Bay Alarm Medical alert systems allow you to request help with the push of a button. They feature relatively low monthly fees and several in-home and mobile options.

If you already have a smartphone, you might be wondering why you would need a medical alert device. The answer is speed. Every second matters after an emergency such as a fall or car accident.

One study shows that about 30% of people who fall are unable to get up. The “long lie,” or the period in which a person waits for help to help arrive, may cause additional health complications.

If you’re wearing a medical alert device, you might be able to access help sooner than you might otherwise.

Our process

For this review of Bay Alarm Medical, we used our vetting criteria to consider:

  • material from the company website
  • current online reviews of their products
  • scientific research about medical alert systems
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Bay Alarm Medical is a division of Bay Alarm, a security system provider located in Concord, California. Bay Alarm was founded 75 years ago in 1946 and is a family-run business.

Bay Alarm Medical is among the top 10 medical alert systems in the United States.

They offer four types of emergency alert products, including:

  • an in-home unit
  • two mobile devices
  • a smartwatch

All units use 4G LTE Verizon or AT&T cellular service — except for the landline SOS Home — with GPS location tracking. You don’t need to have a cellular account because the connection is routed through Bay Alarm Medical.

All four types of Bay Alarm Medical alert systems function similarly with three steps:

  1. Push button: Push the emergency medical alert button on your device, wall button, or wearable button. The mobile units have GPS location tracking to identify your precise location.
  2. Operator answers: A trained operator available 24/7 speaks to you over the device, assesses your situation, and determines your needs. If you don’t respond, they will dispatch 911 or local emergency services.
  3. Operator responds: The operator arranges the help you need. They will contact friends, family, neighbors, 911 or local emergency services, as needed.


  • quick emergency response time (usually 1–15 seconds)
  • large help buttons and easy-to-use interfaces
  • customer service by live chat, phone, or website
  • multilingual communication in 170 languages
  • user tracking for caregivers in mobile app
  • automatic fall detection
  • plug-and-play installation
  • landline or cellular connection
  • GPS location tracking on mobile units
  • nationwide service area
  • affordable packages with locked-in prices and no hidden fees
  • easy handling of false alarms
  • a 30-day free trial
  • A+ rating on Better Business Bureau (BBB)
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  • requires reliable cellular coverage (Verizon or AT&T) in your area for most units
  • no international coverage
  • equipment purchase cost for mobile alert units
  • no medication reminders or wellness checks
  • some users complain about operational failures and accounting disagreements
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There are several ways to contact and get started with Bay Alarm Medical:

  • Phone: Call 1-877-522-9633 and a care consultant will walk you through the various programs and help you choose. To order, you’ll need to create an account.
  • Email: Send an email to
  • Chat: Chat with online support on the Bay Alarm Medical website.
  • Order online: Choose systems on your own and order them on the Bay Alarm Medical website.

The Bay Alarm Medical website details how to use their various products in:

Pricing depends on which Bay Alarm Medical alert device you choose.

Equipment typeOne-time feesMonthly feeFall detection
SOS Homeleased$30 device fee for in-home fall detection (optional)• $24.95 per month (landline)
• $29.95 per month (cellular)
$10 per month
SOS All-in-Oneleased$30 device fee for in-home fall detection (optional)$39.95$10 per month
SOS Mobilepurchased$99 equipment fee$29.95$10 per month (mobile only)
SOS Smartwatchpurchased$159 equipment fee$34.95$10 per month (mobile only)
Bundlesdepends$99 equipment fee for SOS Mobile or $159 for SOS Smartwatch$59.95–$64.95included (mobile only)

SOS Home

  • Features:
    • waterproof buttons
    • 1,000-foot (ft) range in home from wearable button to main console
    • loudspeaker volume on console unit
    • uses either landline or cellular connection
    • optional automatic fall detection
    • optional wall help buttons

SOS Home is Bay Alarm Medical’s most inexpensive medical alert system. It includes a base console unit plus a help button that you can wear around your neck or wrist. To connect with an emergency operator, you press the button on the console, the wearable Help button, or the optional wall button.

SOS All-in-One

  • Features:
    • water resistant
    • uses Verizon or AT&T cellular connection, with GPS location tracking
    • 600-ft range from wearable button to main device
    • can be used both inside and outside the home
    • can be used in your home as a base station or on the go
    • optional automatic fall detection
    • app-based location tracking for caregivers

SOS All-in-One includes the device, a charging cradle, and a belt clip, wristband, and lanyard. You can put the device in your pocket or use the belt clip. You can also put the additional help button in the lanyard or wristband. Activate the help button for assistance both in and out of the house with the small device.

SOS Mobile

  • Features:
    • built-in help button
    • Verizon or AT&T cellular connection, with GPS and Wi-Fi location tracking
    • up to 72 hours on a charge
    • water resistant
    • optional automatic fall detection
    • app-based location tracking for caregivers

SOS Mobile is a mobile device a little smaller than a deck of playing cards. You can carry it with you on a provided belt clip or lanyard. Press the help button for assistance. The device lights up and connects to an operator.

SOS Smartwatch

  • Features:
    • loud two-way speaker system
    • dedicated help button you press to talk with an operator
    • no smartphone required
    • screen size: 1.25 inches
    • pedometer and weather app
    • water resistant
    • color-coded dot on the watch face to indicate network strength
    • uses Verizon or AT&T cellular connection, with GPS location tracking
    • app-based location tracking for caregivers
    • optional automatic fall detection

The SOS Smartwatch comes with a charger and wristband (small or large). You wear the watch and press the help button to talk with an operator via the watch’s two-way speaker system.

Customer reviews are generally excellent. At time of publish, Yelp reviewers rate Bay Alarm Medical 4.2 out of 5 stars with around 430 reviews, while Google lists the company’s rating as 4.8 out of 5 stars with more than 10,000 reviews.

The BBB gives the company an A+ rating.

On Trustpilot, Bay Alarm Medical has 2 out of 5 stars with over 900 reviews. Dissatisfied reviewers complain of malfunctioning equipment and poor customer experiences.

The medical alert base station comes with a warranty that includes “normal wear and tear” and manufacturer defects. The warranty doesn’t protect things like water damage, power surges, drops, and so on. Devices with this type of damage may incur a fee of up to $299.

Bay Alarm Medical does offer a Premier Protection Plan that costs extra. The plan allows one free system replacement per contractual year and a 50% discount on accessories.

The plan costs $2.95 per month for the SOS Mobile, SOS Home, and SOS Smartwatch and $4.95 per month for one of the bundles.

You can cancel service at any time without a fee as long as you return the equipment in workable condition. You generally pay shipping for the return, unless you have the Premier Protection Plan.

Older adults, especially those who live alone, often find that these devices give them and their families peace of mind.

Research from 2016 shows that monitoring devices, especially those with automatic fall detection, can provide significant health benefits to older adults.

A 2017 study showed that personal alert systems are most beneficial in medical emergencies, such as:

Caregivers, especially those looking for devices for people with epilepsy or Alzheimer’s disease, often consider these devices for their loved ones.

Medical alert devices aren’t for everyone. For example, some older adults may:

  • be unable or unwilling to use the technology correctly
  • live in an area without dependable cellular coverage (though a landline can work)
  • may need more supervision than a medical alert can provide
  • If you’ve purchased the system for a loved one, be sure they’re trained and able to use the system.
  • Test the system when you first receive it and regularly thereafter.
  • Be sure the cellular coverage in the area is sufficient if your alert system uses it.
  • Plan for what you will do in the event of a power or cellular outage in your area.
  • If you have a pacemaker and are using the system, review any precautions with your doctor.

Your medical and caregiving team can help you decide if the Bay Alarm Medical alert system is right for you. You can also discuss your situation with a Bay Alarm Medical care consultant who will help you pick the product best suited for you from their lineup.

Not the right fit for you?

For a broad look at other products for independent living, see our roundup of the best products for older adults at home.

To consider other medical alert systems, read our review of the best medical alert systems.

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SpecificationsBay Alarm MedicalMedical Guardian
Cost$24.95–$59.95 per month$29.95–$39.95 per month
Up-front cost$99–$159 equipment purchase for mobile and smartwatch units $125–$200 equipment charge for all units except the Classic Guardian (in-home landline unit)
Shipping costYou pay shipping unless you have the Premium Protection plan.You pay shipping unless you have an annual subscription.
Free trial period30 days
AppAccount Manager app includes caregiver tracking with mobile plans.My Guardian app stores emergency contact info.
SizeProduct size varies, from buttons or smartwatch to in-home console.Product size varies, from buttons or smartwatch to in-home console.
Weightlightweight design, weight varies by productlightweight design, weight varies by product
Connection• cellular (Verizon & AT&T)
• landline
• cellular (Verizon & AT&T)
• landline
In-home range1,000 ft1,300 ft
Medication reminderyes, on the smartwatch
Battery life (on-the-go units)varies per product and use pattern, 6–72 hours (32-hour backup battery for in-home unit)
varies per product and use pattern, up to 168 hours (32-hour backup battery for in-home unit)
Response timeCompany guarantees 45 seconds or less; users say it is usually 1–15 seconds.1–15 seconds
SubscriptionYes, payable monthly, quarterly, or annually.Yes, payable monthly, quarterly, or annually.
WearableAll devices are either wearable or have wearable buttons.All devices are either wearable or have wearable buttons.
Fall detection$10 per month plus $30 device fee (available only with SOS Home and SOS Mobile units)$10 per month
Warranty• General warranty covers wear and tear and manufacturing defects.
• Premier Protection Plan is available for $3–$5 per month and allows one free system replacement per contractual year and a 50% discount on accessories.
• General warranty covers device replacements for general wear and tear.
• Additional warranty available for $6.99 per month provides replacement in event of damage, loss, or theft.

Who will Bay Alarm Medical call if I have an emergency?

In your online account dashboard, you can provide the names and phone numbers of your emergency contacts, including friends, relatives, and neighbors.

You’ll specify what order you want them contacted, such as if you want 911 or local emergency services dispatched before or after notifying your emergency contacts. If dispatchers are unable to hear you or establish a connection, they’ll dispatch local emergency services.

Can I accidentally set it off?

Yes. Simply tell the operator that your call was a mistake. There will be no charge. The devices aren’t particularly sensitive, but anyone can push a button by mistake.

Is Bay Alarm Medical private and secure?

Bay Alarm Medical says they value your privacy and they’re not in the business of selling or sharing customer information. The company does share your information for business purposes, such as billing and shipping.

How do I turn this off?

To turn off the SOS Home unit, you flip the O/I switch on the back of the base unit to the “O” position. Mobile units operate on batteries that can be removed to deactivate the device. In general, you’ll want your units to always be on and operating.

Is Bay Alarm Medical better than Life Alert? How?

Life Alert was founded in 1987 and has the brand recognition of a longtime leader in the field. However, it’s also among the most expensive medical alert systems, and it requires a 3-year contract. Also, it offers only bundled plans, and no fall detection is available.

You may be able to customize your needs better with Bay Alarm Medical. Only you can know which service suits your needs. You may want to discuss your options with a doctor, family members, or friends.

Is a medical alert system really worth it if it’s unmonitored?

The short answer is yes. You do generally need to press a button to summon help, but you can usually do that with the wearable buttons or smartwatch. If you have the automatic fall detection service and are unable to press the button, the system will activate the call for you.

Does Bay Alarm Medical offer payment plans?

You can pay monthly, quarterly, or annually. These are payment plans, not long-term contracts.

Is there a setup fee?

There are no setup, installation, or activation fees.

Does Bay Alarm Medical accept insurance?

No. Bay Alarm Medical recommends that you contact your healthcare professional to determine coverage. Personal medical alert systems aren’t covered by Medicare parts A and B. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Part C (Advantage) plan, you may have partial coverage.

Can you change or cancel your Bay Alarm Medical subscription?

You may cancel or change your subscription at any time. The company will refund any unused months less shipping costs once you return any leased devices in working condition.

Bay Alarm Medical is among the most affordable and reliable medical alert systems that provide automatic fall detection, according to third-party reviews and user input. Most units use a cellular connection that the company provides.

You can choose from a wide range of products, including an in-home unit, mobile devices, or a smart wristwatch. All are available either by ordering online on the website or by calling the company whose customer consultants will walk you through your choice.