Of all the medical alert systems we reviewed, Medical Guardian stands out as an example of technological sophistication. Its new line of consoles and pendants are arguably the most advanced of any of the devices on our side-by-side comparison. Couple that with the excellently trained medical-alert monitoring center staff, and Medical Guardian earns our TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award for the best medical alert systems.
The concept behind all medical alert services is easy to grasp. You have a piece of jewelry, usually worn around the neck or on the wrist, with a button that you push in an emergency. When pressed, your base station connects you with a medical alert-center representative who determines the nature of the emergency and notifies the proper first responders. Almost every medical alert system utilizes this method, and Medical Guardian is no different.
What makes Medical Guardian stand apart from its competition is the great care the company takes in both how it handles calls and the people it employs to take those calls. All staff members who work in Medical Guardian's medical-alert monitoring centers are 911 certified. This means they are qualified to handle emergency medical calls and to call for an ambulance. They also have the ability to interact with local fire and police departments in cases in which the emergency button was pushed in reaction to a home invasion or fire.
Another great thing about Medical Guardian is that its staff has access to the personal medical information you provide the company when you initiate the service. This information can be invaluable in certain emergencies if you or a loved one is incapacitated or unable to speak. The company also has a list of your preferred doctors and hospitals, as well as a contact list of family and trusted friends so that everyone who needs to be contacted in an emergency will be in the loop as soon as possible.
Medical Guardian is missing a couple of things we look for in the best medical alert systems – namely, CO2 and smoke monitoring. The company's new line of consoles has the ability to work with wireless smoke and carbon-monoxide alarms (namely the DX-73 and DX-80.) Medical Guardian does not currently offer monitoring services for these dangers. However, the console has the ability to detect extreme temperatures; in the case of a fire, the emergency button will contact dispatchers as needed.
Medical Guardian, like almost all other medical alert services, purchases its consoles, pendants and other equipment from third-party manufacturers. There is nothing wrong with this, but it can sometimes lead lesser service providers to purchase cheap, antiquated or simply inferior devices. Indeed, most of the services we reviewed purchase their equipment from a single manufacturer. Although the equipment is functional, it is in desperate need of a redesign and update to keep pace with today's technological standards.
To combat this problem, Medical Guardian has turned to a new line of equipment. Its flagship console is now the Linear 4200, which is a titanic improvement over previous equipment offerings. Whereas the old equipment had all the charm and class of a stack of phonebooks, the Linear 4200 base console is modern, sleek and handsome. And it takes much less real estate near your phone line.
Looks aside, the base console has badly needed connectivity ports for cellular phones. Since many people have ditched landlines in favor of cell phones, Medical Guardian and other medical alert systems simply could not service a growing percentage of the population. We applaud Medical Guardian for bridging this technological gulf. It truly makes this service part of the 21st century and not just a remnant from the last millennium.
One of the most important benchmarks we look at when we rate and rank the best medical alert system is the range of the base console. We tested the range of the Linear 4200 and found that the emergency button works up to 500 feet away from the console before you're out of range. This effectively gives Medical Guardian's base station a range that is 1,000 feet in diameter. To put that in a real-world context, you can be almost two city blocks away from your home and still use your pendant to notify emergency responders that you need immediate assistance.
If there is one thing most people despise, it's being ensnared in a long-term contract for a service they don't want. We were pleased to find that Medical Guardian does not require you to sign a long-term contract. Additionally, the company offers free equipment delivery and charges no activation or cancelation fees. In short, Medical Guardian scored perfectly in this ranking criterion, which is one of the reasons it placed so highly on our side-by-side comparison.
This is another criterion for which Medical Guardian has a flawless score. The company's support array gives customers access to Medical Guardian staff via telephone and email. However, probably the best and most efficient way to receive technical and customer support is with the live chat service on the company's website. Additionally, it provides a FAQ section and an informative blog on the website, so you can get quick answers to simple questions.
There isn't much to criticize about Medical Guardian. The company has upgraded its equipment to a fantastic line of modern consoles and pendants. The support staff has always been fantastically trained and continues to be. Both those aspects are critically important and add up to something more than the sum of their parts. Peace of mind and access to lifesaving services in an emergency have value that simply can't be measured – and Medical Guardian provides both in spades.
The new Linear 4200 base console has a 1,000-foot range.
Medical Guardian does not currently offer smoke or carbon-monoxide-detection monitoring.
In an industry that is slow to innovate, Medical Guardian has taken great strides to provide a modern, reliable system that is discreet and stylish, and brings help when it's needed most.