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.

Seniors, people with disabilities and joggers are increasingly turning to high-tech solutions, such as medical alert systems, to enhance their personal safety and security. These emergency call systems are available through dozens of companies, and consumers can choose between monitored and unmonitored services. When the help button on a monitored medical alert is pressed, the user is connected with a 24/7 emergency call center, while unmonitored medical alerts can be programmed to call a caregiver, neighbor or 911.

Helping You Pick the Best Medical Alert System

Given the ever-growing variety of medical alert services, devices and features, finding the one that’s ideal for you or your loved one can be a real challenge. After all, there’s a lot to think about when choosing an emergency response system, including the costs, type of device, range and ease of use.

To help you select the best medical alert system for your situation, our team of senior care experts has conducted in-depth research into all the leading brands and systems. We’ve gathered all the information you need into a series of comparison articles, and today we’re looking at Medical Guardian and Philips Lifeline.

Each of these companies offer similar services and features at comparable prices, however, there are some notable differences when it comes to the type of devices offered. Below you’ll find a comprehensive comparison chart that breaks down the costs and features of both Medical Guardian and Philips Lifeline.

Category


Medical Guardian


Philips Lifeline


COSTS


Up-Front Equipment


$0-$99


$0-$149


Monthly Monitoring


$29.95-$79.95


$29.95-$54.95


Activation Fee


$0


$50


Contract


No


No


Optional Monthly Add-On Services


Lockbox


Fall detection (+$10/month)


N/A


FEATURES


Water-Resistant Wearable Devices


Yes


Yes


Connection


Landline or cellular


Landline or cellular


2-Way Voice Communication


Yes: Through in-home base unit, mobile pendant or medical smart watch


Yes: Through in-home base unit or GoSafe 2 pendant


Range (From in-home base unit to help button)


Up to 1300' for landline systems; up to 600' for cellular in-home systems


Up to 800'


Battery Life


Up to 32 hour battery back-up on base unit


Up to 24 hours on mobile medical alert device


Up to 48 hour battery back-up in base unit


Non-rechargeable batteries in wristband/pendant of HomeSafe devices - Philips automatically checks battery status and sends a replacement device when needed


Rechargeable battery in GoSafe2 pendant lasts 2-3 days


FALL DETECTION, LOCATION and RESPONSE SERVICE


Fall Detection


Optional (+$10/month)


Included in monthly fee of HomeSafe with Auto Alert and GoSafe systems


GPS Locator


Yes (On-The-Go Products)


Yes (GoSafe systems)


Coverage Away From Home


Yes (On-The-Go Products)


Yes (GoSafe systems)


24/7 USA Call Center


Yes


Yes


OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES



Voice-activated wall button with pull cord


PIN-protected lockbox


Wall-mounted help buttons


Extra medical alert buttons


Limitless Icons jewelry-style medical alert pendants


N/A


Medical Guardian Overview

Medical Guardian is an established, U.S.-based medical alert company that offers monitored emergency call services. Medical Guardian was founded by CEO Geoff Cross after he realized his grandmother needed a device that would help her stay independent while ensuring she could call for help at any time.

Medical Guardian has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and their U.S. monitoring center is UL-listed. Call operators are fluent in English and Spanish, and all cellular-based services are connected to AT&T’s nationwide cellular network.

The company has a complete range of in-home and mobile medical alert systems, including the Freedom Guardian, a simplified smart watch that includes SMS text messaging, appointment reminders, GPS tracking and a companion caregiver app. Medical Guardian also has a Family Guardian system that uses a cellular-enabled base station connected to three in-home activity sensors that loved ones can use to monitor subscribers’ activity levels.

With the exception of the Freedom Guardian medical alert watch and the Limitless Icons medical alert pendants, all Medical Guardian equipment is included with monthly service fees. There are no contracts, however, in order to get the lowest possible prices, subscribers need to choose a semiannual or annual monitoring plan.

Medical Guardian monitoring costs start at $29.95 per month for the Classic Guardian system, $49.95 per month for the Mobile Guardian, and $79.95 for the Family Guardian. The Freedom Guardian medical alert watch costs $44.95 per month plus a one-time $99 fee. Subscribers who prepay for six or 12 months of service may qualify for a free PIN-protected lockbox, a free month of service or other discounts.

Pros of Medical Guardian:

  • Offer fall detection
  • Cellular-connected service provided through the AT&T network
  • Discounted rates available on semiannual and annual plans
  • The Family Guardian system provides enhanced medical monitoring that includes a caregiver dashboard
  • Free spousal monitoring with purchase of an extra medical alert button (on select plans only)
  • Plans can be cancelled at any time without penalty
  • The Freedom Guardian is one of the few medical alert smart watches on the market
  • The Icons Collection medical alert pendants are designed to appeal to users who dislike traditional medical alert devices

Cons of Medical Guardian:

  • The MobileGuardian system requires that users carry both a small, pager-sized device along with a compatible help button, which may be difficult for some users
  • The Freedom Guardian smart watch lacks fall detection, heart-rate monitoring and other features that are found on some other well-known smart watch brands

Philips Lifeline Overview

Philips Lifeline has been in business for over 40 years, and they currently have more than seven million medical alert subscribers. It’s the only FDA-approved medical alert service, and Philips designs and builds all of their own medical alert help buttons and devices.

Philips Lifeline offers both in-home and mobile solutions using simple, up-front fees that are payable on a month-to-month basis. Subscribers are provided with a personalized care plan that lets them choose who’s contacted in an emergency, and the Philips Cares app gives authorized users access to real-time information regarding any activation of the emergency call button.

Pros of Philips Lifeline:

  • Designed by a medical doctor
  • No contracts
  • Wearable devices are waterproof and safe for use in the shower
  • Fall detection is included with compatible devices
  • In-home help button batteries never need charging
  • No hidden fees or taxes
  • Multilingual call center
  • Philips Cares app lets caregivers check device status, share notes and coordinate caregiving duties with others
  • The GoSafe 2 mobile device uses five location technologies to pinpoint the exact location of a subscriber in an emergency

Cons of Philips Lifeline:

  • No spouse discounts
  • No medical alert smart watch
  • Activation fees start at $50
  • Help buttons look like traditional medical alert devices

Pricing Comparison

Monthly monitoring costs for both companies start at $29.95, and each allows customers to cancel at any time without penalty. Unlike Medical Guardian, Philips Lifeline does charge a nonrefundable activation fee of $50 for the HomeSafe systems.

Medical Guardian offers discounted rates to customers who prepay for either six months or one year of service, while there are no comparable deals or promotions available with Philips Lifeline. It’s important to note that Philips Lifeline includes fall detection with some service packages, while Medical Guardian charges an additional $10 per month for fall detection on compatible systems. There’s also an additional charge for medical alert pendants from the Icons Collection.

Another important thing to consider when comparing pricing between Medical Guardian and Philips Lifeline is that the Freedom Guardian medical alert smart watch costs $99, while Philips Lifeline charges a one-time device fee of $149 for the GoSafe and $99.95 for the GoSafe 2.

Our Pick

We found that both companies offer comparable in-home and mobile medical alert systems monitored through U.S.-based call centers, and each company has a solid reputation among consumers.

In terms of picking an in-home medical alert system, there’s very little difference between Medical Guardian and Philips Lifeline. The fact that Medical Guardian offers one of the few medical alert smart watches on the market today, the Freedom Guardian, makes this company a good choice for those who want a discrete mobile emergency call button that includes a few additional features. If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional medical alert devices, we recommend taking a closer look at the Freedom Guardian.

Another thing that makes Medical Guardian stand out is their Limitless Icons Collection, which are medical alert pendants encased in a jewelry-style gold or silver finish complete with a resin stone that serves as a help button. These unique pendants work with Medical Guardian’s home and mobile guardian systems and may be a great option for users who want a medical alert button that doubles as a piece of costume jewelry.

Although Medical Guardian has a wider selection of emergency call devices, Philips Lifeline is also a solid company with proven services and user-friendly help buttons. When it comes to deciding between Medical Guardian and Philips Lifeline, we recommend going with the company that has the devices that best suit your particular needs.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems