We investigated 21 popular medical alert system providers and hand-tested 9 finalists to come up with our top 3 picks.
Medical alert systems are becoming increasingly popular with independent seniors, families and caretakers. They offer peace of mind for caretakers and seniors alike, allowing tens of thousands of seniors to live independently without fear.
The best medical alert systems feature reliable equipment and help at the push of a button. After identifying 21 nationwide providers, we scored them on service, equipment options and pricing transparency. Then we tested nine finalists for the ease of use and fast response. Our three top picks are the ones that gave us the greatest confidence that we’d be in good hands if we selected the system.
How We Picked The Best Medical Alert Systems
Nationwide Coverage: Some alert systems don’t offer nationwide service. We decided to test medical alert systems that are available in all states, so we eliminated regional services. We also eliminated systems that don’t include a live agent service, as we felt that technology alone can’t be trusted.
Customer Service: Comparing their marketing literature, most medical alert companies look virtually identical. They all offer the same basic features and benefits at a similar price. In our experience, it was the level of customer service professionalism and responsiveness that vaulted one provider over another.
Transparent Pricing: We discovered that many companies have hidden fees, including Alert-1, ResponseLINK, GreatCall Lively, and Philips Lifeline. All of these services added a $50-60 activation fees at checkout. We felt this was deceptive, and should be clearly stated before checkout begins.
Easy Ordering: We discovered how simple features, including website design, live chat, availability of frequently ask question (FAQ), and an easy-to-find customer service number can offer a smooth ordering process or cause you to want to give up in frustration. We subtracted points if a company didn’t offer both online and telephone ordering.
Standard Feature Requirements: With over 60 percent of all falls happening while bathing, we determined it mandatory that all wearable devices be waterproof. We also thought it was important for all base units to have a battery backup capability in case of a power outage.
Easy Setup: We ordered systems from each of our nine finalists to test. Once the packages arrived, we went through a methodical process to determine how easy or difficult it is for the average person to make each system operational. We determined that good documentation and packaging can make or break the first impression of a product.
Service Response: Technology is wonderful, but it’s only as effective as the people on the other end. That’s why we tested each company’s service response capability and professionalism. We tested by pressing the base unit’s emergency button and pressing the buttons on the wearable devices. We measured response time and made our professional observation of the operators’ professionalism.