Medical Alert Systems with No Monthly Fees in 2024

Dec 14, 2023
Fact Checked
Medical alert devices with no monthly fees let you quickly request help during an emergency, but don’t expect extra features like fall detection.

Key Takeaways

Whether you live alone or with housemates, knowing help is on the way when you need it is one of the most important safety measures you can take. Our Reviews Team has found that medical alert systems are one of the most effective emergency tools on the market.

These devices typically cost between $20–$60 monthly for a 24-hour monitoring service, with additional charges for equipment and add-ons, like fall detection. But not everyone needs, or can afford, a 24/7 service. And for many people, a more basic device that connects directly to family or local emergency services is enough. That’s where medical alerts without monthly fees come in.

Choosing a medical alert system with no monthly fee could save you money, but you’ll sacrifice important features, like 24/7 personalized assistance, automatic fall detection, live GPS tracking, and even two-way talk. That said, our Reviews Team found a few worthwhile medical alert systems with no monthly fees. In addition to highlighting each device, we’ll explain the differences between monitored and unmonitored medical alert systems to help you decide which type of system best suits your situation.

How we reviewed medical alert systems with no monthly fees

Our Reviews Team looked for medical alert devices with no monthly fees that offered an experience similar to a monitored medical alert system. We also studied the results of a survey we launched to understand which features medical alert buyers typically want.

For in-home systems, we prioritized wearable buttons that connect to a base station with two-way audio. For mobile systems, we looked for devices with GPS. Our survey results indicate people want medical alert systems with fast, reliable response times, so we also included devices that immediately dial 911. Battery life, water resistance, and contact list capacity were also factored into our decisions. We read user manuals and reviews on third-party websites for insight into each device’s quality and ease of use.

Learn more about our medical alert systems review methodology.

How medical alert systems with no monthly fees work

Medical alert systems with no monthly monitoring fees are activated with the press of a button. Once pushed, the system dials a series of phone numbers until someone answers. The numbers can belong to the user’s caregivers, health care providers, family members, neighbors, or even 911.

Some devices have built-in speakers for easy two-way conversations, while others will play a prerecorded message or send an automatic text message to emergency contacts. The emergency contacts are preset by the user (or caregiver) during the initial setup. If you choose to add personal contacts as your emergency help, it’s important to discuss this plan and ensure they’re willing and able to be available for these calls.

A few of the medical alert systems we looked at are capable of sharing your GPS GPS technology uses satellites to provide users with positioning, navigation, and timing services. location during an emergency to help people find you. Others are designed for at-home use only.

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Our Reviews Team was not able to find reliable fall detection devices without monthly fees. Most systems with fall detection connect directly to a monitoring center, and even smartwatches with fall detection require a monthly cellular service fee. Learn more about our recommended fall detection devices.

Features of medical alerts with no monthly fees

Medical alert systems with no monthly fees have limited features. Here’s what you may find:

Monitored vs. no monthly fee medical alert systems

Medical alert systems with no monthly fees, also called unmonitored systems, offer an annual savings of about $240–$720 when compared to those requiring monthly service payments. These monthly fees typically cover the cost of monitoring services, plus these optional features:

Medical alert systems with no monthly fees don’t typically offer these services, and according to Christopher Norman, a geriatric nurse practitioner, they may provide a false sense of security. “Always make sure a product is going to do what you think it’s going to do,” he advised. “There is sometimes a considerable difference between good marketing versus what a product actually does, and in this case that difference can mean potential harm to a person’s health and well-being.” 

It’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of monitored vs. unmonitored medical alert systems to choose the safest option. “On the surface, money savings is a potential reason for choosing a medical alert system with no monthly fees,” said Norman, “but consider the overall cost to your health and well-being for purchasing the wrong product for the wrong situation. How do you put a price tag on that?”

Use the chart below to compare the services you’ll get with a monitored, monthly fee medical alert service to what you’ll get with an unmonitored, no monthly fee medical alert.

Monitored medical alerts

No monthly fee medical alerts

✔ Calls answered 24/7✘ Calls may be missed by emergency contacts (other than 911)
✔ No fines for false alarms sent to call center✘ Local 911 dispatch may issue fines for repeat false alarms
✔ Fall detection is readily available✘ Fall detection is rare
✔ Live GPS tracking✘ GPS location is provided only when the button is pressed, if at all
✔ Two-way talk is always available✘ Two-way talk is sometimes available
✔ Health details and hospital preferences shared with emergency dispatchers right away✘ Personal details unavailable to dispatchers or emergency responders

Lockbox Typically attached to the outside of your home, a medical alert lockbox is a common add-on accessory that stores a house key, giving emergency responders access to the home. details shared with emergency responders (when lockbox is used)

✘ Without knowing lockbox details, emergency responders may have to break down your door
✔ Battery life on mobile devices (3–15 days)✔ Battery life on mobile devices (2 months to 4 years)
✔ Caregiver apps readily available✘ Caregiver apps are rare
✘ May charge an activation fee✔ No additional fees

Best Monitored Medical Alert System: Medical Guardian

Top No Monthly Fee Medical Alert: See options below

Best medical alert systems with no monthly fees

ClearSounds CSC600ER Amplified SOS Alert Phone

ClearSounds CSC600ER SOS Alert phone with large keypad, digital screen, and wristband emergency button
Calls up to five emergency numbers
Auto-answer feature for caregivers
Wearable, water-resistant alert button
Telecoil is compatible with hearing aids
Doubles as a regular telephone
One-year warranty
Requires landline connection
In-home use only

Price: $199.95

The ClearSounds CSC600ER Amplified SOS Alert Phone combines a landline phone with a wearable help button. Pressing the red SOS button on the wristband or keypad activates the system to call up to five emergency contacts in succession—until someone answers the call—and then plays a prerecorded message. Emergency contacts can call you back and automatically access your speakerphone by entering a PIN, allowing them to talk to you even if you’re unable to answer the phone.

Our Reviews Team likes this phone’s accessibility features for people who have hearing loss, vision loss, or limited mobility. The phone has an amplified speakerphone, an adjustable, extra loud ringer, a visual ringer and backlit digital screen, and large buttons.

On the downside, the wearable panic button only works within 100 feet of the base unit, which is a much shorter distance than the industry-leading 1,400-foot range offered by some monitored medical alerts, like Medical Guardian. For comparison, 100 feet is equivalent to the length of approximately six cars. For people who live in small apartments, this may be a wide enough range. For those in larger homes, or who want protection when they go outside, this may not be a practical system.

Plegium Smart Emergency Button

Close-up of a woman’s hand holding a Plegium Smart Emergency Button medical alert between thumb and forefinger
Calls and texts up to five emergency numbers
Discreet design
Four-year battery life
Works on-the-go
Shares GPS location with contacts when pressed
No two-way talk
Requires a linked smartphone to activate the alarm
Only operational when the Plegium app is running
No warranty

Price: $34.95

The Plegium Smart Emergency Button is an affordable solution for people who use smartphones and is activated by pressing the button for two seconds. The emergency button requires a Bluetooth connection with a smartphone, so it can send automatic texts and calls through your phone when triggered. Unfortunately, it won’t work if you close out the Plegium app, turn off Bluetooth, or accidentally leave your phone behind. The app needs to be open the entire time for the button to remain operational, which can be an extra drain on your phone’s battery. You may want to invest in a portable battery charger for when you’re planning to spend an extended day out while using the button.

Up to five emergency contacts can be added for no monthly fee, and your contacts can see your current GPS location when the emergency button is pressed. Plegium also offers a premium subscription service for $4.99 per month, which includes 24/7 monitoring service and real-time GPS tracking.

LogicMark Guardian Alert 911 Plus

LogicMark Guardian Alert 911 Plus medical alert button device with large blue help button, white test button, and two-way speaker and microphone
Calls 911 directly
Water resistant
Works on-the-go
Two-way talk
Rechargeable battery
Up to three-month battery life
One-year warranty
High cost
Doesnu2019t call caregivers
Not GPS enabled

Price: $449

LogicMark sells several medical alert systems with no monthly fees. Our Reviews Team likes the Guardian Alert 911 Plus because it doesn’t require a landline connection and can be used both at home and on the go. Operating on 4G LTE, the Guardian Alert 911 Plus immediately calls 911 when the button is pressed, and it has two-way communication, so you can communicate with emergency operators.

No Wi-Fi connection or data plan is needed because it connects to local cell towers wherever you are. The device has a chip in it like a cellphone does, which keeps it connected to the 4G LTE network. This constant connection explains why it costs so much despite only calling 911. It’s worth noting if you’re traveling to locations where cellular service is spotty or unreliable, you may have trouble connecting.

One of the weaknesses of this system is that it can’t be programmed to call family or caregivers—it only calls 911. Also, despite this being a mobile device, the Guardian Alert 911 Plus doesn’t have GPS built-in, so you’ll need to communicate your current location for emergency dispatchers to find you. This could be problematic if you’ve fallen or had another emergency that’s rendered you unconscious or unable to speak.

White YoLink FlexFob Smart Fob with a line of four numbered buttons in different colors
Texts emergency contacts
Can integrate with smart home devices
Two-year warranty
In-home only
Requires a smartphone or tablet to operate

Price: $25.59 for fob and $29.95 for YoLink Hub (required)

The YoLink Flex Fob has four buttons that can be programmed to carry out up to eight actions (two actions per button) when pressed, such as sending a text message to a caregiver, causing a smart light to flash outside to attract attention, or unlocking the smart lock on the front door for emergency responders. The catch is that the smart devices need to be YoLink devices, or you’ll need to pay for a third-party application, like Alexa or IFTTT (both of which may have monthly fees), to pair with your YoLink controller. The fob’s control actions are set up through the YoLink app. Our Reviews Team liked the easy-to-follow user manual and wide range of uses. According to the company, each of the buttons can be paired with as many as 128 smart home devices,

This alert system option is best for people who are comfortable with technology and interested in using smart home devices to assist with aging-in-place or remote home monitoring. The fob can be placed on a keychain or lanyard for easy access.

The Flex Fob requires a YoLink hub and YoLink app to work, but it doesn’t need Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Who are medical alert systems with no monthly fees best for?

Medical alert systems with no monthly fees work best for people who:

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

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Studies show that medical alert devices provide a sense of security and independence to their users, but only when the devices work well. [1]Stokke, Randi. The Personal Emergency Response System as a Technology Innovation in Primary Health Care Services: An Integrative Review. July 14, 2016. Found on the internet at One study found that when a medical alert functions poorly or doesn’t meet the needs of the users, the users “frequently expressed feelings of anxiety, fear, and insecurity associated with an inadequate personal emergency response system,” especially at night. The study participants reportedly developed coping strategies, like staying inside more often, reducing their activities inside the home, or always staying where other people were—effectively giving up much of their independence. [2]Boström, Martina, et al. Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) Alarms May Induce Insecurity Feelings. Gerontechnology. 2011. Found on the internet at

Alternatives to medical alert devices with no monthly fees

If medical alerts with no monthly fees don’t have the features you’re looking for, consider other low-cost options. You can buy medical alert systems with subscriptions that start at around $20 per month for in-home use. Mobile, on-the-go devices cost $30–$40 per month on average.

Here’s a comparison of an in-home system with monthly fees vs. one without:

SystemMobileHelp ClassicClearSounds CSC600ER
Monthly feesStarts at $19.95 per monthNone
Upfront fees$49.95 processing fee$199 equipment fee
Connection typeCellularLandline
Wearable button rangeUp to 1,400 feetUp to 100 feet
CallsMonitoring centerUp to five numbers
Fall detectionYes, for an extra $11 per monthNo

Compare two mobile, on-the-go devices with and without monthly fees:

DeviceBay Alarm Medical SOS MobileLogicMark Guardian Alert 911 Plus
Monthly feesStarts at $32.95 per monthNone
Upfront fees$99.00$499.00
CallsMonitoring center911
Two-way talkYesYes
GPS trackingYesNo
Fall detectionYes, for an extra $10 per monthNo
Rechargeable battery lifeUp to six daysUp to three months

Learn more about the cost of medical alert systems and compare monthly, one-time, and add-on fees for major brands.

Bottom line

Medical alert systems with no monthly fees work in different ways, so it’s important to decide who you want to call in an emergency (family members and other caregivers or 911) and what features are important to you, like two-way talk and GPS location sharing.

If it’s in your budget, a monitored system can provide 24/7 monitoring from staff who are familiar with your health conditions and care preferences.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, but we don’t recommend them. Because they’re so sensitive, the best fall detection devices sometimes cause false alarms. False alarms can be disruptive if they reach 911 and may even result in you being fined by the 911 service if it happens too often. Professional monitoring centers, on the other hand, are prepared for, and even expect, false alarms.

Yes, an Apple Watch has an emergency call feature that makes it easy to reach 911 at the touch of a button. The Apple Watch can also be set up to call 911 after detecting falls, but it performed poorly during our Reviews Team’s tests. Learn more in our full Apple Watch review.

The least expensive in-home medical alert system for older adults with 24/7 professional monitoring is the MobileHelp Classic, which costs about $50 upfront and $20 per month for the monitoring service. Reliable medical alert systems without monthly fees can be purchased for as low as $50.

Medicare usually does not pay for a medical alert, with the exception of some Medicare Advantage plans (Part C). Check with your health care provider to see if you qualify for coverage.

Have questions about this review? Email us at


  1. Stokke, Randi. The Personal Emergency Response System as a Technology Innovation in Primary Health Care Services: An Integrative Review. July 14, 2016. Found on the internet at
  2. Boström, Martina, et al. Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) Alarms May Induce Insecurity Feelings. Gerontechnology. 2011. Found on the internet at
Cathy Habas
Cathy Habas Author
Cathy has written about older adult care and technology—including medical alert systems—since 2021. Cathy has been consulted as a subject matter expert by Alzheimer’s Caregivers Network, Consumer Affairs, U.S. News & World Report, Lifewire, and more.
Christopher Norman Headshot
Christopher Norman Medical Reviewer
Christopher Norman is a Board-Certified Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and Holistic Nurse. As a nurse’s aide, registered nurse and now nurse practitioner, he has loved working with older adults since 2004.
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