Philips Lifeline Medical Alert System Review (2022 Update)

AgingInPlace.org keeps our resources free by working as an affiliate partner with some companies mentioned on our site. These partnerships or the commission we may earn do not affect our opinions or evaluations of the products we mention. Our reviews are solely based on our research methodology and from input from our AgingInPlace.org Advisory Board. Learn more about our ad policies.

Key Takeaways

  • Philips Lifeline is one of the longest-operating medical alert companies
  • The fall detection feature uses three kinds of technologies to detect falls 
  • Lifeline is more expensive than most of its competitors
  • There are not many add-ons or perks like tablets, smartwatches, medication reminders, or location tracking for caregivers
  • 500-foot range for the at-home system may not be enough for larger homes and properties

Philips Lifeline Medical Alert Service Overview

Lifeline has an established history in the medical alert field—it was founded in 1974 and was the first company in North America to offer a personal alert service. Lifeline’s customer reach expanded when it was acquired by Philips in 2006, and the company has helped over 7 million customers since its founding.

Connect America, one of the largest providers of medical alert systems in the U.S., acquired Philips Lifeline in 2021. Philips Lifeline is now part of Connect America’s impressive personal emergency response system portfolio. We’ll outline what Philips Lifeline offers and compare it to other leading brands so you can choose which brand is best for you or your loved one.

Pros

  • First company to offer personal alert systems in North America

  • No cancellation fees

  • Simple single-piece pendant for on-the-go monitoring

  • Both at-home and on-the-go subscriptions

  • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) members save 15% on monthly monitoring fees and receive free shipping and activation

Cons

  • No risk-free trial period

  • High upfront costs with shipping and activation or device fees

  • No location monitoring, medication reminders, or health monitoring features

  • 500-foot protection range from the base station isn’t suitable for large homes or properties

AgingInPlace.org review of Philips Lifeline

Design and Features of Philips Lifeline Medical Alert System

Philips Lifeline’s medical alert device offerings are straightforward. There are two in-home options—the HomeSafe Standard and HomeSafe with AutoAlert—and the On the Go mobile system.

HomeSafe Standard is an at-home system with landline connection to the monitoring center and is the most affordable Lifeline medical alert system at $29.95 per month. You’ll pay $43.95 per month for this subscription if you choose to connect to the monitoring center via cellular service. 

Both subscriptions have an additional $50 one-time activation fee. 

The HomeSafe Standard plan comes with a base unit known as the in-home communicator and a waterproof help button. The in-home communicator has a built-in two-way speaker so you can speak directly  with a trained care specialist when you press the help button. 

The help button can be worn as a pendant or bracelet. Since it’s waterproof, you can also wear it while in the bath or shower. The help button battery has about a two-year lifespan and Lifeline will replace it when it runs out. 

The in-home communicator protection range is up to 500 feet from the base station. If you have a large property, you may need to purchase the optional Voice Extension box for an additional $10 per month. It works as another base unit and adds an additional 500 feet of protection, giving you a total 1,000-foot protection range. 

You may want to consider another medical alert system company if you think you’ll need a larger protection range from your base station.

HomeSafe with AutoAlert is the same service as the HomeSafe Standard but includes automatic fall detection. The help button with fall detection is a pendant that you wear around your neck to contact the monitoring center if you fall and can’t press the help button. 

The landline subscription is $44.95 per month and the cellular connection subscription is $58.95 per month. Both also include a one-time $50 activation fee. 

The On the Go system is a GPS-enabled help button with built-in fall detection. The On the Go replaced the company’s previous GoSafe 2 mobile device. The On the Go is more modern-looking and compact compared to GoSafe 2, but its standard features are very similar.

Unlike most companies that charge an additional monthly fee for automatic fall detection, fall detection is included with the On the Go device.

What we love about the On the Go is that it’s an all-in-one device. The pendant has a two-way speaker to communicate with Lifeline’s monitoring center, and the fall detection technology is inside the pendant.

Many brands require that you carry a primary help button with a two-way speaker and a wearable pendant, making things unnecessarily complicated. According to Kelly O’Connor, a lifestyle advocate for older adults, “The most important feature families should look for when choosing medical alert devices is wearability.”

The On the Go is waterproof so you have complete protection when in the shower or bath—one of the most common places to fall. The battery is rechargeable and holds a charge for two to three days, although we recommend charging it nightly just in case.

Systems Available From Philips Lifeline

Coverage Type
On the GoMobile
HomeSafe standardIn-home
HomeSafe with AutoAlertIn-home
Monthly Price
On the Go$49.95
HomeSafe standard$29.95 (landline) $43.95 (cellular)
HomeSafe with AutoAlert$44.95 (landline) $58.95 (cellular)
Equipment Fee
On the Go$99.95
HomeSafe standard$0
HomeSafe with AutoAlert$0
Activation Fee
On the Go$0
HomeSafe standard$50
HomeSafe with AutoAlert$50
Installation/Shipping Fee
On the Go$19.95 (self-install) $99 (technician)
HomeSafe standard$19.95 (self-install) $99 (technician)
HomeSafe with AutoAlert$19.95 (self-install) $99 (technician)
Type
On the GoPendant
HomeSafe standardBracelet or pendant
HomeSafe with AutoAlertPendant
Waterproof?
On the GoYes
HomeSafe standardYes
HomeSafe with AutoAlertYes
Fall Detection?
On the GoYes
HomeSafe standardNo
HomeSafe with AutoAlertYes

Health and Safety Features

Emergency Support And Monitoring

Philips Lifeline device

When we interviewed Melanie Musson, a senior health expert with InsuranceProviders.com, she explained that “Medical alert systems allow you the opportunity to be more independent with a safety net of knowing someone can help if needed.” Investing in a medical alert system can help you age in your own home while knowing you’re always protected.

Every Philips Lifeline monthly plan comes with an emergency help button that connects you to a U.S.-based 24/7 monitoring center. Monitoring center staff are trained to handle emergencies and dispatch emergency responders to your exact location. 

Two-Way Communication

You can directly communicate with a monitoring center agent with any Philips Lifeline device. The On the Go device has a speaker and microphone in the pendant. Both home systems have a two-way speaker in the base unit, so you’ll need to be near your central unit to talk with a monitoring center agent. Emergency medical services are automatically sent to your location if you press the help button and can’t or don’t speak.

Automatic Fall Detection

Philips Lifeline device with fall detection

The On the Go and HomeSafe with AutoAlert include automatic fall detection. The wearable pendant uses unique technology to help minimize false alarms. The acceleration sensors, barometric sensor, and an algorithm work together to detect falls.

When fall detection is activated, it contacts a monitoring center agent. They’ll ask if you need help, and if you confirm or don’t respond, the agent will send emergency services to your location.

Philips Cares App

The Philips Cares app is free with every Lifeline medical alert subscription. The app is a convenient communication portal for your friends, family, and caregivers. 

The app allows your and your care circle to: 

  • View Lifeline contact notifications
  • Manage your Lifeline account
  • Check on device status
  • Update billing information
  • Set emergency contact availability

Customer Support

customer service executive working

Philips Lifeline’s 24/7 emergency monitoring centers are based in the United States. Lifeline works with a translator service to support customers in more than 140 different languages.

When we contacted Lifeline’s customer service line to learn more about its products, we received help right away. Everyone we spoke with was helpful and friendly, and the agents weren’t overly pushy regarding sales—which is often the case with medical alert brands.

Philips Lifeline also has a helpful onsite chat feature. We only had to enter our first name, and we were immediately chatting with a helpful live representative who was able to answer standard questions. 

How Much Does Philips Lifeline Cost?

Monthly Price
On the Go$49.95
HomeSafe Standard$29.95 (landline) $43.95 (cellular)
HomeSafe with AutoAlert$44.95 (landline) $58.95 (cellular)
Equipment Fee
On the Go$99.95
HomeSafe Standard$0
HomeSafe with AutoAlert$0
Activation Fee
On the Go$0
HomeSafe Standard$50
HomeSafe with AutoAlert$50
Installation/Shipping Fee
On the Go$19.95 (self-install) $99 (technician)
HomeSafe Standard$19.95 (self-install) $99 (technician)
HomeSafe with AutoAlert$19.95 (self-install) $99 (technician)
Cost To Add Spouse
On the Go$49.95/month
HomeSafe Standard$10/month
HomeSafe with AutoAlert$10/month
Lockbox
On the Go$29.95
HomeSafe Standard$29.95
HomeSafe with AutoAlert$29.95
Additional Voice Extension Box
On the GoN/A
HomeSafe Standard$10/month
HomeSafe with AutoAlert$10/month
Waterproof?
On the GoYes
HomeSafe StandardYes
HomeSafe with AutoAlertYes
Fall Detection?
On the GoYes
HomeSafe StandardNo
HomeSafe with AutoAlertYes

Philips Lifeline has a partnership with AARP, and members save 15% on monthly monitoring fees and receive free shipping and activation.

Installation and Setup

Philips Lifeline device inside of the box

Philips Lifeline is one of the few companies that provide a professional installation option. For $99, a Philips Lifeline technician comes to your home to help install and test your new personal emergency response system. This service is helpful if you’d like to have someone go over everything with you and ensure that your device is in working order. Otherwise, you pay $19.95 for shipping and set up the system yourself.

If you’d rather install the system yourself, the $99 fee is waived and you’ll only pay $19.95 for shipping. 

Philips Lifeline Add-ons

Fall Detection (AutoAlert)

On the Go and HomeSafe with AutoAlert come with automatic fall detection. There is no mobile option without fall detection, but there is an in-home product without it. You pay an additional $15 per month for fall detection when opting for HomeSafe with AutoAlert instead of HomeSafe Standard. 

Voice Extension

You add an additional in-home base unit for $10 per month. When we spoke with a Lifeline representative, they told us the voice extension is the same as the at-home base unit. It extends your device’s two-way communication range. If you have a large or multi-level home, you may want to add a voice extension. 

Lockbox

You may purchase a lockbox with any subscription for a $29.95 one-time fee. The monitoring agent will share your lockbox code with emergency services if they need to get into your home. They’ll be able to use the house key stored in the lockbox instead of breaking down the door. 

Additional Coverage

Lifeline offers additional coverage for a partner or roommate living in the same home. You’ll pay $10 a month for an additional help button with the HomeSafe plans. This option isn’t available for the On the Go subscription, so you’ll both have to pay $49.95 per month for coverage. 

How Philips Lifeline Compares to Other Medical Alert Systems

Medical Guardian Vs. Philips Lifeline

Philips Lifeline and Medical Guardian provide similar services. Both companies have mobile systems with GPS monitoring, in-home plans with comparable pricing, and free caregiver apps included with the subscription.

Medical Guardian offers a few additional perks. Medical Guardian sells optional voice-activated wall buttons with the home plans, which Lifeline doesn’t. Medical Guardian’s at-home base station also has a longer range than Lifeline’s: 1,300 feet compared to 500 feet. If you have a large property, Medical Guardian may be a better fit.

You have a few more device options with Medical Guardian. Choose from two mobile devices compared to Philips Lifeline’s one, or even a smartwatch, called the MGMove.

Medical Guardian is one of our top picks. It scored number two out of 11 brands in our best medical alert review. Check out our full Medical Guardian review to learn more.

Bay Alarm Medical Vs. Philips Lifeline

Bay Alarm Medical’s subscriptions are generally less expensive than Philips Lifeline and have more features. At-home systems start at $19.95 per month, and mobile systems are $39.95 per month. Bay Alarm Medical is an affordable, well-established brand and received the highest rating in our medical alert system roundup.

Bay Alarm Medical also offers the SOS Smartwatch and add-on accessories like wall buttons and stylish charms to customize your help button pendant.

Read our Bay Alarm Medical review to learn more.

MobileHelp Vs. Philips Lifeline

The most significant difference between Philips Lifeline and MobileHelp are their features. Philips Lifeline’s plans are straightforward and don’t have many add-ons. With MobileHelp, there are many additional features and services that you can add to your subscription. These include waterproof wall buttons, activity tracking, and medication reminders.

One drawback of these perks is that MobileHelp charges for almost all of them. While the base plan prices are more affordable than Lifeline’s, you could be paying $20 or more per month when adding optional features. 

A newer MobileHelp offering is MDLive, a monthly service that gives you the option to chat with a doctor at any time without an appointment. There are also location services through the caregiver app, something that Lifeline doesn’t offer.

Lifeline may be a better fit for you if you want simpler features. But if you’d enjoy features like doctor support, location tracking for caregivers, or medication reminders, MobileHelp may be the right system for you.

Read our full MobileHelp review to learn more.

LifeFone Vs. Philips Lifeline

LifeFone earned the spot as the best on-the-go coverage in our best medical alert system roundup. Its at-home landline subscription is the same price per month as Philips Lifeline ($29.95 per month), but its mobile devices are what sets it apart from Philips Lifeline. 

Choose from two mobile devices: the VIP and VIPx. The VIP has a 30-day battery life, and the VIPx is super compact and lightweight with three sleek color options: black, gold, and silver.

But one drawback to LifeFone that you won’t experience with Philips Lifeline is hidden fees that can drive your monthly price up to over $60 a month—the maximum subscription price with Lifeline. With LifeFone, features like the advanced caregiver app and the daily check-in cost $8 a month and $19 a month, respectively.

So, if you want advanced features like long battery life, activity tracking, first motion of the day alerts, and medications reminders, choose LifeFone. Just know that you’ll pay for what you select. 

Read our full LifeFone review to learn more.

Medical Alert Vs. Philips Lifeline

Medical Alert and Philips Lifeline have similar products and services, with simple in-home and on-the-go subscriptions. If you only need these services when at home, Medical Alert starts at $19.95 a month, compared to Lifeline’s $29.95 a month. Medical Alert offers voice-activated wall buttons for even more coverage throughout your home. You don’t have this option with Lifeline. 

Philips Lifeline on-the-go subscription is slightly more affordable and includes fall detection. Another perk with Lifeline is that you only need to carry the all-in-one pendant when you leave your home. With Medical Alert, you’d need both the fall detection button and mobile device with you.

Learn more about Medical Alert by reading our full review.

Monthly Cost
Philips Lifeline$29.95–$58.95
Medical Guardian$29.95–$44.95
Bay Alarm Medical$19.95–$49.95
MobileHelp$19.95–$54.95
LifeFone$19.95–$41.95
Medical Alert$22.95–$52.95
Equipment Fee
Philips Lifeline$0 or $99.95
Medical Guardian$0–$124.95
Bay Alarm Medical$0–$159
MobileHelp$0
LifeFone$0
Medical Alert$0
Activation Fee
Philips Lifeline$0 or $50
Medical Guardian$0
Bay Alarm Medical$0
MobileHelp$0 or $49.95
LifeFone$0
Medical Alert$49
Cellular Or Landline?
Philips LifelineBoth
Medical GuardianBoth
Bay Alarm MedicalBoth
MobileHelpBoth
LifeFoneBoth
Medical AlertBoth
Money-Back Guarantee
Philips LifelineNone
Medical GuardianNone
Bay Alarm Medical30 days
MobileHelp30 days
LifeFone30 days
Medical Alert30 days
Standout Features
Philips Lifeline50+ years of experience, single-piece on-the-go device
Medical GuardianDiscounted spousal monitoring, annual pay discounts
Bay Alarm MedicalAesthetically pleasing pendant charms, smartwatch option
MobileHelpActivity and health tracking, advanced tablet home system
LifeFoneLong battery life, daily check-in option
Medical AlertVoice-activated wall buttons, affordable in-home coverage

Warranty and Refund Policy

Philips Lifeline doesn’t have a generous refund policy and doesn’t offer a risk-free trial period. The monthly service fee as well as the shipping, installation, activation, and device fees are not refundable. However, you don’t sign a contract, so you can cancel your service at any time. There’s no cancellation policy explanation on the site—you’re instructed to call the 1-800 Customer Service number to find out more.

When we spoke with a Philips Lifeline representative over the phone, they told us that all products have a one-year warranty. After the warranty expires, you may be charged a fee if you damage any equipment. The representative said that most of the time Philips Lifeline sends you a replacement help button or home communication system for no cost if the device stops working and you’re a monthly customer. 

Does Medicare Cover Philips Lifeline?

medicare

Medicare Parts A and B do not cover medical alert devices because they don’t fit the definition of “durable medical equipment.” Some Medicare Advantage Plans, or Medicare Part C, may offer medical alert system coverage.

Coverage varies by state, so reach out to your insurance provider to see if coverage is available.

What Customers Are Saying About Philips Lifeline Medical Alert System

Considering that Philips Lifeline has been in business for 50 years and has served more than 7 million people, there aren’t as many customer reviews on third-party sites as we would expect. Philips Lifeline doesn’t have a page on the popular third-party review site Trustpilo, but it is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with an A+ rating. Philips Lifeline has less than 10 reviews on BBB with an average review rating of 1.67 stars out of 5.

When we dug a bit deeper, we did find more third-party reviews on Best Reviews and Best Company. On Best Company, Philips Lifeline has 2.8 out of 5 stars with 63 reviews. Here are some recent comments from Lifeline customers.

“A family member set this up for my mother with their own credit card. Philips then billed my mother by mail, monthly. They denied this double billing and then raised the price to have my mother continue paying by check. When my mother fell while wearing the device and ended up with ten staples in her head, it did not work. When told about this, the company says you have to fall a certain way. They sent a new pendant. It did not work either. Terrible product. Terrible company.”

Jim Thomas, 1/5-star review on Best Company

“I have a necklace that does not require a base unit. Communication is through the necklace. This gives me freedom around my home or anywhere in the country where there is cellphone service. I had an incident a few months ago where I passed out. Help was called; my contact was called and I was transported to the hospital. Customer service has been great.”

BJS, 5/5-star review on Best Company

“Their customer service is horrible. I called Lifeline to cancel my parents’ service. I was on hold for 27 minutes. Tried 3 different numbers and after feeling very frustrated I hung up and decided to call back and pretend I wanted to purchase a system and they answered right away. A company that is this size needs to hire more people to answer their phones.”

Sheryl, 1/5-star review on Best Company

“We are very happy with our service. My husband’s uncle recently had an amputation of his leg and he lives alone. We live about a mile from him but we are a busy family. He recently fell and this helped him get timely help. Thank goodness I urged him to get it. Last time he fell with no button he laid there for 4 hours because he couldn’t get around to a phone. This is a life saver for us and now makes us worry less.”

Rebecca Wamsley, 5/5-star review on Best Company

The three plans from Philips Lifeline are straightforward. The On the Go subscription protects you in and outside your home and has built-in fall detection. You can choose landline or cellular connection for your at-home system, and the HomeSafe Auto HomeSafe with AutoAlert includes fall detection.

We appreciate that there are few add-on features, so additional costs won’t add up as quickly as other medical alert systems.

However, what’s positive for one person can be negative for another. Philips Lifeline doesn’t offer perks like location tracking for caregivers, medication reminders, or more discreet help button pendants. Plus, Lifeline is one of the few companies that doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee, so there’s no way to try it out without having some money on the line.

Philips Lifeline is also not the most affordable option compared to some competitors.Many companies offer similar products for less—including Bay Alarm Medical and MobileHelp. 

Why You Can Trust Our Expert Review

You deserve the best products for a better quality of life. We strive to create honest, helpful reviews backed by firsthand shopping, testing, and research. Our content is medically reviewed and unbiased to help you choose the right medical alert system for you or your loved one.

We reviewed Philips Lifeline medical alert systems based on the following criteria:

  • Monthly price, equipment fees, and activation fees
  • Warranty options
  • Base unit protection range
  • Installation and setup
  • Comfort and wearability of mobile devices
  • Water resistance of wearable devices
  • Device battery life
  • Special features such as automatic fall detection, smartphone apps for family members, and location tracking
  • Verified customer reviews from trusted third parties such as Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports
  • Company reputation

How to Purchase a Philips Lifeline Medical Alert System

To sign up for Philips Lifeline, visit the Philips Lifeline website or call Philips at 1-855-332-7799. We recommend calling Philips Lifeline for additional savings. When we spoke with a customer service representative, they told us that they usually offer discounts like no activation fee or free shipping.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Philips Lifeline costs between $29.95 and $58.95 per month. The in-home only plans cost $29.95 per month when using a landline or $43.95 per month when using a cellular connection, with an additional $15 per month for automatic fall detection. The On the Go plan costs $49.95 per month and includes fall detection.

Other Medical Alert Systems That We Have Reviewed

Our Comparisons Of Medical Alert Systems

  • Was this Article Helpful ?
  • YesNo

WRITTEN BY

Nicole is a freelance writer with a passion for wellness, nutrition, and healthy aging. Before entering the writing field, Nicole received her undergraduate degree in Organismal Biology from Scripps College and spent time as a nutrition coach. For the past seven years, Nicole has been a health writer for various wellness experts and publications, including Everyday Health, Health, and fitness icon Thomas Delauer. Much of Nicole’s research and writing work concentrates on healthy aging and sleep health. She uses her experience in biology and research skills to bring Aging In Place readers articles that improve health, wellness, and daily life.

View Author

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY

Jenny is an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner in NYC with a passion for working with aging adults and their family members. Prior to her clinical training at Vanderbilt School of Nursing, she worked in business and medical research at Harvard Business School and Massachusetts General Hospital. As a Caregiving Coach at Givers, Jenny helps family members manage the financial, emotional, and educational stresses of caring for their loved ones who are aging in place.

View Reviewer