Best Medical Alert Watches Guide & Reviews of 2020

Home health aides and caring family members have known about alert pendants for years. While these are incredibly useful and have saved many lives, there is a new wave of such helpful technology. Older adults and caretakers are turning to updated style and tech so they can take better care of themselves and their loved ones. Here are the best medical alert watches to look for.

Emily Brooks

Emily Brooks - Editorial Staff

Updated: November 6, 2020

What We Did to Find the Best

To narrow down the list of best medical alert watches, we gathered a team of experts to analyze five key metrics that clients depend on. For each provider, we looked at these five categories and assigned each a grade from 0 to 10. Finally, we found the average value for each smartwatch, which revealed the top contenders.

  • Features

    0-10

    monitoring period, 24/7 alerts, disaster protection etc.

  • Support

    0-10

    telephone, email, chat, and other channels

  • Price

    0-10

    monthly fee, money-back, trial period

  • Ease of Use

    0-10

    installation, maintenance, service support

  • Trust Score

    0-10

    BBB.org and Trustpilot (positive, negative reviews)

With our team of tech writers and experts, we took the time to review the options out there so families can make a more informed purchase. Now they can check out the top products below to see which best suits their loved one’s needs.

1. GreatCall Lively Wearable: Great for Budgets & Boundless Freedom

Total Score 9.8/10

Great Call Main
Great Call Medical Phone
Great Call Medical Device
  • Features9.0/10
  • Equipment10/10
  • Price10/10
  • Ease Of Use10/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$49.99

Visit Website
Best for Active Adults

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 days

This watch turns seniors’ smartphones into urgent response devices. With the push of a button, they can call the Star Urgent Response Service about a health crisis or other emergency. The Lively Wearable has an upfront cost of just $49.99. The monthly fee varies depending on what kind of service individuals want. It ranges from $24.99 to $39.99.

Set-up is pretty easy, although older adults may have a bit of trouble at first. Once everything is done, they’ll have 24/7 protection as well as a step tracker, fall detection, and a caretaker app that loved ones can utilize. As far as a senior smart device goes, GreatCall does a decent job of being user-friendly, easy to read, and readily available in emergency situations. Not only is it good for contacting an urgent response team, but it’s a great motivator for older adults who want to take their health into their hands and track their progress.

Pros:

  • Encourages daily movement
  • Interactive mobile app
  • Location sharing
  • Return policy
  • The battery lasts up to six months
  • Three plans to choose from
  • Waterproof

Cons:

  • Fall detection requires the highest plan
  • Must keep phone and wearable nearby at all times
  • Requires Android or iPhone

This is one of the most affordable medical alert watches out there. Also, if clients don’t have a compatible phone, they can buy one via the GreatCall website. A cool feature of the system is the “Adventures.” These are healthy activities that help clients earn points in the app. It’s an encouragement tactic for them to live a healthier lifestyle. This is more suited to active adults rather than those with pre-existing conditions.

Also, clients should be sure that they don’t leave home without their phone and the medical alert watch. They must be together to work properly.


2. Freedom Guardian Smartwatch: Freedom & Flexibility

Total Score 9.7/10

Medical Guardian Main
Medical Guardian In Home
Medical Guardian On the Go
  • Features9.5/10
  • Equipment10/10
  • Price9.0/10
  • Ease Of Use10/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$179.95

Visit Website
Best for Independence

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

No

The Freedom Guardian smartwatch is a simplified version of the more high-tech models out there. It comes with a one-time equipment cost of $179.95, but after that, it’s just $1.45 per day. Not only will seniors be able to keep track of their health, but loved ones can log into the app, too. This mobile access for caretakers allows them to check in on their family members at home as well as use GPS tracking to see their whereabouts.

The medical alert watch comes in black or white and is sleek enough to wear with any outfit, any time of day. As a smart device for seniors, the Freedom Guardian has clear text and data alerts. Plus, family members will appreciate that they can keep in touch with their loved ones just about whenever they want. Having information available like that is one of the things that makes this Guardian option stand apart from the rest.

Pros:

  • Caretaker app
  • Location tracker
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Multi-function button
  • Two-way talk
  • Unlimited emergency contacts
  • Works anywhere with cell service

Cons:

  • No fall detection
  • High upfront cost
  • Requires AT&T service

Like other watch systems, this option from Guardian provides day-to-day support. That also includes things like medication reminders, text-to-speech messaging, and weather updates. Seniors can stay on time with the analog clock and get notifications when the system is running low on battery.

In case of an emergency, they can push the side button to contact the monitoring center for help. The wrist strap is adjustable yet durable, so it can fit all body types. The medical alert watch has a built-in microphone for clear two-way communication capabilities.


3. Apple Watch Series 5: There’s an App for Tha

Total Score 9.5/10

Apple Watch Main
Apple Watch Look
Apple Watch Emergency Servies
  • Features10/10
  • Equipment10/10
  • Price8.0/10
  • Ease Of Use10/10
  • Trust Score9.5/10

Starting Price

$399

Visit Website
Best for Tech-Savvy Adults

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

14 days

It may seem strange to think of Apple when shopping around for a medical alert watch. Upon closer inspection, however, it’s easy to see that this nifty device is a top competitor for older adults who want at-home assistance. First of all, the retina display lets them see their screens any time of day or night. The ECG app records blood pressure, too.

There’s also a noise app that will notify the wearer when they are exposed to sounds that could damage their hearing. Of course, this Apple product is great for encouraging people to stand up, take a walk, and track their activity. Something that makes this smart device stand out is its “always-on display.” This makes it much easier for older adults to see alerts as well as the time and battery life.

Pros:

  • Competitive pricing
  • Custom bands add more style
  • ECG app
  • Fall detection
  • Noise notifications
  • Urgent care SOS response
  • Waterproof

Cons:

  • Higher upfront costs
  • Requires a cell provider
  • Short return policy

As a medical alert watch for seniors, this product can also keep an older adult’s brain sharp. They can explore audiobooks, podcasts, and music to pass the time or learn something new. The compass feature can be of much-needed assistance when they get disoriented or need to get back to their car in the parking lot. Elderly clients are sure to love talking to Siri and passing the time.

With all its bells and whistles, the Series 5 is good for entertainment as well as for taking care of one’s medical alerts and conditions.


4. MobileHelp Smartwatch: Accessible & Action-Packed

Total Score 9.4/10

Mobile Help Main
Mobile Help Complete Protection
Mobile Help On The Go
  • Features9.0/10
  • Equipment10/10
  • Price8.0/10
  • Ease Of Use10/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$345.95

Best for Emergencies

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

No

MobileHelp is one of the more expensive medical alert watches on the market, but it also offers a lot of at-home help. This emergency response device is discreet and sleek and provides a 100% U.S.-based monitoring system. The panic button is hidden from view, and everything relies on a 4G LTE cellular network, including the GPS locator. The MobileHelp wearable has a two-way communicator that makes it easy for clients to speak to a trained agent in minutes.

Best of all, customers aren’t stuck indoors and can enjoy up to two days of battery life without charging. What makes this smart device unique is that it encourages seniors to live a healthy lifestyle. Rather than merely being a reactive thing, it stores helpful information that makes older adults excited about improving their lifestyles.

Pros:

  • 24/7 emergency assistance
  • Battery life
  • Encourages physical activity
  • Large icon display
  • Location tracker
  • Two-way talk
  • Virtually unlimited range

Cons:

  • Expensive upfront cost
  • Requires AT&T's network
  • The microphone sits on the side

This medical alert watch syncs with the Samsung App to monitor activity, track steps, and monitor heart rate. It can also provide notifications for things like medications and appointments. The display has large, easy-to-read icons showing data; a can’t-miss help tab, and more. What’s interesting is that the microphone is on the side of the device, which might muffle sounds a bit.

Clients should also be aware that MobileHelp requires AT&T’s 4G cellular network. This allows for smoother two-way communication between the individual and the professional call center.


5. HeartGuide: Knowledge is Power

Total Score 9.1/10

HeartGuide Main
HeartGuide Blood Pressure
  • Features8.5/10
  • Equipment10/10
  • Price7.0/10
  • Ease Of Use10/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$499

Best for Hypertension

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 days

It’s 2020, and there’s a better way to keep track of hypertension. This medical alert watch for seniors can take blood pressure readings in 30 seconds, all from home. The color-coded graphs make it easy to see daily, weekly, and monthly progress. The LCD display is clear and crisp for easy reading. Moreover, the medical alert watch lasts a week or longer on a single charge, so it’s great for those who often leave their homes. The black wrist strap is sleek and looks like any other wristband. The set comes with two replacement bands for added convenience.

The downside here is that HeartGuide may not be as widely available as the other smart devices here. The price tag leaves a lot to be desired, especially since it doesn’t track nearly as much data as the other options on this list.

Pros:

  • Blood pressure readings in 30 seconds
  • Clinically-approved company
  • Color-coded graphs
  • Companion app
  • Daily updates
  • Long-lasting charge
  • No monthly fees

Cons:

  • Primarily for hypertension patients
  • Stiff, tight wristband
  • Very expensive

The main idea behind HeartGuide is to help adults who have high blood pressure. Particularly in older adults, hypertension can lead to other complications, such as congestive heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Add to that the elevated risks that the elderly already face, and there is a lot to think about.

Devices like this are easy to strap onto the wrist to receive updates as often as individuals would like. The sleek design and black color make it look just like any of the other watches out there.


Best Medical Alert Watches of 2020 (Pricing & Features)

This table lists the five providers side-by-side to make it easier to see their strengths and weaknesses. Check out pricing, support, and key features that will play into the buying decision.

Provider Total Score Price Monthly Fee BBB Rating DIY instal Trial Period Warranty Battery Backup Connectivity Contacts List Fall Detection GPS Mobile App Money-Back Guarantee Two-Way Talk Range Waterproof
GreatCall 9.8 $49.99 $24.99+ A+ Yes 30 days 1 year Yes Cellular Yes Yes Yes Yes 30 days Yes Unlimited Yes
Freedom Guardian 9.7 $179.95 $44.95 A+ Yes 1 year Yes Cellular Yes No Yes Yes Prorated Yes Unlimited Yes
Apple Watch 9.5 $399 $10+ A- Yes 14 days 1 year Yes Cellular Yes Yes Yes Yes 14 days Yes Unlimited Yes
MobileHelp 9.4 $349.95 $24.95 A+ Yes 1 year Yes Cellular No No Yes Yes Prorated Yes Unlimited Yes
HeartGuide 9.1 $499 $0 A+ Yes 30 days 1 year Yes Cellular No No No Yes 30 days No

Features of Medical Alert Systems

Products like the life alert watch gained nationwide attention for the ability to detect trips and falls as well as connect elderly clients to a call center in seconds. In 2020, there are a few more features that customers want in their panic button pendants and products.

2-Way Voice

Piggybacking off of the 24/7 urgent care response, the two-way talk feature is what makes that possible. Clients see this functionality in wristbands, necklaces, bracelets, and more. They push the panic trigger, and they can communicate with the call center via the device’s built-in microphone.

Cellular Monitoring

Just about every urgent care response device these days runs on cellular connectivity. This is great because it allows grandma or grandpa to do their daily activities without worrying about being tethered to a base unit in the house. Plus, accompanying mobile apps mean that family members can check-in remotely.

Extended Battery Life

This is something that most people might forget to consider, but it’s crucial. Without a long-lasting battery, clients run the risk of losing connection with their device. If a crisis occurs, they’re left without a panic button or ICE contact. Whether the product runs on a cell network or a battery charge, ensure there is a power backup.

Fall Detection

This is particularly important for older adults with dementia or physical disabilities that limit their mobility. Tripping over objects or slipping in the shower are two of the most common causes of injury among the elderly. Having a product that can pick up on that and automatically call the authorities is critical.

GPS Location Tracking

Another convenient capability has a location tracker within the device. This way, mom or dad can go about their daily activities, knowing that they’re still within reach of family members or the call center. Or, if they get lost or fall, it’s much easier to find them and get immediate assistance.

Easy Set-Up

Older adults can be somewhat notorious for not understanding technology. Providers don’t want to play into that stereotype, so they try to make their products as easy to set up as possible. In many cases, it’s simply a matter of plugging it in and pushing the “on” tab.

Mobile Monitoring

This is perhaps one of the most important factors to take into consideration. Mobile monitoring allows clients to live freely and move about on the day-to-day while still receiving assistance when they need it. Again, look for a strong cell connection to minimize interference or disruptions in the mobile signal.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Do Medical Alert Watches Work

    It depends on the brand and model, but for the most part, these products work in much the same way.

    1. First, the patient wears it on their wrist, usually all the time.
    2. Then, the device syncs to a base station or picks up a signal connection from a cell tower. This depends on the connectivity of the product.
    3. Next, there is a panic trigger or tab on the wristband or watch face. When a person pushes it, they get connected to an urgent care response center.
    4. Other devices have an accompanying app that allows users or family members to access data from a smartphone.

  • Does AARP Recommend a Medical Alert System?

    Yes, and AARP is a great resource for older adults who want to read reviews and advice on how to utilize these products. The organization has recommended things like the life alert watch as well as other watches, pendants, and bracelets. Just like other healthcare professionals, AARP makes these overall suggestions, and it’s up to individuals and their caretakers to decide which is the best option for them.

  • What is the Best Medical Alert Bracelet?

    This depends on what the individual wants and needs. Some might like the Apple Watch for its entertaining features, but others might not want all of that extra stuff. Other people might prefer something more basic that simply dials 911 if it detects a fall.

  • Are Medical Alert Watches Waterproof?

    Most of them are. This is great because it lets older adults keep the device on their wrists at all times. Since slipping in the shower is so common among the elderly, having a waterproof product is essential. This also comes in handy when gardening or just going about one’s daily activities. Be careful to check whether the device is water-resistant, splash-resistant, or waterproof because they vary slightly.

  • Do I Need a Phone to Use Medical Alert Technology?

    Yes, most of the time. Many of the smartwatches come with an accompanying mobile app that proves very useful. Others aren’t as high-tech but still rely on a cell connection or a landline phone. Once a person pushes that panic trigger, they usually need to be near a phone, so they can speak to the urgent care response team. That said, some products have built-in speakers and microphones so that clients can engage in two-way conversation straight from their wristwatch.

Stay Safe Without Putting Your Life on Hold

At the end of the day, these devices are wonderful for older adults who want to continue living their lives but need some extra assurance that they’ll be okay in case of a crisis or injury. These products fit the bill and look stylish, too. No one has to know that they’re wearing such a device, but in case of a disaster, they’ll be able to contact someone immediately.


Emily Brooks

Editorial Staff

As a journalist, Emily draws on her rich experience in home safety and seeks to research more on the topic. She is truly passionate about her interests. Emily is knowledgeable about security systems due to the in-depth studies that she has conducted for Securing Home.


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