As online Life Alert reviews state, this company is among the top choices for people in need of a reliable medical system alert provider. Founded in 1987, today the company is a medical alert industry leader that claims to handle over 2 million calls a year and saves a life every 11 minutes.
This brand has become synonymous with medical alert systems thanks to their long presence on the market. Aside from their extensive experience in the field, the popular “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” ad campaign played a major part in building their brand name. Much more than that, these commercials helped popularize the overall idea of medical alert systems.
Nowadays, these ads seem not to have lost their popularity. On the contrary, there are a number of videos, gifs, and even a Life Alert meme generator all inspired by the commercials. Nevertheless, we are more interested in the company’s services and the systems they have to offer. With that thought in mind, we tested their devices to learn more about their strong and weak points.
The Complete Lineup of Products
While conducting this research, we had some difficulties gathering information about the firm’s products, as well as placing an order. After quite the struggle, we learned that there are only three Life Alert systems available, divided into two categories: in-home and on-the-go medical alert systems.
We were surprised by the lack of choice since the company is, after all, so well known. Although they’re among the pioneers of this business, it seems they were bested by the offerings their competitors put forward. In addition, there isn’t much that differentiates these devices, and more often than not customers don’t understand the differences between the individual systems offered by this company.
However, we tested them in person and got to know more about their (dis)similarities and exactly how they work.
How Does Life Alert Work?
There are two in-home solutions that work pretty much the same as any other in-home system does. The wearable pendant functions as a signaling device that connects the user to the call center. On the other hand, the base console is in charge of making the call. These systems can connect to a traditional phone line or a cellular network.
The only noticeable difference between the two in-home systems is the fact that the first uses the basic setup with a home unit and a wearable Life Alert bracelet or a neck pendant. The second system adds a Help button to the basic setup. Hence, aside from the Help button, their equipment is completely alike.
The white base unit features a loudspeaker on the top left and a sensitive microphone on the bottom right. Of course, there is also a Help and a Cancel button, as well as different indicators on the base console itself.
The wearable pendant, as mentioned above, can be worn either as a Life Alert wristband or a necklace. The button is 100% waterproof, so users don’t need to worry about damaging it while showering. Its 800-foot range is relatively good, almost as good as the 1000 feet that the Bay Alarm Medical In-Home system covers.
The backup battery of the base console can last up to 72 hours. The only brand that can match this battery life is Rescue’s Alert in-home solution, as discussed in our Rescue Alert Medical Alert System review. In addition, the pendant’s battery can last up to 10 years!
If you want to learn more about these systems, check out our Life Alert Medical Alert System Review.
The On-the-Go Solution
Most medical alert providers today focus on developing improved mobile systems that offer unlimited protection, whether in or out of the home. Life Alert also manufactures a mobile pendant which is an all-in-one device that uses a cellular network. The GPS System is basically a combination of the in-home systems, but this solution adds, as you’ve guessed, GPS tracking.
A number of mobile devices that incorporate GPS also allow family members to use their loved one’s GPS address to track their location and activity. However, the GPS feature by this company doesn’t involve family members, but it is, rather, strictly limited to the user and call center.
Overall, this system is not as advanced as other mobile medical alert solutions available on the market. However, it is the most superior product this company has to offer, hence it comes at the highest Life Alert price.
Additional Features & Accessories
Companies nowadays come up with special accessories that boost the efficiency of their systems. In our Alert1 review, we listed a number of the upgrades the company proudly supplies their customers with. Moreover, brands often include some of these accessories as an added bonus when people opt for their services. For example, as mentioned in the MobileHelp review, if you get the Duo package, you will receive a free Help button as a gift.
If you like the idea of getting upgrades for free, Life Alert may not be the right choice. As a matter of fact, even if you don’t mind paying for such additional features, you don’t have much of a choice. Aside from wall-mounted buttons and home intrusion protection, we couldn’t find any additional upgrades. For a long time, the company used to offer CO monitoring, as well as smoke and fire detectors, but it seems these are no longer an option either.
Probably the most important feature of all medical alert systems is fall detection. Seeing as this company built a name for itself thanks to the famous Life Alert commercial of elderly people falling, we were disappointed to learn the company doesn’t offer fall detection pendants.
In addition, another feature almost any medical alert provider offers, but this one doesn’t, is a lockbox. We are willing to overlook the lack of voice extenders since we didn’t come across many companies that offer such a feature. But unlike Philips Lifeline, for instance, this brand fails to deliver medication reminders and wellness checks.
How Much Does Life Alert Cost?
Depending on your package of choice, the prices of the subscription may significantly vary. Nevertheless, note that the company is not transparent with its pricing, and you literally can’t find any info about the costs on the official Life Alert website.
Moreover, you can’t place an order directly through the brand’s website. Instead, you have to give them a call and request a Life Alert brochure. If you want to make a purchase, you have to talk to a salesperson.
Usually, the monthly cost of the basic in-home system is around $50. The upgraded in-home system with a Help button is priced at something less than $70 a month, and the mobile solution comes with a monthly subscription at around $90 per month. However, since there is no information about their payment structure on their website, make sure you always contact the sales department. Their plans are on the expensive side, and how much Life Alert will cost depends on ongoing promotions and discounts.
A major drawback is the three-year long-term contract users are expected to sign. While they don’t charge shipping fees on their equipment and they offer a no-charge warranty, their systems come with a one-time activation fee of $96 for the in-home systems, while the mobile solution requires an up-front payment of around $200.
The company’s services surely come in on the higher end for both the in- and out-of-home solutions. Moreover, they don’t offer a 30-day trial period, and considering the long-term contract, that’s not a risk everyone is willing to take. Taking all of the above into consideration, there are a number of Life Alert alternatives that come at a much lower price with better contract conditions. Feel free to check some of those on our website!
Call Center Review
Even though the company doesn’t stand out in much of our criteria, the call center is a plus. They run their own UL and CSAA 5-Diamond certified monitoring center, available 24/7, not only for medical emergencies but in case of a home intrusion as well.
The call center has been operating for 30 years now. Their policy to maintain a strong staff-to-customer ratio ensures quick and personalized responses. In our testing, their response time was around 40 seconds on average, sometimes less, sometimes more, but always under one minute. On a negative note, their language support is limited to English only.
Pros & Cons
Life Alert is the most famous supplier of medical alert systems. They claim to have averted more than 45,000 bad outcomes in 2017 alone. Moreover, although not the fastest, their call center shows some average response times. Their staff will stay on the line until your emergency has been sorted out, regardless if it is a medical emergency call or a home intrusion.
There is no equipment fee, and the equipment is easy to operate. The wearable pendant is 100% waterproof and offers an 800-foot range. Also, users get a lifetime warranty on the gear, free of charge.
Life Alert prices are not exactly competitive. Even though their systems lack some features other products of the kind offer, they are still pricier as compared to other companies. They offer one month for free if customers opt for an annual payment, but there are no discounts when it comes to a month-to-month payment.
Even more, you can’t find any information about the prices on their website. Instead, if you are interested in buying a device from this brand, you have to give them a call. They sell their products exclusively through their sales department, and not online.
That being said, if you haven’t contacted the company’s sales representatives, don’t go by any other Life Alert cost; Walmart, Amazon, and any other online stores are not the official vendors.
There are also no additional features users can upgrade their systems with. Even if we were willing to turn a blind eye on the lack of smoke detectors or CO monitoring, the fact that there is no fall detection is a major drawback. On top of that, users are required to sign a three-year contract, and there is no way for the system to be returned if it doesn’t suit your needs.
The company doesn’t offer some of the more advanced systems, but its call center is among the top rated in the industry. In a number of the Life Alert reviews by customers we found online, users say that the reason they opted for this medical alert provider is their vast experience in the field. However, if you are in need of a more flexible solution with better features and a company that is straightforward about their payment options, the market offers an abundance of choices!