What happens when a trusted name in home security enters the medical alert systems market? You get ADT Health & Senior Safety Medical Alert — an easy-to-use alert system with optional fall detection and no long-term contracts. We recently tested out their full lineup for seniors. And while the service has limited options, we think you or a loved one might enjoy the basic protection you get from this reputable brand.
Of course, we did come across a few disadvantages. The price is a bit steep, but with their Forever Rate offer, you’ll never be blindsided by a rate hike (if you ask us, that sounds pretty good!).
They also have limited equipment and features compared to the competition. But what they lack in options, they make up for with (a literal century!) of industry experience and reliability. So sit back and relax, we’re going to share everything you need to know about ADT’s alert systems in our full review — the good and the bad. Let’s get to it!
ADT is quickly becoming one of the most trusted providers of medical alert services in the United States. The company is best known for its security products, with a 145-years of experience under its belt (they’ve been in business since before the Titanic!). They have more than 6 million customers around the country,1 so this is a well-established business you can feel confident in.
Note that the company was founded as a result of a nighttime break-in. The founder of American District Telegraph (ADT), Edward Callahan, created a telegraph-based “call-box” to signal for help to a central office. He then quickly connected 50 other homes in the neighborhood, creating the first residential security system network.
We think it’s only natural that ADT would dive into the alert system space. Today, the company places value on their customers’ trust, and this really shines through with their ethics-based programs and focus on social responsibility.2 We think it’s a big reason why they’re one of the top alert companies in the industry.
We always enjoy digging into ADT’s website, and we like that they showcase video testimonials from families who have benefited from their alert systems. It’s refreshing to hear from seniors and their experience with ADT’s alert products. But honestly, we don’t put too much stock in testimonials/reviews listed on a company’s site.
ADT also has a neat “Resources” tab on their website which provides safety tips and articles for customers and caregivers (including pet safety tips which we really appreciated!). However, one of our biggest gripes with ADT is that they don’t allow you to sign up for the service online. In order to subscribe to a plan, you have to call and speak to an ADT Specialist, or fill out a form to have them contact you. Fortunately, we dialed in and had an agent on the line pretty quickly.
The sales process was fairly stress-free, and we were able to learn about available promotions and discounts. Finally, we gave them some personal info and that’s it — we walked away with a free pendant and battery replacement, as well as next-day shipping.
Did You Know: ADT Health doesn’t require you to sign any long-term contracts. You can get a month-to-month agreement or reduce your costs by paying quarterly or annually.
Setting up our ADT system was fairly straightforward. Similar to other alert brands, we just plugged in the base station and called in to activate the system. For both the base unit and ADT’s on-the-go devices, set-up is fast and easy. You simply place the base station in a central part of your home (like your living room or near your bedroom), plug in to the wall, and then call to activate.
For the base unit, you’ll slide the switch to the “On” position and the display should then say “SYSTEM READY.” Keep in mind you’ll get 300-600 ft. range depending on the plan you get, which we found to be a much shorter in-home range compared to the competition (like Medical Guardian’s solid 1,300-ft coverage).
As for the mobile device, a green LED light appears once it’s plugged in. All of this took us less than 10 minutes from beginning to end. We think most seniors won’t have any problems getting started.
FYI: The cellular devices from ADT Health & Senior Safety use the AT&T network for mobile coverage. This flexibility is a pretty good deal since landlines are becoming less common.
In our experience, like most alert systems we’ve tested, using ADT is quite easy. Getting your devices up-and-running is almost as simple as plugging it in and calling it a day! The company has loads of experience in making easy-to-use home security systems, and their expertise really shows in the design of their alert systems. We especially appreciate that ADT’s Basic and Plus base units include a light that comes on every 30 days to remind you to test if your medical alert unit is working properly, which we think is a nice touch for peace of mind.
We found ADT’s wearable wrist button and pendants are fairly comfortable to wear. However, they’re somewhat bulkier than we’d like (on par with One Call Alert’s no-fuss design). Still, it didn’t take long to forget we were even wearing them. And both are 100% waterproof so you can wear them in the shower, bathtub, or while washing dishes. With that said, the palm-size GPS button is a bit larger and easier to misplace, yet we consider it small in comparison to a cell phone.
During testing, we did feel safe and secure using ADT’s monitoring alerts. The company owns and operates all of its emergency response monitoring centers, so you would never get shuffled around in a time of crisis. And if English isn’t your native language, they also offer multilingual support, which we always like to see.
When we tested out the button, the average call response time was faster than the industry average. In fact, we were impressed that emergency personnel were in touch within 20 seconds3 (compared to the industry average of 30-40 seconds). Not bad.
Keep in mind, ADT agents will dispatch first responders if necessary, but you also have the option of having the monitoring center contact a close friend or family member, neighbor, or caregiver first. We especially liked that a highly-trained agent was on the line with us within seconds — and stayed with us until we didn’t need them.
We were able to reach an ADT customer service rep by answering a few questions using the LiveChat feature of their website. We’re big on customer service when testing out alert brands, so we weren’t all that surprised to have someone there to help within 30 seconds. But still, 30 seconds is pretty quick! This speaks to how ADT values customer satisfaction.
You can also reach out to them by phone. Their regular customer service hours are from 7 am to 12 am EST Monday through Friday, and from 9 am to 9 pm on weekends. And they certainly have plenty of useful resources you can find on their website as well. Overall, ADT’s customer service is above-average compared to the competition.
FYI: The rate that you sign up for is the rate that you’ll pay forever through ADT’s Forever Rate program. We always like to see price-lock guarantees like this.
Now, let’s check out the goods! All of ADT’s plans come with a base station and medical alert button. The primary difference with the mobile medical alert plan versus the at-home plans is that the mobile base station is designed to be carried around with you. It’s palm-sized, has long battery life, and uses LED indicator lights to show you the battery’s level and your signal strength. Here’s the full lineup of ADT alert systems you can choose from:
This basic plan is ADT’s most affordable option at $29.99 per month. It’s ideal if you live in a smaller home, as long as you don’t have a yard to worry about. This alert system is intended for indoor use only, as it only offers a 300-foot range (very poor range compared to others in the industry, like Bay Alarm’s 1,000-ft range). Other features include:
This in-home system uses cellular service so you don’t need a landline. The medical alert button can communicate with the base station up to 600 feet away to give you inside and (some) yard coverage. But at $35.99 per month, we think it should include better coverage and features. Here are the features you do get:
Do you often leave your home? If so, we think this plan might suit your active lifestyle. It’s a fully mobile service that consists of an On-the-Go Emergency Response device and the medical alarm pendant for $39.99 per month. As long as you stay within 100 feet of the small response device, you’ll have emergency help close at hand. Features include:
Did You Know: If you’re not happy with ADT, the company offers a 6-month, money-back guarantee. If ADT can’t resolve your system or service concerns, they’ll refund your installation and monitoring fees. It’s the best guarantee in the business.
ADT didn’t exactly blow us away in this category. We found their features fairly standard and limited compared to other brands we’ve tested. However, if you need additional wearable buttons, or if you want to upgrade, you can add in these extras for a small charge. Overall, we didn’t find anything exceptional about the below options:
This works great for showers and other locations in the home where you might end up having an accident without your medical alert button. For only $14.99, they’re easy to install and can be a literal lifesaver.
The inexpensive fall detection upgrade is well worth the peace of mind. Since many serious injuries are caused by slips and falls, you could end up in a situation where you’re unable to use the medical alert button by pressing it yourself. Thankfully, fall detection can sense a fall and automatically contact the monitoring center so you get the rapid response you need. For an extra $5 per month, we recommend it as a worthwhile investment.
FYI: Each year, one out of three people ages 65 and over will fall.4 While the technology is not 100% accurate, fall detection can save a life!
All in all, we enjoyed our latest round of ADT alert system testing. While the quality is on-par with some of our favorite alert systems, we would like to see the company offer more in the way of features and overall better range/coverage for their in-home devices. In our opinion, 300-600 ft. simply doesn’t cut it.
Also, the systems start at about $30 per month for basic protection (so keep in mind they aren’t cheap!). Compared to other options offered by other brands, we must say, ADT is a bit on the expensive side.
With that said, ADT is a trusted name in the home monitoring world (mainly known for their home security offering), and we think they’re doing an excellent job at offering top-notch alert systems as well. We think the products are relatively basic, with nothing too fancy going on — but we found that ADT does the basics quite well!
The company offers reliable monitoring and their response times were fast (comparable to some of the best medical alert systems out there!). But more importantly, we get the sense that the entire ADT team cares about seniors and is looking out for their best interest — so we actually think it’s great peace of mind for the price.
ADT Inc. (2020, April 2). Wikipedia. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
ADT.com. (2020). ADT is Committed to Your Home and Business Security.
The Senior List. (2019). Life Alert vs ADT.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Important Facts About Falls.