Looking for a new cell phone? You can't go wrong with either Snapfon or Lively. In fact, both made our list of the top cell phones for seniors in 2022. These cell phone carriers put older adults first when developing new phones and plans. We'd recommend either company if you’re interested in owning a cell phone that doubles as a medical alert device. Keep reading as we break down each company's phone lineup, plan pricing, and other important details.
A Side-by-Side Look at Lively vs. Snapfon
|Talk and text plans||Starting at $14.99 per month||Starting at $9.99 per month|
|Unlimited data plans||Yes||No|
|Medical alert features||Yes||Yes|
|Activation fee||Device and activation fee varies||Device and activation fee varies|
|Bring your own phone||No||Yes|
Phone Plans and Prices
Lively offers two bundles with talk and text. The Value Talk & Text plan costs $14.99 per month and includes 300 minutes per month and costs 10 cents per text, while the Unlimited Talk & Text plan includes unlimited texting and talking and starts at $19.99 per month. Thinking about the Jitterbug Smart3? You'll also need to add one of Lively's data plans for an extra monthly fee.
|Talk, text and data plans||Jitterbug Flip2||Jitterbug Smart3|
|Value Talk & Text||$14.99 per month||$14.99 per month|
|Unlimited Talk & Text||$19.99 per month||$19.99 per month|
|100 MB data||N/A||+ $2.49 per month|
|500 MB data||N/A||+ $5 per month|
|3 GB data||N/A||+ $10 per month|
|5 GB data||N/A||+ $15 per month|
|Unlimited data||N/A||+ $30 per month|
Snapfon lets you customize your own cell phone plan. Pay for the minutes, texts, and data allotment you need.
|100 Plan||$9.99 per month|
|300 Plan||$14.99 per month|
|Unlimited Plan||$19.99 per month|
|500 MB||$2.50 per month|
|1 GB||$5 per month|
|2 GB||$10 per month|
|3 GB||$15 per month|
Which Offers the Better Value?
In terms of better value, Snapfon has affordable talk and text plans starting at just $9.99 per month for 100 minutes, unlimited texts, and no contracts. For comparison, Lively's Talk & Text plan starts at $14.99 per month for 300 minutes, plus 10 cents per text.
Pro Tip: Choosing a phone plan can be tricky! Read our article on comparing senior phone plans for some helpful tips that can make the process stress-free.
What sets Snapfon apart is its build-your-own plan options, making it possible to have a phone for as little as $9.99 per month. That's a great deal if you only need a phone for emergencies! Keep in mind: A Snapfon Network Plan subscription is required when you purchase a Snapfon device like the Snapfon ez4G.
Lively vs. Snapfon Phones
To use Lively as your phone provider, you must purchase a Lively phone. Fortunately, they sell two affordable and easy-to-use cell phone models. Priced at $99.99, the Jitterbug Flip2 is perfect for seniors who don't need all the advanced features that come with a smartphone. You can control it using the large keypad or with your voice, thanks to built-in Amazon Alexa.
Deal Alert: Lively frequently runs deals to help you save on your new phone! Be on the lookout for discounts as you shop online.
If you want to become part of the 61 percent of seniors who own a smartphone, the Jitterbug Smart3, priced a $149.99, is a great option.1 You can type with your voice, video-call your relatives, surf the web, and play brain games at home and on the go. Keep in mind that additional charges for the monthly plan, activation fee, and taxes will apply.
Snapfon specializes in easy-to-use cell phones for older adults with low vision, low hearing, or dexterity impairments. Snapfon cell phones are affordable, too! The ez4G, a brick-style phone, and the ezFlip, a flip-style phone, both cost $79.95. Both are equipped with big-button keypads, a high-contrast screen, hearing aid compatibility, and cameras. You can easily access email, Facebook, the weather, and FM radio.
Snapfon phones also come equipped with a red SOS emergency button. When pressed, it alerts five emergency contacts by call and text. An optional siren can play for those nearby to hear, too. If you add on an sosPlus mobile monitoring package for an additional $19.99 per month, the button also connects you to an emergency response agent who can provide further help. Think of it like a phone and medical alert device wrapped into one.
You can also bring your own phone to Snapfon or purchase the Vortex MUV smartphone for $43.99 from Snapfon's website. Just know that by going this route, you'd be giving up the health and safety features Snapfon has to offer.
Lively relies on Verizon's 4G LTE network. It's one of the largest networks in America, so odds are you're covered.2 However, you can always use Lively's coverage map to see if Lively offers coverage in your area.
Snapfon relies on AT&T and T-Mobile's 4G LTE network to deliver nationwide coverage to 99 percent of Americans. They also offer access to AT&T's 5G network for users with a 5G-compatible phone. To confirm coverage in your area, view the Snapfon coverage map.
Medical Alert Features
Lively also provides optional Health & Safety Packages that turn their Jitterbug cell phones into medical alert devices. Let's check them out below.
|Health & Safety Package||Basic||Preferred||Unlimited|
|Cost||$19.99 per month||$24.99 per month||$34.99 per month|
These are the services in the Health & Safety Packages:
- Urgent Response: This red button on your phone provides 24/7 access to a certified agent for emergencies.
- Urgent Care: You can speak with a medical professional, no appointment needed.
- Lively Link: This caregiving app alerts family and friends if you use Urgent Response or your battery is running low.
- Personal Operator: An agent can help you schedule Lyft rides, provide directions, find phone numbers, and more.
Older adults who purchase a Snapfon mobile device can add on the sosPlus Mobile Monitoring Service. Similar to Lively's Urgent Response service, it costs $19.99 per month and gives you access to a 24/7 emergency response agent. Simply press the button on your phone to connect. When you call, the agent can view a list of your medications, allergies, medical conditions, emergency contacts, and more. They'll assess the situation and then contact emergency services or your emergency contact on your behalf.
Contracts and Warranty
With Lively, you pay month to month, so there's no contract, and you can cancel at any time. That's fairly rare in the cell phone industry. Plus, when you purchase a Lively phone, you get 30 days to try it out risk-free. If you're not satisfied, simply contact Lively, return your phone, and get your money back.
Lively provides a standard limited warranty against manufacturer defects. To extend that warranty and add accident protection, you'll need to purchase a Lively Protection Plan for $3.50 per month per phone. It covers battery replacement, normal wear and tear, drops, and mechanical failure.
FYI: Want more info on Lively? Read all about our experience with the Jitterbug Flip2 and Jitterbug Smart3 in our 2022 Lively review.
You don't have to worry about any contracts or cancellation fees with Snapfon. Instead, you pay month to month and can cancel or change plans at any time without a penalty. A 30-day money-back guarantee for Snapfon devices means you can get a refund for the phone if you're not satisfied. However, you won't be refunded for shipping, rush processing, or cellular service charges.
Snapfon devices come with a 90-day manufacturer's warranty that covers defects, malfunction, and product failure. It won't, however, cover accidents like dropping your phone in a puddle or normal wear and tear like screen cracks. For that type of coverage, you'll need to purchase a $19.99 ezProtection extended warranty plan. It covers defects and accidental damage like drops, wear and tear, and water damage for up to one year after the device purchase. It's half the cost of similar coverage from Lively.
Overage Charges and Additional Fees
Lively lets you pick your talk and text plan and your data allotment for the month. If you exceed those limits, you'll need to pay overage fees. Extra minutes cost 35 cents each, extra data costs 10 cents per megabyte, and extra texts (sent or received) cost 10 cents each.
Lively also charges a shipping fee and a $35 activation fee for each of their phones. While activation fees are typical for the industry, not every company charges one. Lively also charges a restocking fee of $10 in certain cases.
Unlike Lively, Snapfon stays away from overage fees. Instead, they'll send you a reminder when you're close to hitting your plan limits. Then, it's up to you what happens. Either upgrade to a bigger plan or just halt your phone usage until the next month.
Other fees include shipping, SIM kit, and activation fees. Shipping and activation fees will vary. Customers who already have a phone and just want to purchase a plan from Snapfon pay 99 cents for the SIM kit.
Our Final Thoughts on Lively vs. Snapfon
Snapfon and Lively both provide senior-friendly phones with no contracts and optional health and safety features that help you stay connected and live independently. Lively's a solid choice for older adults who plan to use their phone often or want advanced medical alert features. On the other hand, Snapfon's build-your-own option means you could pay as little as $10 per month and still have a reliable cell phone. It's a smart choice for seniors on a budget. Whichever provider you choose, just remember they both charge activation fees.