Lifeline Review 2024: Reliable Brand But Expensive Fall Detection

Dec 22, 2023
Fact Checked
Lifeline (formerly Philips Lifeline) offers at-home and on-the-go medical alert systems without many special features to justify the high price.
  • 30-day trial period
  • Automatic fall detection
  • AARP discounts available

Key Takeaways

Some people resist medical alert systems and view them as a symbol of dependence rather than independence. But research shows that using a medical alert system and knowing help is only a button away can actually provide users with a feeling of independence and security. [1]Stokke, Randi. The Personal Emergency Response System as a Technology Innovation in Primary Health Care Services: An Integrative Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research. July 2016. Found on the internet at

Lifeline (formerly Philips Lifeline) offers at-home and mobile medical alert systems for those who live alone or have health issues that require a 24/7 connection to a monitoring center.

In this review, our Reviews Team breaks down pricing, features, and potential drawbacks of the three medical alert systems Lifeline offers.

About Lifeline

Lifeline is the first North American company to develop and sell medical alert systems. The company was founded nearly 50 years ago by Andrew Dibner, a gerontologist who wanted to solve the problem many older adults faced: how to get immediate help after a fall or medical emergency.

Philips acquired Lifeline in 2006, changing the name to Philips Lifeline. “Philips” was dropped from its name when Connect America acquired the company in 2021. Many medical alert review sites still use Philips Lifeline and Lifeline interchangeably.

Lifeline continues to offer at-home and mobile medical alert systems for older adults and anyone needing immediate medical assistance.

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:

Read more about our medical alert systems review methodology.

Why we reviewed Lifeline

Lifeline is one of the oldest, most well-known medical alert brands. Like many of the best medical alert systems, Lifeline offers at-home and on-the-go systems that connect to a 24/7 monitoring center. It is one of the only medical alert brands to offer an AARP medical alert discount.

Our Reviews Team did not test Lifeline during our medical alert system testing summit, but we plan to test the brand and update this review in the near future.

We conducted extensive mystery shopping, read online reviews, and spoke with customer service representatives to help you decide if Lifeline is right for you and the ones you care for.

Pros and cons of Lifeline

Nearly 50 years of industry experience
Fall detection available for both at-home system and on-the go systems
AARP discount available
Free caregiver app
High setup fee ($99.95)
Higher than average fall detection fee
At-home necklace and bracelet aren’t interchangeable
No smartwatch available

Table 1 Comparison of Lifeline medical alert systems, as of February 2024

Lifeline Medical Alert SystemHomeSafe (Landline)HomeSafe (Cellular)On the Go
Starting monthly cost$29.95$39.95$49.95
Equipment fee$0$0$0
Setup fee$99.95$99.95$99.95
Delivery fee$29.95$29.95$29.95
Device typeAt-homeAt-homeOn-the-go
Device range (feet)800800Anywhere with cellular connection
Connection typeLandlineAT&T cellularAT&T cellular, GPS
Battery life (hours)30 (backup)30 (backup)Up to 4 days
Location trackingNoNoYes
Fall detectionOptionalOptionalOptional
Water resistantYes (help button)Yes (help button)Yes
Two-way voice communicationYesYesYes

Lifeline medical alert systems

1. HomeSafe (Landline)

HomeSafe medical alert system base station with help button necklace and bracelet
Package with the lowest starting monthly fee
800-foot range is longer than some landline systems
Waterproof help button
$99.95 setup fee
Help button necklace and bracelet aren’t interchangeable
Fall detection cost is higher than average

At $29.95 per month, the HomeSafe at-home landline system is the Lifeline package with the lowest starting monthly fee.

HomeSafe Landline includes a base station and a wearable help button with an 800-foot connection range from the base station—about as long as two football fields.

While 800 feet is a longer connection range compared to ADT (300 feet) and MobileHelp (600 feet) landline medical alert systems, it’s shorter than Medical Guardian (1,300 feet), Lifefone (1,300 feet), and Bay Alarm Medical (1,000 feet).

When setting up your system, Lifeline walks you through a range test to check your help button’s connection to the base station throughout your home. After plugging in the base station, the button labeled “Reset” will blink to show the system is in testing mode. The base station will announce, “Begin the range test.”

After this verbal confirmation, you’ll press your help button from each room in your home. The base station will beep to confirm the help button is connected.

Our Review Team likes that Lifeline requires a help button range test, especially since most brands only require that you test the device itself and not its range.

Fall detection is optional with the HomeSafe Landline package for $15 more per month.

2. HomeSafe (Cellular)

HomeSafe medical alert system base station (cellular connection) with help button necklace and bracelet
Cellular connection
More modern base station design
Waterproof help button
Same range as the landline system (800 feet)
$99.95 setup fee
Fall detection cost is higher than average

The HomeSafe Cellular medical alert system connects to the Lifeline monitoring center using the AT&T cellular network instead of a landline connection.

Although this system is $10 more per month than the landline system, the only main differences are the design and connection type. We like the more modern, minimalist base station design of the HomeSafe Cellular system compared to the landline system.

Most at-home systems with cellular connection have a longer range than the landline connection, which helps justify the higher price, but the connection range for both the landline and cellular Lifeline HomeSafe systems is 800 feet.

If you’re looking for a basic at-home system without fall detection and you have an active landline connection, our Reviews Team recommends purchasing the HomeSafe with landline connection instead of the cellular package to save $10 per month.

Like the HomeSafe Landline system, fall detection is optional with the HomeSafe Cellular system for $15 more per month.

3. On the Go

Lifeline On the Go medical alert system and charging cradle
Fall detection built in
Advanced location tracking technology
Four-day battery life
Only one color available
$99.95 setup fee
Fall detection costs extra

The On the Go Lifeline medical alert system system is for users who enjoy frequent, independent activities outside their homes. Skip the at-home system’s 800-foot range limitation—as long as the On the Go is connected to AT&T cellular service, you’ll be able to contact the monitoring center from anywhere by pressing the large gray help button.

Our Reviews Team likes the simple setup process:

  1. Place the On the Go system in the charging cradle.
  2. Wait until the red light turns green to indicate the system is fully charged.
  3. Press the help button to test your connection to the monitoring center.

The device is about the size of a pager and can be worn around your neck or tucked into your pocket or purse. When you contact the monitoring center, you’ll use On the Go’s two-way speaker to talk with a monitoring center staff member.

Most mobile medical alert systems use GPS tracking to dispatch emergency services directly to the user’s location. Lifeline claims its On the Go system has five location technologies, including advanced GPS, for more accurate location tracking.

Fall detection is built in to the device, making this an all-in-one wearable base station with help button, two-way communication, and fall detection, but the fall detection is an optional add-on that carries an extra monthly charge of $15, like the landline and cellular systems.

Consider purchasing the On the Go package if you’d like a compact cellular at-home system with fall detection. This package is $10 more than the HomeSafe Cellular, but has the advantage of also being an on-the-go system that will connect you with 24/7 monitoring wherever you are.

Lifeline fall detection

Fall detection is available with the landline, cellular, and on-the-go HomeSafe packages.

Unlike the HomeSafe standard help button necklace that’s included with the landline and cellular systems, the Lifeline automatic fall detection necklace ⓘA fall detection necklace has a built-in sensor that detects downward motion. It automatically contacts the monitoring center if it detects a fall, even if the user didn’t press the help button. has built-in technology to help detect falls. The On the Go system has fall detection built into the device, but is only activated if the service is purchased.

Lifeline automatic fall technology uses three features to detect falls:

Info icon

Most fall detection devices are designed to be worn as a necklace as opposed to a bracelet. Research from 2021 [2]Javier González-Cañete, Francisco and Casilari, Eduardo. A Feasibility Study of the Use of Smartwatches in Wearable Fall Detection Systems. Sensors. March 23, 2021. Found on the internet at and 2023 [3]Lee, Yongkuk, et al. Experimental Study: Deep Learning-Based Fall Monitoring among Older Adults with Skin-Wearable Electronics. Sensors. March 2023. Found on the internet at  shows fall detection sensors worn around your neck are more accurate than wrist-based fall detection.

We like that there is a 30-second waiting period between the necklace detecting a fall and contacting the monitoring center. The necklace will cancel the call if it senses the wearer has stood up within 30 seconds of the fall.

Keep in mind that fall detection is not designed to prevent falls, but getting immediate assistance after a fall can decrease the chance of injuries resulting from a “long lie ⓘA long lie occurs when a person falls and is unable to get up from the floor for an hour or more. Long lies have been associated with several types of long-term health complications..”

Most medical alert brands charge $10 per month for fall detection, making Lifeline one of the more expensive providers of fall detection medical alerts.

How to purchase a Lifeline medical alert system

You can purchase a Lifeline medical alert system over the phone or online. The Lifeline website is simple and easy to navigate, with packages divided by Home System and Mobile System in the top navigation bar.

A sales representative told us that ordering your system online involves an extra confirmation call from a sales representative before the company will ship it. You can skip this step if you order over the phone. We also confirmed with the sales representative that there is a 30-day trial period, beginning on the date of purchase. The original shipment box includes a return label so you can send the equipment back at no cost, but you must call the company to cancel your subscription before returning your equipment and receiving a refund.

When we asked about warranties, the sales representative told us that everything is covered by the company since you are renting the equipment. Our Reviews Team asked if Lifeline would still replace or repair the equipment after a user has had it for over a year, and the representative told us that they would still cover all repairs.

Table 2 Lifeline medical alert system costs, as of February 2024

Lifeline systemHomeSafe (Landline)HomeSafe (Cellular)On the Go
Monthly fee$29.95$39.95$49.95
Setup fee$99.95$99.95$99.95
Shipping fee$29.95$29.95$29.95

At-home medical alert systems cost about $20–$30 per month on average, making Lifeline HomeSafe systems more expensive than the average at-home system (excluding the HomeSafe Landline).

You’ll also need to factor the $99.95 one-time setup fee and $29.95 shipping fee into your budget on top of the monthly fee. Even if you choose the lowest-priced Lifeline package, you’ll still pay $159.85 at checkout.

Check out page for Lifeline Medical alert

By comparison, the total cost for the Bay Alarm Medical SOS Home landline system (including a $12 shipping fee) at checkout is $36.95, while the Medical Guardian MGClassic landline system plus $12.50 shipping is $42.45 at checkout.

Both Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian landline systems also have longer base station ranges than Lifeline: 1,000 feet and 1,300 feet, respectively.

Lifeline On the Go starting monthly cost and setup fee are comparable to most mobile medical alert systems.

Insurance coverage and discounts

Medical alert system costs can add up quickly, but insurance coverage, discounts, and other resources may be available to help with costs.

Some local area agencies on aging may offer discounts or partial coverage for a medical alert system. Use the area agency on aging directory to search for available programs in your area.

Interested in other resources to help with medical alert system costs? Use NCOA’s Benefits CheckUp® to search programs that may be available in your community.

Lifeline accessories and app

Lifeline offers the following accessories and services:

Desktop view of the Lifeline order page with all of the standard and optional fees listed
Lifeline order page with all of the standard and optional fees listed.

Lifeline Cares app

The Lifeline Cares app serves as a hub for caregivers. Family members, friends, and other caregivers can share user wellness updates, handle account information, track emergency calls, and more with the free app or online portal. It is available for download in the App Store or Google Play.

Access to the app’s features are included in the cost of the Lifeline subscription. Once the primary caregiver creates an account, family and friends can be invited into the user’s “care circle.”

Lifeline Cares app login screen on an iPhone

One of our favorite features of the Lifeline app is note updates. Caregivers can share notes with the entire care circle about the following topics:

For example, a caregiver may send a message labeled “Nutrition” and comment on the recent eating habits of the person in their care with a custom note to add more context for all care circle members.

Caregivers will also see a summary of the user’s Lifeline activity, such as calls to the monitoring center, accidental calls, and test calls. If the user contacts Lifeline for an emergency, caregivers will be notified in real-time.

Lifeline customer service and satisfaction

Our Reviews Team had a positive experience when contacting Lifeline customer service. Our representative was kind and knowledgeable, and they answered all of our questions without pressuring us to order a system.

The representative also mentioned that their family member was a Lifeline user, and drew from their experience using the system when answering some of our questions. We thought this was a nice personal touch.

You can contact Lifeline customer service over the phone at 855-681-5351 or by submitting an online form.

Customer service representatives are available during the following times:

Lifeline customer reviews

Lifeline does not have many third-party online reviews. The company has 1.33 out of five stars on Better Business Bureau (BBB) based on an average of 18 reviews. Lifeline is accredited by the BBB, meaning it works to resolve customer complaints.

The majority of negative Lifeline customer reviews touched on poor customer service, issues with receiving return labels and packages, and not getting mailed a new help button after the original stopped working.

Other reviewers reported billing issues and defective fall detection.

Table 3 Comparing Lifeline to other top medical alert systems, as of February 2024

LifelineMedical GuardianBay Alarm MedicalMobileHelpADTLife Alert
Starting monthly cost$29.95$29.95$24.95$19.95$29.99$49.95
At-home range (feet)8001,300–1,4001,000600–1,400300–600800
Connection typeCellular, landlineCellular, landlineCellular, landlineCellular, landlineCellular, landlineCellular, landline
Fall detection (per month)$15 (bundled with package)$10$10$11$11NA
On-the-go battery lifeUp to 4 daysUp to 5 daysUp to 5 daysUp to 4 daysUp to 40 hoursUp to 10 years
Location trackingYesYesYesYesYesYes
Water-resistant or waterproof on-the-go systemWaterproofWater-resistantWater-resistantWater-resistantWater-resistantWater-resistant

Bottom line

Lifeline is a reliable medical alert system with standard packages, but there aren’t many features that differentiate it from other medical alert systems. Lifeline also doesn’t offer a medical alert smartwatch, which may be a dealbreaker for some shoppers.

At $29.95 per month, we recommend the HomeSafe landline system as the most affordable option, especially since the at-home cellular system is $10 more per month but keeps the same 800-foot range.

Consider the On the Go system if you don’t have an active landline connection in your home. For $49.95 per month, just $10 more than the at-home cellular system, you can contact the monitoring center from anywhere that has AT&T cellular service. The On the Go system can easily be both your at-home and on-the-go medical alert system. Optional fall detection is available for all three systems for an additional $15 per month.

The brand’s biggest standout is its extensive industry experience and AARP discount. While this may be important to some shoppers, it may not justify the higher prices and extra fees compared to other popular brands like Medical Guardian, Bay Alarm Medical, and ADT.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, Philips still has an equity stake in Lifeline, according to the company’s About Us page. Philips acquired Lifeline in 2006. Connect America, a health care monitoring company, acquired Lifeline in 2021.

No. Medical alert systems are not covered by Traditional Medicare (Part A and B). Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) may cover part or all of the total cost of Lifeline medical alert systems. Coverage details vary by state, so check coverage details with your insurance provider.

Lifeline medical alert systems are $29.95–$49.95 per month. Add $15 to the base cost for fall detection. All packages have a $99.95 activation fee and $29.95 shipping cost.

You can contact Lifeline by calling 855-681-5351 or submitting an online form. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

Yes, Lifeline is a good medical alert service with almost 50 years of industry experience and simple at-home and mobile systems, but its setup fees and monthly prices are higher than many brands covered in our best medical alert systems review.

We recommend Lifeline over Life Alert. While both at-home systems have the same range (800 feet), our Life Alert review highlights many drawbacks compared to Lifeline: no fall detection, a three-year contract requirement, no pricing information available online, and high monthly fees ($49.95–$98.95). It was also difficult to get clear, accurate information from a Life Alert sales representative over the phone.


  1. Stokke, Randi. The Personal Emergency Response System as a Technology Innovation in Primary Health Care Services: An Integrative Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research. July 2016. Found on the internet at
  2. Javier González-Cañete, Francisco and Casilari, Eduardo. A Feasibility Study of the Use of Smartwatches in Wearable Fall Detection Systems. Sensors. March 23, 2021. Found on the internet at
  3. Lee, Yongkuk, et al. Experimental Study: Deep Learning-Based Fall Monitoring among Older Adults with Skin-Wearable Electronics. Sensors. March 2023. Found on the internet at
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