A medical alert system can benefit seniors, the disabled, or others who have health or mobility issues. However, if you suddenly find your medical alert system isn’t working because it was exposed to too much water, then it’s no good to you.
Before diving into our picks for best waterproof systems, let’s take a minute to differentiate between equipment that is waterproof and equipment that is water resilient.
Many medical alert devices are water resilient, meaning that they can withstand getting wet but not being submerged, at least not for long periods of time. When finding yourself in a rainstorm, watering your garden, or even taking a shower, you can most likely rest assured that your water-resistant medical alert will still work.
A waterproof device is one that can be submerged in a tub or pool of water. (Be aware that chlorine or salt could still be damaging.) Often, but not always, it is the help buttons that are waterproof, while the more sophisticated GPS mobile devices are water resistant.
More specifically, most GPS mobile devices come with a water resistance rating. It begins with the letters IP (which stand for Ingress Protection) and are followed by two numbers. The first number will range from one to six and tells you the level of protection against dirt and dust. The second number will indicate how much water a device can handle without damage. It ranges from one to eight. As a general rule, the higher the number, the better the protection.1
Be sure to ask a provider’s customer service if you are unsure of the water resistance of their product. And, we have plenty of resources and how-to guides to help you choose the right medical alert system. Before you shop, don’t miss our guide to buying medical alert devices.
Next up — our top picks for the best waterproof/water-resistant medical alert systems in 2023.
Bay Alarm Medical is an extremely popular medical alert system that is not only affordable, but comes equipped with a variety of helpful features, as you can see in our full Bay Alarm Medical review. With Bay Alarm, you can expect high-quality equipment and a 30-day free trial period to determine if you like it. Additionally, Bay Alarm Medical gives your spouse free monitoring when you add a second help button to your plan. This is a great deal for couples. Here is more information along with some of the Bay Alarm Medical pros and cons.
Bay Alarm Medical provides comfortable, lightweight, waterproof medical alert buttons that can be worn as pendants or wristbands. These buttons are available with their at-home landline and cellular systems as well as their bundled systems.
As far as their mobile devices go, the SOS Mobile, recently introduced to the market, comes with a rating of IPX6. This means that the device can withstand powerful jets of water from all directions. The SOS Smartwatch has a slightly higher water resistance rating of IP67. This indicates that it can be immersed in up to 3.3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
Fortunately, Bay Alarm’s costs start at a low $19.95 per month for an at-home system and $29.95 per month for an on-the- go system. Their on-the-go systems also require an equipment fee between $79 and $159. In addition, you get a risk-free 30-day trial period, free activation, no hidden fees, and free ground shipping. Additionally, Bay Alarm Medical uses the very reliable AT&T cellular network for its monitoring and GPS location tracking services.
|Connectivity||Landline and cellular|
|In-home Range||Up to 1,400 feet|
|Battery Backup||Up to 32 hours|
Medical Guardian is a well-respected brand that boasts an A+ BBB rating. All of Medical Guardian’s help buttons are waterproof. As you might recall in our full Medical Guardian review, that makes this option perfect for active wearers. Here is more information along with some of the Medical Guardian pros and cons.
Medical Guardian currently has more than 200,000 customers, and they offer five medical alert options. The at-home options have an excellent range of 1,300 to 1,400 feet. This is an industry high. Both the cellular and landline systems come with a waterproof help button.
The Mobile 2.0, one of three on-the-go systems, comes with a waterproof help button, too. It includes two pieces — the wearable help button and a companion mobile device — that have a range of 350 feet between them. The Mini Guardian is a second traditional mobile device, and the MGMove is Medical Guardian’s smartwatch option. Both have a water resistance rating of IP67, so they can withstand immersion in water for up to 30 minutes.
Learn more about the brand, as well as how much you should expect to pay for Medical Guardian, in our full Medical Guardian cost breakdown.
|Connectivity||Landline, cellular, and Wi-fi|
|In-home Range||Up to 1,400 feet|
|Battery Backup||Up to 32 hours|
Lively offers a wider variety of health and safety services than any other brand. As we mentioned in our in-depth Lively review, the brand offers 24/7 access to registered nurses, a Lively link so the wearer can keep in touch with family and friends, and challenging brain games. Additionally, the Lively services incorporate their patented GPS technology, so they can get help to you when you need it most. With the Lively service, however, you do have to pay for the equipment in addition to activation fees. Here is more information along with some of the Lively pros and cons.
Lively is one of the most well-known medical alert services on the market. They offer a variety of extremely helpful services such as an activity tracker, check-in calls, daily health tips, wellness calls, a MedCoach, and product replacement (on some plans).
The Lively Mobile, a traditional on-the-go device offers two-way talk, GPS location detection, optional fall detection and a water resistance rating of IPX7.
Another option is to purchase Lively’s Health and Safety services through the Lively app which you can use on an Apple Watch. Apple uses a water depth rating for its watches; for Apple Watch 2 and later, the watch can be submerged up to 50 meters. The watch also has a water lock to prevent water from activating the touchscreen.
Lively service plans are a bit different from other providers with their Basic monthly service fee starting at $19.99 and an activation fee of $35, along with two upgrade options. Get all the details on how much you’ll pay for a Lively system in our full Lively cost and package breakdown.
|Fall Detection||Included in some plans|
|Battery Backup||Up to 82 hours|
If you like equipment that’s simple and easy to use, check out LifeStation. LifeStation has some of the most user-friendly equipment on the market, and it only takes about five minutes to set everything up. In our tests and reviews of LifeStation, we observed some of the fastest response times in the industry, averaging out at about 20 seconds. All of the LifeStation buttons are waterproof, so you never have to worry about getting them wet. In addition, LifeStation doesn’t charge you anything for their equipment. As far as the price goes, you can get a LifeStation system for as low as $25.95 a month. Here is more information along with some of the LifeStation pros and cons. But first, have a look at our full LifeStation price page.
LifeStation is another popular medical alert option that carries waterproof help buttons. They are also known for their highly-trained emergency response agents and tech support. And, they perform weekly testing of their equipment automatically so that’s one less thing you have to worry about.
LifeStation’s single at-home system runs on a cellular (AT&T) connection. It has a range of 600 feet between its waterproof help button and the base unit. The cost starts at $32.95 per month.
LifeStation offers two updated and water-resistant on-the-go systems: the Sidekick, a traditional mobile device, and the Sidekick Smart, a smartwatch. The Sidekick weighs only 1.4 ounces and includes advanced location detection and optional fall detection. The Sidekick Smart includes a step tracker, heart monitor, weather app, and advanced location detection. The starting monthly fee is $37.95 for the Sidekick and $43.95 for the Sidekick Smart.
The National Institute on Aging says that 80% of the falls seniors experience take place at home in their bathroom while in the shower, bathtub, or on slippery floors. That's why it's so important to have a medical alert system that offers waterproof devices that are specifically designed for bathroom use. These can be in the form of wearable pendants, wristbands, or wall buttons. Waterproof medical alert devices that are designed for bathroom use are usually wireless and will send a signal to the base unit when the help button is pressed. That help request will then be sent to the monitoring center where they will assess your situation and send help if help is needed. Most (but not all) waterproof medical devices have a two-way talk feature that will allow the user to tell the monitoring center if they need assistance. Others only come as a button that sends an alert without the two-way communication feature.
Here are the most common features of waterproof medical alert systems.
The 24/7 emergency response is the feature that connects the help button to the monitoring center when the help button is pushed. As the name implies, a 24/7 emergency response is a system that is monitored by a monitoring center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All medical alert systems should be accompanied by 24/7 monitoring; otherwise, you wouldn't be able to use them in the manner intended. Most (but not all) monitoring centers use professionally trained emergency response agents that are based solely in the U.S. Having 24/7 access to a 24/7 emergency response monitoring center is important for those who wear a waterproof medical emergency device because most falls occur while in the shower. Without immediate help, a fall can quickly turn into a tragedy.
Wireless medical alert systems use cellular connections to communicate. A wireless medical alert device uses the wireless connectivity of a cellular network, which works just like it does for your cell phone. With wireless connectivity, you will have more freedom to travel and move about versus being homebound because you have to remain near your medical alert base station. This is because a cellular signal uses nationwide wireless networks to monitor the signal from your help button. Wireless connectivity, aka cellular communication, will generally cost a bit more than a landline; however, the freedom you get from it due to having such broad coverage makes a cellular option worth every penny.
If you have a waterproof medical alert device, that means you are probably wearing your help button in the shower, around water, or other wet areas. Having a waterproof medical alert device without an automatic fall detection feature is like not having a help button at all. Often, when people fall, they hit their head and become unconscious or incapacitated to the point they can't press their help button to request help for themselves. The fall detection feature has a built-in mechanism that can detect a fall and contact the emergency response center for you. Of course, this feature is designed to pause for a few seconds to a minute or so to give you time to cancel the automatic call for help if you don't need it. But if you don't cancel the alert before that time has elapsed, a call will be automatically sent to the monitoring center. Most brands charge a little extra for the automatic fall detection feature; however, it's totally worth the peace of mind you have from knowing you will get the help you need even if you are unable to make the request yourself.
Almost all medical alert brands have a 2-way voice feature built-into their devices. However, there are a few that just have this feature on their base console only. The 2-way voice function is an extremely important feature to have. This feature is what allows you to talk with the monitoring center directly about the help you need or any concerns you might have. And, if you have a waterproof medical alert button and you slip and fall or have some other type of accident, having the two-way voice feature will save precious time. This is because you can directly communicate with the monitoring center about your injuries, so they can send the appropriate help you need without wasting any time.
Mobile monitoring uses a cellular signal to connect your help button to the monitoring center. This is different from a landline that uses the phone line in your home to connect to the monitoring center. A waterproof medical alert device will frequently have a mobile monitoring feature which is great for those who are active or will be wearing their devices in the shower. The mobile monitoring feature is usually offered in one of two ways. The first way works by activating when the help button is pushed. The device will then immediately dispatch 911 on your behalf. With the second way, when the help button is pushed, the monitoring center will respond to the emergency alert, assess your situation and respond accordingly.
Many medical alert brands offer a money-back guarantee. This option allows you to try a medical alert system before you fully commit to buying it or subscribing to the service. With a money-back guarantee, you pay for the equipment and/or service upfront, then if you aren't satisfied, you get your money back. However, some brands won't reimburse you for shipping costs, may have restocking fees, or other requirements associated with their money-back guarantee. Therefore, you need to read the fine print before assuming you won't lose anything under any given guarantee.
When you see a brand that advertises an extended battery life, that could mean one of two things. There are long-lasting batteries, which are important because your waterproof medical alert button uses a battery to power it. You don't want your device to lose its charge while you are away from somewhere where you can recharge it. Most medical alert device batteries will hold a charge anywhere from 24 hours to five days. Then, there are others that use a different kind of battery that will function for many, many years before needing a charge, similar to the way your cell phone battery holds a charge. An extended battery life with some brands can also mean your system comes with a battery backup that will make sure you can still use your medical alert system when the power goes out.
In-home medical alert systems have limitations when it comes to how far you can be from the base console before you will lose the signal that connects the help button to the console. The most common range is anywhere from 250 feet to 1,300 feet, depending on the type of equipment you are using. The one thing you should look for when shopping for a waterproof medical alert system is one that has enough range for your home and property. If you have a large home or like to spend time in the yard, you will need a device that has a strong enough signal to accommodate the range you need. Otherwise, consider opting for a device that uses a cellular signal which will provide you with an unlimited nationwide range.
Most (but not all) waterproof medical alert devices come with a GPS location tracking feature. The GPS-enabled devices provide communication and location tracking using the GPS function that is built into the device. And since these GPS-enabled devices use a cellular network to communicate, you will have access to immediate medical assistance when you need it regardless of where you go. This is because the GPS feature is able to detect your exact location when you press your waterproof medical alert help button at which time the monitoring center will send help.
Harsh Environment Connections and Wire Harnessing. (2022). IP Rating Chart.