|Company||Price||Login||Fall Detection||In-Home Range|
|Medical Care Alert
|$30 – $35 a month||4G, Wi-Fi, GPS||Yes||1000 feet|
Best for Seniors
|$30 – $35 a month||4G, Wi-Fi, GPS||Yes||1,400 feet|
Best for Coping with a Chronic Illness
|$30 – $44 a month||3G/4G, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth||Yes||Depending on the device, 400-1000 feet|
Best for Fall Protection
|Starts at $25 a month||4G LTE||Yes||Depending on the device, 400-1000 feet|
Best for Most Affordable
|$25 – $37 a month||Landline, GPS, 5G||Yes||1400 feet|
|BlueStar Senior Tech
Best for Style
|$30 – $35 a month||Bluetooth, 4G||Yes||N / A|
|BlueStar Senior Tech
Best for Ease of Use
|$30 – $35 a month||Bluetooth, 4G||Yes||600 feet|
Best for Kids
|$29 – $74 a month||Cellular, GPS||Yes||N / A|
Best for Travel
|$25 – $40 a month||4G LTE, GPS||Yes||N / A|
Guide for Choosing the Right Medical Alert Bracelet
What Is a Medical Alert Bracelet?
A medical alert bracelet system typically consists of one or two separate devices. A person can wear a button around their neck or their wrist, and they can press this button to call for help. Some at-home systems also have a home base unit with a distress button and a two-way speaker box. You might need to plug this box into your landline, or your system might work with cellular, wifi, Bluetooth, or GPS connections. The ultimate goal is to help you reach out to emergency services when you’re in need.
How does it work? Imagine that you have fallen down the stairs in your home and have broken your leg. If you live alone, it may be difficult for you to call out to a neighbor for help. If you do not have your cell phone on hand, how can you call 911? If you are wearing a medical alert bracelet, you can press the button. Emergency phone operators that work with your medical bracelet’s company may then ask you to explain the situation, confirm your address, and will dispatch paramedics to your location.
Some medical alert bracelets can connect users to a caregiver app so they can use their device to request non-emergency assistance from their family or loved ones. Other bracelets are designed more specifically to be used exclusively in the case of emergencies.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Using a Medical Alert Bracelet?
While medical alert bracelets can be life-saving, they also may have some drawbacks. One major issue to consider is your data privacy. Some companies sell your data to third parties. These third parties can then use this personal data (like your location or your clothes) to try to target you in advertisements.
If you are concerned about your personal data, then make sure to closely read through a company’s privacy policies before you sign up for a subscription. Fortunately, some companies promise to never share your data with third parties (except for your approved caretakers or emergency responders).
What Should I Look for in a Medical Alert Bracelet?
The goal of a medical alert bracelet is to provide an immediate, easy-to-use link to your caregivers or to 911 with the press of a button. When you’re shopping for a medical alert system, you should consider devices that fit in well with your lifestyle.
Some questions you might ask yourself about a medical alert bracelet include:
- If the device requires a landline or cellular connection, do I already have access to those services?
- Is the button comfortable to wear, and does its style match my usual wardrobe? Would I want to wear this device every day?
- Does the device fit into my budget? What are the upfront costs to buy the system, and what are the monthly subscription charges for monitoring? Are there extra hidden fees I need to consider, like fall detection?
- Who do I want to be able to contact first during an emergency: my family and caregivers, or emergency services?
- How easy is this device to use? Are there customer service guides or troubleshooting FAQs to help me set up my system?
- Do I plan to use this device mostly in my home or outside of my home?
Frequently Asked Questions
What Conditions Might a Medical Alert Bracelet Be Helpful for?
Medical alert bracelets are often advertised for senior citizens who live alone, but there are many other people who might benefit from a medical alert bracelet. Some of these people include but are not limited to:
- Children who need to keep in contact with their parents but may not have a cell phone
- People who have chronic illnesses
- Travelers who want a quick and reliable way to contact 911, even if they’re in a new location
- Disabled or elderly partners who live together, especially if they can bundle their coverage without extra monitoring fees
- People who have conditions that may make them more prone to accidents or falling down
- People with food allergies who may want to add an extra sense of protection alongside their usual Epi-pen
- Adults of all ages who live alone and worry about how they could get help during a break-in, fire, or other home security issue
- People with mental health conditions who may need a quick way to contact people in their support circle
- People who are recovering from an injury or surgery but who do not have caregivers in their home to assist them
Are Medical Alert Bracelets Better Than Medical Alert Necklaces?
Medical alert buttons can be worn around your neck like a pendant or on your wrist like a bracelet or watch. Different medical alert companies provide different styling options to you. Nevertheless, the benefits of wearing a bracelet vs. a necklace boils down to personal preference. There are some pros and cons to wearing your medical alert button around your wrist.
The button may be more visible to first responders
The button may be easier for you to reach if you fall or if you’re in danger, whereas a necklace pendant might be more difficult to press if your arms are pinned by your sides
If you take off the watch or bracelet to wash or moisturize your hands, it can be easy to forget to put it back on
Your button may undergo more wear-and-tear with everyday dings and water exposure when worn around your wrist
Some people prefer the feeling and appearance of a necklace over a bracelet
What Do the Different Colors of Medical Alert Bracelets Mean?
Medical bracelets come in a variety of colors and styles. Some customers choose to customize their alert buttons based on their medical conditions. For example, here are some common color codes for health conditions in the US:
- Red wristband = a major allergy
- Yellow wristband = risk of falling down or problem with balance
- Pink wristband = limited use of arms or legs
- Green band = latex allergy
- Purple band = a do-not-resuscitate order
These colors have significance in a hospital setting where they serve as discreet ways to let nurses know about conditions their patients may have. However, these colors may not mean the same when worn in public.
Can I Use a Smartwatch As a Medical Alert Bracelet?
If you own a smartwatch, you may have already recognized that it has some safety features. The Apple Watch has its own kind of distress button since you can opt to call 911 after you click the power button on the side of the watch. Depending on your smartwatch, you might be able to download apps that help you keep in touch with caretakers or that share your location when you’re walking alone at night.
These apps can turn your smartwatch into a sort of medical alert bracelet, but there are still some major benefits to an actual designated alert response system. For example, medical alert pendants may have a longer battery life than your smartwatch. If you use a smartwatch as your primary medical alert bracelet, you’ll need to juggle various apps to share your location and manage your care team. Alert systems provide these services all in one.
As a compromise, some medical alert bracelet companies provide their own app for the Apple Watch. You can enhance your current watch with extra security and peace of mind.
Your monitoring fee with a medical alert company may include access to a phone app. That app can essentially turn your watch into a medical alert button. You can open the app and, in seconds, get connected to emergency or nonemergency operators.
Do Medical Alert Bracelets Call 911?
Like home security systems, most medical alert devices do not automatically connect you with 911. Instead, an operator who works for the medical alert company will quickly confirm your location and determine if you are in danger. That operator can then contact police, paramedics, or firefighters on your behalf.
Before writing this article, we researched 18 different medical alert bracelet companies. First, we compared how much each company charges for the equipment and/or its monitoring service. We prioritized budget-friendly alert systems with fall detection and clear, easy-to-use instructions. These criteria were vital to our initial judgments because a person must first be able to afford and successfully set up a medical alert device before they can begin using it.
After this initial vetting process, we began to consider our superlatives. We weighed up additional perks from each company like caregiver apps, warranty policies, and style appeal.