Philips LifeLine is one of the biggest companies in the medical alert industry. They have over 7 million customers and claim to be recommended by 90,000 health care professionals and hospitals. They claim to have 60% of the market.
That might have something to do with the fact that they’re owned by one of the world’s largest electronics companies, and have the marketing muscle to get in front of all those health care professionals.
LifeLine was the first company to popularize automatic fall detection with their “auto-alert” product.
In my opinion, the major drawback of LifeLine is that the equipment still relies on the base station speakerphone. Better than nothing, but not better than any alternative.
LifeLine’s pricing was historically higher than most others, but recently it appears to have come more into line with the average for similar equipment. With a pre-payment plan, you can get the cost down to about $30 a month for the standard alert. The fall detection option adds about $15 a month to the cost, which is higher than some but not all competitors.
They claim the unit has an activation range of 600 feet. They suggest this is good for a 1,500 square foot home. They say the microphone in the base station is so good it can pick up sounds even from outside, but this claim doesn’t ring true to me. It’s possible, but I can imagine hundreds of scenarios where inside noise or outside noise would mask a call for help from outside the house.
Philips didn’t use to show pricing on their website, and even now it’s not obvious where to find it and they’re not very forthcoming about details.
That’s probably because they really want you to call on the phone. I would describe LifeLine’s telephone sales as “moderately aggressive.” They’re not as bad as some companies, but they’re still selling hard, so be prepared for that if you call.
Update: Actually, it’s worse than that. I called on a Saturday. They asked for a phone number but I did NOT give it to them. On Monday somebody from LifeLine called me at 8:15am to follow up. This did not sit well with me.
Here’s a basic rule for telemarketers. If I didn’t give you my phone number when you asked for it, don’t call me.
Some may disagree with me, but I think LifeLine has secured its high market share through good marketing, rather than through having the best products on the market.
- Overall rating
- 3 Stars – reliable company, but price is high
- Type of System
- Home-based speakerphone
- Landline or other
- Fall detection
- Optional, adds to cost
- Activation range
- 600+ feet
- Communications range
- Voice range from base station
- Water resistance
- Battery life
- 1 year +
- Price per month, paid monthly
- Price per month, paid quarterly
- Price per month, paid annually
- Equipment cost
- Yes, there’s a shipping fee
- Extra fees (activation, etc)
- $30-$40 enrollment fee
- Money back guarantee
- No. But you can cancel if you’re not happy.
- Cancellation policy
- No contract. Cancel “anytime”.
- You’d think a global electronics powerhouse like Philips could make a better looking product.
- For more information