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 many seniors, the ability to retain as much independence as possible throughout their aging years can be an ongoing challenge. Even as one’s mental abilities remain sharp, the risk of physical injury due to falls or physical disability often increases, leaving seniors and their loved ones struggling to find peace of mind while still allowing the senior to live at home. In this case, a customized medical alert system may be the best and most affordable solution.

Medical alert systems include wearable or wall-mountable help buttons that users can press to quickly be connected with a 24-hour monitoring center. Seniors can find relief knowing help is always available in the case of a home emergency, such as a fire, or a medical emergency, such as a fall or illness. With ever-improving technologies, such as WiFi, GPS and cellular connections, many companies even offer devices seniors can wear outside the home to run errands, go to work or travel across the world.

Finding the Best System for You

With dozens of reputable medical alert system companies offering unique pricing and contract options, devices with varying battery life spans and valuable features, such as caregiver apps, voice-activated help buttons and smartwatch-style products, we know choosing the best system for your needs can be a challenge. To make your decision easier, we’ve created a detailed, easy-to-read comparison guide that explores the offerings and pricing structures of the most reputable medical alert systems companies.

Below, we review Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical. Each of these companies works with U.S.-based, Five Diamond Certified monitoring centers that are staffed with highly trained operators who are able to connect users with the appropriate contacts for any situation that may arise. While both offer systems well-suited to seniors with active lifestyles, we found that Bay Alarm Medical is best for those seeking the lowest-priced options, and Medical Guardian is best for seniors prone to falls and caregivers seeking peace of mind.

Side By Side ComparisonMedical GuardianBay Alarm Medical  
Up-Front Equipment$99 for Freedom Guardian smartwatch device
$9.50 shipping for monthly, quarterly and semiannual plans
$9.95 shipping (free shipping with semiannual plans)
Monthly Monitoring$29.95-$79.95 with discounts for annual plans
+$10/month for optional fall detection with Class, Home, Family and Active Guardian plans
+$10month for optional fall detection
Activation Fee$0$0
ContractNo contract--Month-to-month, prorated refund of any prepaid feesNo contract--Month-to-month, full refund (except for shipping fees) if cancel within 30 days
Optional Monthly Add-On ServicesFall Detection - $10
Wall-mounted Buttons - $2
Voice Activated Wall Buttons - $5
Lockbox - $2 (free with annual plan)
Fall Detection - $10
Wall-mounted Buttons - $2.95 or $10 for four
Wearable Help Buttons - $1.95
Lockbox - $1.95
Caregiver Tracking App - $5
Water-Resistant Wearable DevicesPendant and wristbandPendant or belt attachment
ConnectionLandline or cellular (AT&T network)Landline or 4G-LTE cellular
2-Way Voice CommunicationThrough in-home base or wearable pendant mobile deviceThrough in-home base for In-Home products, wearable device with On-the-Go service or On the Road car device
Range (From in-home base unit for landline service)Up to 600' for Home Guardian plan
Up to 1300' for Classic and Family Guardian plans
Up to 1000'
Battery life32-hour battery backup for Classic and Family Guardian home base units
30-hour battery backup for Home Guardian plan
24 hours for Mobile Guardian portable device
5 days for Active Guardian wearable pendant
2 days for Freedom Guardian smartwatch device
32-hour battery backup in In-Home base unit
3 days for mobile device
5 years for the medical alert pendant
2 years for the Automatic Fall Detection pendant
Fall DetectionOptional monthly add-on with Class, Home, Family and Active Guardian plansOptional monthly add-on with all but On-the-Road plan
GPS LocatorIncluded in Mobile, Active and Freedom Guardian productsIncluded with On-the-Go, On-the-Road and 360 Protection
Coverage Away From HomeIncluded in Mobile, Active and Freedom Guardian productsIncluded with On-the-Go, On-the-Road and 360 Protection
24/7 USA Call CenterYesYes
Wall-mounted help button
Voice activated wall buttons
Wall-mounted help buttons
Extra personal help buttons

Medical Guardian Overview

Founded in 2006, Medical Guardian is a more recent addition to the medical alert systems industry. It incorporates the latest technologies to provide its one-of-a-kind smartwatch-style device for mobile seniors, which offers voice-to-text SMS messaging. For at-home users, the company incorporates motion and door sensors that connect to a mobile caregiver app, so loved ones can easily keep track of a seniors’ changing habits and activity levels.

Pros of Medical Guardian:

  • Wall-mounted help buttons
  • Voice-activated help buttons provide extra protection in case of an injury or fall
  • Caregiver app tracks users’ activity through in-home motion sensors
  • U.S.-based monitoring system has a triple-redundant backup system so it remains operational even in environmental emergencies
  • A Care Circle of up to four contacts can be designated to receive automatic alerts and calls during non-emergencies
  • Smartwatch-style, all-in-one device available
  • Long, 5-day battery life with Active Guardian mobile pendant
  • Offers discounts with annual plans

Cons of Medical Guardian:

  • No price guarantee
  • Fall detection unavailable with Mobile Guardian or smartwatch Freedom Guardian plans
  • Higher monthly rates
  • One-time device fee with Freedom Guardian smartwatch plan
  • Shipping not included with plans under one-year terms

Bay Alarm Medical Overview

Bay Alarm Medical stands out for its low base monthly rates that start at only $19.95 for an in-home, landline plan. Its emergency monitoring center reports that calls are answered within 45 seconds, and operators can connect callers with a personal contact if they’d prefer to reach a loved one rather than an emergency service. The company provides users with wearable pendants with its mobile plans and also offers a unique device designed specifically for car use.

Pros of Bay Alarm Medical:

  • Includes an in-the-car device option that can be purchased on its own or as an addition to any plan
  • Low monthly rates
  • Free shipping with semiannual plans

Cons of Bay Alarm Medical:

  • $5 monthly fee for Caregiver GPS Tracking app
  • No smartwatch device offered
  • Shipping fees with most plans
  • No price guarantee

Pricing Comparison

Bay Alarm Medical offers some of the lowest pricing options in the industry, and its $19.95 base at-home plan (before adding fall detection) is $10 less per month than Medical Guardian’s comparable base plan. For the same price as Medical Guardian’s base at-home plan, Bay Alarm Medical users can sign up for its all-in-one mobile wearable device that can be worn at home and on the go.

The prices of each company’s optional add-on devices, such as extra wall-mountable help buttons, fall detection and lockboxes, are similar, but Bay Alarm Medical charges $5 for its optional Caregiver Tracking portal that allows loved ones to locate a senior users’ location. Medical Guardian, on the other hand, includes a robust caregiver app with its plans.

Neither company charges start-up device or activation fees with the exception of similar shipping costs and Medical Guardian’s $99 Freedom Guardian smartwatch-device plan. Unlike Medical Guardian, however, Bay Alarm Medical offers users a 30-day trial where they can receive a full refund within 30 days if they’re dissatisfied with their plan.

Our Pick

With Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical’s unique offerings that appeal to users with differing needs, it’s difficult to pick a clear winner. While Bay Alarm Medical’s low pricing model greatly benefits users on a budget who are looking for high quality, basic monitoring services, its prices do add up as users choose to include more of its add-on features, such as fall detection, its caregiver tracking portal and additional help buttons. Through its in-the-car device, Bay Alarm Medical may appeal to seniors whose primary concern is remaining safe and secure while driving.

On the other hand, despite its higher upfront pricing, Medical Guardian’s detailed caregiver app, voice-activated wall buttons and optional home motion sensors offer an increased level of monitoring and peace-of-mind for caregivers that Bay Alarm Medical doesn’t comparably provide. As both companies offer reliable, high quality in-home and mobile systems with no long-term contracts, we think each is a valuable pick.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems

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