Alert1 has five package options: Home (with optional cellular adapter), Home Fall Detection, Mobile, Mobile Fall Detection, and Mobile + Home Fall Detection. Unlike with most services, in which the fall-detection pendant is an add-on, Alert1 emphasizes the pendant in a separate package.
For our medical alert review, we tested the Home Fall Detection package, which included a cellular adapter that resembled a modem. This added a step to the setup that other in-home medical alert systems didn't have, and it required two outlets.
Cost Comparison: F
The biggest downside to Alert1 is the pricing; the company received a failing grade in our cost comparison. At the time of our review, Alert1's packages all cost about $10 more per month than the market average. For example, the in-home landline system was $39.95 per month, but the market average was $30 per month. It's the same with the in-home cellular and the mobile alert packages: $10 above the market average for comparable devices.
On a positive note, Alert1provides excellent savings with bigger upfront payments. If you select the annual, semi-annual or quarterly payment options, you save $10 per month. On average, most medical alert services provide $3.90 per month in savings with bulk payments. When you consider that Alert1's bulk payment savings simply bring its prices down to the market average, however, it's clear that the service is still playing catchup.
Of course, prices fluctuate all the time. You should confirm and compare prices before you purchase a medical alert system.
The Results of Our Hands-On Testing
The only feature that stood out in testing with Alert1 was the fall-detection pendant, which received an A grade. The pendant isn't unique to Alert1, as it's used by three other services in our review. But it was our favorite fall-detection pendant, because it accurately detected our simulated falls and wasn't too sensitive. While it activated on several of the drops from 12 inches, it didn't activate on any drops from 6 inches. Many of the fall-detection pendants we tested caused far too many false alerts when dropped from the shorter height.
Alert1's speakerphone was OK, receiving a B grade in comparison to other systems. The volume didn't match that of better speakerphones, which means you may struggle to hear the operators if you're in another room. But the audio was clearer than most.
We were surprised by the cellular adapter, since there were no pictures of the adapter on the website. This is the only service in our review that had an external, modem-like adapter like this. While the extra step in the setup wasn't difficult to figure out (you simply connect the adapter to the base unit), the adapter requires additional space and an additional power outlet.
Alert1's call-response time wasn't great, averaging 67.13 seconds. Out of 20 services, this came in 12th place. While this time was a few seconds faster than average, it still doesn't come close to the fastest response time of 20.67 seconds (GreatCall). Seconds matter in an emergency, so this is a significant concern to consider.
The monitoring center's call quality didn't stand out, receiving just a C+ grade in our evaluation. While the operators were all professional and some were exemplary, we had enough operators who sounded tired and bored that we had to lower the grade. A few even sounded eager to end the call, reading off a script with a pace that was too fast for comfort. Overall, the calls were just a little too inconsistent to receive a higher grade.
Based just on Alert1's pricing structure, there simply isn't enough value in the packages to compete with more-affordable medical-alert systems. The fall-detection pendant was excellent, but every other aspect of Alert1 was just average, which is why this service didn't receive our top recommendation.