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In This Review:

The 5 Best Medical Alert Necklaces of 2022

Sep 20, 2022

By Cara Everett, MS, RDN
Medically Reviewed by Christopher Norman, MSN, APRN, APHN-BC, GNP-BC
Fact Checked

Affiliate Disclosure
This content and its featured products and services were independently reviewed by a third-party, credentialed Reviews Team. If you make a purchase using the links included, our partners may earn a commission. NCOA, however, does not receive a commission for purchases.
  • Medical alert necklaces are a convenient way to stay protected by a medical alert system when you’re outside your home, running errands, or traveling.
  • Medical alert necklaces are included with many medical alert system packages at no extra cost.
  • Some medical alert necklaces offer special features, such as fall detection and GPS location tracking.

Medical alert systems can provide an extra measure of safety for older adults and anyone who lives alone or has a medical condition. While most medical alert companies provide both in-home units and on-the-go devices, not all of them offer medical alert necklaces. If you’re active or simply like to have your hands free while wearing your medical alert device, a medical alert necklace could be just what you’re looking for.

Medical alert necklaces vary quite a bit in both cost and features, so it can be difficult to choose the best one for your needs. We’ve researched and tested medical alert necklaces to help you make an informed decision. Read on for our Reviews Team’s top picks of the best medical alert necklaces on the market.

A quick look at the best medical alert necklaces

2,500+
Hours of Research
1
Surveys Deployed
13
Brands Tested
9
Experts Consulted

Why you can trust our Reviews Team’s expert reviews

Our Reviews Team spent more than 2,500 hours conducting in-depth research on medical alert systems. During our process, we:

  • Engaged in ongoing independent research
  • Consulted with licensed adult caregivers and doctors who specialize in senior care
  • Mystery shopped 13 medical alert system brands
  • Surveyed medical alert system users
  • Tested various medical alert systems
  • Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties, such as Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot

Read more about our medical alert system methodology.

Table 1 Comparison of the best medical alert necklaces, as of September 2022

Medical Guardian

MobileHelp Classic

Bay Alarm Medical

LifeFone VIPx

ADT Health
On-The-Go

Starting monthly cost

$29.95

$19.95

$24.95

$45.95

$39.99

Equipment fee

$2.99/monh
(necklace),
$124.95
(base unit)

N/A

$25

N/A

N/A

Processing fee

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Battery life

2 years
(in-home)

3–5 days
(on-the-go)

3 days

2–5 years

16 days

40 hours

Response time
(seconds)

1–15

1–15

1–15

15–25

1–15

Fall detection available

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Two-way communication

Yes
(Mini Guardian and Mobile 2.0)

No

No

Yes

Yes

GPS

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Water resistance

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No
(yes with help button or fall detection button)

Device range (in feet) for in-home systems

1,300–1,400

1,400

1,000

1,300

N/A

Best Medical Alert Necklace for Seniors: Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian

Pros On-the-go medical alert necklaces in multiple colors, with the option to add fall detection Caregiver app available for Mobile 2.0 necklace Easy-to-use website with clear details on features and pricing
Cons No free trial period Higher monthly cost and equipment fees than some other medical alert necklaces
  • Starting monthly cost: $29.95
  • Equipment fee: $2.99 per month for standard necklace, $124.95 for base unit and Mobile 2.0 on-the-go necklace, $149.95 for Mini Guardian on-the-go necklace 
  • Processing fee: N/A
  • Free trial period: N/A
  • Range
    • 1,300 feet (Classic Guardian) 
    • 1,400 feet (Home 2.0)
  • Dimensions
    • Mobile 2.0: 2.6 x 1.5 x 0.6 inches (length x width x height)
    • Mini Guardian: 2.7” L x 1.4” W x 0.6 H
  • Weight
    • Mobile 2.0: 1.7 ounces 
    • Mini Guardian: 1.3 ounces

Medical Guardian offers four medical alert systems with necklaces, covering a wide variety of options, including a standard help button, GPS location tracking, and fall detection. With so many features offered at a competitive price, a website that’s easy to use, and great customer service, our Reviews Team chose Medical Guardian as the “Best Medical Alert Necklace for Seniors.”

Medical Guardian necklace packages

Medical Guardian offers necklaces with the following packages: 

  • Classic Guardian: $29.95 per month plus:
    • $2.99 per month for basic help button necklace
  • Home 2.0: $34.95 per month plus:
    • $2.99 per month for basic help button necklace
  • Mobile 2.0: $39.95 per month plus:
    • $124.95 equipment fee for GPS necklace
    • $2.99 per month for basic help button necklace
    • Battery life: 5 days
    • Special features: Two-way communication, advanced location tracking
  • Mini Guardian: $39.95 per month plus:
    • $149.95 equipment fee for GPS necklace with included fall detection
    • Colors: Black, silver, and white
    • Battery life: 3 days
    • Special features: Two-way communication, advanced location tracking

Fall detection necklaces can be added to any system for an additional $10 per month. A fall detection necklace, coupled with falls prevention tips, can help lower your risk of falling. To check your risk of falling, use the NCOA Falls Free CheckUp tool.

One added benefit with the Mini Guardian is the fall detection feature that can be added to the Mini Guardian necklace, so you’ll only need to wear one device. All of the other Medical Guardian systems require a separate fall detection necklace, so to have fall detection, you’ll need to wear two necklaces, (one with a simple help button, and one with fall detection) or carry the help button in your pocket and wear the fall detection necklace around your neck.

If you have two necklaces, you should always wear the fall detection around your neck, as research from 2016 shows fall detection worn around your neck is more accurate than fall detection worn around your wrist.1

Medical Guardian mobile devices, which can be worn as a necklace or carried in a purse or pocket, include two-way communication and advanced location tracking using cellular, Wi-Fi, and GPS technology. The tracking feature helps medical alert personnel find you in an emergency.

The Mobile 2.0 necklace can also be used with the MyGuardian app, which allows caregivers to stay connected with the medical alert user.

Multiple necklaces can be connected to a single base unit station (the stationary device plugged into the wall that syncs to wall buttons or wearable devices) with the in-home systems, so more than one person in your household can be protected on the same plan. 

Warranty

The MG Protection Plan costs $6.99 per month. It covers unlimited battery replacement, as well as replacement of one base unit and two help buttons in any 12 month period due to the following:

  • Wear and tear
  • Manufacturer’s defects
  • Power surges
  • Dust, heat, or humidity
  • Loss, theft, or any type of damage 

Customer service

Our Reviews Team found the Medical Guardian website easy to use for locating pricing information and details about each system. We also contacted customer service to find out more about the battery life of each necklace. 

A Medical Guardian representative entered the online chat in fewer than 20 seconds. They were knowledgeable and answered all of our questions. We learned the in-home necklaces without fall detection include batteries that last up to five years without requiring charging. On-the-go necklaces, which don’t connect to a base unit like in-home necklaces, need to be recharged every three days (Mini Guardian) or five days (Mobile 2.0).

Payment options 

  • Credit card
  • Check

With a wide range of device options and price points, Medical Guardian offers medical alert necklaces that can help many older adults stay safe in an emergency. Keep in mind this company does have higher equipment fees than some of the other brands we researched. Still, we appreciate the variety of necklaces to choose from and Medical Guardian’s competitive monthly prices. 

Read our in-depth review of Medical Guardian to learn more about your medical alert system options with this company.

Most Affordable Medical Alert Necklace: MobileHelp Classic

MobileHelp Classic

Pros Medical alert necklace offered with most affordable in-home system from MobileHelp Add fall detection to necklace for extra $10 per month No equipment of processing fees
Cons Fall detection costs extra No GPS or two-way communication available with the Classic help button necklace
  • Starting monthly cost: $19.95 (in-home system)
  • Equipment fee: N/A
  • Processing fee: N/A
  • Free trial period: 30 days
  • Range: 1,400 feet 
  • Dimensions: 1.9” L x 1.4” W x 0.3” H
  • Weight: 0.5 ounces

MobileHelp offers the lowest-priced help button necklace in this review with its Classic in-home system, making it our clear winner for ”Most Affordable Medical Alert Necklace.”

The Classic in-home system doesn’t offer many bells and whistles, but it costs $19.95 per month (compared to $24.95 and up with other brands) and includes the base unit and a waterproof help button on a necklace. You can also add a fall detection necklace for an additional $10 per month.

But unlike most brands on this list, the MobileHelp Classic offers neither two-way communication nor GPS tracking, meaning you can’t speak directly with the monitoring center from the necklace (you’ll have to use the base unit to do so) and medical personnel can’t track your location based on GPS data. With no GPS, that means the MobileHelp Classic necklace will only work when it’s within range of the base unit in your home, which is 1,400 feet. So, while you may save money with MobileHelp, you sacrifice some advanced features.

MobileHelp does offer medical alert necklaces with GPS, but their starting monthly costs are almost double the starting monthly cost of the Classic ($37.95 versus $19.95, respectively). Read our review of the top medical alert systems with GPS for more information on GPS technology in medical alert systems.

Warranty

MobileHelp’s warranty is called Connect Premium. For $5 per month, Connect Premium provides coverage for lost, damaged, or stolen medical alert equipment. It also gives you a price-lock guarantee for two years and discounts on MobileHelp services and products.

Customer service

  • Phone: 800-922-0616
    • 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday
    • 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Saturday
  • Website: Online chat

Payment options 

  • Credit card

If you stay at home much of the time and don’t need a mobile medical alert necklace with GPS, MobileHelp offers low-priced medical alert necklaces to provide protection in and around your house. 

Most Stylish Medical Alert Necklace: Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical

Pros Four styles of charms to personalize your medical alert necklace One of the lowest monthly prices on the market Waterproof
Cons Bella charms only fit help button necklaces without fall detection
  • Starting monthly cost: $24.95 
  • Equipment fee: $25 per charm
  • Processing fee: N/A
  • Free trial period: 30 days 
  • Range: 1,000 feet
  • Dimensions: 2” diameter
  • Weight: fewer than 2 ounces

Bay Alarm Medical offers a fashionable medical alert option called Bella Charms that makes it stand out from other companies. Bella Charms slide over the help buttons, creating a jewelry-like look. Our Reviews Team was impressed with this unique addition to the medical alert market (we’ve seen only one other company offer this perk), which is why we named Bay Alarm Medical the “Most Stylish Medical Alert Necklace.”

Bay Alarm Medical offers a medical alert necklace with the option to add Bella charms to any of the following in-home packages:

  • In-Home Basic ($24.95/month, landline)
  • In-Home Preferred ($29.95/month, AT&T or Verizon Cellular)
  • In-Home Premium ($39.95/month, AT&T or Verizon Cellular) 
  • In-Home + Smartwatch ($49.95/month, $159 device purchase for smartwatch)

Bella charms are available to disguise any of the Bay Alarm medical alert necklaces without fall detection. Charms are not available for the SOS Mobile device with fall detection, which can be worn around the neck. 

You have four styles of Bella charms to choose from:

  • Gemma: Leopard print
  • Marella: Animal black and tan print
  • Stella: Black with iridescent sparkles
  • Marina: Blue, purple, and pink swirled pattern

The ability to customize the look of your medical alert necklace is a special perk in an industry that offers very few style options. One of the biggest challenges respondents cited in our Reviews Team’s survey of medical alert system users was their device “doesn’t look appealing.” Customizing your medical alert necklace can make it look more pleasing, which could increase your chances of wearing it more often.

Warranty

The Bay Alarm Medical warranty covers normal wear and tear for the life of the product. You may purchase the Premier Protection Plan for $2.95 per month, which covers one unit replacement per year and replacement of accessories at 50% of their replacement value.

Customer service

  • Phone: 877-522-9633
    • 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday
    • 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. PT, Saturday and Sunday
  • Website: Online chat
  • Email: cs@bayalarmmedical.com 

We found the Bay Alarm Medical website easy to use and well laid-out. We also had a good customer service experience when our Reviews Team used the chat feature to find out if the necklace includes two-way communication.

The representative was available in fewer than five seconds and answered our questions quickly. We learned only the SOS Mobile device has the ability to talk to the monitoring center directly from the device. The standard help button necklace does not have this feature.

Payment options 

  • Credit card
  • Debit card

For people who need the added protection of a medical alert device but don’t want to sacrifice style, the Bay Alarm Medical Bella charms are a great choice. With several styles and in-home systems to choose from, chances are you can find a Bay Alarm medical alert necklace to suit your needs and preferences.

Best Medical Alert Necklace with Advanced Features: LifeFone

LifeFone

Pros VIPx medical alert necklace has more features than many other brands Fall detection costs half the price of most other brands No equipment or processing fees
Cons Slower response time than other systems on this list Higher monthly cost than some other systems
  • Starting monthly cost: $45.95
  • Equipment fee: N/A
  • Processing fee: N/A
  • Free trial period: 30 days
  • Range: 1,300 feet (in-home system)
  • Dimensions: 2.7” L x 1.4” W x 0.6” H
  • Weight: 1.3 ounces

LifeFone offers one of the most tech-savvy medical alert necklaces on the market, making it our pick for “Best Medical Alert Necklace with Advanced Features.”

The latest features included in LifeFone’s VIPx medical alert necklace are:

  • Cellular connection with both AT&T or Verizon network (most companies on this list offer either AT&T or Verizon)
  • Advanced location tracking using cellular, Wi-Fi, and GPS technology
  • Text and email reminders from LifeFone when battery is low
  • Compatibility with a caregiver app for $8 per month, so caregivers can check on the user’s location, first movement of the day, and get notifications if the user presses the button

The VIPx necklace, while not the cheapest among medical alert necklaces, offers a range of features many users may find valuable for staying safe both at home and while running errands or traveling. With advanced location tracking, your caregiver and LifeFone monitoring personnel can locate you in an emergency anywhere in the United States, as long as you’re in an area with cell service or Wi-Fi.

The emergency response plan can also be personalized with your information to suit your needs and to alert specific contacts you choose in the event of an emergency.

The VIPx comes in three color options: black, white, and silver. It also features a 16-day battery life, one of the longest battery lives among GPS-enabled necklaces. You’ll receive a charging station with the VIPx. When it’s low on battery, or you get a low-battery notification from the company, just set the necklace in its charging station. It will be fully recharged in about three hours. 

Warranty

LifeFone offers a protection plan for $5 per month that covers wear and tear, loss, theft, damage, and battery replacements.

Customer service

Our Reviews Team found the website to be very informative, with many details about the VIPx. When we contacted customer service, a representative came to the phone in fewer than five seconds and thoroughly and efficiently answered our Reviews Team member’s questions.

Payment options 

  • Credit card

If you are active and want to be protected in an emergency no matter where you are, the VIPx by LifeFone may be a great option.

Best Medical Alert Necklace with GPS: ADT Health

ADT Health

Pros Medical alert necklace includes advanced GPS location tracking and two-way communication for added help in an emergency Customer support available 24/7 Warranty provided at no extra cost
Cons Higher monthly fee than some other medical alert necklaces
  • Starting monthly cost: $39.99
  • Equipment fee: N/A
  • Processing fee: N/A
  • Free trial period: No
  • Range: N/A
  • Dimensions: 2.5” L x 2” W 
  • Weight: 1.8 ounces

ADT is a well-known name in home security systems. The company also sells medical alert equipment that is monitored 24/7 and comes with a variety of options. Our Reviews Team particularly likes the ADT Health On-The-Go system for its advanced location tracking capabilities, making it our choice for “Best Medical Alert Necklace with GPS.”

In addition to GPS tracking, the ADT Health mobile device includes two-way communication (it’s one of the only GPS-enabled necklaces in this review that also comes with two-way communication), so if you push the help button in an emergency you can talk to a representative at the monitoring center. This will allow the representative to gather details about your situation and determine what kind of help you need. ADT Health provides this technology at a lower price than many other medical alert providers, with no additional fees for equipment or processing.

Our Reviews Team learned the On-The-Go mobile device is not waterproof, but ADT Health does offer waterproof options with its standard help button necklace and its necklace with fall detection. 

Fall detection was the No. 1 feature people wanted in their medical alert device in our Reviews Team’s survey of medical alert users. And for good reason. Research shows that older adults are more likely to fall in the bathroom than anywhere else in their home, and those falls are more likely to cause an injury.2

Warranty

A free Premium Protection plan is provided for all ADT Health devices to cover wear and tear, damage, manufacturer’s defects, power surges, and battery replacement.

Customer service

  • Online chat

We found the ADT website easy to use, although it didn’t provide all the details we needed to know to make a purchase decision (such as whether the GPS device can be worn as a necklace, what its size and weight are, and whether it’s waterproof). 

We contacted customer service to get those details, talking with two representatives via online chat and one on the phone. Every person was helpful and answered our questions right away. The representative we spoke to on the phone was friendly and outgoing. They were also knowledgeable about the product we inquired about.

The representative gave some great extra tips, too, such as using the included clip to wear the GPS device on a belt when we don’t want to wear it as a necklace, or placing it in the included pouch to carry in a purse or pocket.

We appreciated their input and the range of options for using the GPS device. While they didn’t give us a sales pitch (another plus), they did offer to email the details we had discussed, and said we could send them our phone number if we wanted to order the product.

Payment options 

  • Credit card

Our Reviews Team likes the advanced tracking capabilities and two-way communication available on ADT Health’s On-The-Go medical alert necklace. While it is a bit more expensive than some other brands, ADT Health provides a free warranty. This brand could be a great choice for active older adults who want protection in the event of an emergency.

What is a medical alert necklace?

Medical alert necklaces are one way to feel more prepared in the event of an emergency. If you have an accident or don’t feel well, you can alert a monitoring center by pushing the button on your medical alert necklace. Monitoring centers are open 24/7 and staffed with trained specialists. When you contact the monitoring center, the representative will ask you questions to help determine what kind of help you need.

Medical alert necklace

Medical alert necklaces versus medical ID jewelry

Medical alert necklaces are not the same thing as medical alert jewelry.

Lynda Shrager, MSW, OTR, a certified aging in place specialist, explained the difference between the two. “Medical alert necklaces are for falls and acute medical events. Jewelry tells someone there is a chronic medical problem that must be taken into account should a person need medical attention and not be able to speak for themselves,” said Shrager.

Medical alert necklaces versus medical ID jewelry

Pros/cons of medical alert necklaces

Medical alert necklaces are wearable help buttons that offer convenience and a range of features as part of an in-home system or a mobile system. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Pros Can be worn around the neck or on a wristband A hands-free way to stay protected in the event of an emergency in and around your home Lightweight and water resistant
Cons Some medical alert necklaces, particularly those with GPS, can be bulky and/or heavy Not all medical alert necklaces come with a warranty

How much do medical alert necklaces cost?

Medical alert necklaces range in cost, from the base cost of an in-home medical alert system, which starts at $20 per month, up to about $150 in one-time equipment fees for the more advanced devices with GPS and two-way communication.

Common features of medical alert necklaces

  • Emergency help button
  • Water resistance
  • Fall detection
  • GPS

Whether to choose a medical alert necklace with or without GPS will depend on your daily activities, said Shrager. If the person is active and leaving their home for various activities, then it is very helpful to have a [necklace with] GPS. Without GPS, the device will only cover the inside and perimeter of their home.”

How to choose the best medical alert necklace for you

It’s important to think about your needs and preferences when deciding which medical alert necklace is best for you.

For example, if you are at home most of the time and just need a help button to wear around your neck, a basic necklace, such as the MobileHelp Classic, would be a good option.

If you are active and want your necklace to have GPS tracking capabilities, take a look at ADT Health, LifeFone or Medical Alert, all of which provide this feature.

Also think about whether you prefer a smaller necklace over a large one, and if you care about the way the necklace looks. Bay Alarm Medical is currently one of the only brands on the market offering decorative charm covers. These covers disguise the help button as jewelry so no one knows you’re wearing a medical alert help button.

Whether choosing a medical alert system for yourself or someone else, here are a few other considerations:

  • Does the user have hearing loss? Medical alert necklaces with speakers and two-way communication, such as those sold by LifeFone, Medical Guardian, and ADT Health, make it easy for someone with hearing loss to speak to monitoring center staff.
  • Is arthritis or hand strength an issue? Look for a medical alert necklace with large buttons that are easy to push. The person who will be wearing the necklace will need to test the button to make sure they feel comfortable using it.

Who should use a medical alert necklace?

Anyone with a medical condition that puts them at risk of falling, losing consciousness, or becoming short of breath could benefit from using a medical alert system necklace in their home or carrying a mobile device with them.

According to our Reviews Team’s survey of medical alert users, 51% bought a medical alert system for themselves. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 78% of Americans age 55 and older are living with a chronic health condition, making it wise to own a monitoring system in case of an emergency.3

“If a person is aging alone, a medical alert can be activated to tell people they’re close with they have fallen or may be having a medical event,” said Shrager. “When I am working with a patient as their home care therapist, I always recommend they have one.”

People who are caring for an aging parent or other loved one may also want to consider a medical alert necklace with GPS tracking and/or a caregiver app to help them stay connected with the medical alert user. LifeFone, ADT Health, and Medical Guardian all offer medical alert necklaces with these capabilities.

While medical alert systems don’t take the place of loved ones and caregivers regularly checking in on an older adult, they can be an important part of a comprehensive care plan.

Tips for saving money on a medical alert necklace

Medical alert necklaces can be expensive, particularly if they have more features than a simple help button. You can save money on medical alert necklaces in the following ways:

Take advantage of payment plans

Most medical alert companies offer discounted monthly rates if you pay quarterly or yearly. If you can afford to do so, this is a great way to save money on a medical alert system.

Watch for sales

Medical alert companies often run sales around the holidays. You can find free shipping on devices, one free month of medical monitoring fees, or no equipment fees in some cases. If you’re interested in a certain brand but can wait to buy your medical alert necklace, keep an eye on the company’s website to see if it starts a sale you can take advantage of. 

Use FSA or HSA funds

Because Medicare does not cover medical alert systems, the out-of-pocket costs can be a barrier to getting a medical alert system for many people. If you have a flexible savings account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), you may be able to use those funds to pay for a medical alert system. Check with your plan provider for more details.

Look for veterans benefits

While none of the companies in this review offer discounts for veterans, some smaller medical alert companies in your state may provide medical alert systems at low or no cost to veterans. The Senior Veterans Service Alliance has a nationwide listing of these companies, as well as other information on veterans benefits.4

Bottom Line

Medical alert necklaces can be a great way to stay protected in the event of an emergency when you’re at home and away. For people who are looking to purchase a basic help button necklace to use at home most of the time, our Reviews Team recommends Bay Alarm Medical and MobileHelp. For more active adults, LifeFone, ADT Health, and Medical Guardian offer advanced medical alert necklaces with GPS and two-way communication for added safety anywhere you go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about this review? Email us at reviewsteam@ncoa.org.

Sources

  1. Gjoreski, et al. How Accurately Can Your Wrist Device Recognize Daily Activities and Detect Falls? Found on the internet at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4166886/
  2. Stevens JA, Mahoney JE, Ehrenreich H. Circumstances and outcomes of falls among high risk community-dwelling older adults. Found on the internet at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4700929/
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Percent of U.S. Adults 55 and Over with Chronic Conditions. Found on the internet at https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/health_policy/adult_chronic_conditions.htm
  4. Senior Veterans Service Alliance. Find Home Medical Alert Services in Your Area. Found on the internet at https://www.veteransaidbenefit.org/medical_alert.htm
  5. Medicare.gov. What’s not covered by Part A and Part B? Found on the internet at https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/whats-not-covered-by-part-a-part-b

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