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.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than one in four older adults fall each year. Moreover, its research indicates that at least one in five falls results in serious harm such as a broken bone or traumatic head injury. Worse than the injuries is the feeling of helplessness the fear of these falls can induce, causing seniors to doubt their ability to live independently and forego activities outside the home. A medical alert system offers a way for older people and their caregivers to enjoy greater confidence.

Adjusting your lifestyle to include the 24/7 monitoring and medical alert equipment can provide immediate access to assistance in an emergency, even if you aren’t at home. Most medical alert systems allow clients to instantly connect to emergency services and designated friends, family, and neighbors.

These systems offer both in-home and mobile devices. Some include advanced features such as automatic fall detection and GPS locating services that can summon assistance even if you’re unable to push a button or call for help.

How to Choose the Best Medical Alert Service

The popularity of medical alert systems has increased, and so has the number of providers. Amid the plethora of options and confusing marketing language, it can be hard to choose the right one for your needs.

To make it easier, we’ve created an in-depth, side-by-side analysis of all the available medical alert systems. We present and compare each company’s offerings in clear, easy-to-understand guides such as this one that compares MobileHelp and Lifestation.

Each of these companies is based in the United States and provides 24/7 monitoring services using in-home and mobile solutions as well as optional equipment and services.

Side by Side ComparisonMobileHelpLifestation
Up-Front Equipment$0
$349.95 for Smartwatch
Monthly Monitoring$19.95 - $41.95
+ $10/month for optional fall detection
+ $2/month for optional wall-mounted help buttons
+ $5/month for optional customizable medication reminders
$19.95 - $41.95
+ $10/month for fall detection with In-Home packages
+ $5/month for Mobile package
Activation FeeN/A$50 for Mobile GPS Standard plan only
ContractMonthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually
*Monthly payments require a one-time fee of $49.95
$0 cancellation fee
Optional Monthly Add-On Services$2/month for optional wall-mounted help buttons
$5/month for optional customizable medication reminders
$10/month for fall detection with In-Home packages or $5/month for Mobile package
Water-Resistant Wearable DevicesPendant and wristbandPendant and wristband
ConnectionCellular via AT&T networkLandline and Cellular via AT&T network
2-Way Voice CommunicationYesYes
Range (From in-home base unit for landline service)600' from home base for mobile devices650' for In-Home Plus
1,000' for In-Home Traditional
Battery life24 hours for mobile device
30-hour backup for home base
48 hours/charge for the smartwatch
48-hour backup for home bases
5 days/charge for mobile device
Fall DetectionAdditional $10/month
*not available with smartwatch
Additional $10/month for fall detection with In-Home packages or $5/month for Mobile package
GPS LocatorIncluded with mobile devicesIncluded with mobile devices
Coverage Away From HomeNationwide via AT&T cellular networkThroughout the US and Canada
24/7 USA Call CenterYes: via Rapid ResponseYes: located in New Jersey and Texas
Wall-mounted help button - $2/month
Customizable medication reminders - $5/month
Lockbox - included with plan
Mountable help buttons - $2.49/month
Additional help button - $3.99/month
Lockbox - $2.99/month

MobileHelp Overview

Boca Raton, Florida-based MobileHelp was founded in 2006 and is now one of America’s leading nationwide medical alert system providers. An FDA-registered company, MobileHelp develops and distributes its own innovative technologies.

The company has three basic options: an in-home system, a mobile device, and a smartwatch. MobileHelp also offers a fourth plan that combines in-home and mobile systems. All its devices are cellular, making landlines unnecessary.

The company’s Classic in-home system features a cellular base station and waterproof wearable pendant or bracelet. MobileHelp’s Solo mobile system device is equipped with a two-way speaker along with cellular and GPS triangulation. The Solo system also includes the company’s wearable pendant/bracelet. The Duo package blends the Classic and Solo plans and offers a cellular base station and mobile device. An optional fall-detection pendant can be added to any plan for an additional $10 per month.

MobileHelp’s Smart package includes a Samsung smartwatch-style device that can be purchased for $349.95. While the device provides a weather report, counts steps, and monitors the wearer’s heart rate, it lacks call and messaging features and isn’t a true smartwatch. The device does have a two-way speaker that lets the wearer contact emergency operators with the push of a button.

Pros of MobileHelp:

  • No need for a landline with any device
  • No extra charge for cellular connection
  • Range of premium features
  • Various device options

Cons of MobileHelp:

  • Some customers pay an activation fee
  • Fall detection not available for all devices

Lifestation Overview

Founded in 1977, Lifestation provides medical monitoring across the United States and Canada with no charge for equipment, shipping or activation. Monitoring is provided 24/7 via the company’s dedicated CSAA Five Diamond-certified center.

Lifestation also offers customers three device options: In-Home Traditional, In-Home Plus and a Mobile GPS system. Fall detection can be added to any package for an additional monthly charge.

The In-Home Traditional system operates on a landline connection, while the In-Home Plus system connects through a cellular network. The plans include pendants wearable on the wrist or neck, but fall detection only works when the device is worn around the neck. The Mobile GPS system operates through an all-in-one pendant worn on a lanyard around the neck.

Pros of Lifestation:

  • Low start-up costs and transparent pricing
  • No contracts
  • Inexpensive protection plan covers lost or damaged devices
  • Long battery-backup life

Cons of Lifestation:

  • Additional charges for even basic accessories
  • In-Home Plus has a shorter range that’s not adequate for larger homes

Pricing Comparison

MobileHelp offers four plans that range from $19.95 to $41.95 per month. Lifestation’s three plans are in the same price range; however, it offers three equipment packages with each plan. This equates to six offerings vs MobileHelp’s three.

MobileHelp customers can choose to pay monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. A one-time fee of $49.95 is charged for monthly billing, but this is the only fee the company charges other than the cost of the smartwatch device. Customers receive a small discount on their first bill and free shipping when paying quarterly, biannually, or annually. MobileHelp also offers a 30-day money-back trial period.

Lifestation also allows customers 30 days to cancel their service and return their equipment for a full refund. The only one-time fee associated with the company’s services is the $50 activation fee for the Mobile GPS Standard plan, and free shipping is provided on all plans.

Our Pick

MobileHelp stands out for its options for those seeking inexpensive medical alert service without a landline. It offers a wide range of accessible products and the advanced technology of a smartwatch-style option. Extra features such as medical scheduling are reasonably priced and competitive with other companies in the industry.

Lifestation comes out ahead for its low startup costs, transparent pricing, and affordable features. Only one plan has an activation or shipping charge, and no long-term contracts are required. The company offers extra features for seniors and caregivers such as Find My Loved One, which allows emergency contacts to easily find a subscriber.

Although these companies are relatively evenly matched, we chose Lifestation as the winner by a slight margin because of its lower costs and longer industry track record.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems

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