Supreme package priced at $24.95-$34.95 per month.

Benefits of a Long-Range Landline Medical Alert System

While many medical alert users who live in small homes and apartments don’t need to worry about the range of their medical alert system, subscribers with larger homes should consider range when shopping for a wearable, monitored panic button.

Medical alert devices that work at least 1,000 feet from the base unit provide subscribers with the peace of mind of knowing they can call for help from anywhere in their home. These long-range systems usually eliminate the chance that the help button won’t work if the user needs assistance while in the basement, garage or upper floor of their home.

Another advantage that long-range medical alert systems offer is that many of these systems provide coverage outside of the home, as well. This ensures that subscribers won’t have to worry about carrying a cell phone to call for help when they’re outside gardening, grilling or simply checking their mailbox.

What Impacts the Range of a Medical Alert System?

There’s a number of factors that impact the range of a medical alert system, such as the size of the users’ home and what their house is constructed from. The presence of materials and electronic signals in and around the medical alert system base unit can also have an effect on the range between the help button and the base unit.

Medical alert buttons may have a reduced range when the battery in the device is depleted, although this isn’t usually an issue with most modern systems, as they include long-life batteries that are remotely monitored by the medical alert provider. When the batteries in the help buttons need replacing, the company will send out a new help button.

How to Pick the Right Long-Range Landline Medical Alert System

When it comes to choosing the best long-range medical alert system for you or your loved ones, consider where the base unit will be placed. Keep in mind that the base unit needs to be plugged into a household power outlet, and in the case of systems that work off a landline, a phone jack will also need to be within reach of the unit. In general, it’s a good idea to position the base unit in a central area of the home, such as the kitchen or living room.

Think about your budget and decide whether you’d like a wrist-worn or pendant help button, and if you need to add a second user to the account. Long-range medical alert systems start at around $20 per month, and many companies include the cost of the medical alert hardware in the monthly subscription fees.

Consider features such as automatic fall detection for subscribers who are at an increased risk of falling due to advanced age, disability or medical issues. While fall detection usually costs anywhere from $5-$10 more per month, this feature might be well worth the cost for the added protection it provides.

The right long-range medical alert system can provide subscribers with the security that comes with knowing they can call for help from anywhere in their home, including their garage, garden and yard. Long-range help buttons are a great alternative to carrying a cell or cordless phone around the house in case of an emergency, making these systems ideal for anyone who wants to remain independent without compromising their safety.