Roughly 37 million people experience falls each year that are serious enough to need medical attention. While there are a number of reasons we might experience a fall, especially as we get older, muscle weakness, medication, and obstacles on the floor are a few reasons a person might accidentally fall. Even when a fall isn’t serious, its emotional aftermath can be. 

According to Kristi Lipp, an occupational therapist in Olympia, Washington, many people who experience falls develop a fear of falling. This “affects whether they have the will to move and stay active,” she says. This fear can lead to anxiety and depression, and research shows that people with a fear of falling have double the risk of actually falling. 

While medical alert systems can’t prevent falls, just the touch of a button can alert help—serving as a safeguard and tool that can provide peace of mind. With so many brands on the market, the Handbook Team knows it can be overwhelming when shopping for a system. We chose to review Bay Alarm Medical because it was one of the top-performing medical alert systems during our testing. Read on to learn the pros and cons, pricing, and features for each model, so you can decide whether it’s the right choice for you. 

9.3 Excellent
Sensitive at-home fall detection
Average response time: 60 seconds
20% Off Device + Free Shipping & Free Month

Which Bay Alarm medical alert system is right for you?

  • If you spend a lot of time at home and want a lightweight necklace or wristband that connects to a base unit, check out the SOS Home
  • For anyone who wants GPS-based location tracking and a system they can take anywhere they go, try the SOS Mobile.
  • Looking for a model that helps you maintain an active lifestyle? Try the SOS Smartwatch.

HelpGuide Handbook for Bay Alarm Medical 

If you only learn five things about Bay Alarm Medical, here’s what you need to know:

Bay Alarm Medical 
On average, it takes each device less than one minute to initiate a call and less than two minutes to connect with the monitoring center. On average, it takes each device less than one minute to initiate a call and less than two minutes to connect with the monitoring center.
Each device we reviewed comes with optional fall detection for an additional $10. Each device we reviewed comes with optional fall detection for an additional $10.
The Bay Alarm SOS Home has the best fall detection out of any device we’ve tested. The Bay Alarm SOS Home has the best fall detection out of any device we’ve tested.
The mobile and smartwatch options connect to a caregiver app with GPS tracking. The mobile and smartwatch options connect to a caregiver app with GPS tracking.
The setup for each device is simple, and the directions are easy to read. The setup for each device is simple, and the directions are easy to read.

Our testing experience

Collectively, the Handbook Team has put in more than 5,800 hours of research, testing, and evaluation to review different medical alert system brands. We wrote this review to guide you in finding a system that can best fit your needs.

Our Handbook Team has consulted with more than 10 mental health experts in total. We subject the devices to a series of tests that mimic how a regular person would use the system. Our testers log their results and come together to share their findings when testing concludes. 

The Handbook Team has tested 28 medical alert systems across 10 brands

How we tested Bay Alarm Medical

Our Medical Alert System Testing Process
Purchase medical alert systems as mystery shoppers. Purchase medical alert systems as mystery shoppers.
Follow the user guide to set up the system and call the monitoring center. Follow the user guide to set up the system and call the monitoring center.
Record how long it takes to reach the monitoring center. Record how long it takes to reach the monitoring center.
Conduct six fall tests (three slow and three fast falls) with fall detection devices. Conduct six fall tests (three slow and three fast falls) with fall detection devices.
Test GPS location tracking for mobile systems. Test GPS location tracking for mobile systems.
Charge devices. Charge devices.
Download and test caregiver app. Download and test caregiver app.

Our testers tried various Bay Alarm Medical devices over the course of two weeks. They tested both at-home devices and on-the-go devices. Testers were instructed to use all the functions that an average user would, and contact customer service to understand how effective Bay Alarm Medical is at resolving customer problems. Each tester went through a checklist of 30 questions while setting up and testing the devices. As part of this, testers followed each device’s user guide and noted what is intuitive or difficult about the setup process.

We spent the majority of our testing calling the monitoring center since this is the most important feature of any medical alert system. For Bay Alarm Medical devices with fall detection, we attempted six additional calls with fall detection tests. Our team conducted three “slow” and three “fast” test falls while wearing Bay Alarm fall detection devices. We started all slow falls by sitting in a chair at 90 degrees and dropping to our knees before falling face down on a mat. For the fast fall, we drop the device from shoulder height to the mat to replicate a fast, hard-impact fall. 

Testers logged their data and shared their findings when testing concluded. We used these findings, and our research into medical alert systems, to write this Bay Alarm Medical review.

Pros and cons of Bay Alarm Medical

What we liked

  • Fast response times. 
  • Option to add fall detection for each device.
  • Caregiver tracking app adds an extra layer of protection.
  • Customized emergency contact list.
  • Different model options for different lifestyles. 
  • 30-day trial.
  • Cancel anytime without added fees or contracts.

What we didn’t like

  • One-time equipment fee for some devices. 
  • App not available for Bay Alarm SOS Home or the SOS Smartwatch.
  • Additional charge for fall detection. 
  • Water-resistant devices can be damaged when submerged in water for prolonged periods.

Bay Alarm Medical Alert System reviews

SOS Home

SOS Home
SOS Home
SOS Home

Research shows that the majority of falls happen at home. If you spend a lot of time in your house, a home medical alert system like Bay Alarm Medical’s SOS Home may be the ideal type of system. The main base console unit is a two-way speaker with a large red button. When pressed, it connects you to Bay Alarm’s 24/7 monitoring center. But you don’t have to be right next to the base station for it to work. If you wear the help button necklace or bracelet, you can travel 1,000 feet from the base around your home or yard. However, you should always test this feature when you set up your system to ensure it works throughout your home.


  • Monthly fee: $24.95–$29.95.
  • One-time device fee: None.
  • Device type: At-home.
  • Range: 1,000 feet.
  • Connection: Landline or cellular.
  • Fall detection: $10.
  • Devices included: Home base unit, wearable help button for wrist or neck, vial of life (info for EMS about your medical information).
  • Standout feature: Sensitive two-way speaker for 24/7 help.

Pros and cons of the SOS Home model

What we liked

  • Options to wear on your neck or wrist.
  • Optional fall detection for $10.
  • Add-on waterproof help buttons available for your walls.
  • Two-way communication.
  • Sensitive at-home fall detection necklace.
  • Option to add Bella Charms for $25.

What we didn’t like

  • Caregiver Tracking App is not available on this model.
Woman wears medical alert help button necklace around her neck with a Bella Charm over the top

For $25 each, Bay Alarm offers Bella Charms, which you can clip on your help button necklace to make it look like jewelry. Unfortunately, they don’t work with the fall detection necklace.

Our verdict

Our testers were impressed with how simple the SOS Home was to set up, with step-by-step instructions, large, easy-to-read text, and flashing lights to indicate system status updates. The power switch is small, which may be difficult to manage if you have dexterity issues. But once turned on, the speaker provides clear sound and good reach—we could speak with the monitoring agent from five feet away. You also don’t have to worry about the base station if there’s a power outage because it comes with a 32-hour backup battery.

This system includes a lanyard or wrist option that allows you to connect to the base station and call for help by pressing the attached help button. It’s important to understand that the wearable button does not have a speaker, so if you’re away from the base station and don’t answer the monitoring center response team, they will initiate 911 or appropriate help.

To make your button look more like jewelry, you can purchase a Bella Charm (for $25), which you put over your button to make it look like a necklace. The brand also offers Bella Bands ($12–$17) in different colors if you prefer to wear your help button on your wrist.

From our tester

“The pendant is lightweight and rests comfortably on the sternum. I also like that it’s adjustable, which not all medical alert system lanyards are.”

Finally, we were especially impressed with the accuracy of the add-on fall detection necklace, which detected all six falls during testing. Unfortunately, the Bella Charms aren’t compatible with the fall detection button.

SOS Mobile 

SOS Mobile
SOS Mobile
SOS Mobile

The SOS Mobile is great for on-the-go use and comes with a help button you can wear on a belt clip or lanyard. We also like that it has an impressive battery life of up to six days. Since this model has 4G LTE connectivity, it provides monitoring even when you’re not home, allowing you to stay active. We tested the model with fall detection and found it fast and accurate.

From our tester

“It took a total of 20 seconds to connect to the monitoring center. Here’s the breakdown: Four seconds after dropping the device, it acknowledged there was a fall. After that, it took 16 seconds for it to say it was calling the monitoring center and provided directions on how to cancel the call for a false alarm. I let it call through. Once I was connected to the monitoring center, an agent asked me to verify my name. I liked that it lights up blue when sending the call to the monitoring center.”


  • Monthly fee: $34.95.
  • One-time device charge: $99.
  • Device type: Mobile.
  • Range: Unlimited.
  • Fall detection: $10.
  • Connection: Cellular (AT&T or Verizon).
  • Devices included: Mobile device, belt clip, lanyard, and charging cradle.
  • Standout feature: Fast and sensitive fall detection, with the device registering falls in seconds.

Pros and cons of the SOS Mobile model

What we liked

  • Simple setup with a detailed manual.
  • GPS tracking included.
  • Connectivity with caregiver tracking app.
  • Magnetic clasp makes it easy to take on and off.
  • Battery life lasts up to six days.
  • Small and lightweight.

What we didn’t like

  • Device fee is $99.
  • Not waterproof (only water-resistant).
Man wears the SOS Mobile around his neck on a lanyard while holding a coffee mug in one hand

You can wear the SOS Mobile around your neck or on a belt clip.

Our verdict

Small and lightweight, the SOS Mobile is a great fit for active people. Our testers found it easy to navigate, and we liked that when we put it in the charging cradle, it verbally told us it was charging. It was one of the only models we’ve reviewed that provided instructions on how to clean the device.

This model is also able to connect to Bay Alarm’s Caregiver Tracking app, which allows caregivers and family members to track their care recipient and get alerted if battery levels get low.

Remember that the mobile system relies on cell coverage, so you’ll want to ensure you have strong cell service when you’re out and about and be aware that poor coverage may impact your connectivity to the monitoring center.

SOS Smartwatch

SOS Smartwatch
SOS Smartwatch
SOS Smartwatch

We’ve tested medical alert system smartwatches before that were bulky and heavy, but the SOS Smartwatch is light and comfortable to wear. We also like how it looks like a genuine smartwatch versus an alarm. Most importantly, you can connect to the monitoring system and speak with monitoring staff right through the two-way speaker during an emergency.


  • Monthly fee: $34.95.
  • One-time device fee: $159.
  • Device type: Smartwatch.
  • Range: Unlimited.
  • Connection: Cellular (AT&T or Verizon).
  • Fall detection: $10.
  • Devices included: Smartwatch, vial of life.
  • Standout feature: Lightweight and comfortable.

Pros and cons of the SOS Mobile model

What we liked

  • Two-way speaker right through the watch.
  • GPS location tracking.
  • Comfortable and lightweight.
  • Step tracking.
  • Detailed weather app.

Handbook Team tip

If you’re having trouble hearing on the smartphone speaker, adjust the volume to whisper mode, which allows you to hold it up to your ear and magnify the sound.

What we didn’t like

  • Scuff marks after testing.
  • Battery only lasts six to 12 hours.

From our tester

“After several hard fall detection tests, it's starting to show wear and tear with light scuff marks on the rim of the watch face.”

 SOS Smartwatch on a person’s wrist

Our testers liked how lightweight this smartwatch medical alert system is, and the red emergency button on the side is easily visible.

Our verdict

We think this sleek design is great for active users (it even comes with step tracking) and anyone who feels self-conscious wearing a medical alert system. It’s lightweight (less than two ounces) and doesn’t require a cell phone or a base station to work. Instead, it connects to 4G LTE. If you need to contact the monitoring center, just push the red button on the side, and you’ll be connected and able to talk to them right through the watch.

While it didn’t detect any of our slow falls during testing, it did detect all four fast falls. We tested slow falls by sitting in a chair at 90 degrees, dropping to our knees, and then falling face down on a mat. For fast falls, we dropped the device from shoulder height to mimic the velocity of a hard fall. This isn’t surprising, as research shows that fall detection is more accurate when worn at the sternum as opposed to the wrist. However, for anyone more interested in wearing a watch, fall detection on any device is a good safeguard to have.

This device also comes with GPS tracking. We tested its accuracy and liked how it shows the device’s real-time location on Google Maps, along with coordinates.

Coordinates showing the device’s real-time location on Google Maps

While testing the SOS Smartwatch, we liked that the GPS tracking showed our real-time location on Google Maps.

From our tester

“The Smartwatch seems less bulky than other models we’ve tested. I thought the touch screen was intuitive, and the weather app is very detailed and mimics what you'd see on your phone with humidity, sunrise/sunset, and more.”

The downside of the smartwatch is its shorter battery life of six to 12 hours, and it’s not waterproof (although water-resistant). We recommend charging it often and that you don’t submerge it in the shower.

How much does Bay Alarm cost?

Bay Alarm Medical prices range from $24.95–$59.95 and depend on the system you want, fall detection add-ons, and whether you decide to purchase a bundle. While the fall detection option may seem like an added expenditure, it’s important to consider. Fall detection can make a big difference in how fast you get help. The available bundles may give you more flexibility.

Medical response in a timely manner definitely affects the outcome of someone’s injuries as well as preventing the likelihood of permanent damage and or death.

Kristi Lipp, an occupational therapist in Olympia, Washington

Our thoughts on the Bay Alarm app

The Caregiver Tracking app is available on the SOS Mobile and SOS All-in-One models (we’ll review this model once we’ve tested it). The feature allows caregivers to track their care recipient’s location as they go about their daily lives, providing peace of mind that they’re safe. The app also allows you to update and change emergency contacts and alerts caregivers when the device battery is low.

Our testing team liked the app’s seamlessness and the interactive Google map, which updates every 30 seconds and offers a real-time view and an additional record of the previous 30 days. 

Our final verdict

After extensive testing, we believe Bay Alarm Medical offers some of the most reliable, easy-to-use, effective, and affordable fall protection options on the market. If you’d like to explore other brands, check out our picks for the best medical alert systems

While you can’t predict the moment a fall may render you vulnerable, you can make a point to choose a model that’s comfortable and simple enough to use. Consider your daily activities when choosing a medical alarm system and model. Do you spend most of your time at home? Are you a social person who enjoys spontaneously meeting friends? Make sure you won’t feel encumbered wearing the help button day and night. We asked customer service about showering in the devices and were told they are technically waterproof but shouldn’t be submerged in water for extended periods, whichcan lead to water damage. So try to limit how wet your wearable button gets. 

Whether you’d rather have a landline home setup, a cellular device, or a fashionable lightweight medical alert watch, a model that suits your lifestyle can provide a sense of security for you and your family.

Frequently asked questions

Bay Alarm Models cost $24.95–$59.95. Fall detection costs an additional $10, and additional add-ons or bundles can raise the price.

Just push the help button, and the device will initiate a call to the 24/7 monitoring center to connect you with a staff member. If you have fall detection, your device will initiate a call once it senses a fall. Depending on your contact preferences, the operator will send help by contacting friends, family, or emergency services.

No, usually traditional Medicare doesn’t cover medical alert systems. However, some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans and private insurance plans may offer some coverage. Contact your provider for more details about your specific coverage.

  1. World Health Organization: WHO. (2021, April 26). Falls. Link
  2. Schoene, D., Heller, C., Aung, Y. N., Sieber, C., Kemmler, W., & Freiberger, E. (2019). A systematic review on the influence of fear of falling on quality of life in older people: Is there a role for falls? Clinical Interventions in Aging, Volume 14, 701–719. Link