According to the National Council on Aging, “falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans,” and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 25% of American adults aged 65 and older suffer from one or more falls each year. Although medical alert devices can’t protect seniors against falls and medical emergencies, these devices can ensure that first responders and loved ones are alerted right away, increasing the odds of a full recovery from injuries.

Thanks to the growing awareness regarding senior safety and the increased demand for solutions that support independence among older adults, there are now dozens of medical alert systems on the market. While all of these systems provide similar services, there are distinct differences in technologies, devices and pricing that can make choosing the right medical alert system difficult.

To help you select the right medical alert system for yourself or your loved ones, we’ve researched all of the best medical alert systems available in the United States. This guide compares two leading brands, MobileHelp and Bay Alarm Medical. Each company offers landline and mobile-based call services, fall detection and GPS tracking; however, there are some distinct differences with regard to the devices and services.

Side By Side ComparisonMobileHelpBay Alarm Medical
Up-Front Equipment$0-$349.95$9.95 shipping (free shipping with semiannual plans)
Monthly Monitoring$19.95-$41.95$19.95-$59.95
Activation Fee00
ContractNo contract required, but fees are lower, if paid upfront for 3, 6 or 12 monthsNo contracts--Billed Month-to-Month
Optional Monthly Add-On Services$10/month for automatic fall detection+$10/month for 4G/LTE connection for in-home medical alert system
+$5/month for protection plan
+$3/month for wall button or $10 for four
+$3/month for extra/spouse medical alert button
+$1.95 lockbox
$0-$5/month for caregiver tracking app
Water-Resistant Wearable DevicesAll wearable devices are waterproofPendant or wristband
ConnectionLandline or cellular (AT&T)Landline or cellular (AT&T network)
2-Way Voice CommunicationThrough in-home base unit or mobile device onlyThrough in-home base unit, wearable cellular pendant or On the Road car device
Range (From in-home base unit to landline service)Up to 600' in open, unobstructed spaceUp to 1000' in open, unobstructed space
Battery life30 hours battery backup on in-home base unit
Up to 24 hours on mobile pendant
Battery life on non-rechargable neck pendant and wrist button is 5 years
In-home call button battery is rated for 5 years with a 32-hour battery backup in a power outage
Battery in 4G/LTE button lasts up to 5 days
The Automatic Fall Detection pendant has lasts up to 2 years
Fall DetectionAdd-on option for $10 per month with all systemsAdd-on option available for both in-home and mobile systems for $10 per month
GPS LocatorYes - with cellular-based mobile systemsIncluded with On-The-Go, On the Road and 360 Protection
Coverage Away From HomeYes with cellular-based mobile systemsYes (with cellular-based devices)
24/7 USA Call CenterYes - two call centers based in Syracuse, NY, and Corona, CA.Yes - two call centers located in Idaho and Utah
TRELAWEAR smart jewelry pendant
Up to 3 battery-powered, wall-mountable buttons can be linked to each system
PIN-protected lockbox
Extra pendants and wrist-wearable buttons
PIN-protected emergency key lockbox for first responders
Wall-mounted emergency buttons

MobileHelp Overview

Based in Boca Raton, Florida, MobileHelp offers a wide variety of at-home and mobile medical alert systems and devices that work with either a landline or cellular connection. MobileHelp’s lineup of medical alert devices include traditional pendant-style buttons, a user-friendly Smart Watch from Samsung and a jewelry-style pendant which may appeal to subscribers who are looking for a discrete medical alert solution.

Pros of MobileHelp:

  • Operates two domestic call centers (Syracuse, NY, and Corona, CA) that provide service in English, Spanish and 240 additional languages through a third-party translation company
  • Emergency operators have a minimum of 2-years post-secondary education and/or two years of military service
  • Offers unique TRELAWEAR jewelry-style pendants that feature hand-cut resin stones and choice of a gold or silver finish
  • The MobileHelp Connect app sends authorized caregivers and loved ones emergency and low-battery alerts and provides information about users’ location at no additional cost
  • The MobileHelp Smart Watch works as a discrete emergency call button with enhanced health monitoring features, such as a step counter and heart rate monitor

Cons of MobileHelp:

  • Up-front costs for Smart Watch are high, and there’s no option to finance device costs
  • No price guarantee — monitoring costs may increase over time
  • No discounts for a roommate/spouse help button

Bay Alarm Medical Overview

Bay Alarm Medical is an established, well-reviewed medical alert provider that receives high reviews for offering low monthly monitoring costs and basic, no-frills services that are reliable and cost-effective.

Bay Alarm Medical actively markets their products and services to subscribers of all ages and abilities, including school-aged children and adults who live alone. One of the most innovative devices offered by Bay Alarm Medical is their On The Road device and monitoring system. This unique plug-in, GPS-enabled device combines advanced integrated crash detection technology with traditional two-way medical alert monitoring, connecting drivers with the call center in the event of an automobile crash. The On The Road device also has a user-activated help button, and the mobile automotive service includes a mobile phone app that gives users access to the GPS location of the vehicle.

Pros of Bay Alarm Medical:

  • Established U.S. company based in California
  • Free activation and shipping
  • Free roommate or spouse monitoring
  • 30-day risk-free trial period for new subscribers
  • Call monitoring technicians are certified emergency dispatchers
  • World’s first medical alert system to offer an in-car medical alert service with automatic crash detection
  • Services available in multiple languages through a third-party translator company

Cons of Bay Alarm:

  • Plan pricing can be difficult to understand
  • System upgrades such as fall monitoring and extra call buttons can quickly increase the total monthly service costs
  • The On The Road mobile app may not be user-friendly for seniors and those who don’t use a smart phone

Pricing Comparison

Monitoring costs between these two companies are similar when comparing costs for similar services and features. Pricing for MobileHelp and Bay Alarm Medical each start at $19.95 per month for basic, in-home service, and both companies charge an additional $10 per month for fall detection.

There are significant price differences for premium services, such as the On The Road service from Bay Alarm Medical and the Smart Watch from MobileHelp, however, it’s difficult to compare these prices as each of these products are proprietary to the respective providers.

Our Pick

Overall, we can’t choose a clear winner between MobileHelp and Bay Alarm Medical as both companies are well-rated by consumers, offer similar basic services and have similar price plans for comparable services and products.

MobileHelp’s innovative jewelry-style TRELAWEAR pendants may help increase compliance among subscribers who are reluctant to wear a traditional medical alert pendant or wrist button. The TRELAWEAR pendants are designed to look and feel like costume jewelry, complete with a hand-cut black onyx resin stone set on a silver or gold-toned pendant case with matching chain.

For users who operate a vehicle, Bay Alarm Medical’s On The Road service is well worth considering as it combines the features of a traditional medical alert system with advanced crash response and geo-locating services. This service may appeal to seniors and new drivers alike as well as those who spend a lot of time driving in inclement weather or unfamiliar areas.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems

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