Best Medical Alert Systems
These systems can call for emergency help with the press of a button. CR's exclusive survey compares 7 major brands.
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a device. To help consumers sort through all the available information, we surveyed 1,869 Consumer Reports members, who rated their satisfaction with seven different medical alert device brands. In addition to sharing details about their devices’ features, members rated their satisfaction on variables such as price, customer service, and response speed.
The brands included in our ratings, each of which received at least 100 member reviews, are (in alphabetical order): Bay Alarm Medical, GreatCall Lively Mobile, Life Alert, Medical Alert, Medical Guardian, MobileHelp, and Philips Lifeline.
Across the board, all seven brands received fairly high overall satisfaction scores (between 80 and 85 out of 100). That said, there were some notable differences both in functionality and in satisfaction scores for individual features.
Here’s what to look for when choosing a medical device, and how the brands stacked up.
What Matters When Using a Medical Alert Device
Call buttons and fall detection: A vast majority of surveyed CR members said their medical alert devices had a portable call button, while 4 out of 10 featured an in-home call button. (Some systems included both.)
Over a third (36 percent) of the devices came with fall detection, which uses sensors to register falls in order to automatically contact a dispatch center. Fall detection usually comes with an additional monthly fee. CR members who had Philips Lifeline, MobileHelp, and Medical Guardian were the most likely to say their device includes this feature.