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Life Alert Review 2023: Complete Expert Analysis

Life Alert requires a three-year contract, doesn’t offer fall detection, and charges high monthly fees.
Sep 22, 2023
Written by:
Medical Reviewer:
Reviewed by: BSPharm, MPH, Senior Director, NCOA Center for Healthy Aging
Fact Checked

Why we don't recommend Life Alert

Life Alert has too many drawbacks compared to better medical alert systemsa high cancellation fee, a restrictive contract, no fall detection, expensive monitoring and installation fees, and no pricing information on its website.

Our Reviews Team recommends Medical Guardian as a better alternative to Life Alert. Medical Guardian offers lower prices, more devices, optional fall detection, transparent online information, a caregiver app, and a 30-day trial period.

Read on to learn about our poor shopping experience with Life Alert and other top medical alert systems we recommend instead.

Why you can trust our expert review

Hours of Research
Surveys Deployed
Brands Tested
Experts Consulted

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, doctors, and nurse practitioners who specialize in older adult care
  • Mystery shopped 13 medical alert system brands
  • Surveyed 1,000 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 systems review methodology.

Pros and cons of Life Alert

Pros Monitoring centers are owned and operated by Life Alert Wall button and mobile system batteries last up to 10 years No increase in monthly fees Established brand that’s been in business for more than 30 years
Cons Three-year contract and penalty fee for canceling service unless the user passes away or has moved to a 24-hour nursing facility High monthly monitoring fees ($49.95–$98.95) Fall detection not available Pricing and service information not listed on the website Difficult to get pricing information from sales representative without sharing personal information or medical history

Table 1 Comparison of Life Alert models, as of September 2023

Life Alert SystemAt-HomeAt-Home + Wall Button*At-Home + Wall Button + On-the-Go
Monthly fee$49.95 $79.90 $98.85
Activation fee$198 $198 $198
Device typeAt-homeAt-homeAt-home, on-the-go
Device range (feet)800N/A800 (mobile system works anywhere with a connection)
Connection typeCellular, landlineCellularCellular
Location trackingN/AN/AYes
WearabilityHelp button bracelet or wristbandHelp button bracelet or wristbandNecklace
Voice activationNoNoNo
Water resistant or waterproofWaterproof wearable help buttonWaterproofWaterproof
Caregiver alertsYesYesYes

*This package can include the at-home system and wall button or the at-home system and on-the-go system

Table 2 Life Alert vs. other medical alert systems, as of September 2023

BrandLife AlertMedical GuardianBay Alarm MedicalMobileHelpADTLifeFone
Score (out of 5)*1.524.
Starting monthly cost$49.95 $29.95 $24.95 $19.95 $29.99 $29.95
At-home device range (feet)8001,300–1,4001,000600–1,400300–6001,300
Connection typeCellular, landlineCellular, landlineCellular, landlineCellular, landlineCellular, landlineCellular, landline
Fall detection (cost per month)N/AYes, $10Yes, $10Yes, $11Yes, $11Yes, $5
Battery lifeUp to 10 yearsUp to 5 daysUp to 5 daysUp to 3 daysUp to 40 hoursUp to 10 days
Response time (seconds)N/A1–251–2525–5050+25–50
Location trackingYesYesYesYesYesYes
Water resistant or waterproof mobile systemWaterproofWater resistantWater resistantWater resistantWater resistantWater resistant

Recommended Life Alert alternatives

Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian medical alert system

Pros 1,300–1,400-foot at-home range Smartwatch option 30-day money-back guarantee
Cons No warranty (protection plan costs extra) Telehealth features not available

  • Score: 4.4/5
  • Starting monthly fee: $29.95
  • Device range: Up to 1,300 feet (Classic Guardian) and 1,400 feet (Home 2.0)
  • Connection type: Landline, AT&T, or Verizon cellular
  • Battery life:
    • Up to five years (medical alert bracelet)
    • 32-hour backup battery (at-home system)
    • Up to five days (mobile systems)
  • Response time: 1–25 seconds

Medical Guardian packages

Medical Guardian offers two at-home and mobile systems, as well as a smartwatch option. Choose from the following packages:

  • Classic Guardian: The brand’s at-home system has a landline connection and a range of up to 1,300 feet between the help button and base station. If you add a fall detection necklace, you’ll pay a one-time $30 equipment fee in addition to $10 per month. ($29.95 monthly monitoring fee without fall detection)
  • Home 2.0: The at-home system connects to the monitoring center via cellular network and has a 1,400-foot connection range. ($149.95 equipment fee plus $37.95 monthly monitoring fee)
  • Mobile 2.0: This on-the-go device has a built-in speaker and five-day battery life. Optional fall detection is available, but you must wear a separate necklace specifically for fall detection. ($44.95 monthly monitoring fee)
  • Mini Guardian: A more compact system than the Mobile 2.0, this mobile device weighs less than two AA batteries and is available in three colors: black, silver, and white. If you choose to include fall detection, the feature is built into the device—no additional necklace is required. ($149.95 equipment fee plus $39.95 monthly monitoring fee)
  • MGMove: This medical alert system doubles as a smartwatch and includes a help button, step tracking, and a weather app. Voice-to-text messaging ($5 per month) and reminders ($2.99 per month) are also available. ($199.95 equipment fee plus $39.95 monthly monitoring fee)

Fall detection is available for $10 per month for all systems except the MGMove smartwatch.

Our Reviews Team recommended Medical Guardian over Life Alert in a previous review, and we continue to recommend Medical Guardian as the best alternative to Life Alert. Medical Guardian offers an extensive at-home system range of up to 1,400 feet, lower prices, transparent online information, a caregiver app, and a 30-day trial period.

In a survey conducted by our Reviews Team of 1,000 medical alert system users, we found that Medical Guardian was the most popular option among our respondents, with 43% of respondents reporting they use Medical Guardian, compared to 16.5% respondents reporting they use Life Alert. Of the respondents who used Life Alert, 8% said they had a poor experience, compared to 2% who said the same thing for Medical Guardian. Read our Medical Guardian review to learn more.

Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm 360 Bundle

Pros 30-day trial period Fall detection available ($10 per month) At-home, on-the-go, and smartwatch options available
Cons One-time equipment fee for some systems ($0–$159) Device protection plan depends on the package ($2.95–$4.95 per month)

  • Score: 4.5/5
  • Starting monthly fee: $24.95
  • Device range: Up to 1,000 ft.
  • Connection type: Landline, AT&T, or Verizon cellular
  • Battery life:
    • Up to five years (medical alert bracelet)
    • 32-backup battery (at-home system)
    • Up to five days (mobile systems)
  • Response time: 1–15 seconds

Bay Alarm Medical packages

Bay Alarm Medical has four types of equipment—an at-home base station, two mobile systems, and a smartwatch—and offers a variety of packages for each system. The four main systems are:

  • SOS Home: The Bay Alarm Medical at-home system has a 1,000-foot range and is available in three packages: SOS Home Landline ($24.95 per month), SOS Home Cellular ($29.95 per month), and SOS Home Cellular With Fall Detection ($39.95 per month).
  • SOS All-in-One: This small, compact device connects to a help button necklace or wristband and can be used as an in-home base station or mobile device. It’s available without fall detection for $39.95 per month plus a $99 equipment fee. With fall detection, it’s $49.95 per month plus a $129 equipment fee.
  • SOS Mobile: The SOS Mobile is slightly bigger than the All-In-One and doesn’t come with a help button bracelet or necklace. It’s available in three packages: SOS Mobile ($29.95 per month); SOS Mobile With Fall Detection ($39.95 per month); and SOS Mobile 360 Bundle, which comes with the at-home base station, mobile system, and fall detection ($49.95 per month). All packages include a $159 equipment fee.
  • SOS Smartwatch: The medical alert smartwatch includes a help button, location tracking, and optional fall detection. The SOS smartwatch is available on its own for $34.95 per month or bundled with the at-home base station for $51.95 per month. Both packages include a $159 equipment fee.

Fall detection is available for $10 per month on all systems.

Bay Alarm Medical offers a variety of medical alert systems, including a smartwatch and two separate on-the-go devices. The brand’s mobile systems are some of the lowest priced compared to Life Alert and other brands. Low monthly fees combined with packages bundling two medical alert systems for one price have earned Bay Alarm Medical the title “Best for the Price” from our Reviews Team.

See our Bay Alarm Medical review for a detailed overview of all packages, accessories, and services.


MobileHelp Medical Alert system

Pros 30-day trial period No equipment or activation fees Telehealth add-on available Free lockbox with every order
Cons Fall detection is $11 per month (above the $10 per month average) 600-foot range for select at-home systems

  • Score: 4.1/5
  • Starting monthly fee: $19.95
  • Device range:
    • 600 ft. (Wired Home and MobileHelp Touch)
    • 1,400 ft. (MobileHelp Classic)
  • Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular
  • Battery life:
    • Up to five years (medical alert bracelet)
    • Up to 30 hours backup battery (at-home system)
    • More than 24 hours (mobile systems)
  • Response time: 25–50 seconds

MobileHelp packages

MobileHelp offers eight packages, including packages bundling two medical alert systems for one monthly price:

  • Wired Home: The MobileHelp brand’s at-home system connects to the monitoring center via landline and has a 600-foot range between the base station and wearable help button. ($24.95 monthly monitoring fee)
  • Classic: The at-home system with cellular connection has a 1,400-foot range and includes your choice of a help button necklace, wristband, or wall button. ($19.95 monthly monitoring fee)
  • Touch Classic: This unique smart tablet base station includes a photo gallery, Sudoku, and optional add-on features like messaging, medication reminders, and vitals monitoring. ($54.95 monthly monitoring fee)
  • Solo: MobileHelp’s original on-the-go system includes GPS tracking and is water-resistant. ($37.95 monthly monitoring fee)
  • Micro: This mobile system is more compact and almost a full ounce lighter than the Solo. It also has GPS tracking and is water resistant. ($39.95 monthly monitoring fee)
  • Duo: A bundle package, the Duo includes the Classic at-home system and on-the-go Solo device. ($41.95 monthly monitoring fee)
  • Mobile Duo: Designed for two people, the Mobile Duo bundles two Solo devices in one package. ($44.95 monthly monitoring fee)
  • Touch Duo: This bundle includes the Touch smart tablet at-home system and on-the-go Solo system. ($54.95 monthly monitoring fee)

Fall detection is available for all systems for an additional $11 per month.

MobileHelp offers eight different packages, including a unique smart tablet base station, as well as one of the longest at-home system ranges at 1,400 feet. Optional features like medication reminders and telehealth services help make MobileHelp services part of a holistic care plan for users and caregivers.

Read our full MobileHelp review to learn why it earned the title “Best All-Around System” from our Reviews Team.


ADT health medical alert system

Pros 30-day trial period Free next-day shipping No equipment or activation fees Well-known brand
Cons Short at-home range (300–600 feet) Fall detection not available for at-home landline system Fall detection is $11 per month (average is $10 per month)

  • Score: 3.5/5
  • Starting monthly fee: $29.99
  • Device range:
    • 300 ft. (Medical Alert Basic)
    • 600 ft. (Medical Alert Plus)
  • Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular
  • Battery life:
    • Up to five years (medical alert bracelet)
    • Up to 20 hours backup battery (at-home system)
    • Up to 24 hours (mobile system)
  • Response time: 50+ seconds

ADT packages

ADT offers three medical alert packages, making it a good choice for shoppers who may get overwhelmed with too many options:

  • Medical Alert Basic: The ADT brand’s landline at-home system has a 300-foot range and a built-in home temperature monitor. It includes a help button bracelet or necklace, but fall detection is not available. ($29.99 monthly monitoring fee)
  • Medical Alert Plus: The cellular at-home system has a 600-foot range, home temperature monitoring, and a help button bracelet or necklace. ($37.99 monthly monitoring fee)
  • On-the-Go: This mobile system works anywhere with cellular service. You can wear the help button necklace or bracelet up to 100 feet away from the mobile system. ($39.99 monthly monitoring fee)

Fall detection is available with the Medical Alert Plus and On-the-Go for $11 per month.

Our Reviews Team named ADT “Best for No Extra Fees” since the brand doesn’t charge activation fees or equipment fees and offers free shipping. Read our full ADT review to learn more about the well-known security brand’s medical alert packages and services.

Life Alert review: shopping experience

Our Reviews Team called customer service to learn more about pricing and services for this Life Alert review. This is the only way to begin shopping for a Life Alert system since its website doesn’t have pricing information and you can’t purchase your package online.

As soon as we mentioned we had questions about Life Alert products during our phone call, we were asked if we’d like a brochure mailed to our home. Our Reviews Team made it clear we didn’t want to wait to receive answers from a product brochure, so we were transferred to a “product specialist,” or sales representative.

During our first call, the product specialist was friendly, empathetic, and knowledgeable. They asked us a few questions to better understand the situation and to help us shop for the right system. The representative walked us through each Life Alert medical alert system and its function, as well as costs and service fees.

While this call was helpful and provided a majority of the information in this article, it lasted more than 30 minutes.

Front cover of a Life Alert brochure stating, “We save a life from a catastrophe every 11 minutes.”

Our Reviews Team received a product brochure within two weeks after our call with Life Alert. There is no pricing information in the brochure.

Our Reviews Team called Life Alert customer service a second time to verify the information we received in our initial call. This time, the sales representative refused to answer our direct questions about product range, costs, or prices. They told us, “This is not how we do things.”

The representative said they could only give us information if we went through a 45-minute information session on a “specific loved one.”

We called a third time to try and get answers but were transferred to the billing department, service department, and, finally, the marketing department. Our Reviews Team left a message with the marketing department and hasn’t received a response as of this writing.

Our Reviews Team had poor experiences during calls with Life Alert when contacting the company in the past as well. We’ve spoken with sales representatives who were pushy, pressured us to buy, or did not directly address questions about prices or contracts.

Navigating the Life Alert website

The Life Alert website is outdated, cluttered, and confusing to navigate. The navigation bar at the top of the website includes general phrases like Why Life Alert Is The Best and Avoid A Retirement Home that don’t tell visitors the type of pages they lead to.

Life Alert homepage with the claim “Saving a life from a catastrophe every 11 minutes” surrounded by images of emergency responders and older adults using Life Alert systems.

If you’re visiting the website on your phone, the navigation menu is completely different from what you’ll see on a desktop. Our Reviews Team likes that the mobile menu has more specific navigation labels, like Medical Emergencies, How It Works, and About Life Alert, but we’d like to see the more helpful mobile menus on the desktop site.

There is no pricing or subscription information displayed on the Life Alert website. Even specific product pages, such as the on-the-go system page, do not have pricing information.

How to pay

You can only purchase your Life Alert package over the phone, which often requires listening to a 30- to 45-minute sales pitch. An option to purchase your system online is not available.

Life Alert accepts payments in the form of cash, credit card, or check.

Contract and cancellation penalty

When our Reviews Team asked about the brand’s strict three-year contract in the past, we were told the contract could only be terminated if the user dies or a loved one can prove the user is receiving 24-hour nursing care.

During a more recent call with a Life Alert sales representative, they told us the contract was a service agreement that guarantees your monthly prices don’t increase within the first three years of service.

The representative assured us that users can get out of the contract, but they would be penalized with a fee. This penalty fee equals two months of monitoring fees. Depending on the package you choose, it would cost almost $100–$200 to cancel your Life Alert service.

Our Reviews Team could not find any supporting information about this penalty fee or policy online, in the mail-in brochure, or during other calls with the Life Alert sales team.

It’s important to note that no other medical alert system our Reviews Team has tested requires a contract.

Life Alert customer reviews

Life Alert has 4.1 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot based on 47 reviews. Positive Life Alert reviews from customers cite pleasant, helpful monitoring center staff, a knowledgeable sales team, and great customer service. Many reviewers explicitly mentioned they never felt pressured to buy when speaking with a salesperson. One reviewer called out how quickly Life Alert dispatched emergency services to her home when her mother had a stroke.

Common issues in negative reviews include caregivers receiving monthly bills after the user passed away, dealing with rude, pushy sales representatives, and overall poor customer service. The most common complaint across negative reviews on Trustpilot was difficulty getting out of the three-year contract.

Life Alert has 3.45 out of 5 stars on Better Business Bureau (BBB) based on 164 customer reviews. The company is also accredited by BBB with an A+ rating, meaning Life Alert works to respond to every customer complaint.

Positive BBB reviews praised the company’s quick response during an emergency. Some reviewers cited specific accidents where emergency services were dispatched in less than 10 minutes. Other positive reviews were more general and stated that Life Alert services helped them stay independent and feel safe in their homes.

The majority of negative Life Alert reviews cited the same issues mentioned on Trustpilot, including difficulty getting out of the contract and speaking with rude, pushy sales representatives. A handful of reviewers had issues getting out of the three-year contract when their loved one entered a 24-hour nursing facility. Some reviewers weren’t pleased with the requirement to send a death certificate to cancel their loved one’s service.

Life Alert responded to multiple BBB reviews and complaints stating they were either untrue or had been resolved. While we appreciate that the company responds to almost all customers, some of the responses were defensive or accusatory.

Based on our Reviews Team’s experience, most medical alert companies responding to negative reviews on review sites like Trustpilot and BBB will send a customer support email address to encourage the reviewer to continue the conversation privately.

Who should consider Life Alert?

Life Alert may be a top option if you prioritize industry experience and brand recognition when shopping for a medical alert system. The brand’s three equipment types—at-home base station, wall button, and mobile system—may be an advantage if you don’t need a wide variety of options, or if you like the idea of a long battery life or the unique two-way speaker in the wall button.

Choosing Life Alert requires signing a three-year contract. If you’ve never used a medical alert system and are unsure if you want to commit to one without a trial period or money-back guarantee, Life Alert may not be the right option for you.

If you’re at a higher risk of falling, our Reviews team does not recommend Life Alert since fall detection is not available with any of its packages. Medical alert systems with fall detection are designed to contact the monitoring center automatically when the built-in sensor detects downward motion.

While fall detection isn’t 100% accurate, two recent studies report 80%–93% accuracy. A 2020 research survey2 reported an average accuracy rate of 93% for fall detection devices, while a 2019 review that analyzed seven systematic reviews reported an 86.4% average or greater rate for detecting falls.3

Fall detection is not designed to prevent falls, but it can alert emergency services and help you get medical attention quickly after a fall. Lying on the floor for more than an hour after a fall may lead to serious health consequences, including muscle damage, pressure sores, and dehydration, according to research from Cambridge University.4

Help assess your risk of falling by speaking with a health care professional who specializes in older adult care and taking NCOA’s Falls Free CheckUp.

Life Alert Review: Bottom line

Life Alert is a well-known medical alert company that has been in business for more than 30 years. Although it’s one of the oldest brands in the industry, after researching the company for this review our Reviews Team doesn’t recommend Life Alert medical alert devices due to the brand’s three-year contract, high monthly fees and equipment costs, lack of transparent product and pricing information online, and absence of fall detection options.

Medical Guardian, Bay Alarm Medical, MobileHelp, and ADT are some of our Reviews Team’s top medical alert system options and are excellent alternatives to Life Alert. Starting monthly fees for all four brands are lower than the lowest-priced package from Life Alert ($49.95 per month), the equipment can be purchased online, there are more device options and features, and you aren’t locked into a contract.

Here’s a breakdown of starting monthly fees for the four alternative medical alert systems we reviewed:

All medical alert brands listed above offer a refund when you return your equipment within the first 30 days, so you can try out your system without being penalized if you decide not to keep it.

Frequently asked questions

Have questions about this review? Email us at


  1. Stanford Medicine. Reducing Falls for Older Adults. Scope. Jan. 15, 2021. Found on the internet at
  2. Ramachandran, Karuppiah, et al. A Survey on Recent Advances in Wearable Fall Detection Systems. BioMed Research International. Jan. 13, 2020. Found on the internet at
  3. Aziz, Chiari, et al. Validation of Accuracy of SVM-Based Fall Detection System Using Real-World Fall and Non-Fall Datasets. PLoS One. July 5, 2017. Found on the internet at
  4. Lord, Menz, et al. Falls in Older People: Risk Factors and Strategies for prevention. Cambridge University Press. 2001. Found on the internet at
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