Alert1 vs Life Alert

COVID-19 Update: Medical Alerts are considered essential devices during the COVID crisis, so monitoring and customer service centers are still open and ready to help. To learn more about how these and other essential products can keep older adults safe and connected during this crisis, take a look at our list of 10 essential products.

Seniors shouldn’t have to choose between staying safe and remaining independent, and that’s exactly why medical alert systems have become popular among older adults. Starting at under $20 per month, these wireless, wearable devices connect users with a 24/7 emergency response center at the touch of a button, and some systems even feature automatic-fall detection, GPS location tracking and more.

The right medical alert system can provide unparalleled protection in the event of an emergency, such as a sudden fall or urgent medical issue. That said, picking a personal call system can be challenging because there’s a huge variety of options available from dozens of providers. To help you narrow down your choices, our team of senior care experts have prepared a series of articles that highlights the costs, options and services of the leading medical alert devices and systems.

Alert1 vs Life Alert – Which One is Better?

In this article you’ll find all the information you need to compare Alert1 with Life Alert, starting with a chart outlining the pricing options as well as services and features offered by each company.

Our team of researchers found that Alert1 offered a wider variety of systems and features at better prices than what is available through Life Alert. We also discovered that a number of consumers have experienced high-pressured phone sales tactics from Life Alert sales reps, and the company requires that all subscribers agree to a three-year service contract. For these reasons we recommend Alert1 over Life Alert.

Alert1 Life Alert

COSTS

Up-Front Equipment

$0

$0

Monthly Monitoring

$19.95-$52.95

$49-$68

Activation Fee

$0

$95-$198

CONTRACT

Long-Term Contract?

No

Yes – three year

Optional Monthly Add-Ons

Yes – see optional accessories

N/A

FEATURES

Water-Resistant Wearable Devices

Yes – pendant

Yes – pendant or wrist button

Fall Detection

Yes

No

GPS Location Monitoring Available?

Yes

Yes

Mobile App/Online Dashboard

No

Yes

RELIABILITY/PERFORMANCE

Connection

Landline or cellular

Landline or cellular

Range (From in-home base unit for landline service)

Up to 400′ for fall-detection system

Up to 600′ for basic system (without fall detection)

Up to 800′

Battery Life on Help Button

Up to five days on the Kelsi Pro Mobile fall-detection pendant

Up to two years on in-home fall-detection pendant

30 days for On-the-Go pendant (without fall detection)

Up to seven years on help button pendant; up to 10 years on wall-mounted HELP button

Battery Back-up on Base Unit

Up to 24 hours

Up to 72 hours

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES

Voice extender

Medication organizer

PIN-protected lockbox

Wall-mounted HELP button

Monitored smoke detection

Extra wearable help buttons

Silicone wristbands

Bejeweled lanyards

Medical ID bracelets

Additional wall-mounted waterproof HELP button

Overview of Alert1

Alert1 is an established medical alert company that offers five medical alert systems that provide coverage using either a landline or cellular connection. Based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the company is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and they operate two U.S. call centers with service in over 190 languages.

All of Alert1’s wearable help buttons are waterproof and designed to be worn on a lanyard around the neck. Fall detection is available on every system except the entry-level landline system, and subscribers can cancel their service at any time without penalty.

Monthly monitoring costs start at $19.95 and go up to $52.95, and there are no activation or equipment charges. In order to get the lowest possible price subscribers need to pay annually.

Pros of Alert1:

  • Fall detection is available on in-home and mobile devices
  • A second user living in the same home can be added at a discount
  • All of the wearable call buttons are safe for use in the shower or bath
  • Subscribers can cancel at any time and receive a prorated refund
  • Users can choose to have a neighbor, caregiver or family member contacted before emergency responders are dispatched when the help button is pressed
  • The in-home call buttons never need recharging
  • Users can install the system themselves
  • Periodic time-limited offers are available
  • Pricing is clear and listed online

Cons of Alert1:

  • In order to get the lowest available price, subscribers need to pay for a year of service in advance
  • The range between the help button and the in-home base unit is just 400 feet for the in-home fall-detection system and 600 feet for the entry-level, landline-based home system
  • The fall detection feature doesn’t work 100% of the time
  • Subscribers need to be sure they live in an area with good cellular coverage

Overview of Life Alert

Life Alert is the company behind the “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” slogan that was widely used in television ads, making this one of the most recognized brands in the medical alert industry. Their U.S. call center answers more than two million calls for help annually, and they claim that their services save a life every 11 minutes.

Life Alert has three medical alert systems, two which are designed for in-home use, and an all-in-one system that works anywhere in the U.S. where GSM cellular service is available. All of the Life Alert devices are designed to be senior-friendly and maintenance-free with non-rechargeable batteries and a large integrated help button.

Pricing for Life Alert is much higher than the industry standard, with monthly monitoring costs ranging from $49-$68. Subscribers must also pay at least $98 in activation fees, and new members are required to enter a three-year service contract that’s exceptionally hard to cancel.

Pros of Life Alert:

  • One of the most experienced medical alert providers in the business
  • In-home call buttons can be worn around the neck or on the wrist
  • The in-home base units have a large battery back-up that powers the unit for up to 72 hours in the event of a power failure
  • The company is based in the U.S. and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau
  • Devices are simple and maintenance-free
  • New subscribers receive a free home first aid kit

Cons of Life Alert:

  • Prospective customers need to call a Life Alert sales agent for information on costs, which may subject callers to sales pressure
  • No fall detection
  • Devices are dated and may not be aesthetically appealing to some users
  • The three-year contract may leave some users paying for a service they no longer need or want

Our Pick

Given the notable differences in the prices, consumer policies and medical alert devices offered by these two medical alert companies, its clear that Alert1 is the best option for independent, budget-conscience seniors. Although Life Alert has been in business longer, we appreciate the fact that Alert1’s prices start at under $20 per month, making their systems affordable even for those on a limited budget. By comparison, Life Alert costs start at $49 per month for basic monitoring, and the company charges a hefty activation fee.

We like the fact that Alert1 offers automatic fall detection, a feature that’s not available through Life Alert. Our reviewers also noted that Alert1 allows subscribers to cancel their service at any time without penalty, while Life Alert locks consumers in to a three-year contract.

Compare Other Medical Alert Options

Life Alert and Alert1 are just two of the dozens of medical alert companies offering in-home and mobile medical alert solutions for seniors, people with disabilities and anyone else who wants to enjoy the added security provided by these affordable, lightweight devices. To learn more about the options and features offered by the leading names in medical alert systems, take a look at our other head-to-head comparisons.