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As our parents and grandparents age, they often seek to maintain their independence. They may believe they are still as agile and able to get around to do things like they always have. However, that’s not always the case. After years of wear and tear on the body, especially after surgeries or debilitating illnesses, it’s that much more risky to try to push the physical limits. And when accidents happen, whether it’s while doing simple things like going up and down stairs or more complex tasks like gardening or housework, medical alert devices give the entire family peace of mind in knowing that help is available at all times.
Medical Guardian is the industry leader in providing the best customer service and equipment which are among the reasons we selected them as our top pick in our medical alert review. To get a better understanding of their offerings, we’ve tested the products (provided free of charge by Medical Guardian) and written an in-depth, unbiased review. Read on to learn more about how the devices work, what each package includes and how much they cost.
Medical Guardian Review
- Easy to set up and get started
- No activation fees or long term contracts
- Flexibility and options in plans and packages
- Lifetime warranty on all equipment
- 90-day money back guarantee (for plans and equipment)
- Excellent customer service
- BBB rating: A+
- 30+ years of experience
- Products are tested prior to shipment
- If it were a serious medical injury, can take up to a minute for a response
- A little difficult to push the buttons, so might be a challenge for people with little strength (but it prevents false alarms)
- Some complaints of taking a long time to get refunds for returned equipment/cancelled service
- Owner’s manual and instructions are very complex and might not be easy for older people to read or understand
Medical Guardian Alert Systems
Medical Guardian offers four medical alarm systems: classic, home, mobile, and premium. Medical Guardian gave us the opportunity to test each of their medical alert systems so we’d have first-hand experience and a better understanding of how they work and provide an accurate and honest review.
Medical Guardian Equipment
First, here’s an overview of the types of equipment Medical Guardian offers (there are photos of the full set of products for each package below).
- Base Station: Varies depending on which package you choose. It’s recommended that you put the speaker box low to the ground in case you are in a position to use it you are closer to the microphone and speaker.
- Emergency Help Buttons: A mobile button that calls the helpline when you need assistance. It comes in the form of either a pendant that is worn around your neck like a necklace or a wristband that looks like a watch. Both can be customized on your own (add a designer band or chain).
- Wall Button (optional): An additional wall mounted button that syncs up with the base unit. You can hit it to call the helpline when you need assistance but are not wearing a mobile help button. The wall button doesn’t require wiring – it comes with mounting tape (or has screw holes on the back).
- Fall Detection Pendant (optional): A separate device that you wear. It recognizes movement (e.g. falling) and automatically triggers a call for help (not 100% accurate but each is individually tested to ensure it’s properly detecting before sent to you).
While it is not necessary, we think it is best to test all equipment by pressing the emergency button once a month to make sure the batteries work and everything is functioning properly.
Lock Box (optional): Weatherproof box with a four-digit code that is stored safely in your account. This allows the dispatchers can give the code to your contacts on file or paramedics to access the spare key and get into your home in case of emergency.
How Medical Alert Devices Work
When you receive the box from Medical Alert, each system is pretty much “plug and play” meaning it’s ready to go right out of the box. Simply connect to a power source and call the phone number on the box to activate (the process took us about 10 minutes total).
When you push the emergency button on one of your devices, it calls the Medical Guardian dispatch station within 30-45 seconds. They ask if it’s an emergency and if so do you need help? They can then get in touch with one of your four emergency contacts on file (family members, neighbors, etc.) or call an ambulance if need be (will find the closest one in your area). If you can’t speak or they can’t hear you, they’ll call your cell phone. If they still can’t get ahold of you, they will call 911. Everyone we spoke to when testing was very caring and empathetic.
- No long term contracts (choose your own plan: monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually)
- 24/7 support from anywhere in the world
- Mobile devices are water resistant to rain, in shower, while swimming or bathing
- All equipment has built-in backup battery
- Easy to use and large buttons
- Blinking lights to see buttons in the dark and noises once activated to indicate help is on the way
- Pretty foolproof (unless you accidentally push button)
- Loud speaker in case someone is hard of hearing or far away from the device
Medical Guardian Cost
Medical Guardian cost varies depending on which device you select but all will involve a monthly fee, ranging from $30 to $50 per month. They also offer annual, semi-annual or quarterly plans which lock you in at a slightly better rate (as low as $27/month) and have additional incentives like free shipping on equipment.
No matter which plan you choose, Medical Guardian includes the equipment at no charge. You’re paying for the service and shipping is the same for all also: $9.50 for Standard (12 business days), $18 for expedited (2 business days) or $35 for Overnight. (Further details for each plan can be found below.)
We should note they also offer a protection plan for $5/month which covers the cost of damaged, lost or stolen equipment (since it can cost up to $350 to replace).
Medical Guardian Alert Systems
Medical Guardian Alert offers four different systems to choose from. Picking the best medical alert system really depends on the person and their needs and preferences. We’ll review the key features and pricing details for each below so you can decide which is best for you or your loved one. We’ll start with classic and go up in features from there, but feel free to skip to the one you’re interested using the menu below.
The Classic is the lowest priced option and great for someone who has a phone line and wants basic protection at a reasonable price. It offers the longest range (up to three football fields) and the lowest monthly monitoring fee. However, you must have a landline to use the Classic Guardian. For many, this isn’t an issue but we wanted to point out that the Classic is the only system that you need a phone line to plug into. However, the equipment is the sleekest and most modern looking of their collection so you can look hip in addition to not breaking your hip!
- 1 base station with 2-way speaker and 32-hour battery backup
- 1 portable emergency help button (range up to 1,300 feet) either neck pendant or wristband
- Annual Plan: $329.45 (billed monthly at $27.45/month) includes free lock box, free month of service and free shipping
- Semi-Annual Plan: $179.70 (billed every 6 months at $29.95/month) includes free lock box and free shipping
- Quarterly Plan: $89.85 (billed every 3 months at $29.95/month) includes free shipping
- Monthly Plan: $29.95/month
- Add Ons: Medical alert necklace, wristband, lock box $2/month each, protection plan $5/month
Home’s coverage area is slightly less than the Classic (up to two football fields) but the Home base station has some additional display features including temperature, date and time. You can adjust volume on the panel and there are large glowing buttons which are hard to miss (especially in the dark!). Once you press “emergency”, there is no chiming or ringing. So, if someone needs assurance that help is on the way, there isn’t as much verification other than a voice once an operator picks up. The Home Guardian also allows you to add on a fall detection device which automatically calls for help if you fall.
- 1 base station with 2-way speaker and 30-hour battery backup (no landline needed)
- 1 portable emergency help button (range up to 600 feet) either neck pendant or wristband (choose from black or white)
- Annual Plan: $384.45 (billed monthly at $32.04/month) includes free lock box, free month of service and free shipping
- Semi-Annual Plan: $209.70 (billed every 6 months at $34.95/month) includes free lock box and free shipping
- Quarterly Plan: $104.85 (billed every 3 months at $34.95/month) includes free shipping
- Monthly Plan: $34.95/month
- Add Ons: Medical alert necklace, wall button, wristband, lock box $2/month each, protection plan $5/month or fall detection pendant for $10/month
The coverage area for the Mobile is less than both the Home and Classic Guardian (only one football field) but you can take the 2-way speaker with you anywhere you go, so there’s not as much need for high range. As long as you remember to take the device with you in your car, purse or pocket, there’s help anywhere you go. The wireless system’s battery lasts up to 24 hours and takes up to two hours to charge (they recommend putting in cradle overnight). Another benefit is it makes a chiming noise when you press the button and blinks so you know it’s ringing. It’s a little pricier but could be worth it if you are someone who is on the go. No fall detection for this plan but you can choose your wristband color (black or white).
- 1 base station and charging cradle with 2-way speaker and 24-hour battery backup
- 1 leather carrying case
- 1 portable emergency help button (range up to 350 feet)
- Annual Plan: $439.45 (billed annually at $36.62/month) includes free lock box, free month of service and free shipping
- Semi-Annual Plan: $239.70 (billed every 6 months at $39.95/month) includes free lock box and free shipping
- Quarterly Plan: $119.85 (billed every 3 months at $39.95/month) includes free shipping
- Monthly Plan: $39.95/month
- Add Ons: Medical alert necklace, wristband, lock box $2/month each, protection plan $5/month
This product lives up to its name as the most premium device among Medical Guardian’s product offering. It’s a speaker, help button and GSP detection all in one. When testing the equipment they were able to pinpoint my address exactly. There is fall detection technology built into the device but if you wish to use it, it will cost you an additional monthly fee. The device is small enough so you can talk into it and take it anywhere in the world to get coverage (no wristband or pendant needed). When your dispatch call is in progress, it beeps and blinks let you know it is connecting. However, with all these premium features comes the highest price per month. But, it could be worth it for the convenience, especially after adding up all the add-ons from the other devices. The value per dollar of Active Guardian is by far the highest. If you can afford it, we definitely recommend getting this version.
- Portable 2-way speaker with built-in GPS tracking and unlimited range
- Charging cradle (takes up to four hours for full cycle)
- Annual Plan: $549.45 (billed annually at $45.79/month) includes free lock box, free month of service and free shipping
- Semi-Annual Plan: $299.70 (billed every 6 months at $49.95/month) includes free lock box and free shipping
- Quarterly Plan: $149.85 (billed every 3 months at $49.95/month) includes free shipping
- Monthly Plan: $49.95/month
- Add Ons: Fall Detection $10/month, lock box $2/month each, and/or protection plan $5/month
Price & Feature Comparison
Here’s an overview of all the plans and features for each:
|Classic Guardian||Home Guardian||Mobile Guardian (GPS)||Premium Guardian (GPS)|
|Communication||Landline||AT&T Cellular Network||AT&T Cellular Network||AT&T Cellular Network|
|Range||1,300 feet||600 feet||350 feet||Unlimited|
|Waterproof Necklace or Bracelet|
|Wristband Color||Black band with white button||White or Black||White or Black||n/a|
|Fall Detection Available||No||Yes - $10/month more||No||Yes - $10/month more|
Do Customers Feel Protected With Medical Guardian?
Even though we tried out Medical Guardian, don’t just take our word on how their systems and customer service perform. Here’s what some real customers have to say about their experiences. Below you’ll read both positive and negative feedback we found on Consumer Affairs.
Positive Medical Guardian Reviews
I’ve always thought that it would be great if there was one that had a GPS so they’d help anywhere like if I was between my car and the store door, they can still get help. When I heard that it was offered by Medical Guardian, I thought I’ve got to get that. I did and I’m glad I did because it really gives me a lot of peace of mind. I’m very pleased with it. – Ray, February 2015 (Consumer Affairs)
With advancing age (84) and living alone, I decided to look at medical alert systems in case of a fall or illness. I saw an ad in The Readers Digest for Medical Alert Systems. I called and the sales representative answered all of my questions. I decided on the basic model and it was delivered in a few days. Activation and testing was a snap. I then decided that since I am still mobile and leave home often that I should upgrade to the mobile unit with GPS location. I called the company and they upgraded me within a few days and it works perfectly. I recommend this model. – Jaris, May 2016 (Trust Pilot)
Negative Medical Guardian Reviews
All aspects of my purchase for my senior mother’s security system were handled very well except for one. The owner’s instruction manual is awful. When I compare the manual to the actual device, it’s as if the writer/editor of the manual had never actually connected a device. – Daniel, January 2016 (Consumer Affairs)
Had to pay for returning equipment, never used after they promised this would not happen. – Dan, June 2015 (Consumer Affairs)
Video: Medical Guardian Customer Story
Watch this video of Beth who is still enjoying an independent lifestyle but when she had knee surgery, her kids were concerned about her during the day while no one was home to help care for her.
Is Medical Guardian Right for You?
Medical Guardian isn’t the only medical alert system on the market, so if you’d like to compare Medical Guardian to its competition check out our Best Medical Alert System article. You can also read our interview with the company’s founder and president, Geoff Gross to learn why he started the company and why he believes his product is a great solution for your family.
What features are important to you in a medical alert system?