First, let’s take a look at the rating system. Everyone compares products and services differently, so we want to walk you through the process we use to decide which service is going to be best for you and to give a ranking to each of these services. Our ratings are listed out of a possible 10 points total, with each category capable of earning a service 10 points and then those totals averaged together to get an overall score out of 10.
So, let’s say a service gets a 5 in each category that we choose. Out of 5 total categories that means they would have 25 points when we add them all together. We then take that 25 and divide it by 5 to get an overall score of 5 out of 10. Now, none of the services that made our top 5 list only received a 5 out of 10, but you can get the idea of how we come to our overall rankings that way.
The first thing that we look at is reliability because it’s one of the most important aspects to your overall security. In this category we consider the length of time that the company has been in business as well as how many customers it serves on average. These two factors help us understand their quality, but we also look at who provides the equipment and call center for the service. That is, whether the company has their own in-house call service or a contracted one and whether the company sells equipment that it produces or sells someone else’s equipment.
Equipment, Features, and Services Provided
Next, we look at the different types of equipment that a specific company has (such as a base unit, a pendant, carbon monoxide detectors, medication reminders and more) as well as the features that they offer (such as fall detection). In this category is also a combination of services that a company offers, like cell phone vs. landline service or even mobile capabilities that allow you to travel and spend time away from home while still maintaining coverage.
Technical Support and Transparency
You never want to be without help in case your equipment stops working properly, so we take a look at when technical support is available (24/7 or set hours) as well as if they stand behind the products that they provide (offering warranties, etc.). Finally, we look at how easy it is to get information about the products, services, plans, prices and more.
Word on the Street
Looking at information that a company provides can tell you a lot, but looking at information from actual customers can tell you a lot more. Therefore, we take a look at what type of feedback the company gets from their customers, both good and bad, to find out if they’re really providing what they say they are.
Finally, we look at the overall cost of the service. We consider the base price, which means the absolute minimum that you can pay each month and get support and then we look at what that base price covers for each service. Some services provide very little at this base cost and others provide a little bit more. Then we look at hidden costs like cancellation fees, long term contracts, and the extras that you can add on and what those cost.