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Medical Alert vs. Medical Guardian: Which Is Right for You?

Last Updated: January 27, 2022

Home System

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Medical Alert’s Home System is the entry-level model, with just two choices for customization: cellular or landline service. The wearable medical alert device is a simple button users wear as either a neck pendant or around their wrist. The device pairs with the base unit, which has a range of 800 feet. The Home System is monitored 24/7 so that anytime the customer has an emergency, they just press a button for two-way communication with the response center.

For those who fear that they may be rendered unconscious or unable to signal for help after a fall, Medical Alert offers automatic fall detection for an extra $10 per month. With this technology, barometric motion sensors detect if the wearer has taken a fall, and the response team will check in even if a user can’t summon for help themselves.

The Home System with landline service is $22.95 per month, while cellular coverage is $32.95 per month. By bundling their year of service into one payment, Medical Alert customers can receive a discount of $55 to $65 on the Home System.

Mobile System

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For more active seniors who like to know they’re safe while running errands, golfing, or out with friends, the Mobile System offers portable coverage. Users wear a lightweight, discreet pendant (that includes advanced GPS technology) and carry a handheld base unit.

Wherever a user might find themselves, they’re able to press the pendant to summon help to their exact location. AT&T service is included in the Mobile System subscription.

Like the Home System, the Mobile System pendant is waterproof, so it can be used in high-risk areas for slipping, like the shower; it also features the option for fall detection at $10 per month. This plan is $42.95 for monthly monitoring fees, but users can save $75 annually by paying the year of service up front.

Classic Guardian

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For seniors who spend time alone at home and want to go about their daily activities with an added layer of protection, Medical Guardian’s base model, the Classic Guardian, offers comprehensive coverage at home. While users garden in the front or backyard, the Classic Guardian monitors them up to a range of 1,300 feet—one of the longest in the industry.

Seniors wear personal emergency response systems around their neck or wrist. In an emergency, the trained medical response team can evaluate and send the proper assistance to check in, whether that’s an EMT, locksmith, or a loved one. If it’s a false alarm, no problem—the operators check in and verify that the system is in working order.

The Classic Guardian at-home system runs on a landline connection, which is sometimes preferred by those who live in rural areas with poor cellular coverage. Caregivers can stay updated through the MyGuardian app and caregiver portal. The Classic starts at $29.95 per month, while equipping it with fall detection technology adds an extra $10 monthly.

For users ready to upgrade from the Classic Guardian, the Home 2.0 is the next step up. This system tacks on 100 feet to the range from the home base, adding up to almost four football fields of coverage.

Users can snap the Home 2.0 pendant into a necklace or wristband, depending on their preference and the day’s activities. Like the Classic model, the Home 2.0 gives caregivers access to the MyGuardian app. It operates at a higher speed than the Classic, as it runs on LTE and WiFi. Users who purchase this model can also opt for additional buttons for a spouse and can add wall-mounted buttons to their purchase. The Home 2.0 starts at $34.95 per month, and increases depending on customizations.

Mobile 2.0

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The Mobile 2.0 base device is a sleek 1.7 ounces and can be clipped to clothes or worn as a pendant. Users can wear their Mobile 2.0 as they run errands, and they’re covered by a trifecta of GPS, WiFi, and 4G LTE. If the wearer needs help, they push the emergency button to begin two-way communication with the response center.

This device features Smarti Voice Assist technology, where users can access an audio report of information about the device, like battery life. Because of the pendant’s long battery life, users only need to worry about recharging it every three to five days. The Mobile 2.0 costs $39.95 per month, while adding automatic fall detection is another $10 per month.

Active Guardian

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The Active Guardian has the longest lasting mobile battery in the Medical Guardian line—up to seven days on a single charge. This mobile medical alert system features an amplified two-way speaker with extra clarity, so users with hearing impairment will have an easier time hearing the operator.

Robin Schiltz, a certified senior home safety specialist, believes that the best medical alert systems allow the user and operator to communicate live. “I prefer a medical alert that has two-way voice capability and connects to a live agent, rather than one that simply alerts emergency services,” she said. “Having a kind, reassuring person to talk to is invaluable during an emergency.”

The Active Guardian base can be clipped onto clothing or a purse, while the user wears the lightweight button as a pendant or around the wrist. This keeps the wearer covered while out and about. The Active Guardian is available for $44.95 per month. Fall detection can be added for $10, and false alarms are easy to cancel.

Mini Guardian

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The Mini Guardian is half the width of most mobile devices, designed for users shopping for a discreet and comfortable mobile device. The combination of high speed 4G LTE, WiFi, and cellular coverage means you stay covered wherever you go. In an emergency, the response team can send assistance to your exact location.

This device is different from others in that it’s all-in-one. While other mobile devices require a separate handheld unit and a wearable button, the Mini Guardian has all the technology inside one piece of equipment: the high definition two-way speaker, easy-to-press help button, and tracking technology—along with a battery that lasts up to five days. Seniors looking for longer lasting coverage might compare the Mini Guardian to Lifefone’s VIP pendant, a mobile emergency device with a 30-day battery. Lifefone even sends texts when the battery is running low to remind users it’s time to recharge.

The Mini Guardian costs an upfront equipment fee of $124.95, and is $39.95 per month for monitoring.

Freedom Guardian 2.0

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The Freedom Guardian 2.0 might look high-tech, but this smartwatch is designed with ease of use in mind. Its menu and features are straightforward and easy to navigate on the watch’s large, bright touchscreen. This system is great for those who don’t want to look like they’re wearing a medical alert, as it appears to be just another smartwatch. However, it’s equipped with a red help button that connects users to a 24/7 response center in seconds.

Aside from the emergency button, Freedom Guardian also gives health information like medication management, a heart rate reader, and appointment reminders. It also allows users to send messages to caregivers. The watch has a 48-hour battery life on just two hours of charging, making it easy to use almost full-time. While the Freedom Guardian watch is currently on backorder, it has previously been offered with a one-time equipment fee of $179.95 and $44.95 for emergency monitoring.

“So far, I’m enjoying my device. It’s nice to know that someone’s there at all times with you. Even though I know that nobody is here, Medical Alert is still here. I need it because I get shortness of breath. Having the necklace makes me feel good. Somebody calls exactly right after I press it.” -MICHAEL, VERIFIED CUSTOMER (REVIEW FROM CONSUMERAFFAIRS.COM)

“I’m not happy with this device that I’m using now. But it is better now because I talked to someone about the volume. I have TV in the bedroom where the battery charger is and then I couldn’t even hear what they were saying. If I’m in the bedroom, I can hear it fine. But if I’m in the kitchen, there’s no way I could hear it. The customer service reps were helpful. When I had to use the button, they were here before too long after I called. It went fairly well. They picked me up and then checked if I could walk. Everything was okay. And so, yes, it was okay.” -MATILDA, VERIFIED CUSTOMER (REVIEW FROM CONSUMERAFFAIRS.COM)

“The service was OK, but when we canceled, they calculated the refund from the date they received the equipment return, not from the date it was canceled and placed in shipment. In effect, my Mom paid for a whole month at the end that she only had the service for 5 days because it was packed up and shipped. They refused to prorate it. Do not recommend this company!!!!” -GD, VERIFIED CUSTOMER (REVIEW FROM TRUSTPILOT.COM)

“My aunt lives alone and needs a medical alert system. Medical Guardian got excellent reviews and was rated in the top 3, so I called them. I cannot say enough about how patient, kind, understanding, and helpful my representative was on the phone! I told her I needed to talk it over with my sister and that I would call back the next day. She said she would be happy to answer any questions my sister had (even though I was the one making the purchase) and I felt absolutely NO pressure! When I called back the next day, I was able to speak to the same person, she remembered me and my story, and was again helpful, kind, patient, and understanding. She walked me through the options and completed my purchase over the phone. She made sure I knew that I could call her anytime with any concerns at all. How refreshing!!! I do not have the unit yet, so I am giving the company 4 stars. Will happily change it to 5 if this turns out to be as expected!!” -TERRY, VERIFIED CUSTOMER (REVIEW FROM TRUSTPILOT.COM)

“I’m 82 years old, living alone and I have issues as well as a pacemaker. I wanted to make sure I was covered and so I got a medical alert. I got a Medical Guardian and put a lockbox outside my house in case the fire department has to come in. Medical Guardian would notify them so at nights, I have their device around my neck and by the bed. During the day, I have my Medical Guardian watch on. Having it makes me feel secure and safe.” -JOSEPH, VERIFIED CUSTOMER (REVIEW FROM CONSUMERAFFAIRS.COM)

“I can’t get up when I fall. I now have Medical Guardian’s device that goes around my neck. It goes when I go. I haven’t had to use it, but so far it’s easy to handle. The Medical Guardian team has been very cooperative and very easy to deal with.” – ELIZABETH, VERIFIED CUSTOMER (REVIEW FROM CONSUMERAFFAIRS.COM)

Resources

https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/preventing-falls/causes-of-falls

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/03/10/older-people-are-more-likely-to-live-alone-in-the-u-s-than-elsewhere-in-the-world/

https://www.cdc.gov/falls/facts.html

Personal safety without compromising style. Medical Guardian. (2022). https://www.medicalguardian.com/medical-alert-systems/jewelry-pendants

Medical Guardian Reviews. Consumer Affairs. (2022). https://www.consumeraffairs.com/medical-alert-systems/medical-guardian.html#review=8243402

Medical Guardian Reviews. Trust Pilot. (2022). https://www.trustpilot.com/review/www.medicalguardian.com?stars=4

Medical Alert Reviews. Consumer Affairs. (2022). https://www.consumeraffairs.com/medical-alert-systems/medical-alert.html?#sort=top_reviews&filter=3

Frequently Asked Questions. Medical Alert. (2022). https://www.medicalalert.com/frequently-asked-questions/

Medical Guardian, LLC. Better Business Bureau. (2022). https://www.bbb.org/us/pa/philadelphia/profile/medical-alarm/medical-guardian-llc-0241-194803929

Medical Alert. Better Business Bureau. (2022) https://www.bbb.org/ca/on/etobicoke/profile/medical-alert-systems/medical-alert-0107-1350723

Mini Guardian. Medical Guardian. (2022). https://www.medicalguardian.com/medical-alert-systems/gps-button-fall-detection

Active Guardian. Medical Guardian. (2022). https://www.medicalguardian.com/medical-alert-systems/gps-wifi-fall-detection

Mobile 2.0. Medical Guardian. (2022). https://www.medicalguardian.com/medical-alert-systems/mobile-gps-alert

Classic Guardian. Medical Guardian. (2022). https://www.medicalguardian.com/medical-alert-systems/landline-alert-button

Explore the New MyGuardian. Medical Guardian. (2022). https://www.medicalguardian.com/medical-alert-system-customer-support

Mobile System. MedicalAlert. (2022). https://www.medicalalert.com/product/mobile-system/

Home System. MedicalAlert. (2022). https://www.medicalalert.com/home-system/

Home Landline System. MedicalAlert. (2022). https://www.medicalalert.com/product/home-system-landline/

Home Cellular System. MedicalAlert. (2022). https://www.medicalalert.com/product/home-system-cellular/

Customizations. Medical Guardian. (2022). https://www.medicalguardian.com/order-wizard/155

Author:Hannah Sherk