Medically reviewed by Jenny Sanford,  MSN, APRN, AGNP-C and Caregiving Coach

Key Takeaways

  • Medical alert bracelets are wearable devices that provide safety and protection in emergency situations
  • Engraved medical bracelets provide information for EMS workers about your medical conditions if you’re unable to communicate.
  • Medical alert bracelets that connect to power have help buttons you can activate if you need live help for any medical reason.
  • Some medical alert bracelets also have fall detection.
Equipment Fee
Activation Fee
Monthly Cost
Cancellation Fee
Medical Guardian Mobile 2.0 None $124.95 $0 $39.95 None
Aloe Care Health Essentials None $149.99 $0 $29.99 None
Bay Alarm Medical In-Home and SOS Smartwatch Bundle Package None $179 $0 $39.95 None
LifeFone At-Home & On-the-Go With Optional Fall Detection None $0 $0 $36.95-$39.95 None
Lively Wearable2 None $24.99 $35 $24.99-$39.99 None

What Is a Medical Alert Bracelet?

Medical alert bracelets are wearables that can save your life in an emergency. In general, there are two types of medical alert jewelry you can consider: engraved ID alert bracelets and medical alert bracelets with help buttons.

Engraved Medical ID Alert Bracelets

Medical ID alert bracelets are identified by a medical insignia. They can be engraved with information about health conditions and medications.

Engraved ID bracelets provide information about your health to emergency workers if you’re unconscious or unable to communicate. They’re valuable, but only if they’re comprehensive and kept up to date.

“Medical ID alert bracelets make necessary information easily available. This helps healthcare professionals provide proper care. However, emergency providers may get a false sense of security without having all the necessary information they need. For example, if a provider examines a medical alert bracelet and a blood thinner is not listed, yet one is being taken, they could make an incorrect assumption that the individual does not take blood thinners, and this could affect the care they receive,” explained Tony Anno, DNP, a core faculty member in Walden University’s Master of Science in Nursing Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program.

Medical Alert Bracelets with Help Buttons

Wristbands with help buttons may be the best medical alert bracelets for seniors that you can buy. The help buttons in these devices connect you to live assistance in less than one minute. Medical alert bracelets are an integral part of many of the best personal emergency response systems. Some can only be operated within the range of a base system. These are designed to be worn at home or in any indoor location where you can plug in the base system.

Medical alert bracelets come with medical forms you can fill out and place in prominent locations. Emergency personnel are trained to look for these forms when they see a medical alert device on someone’s wrist.

There are also medical alert bracelets that use GPS technology. They’re not dependent upon a base and can be worn outdoors as well as indoors. These devices can be used to connect to immediate medical help anywhere in the United States.

You can press your help button to get immediate support in a wide range of common situations. These include:

  • Falls
  • Injury
  • Accidents
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Panic attack
  • Severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis
  • An abrupt change in blood sugar
  • An abrupt change in blood pressure
  • Mental confusion
  • Getting lost

How Do the Best Medical Alert Bracelets Work?

If you fall or feel ill, pressing the help button on a medical alert bracelet will immediately connect you with trained personnel at a help center. Your medical information will be immediately accessible to the person you connect with.

Help operators are highly trained to ask appropriate questions and assess the type of assistance you need. In some instances, you and your help operator may determine that letting a family member or neighbor know of your situation is sufficient. In other instances, the help operator will call for an ambulance.

What Is the Difference Between Medical Alert Bracelets and Mobile Systems?

Medical alert bracelets can be part of an at-home system or a mobile system. At-home systems include a base. They work inside your home through either a landline or cellular network service. When you push the help button on your bracelet, it connects you to a help center through the base. You can also push the button directly on the base to get connected.

Mobile systems rely on GPS technology plus cellular service. They don’t need to be near a base to work, and they can be operated anywhere within the United States.

Do I Need a Medical Alert Bracelet?

According to Dr. Anno, people with diabetes, heart conditions, or neurological conditions such as dementia may all benefit from using some type of medical alert device. So can older people who are prone to falls.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of death and injury among older adults, with 1 of every 4 people over the age of 65 taking a fall annually. CDC data also indicates that if you fall once, you’re likely to fall again. Falls can result in broken bones, concussions, and death. When a fall takes place, fast action can significantly mitigate the consequences, plus provide pain relief and emotional support.

Three million older Americans wind up in an ER with injuries caused by falls annually. Some conditions which may make this more likely include:

  • Slippery or polished floors
  • Carpets or rugs with uneven edges or snags
  • Staircases
  • Clutter in the home
  • Having lower body weakness
  • Problems with vision
  • Foot numbness
  • Confused thinking
  • Taking medications such as blood pressure pills, allergy pills, or tranquilizers
  • Insomnia and nocturnal wandering
  • Medical conditions that cause frequent nocturnal urination, such as an enlarged prostate

People who live alone, whether they have an underlying health condition or not, can benefit from using a medical alert bracelet. People who live with others but spend many hours alone at home can also benefit.

What Are the Best Medical Alert Bracelets?

Some of the best medical alert systems for 2022 include bracelets. Medical alert bracelets can also be purchased separately without a complete system. Some look like tech-savvy smartwatches and make perfect gifts. The best medical alert bracelet for you will be easy to set up, maintain, and use. It will also fit your lifestyle. For example, if you spend most or all of your time at home, you probably won’t need a bracelet that works outdoors. If you like to be on the go, a bracelet that doesn’t require proximity to a base may be a better fit.

Special features for medical alert wristbands vary, as do costs. Here are our top picks.

Best App

Medicat Guardian Logo

Mobile 2.0

Medical Guardian Mobile 2.0
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  • Contract: None
  • Equipment fee – $124.95
  • Activation fee – $0
  • Monthly subscription costs – Subscription costs can be billed monthly for $39.95, quarterly for $119.85, or annually for $439.45
  • Cancellation fees: $0

This all-in-one medical alert system relies on LTE, Wi-Fi, and GPS technology. It can be used indoors and outdoors.

To activate the bracelet in an emergency, press the help button and speak to the emergency monitoring operator who responds. They’ll work with you to determine the type of support you need. They’ll also remain connected to you until help arrives.

Medical Guardian Mobile 2.0 contains:

  • A base device, which can be synced to your bracelet, clipped to clothing, or used as a standalone alert device. It is lightweight and portable, so you can take it with you for outdoor location tracking and access to help.
  • A belt clip for the base device.
  • A wristband, necklace, and interchangeable help button, which can be used in either wearable. Optional fall detection is available through the necklace only.
  • A charger.

The wristband comes in your choice of black or white. The help button easily snaps in and out so you can alternate between the wristband and necklace.

According to the company, both the wristband and help button are water-resistant and can be submerged in a bathtub or kitchen sink for an extended period without losing connectivity.

The rechargeable base holds a charge for three to five days, so you don’t have to worry about connectivity during long, activity-filled weekends.

This system provides access to the My Guardian App and Desktop Portal digital hubs. You can use your phone, computer, or tablet to manage your emergency contact list, stay in touch with your Care Circle, check on billing, and access activity reminders. The app also provides system location tracking and history and generates reports about invoice and battery history. The My Guardian app can also be used to inform members of your contact list about an emergency and your location.

If your system becomes old and needs to be replaced for average wear and tear, the company will send you a free replacement. You can also buy a separate Protection Plan that covers unlimited replacement of lost, stolen, or damaged devices.

See our full Medical Guardian Review.

Best Smart Hub

Aloe Care Health Logo


Aloe Care Health Essentials
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  • Contract: None
  • Equipment fee – $149.99
  • Activation fee – $0
  • Monthly subscription costs – $29.99
  • Cancellation fees – $0

This indoor/outdoor system includes:

  • A 4G voice-activated hub (base) with built-in, backup battery
  • One care button
  • One white watch

The Aloe Care system utilizes a base device called a smart hub. It does not require Wi-Fi to operate. The smart hub has built-in motion, air quality, and temperature sensors. It also has a motion-sensor night light.

The watch with a wearable care button has a range of 200 feet. It’s a good choice for people who want the freedom of being protected in their immediate outdoor area, as well as within their home.

Both the smart hub and watch have two-way voice activation and can connect you to a call center 24/7. The smart hub can also be used to connect you to anyone in your emergency contact list.

The Aloe Care Health app can also be used by your caregivers and emergency contacts to make app-to-hub calls.

This system comes with a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

Best Bundled Package

Bay Alarm Medical Logo

In-Home and SOS Smartwatch Bundle Package

Bay Alarm Medical In-Home and SOS Smartwatch Bundle Package
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  • Contract: None
  • Equipment fee – $179
  • Activation fee: $0
  • Monthly subscription costs – $39.95
  • Cancellation fees: $0

This package contains:

  • A plug-and-play base station with a very large help button
  • An SOS smartwatch
  • A neck lanyard
  • A GPS-activated help button that can be used in either the wristband or lanyard
  • A charging station

This bundled medical alert package provides protection in the home and on the go. It’s a terrific option for people with active lifestyles who also want safety at home. The watch holds a charge for six to 18 hours and requires daily charging. A charging station is included in your package.

The watch comes preinstalled with a 4G LTE SIM card. It relies on cellular coverage for location tracking and connectivity to the call center. You don’t need to connect your watch to a smartphone or app. It works on its own once it is powered up.

Bay Alarm Medical’s call centers are based in the United States. According to the company, you will reach an operator within 60 seconds of pushing the help button.

If you speak another language, interpreters may be available to help you on-site. However, your response time may be delayed if you speak another language. In those instances, the company recommends not speaking at all after pushing the button. When that occurs, they either dispatch 911 or reach out to someone on your contact list immediately.

The base station is plug-and-play. It requires no additional setup and can be operated with cellular service or through a landline.

This bundled package comes with a risk-free 30-day trial.

See our full Bay Alarm Medical Review.

Best for the Widest Range of Emergencies

LifeFone Logo

At-Home & On-the-Go With Optional Fall Detection

LifeFone At-Home & On-the-Go With Optional Fall Detection
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  • Contract: None
  • Equipment fee – $0
  • Activation fee – $0
  • Monthly subscription costs – $36.95-$39.95, based on billing plan
  • Cancellation fees – $0

This package operates through LifeFone’s AT&T 4G cellular network instead of through your own network or landline. In fact, you don’t need a phone at all to use this service.

It comes with:

  • A base station with backup battery power
  • A mobile device, charger, and carrying case
  • An optional fall detection necklace
  • A black or white watch

LifeFone operators are trained to assist you with medical and non-medical emergencies, including fires, home invasions, or even a flat tire.

The help button is water-resistant and can be placed in the watchband or necklace. Your help button can get wet, but it shouldn’t be underwater for long periods of time. For your watch to be connected to the help center, you must carry the mobile device with you when you’re outside. It is lightweight and comes with its own carrying pouch.

This system comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, lifetime equipment guarantee, and lifetime price guarantee. Lifefone will also replace batteries free of charge.

See our full LifeFone Review.

Best Looking Device

Lively Logo


Lively Wearable2 Watch


  • Contract – None
  • Equipment fee – $24.99
  • Activation fee – $35
  • Monthly subscription costs: $24.99-$39.99, based on billing plan
  • Cancellation fees: $0

If you don’t want to let the world know you’re wearing a medical alert, this bracelet is for you. The discreet, water-resistant wristband looks like a black smartwatch. It’s one of the most stylish medical alert bracelets you’ll find, for both men and women.

The Lively Wearable2 syncs to an app on your smartphone. To use, press the urgent response button on your wristband. Your smartphone will contact an urgent response agent who will determine your location and work with you to assess your emergency. The agent will stay on the line with you until help arrives.

Since fall protection is activated by an abrupt body drop, the wristband can’t provide this service. To activate fall protection, the help button can be worn around the neck on a lanyard, which comes with the wristband.

The wristband is battery-operated. You can expect to get up to four months of battery life at a time.

This device also contains a step tracker and in-app health tips, making it a great option for health-conscious, active people on the go.

There are three monthly package options for you to choose from:

  • Basic ($24.99) includes Urgent Response only
  • Preferred ($29.99) includes Urgent Response, Urgent Care, and Lively Link
    • Urgent Care is an app-based service that gives you 24/7 access to board-certified doctors and registered nurses. Through Urgent Care, you can get medical support, prescriptions, and refills. This service is on-demand and requires no advance appointments. It also has no copays.
    • The Lively Link app sends an alert to your contacts when you have an emergency.
  • Ultimate ($39.99) includes Urgent Response, Urgent Care, Lively Link, and Fall Detection
    • Fall detection is only available when the device is worn around the neck.

See our full Lively Review.

Where to Buy the Best Medical Alert Bracelets

You can purchase functional and stylish medical alert bracelets through online retailers, such as Amazon. They are also available at brick-and-mortar electronics stores.

You can also buy medical alert bracelets and systems directly from the manufacturer.

No matter where you make your purchase, find out whether a protection plan, warranty, or risk-free trial are included. Also ask whether your monthly subscription rate is locked in or subject to price increases.

Are the Best Medical Alert Bracelets Waterproof?

Medical alert bracelets can be either water-resistant or waterproof.

Water-resistant devices can tolerate water penetration to some degree. Water-resistant medical alert bracelets can typically be worn while taking a shower or washing dishes. They can also withstand sweat. They won’t withstand full submersion in a bathtub or swimming pool if worn underwater for very long or extended periods of time.

Waterproof devices provide a complete barrier to water. They can be worn while swimming or soaking in a tub. However, the help button may not be fully operational if pressed underwater. If you enjoy water sports or spend lots of time in the tub, check with the manufacturer to find out exactly how operational your bracelet will be when wet.

What to Look for When Shopping for the Best Medical Alert Bracelet

When choosing a medical alert bracelet, keep your lifestyle, personal preferences, and medical needs in mind. Things to consider include:

  • Do you need a device outdoors as well as indoors?
  • Do you require fall detection? This service is optional and often limited to necklaces instead of bracelets.
  • Can you connect the base to a landline, cellular network, or both?
  • Are you comfortable wearing a device that looks like an emergency alert bracelet, or do you require a stylish option?
  • What is the average response time once the help button is activated?
  • What is the battery life of your device?
  • Does it come with a risk-free trial or warranty?
  • If you prepay an annual subscription fee but no longer need the device, will your unused months be refunded?
  • Will you be comfortable wearing a device on your wrist?
  • Is the call center based in the United States or offshore?
  • Are you tech-savvy, and do you want a device that connects to an app?

Medical Alert Bracelet Pros and Cons

Even the best medical alert bracelets have pros and cons to keep in mind.


  • Are worn on the body and can be easily accessed if you fall or get ill
  • Provide freedom and the ability for many seniors to age in place at home
  • Are affordably priced to fit most budgets
  • Usually don’t require a contract or long-term commitment


  • Devices often don’t provide fall detection
  • Cannot be used outside of the United States
  • May have a delayed response time if your primary language isn’t English

Maintenance, Warranties, and Care

Warranties vary by company. Some medical alert bracelets and systems come with lifetime warranties—others require that you purchase a protection plan.

You should care for your medical alert bracelet the same way you do any connected device, such as a smartphone. Avoid dropping it or subjecting it to damaging conditions.

Don’t wear it underwater unless it is waterproof.

Keep it clean, but don’t use abrasive cleaners or chemicals on it.

Keep it charged, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Why Should You Choose a Medical Alert Bracelet?

If you are an older adult who frequently leaves home, the comfort of having help at the touch of a button on your wrist may offer peace of mind. These bracelets are often similar to Smartwatches in style and design, making them easy to wear.

Why You Can Trust Our Expert Review

Our experts independently research and recommend products we believe provide value in the lives of our readers. We’ve spent collectively more than 1,700 hours conducting in-depth research on medical alert systems. To make our picks, here’s what we did:

  • Engaged in ongoing independent research
  • Consulted with geriatricians and adult caregivers
  • Mystery shopped the brands
  • Surveyed medical alert system users
  • Tested various medical alert systems
  • Interviewed experts in the field
  • Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties such as Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports

How We Reviewed Medical Alert Bracelets

We reviewed our selection of medical alert bracelets based on the following criteria:

  • Price, warranties, contracts, and (whether it has any) hidden fees
  • Reliability of monitoring center
  • Comfort and wearability of the devices
  • Water resistance of wearable devices
  • Battery life and recharging requirements
  • Ease of installation and use
  • Expert opinion
  • Customer service accessibility and performance
  • Customer satisfaction reviews
  • Company reputation
  • Special features such as automatic fall detection

Jenny is an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner in NYC with a passion for working with aging adults and their family members. Prior to her clinical training at Vanderbilt School of Nursing, she worked in business and medical research at Harvard Business School and Massachusetts General Hospital. As a Caregiving Coach at Givers, Jenny helps family members manage the financial, emotional, and educational stresses of caring for their loved ones who are aging in place.

”As a geriatric provider, it brings me great joy to empower older adults and caregivers by connecting them with resources that improve health outcomes and increase quality of life.”