Our Alert1 Home medical alert review will not only cover every critical feature of this particular system, outlining its pros and cons, but it will also touch on a (technically) different system—the Alert1 Home Fall Detection. The latter system naturally includes fall detection, but it also uses a cellular network.
Everything else about them is the same, including their drawbacks: a short pendant range and a comparatively short base unit battery life. Alert1 has one significant advantage over all other medical alert systems—they are the only company that offers every additional feature you could imagine. You’re also required to pay for a minimum of three months of service, which we didn’t like.
To be fair, they compensate for this by offering dramatically lower monthly fees if you opt for the annual plan. That pricing option rivals Bay Alarm Medical’s in-home system, the most affordable on our list. If you want to see the complete offer from this company, check out our Alert1 review.
Alert1 Medical Alert System’s Design & Major Features
The base units of the Alert1 Home and Home Fall Detection are identical from the outside. The only difference is that the former connects via a landline while the latter uses cellular technology. On the face of the white base unit there’s an oval red emergency button in the center and a smaller round green reset button to the right; both with Braille lettering. Next to the emergency button, there’s an alarm status that flashes when you call for help.
If you’ve read Bay Alarm Medical reviews, you know that unlike their reset button, most other systems’ reset buttons don’t cancel the call. In fact, they only silence the alarm, as is the case here. Above the emergency button, there’s a large speaker, and next to it, there’s a microphone on one side and test and power buttons on the other side. The test button allows you to check the equipment without placing a call to the response center.
Their website doesn’t allow you to easily select a help wristband when you’re ordering the system, so most Alert1 Home medical alert reviews don’t even mention it. However, the neck pendant is not your only choice for a help button. Both are small and waterproof, but the neck pendant has a substantial red help button. This is a good solution for those who prefer an obvious button, while the wristband’s light green help button is much more discreet.
The 600-foot pendant range is among the shortest, though not as short as the one criticized in the Mobile Guardian Medical Guardian reviews. Also, we have to note that the 24-hour battery life of the base unit is among the shortest on the market. Although sufficient during most power outages, we would appreciate longer battery life, especially for the more portable cellular option.
Additional Features & Accessories
Alert1 additional features are the star of this show because this is the only company that offers every single one available. The additional features start with fall detection which costs an extra $11 per month. With it, you’ll also get the cellular base unit. Though we don’t consider the mobile option to be an additional feature, it’s certainly an upgrade you’ll get for free. Technically, you can also add a GPS “pendant,” but that’s a separate mobile system that costs around $48 per month.
If you look at Life Alert reviews, one of the complaints this company faces is that their pricing isn’t transparent. With Alert1, you get fully transparent pricing, but the Alert1 website isn’t very intuitive when you want to order additional features. You can only select the payment plan and choose if you wish to add a second user when ordering a system. Spouse monitoring costs an extra $5 per month. However, to add the pendant for the second user, you must go to the accessories page and add them individually.
If we again compare them to Life Alert, cost differences are substantial. Alert1’s additional features are much more affordable. On top of that, besides the monthly monitoring fee for the second person, and the $10 monthly fee for the monitored smoke detector, no other accessory adds to your monthly bill. They only require a one-time payment for the equipment.
Regular additional pendants/wristbands cost around $20, while the fall detection pendant is about $31. Wall-mounted buttons and the lockbox cost around $40. A voice extender, the rarest accessory, costs approximately $100. It acts as a secondary base unit that you can communicate through. It’s an excellent option for large houses. Finally, instead of wellness checks and medication reminders, they offer an automatic medication dispenser for around $150.
Most Life Station reviews emphasize that their first-class emergency response center is the best in the industry, but their agents provide help only in English. That’s great if you’re an English speaker, but the US is a diverse country, and many people need a 24/7 response center in their native language. Alert1’s monitoring services can provide help in as many languages as there are sovereign states in this world—nearly 200.
Furthermore, their agents are always professional and courteous, and overall we have no Alert 1 complaints regarding their personnel. However, the response times of their monitoring services could be better. At 45 seconds, they’re average at best. This can partly be due to the equipment, as various medical alert systems from the same company have different response times from the same monitoring service. Some systems take up to 20 seconds for the dialing procedure alone. While the best service picked up after just 15 seconds, we find any result under a minute perfectly adequate.
Alert 1 Cost & Contracts
The pricing for the Alert1 Home medical alert is affordable, though they favor a longer commitment. It’s important to note that you cannot opt for just one month of service. The minimum payment is for three months. The monthly fee when billed quarterly is around $26, which is inexpensive in itself, but the semi-annual and annual plans bring the price down to just under $20. This is the absolute lowest price for a landline in-home system matched only by Bay Alarm Medical. The cellular option costs around $37 and $31 for corresponding payment plans, but as explained, this one includes fall detection.
If we make a comparison of Alert1 vs Life Alert, the most famous medical alert company, Alert1 wins in every aspect when it comes to contracts and additional fees. Though they require a three-month advance, no yearly arrangements are necessary. Moreover, you have the option to cancel within 30 days and receive a full refund. Formally, there is a $50 activation fee, and a shipping fee of around $16. However, more often than not, both are waived or reduced during promotions that can also include a free month of service, with or without an Alert1 promo code. In either case, there are also no device fees for the necessary equipment.
Ordering & Setup
Call the toll-free number 1-866-581-4540 to order the Alert1 system. An agent will explain all the options to you and take your personal and emergency contact information. Ordering the system online is a bit tricky, as illustrated in the additional features section of our review. However, we must also note that they guide you through the selection process by suggesting fall detection, mobile GPS systems if you want a greater range, and so on.
The setup process is as comfortable as plugging in the power cord of the base station and connecting the phone cord. However, an additional step is required that most other systems don’t have—you need to pair the base unit and the help buttons. Although this only takes a few seconds, it can be a pain in the neck. First, press the reset button for five seconds until the base unit beeps twice and the power indicator starts blinking green. Then, press the emergency button and the portable help button until it beeps again. Finally, press the reset button again, and after you’ve placed a test call, your system is ready to go.