Medical Guardian vs Bay Alarm Medical

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.

Aging seniors often have concerns about what might happen to them if a medical emergency should occur. As joints and muscles age, the risk of falls and other injuries rise, and seniors sometimes worry about issues with memory or dexterity that might leave them unable to navigate their home environment. In addition to home modifications that can help seniors maintain their independence, medical alert systems provide an extra layer of protection and ease the minds of caregivers and relatives who worry about seniors who want to continue living at home.

Medical alert systems include two main styles. Home medical alert systems include a base unit with a typical range somewhere between 500′ and 1,500′ that’s paired with one or more wearable or wall-mountable call buttons the senior can push to summon help. Mobile medical alert systems include a wearable alert button, which can be an all-in-one device or might come with a separate portable base unit that you can carry in a bag or pocket. Home units can be connected to the call center via an existing telephone line or may use a dedicated cellular connection. Mobile units are cellular and have their own connection, so you don’t need cell phone service to use them.

Choosing a Medical Alert System

With so many medical alert systems out there, finding the right one for your lifestyle and personal situation can feel overwhelming. Side-by-side comparisons in clear, straightforward language free of marketing jargon can make it easier for you to assess the features that are most important to you and make an informed decision. We’ve created this guide to help you easily compare two of the most popular medical alert systems available, Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical.

In our research, we’ve found that both of these companies offer some impressive features along with reliable basic medical alert monitoring services that seniors need. In general, Bay Alarm Medical offers affordable options for seniors who need reliable monitoring without a lot of extra features and seniors who do a lot of driving. Medical Guardian has plans with a lot of included features and particularly excels at caregiver features, so it’s an excellent choice for families who want the ability to personally check up on a senior’s activities throughout the day.

Take a look at the table below to get an at-a-glance comparison of the two systems, or read our in-depth overviews below to figure out which option works best for your situation.

Medical Guardian Bay Alarm Medical

Cost

Lowest Monthly Base Price

$29.95

$19.95

Highest Monthly Base Price

$79.95

$59.95

Upfront Costs

$99 device fee for Freedom Guardian smartwatch-style wearable
$9.50 one-time shipping fee for devices when paying monthly, quarterly and semiannually

$9.95 shipping for most plans. Shipping free with semi-annual billing

Contract

Long-Term Contract

No contract

Month-to-month billing with quarterly and semiannual payment options

No contract

Return Policy

Prorated refunds available upon cancellation

Full refund minus shipping fees if cancellation within 30 days

Features

Water-Resistant Wearables

Pendant, wristband

Pendant, belt-attachable device

Connection Type

Landline or cellular

Landline or cellular

2-Way Voice Capability

Yes- through in-home base and wearable pendant

Yes- through in-home base and some wearable models

Fall Detection

$10 per month

$10 per month

Location Detection on Mobile Devices

GPS

GPS

USA-based call center

Yes

Yes

Base unit range

600′ to 1,300′ depending on model

1,000′

Types of available devices

Wearable pendants, wall-mounted buttons

Wearable pendants, wall-mounted buttons

Overview of Medical Guardian

As one of the more recent entries into the medical alert system market, Medical Guardian is also on the forefront of new features and technologies. The company’s Freedom Guardian plan uses a smartwatch-style device that has voice-to-text SMS capability, so seniors and caregivers can communicate directly through the device. Some Medical Guardian plans also include motion detection devices you can use in the home, so caregivers concerned about seniors wandering outside or who want to check for inactivity can monitor those things. This company is also the only one that offers a voice-activated wall button, which can be mounted in the bathroom or other places where the senior might fall and be unable to reach a button to press for help.

Medical Guardian Pros:

  • Offers modern, technologically advanced features not available through other systems
  • The only company with a wall-mounted voice-activated button
  • Some wearables offer voice-to-text SMS messaging
  • Robust caregiver app that lets relatives monitor the senior
  • Motion detection devices to track user movement
  • Seniors can designate up to four contacts to get an alert when the button is pushed
  • Discounts available on annual plans
  • U.S.-based call center with redundant backup systems to continue operation in local or regional emergency events

Medical Guardian Cons:

  • Fall detection unavailable with some units
  • Costs can become prohibitive, especially with add-on options
  • High device fee with Freedom Guardian wearable
  • Device shipping not included in monthly, quarterly and semiannual plans

Overview of Bay Alarm Medical

The low base cost of a basic Bay Alarm Medical system, only $19.95 per month for a basic landline-based system and $29.95 per month for a basic mobile unit, makes it appealing to seniors on a budget. No upfront activation fees and free shipping on semiannual plans add to the affordability of this system. You get a lot for your money, too. Water-resistant devices, base units with an impressive 1,000′ range and an associated caregiver app provide reliable protection at a low price. Adding on another device is just $1.95 per month, making this system a good choice for couples who want monitoring for both people. Caregiver tracking with geofencing that lets relatives know when the senior leaves a specific area costs an additional $5 per month. Bay Alarm Medical’s In The Car plan has an in-vehicle device that detects crashes and sends an alert if an accident occurs.

Bay Alarm Medical Pros:

  • Inexpensive base costs and add-on features
  • Low cost for second device makes monitoring couples or roommates easier
  • In The Car option offers alert capability in case of vehicular accidents
  • Geofencing available for caregivers
  • Free shipping with semiannual payment plans
  • Call center monitored by certified emergency technicians

Bay Alarm Medical Cons:

  • Caregiver GPS tracking costs extra and isn’t included in the base plan
  • Most plans have shipping fees
  • Upgrades and optional services can quickly increase the base costs

Our Pick

Both Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian offer useful features for seniors looking for a medical alert system, so choosing a clear winner between the two is difficult. The best option for you depends on your specific needs.

Bay Alarm Medical is the best choice for budget-conscious seniors and couples that want combined monitoring services. This system is also ideal for seniors who still drive a lot, since the On The Road system offers in-vehicle crash detection.

Medical Guardian has plenty of extra features that provide added peace of mind for caregivers, including a detailed caregiver app with the ability to set up motion sensors in the home. Voice-activated wall buttons and a smartwatch-style mobile option give you options to suit a variety of situations.

Essentially, either system works well as a basic home or mobile monitoring system, and your choice depends mainly upon which specific features matter more to you. In particular, we recommend Bay Alarm Medical for couples and active drivers and recommend Medical Guardian for caregivers who want extra monitoring capability.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems