Medical Guardian Vs. Bay Alarm Medical: Pros And Cons To Compare

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Key Takeaways

  • Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian are our two top medical alert system picks.
  • Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical both offer at-home and mobile medical alert systems, as well as a smartwatch option. 
  • Medical Guardian is our top pick if you have a more active lifestyle. 
  • Bay Alarm Medical offers more affordable pricing options.

Whether you live in a large house or cozy apartment, home is a cherished place. As we age, our ability to remain in our own homes may be challenged by health issues, fear of falls, or isolation. The best medical alert systems on the market today help older adults, as well as people of all ages with health conditions, remain in the homes they love for longer.

Medical alert systems provide two-way communication and help at the push of a button. In this review, we’ll compare the products of two established medical alert companies—Medical Guardian versus Bay Alarm Medical. Both companies offer at-home and on-the-go options that can keep you or a loved one safer. Our team rated these brands as the top two medical alert systems in our best medical alert systems review. There are some key differences between Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm which may make one a better fit for you.

Bay Alarm Medical vs. Medical Guardian: Comparisons at a Glance

Costs and Features
Upfront Equipment Fee
Bay Alarm Medical


• At-home systems: $0


• Mobile systems: $99-$179

Medical Guardian


• At-home systems: $0–$124.95


• Mobile systems: $124.95–$199.95

Monthly Cost
Bay Alarm Medical $24.95–$39.95
Medical Guardian $29.95–$39.95
Activation Fee
Bay Alarm Medical $0
Medical Guardian $0
Contract
Bay Alarm Medical None
Medical Guardian None
Add-On Services And Costs
Bay Alarm Medical


• Bella charms for pendant call buttons: $25 one-time fee


• Wireless wall button: $35 one-time fee


• Lock box: $30 one-time fee


• Extra Vial of Life packets: $8 one-time fee


• Additional fall detection button: $15 monthly


• Extended warranty: $2.95 monthly

Medical Guardian


• Fall protection: $10 monthly


• OnGuard Alert texts and emails: $2.99 monthly


• Extra help button pendant for spouse: $2.99 monthly

Connection
Bay Alarm Medical Landline, 4G LTE, or GPS
Medical Guardian Landline, LTE, GPS, or Wi-Fi
Wall Mount Buttons
Bay Alarm Medical Available with some packages
Medical Guardian Available with some packages
Two-Way Communication
Bay Alarm Medical Yes
Medical Guardian Yes
Battery Life
Bay Alarm Medical


• At-home system: 32-hour backup battery


• Mobile GPS device: Up to 72 hours


• SOS Smartwatch: 18–24 hours

Medical Guardian


• At-home system: 32-hour backup battery


• Mobile system: 5-7 days


• MGMove Smartwatch: 24 hours

Water Resistance
Bay Alarm Medical Yes
Medical Guardian Yes
Fall Detection
Bay Alarm Medical Yes, $10 per month
Medical Guardian Yes, $10 per month
GPS Locator
Bay Alarm Medical Yes, for mobile systems
Medical Guardian Yes, for mobile systems

Why You Can Trust Our Expert Review

Our experts independently research and recommend products we believe provide value in the lives of our readers. We’ve spent collectively more than 1,700 hours conducting in-depth research on medical alert systems. To make our picks, here’s what we did:

  • Engaged in ongoing independent research
  • Consulted with geriatricians and adult caregivers
  • Mystery shopped the brands
  • Surveyed medical alert system users
  • Tested various medical alert systems
  • Interviewed experts in the field
  • Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties such as Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports

Bay Alarm Medical Overview

bay alarm medical logo

Bay Alarm Medical offers at-home and on-the-go medical alert systems at an affordable price. They’re a subsidiary of Bay Alarm, a security company established in 1947. Bay Alarm Medical’s 24/7 emergency monitoring center is based in the United States.

The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Their customer reviews tend to reflect high ratings and positive feedback. All of Bay Alarm Medical’s systems are manufactured domestically.

Top features:
  1. On-the-Go Help Button mobile system monthly fee is lower than most competitors ($29.95 per month) 
  2. Free GPS monitoring services with mobile and smartwatch subscriptions
  3. Can add at-home monitoring for your partner or roommate by purchasing an additional help button—no additional subscription required

Pros and Cons of Bay Alarm Medical

Some of Bay Alarm Medical’s pros and cons to consider are:

Pros

  • 30-day money-back guarantee

  • The Monitoring Association (TMA) Five Diamond Certified monitoring center

  • You’re locked into your original monthly price even if the cost increases over time

  • Great reputation and customer reviews—it has an A+ rating on Better Business Bureau and a customer review rating of over 4 out of 5 stars

Cons

  • Landline and cellular at-home systems have the same protection range from the base station (1,000 feet)

  • Device protection plan costs extra

Bay Alarm Medical manufactures budget-friendly medical alert systems for indoor and outdoor use. They’re a subsidiary of Bay Alarm, a security company established in 1947. Bay Alarm Medical’s call center is based in the United States. It’s available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Bay Alarm Medical has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Their customer reviews tend to reflect high ratings and positive feedback. All of Bay Alarm Medical’s systems are manufactured domestically.

Who Is Bay Alarm Medical Ideal for?

senior couple watching tv

Bay Alarm Medical’s medical alert systems are intuitive and user-friendly. You don’t need to be tech-savvy to set up your system—the home systems are designed to plug in and go.

The help buttons on the at-home devices are very large and a good choice for users with low vision. Vision issues are often associated with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. These conditions may increase the risk your risk of falling according to the Centers for Diseas Control and Prevention (CDC). Bay Alarm Medical offers fall detection for most of its devices for an additional $10 per month.

How Much Does Bay Alarm Medical Cost?

Most Bay Alarm Medical systems have lower monthly costs than Medical Guardian, although there is some overlap. However, their wall buttons are more expensive at $35 each. 

At-home subscriptions start at $24.95 monthly, and mobile systems start at $29.95 per month.

You’ll also pay a one-time fee for Bay Alarm Medical mobile devices on top of a monthly monitoring fee:

  • SOS Smartwatch: $159
  • GPS button: $79
  • GPS + Cellular In-Home bundle: $79

These costs are listed as “Device Purchase” on Bay Alarm Medical’s site.

Different Plans and Models of Bay Alarm Medical

  • At-home system 
  • Connection: Landline or 4G LTE cellular service
  • Both landline and cellular systems have a 1,000-foot protection range from the base station
  • Automatic fall protection available for $10 per month
  • Equipment fee: $0
  • Landline monthly fee: $24.95 
  • Cellular monthly fee: $29.95
  • Mobile system
  • Connection: 4G LTE cellular service
  • Automatic fall protection available for $10 per month
  • GPS location tracking available for caregivers
  • One-time equipment fee: $79
  • Monthly fee: $29.95
  • Smartwatch with help button, two-way speaker, and step tracking
  • Connection: 4G LTE cellular service
  • Fall detection not available
  • GPS location tracking available for caregivers
  • One-time equipment fee: $159
  • Monthly fee: $29.95

If you want to combine in-home protection with on-the-go coverage, two options are available:

  • One-time equipment fee: $79 
  • Cellular monthly fee: $49.95
  • One-time equipment fee: $159 
  • Landline monthly fee: $39.95 
  • Cellular monthly fee: $49.95

Medical Guardian Overview

Medical Guardian is a U.S.-based company founded in 2006. They manufacture medical alert systems that can be used in the home and on-the-go. Medical Guardian’s call center is based in the United States and available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Their CEO and founder, Geoff Gross, started the company after his grandmother experienced several falls at home. When it comes to at-home mishaps, Geoff’s grandma wasn’t unusual. According to data compiled by the CDC, people are more likely to fall repeatedly after they’ve taken one single fall. Medical Guardian has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. However, their customer reviews are mixed. Some clients rave about fast response times and easy-to-use equipment. Others complain about problems with refunds, unauthorized auto-renewal costs, and customer service in general.

top features:
  1. ​​1,300-foot range for the at-home landline system and 1,400-foot protection range for the at-home cellular system
  2. Lightweight mobile devices and smartwatch option 
  3. Less than 15-second response time during our system test

Pros and Cons of Medical Guardian

Pros and cons are relative, based upon your situation and needs. What is a “pro” for you may be unimportant to someone else. Conversely, your neighbor or best friend’s “dealbreaker” may not matter to you. In general, here are some of Medical Guardian’s pros and cons:

Pros

  • No charge for cancellation and pro-rated refund

  • TMA Five Diamond Certified monitoring center

  • Five packages available: two at-home and three on-the-go, including the MGMove Smartwatch

  • Product quiz to help you find the best device for you

Cons

  • Device protection plan costs extra

  • Contracts are month-to-month after a three-month minimum commitment

Who Is Medical Guardian Ideal for?

happy couple with dog

Medical Guardian offers options for people who spend most of their time at home, as well as for those who are active outside of the home.

The at-home systems can be set up to work with a landline telephone or cellular service, so you don’t have to worry about connectivity. If you live in a rural area or location prone to blackouts or spotty cellular service, you’ll be glad to know that every Medical Guardian in-home system has backup battery power.

If you live with a spouse, partner, or roommate, multiple wearable help buttons can be added to your monthly subscription to provide coverage for both of you.

How Much Does Medical Guardian Cost?

Some people may find Medical Guardian pricey. However, when you compare Medical Guardian to Bay Alarm Medical, there is some overlap between product costs:

  • You’ll pay a subscription fee on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Monthly fees range from $29.95–$39.95
  • Both companies have optional monthly costs for important add-ons, such as fall detection, emergency wall buttons, a lockbox, and more

Both have one-time equipment fees for certain products, but Medical Guardian’s equipment fees are higher than Bay Alarm Medical. Medical Guardian’s equipment fees range from $124.95 to $199.95, while Bay Alarm Medical equipment fees are $99 to $179.

Different Plans and Models of Medical Guardian

  • At-home system 
  • Connection: Landline
  • 1,300 feet (approximately three football fields) protection range from the base station—the longest range of any landline system we’ve reviewed 
  • Automatic fall protection available for $10 per month 
  • Equipment fee: $0
  • Monthly fee: $29.95
  • At-home system
  • Connection: 4G LTE and Wi-Fi
  • 1,400 feet protection range from the base station
  • Automatic fall protection available for $10 per month 
  • One-time equipment fee: $124.95
  • Monthly fee: $34.95
  • Mobile system 
  • Connection: 4G LTE cellular service and Wi-Fi
  • Automatic fall protection available for $10 per month 
  • GPS location tracking available for caregivers
  • One-time equipment fee: $124.95
  • Monthly fee: $39.95
  • Small mobile system available in black, white, or silver
  • Connection: 4G LTE cellular service and Wi-Fi
  • Automatic fall protection available for $10 per month 
  • GPS location tracking available for caregivers
  • One-time equipment fee: $124.95
  • Monthly cost: $39.95
  • Smartwatch with help button, two-way speaker, step tracking, heart rate monitoring, and weather reports
  • Connection: 4G LTE cellular service and Wi-Fi
  • Fall detection not available
  • Voice-to-text messaging and reminders available with Social Circle Apps Package
  • GPS location tracking available for caregivers
  • One-time equipment fee: $199.95
  • Monthly fee: $39.95 

The Active Guardian and Freedom Guardian models have both been retired by Medical Guardian.

Similarities Between Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian

  • Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian are U.S.-based companies that provide 24/7 access to emergency monitoring centers
  • Response time is less than 15 seconds for both companies
  • Both companies offer at-home and on-the-go alert system options
  • Both companies offer systems that can be run through landlines or cellular service

Main Differences Between Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical

  • Some Medical Guardian systems are more expensive
  • Medical Guardian’s site is easier to navigate
  • Bay Alarm Medical’s mobile devices don’t require proximity to a base unit
  • Bay Alarm has a better track record of customer reviews than Medical Guardian

Bottom Line

Though it is difficult when you finally realize that you or a loved one may need a medical alert system, the harder part may be figuring out which one to buy.

Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical manufacture high-quality systems with fast response times of several seconds.

Both companies are good choices with some notable differences. In general, Medical Guardian may be a better fit if budget isn’t a concern. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use system with lower monitoring and equipment fees, Bay Alarm Medical may be a better choice.

How We Rate Medical Alert Systems

You deserve the best products for a better quality of life. As such, we strive to create honest, helpful reviews that are 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.

From over 1,000 hours of research, we choose 11 of the top brands that we believe are the best medical alert systems. Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical are our two top medical alert system picks. 

Our team rated Bay Alarm Medical 9.62/10 and Medical Guardian was right behind with a 9.57/10 overall rating. 

We did the following throughout our research process:

  • Consulted with geriatricians and adult caregivers
  • Mystery shopped the brands
  • Surveyed medical alert system users
  • Tested various medical alert systems
  • Interviewed experts in the field
  • Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties, such as Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot

We grade each medical alert company against a 1–10 rating scale and score them according to the following categories:

  • Essential features
  • Product functionality
  • Special features
  • Customer service
  • Purchasing process

Features and criteria within each of these five categories are assigned point values. The more points a company receives for each criteria, the higher they score in the overall category.
See our full explanation of our methodology for a full breakdown of criteria in each category and our scoring system.

Other Medical Alert Systems That We Have Reviewed

Our Comparisons Of Medical Alert Systems

Author: Corey Whelan

WRITTEN BY

Corey Whelan is a writer, health care professional, and Brooklyn, New York native. She is a reproductive health advocate who has helped countless patients through the trials and triumphs of infertility and adoption over the past 25 years. Corey's passion is sharing her knowledge of health and wellness through her writing, and no topic is off limits. She's mom to two grown children and two rescue dogs who captured her heart.

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.