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.

For seniors who live alone or without the support of an always-present caregiver, medical alert systems are an affordable way to ensure they have access to help during an emergency or medical event. Depending on the specific package or company, these systems typically come with small, wearable buttons that when pushed connect a senior with a loved one or call center agent trained to assess situations to ensure the wearer receives the help they need. These systems can be used in the home or on the go through landline or cellular services. Many include additional features such as fall detection, GPS tracking, and medication reminders.

With the wide range of alert systems available through established and newer companies, seniors can choose a package with pricing and services best suited to their individual needs. Factors to consider include battery life for mobile systems, whether to pay monthly or annually, and if more comprehensive wellness check or caregiver connection services are desired.

Side-by-Side Comparisons

Because wading through the dozens of available options and features can be an overwhelming task, we’ve developed a comprehensive medical alert systems guide. Through our detailed, side-by-side company comparisons, we aim to help you select the system that best serves your needs.

Below, we compare one of the oldest companies in the market, Life Alert, with one of the newest, a 2010 startup called QMedic that quickly became a reputable, award-winning presence in the market. We discovered that despite Life Alert’s longevity and history as a founding industry leader, QMedic’s lower pricing and simplistic, value-rich technologies outshine Life Alert’s current offerings.

Side by Side ComparisonLife AlertQMedic
Up-Front EquipmentIncluded with Activation Fee$0
Monthly Monitoring$49 - $87
12th month free with annual payments
$30/month or $300/year for Landline and Cellular systems
$45/month or $400/year for Mobile GPS
Activation Fee$95 for In the Home plan
$96 for In the Bathroom or On the Go Plan
$196 if all three plans selected
ContractThree-yearMonth-to-month or annual contract
No cancellation penalties
30-day free trial period
Optional Monthly Add-On ServicesN/AN/A
Water-Resistant Wearable DevicesPendantPendant and wristband with Landline and Cellular systems
Pendant with Mobile GPS
ConnectionLandline or cellularLandline or cellular (AT&T)
2-Way Voice CommunicationThrough in-home base, wall-mounted HELP button or On the Go deviceThrough in-home base or Mobile GPS device
Range (From in-home base unit for landline service)800' - 1,000'800' - 1,000'
Battery life72-hour backup for In the Home base station and up to 7 years for In the Home pendant battery
Up to 10 years for wall-mounted HELP button and HELP On the Go with GPS device
24-hour backup for Landline and Cellular systems
14-day battery life for Mobile GPS device
Fall DetectionN/AN/A
GPS LocatorIncluded with HELP on the Go with GPS deviceIncluded with Mobile GPS device
Coverage Away From HomeIncluded with HELP on the Go with GPS deviceIncluded with Mobile GPS device
24/7 USA Call CenterYesYes: Caregiver dashboard with compliance and activity monitoring included

Life Alert Overview

Since 1987, Life Alert has provided seniors and their loved ones with peace of mind through its uniquely designed emergency monitoring systems and excellent customer service. A team of over 600 employees answers upwards of two million calls per year from seniors experiencing health concerns or medical emergencies. Famous for its “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” marketing campaign, the company offers wearable pendants and a unique, waterproof wall-mountable help button that’s perfect for use in the bathroom or anywhere else in the home.

Life Alert’s exceptionally long battery lifespan of seven to 10 years stands out against other industry players, as well as its A+ Better Business Bureau and 5-star Consumer Affairs ratings. Its mobile system offerings let users stay connected to emergency dispatchers while on the go.

Pros of Life Alert:

  • Long-established company with decades of experience
  • Excellent customer support – call agents provide users’ health histories to emergency personnel, contact loved ones and stay on the line throughout calls
  • Long device battery life of seven to 10 years
  • U.S.-based, UL-listed monitoring center
  • Completely waterproof wall-mountable help button with two-way speaker available
  • Mobile app allows users to contact monitoring center from phone

Cons of Life Alert:

  • Three-year contract with no option for shorter terms
  • Higher costs than many companies and significant start-up fees
  • No fall protection option
  • No wristband option
  • No price guarantee
  • No caregiver app
  • No device protection plan
  • No additional features such as lockboxes, extra pendants or help buttons

QMedic Overview

QMedic’s U.S.-based, UL-listed call centers are staffed by highly trained personnel who are available 24/7 to respond to user alerts within an average of 30 seconds. The company offers a simple pricing structure with no long-term contracts, one-time device or activation fees and provides free shipping.

As a newer medical alert system company, QMedic excels in ease of use and its unique caregiver dashboard that allows family members to track a loved one’s activity and compliance. Through this app, caregivers can view their loved one’s sleep patterns, level of movement and whether a senior is wearing their device at any given time.

Pros of QMedic:

  • No initial set up or activation fees
  • Simple, low monthly pricing with no long-term contracts
  • 30-day trial period and penalty-free cancellations
  • Caregiver dashboard that provides compliance and activity monitoring
  • Wearable pendant or attractive wristband
  • Cellular option for in-home users without landlines
  • Discount for paying annually

Cons of QMedic:

  • No wristband option with Mobile GPS plan
  • No optional accessories
  • No fall detection option
  • No device protection plan
  • No medication reminders

Pricing Comparison

For seniors concerned about affordability, QMedic is the better option compared to Life Alert in terms of both upfront and monthly pricing. Whereas Life Alert charges a high one-time activation and installation fee as well as higher-than-most, complicated monthly fees, QMedic only charges for ongoing monitoring services. At $49 per month, Life Alert’s lowest-priced in-home plan is more costly than QMedic’s most expensive Mobile GPS option.

Additionally, Life Alert’s mandatory three-year contract is a significant investment for seniors who may not have the funds or desire to commit to a long-term plan. In contrast, QMedic doesn’t require a contract and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. Those who pay annually may also receive a discount of up to $120.

Feature Comparison

While Life Alert offers a mobile app that allows users to contact the monitoring center when they don’t have their device, it doesn’t offer a caregiver app. This is a big disadvantage compared to QMedic, whose caregiver dashboard provides loved ones with an extra layer of monitoring to help put their minds at ease. This application shows caregivers a users’ device history, wearing compliance, movements and sleep patterns.

Life Alert’s primary advantage over QMedic is its exceptional battery life of seven to 10 years, especially for seniors who can’t or don’t want to worry about charging their device. However, QMedic’s 14-day mobile battery life is still quite impressive compared to many others in the industry. Both companies also provide the rare offering of an in-home cellular connection at no extra cost for those who don’t have landlines.

Our Pick

Ultimately, we believe QMedic provides greater value at significantly lower prices compared to Life Alert. With its easy-setup In-Home and Mobile GPS options, seniors and their loved ones seeking a reliable, user-friendly medical alert system can’t go wrong with QMedic.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems

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