Best Affordable Medical Alert Systems

For those on fixed incomes, making an investment into a medical alert system can be financially stressful. Check out our list of the cheapest medical alert systems on the market.

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Bay Alarm Medical Image
Bay Alarm Medical
SecureScore™: 9.3/10
With Bay Alarm Medical, there are no monthly contracts, hidden fees, or extra charges. They have something for everyone’s budget, and you can try them out risk free for 30 days. Choose between in-home, Mobile GPS, and In-Car Medical Alert Systems.
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Medical Guardian Image
Medical Guardian
SecureScore™: 9.1/10
Medical Guardian offers affordable landline, cellular-based, and on-the-go medical monitoring systems. Prices start at just $29.95 per month and come with 24/7 professional monitoring, free self-installation, optional fall detection, and water-resistant buttons.
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Lively Image
SecureScore™: 7.8/10
Lively offers several medical alert systems. The Lively Mobile Medical Alert button is just $49.99 for activation plus the first month’s monitoring plan. Lively’s medical alert system includes cellular monitoring, GPS and fall detection. Most basic medical alert systems do not include all of these features.
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List of the Cheapest Medical Alert Systems

MobileHelp Mobile Solo

  • Bay Alarm Medical - Bay Alarm Medical Alert Systems are great options for seniors who are on a limited budget. This includes hybrid systems, which offer at-home plus mobile devices. Bay Alarm Medical does not require monthly contracts, hidden fees, or extra charges, and recently they’ve reduced the price on some of their mobile equipment.
  • Medical Guardian - Medical Guardian is another very good low-cost medical alert system. For around $1 day, you can get a medical alert necklace or bracelet that can be worn at home.
  • Lively - Lively offers four on-the-go medical alert systems that are cost-friendly and filled with advanced features. And they keep pricing simple, with all systems charging the same low monthly fee.
  • MobileHelp - MobileHelp is another good low-cost medical alert system. It offers an array of affordable at-home and mobile systems with no equipment fees, and it’s one of the few providers around to offer a highly discounted on-the-go system for spouses.

What to Consider When Shopping for an Affordable Medical Alert System

Comparison shopping is always a good idea. However, comparing the price of medical alert systems is complicated because you will not find one single price tag. Instead, you will find various charges.

When evaluating the costs, begin with the two biggest expenses, monthly monitoring fees and equipment fees. The monitoring fees are usually between $20 and $50 per month. If you’re shopping for an at-home system (usually less expensive than an on-the-go system), keep in mind that providers typically offer a landline option and a cellular option. (The cellular system is normally about $10 higher in price.)

As far as equipment goes, you may or may not be charged. Some companies, like Bay Alarm Medical charge you upfront for equipment, but that allows them to keep monitoring costs low. Others, like MobileHelp, offer free equipment, but you may pay more money per month for monitoring depending on which system you choose.

FYI: For more general information on what to look for when shopping for a medical alert system, read our Medical Alert Systems Buying Guide.

Providers usually offer fall detection as an optional add-on, charging an additional $5 to $10 monthly fee. A few systems, like Lifeline, include fall detection in their monthly fees, but these fees tend to be slightly higher. So it’s a good idea to ask about the cost of fall detection when shopping. Our analysis of the best medical alert systems with fall detection is a great place to start.

Pro Tip: For most at-home systems, fall detection is embedded within a pendant that also includes a help button and is worn around the neck. With on-the-go systems, fall detection is most often embedded within the mobile device.

In addition to fall detection, providers offer extras so that you can customize your system. For example, many providers offer complementary products like a lockbox so that emergency personnel can easily enter your home if necessary. They also offer complementary services like a telehealth option. These extras do come with an additional cost.

In addition, be aware that providers sometimes charge one-time activation, initiation, or even membership fees. Shipping might be another additional upfront cost, which may not be covered by all providers.

Finally, be on the lookout for sales and promotions. Check the websites frequently and ask about specials with customer service. You can definitely find some good bargains out there.

After reviewing and comparing the costs and features of a dozen or more medical alert systems, we have compiled a list of four relatively cheap alert systems that stand out for both their protection and their affordability. Take a look at our list below.

  • 1 Bay Alarm Medical - Best Overall

    Bay Alarm Medical Product Image
    SecureScore™ 9.3
    Customer Service
    Features & Technology
    Ease Of Use

    Bay Alarm Medical is known for their low monthly prices. Their at-home systems start at $24.95 per month while their on-the-go systems start at $31.95 per month. These are competitive prices. Note that while Bay Alarm’s at-home systems do not come with an equipment fee, their on-the-go systems do require that you purchase the equipment. However, this is in line with industry standards. We also like their customer- friendly policies, like free at-home monitoring for spouses, that can result in more money in your pocket.

    • Excellent response time with emergency response center
    • Stylish appearance of smartwatch
    • Extra features on smartwatch, like step tracker
    • Extra layer of protection with dual system
    • No activation fee
    • Above-average range on at-home systems
    • Newly updated on-the-go necklace

    • Lengthy wait time with customer service
    • Battery life only 6 to 18 hours on the smartwatch
    • Equipment fee on some systems

    Bay Alarm Medical rents most of its equipment, and still keeps its monthly fees low. All of their at-home and on-the-go systems start at under $35 per month. These are fantastic prices, especially for the mobile systems, which typically run $5 to $10 higher per month. Bay Alarm also offers several hybrid packages combining an at-home product with an on-the-go product. These all-in-one systems start at the relatively low price of $39.95. See our Bay Alarm Medical pricing guide for a thorough explanation of their packages.

    Bay Alarm Medical Equipment

    Bay Alarm Medical Equipment

    Recently, Bay Alarm added a caregiver tracking app, available with the SOS Mobile and SOS All-in-One. With an older adult’s permission, this app allows caregivers to check on their loved one’s location. Unlike with some providers, Bay Alarm does not charge an additional fee for this feature.

    Notably, Bay Alarm does not charge any hidden fees like activation or initiation. The only extra you may need to cover, depending on which package you choose, is a one-time shipping cost.

    Bay Alarm Medical SOS Smartwatch Digital Face

    Bay Alarm Medical SOS Smartwatch Digital Face

    It offers other financial benefits, too. With every order comes a lifetime price- lock. In other words, your monthly fees will never increase as long as you maintain your system. In addition, Bay Alarm offers free at-home monitoring for spouses. You will need to purchase an additional pendant, but the monthly fee is waived. And finally, Bay Alarm offers a 30-day free trial period — something to consider if you are unsure that you will like the system.

    If we have piqued your interest, learn more in our Bay Alarm Medical review.

  • 2 Medical Guardian - Best A-La-Carte Options

    Medical Guardian Product Image
    SecureScore™ 9.1
    Customer Service
    Features & Technology
    Ease Of Use

    One of the things we like best about Medical Guardian is that they have a system to fit any budget. As we covered in our full Medical Guardian review, this medical alert system is a great option for customers who want an at-home personal alert system at an affordable price. They offer two different systems — one cellular based and one landline based — for you to choose from. And for those who want an on-the-go system, you will have three great options with one affordable monthly fee.

    • Streamlined System
    • No Activation or Installation Charge
    • Provides Full Coverage at Home and While Away
    • Lots of A La Carte Options
    • TMA Five Diamond Certified Monitoring Center
    • Online customer portal to manage care
    • Water-resistant technology
    • Unique reminders and message app options

    • Response Time Could Be More Consistent
    • Somewhat high equipment fees

    With the Classic Guardian, you pay just $29.95 a month or $27.95 a month when you sign up for a year’s worth of the service. You get a base station that covers you up to 1300 feet and either a pendant or wristband with no up-front costs. The more advanced Home 2.0 system is a bit pricier at $124.95, and monthly monitoring is a bit more as well: $34.95. However, it connects through 4G and includes a 32-hour backup battery. Best of all, it has Voice Assist technology, which lets you find out exactly how your system is doing with just the touch of a button.

    Classic Guardian from Medical Guardian

    Classic Guardian from Medical Guardian

    Medical Guardian also offers on-the-go medical alert systems at a reasonable price. These start at just $39.95 a month and include a variety of features, such as location tracking with GPS, clear-2-way communication and cellular backup. However, they do come with equipment fees. The MGMove costs $199.95; the Mini Guardian costs $149.95; and the Mobile 2.0 costs $124.95.

    One of the advantages of Medical Guardian over other similarly-priced systems is the range. The Classic Guardian offers 1,300 feet in range, and the Home 2.0 offers a range of 1,400 feet away from the base station. That makes this system great for customers who work outside in the yard or garden.

    Medical Guardian’s pricing is transparent which makes shopping with them straightforward and easy. You will not find any hidden fees with this provider.

  • 3 Lively - Best Caregivers App

    Lively Product Image
    SecureScore™ 7.8
    Customer Service
    Features & Technology
    Ease Of Use

    Lively, formerly called GreatCall, has carved their own niche in the medical alert market. They only sell on-the-go systems consisting of: a traditional help button, a watch that works in conjunction with a smartphone, and two cell phones adapted for older adults. Although many may be initially turned off by the fact that all of their products have equipment fees, we think they deserve a place on this list due to the value their products bring. Not to mention that they offer very low monthly fees, starting at $24.99 for all four of their offerings.

    Lively has also partnered with both the Apple phone and Alexa devices, offering an app through which the user can access Lively’s professional monitoring centers.

    • Quick Response Time
    • Free App to Assist Caregivers
    • One-of-a-Kind Service that Connects With Doctors/Nurse Practitioners
    • Sleek and Contemporary Design
    • Location Detection for Both the Response Center and Caregivers
    • Unique features on phones like camera and brain games

    • Design of Battery Case Could Be Better
    • Activation fees included on some products

    Lively’s feature products are the Jitterbug Smart3, a Samsung Android smartphone, and the Jitterbug Flip2, a Samsung folding cellular phone, which come with equipment fees of $149.99 and $99.99 respectively. While it’s not inexpensive, it’s a considerable bargain when compared to other cellular phones on the market that will likely run in the hundreds of dollars. These phones include everything that other Samsung phones include, plus adaptations and special features for older adults. So if you need to buy or replace your current phone, you will actually be saving money by purchasing your phone and medical alert system together.

    We should mention that Lively both hits you up with a few extra charges yet provides places for decent savings. We’ll start with the good stuff. Lively’s pricing system is flexible. Lively frequently runs sales on their monthly fees, so it pays to keep an eye on their website. Also, from our experience speaking with Lively’s sales team, their equipment fees have flexibility, too. So definitely inquire about any promotions or discounts that you could tap into.

    Lively Watch

    Lively Watch

    That said, Lively does come with some extra costs. First, you can expect to pay a $35 activation fee if you purchase either phone. (The Lively Mobile Plus and Lively Wearable2 do not require activation fees.) In addition, you will be paying an additional monthly fee for talk, text, and data. However, this cost is something that you would pay anyway with any other cellular service.

    We will say, though, that Lively’s monthly packages are really affordable, especially when you consider that you’re getting phone service and medical monitoring in one device. Lively offers two Health & Safety packages. The Basic package, costing $24.99 per month, includes access to professional monitoring and a caregivers app. The Preferred package costs a little more, $34.99 per month, but features a telehealth service. Fall detection can also be added to either Health & Safety Package for $9.99 per month with the Lively Mobile Plus or Lively Wearable only.

    Overall, we think Lively offers affordable systems given their low starting monthly fees and comparatively low equipment fees. But, Lively offers yet a few other enticements. If you’re an AARP member, you can save $5 per month on select health and safety packages with the purchase of a Lively Wearable2 or a Lively Mobile Plus. And, with their Refer-a-Friend program, when a referral activates their Lively phone or device, both you and your referral will receive a one-time $25 credit on your monthly bill.

    One thing to be aware of is that the Lively Wearable has been discontinued. However, while you can no longer purchase this device on the Lively website, you can still find it in some retail stores.

    Read more about these affordable and comprehensive on-the-go systems in our in-depth Lively analysis.

  • 4 MobileHelp - Best Mobile Options

    MobileHelp Product Image
    SecureScore™ 8.7
    Customer Service
    Features & Technology
    Ease Of Use

    MobileHelp makes our list of most affordable systems due to its relatively low monthly fees coupled with no equipment charges. In addition, it offers two really appealing bargains: an on-the-go system for couples or two members of the same household and a hybrid system with both at-home and on-the-go devices. And it also includes MobileHelp Connect, an online portal, as part of all of its packages. This definitely brings added value to their systems. Speaking of systems, MobileHelp offers seven of them: three at-home (mobile and cellular), two on-the-go, and two hybrid (at-home and on the go).

    • Telehealth Platform Available as an Add-On
    • Free Lockbox With Every Order
    • 30-Day Free Trial
    • No Equipment Fee
    • Online Portal Adds Additional Value
    • Great Choice for Active Seniors

    • Fall Detection Requires an Additional Pendant
    • Mobile Device Is Somewhat Clunky
    • Some Packages Include Activation Fees

    With seven MobileHelp at-home and on-the-go systems to choose from, you are likely to find something that fits your needs at an affordable price. One of the nicest things about MobileHelp is that you pay no up-front costs for equipment. Instead, you choose a monitoring plan and the equipment for that plan is absolutely free. Of course, you’ll pay extra for any extra devices or equipment. And the cost of those monthly plans? The cheapest of MobileHelp’s at-home systems, MobileHelp Classic runs just $19.95 a month, while the MobileHelp WiredHome plan costs $24.95. You’ll pay a one-time connection fee of $49.95 activation fee. Still, if you use the system more than five months, it beats other systems that charge $10 more per month. And these are highly-rated at-home systems with excellent ranges of 1,300 to 1,400 feet.

    MobileHelp MD 4 on Charger

    MobileHelp MD 4 on Charger

    The basic on-the-go system is the MobileHelp Solo. The device’s design is not the most discreet we have seen, but it contains all of the important safety features we expect, like two-way talk, location detection, and optional fall detection for a $37.95 monthly fee. (Most mobile devices come with monthly fees between $37 and $40.)

    Where you will really see some savings is with a few of their two-for-one systems. And while they are not exactly two-for-one, they still offer fantastic savings. For example, the Mobile Duo for spouses offers two of the Solo devices for only $44.95 per month. And the MobileHelp Duo offers the Solo plus an at-home base unit and help button for only $41.95 per month. That is complete protection at a low cost. And don’t forget — no equipment fees. But be aware that you will be charged for shipping.

    You’ll also have an opportunity to save some money through MobileHelp’s referral program. If you refer someone to MobileHelp, they will reward both you and your friend with a $200 service discount after the friend purchases a system and remains enrolled for at least 60 days.

    You can find more information about MobileHelp’s pricing and packages in our MobileHelp review.

Can I Afford a Medical Alert System?

If you are an older adult living on a tight budget, you may be tempted to dismiss medical alert systems as “too expensive” or “not necessary.” Let’s start with the “not necessary.” The truth is, medical alert systems can save a life in the case of a heart attack, stroke, hypoglycemic episode, head injury, slip or fall, or other serious medical event. The quicker that emergency personnel respond, the better your chance for a positive outcome.

And if your device has fall detection and you are not able to communicate, an alert will be sent to the monitoring center anyway, and emergency services will be sent. No one knows when an adverse medical event will occur, but if or when it does, wearing a medical alert device will increase your odds of recovery or survival. Medical alert systems provide peace of mind for both you and your family.

FYI: The length of time, or “lie time,” that someone who has fallen and is unable to get up on their own is significant. Researchers determined that a lie time of 72 hours or more increases mortality by 67 percent.1

The expense of a medical alert system is a bit more complicated. Those who are living on a fixed income are balancing lots of needs and expenses. After evaluating most systems out there, we can say with confidence that not all medical alert systems are priced the same. Some providers offer pricier-than-average plans, and we have steered clear of them in our discussion. But others offer economical plans. It is also important to point out that any one particular system can offer several packages of varying prices.

Features of Affordable Medical Alert Systems

Before selecting a medical alert system, compare the various features available to determine which offers you the most features at the lowest price. Here are some things to look for when selecting an affordable alert system.

24/7 Emergency Response

Affordable medical alert system providers offer 24/7 emergency response. This feature is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. After all, what good would an alert system be if the monitoring center closed at dinnertime? However, not all monitoring centers and emergency personnel are created equal. Look for a TMA Five Diamond certified monitoring center for the best service for you or your loved one.

Lifetime Warranty

“Cheap” and “low-quality” often go hand in hand — but not in the world of alert systems. The market abounds with high-quality, affordable systems that deliver reliable peace of mind for seniors. With that said, no system is perfect. That’s why some providers now offer a lifetime warranty. With this feature, you’ll get a free replacement should your alert system malfunction. Most warranties cover only normal wear and tear and exclude devices that are lost or stolen.

Low Monitoring Fees

Get 24/7 monitoring from well-trained agents without breaking the bank. That’s the promise of many alert system providers. This, of course, is a good thing! Most aging adults live on a fixed income, so it’s nice to stretch dollars and save where they can. Thankfully, there are several affordable alert systems on the market that offer rock-bottom monitoring fees — some starting at $19.95 per month or less.

Multilingual Support

No English? No problem. You still have a range of affordable medical alerts to choose from. Multilingual support enables assistance in your mother tongue. Sometimes this means that a monitoring center agent who speaks a language other than English (usually Spanish) is available to provide assistance. More often, providers are outfitting their support departments with a translation service that can accommodate hundreds of languages — from German to Swahili. Chances are you’ll find help in your native language.

Money-Back Guarantee

A money-back guarantee takes 100 percent of the risk off of your back by essentially allowing you to test their product. It’s not uncommon to find 30-day, money-back guarantees, also known as free trial periods. If you don’t love your alert, just send it back for a refund. Most often these refunds cover equipment and monthly fees, but some providers refund shipping costs, too. Look for this feature to protect your pocketbook and eliminate buyer’s remorse.

Spouse Coverage

Several medical alert providers make it easy and affordable to add free or discounted coverage for your spouse. Most of these offers are for at-home systems, but we have seen one or two for on-the-go systems. It happens all the time that a loved one sees the value and peace of mind that alert systems deliver, and suddenly they desire one of their own. So look for this feature — one that offers seamless integration of a family member into your plan.

Nationwide Coverage

Affordable coverage matters. That’s why nationwide coverage is an important feature for seniors who desire low-cost, on-the-go cellular monitoring. Whether travelling across the state or the country, you don’t want to be caught in a dead spot during an emergency. These affordable medical alert companies are constantly expanding their coverage area. From Florida to Minnesota, and California to Maine — look for this feature to get the nationwide coverage you need and deserve.

No Contracts

Is it possible to find a low-cost alert system with no strings attached? You bet it is. No-contract monitoring plans are incredibly popular among seniors on fixed incomes. That’s why it is unusual for providers to require contracts. (Although we do still occasionally see it.) No-contract plans offer minimal commitment, with month-to-month coverage for those who value flexibility. Remember, you’re not married to your alert system. Don’t like it? Try a different system.

Free Equipment

Don’t be too surprised if you come across a “free equipment” offer. This feature is commonly advertised by the cheapest alert system providers. Know that providers either rent or sell their equipment. So while an upfront cost may be eliminated with a rental agreement, the equipment isn’t actually free. The cost is often absorbed in the monthly fees. Still, cash-on-hand today is better than cash-on-hand at some future point in time.

Citations only uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Gurley, R J et al. (1996, Jun 27). Persons found in their homes helpless or dead. National Library of Medicine.

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Written By
Jenny Wisniewski
Medical Alert System Expert

After earning a degree in journalism, Jenny Wisniewski spent much of her professional life in education; however, she returned to writing in earnest in the senior care space, acting as caregiver to her mother. She has hand-tested the industry’s top medical alert systems, writing nearly 50 in-depth articles that help seniors age safely in place. Jenny also covers caregiving, Medicare, assisted living, memory care, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Previously, she’s written for national publications such as Country Magazine and Sierra Magazine. Jenny holds dual bachelor’s degrees in English/Journalism and Political Science from Miami University in Oxford, OH. She currently resides in Milwaukee, WI.

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