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

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.

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Updated onMay. 22, 2022

Bay Alarm Medical versus Medical Guardian: Comparisons at a Glance

Costs and Features
Upfront Equipment Fee
Medical Guardian $0-$199.95
Bay Alarm Medical $99-$179 for mobile systems, $0 for at-home systems
Monthly Cost
Medical Guardian $29.95-$39.95
Bay Alarm Medical $19.95-$39.95
Activation Fee
Medical Guardian None
Bay Alarm Medical None
Contract
Medical Guardian None
Bay Alarm Medical None
Add-On Services And Costs
Medical Guardian Fall protection: $10 monthly OnGuard Alert texts and emails to guardians: $2.99 monthly Extra pendant with help button for spouse: $2.99 monthly Protection plan: $6.99 monthly
Bay Alarm Medical Bella charms that disguise 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 Auto Fall Detection Button: $15 monthly Extended warranty: $2.95 monthly
Connection
Medical Guardian LTE, WiFi, GPS, or landline
Bay Alarm Medical Landline, 4G LTE, GPS
Wall Mount Buttons
Medical Guardian Available with some packages
Bay Alarm Medical Available with some packages
Two-Way Communication
Medical Guardian Yes
Bay Alarm Medical Yes
Battery Life
Medical Guardian 32-hour backup battery power for home-based systems 5-day battery life for some mobile system 24 hours for MGMove Smartwatch
Bay Alarm Medical Up to 72 hours for mobile GPS unit 6-18 hours for SOS Smartwatch
Water Resistance
Medical Guardian Yes
Bay Alarm Medical Yes
Fall Detection
Medical Guardian Yes, as a $10 add-on
Bay Alarm Medical Yes, as a $10 add-on
GPS Locator
Medical Guardian Yes, for mobile systems
Bay Alarm Medical Yes, for mobile systems
Call Center Hours
Medical Guardian 24/7
Bay Alarm Medical 24/7

Key Takeaways

If you’re weighing Medical Guardian versus Bay Alarm Medical, consider these key points:

  • Medical Guardian is a more expensive option
  • Bay Alarm Medical is easier to set up and is more user-friendly
  • Both companies provide in-home and mobile protection plans
  • Bay Alarm Medical offers bundled packages that include in-home and outdoor protection
  • Neither company includes warranties with their products
  • Only Bay Alarm Medical offers a 30-day risk free trial
  • Neither company requires a contract
  • Bay Alarm Medical has a better track record of customer reviews

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

Medical Guardian Overview

Medical Guardian is an American 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 that first unfortunate spill.

Medical Guardian has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. However, their customer reviews are a mixed bag. 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.

Medical Guardian Overview

Medical Guardian Overview

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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 safety 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-$39.95You’ll also pay a subscription fee on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Monthly fees range from $29.95-$44.95
  • 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.

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 contract required

  • AT&T or Verizon cellular service is included with nationwide coverage

  • Call centers are U.S.-based

  • Call center operators are trained to assess emergencies. Even if you don’t need medical intervention, they’ll remain on the line with you until you feel calm and ready to hang up

  • At-home systems operate in a wide range (equaling the length of two to four football fields, based on the system you choose)

  • MyGuardian portal and app keeps your emergency contacts in the loop

  • According to the manufacturer, average response time is 20 seconds

Cons
  • Not every at-home package offers wall-mounted help buttons

  • Fall detection is an additional cost

  • Packages can be considered costly for some

  • For mobile units, outdoor connectivity of watches and necklaces requires proximity to a small base unit which must be worn or carried

  • Warranty protection plans must be purchased separately

  • Risk-free trial period is not included

  • Has a significant pool of customer complaints on sites like TrustPilot and the Better Business Bureau

Different Plans and Models of Medical Guardian

  • The Classic is a landline-connected medical alert system. If you live in an area with poor cellular service, this may be a good choice for you
  • The at-home system provides 1,300 feet (approximately three football fields) of coverage
  • No equipment fee
  • Monthly fee: $29.95
  • This system has 4G LTE and WiFi connectivity for fast connection speed
  • If you live in a large house or have a big property, this may be a good choice for you
  • The Home 2.0’s reach is 1,400 feet (approximately four football fields)
  • This system also offers the option of adding additional wall buttons for $2.99 a month each
  • One-time equipment fee: $124.95
  • Monthly fee: $34.95
  • This wearable medical alert system uses a small, lightweight base that can sync to a necklace or wristband
    The battery lasts for up to five days
  • Location monitoring is done via GPS, LTE and WiFi
  • One-time equipment fee: $124.95
  • Monthly fee: $39.95
  • This small, wearable device has a five-day battery life
  • It is available in black, white, or silver
  • Location monitoring is powered by WiFi and GPS
  • Fall detection is optional and can be added for an additional $10 monthly
  • One-time equipment fee: $124.95
  • Monthly cost: $39.95
  • Smartwatch with help button 
  • Includes step tracking, heart rate monitoring, and weather reports
  • Voice-to-text messaging and reminders available with Social Circle Apps Package
  • Location monitoring powered by WiFi and GPS
  • Fall detection not available
  • One-time equipment fee: $199.95
  • Monthly fee: $39.95

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

Bay Alarm Medical Overview

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 be highly positive.

All of Bay Alarm Medical’s systems are manufactured domestically.

We may receive a commission if you click certain product links below. This helps support our independent testing and research to provide free, unbiased product and service reviews for our readers. Learn More about our ad policies.

Who Is Bay Alarm Medical Ideal for?

senior couple watching tv

Bay Alarm Medical’s alert systems are intuitive and user-friendly. Since their home systems are designed to plug in and go, no technological expertise is required for setup.

The help buttons on their at-home devices are huge, making them a really good choice for those with low vision. Vision impairment is often associated with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. These chronic conditions increase the risk of falling and may call for a medical alert system.

Bay Alarm Medical’s systems are less expensive than many comparable systems, so if you’re on a budget, consider checking them out.

How Much Does Bay Alarm Medical Cost?

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

At-home subscriptions start at $19.95 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. They’re generally less than Medical Guardian’s equipment fees:

  • 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.

Pros and Cons of Bay Alarm Medical

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

Pros
  • Easy setup

  • Products come with a 30-day risk-free trial

  • According to the manufacturer, average response time is 12 seconds

  • At-home systems are plug and go

  • Landline and cellular options are available

Cons
  • Products don’t come with warranties

  • Fall detection costs extra

  • Mobile packages have equipment fees

Different Plans and Models of Bay Alarm Medical

  • This at-home system can be connected via a landline or 4G LTE cellular service
  • You don’t need to have an existing cellular account to choose cellular service. All your billing is done directly through Bay Alarm Medical
  • This system comes with a home base unit, four wall buttons (included only with the In-Home Premium plan), and a personal help button that can be worn on a necklace or wristband
  • No upfront equipment fee
  • Landline monthly fee: $19.95
  • Cellular monthly fee: $29.95
  • This mobile system provides automatic fall protection at $10 monthly
  • It is powered by 4G LTE wireless plus location tracking
  • It also includes caregiver tracking
  • One-time equipment fee: $79
  • Monthly fee: $29.95
  • This sleek-looking watch may be a good choice if you don’t want to wear an obvious-looking medical alert device
  • Powered by 4G LTE wireless plus location tracking
  • Includes a step tracker and is a great option for more active individuals
  • One-time equipment fee: $159
  • Monthly fee: $29.95
  • One-time equipment fee: $79 
  • Cellular monthly fee: $49.95

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

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

Similarities Between Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian

  • Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian are American companies that provide 24/7 access to U.S.-based call centers
  • Both provide quick response times
  • 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 of 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.

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

Both companies are good choices with some salient differences. In general, you may wish to consider Medical Guardian if budget isn’t a concern. You may wish to consider Bay Alarm Medical if an easy-to-use, plug-and-go system is a better choice for you.

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 how we rate medical alert systems 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.