MobileHelp 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.

Medical alert systems have become a must-have among seniors who want to remain as independent as possible while taking steps to ensure they can always call for help, even if they can’t reach a phone. With a simple press of a button on a medical alert pendant or wrist-worn device, medical alert subscribers are connected to a 24/7 emergency call center that can dispatch a caregiver, neighbor or first responders right away.

There are now dozens of companies offering a wide array of medical alert systems and devices, which can make finding the right solution challenging. We’ve researched all the top emergency response systems and reviewed the pros and cons of each as well as summarized our findings in a series of comparison pieces to help you find the ideal medical alert device for yourself or your loved one.

MobileHelp vs Life Alert – Which One is Better?

In this article we’re comparing MobileHelp and Life Alert’s medical alert devices. These two U.S.-based providers offer similar emergency call monitoring services at comparable prices, but there are major differences in the type of help buttons and optional features which are available. We found that while Life Alert’s devices are simple to use, MobileHelp is best for consumers who want the best combination of affordability, reliability and a variety of service options and advanced features.

MobileHelp Life Alert

COSTS

Up-Front Equipment

$0-$349.95

$0

Monthly Monitoring

$19.95-$41.95

$49-$68

Activation Fee

$0

$95-$198

CONTRACT

Long-Term Contract?

No

Yes – 3 year

Optional Monthly Add-Ons

Fall detection (+$10 per month on compatible devices)

N/A

FEATURES

Water-Resistant Wearable Devices

Yes

Yes

Fall Detection

Yes

No

GPS Location Monitoring Available?

Yes

Yes

Mobile App/Online Dashboard

Yes

Yes

RELIABILITY/PERFORMANCE

Connection

Landline or cellular

Landline or cellular

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

Up to 1,400′

Up to 800′

Battery Life on Help Button

Up to five years on neck pendant and wrist button

Up to 24 hours for GPS-enabled mobile devices, including smart watch

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 30 hours

Up to 72 hours

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES

TRELAWEAR smart jewelry pendant

Wall mounted HELP button

Additional wall-mounted waterproof HELP button

Overview of MobileHelp

MobileHelp is a Florida-based medical alert company that offers a wide variety of medical alert devices and systems that work with either a landline or cellular connection. They’re one of only a handful of medical alert providers currently selling a medical alert smartwatch, the MobileHelp Smart, which is a Samsung device made specifically for MobileHelp.

MobileHelp also recently launched their line of TRELAWEAR smart jewelry that combines a stylish pendant necklace with a medical alert pendant that connects to either an in-home base station or a small mobile base station. This pendant is designed to help increase user compliance among those who may dislike the look of traditional personal emergency call buttons.

Another unique system offered by MobileHelp is the Mobile Duo, the only GPS-enabled medical alert system with optional fall detection that’s specifically designed to be shared by two users. All MobileHelp systems include a free PIN-protected lockbox where users can store an extra house key in case of an emergency.

Pros of MobileHelp:

  • No long-term contracts
  • There are two emergency call centers located in the U.S. to ensure no call goes unanswered
  • A free mobile app lets authorized users monitor the location of a subscriber with a MobileHelp GPS-enabled help button
  • The MobileHelp Smart watch may appeal to users who want the features of a smart watch combined with the peace of mind provided by having a medical alert device
  • The TRELAWEAR line of call pendants are user-friendly and fashionable
  • No activation fees or equipment costs for most devices

Cons of MobileHelp:

  • Emergency monitoring services are contracted out to another company, Rapid Response
  • While fall detection is offered, it doesn’t work correctly some of the time
  • Subscribers need to recharge the batteries in the GPS and fall detection help buttons

Overview of Life Alert

Life Alert has been in business since 1987, making it one of the oldest medical alert companies in America. It operates a U.S.-based, UL and Five Diamond CSAA certified emergency monitoring center that manages over two million calls for help every year.

Life Alert offers three medical alert systems and each come with a waterproof wearable call button. The landline-based system is the least-expensive option and it can be activated up to 800 feet away, making it an option for those who live in an apartment or small house.

A waterproof, wireless help button can be added to the system for extra protection in case the user happens to remove their pendant or wrist device, and the non-rechargeable batteries in the help buttons last up to seven years. There’s a battery back-up system on the base unit that provides power for up to 72 hours.

Life Alert’s mobile medical alert pendant works off existing GSM cellular networks, includes GPS tracking. Like the in-home units, the battery on the mobile device lasts up to 10 years and never needs recharging. Unlike many other medical alert companies, Life Alert doesn’t offer fall-detection technology.

It’s important to note that Life Alert requires subscribers to sign a three-year monitoring service contract that can only be cancelled under certain conditions with documentation from a medical doctor. Activation fees range from $95 to $198, and basic services start at $49 per month.

Life Alert Pros:

  • Waterproof, wearable emergency help buttons
  • Established U.S. company that operates its own emergency call center
  • Mobile GPS-enabled help button never needs recharging
  • Up to 72 hour battery back-up on base units
  • Offers landline and cellular-based systems
  • Customers have choice of either a pendant or wrist-worn call button (for in-home systems)
  • Battery on help button never needs charging

Life Alert Cons:

  • Subscribers must sign a three-year service contract that’s very difficult to cancel
  • Fall detection is not available
  • Pricing is not provided online — consumers must call a Life Alert sales agent for information
  • Activation fees start at $95
  • Monthly monitoring costs are high compared to other companies
  • There are numerous consumer complaints regarding the length of the service contract, high pressure sales tactics and poor customer service

Our Pick

Although MobileHelp and Life Alert are both well-established, U.S.-based companies and similar monitoring services, when comparing the two providers MobileHelp is clearly the best option.

MobileHelp offers a much wider range of devices than Life Alert does, giving consumers the ability to pick the system that best fits their needs, preferences and budget. We also appreciate the fact that MobileHelp lists all of their pricing right on their website, so potential subscribers can review the costs and options at their leisure. On the other hand, Life Alert only discloses their pricing through it’s telephone sales agents, which has led to consumer complaints over high-pressure sales tactics

We dislike Life Alert’s three-year service monitoring contract, particularly since most other medical alert companies offer contract-free services. There are a number of online complaints from current and former Life Alert customers who have found themselves stuck paying for a medical alert service that they, or their loved ones, no longer require when a subscriber moves into a 24-hour care facility or passes away.

By comparison, MobileHelp doesn’t require a service contract and the only product that consumers must pay for upfront is the MobileHelp Smart watch — all other equipment is included in the monthly monitoring fees. To get the lowest possible monthly price, subscribers do need to prepay for one year of service, however, MobileHelp does let customers cancel at any time and any remaining prepaid fees are refunded.

Simply put, we just can’t recommend Life Alert to any consumers given that there are so many superior systems available through companies such as MobileHelp.

Compare Other Medical Alert Options

To learn more about other medical alert systems, personal help buttons and wireless call devices, take a look at our other reviews comparing the best medical alert systems available on the market today. Remember, choosing the right medical alert system for yourself or your loved one can make all the difference when it comes to getting help quickly in the event of an emergency.