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Medical Alert Watches Vs Smartwatches Vs Medical Bracelets: And the Winner Is…
Medical Alert Watches Vs Smartwatches Vs Medical Bracelets: And the Winner Is…
October 25, 2021 / Sarah Pritzker
Medical Alert Watches Vs Smartwatches Vs Medical Bracelets: And the Winner Is…
October 25, 2021 / Sarah Pritzker

Who is October 2021 #1 medical alert system? We compared for you

Medical alert systems are life-saving devices that can help the elderly and others with physical impairments in emergency situations. While traditionally clunky, somewhat clinical in design, med alerts of today are catching up with the times both in design, appearance, and functionality. Many medical bracelets are available as fashionable apparel and even come with smartwatch functionality.

From medical alert watches to medical ID bracelets and the up and coming smartwatches, there are plenty of options for the modern senior to sport. Which begs the question, which one is best? If you’re considering one of these all-important medical alert watches, here is a head-to-head comparison to help make your decision easier.

Why You May or May Not Want a Smartwatch as Your Medical Alert Device

There are several smartwatch medical alert devices on the market, with MobileHelp, Medical Guardian, Apple Watch, and the Galaxy Watch Active2 by Samsung being the most prominent contenders to date. Here are a few reasons why you may or may not want to go with one of these options.


  • More stylish appearance dissolves the “patient” stigma, allowing independent and active seniors the freedom to move about their lives without feeling like they’re in outpatient care.
  • Because they’re less cumbersome, seniors are also more likely to wear their medical alert devices. Which means they’ll have them when they need them in an emergency.
  • Using a smartwatch as a medical alert provides users with several functions in one. Rather than competing for the hottest real estate (your wrist), a single device can track your activity levels, tell you how many steps you’ve taken, monitor heart rate, give you the weather, send text messages, make phone calls, and yes, act as a medical alert system in case of emergency.


  • Price. You can expect to pay considerably more for the higher-end, multi-functional smartwatch on-the-go solution than the more traditional ones.
  • Too much functionality isn’t always a good thing. Many seniors may feel overwhelmed by the multiple options available to them with this small device. Technology is often confusing for the elderly, and the multi-functionality of these medical alert watches might be too much for them to handle.
  • More than that, someone in their golden years could get into a lot of trouble having an all-access device strapped to their wrist. If your parent isn’t aware of the dangers or functionality of a smartwatch, they can download problematic apps, get involved with things they don’t understand, and cause themselves issues beyond their scope.

In terms of smartwatch functionality, the brands cover the spectrum from basic smartwatch features like time telling to fully-featured smartwatch apps and usability. It’s worth noting that a regular smartwatch CANNOT replace a medical alert device. In this context, we are referring to niche smartwatches that are either built with medical alert capabilities or are designed specifically as medical alert devices.

Why You May or May Not Want a Medical Alert Watch Instead

There are many who would argue that the smartwatch med alert devices are overkill. In fact, here are a few reasons why you would prefer the more traditional style medical alert watches or bracelets:


  • The simpler design of these on-the-go solutions is easier for many seniors to deal with. Many seniors aren’t familiar with advanced technologies, and the more complex setup and functionality may simply confuse and overwhelm them. A basic medical alert watch is easy to use, lets you let go and forget.
  • The built-in help button. This is probably the biggest benefit of standard watches and the biggest drawback to smartwatch options. Traditional medical alert devices come with a help button built into the wearable device. When the wearer falls, gets lost, is injured, or needs help in any other way, they can simply press the help button and instantly be connected to an assistant. The monitoring center is available and waiting on call 24/7, every day of the year. So your parents are never alone when they need help. Many smartwatches are handy and trendy. But if they don’t have this essential functionality, they’re not worth their salt.
  • GPS tracking is also built-in. Another crucial safety feature, GPS comes as a standard feature in all medical alert watches today. So if you are wondering where your parent is at any given moment, or if your loved one is in need of assistance, you and the monitoring center can pinpoint the wearer immediately and send help on the spot.


  • Some medical alert watches have a dated look and feel to them. Seniors who are looking for more independence and less attention drawn to their aging will not appreciate the hospital-esque design of these watches.
  • Some medical alert watches are heavy or uncomfortable for seniors to wear all the time

A Word on Medical ID Bracelets

Medical alert watches are designed to send help at a moment’s notice when an emergency arises. However, these devices should not replace medical ID bracelets. For example, diabetics or people with severe allergies that could lead to anaphylactic attacks should have medical alert bracelets that clearly display their medical conditions. In case of an emergency, the medical staff will quickly be able to identify the issue and know how to best care for you based on your condition.

On the other hand, a medical ID bracelet won’t help you if you’ve fallen or are in need of assistance. For that kind of situation, a medical alert watch that is attached to a help button and monitoring service is what you need.

What You Really Need From an On the Go Med Alert Device

At the end of the day, which med alert device is right for you will depend on your personality, style, and requirements. Some seniors have no problem wearing the generic, sterile help button-style devices (Grandpa your age is showing). If that’s the case, then functionality will factor in most prominently for these old folks.

But, many seniors of today are more tech-savvy, independent, and into fashion. For these elderly, you are going to need something more stylish if you expect them to keep their medical devices on. In that case, design and added features are going to play into the equation a lot more.

In general, for any seniors venturing out on their own, these are the most important features to look for in an on-the-go device, regardless of if you’re wearing a bracelet, wristband, necklace pendant, or smartwatch variety:

  • GPS
  • 24/7 monitoring services
  • Large, clear face and fonts
  • Comfortable, lightweight, attractive
  • Easy to use functionality

Long battery life is also helpful because it means your loved ones won’t need to charge their help buttons frequently.

If you’re looking for more frills, then a smartwatch medical alert device may be more appropriate for you. With these med alerts, savvy seniors can enjoy additional features, including:

  • A weather app
  • Text messaging
  • Alarms and reminders
  • Step tracking
  • EKG monitoring
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Phone calling
  • Sleep tracking

There are additional smartphone features that’ll vary depending on the brand you choose. For example, Apple Watch can give you full smartphone functionality, including the ability to download apps, video chat, and more.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, any type of medical alert system is useful. For active seniors looking for more independence and confidence, these devices can breathe new life into their otherwise restricted lifestyle. Regardless of which brand or device you choose, make sure yours comes equipped with built-in fall detection and an automatic help button, so your loved one can get the assistance they need immediately when they need it.

Our Top Medical Alert Systems Of Oct. 2021

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  • TMA five star diamond certification monitoring centers
  • Stylish smartwatch design
  • Lots of device options
  • Advanced technology for better results
  • Options can get confusing
  • No medication reminders
Medical Guardian is breaking ground with its advanced technology medical alert systems on many levels. The cutting edge technology ensures a greater level of accuracy and speed, two important components when dealing with emergency response systems.
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  • Duo plan for spouses, roommates
  • Affordable plans & free shipping, equipment
  • 24/7 MDLive real physician access
  • Two-way communication with built-in speaker
  • Requires a separate device for fall detection
  • No self-monitoring option
MobileHelp has earned its reputation as being amongst the most affordable medical alert systems in the country. Plans start at $19.95, making it reasonable for anyone to have emergency monitoring 24/7.
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  • Not tied into a contract
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Free battery replacements
  • Mobile base unit available
  • Support from trained professionals
  • Need to upgrade for fall detection
  • Basic system requires landline phone connection
ADT Medical Alert offers peace of mind with devices that offer 24/7 monitoring. Base units are waterproof and allow for two-way voice communication with experts trained in senior-sensitivity. With a wristband or pendant included, plus the option of adding wall-mounted buttons and fall detection, you’ll have security around your home. With the On-The-Go plan, you’ll also be able to take your device with you when you go out, and GPS monitoring included with this plan means help will always find you.

By Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker is a professional writer who loves scouring the web looking for the coolest products and services at the best prices. Sarah writes for Sarah has lived and traveled all over the world, but has finally settled down with her family in the Middle East - and yes, she misses winter!
Cappsool Technologies does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or your local emergency number immediately.
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