Medical Guardian Review

High-quality medical alert systems by a company who cares about senior safety.

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SecureScore™: 9.1 / 10 This rating is derived from our editorial team's research, hands-on product testing, and customer surveys.
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9.1 SecureScore™
Customer Service
9.0
Value
9.0
Equipment
9.2
Features & Technology
9.0
Ease Of Use
9.2
SecureScore™
9.1
How We Review

Your aging loved one wants to retain their dignity and independence, but you want to make sure they are protected if an emergency should occur. A great way to get the best of both worlds is to invest in a comprehensive medical alert system.

But you don’t want to rely on just any provider. You want this system to be reliable, you want it to be fast, and you need it to have the features necessary to protect your loved one no matter the circumstance.

That’s why today we’re taking a close look at Medical Guardian, a manufacturer of some of the most reputable equipment in the industry today. We’re going to be analyzing it — the good, the bad, and everything in between.

Medical Guardian actually offers five separate medical alert systems. The specific system we’re looking at today is the MGMini. When the box arrived, it included two components. The primary device is a button that connects immediately to emergency help and allows for two-way communication. There is an included lanyard and belt clip so you can decide how you want to wear this button. Finally, there’s a charging cradle.

Right away, we unboxed and tested the system, and we think you’ll like what we found.

Mobile 2.0

MGMini

One thing we should point out off the bat is that the MGMini has been recently updated with advanced location detection that uses 4G LTE and Wi-Fi in addition to traditional GPS. This new technology improves the devices accuracy and reliability when your loved one is out and about. The battery was also upgraded in this model — it can last up to five days on one charge.

We lived with the MGMini for several days to observe the benefits of this efficiency and also to uncover any hitches in the system. We’ve got a detailed breakdown below, but here’s a quick look of the pros and cons:

Medical Guardian Pros and Cons

PROS
  • Portable; multiple ways to wear
  • TMA Five Diamond Certified monitoring based in the U.S.
  • GPS-ready and water-resistant
  • At-home and on-the-go solution in one
  • Customer portal for activity tracking and communication

CONS
  • Somewhat high equipment fees
  • Response times could be more consistent
  • Fall detection is an add-on feature with extra fees
  • Bright light can be disruptive at night
  • Long charging time

Our First Peek at the MGMini

The MGMini is a second-generation model. Among the recent improvements that Medical Guardian made is a smaller, lighter size. In fact, the MGMini weighs only 1.7 ounces. Yet as you will discover, this tiny medical alert packs a lot of punch.

In addition to the GPS mobile device — the heart of the system – the package comes with a charging cradle and cord, a belt clip, and a lanyard. There’s also a complete manual that explains how to use the system.

Unboxing Medical Guardian

Unboxing Medical Guardian

Just to really get a sense of the system, we also ordered some add-on devices: a lock box and an emergency wall button.

The lock box is to store an extra key in with the code stored at the Medical Guardian response center. That runs $2.99 per month. You’re not really paying for the box itself — a similar one picked up from the hardware store would only run you about $20 — but for the service of being able to swiftly provide the code to EMTs that might need to enter the home.

We ordered the wireless wall button for $2.99 per month to place at the bottom of our basement stairs. A voice-activated wall button is also available for $4.99 per month.

Medical Guardian Equipment

Medical Guardian Equipment

Note that the wall button syncs with the and has a 500-foot range from the mobile unit. If regularly wearing the MGMini or help button, the wall button isn’t absolutely necessary, but we understand some seniors will appreciate the extra layer of protection.

Update: While a help button that could be worn either around the neck or on a wristband was provided with the original Mobile Guardian, this is not the case with the MGMini. With this newer system, a help button will cost you $2.99 per month. However, if you decide to add a fall detection pendant (which includes a help button) the cost remains the same – $10 per month.

Now that it’s all on the table, we were ready to check out the main attraction – our MGMini alert system.

Getting to Know Medical Guardian

We opened our box, keen to play with our new device and check out how it works. We were a little disappointed to be stopped in our tracks–the MGMini needs to be charged for three hours before first use!

Oh well, it gave us time to look out our windows and check out a big January storm roll in and dump loads of snow on our front porch, driveway, and sidewalk. It dawned on us that it’s the perfect time to consider safety devices for seniors.

Why? Because the winter months in colder-weather climates are among the most dangerous times for older adults. Ice and snow can make for slippery surfaces, and a quarter of all falls occur on a person’s property but outside of their home. Additionally, keeping up with snow shoveling and other outdoor chores during these months can be especially strenuous on a senior’s system. That’s why using a wearable device like Medical Guardian (preferably with fall detection) even for a short walk down the driveway for the mail can be life saving.

Did You Know? Medical Guardian’s mission statement is “To empower our customers to live a life without limits.”1

Upon returning to our MGMini, we checked to see if it was fully charged. That was easy enough to do. When the device is charging in its cradle, a red light will be illuminated. Once it’s fully charged, that light will turn off. Easy enough to remember.

Charging Mobile 2.0

Charging MGMini

In addition to the red indicator light on the cradle, a red light on the bottom of the mobile device blinks when the battery is low. If you get a case of the “blinks” while you’re out and about, know that you have about one hour of power remaining. Finally, a voice prompt will warn you when the battery is dangerously low.

Mobile 2.0 Closeup

MGMini Closeup

FYI: If you’re looking for something ultra-discreet, albeit without as many neat features as Medical Guardian offers, check out our review of Lifeline. Their GoSafe 2 mobile alert system is slightly smaller and less conspicuous than MGMini

With the battery fully charged, we turned next to testing the system. You don’t need to be a medical alert system expert like us to test if the unit is working. The instruction manual provides the steps for testing the device yourself.

The manual directed our attention to the two buttons on the side of the device, a power button and a test button. It instructed us to hold down the test button for two seconds and wait for a voice prompt. Now in test mode, the prompt told us to press the large, gray emergency button on the device. In doing so, a test call went out to the emergency response center, and it confirmed that our device was working.

In less than a minute, we knew that our MGMini was working properly. In our book, that’s peace of mind right out of the box.

Pro Tip: The first time we attempted to push the emergency button on the MGMini, we thought the device wasn’t working properly as we did not get a response. So just be sure to hold down the button for a full second or two and wait for a voice prompt.

With a preliminary test complete, the time had come to wear the MGMini as we headed outside to shovel snow, our least favorite pastime.

Medical Guardian’s Unique Features

Medical Guardian offers three unique on-the-go medical alert systems:

  • The MGMove: a sporty smart watch that doubles as a medical alert device
  • The MGMini: A small rectangular device with a help button built in the middle, designed to be worn on a lanyard
  •  The MGMini Lite: A slightly smaller version of the MGMini that’s affixed to a strap so it looks like a watch at first glance

Pro Tip: Once the emergency button has been pressed, it cannot be canceled. If you accidentally press the button, simply wait for the emergency response center associate to connect and tell them that it was a false alarm.

All three of these devices come with essentially the same features, including Voice Assist, two-way talk, a step-counting feature, and available add-on fall detection. In addition, they’re all water resistant.

They also all come with access to MyGuardian’s new customer care portal. You can pull up this portal on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone. It allows you to configure your device, manage your billing, and update your emergency contacts.

FYI: Individuals living with Parkinson’s Disease have twice the risk of falling as their peers.2

The only real difference between these three is that as a smartwatch the MGMove offers more functionality, including the ability to receive messages and alerts. In addition, at just $150, the Mini Lite is some $50 cheaper than the MGMove and Mini. However, right now, Medical Guardian has both the MGMove and Mini on sale for up to 50 percent off. That deal includes free shipping and a free lockbox.

Mobile 2.0 Wrist Pendant

MG Mini Light

Pro Tip: Once the emergency button has been pressed, it cannot be canceled. If you accidentally press the button, simply wait for the emergency response center associate to connect and tell them that it was a false alarm.

Finally, you may be curious about the range of the devices. Because the MGMini uses a 4G cellular system, you can travel anywhere with it you please. The wearable button (with or without fall detection) will connect with the MGMini anywhere within a 500-foot radius of it. This might come in handy if you’re outside gardening in the backyard, or talking to a neighbor in the drive. Because the MGMini is so easily portable, using it in conjunction with the wearable button while traveling would also be a breeze.

Overall, we love the flexibility this system provides!

FYI: If fall detection is important for you or your loved one, we recommend looking into our in-depth guide to the best medical alert systems with fall detection.

Medical Guardian Response Time

One way that Medical Guardian demonstrates their competence is through the multiple certifications of their emergency response center. Medical Guardian is FM Approved, UL listed, and certified by the Electronic Security Association. Most importantly, they have a TMA Five Diamond certification, the gold standard of certifications in the medical alert system industry.

While Medical Guardian’s many accolades help to build confidence, we did find some inconsistencies during actual testing. During our first two tests, they responded within 33 and 45 seconds respectively, which is a pretty good response time. However, when we did a couple more test calls, they both came in over a minute and 45 seconds.

Pro Tip: Does your elderly loved one live in an older home? Have you considered that there might be environmental dangers there? Check out this guide to lead paint dangers to learn more. Here’s a hint, though — back in your loved one’s day, they put carcinogens in everything.

A lot of factors can affect response times, like the device’s connection, its distance to the base unit, and even the amount of help calls the response center is handling at the time. We’re glad that fast response times are doable with Medical Guardian, but a little bit more consistency would be highly appreciated.

Have a look at this short video we made of a live Medical Guardian help call in action to get a better idea of the response time:

Did You Know? If English isn’t your mother tongue, Medical Guardian’s monitoring center associates are able to communicate through a third-party translation service.

Medical Guardian Pricing

A Payment Plan with Lots of Options

Determining the price of your Medical Guardian medical alert system can be somewhat complicated, but the good news is that you’ll have several options to choose from. To simplify things, we’ll walk you through each step of the ordering process.

It begins with choosing one of five main products: there are two at-home devices (MGClassic and MGHome Cellular), and three mobile devices (MGMini, MGMini Lite, and MGMove).

We chose the MGMini, as you know, which allowed us three different payment types: monthly, quarterly, and yearly. As with other products, the annual option saves the most money in the long run. Plus it comes with freebies like free shipping and a complimentary lockbox device.

Mobile 2.0 Necklace

MGMini Necklace

For those able to swing such a large upfront cost, go for it, but if you’re not sure if it is worth it, here are the benefits. On their website, Medical Guardian says that the cost of paying monthly or quarterly is $44.95 per month, while paying annually is $41.20 per month. Let’s do the math. If paying annually, you will save over $3 per month or $36 per year. Plus with free shipping, this amounts to a free month of service.

Pro Tip: Right now Medical Guardian is offering up to 33 percent off select products with the coupon code SUNKISSED. They’re also throwing in a free month of monitoring, free shipping, and a free lock box.

Still not sure? Take into account a few items that come gratis with the annual payment: a lockbox, a second help button, and free shipping. As you can see, Medical Guardian offers lots of bells and whistles because they want you to pay for the system annually. Whether or not this is the best option is up to you.

Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian

But honestly, we don’t think paying nearly $500 upfront is a wise move for most folks — so we’d sooner recommend getting on Medical Guardian’s monthly plan. Here’s the latest on Medical Guardian’s equipment and prices.

Medical Guardian Mobile Alert System Prices

MGMini MGMini Lite MGMove
Battery Life 5 days 5 days 7 days
Can Be Used at Home Yes Yes Yes
GPS Location Tracking Yes Yes Yes
Wifi Location Tracking Yes Yes No
Fall Detection Yes, Separate Pendant Yes, Built into Device No
Monthly Fee $44.95 $39.95 $39.95
One-Time Equipment Fee $149.95 $149.95 $199.95

Compared to other medical alert companies, Medical Guardian is a good value. Some brands just aren’t feasible for seniors on a fixed income. For instance, while researching Life Alert prices and monthly fees, we found that their systems aren’t very affordable, and the contract terms are pretty strict. You can read more in our Life Alert review.

One final note on pricing — Medical Guardian runs specials throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye on their website.

Also keep in mind that Medical Guardian offers at-home systems. Those start at $37.95 per month, and you can add additional equipment to tailor your package to your needs. That might include the equipment below.

FYI: Right now Medical Guardian is offering 50 percent off its Mini device, and they’ll also throw in a free month of service, free shipping, and a lockbox.

Medical Guardian At-Home Equipment Breakdown

Equipment Name Type Monthly Price
Elite 911 One-button speaker box Enabling emergency communication with nearest 911 center $9.99 per month
Lockbox Allows emergency responders access to property $2.99 per month
Wireless Wall Button Static help button $2.99 per month
Voice Activated Wall Button Help button with voice activation $4.99 per month
Fall Detection Pendant Wearable device that will alert authorities if the wearer falls $10.00 per month

Medical Guardian Add-Ons & Upgrades

The Medical Guardian payment structure focuses on a single big-ticket item rather than selling “packages,” which is the structure many other medical alert companies use. Then, Medical Guardian allows you to fill in the gaps as needed with add-ons, accessories, and upgrades.

It reminds us a little of fast casual eateries in the restaurant industry. You pick the main course, like a sandwich or a burrito, and then customize the rest of your meal based on your own preferences.

Medical Guardian add-ons include:

  • Fall Detection
    If you only choose one extra, this is the one we’d recommend. At $10 per month, we think this investment is well worth it. Fall detection can save a life.
  • Additional Necklace/Wristband
    At only $2.99 per month, this add-on is perfect for a spouse or other older family member.
  • Lock Box
    If you did not opt for an annual payment plan, you can still purchase a lock box. The lock box is a way to store a house key securely outside of your home in case EMTs need to quickly gain access. The cost is an additional $2.99 per month.
  • Wall-Mounted or Voice-Activated Wall-Mounted Button
    Both buttons wirelessly connect with the monitoring center, giving you or your loved one an extra layer of protection. The standard button costs an additional $2.99 per month. The voice-activated wall button costs an additional $5.00 per month.
  • On Guard Alerts
    During an emergency, response time and solid communication are essential. These notifications enable the user and their care circle to get real-time text and email notifications as the emergency unfolds. The monthly fee is an additional $2.99 per month.
  • Protection Plan
    Power surges and extreme weather could damage or destroy your MGMini. The Protection Plan replaces the device in the case of these situations as well as loss or theft. The plan costs an additional $6.99 per month.
  • Alert 911
    This one-button speaker box enables the user to connect directly with a 911 operator. The cost is $9.99 per month.
  • Step-Up Feature
    Available with MGMove, this service enables you to talk with loved ones and schedule reminders. It costs $5 per month.

Don’t like picking and choosing and just want one simplified plan? Look into our Bay Alarm Medical review or our review of Medical Care Alert. Both of these companies make it somewhat easier to find what you’re looking for.

The History Behind Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian’s CEO Geoff Gross knows first hand the stress of ensuring an older loved one’s safety. His grandmother fell several times, and his family realized that she needed help at home.

This personal experience with his own family member inspired Gross to start Medical Guardian. He started the company in his small apartment, interviewing seniors to understand what they really needed–and wanted–when it came to medical alert systems. His main takeaway was that they wanted to live safely, but also fully. His motto of “customers above all else” became a driving force of the company, and why it’s so successful.

Our Final Thoughts on MGMini

Medical Guardian is our favorite alert system for several reasons. We love simplicity, and we know that many older adults do, too. That’s why we were so impressed with the MGMini. It eliminates the need for a larger base unit, and it still offers 24/7 emergency coverage at-home and on-the-go.

It also offers lots of flexibility. Some individuals may prefer to wear their MGMini all day while they’re in and out, replacing it with a help button at night while the main device is charging. Others may want to keep their MGMini charging station near the door, wearing the device when out and replacing it with the lighter help button at home. You see, the options abound!

Mobile 2.0 Closeup

MGMini Closeup

Like any system, there is give and take. The main drawback that we see with the MGMini is that it lacks fall detection. In other words, it’s not all-in-one solution. Sure, it’s possible to carry the MGMini in your pocket or purse while wearing a fall detection button around your neck… we’re just not sure it’s practical.

And let’s be honest, falls happen, especially for seniors with a recent history of falling.3 With this in mind, we recommend also looking into Medical Guardian’s Mini Guardian alert system, which is an all-in-one device.

The great thing about Medical Guardian is that they offer a multitude of options knowing that we all have individual preferences and needs. Regardless of what your needs are, Medical Guardian likely has a medical alert system that’s a good fit for your budget and lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the devices waterproof?

The MGMini and wearable alert buttons are water resistant; however, they should not be submerged in water.

Can I wear my Medical Guardian device while sleeping?

The neck pendant or wristband can be worn while sleeping. Doing so provides protection if a fall were to occur while getting up in the middle of the night.

Will I be charged additional fees for using the Medical Guardian’s cellular network?

Medical Guardian uses the 4G AT&T or Verizon cellular network (depending on the device) for its on-the-go systems. You will not be charged any additional fees for using the network or contacting the emergency response center.

How does the fall detection pendant work?

Sometimes older adults fall and are unable to push the emergency button. Examples include if someone faints, hits their head after falling, or has a heart attack. In this situation the device is able to detect a fall, send a wireless signal to the base station, and then contact the emergency monitoring center.

What is Medical Guardian’s refund policy?

Medical Guardian does not charge cancellation fees, and they provide prorated refunds for months of unused service. However, Medical Guardian does not provide a free trial period. Want to experiment with a medical alert system or two before making a commitment? If so, we recommend reading our review of LifeFone. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Citations
SafeHome.org 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. Medical Guardian. (2021). A Family-First Approach.
    https://www.medicalguardian.com/about-us

  2. Parkinson.org. (2021). Falls Prevention.
    https://www.parkinson.org/library/fact-sheets/falls-prevention

  3. CDC.gov. (2017, Feb. 10). Important Facts About Falls.
    https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

Jenny-Wisneiwski
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.