Are you in the market for a medical alert bracelet? If so, you are in good company. Over 20 percent of Americans wear smartwatches or fitness trackers.1 And, as smartwatches have become fashionable, the option of wearing a medical alert on your wrist has also increased in popularity.
The result is that more brands are getting in on the action and the number of medical alert devices worn as bracelets is increasing. So how do you find these options for yourself or a loved one? We think a great place to start is our guide, Best Medical Alerts Worn as Watches.
While the guide will give you an overview, it won’t tell you where to shop. Our goal here is to direct you to a few options so you can decide for yourself the best place to shop for your future medical alert bracelet.
Two Types of Medical Alert Bracelets
Before learning about where you can purchase a medical alert bracelet, take a few minutes to distinguish between a bracelet that provides a help button only and a smartwatch-type device.
Bracelet with a help button
A bracelet with a help button is a device that performs one function: It connects you to a monitoring center in the event of an emergency. This type of device is one piece of a larger system, either at home or on the go, that includes a hub through which the help button communicates. This means that you are limited as to how far you can travel from the hub, whether it’s a base unit that sits on your kitchen counter or a pendant that you wear around your neck. It is also important to note that while some help buttons that are worn on a lanyard around your neck may include fall detection, help buttons worn on the wrist do not include fall detection.
FYI: With at-home systems, help buttons worn on lanyards or wristbands have a range up to 1,400 feet from the base unit. With on-the-go systems, the range between a help button and a mobile device is typically less than 600 feet.
First, there was the Fitbit in 2009.2 Then came the Apple Watch (released in 2015)3 and Samsung Galaxy (released in 2018)4. Now, more and more medical alert providers are adding smartwatches to their lineups. These medical alert watches can be worn anywhere there is a cellular or Wi-Fi signal. They typically include the same features you would expect in an on-the-go device worn around the neck: a help button connecting you to a monitoring center, two-way talk with a monitoring center agent, and GPS location detection. And as you might expect, they display the date and time, often in your choice of digital or analog.
Most also offer one or two additional features, such as step tracking, a heart monitor, a weather app, and medication reminders. However, smartwatch medical alerts do not include the ability to make outside calls, send texts, or search the internet.
The Best Place to Purchase a Medical Alert Bracelet
Now that you have some information about the different types of medical alert bracelets, let’s take a look at where these devices can be purchased.
Your best bet is to buy your bracelet through the provider. This can be accomplished either through an online purchase or by phone.
Most providers offer websites that are easy to navigate and include thorough product and pricing information. Some providers even offer free shipping. (Beware: Some are known to include hidden fees that might pop up toward the end of your purchase.)
Pro Tip: Many medical alert provider websites include a chat feature. You can usually find the chat box in the bottom corner of your screen. For quick answers, use the chat feature to ask simple questions about products and pricing.
Helpful customer service is another advantage of purchasing through the provider. Compared to shopping at a brick-and-mortar store or a large online store like Amazon, these providers sell just a few products, and their customer service agents know them well. They are trained to ask questions about your budget, lifestyle, and any specific health concerns to help guide you to a product that is the best fit. Because the middle man has been eliminated, information about the products is coming straight from the horse’s mouth!
And finally, if you are someone who likes to lay their eyes and hands on a product before purchasing, know that most providers offer an opportunity to give their systems a test run risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Purchasing Your Medical Alert Bracelet through Amazon
If you type “medical alert systems” in the Amazon.com search bar, you will get hits on products from lots of providers. Among these are several brands that we have reviewed and recommended.
Several providers sell systems that include wrist-worn help buttons. These include Medical Guardian, ADT Health, and MobileHelp. You will also find a few smartwatches. Both HandsFree Health and LifeStation sell their smartwatches, the WellBe watch and Sidekick Smart respectively, through Amazon.
One of the benefits of purchasing through Amazon is that you will save on the cost of shipping (between $10 and $13) if you are an Amazon Prime member.
Purchasing Through Online Big-Box Stores
Of the big-box stores that sell medical alert bracelets, most sell systems that include a wrist-worn help button. For example, you can find several systems from both Medical Guardian and ADT Health at Walmart.com and BestBuy.com.
Few smartwatches are sold through the big-box stores. One exception is the WellBe watch from HandsFree Health, which is available at Walmart.com.
Another option is the Apple Watch, which is sold through a variety of both brick-and-mortar and online stores. While the Apple watch is not specifically designed as a medical alert, it does have a fall detection setting. It also can be used with an app offered through Lively, a medical alert provider. The app offers access to professional monitoring as well as Lively Health and Safety services, including a telehealth service with a registered nurse or board-certified doctor and emergency alerts for caregivers.
Did You Know? Monthly fees that come with monitored medical alert systems cover the cost of 24/7 professional monitoring. With at-home systems, monthly fees typically run between $20 and $30. With on-the-go systems, the cost is about $30 to $50.
In addition, Lively has partnered with Best Buy for a special deal. If you purchase a two-year Lively Premium Health & Safety package ($34.99 per month), you will save $200 on the purchase of a select Apple watch.
Like so many other products today, the majority of medical alert systems are purchased online rather than in a brick-and-mortar store. This has its advantages. We think it has led to stellar customer service, which may help you find the best fit in a wrist-worn medical alert. It is also advantageous for someone with mobility challenges who finds shopping at home much easier and more practical than going out to shop.
And for the person who still prefers getting out and seeing the product for themselves before buying, there are still a few medical alert bracelet options out there for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Help buttons worn on the wrist do not include fall detection. The majority of smartwatches sold by medical alert providers also lack the option of fall detection. However, there are a few notable exceptions, such as the Apple Watch.
Most medical alert smartwatches fall in the range of $100 to $200. However, some will cost you much more, such as the Apple Watch.
Yes, you will receive the same money-back guarantee regardless of where you purchase your medical alert system.