As a bit of a closet tech nerd, I've been looking forward to testing Medical Guardian's smartwatch, the MGMove. Plus, my grandma has been looking to try a medical alert watch, so I knew she'd want to test it with me! While the MGMove is an exciting device for a senior intrigued by the idea of a smartwatch, it's not for everyone; we also tested the Classic Guardian, the company's entry-level in-home system.
All in all, Medical Guardian's lineup of medical alert systems caters to a diverse range of needs and lifestyles, whether you're on the hunt for an in-home system or a discreet on-the-go option. I also appreciate Medical Guardian's customizable features, with everything from waterproof fall-alert pendants to jewelry pendants to wall help buttons. Below, I'll walk you through my grandma's and my experience using Medical Guardian!
When shopping for a Medical Guardian system, I discovered that the easiest way to choose your package is to hop on the phone with a representative. Talking to an expert who knows the ins and outs of each system helps you choose the best one for your lifestyle. When I called, Chelsea, the representative I spoke with, was friendly and patient. I was curious about how long the battery lasts on the MGMove smartwatch. Chelsea said it lasts 18-24 hours, and the system includes an audio announcement of the battery status whenever the watch is removed from the charging cradle.
Buyer’s Tip: Medical Guardian doesn't have long-term contracts, so you can cancel your service at any time. If you've paid upfront for service that you haven't yet used, the company will give you a prorated refund. Medical Guardian also offers a 14-day return window for the MGMove smartwatch for a refund.
The company's website is easy to navigate and includes all the details for every product, so you don't have to go hunting for information. There is also a live chat feature on the website where you can get your questions answered quickly. When I tested the chat feature, I was pleasantly surprised by the representative's response time. It only took around five to 10 seconds to get in touch with someone!
Once I had all my questions answered, I selected several systems to try out. When you reach the checkout page, you'll choose your payment option: monthly, quarterly, or annually. The annual option will save you up to $45 every year, depending on your chosen package.
Our MGMove package arrived at my grandma's house with a black smartwatch, an adjustable watchband, a charging station, and a charging cord. Before you test the system, Medical Guardian recommends fully charging the watch, which takes about two hours. The smartwatch supports wireless charging, so, I simply placed the watch on the charging station so that the prongs on the back of the watch and the charging station lined up.
Once it was done charging, my grandma strapped on the watch and held down the black button on the side of the watch for 20 seconds to power it up. The watch's home screen displayed the time and date, along with four other icons: a step tracker, weather app, SOS help button, and test button.
To test out the watch's emergency help feature, I told my grandma to hold down the red button on the side of the watch for five seconds or tap on the SOS icon on the screen. She was promptly connected to an emergency operator and used the two-way audio feature to let the operator know that we were running a test.
You can also use the blue test icon on the watch's screen, which will accurately check your signal without actually connecting you to a representative. Medical Guardian recommends running these tests at least once a month to ensure your device is working properly.
The second system we tested was the Classic Guardian, Medical Guardian's only landline system. Our package came with a base station and a wearable help button. I plugged the base station into a phone jack and wall outlet in my grandma's bedroom. After that, my grandma pressed the power button and put on her wristband help button, and she was ready to go.
Advice from the experts: For Medical Guardian's in-home systems, the Classic Guardian and Home 2.0, it's important to place your base station in a central location of the home, like the kitchen, or a high-risk area like the bathroom.
To make a test call, she pressed the large black help button on the front of the base station until it turned blue, and we were connected to the monitoring center. I then tested out the wearable pendant by pressing the help button, and it quickly connected to the base station to call for help.
Medical Guardian doesn't require long-term contracts, and the company only offers a limited 90-day warranty that covers malfunctions or technical issues. However, The representative did let me know that Medical Guardian offers an add-on protection plan for $6.99 per month if you want to avoid paying out of pocket for any lost, damaged, or stolen equipment. For comparison, Lifeline, a popular company we've reviewed, offers a one-year warranty.
|Medical Guardian product||Features||Monthly fees||Equipment fees||Connection type|
|Classic Guardian||– 1,300-foot coverage area
– Two-way audio
– 32-hour backup battery
– Waterproof pendant
|$29.95 per month||None||Landline|
|Home 2.0||– 1,400-foot coverage area
– 32-hour backup battery
– Rapid connection speed using LTE and WiFi
– Two-way audio
– Water-resistant pendant
– Access to MyGuardian customer care portal and app
|$34.95 per month||$124.95||Cellular|
|Mini Guardian||– GPS, Wi-Fi and LTE location technology
– Runs on Verizon's network
– Small, discreet system
– Two-way audio
– Five-day battery life
– Access to MyGuardian customer care portal and app
|$39.95 per month||$124.95||Cellular|
|Mobile 2.0||– GPS, WiFi, and LTE location tracking
– Runs on Verizon's network
– Two-way audio
– Water-resistant, shower-safe pendant
-Lightweight at 1.7 ounces
-Access to MyGuardian customer care portal
|$44.95 per month||$124.95||Cellular|
|MGMove||-Sophisticated smartwatch design
-Shake to Wake feature
-Access to My Guardian customer care portal and app
|$39.95 per month||$199.95||Cellular|
This is Medical Guardian's least expensive system, starting at $29.95 per month. From my own experience with the system, it's an excellent option for seniors on a tight budget or those living in areas with poor AT&T or Verizon coverage.
The Classic Guardian comes with a base station that connects to your landline, along with a necklace or bracelet pendant (your choice!). The wearable, waterproof alert button works up to 1,300 feet from the base station. That means you can use the system whether you're taking a bubble bath, baking in the kitchen, or watching a movie in the family room. We tested the system throughout my grandma's home and backyard, and we were able to connect to the monitoring center every time without issue. In the event of a power outage, the system's 32-hour backup battery kicks in, so you'll stay protected.
From the experts: Medical Guardian's average response time is around 30 to 45 seconds. This falls within the average response time for the industry, which is 15 to 45 seconds.
Built for in-home use, the Classic Guardian is the only model that uses a landline connection, which plugs into a phone jack. You won't have to worry about your system not working during an emergency because of a bad connection. You can also add fall detection to the system for an extra $10 per month.
The newly updated Home 2.0 costs $34.95 per month. Medical Guardian's prices are slightly higher than the rates for similar systems on the market. For instance, Bay Alarm Medical's monthly prices for an in-home cellular system start at $29.95. You will also be charged a $124.95 equipment fee for the Home 2.0, a rarity with at-home systems.
If you are wondering why Medical Guardian charges an equipment fee for this at-home system, consider a few of its unique and advanced features. For example, the Home 2.0 uses both 4G LTE and WiFi to connect with the monitoring center at the fastest rate possible. In addition, the range between the wearable help button and base unit is 1,400 feet, one of the longest we've seen so far. The system also features a Smarti Voice Assist button, which activates self-testing and provides audible system status reports. Finally, it's equipped with a 32-hour backup battery in case of a power failure.
The connection type is where the Classic Guardian and Home 2.0 differ. Home 2.0 uses AT&T's 4G cellular network, so it's a great option if you get strong AT&T coverage in your area. If you don't have reliable coverage, I'd recommend going with the Classic Guardian.
For a closer look at Medical Guardian's in-home systems, watch our video review below!
The monthly price for this lightweight system is $39.95, and, like the Home 2.0, there is also an upfront equipment fee of $124.95. Mobile systems from other companies typically cost $35 to $40 per month, so this price falls within the industry average.
We've been waiting for the day that a medical alert device would come in some more fashionable options, and the Mini Guardian fits that bill! It comes in black, white, or a nice silver option. This on-the-go system can be worn around the neck or clipped to your belt. With a lightweight, sleek design, this model is ideal for minimalists or those who want to keep their system simple and discreet. The battery lasts for five days and charges in three hours — excellent for weekend getaways. The fact that it's Medical Guardian's top-selling device says a lot about this tiny system's value and fashionable look!
Did You Know: Medical Guardian took our top spot for the best medical alert system of the year.
Using mobile technology, the Mini Guardian provides protection wherever you are: in your home, on a stroll around the neighborhood, or on vacation. Thanks to advanced location monitoring via GPS, WiFi, and LTE, emergency operators know exactly where to send assistance if you press your help button. You can also add fall detection for $10 a month. If you have a history of falling, I’d highly recommend this feature.
We've been waiting (honestly begging) for the day that a medical alert device would come in some more fashionable options, and Mini Guardian fits that bill! It comes in black, white, or a nice silver option (cue the “oohhs and aahhs”). With just one large help button and a built-in two-way speaker, this system is great for minimalists or those who want to keep their system simple and discrete.
MGMove, the company's watch-style system, has a one-time $199.95 equipment fee. Then, you'll pay a monitoring fee of $39.95 per month. One of my favorite MGMove features is the ability to send and receive messages to designated contacts, which you can add along with calendar alerts and reminders for $5 per month.
MGMove is the perfect choice for older adults looking to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, whether you're a runner, cyclist, or brisk walker. This medical alert system, which originally debuted in early 2022, hardly looks like one; it's more of a smartwatch with medical alert capabilities. With its sleek look, no one will know it's a medical alert system.
FYI: Automatic fall detection is not available with the MGMove watch. If this feature is important to you, you'll want to consider one of Medical Guardian's other on-the-go systems.
Plus, the watch's battery lasts up to 24 hours, excellent for on-the-go users. The watch makes an audio announcement each time it's removed from the charger, so that you always know the battery status. In addition, the watch goes into battery saving mode after 60 seconds of no movement to help conserve power.
My grandma wore the MGMove while walking her dog, and she really enjoyed the look and feel of the system. Some of my grandma's favorite MGMove features are the step tracking, weather forecasts, and touchscreen face with large, easy-to-read icons. You can even voice text family members and caregivers through the watch. So whether you want to check the weather before taking a walk or set reminders to take your medications or for doctor appointments, you'll be set. I appreciate these extra features that make it easy to stay connected.
MGMove runs on the AT&T 4G network, providing solid coverage to older adults who are on the go. Though the watch has no fall detection option, it does come with GPS location detection so that seniors feel fully protected while out.
The Mobile 2.0, a two-piece mobile system, starts at $39.95 per month. We'd recommend the annual payment plan for this system if it works for your budget; you'll save around $40 per year compared to paying month to month.
This system has two parts: a small, mobile base unit (which you can also wear) and a wearable help button. It has a coverage range of 500 feet from the button to the mobile unit. That means, in most cases, you can wear your help button, leave your base unit inside, and relax in your backyard – all while being protected. While running errands, put on your help button, and place the base station in your purse or pocket, or clip it to your belt. If you're looking for a small, wearable option to use on the go, the Mobile 2.0 is my recommendation.
A gentle reminder: If you're ever unsure which system is right for you, give Medical Guardian's customer support line a call. Speaking with a representative will help you understand more about the products and how they will (or won't) serve your specific needs.
The Mobile 2.0 operates similarly to the Mini Guardian. The difference is, instead of being an all-in-one device, it consists of a small portable base station and a wearable help button. If you don't mind carrying two pieces of equipment, it's an excellent mobile option. At the same time, the size and weight of the Mobile 2.0 has improved; it now weighs a meager 1.7 ounces. Some may prefer to wear the main device while on the go. So with this system, you have mobile options! For $10 a month, you can also add fall detection.
Want to learn more about Medical Guardian's mobile systems? Watch the video below with our editor-in-chief, Jeff Hoyt.
Fall detection will automatically alert Medical Guardian's monitoring center when it senses a fall, even if you can't press your help button. Fall detection costs an extra $10 a month. In the U.S. around 36 million older adults fall every single year, so it's worth the price if you ask me! You can add a fall-alert pendant to either of the at-home systems or Mobile 2.0. With Mini Guardian, fall detection is programmed directly into the mobile device. Fall detection isn't available with the MGMove.
You can add a wireless wall button, which costs $2.99 per month, to your system for another level of protection. When pressed, these buttons wirelessly connect to the monitoring center. They're easy to set up and move – just stick them to the wall. I like that they don't require any complicated wiring or installation. They're ideal for bathrooms or other high-risk areas of the home!
This button, priced at $5 per month, works like the basic wall-mounted button, but it is also voice-activated and features a pull cord. The user just has to say “call Medical Guardian” twice or pull the cord to connect to the monitoring center wirelessly. I'd recommend this button over the basic model, because the voice-activated feature is handy when you can't reach the button.
Money-saving tip: If you select an annual plan, it includes a lockbox and second help button for free. Over a 12-month period, that saves you $72!
The lockbox costs $2.99 per month and allows you to store a spare house key outside your house. That way, emergency medical technicians won't have to break down your door to get inside.
Medical Guardian has designed jewelry alert pendants that are compatible with the Home and Mobile Guardian packages. These pendants cost $2.99 per month. They look like stylish necklaces, and there are several designs to choose from. You really can't tell that they're alert buttons!
With the addition of Medical Guardian's enhanced emergency notifications for $2.99 per month, caregivers in the Care Circle will receive real-time text and email notifications about their loved ones' emergencies.
For $6.99 per month, your equipment will be protected from damage from normal wear and tear, accidents, dust, heat, humidity, and power surges. It will also include unlimited battery replacements.
This one-button box is smaller than a cell phone and allows users to speak directly to a 911 operator. It works on any available cell network, and you will never need to worry about charging it. Alert 911 costs $9.99 per month.
For $5 per month, you will have access to an app that enables texting or talking with your loved ones and a second app that allows you to set up reminders on your MGMove.
Medical Guardian systems start at $29.95 per month. Top-of-the-line models, like the MGMove, cost up to $39.95 per month.
Some of Medical Guardian’s wearable alert buttons are water-resistant, meaning they can withstand rain or a shower. Others are waterproof, so you can wear them in the shower or submerge them in the bathtub. The MGMove is water-resistant.
Medical Guardian’s headquarters are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company’s alert systems are available in all 50 states, along with Puerto Rico and Canada. Equipment options outside the U.S. may be more limited.
If you are unhappy with your Medical Guardian system for any reason, you can cancel your service at any time, as there are no long-term contracts. Once you give the Medical Guardian Returns & Cancellations Department a call and return your equipment, your cancellation will be processed within 30 days. You will also receive a prorated refund for any unused service.
Consumer Technology Association. (2020). About CES.