LifeStation does not differ from most medical alert services. The company offers in-home and mobile systems, with fall-detection add-ons available. However, the company website lists only the price of the base package. We believe you should not have to talk to a sales representative to get prices on an alert service's products.
We ordered the In-Home Plus system, which is the same as the In-Home Traditional, but with a cellular adapter. This system is designed for people who don't have a landline.
Cost Comparison: D-
LifeStation earned a D- grade in our cost comparison, because the pricing structure is largely unavailable. Only the base package, which is the in-home landline system, has a listed price: $29.95 per month. Annual or quarterly payments lower the cost to $27.95 per month, but require bigger up-front payments. Either way, the cost is average. To get the pricing for cellular in-home systems, fall-detection add-ons and mobile alert systems, you must talk to a sales rep. Unfortunately, when we spoke to sales reps, we didn't receive consistent quotes on prices, which is the primary reason you should avoid companies that don't make the pricing transparent.
We paid $36.95 per month for the in-home system with the cellular adapter, a charge that's right in line with the market average. The fall-detection pendant was an additional $7 per month — also average.
Prices fluctuate, and our cost comparison was based on the prices during our review. Before purchasing a system, you should always confirm the prices.
The Results of Our Hands-On Testing
LifeStation's pendant range was excellent in our tests, reaching an average of 117 feet. After testing it in a two-bedroom apartment, where it worked 100 percent of the time (including underwater), we went into the hallway, where the pendant reached 118 feet down the right hall and 115 feet down the left hall. This gave the pendant a range superior to that of most medical alert systems we tested.
However, the biggest downside to the system was the speakerphone. When I was communicating with the monitoring center, it often sounded like I was ordering lunch from a fast food drive-through: distorted and muffled. We cannot recommend this voice quality in a product that requires clear communication.
The monitoring center's call quality wasn't great either. Some operators were difficult to understand at times, especially with the poor quality of the speakerphone. Some operators seemed bored as well, and many sounded eager to end the call.
On a positive note, LifeStation's average call response time was 47.14 seconds, which made it the third fastest in our tests. Of course, it's worth noting that despite being one of the fastest, LifeStation was still more than twice as slow as GreatCall, with its 20.67-second response time – the fastest in our tests.
We liked the fall-detection pendant, giving it an A grade in our tests. It's the same teardrop-shaped fall-detection pendant that two other services in our review use, so it's not unique to LifeStation. But it works well, providing the right balance of accuracy and sensitivity: not too sensitive, not too dull. It recognized our simulated falls but didn't call for help on most of the drops from short distances. We also liked that it didn't wait 25 to 30 seconds before it activated a call for help.
LifeStation provides excellent range and has one of the best fall-detection pendants available. We were also happy with the call response time. However, the speakerphone and call quality were subpar, and we definitely don't like the lack of pricing transparency. You're better off with a company that shows its value up front.