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Best medical alert bracelets 2021: Medical ID bracelets for adults and kids

Best medical alert bracelets 2021: Medical ID bracelets for adults and kids
(Image credit: Road ID)

The best medical alert bracelets are worn by people who have a chronic health condition or life-threatening allergy. This type of medical ID bracelet is either engraved or uploaded with your health details so that first responders can see it in the event of a medical emergency, then administer the correct treatment. Some medical alert bracelets have a USB port for uploading medical information, and we recommend these for people with multiple or complex conditions. The  more basic types are a simple band with a metal plaque engraved with your name and condition or allergy.

Medical ID bracelets are worn on the wrist, where they are highly visible. Most of the products in our roundup of the best medical alert bracelets are inexpensive, while the more stylish jewelry type bracelets (such as those made by Lauren’s Hope) cost a lot more. While some people may confuse them with the bracelets found in the best medical alert systems, those are a different product and meant for home use. Medical alert bracelets can be worn indoors and outside, and some are designed to be exercise-friendly, thanks to sweat-resistant materials. 

Ultimately, choosing a good medical ID bracelet depends on your health condition. If you have an allergy, the best medical alert bracelet for you is one with a comfy band that offers space for a few lines of text. These are inexpensive, unless, as mentioned, you opt for a jewelry-style bracelet. For complex or multiple health conditions, consider a ‘full profile’ medical alert bracelet with USB port. And if you don't have coverage or you're looking to switch, we’d also recommend our guides to the best health insurance companies and the best Medicare Part D plans.


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Best medical alert bracelets to buy now

1. Road iD Elite: Best medical alert bracelet overall

Best medical alert bracelets: Road iD Elite medical ID bracelet in red

(Image credit: Road iD)

Road iD Elite Medical Alert Bracelet

The best medical ID bracelet for everyday wear

Material: Silicone and stainless steel | Size: Adjustable

Lots of customization options
Lightweight
Durable
The clasp can be difficult to secure

If you want a medical alert bracelet you can wear anywhere from the workplace to a wedding, then this timeless offering from Road iD could be your perfect match. Stylish, comfortable, and compact, the Road iD Elite is the perfect everyday accessory no matter the occasion, and is our top pick for the best medical alert bracelet overall.

Customize like crazy with three different faceplate finishes, two different faceplate widths, and a variety of corresponding color matches. There’s plenty of room to add in your name, emergency contacts, and medical information, and the engraving is guaranteed for life.

The silicone band makes this a comfortable bracelet for all-day wear, and the ID faceplate works with other Road iD band styles so you can mix and match. It’s durable and can withstand plenty of rough and tumble in all weather conditions. 

There have been a few issues with the clasp being difficult to secure and the bracelet coming loose, but for the most part, this is one of the best medical alert bracelets you can buy, and one that has racked up thousands of positive user reviews.


2. VNOX: Best medical alert bracelet for basic ID needs

Best medical alert bracelets: VNOX Medical Alert Bracelet

(Image credit: VNOX)

VNOX Medical Alert Bracelet

A discrete looking medical ID bracelet

Material: Microfiber leather band and stainless steel | Size: 8” or 9”

Inexpensive
Looks like an exercise band
Easy to use magnetic clasp
Some users report magnet issues

VNOX strikes the perfect balance between style and functionality in their range of medical emergency bracelets. And even better? Your bank balance will barely even notice you’ve bought one. The fashionable woven leather design and high-quality stainless steel faceplate are perfect if you have a straightforward medical condition that only requires a few key words and a contact number to be personalized onto the plate. 

The VNOX Medical Alert Bracelet is easy to put on and take off thanks to the magnetic slides that click together and pull apart, is rust-proof, and will hold up well in wet weather. You can choose from one of the pre-set engravings or customize to suit your needs. It comes in both 8-inch and 9-inch sizing, and there’s a choice of a black or silver faceplate. 

Durability is likely to be the only drawback with the VNOX Medical Alert Bracelet, with a few users reporting the magnets malfunctioned after a few months. However, given that this is one of the most affordable medical alert bracelets on the market, there’s a lot to love and very little to dislike. 


3. NATO Medical ID: Best engraved medical alert bracelet

Best medical alert bracelets: NATO Nylon Medical Alert ID Bracelet

(Image credit: American Medical)

NATO Nylon Medical ID Bracelet

The best medical alert bracelet for maximum engraving space

Material: Nylon band and stainless steel | Size: Adjustable buckle and strap

Front and back engraving
Includes an emergency medical card
Durable military-grade nylon
Large faceplate 

If you’ve been looking for a medical alert bracelet with a large faceplate that will hold plenty of characters, then you can stop scrolling because your search is over. With space for nine lines of engraving on the front and a further nine lines on the back (so 18 total), the NATO Nylon Medical Alert ID Bracelet is truly fantastic.

Made of military-grade durable nylon with a stainless steel faceplate, the red “star of life” medical alert symbol is clearly visible on the extra-large engraving plate. The band on this medical ID bracelet is adjustable to fit wrist sizes of 7.0 - 8.5 inches and uses a buckle and strap system. Available in five colors, the NATO Nylon Medical Alert ID Bracelet comes with an emergency medical card that you can fill out and keep in your purse or wallet.

This medical bracelet is a bit like cilantro: you’ll either love it or hate it. If you prefer your health information discreetly hidden in a piece of stylish jewelry or relegated to the back of a bracelet, this one isn’t for you. But if you have a complex medical condition that requires some expansion, and you don’t want a USB bracelet, then this could be the best medical alert bracelet for you.


4. Key2Life Paracord: Best medical alert bracelet for complex health needs

Best medical alert bracelets: Key2Life Paracord

(Image credit: Key2Life)

Key2Life Paracord Medical ID

You can store a lot of health data on this medical ID bracelet

Material: Alloy metal and synthetic fiber | Size: One-size fits most

Stylish
Good value
Comprehensive software
Some say it's uncomfortable

If you have multiple or complex health conditions requiring extensive reporting, then a run of the mill medical alert bracelet isn’t going to cut it. With comprehensive medical software, the Key2Life Paracord medical ID bracelet with an easy-access USB has 3.75GB of storage making it perfect for holding all your medical information.

32-tabs store everything from your vaccination records and X-Ray results to your insurance information and prescription history. Once you’ve entered your data, you can choose what health care professionals have access to and what information is visible only to you. The bracelet separates easily, enabling it to be inserted into a computer where the information you’ve labeled public can be viewed.

The decision to use woven paracord has earned the Key2Life Paracord a mix of fans and detractors. It looks great, and it’s certainly one of the best medical alert bracelets for a smaller price, but it's also loose fitting on all but the largest of wrists, so comfort may be an issue for some.


5. Road iD Runner: Best medical alert bracelet for sports

Best medical alert bracelets: Road iD Runner

(Image credit: Road iD)

Road iD Runner

Keep fit and stay safe with this medical alert bracelet for runners

Material: Nylon strap and stainless steel faceplate | Size: S-L

Waterproof
Lightweight
Plenty of room for emergency tex
No USB storage

This lightweight and stylish Road iD Runner medical alert bracelet is the perfect accessory for the fitness fanatic. With a super-tough nylon band containing a reflective trim, this bracelet isn't just a place to display your vital medical information, it helps keep you visible too.

Available in a choice of three colors and sizes, the Road iD Runner fits comfortably and securely to your wrist using a hook and loop system. Its durability makes it ideal for low-intensity activities like walking, through to more vigorous workouts such as running and on-field sports. 

The ID tag is made of waterproof and corrosion-proof stainless steel that won’t rust, and there’s space for five lines of emergency text. Offering great longevity, this bracelet can be washed with soap and warm water when needed. While it doesn't come with USB storage, the Road iD Runner is one of the best medical alert bracelets for those with simple health conditions who want to stay safe while keeping active.


6. American Medical ID: Best medical alert bracelet for kids

Best medical alert bracelets: American Medical ID

(Image credit: American Medical)

American Medical ID Super Star Action Bracelet

A fun, colorful and tough medical ID bracelet for kids

Material: PVC band and stainless steel faceplate | Size: Adjustable

Available in a variety of designs
Durable construction
Adjustable sizing
Engraving is small

Your child is going to love these fun medical alert bracelets, available in a variety of designs ranging. Bright and colorful, the American Medical ID band looks like a funky accessory but manages to double-up as a discrete storer of your kid's emergency health information.

The flexible PVC bands come adorned with your child’s choice of design, with the medical symbol on the stainless steel faceplate being the only outwardly visible sign that this bracelet isn’t a simple fashion accessory. The back of the American Medical ID band has room for personalized engraved information where you can add any allergies alongside your contact details.

With a durable and waterproof construction that fits comfortably on the wrist, these medical alert bracelets are perfect for the active adventurer, and the adjustable strap means the bracelet can grow with your child. Offering you great peace of mind for when you’re not around, and plenty of style for the fashionable youngster, the American Medical ID bracelet is our pick for the best medical alert bracelet for kids.


7. Freedom Guardian: Best medical alert bracelet with GPS

Best medical alert bracelets: Freedom Guardian Medical Alert GPS Watch

(Image credit: Freedom Guardian)

Freedom Guardian Medical Alert Watch

A medical ID watch that can show first responders your location

Material: Latex-free strap | Size: Adjustable

Phone and web companion apps
Messaging and calendar alerts
Advanced location tracking
Pricey subscription fees

The Freedom Guardian medical alert smartwatch offers peace of mind for active adults. GPS, Wi-Fi positioning and triangulation offer advanced location tracking that can pinpoint your exact location, should you get into trouble while out. The reminder and alert system is great if you’re on a lot of medication, and it can also be used to program in medical appointments, making it one of the best medical alert bracelets for staying on top of your medical schedule. 

Text-to-speech messaging enables you to contact loved ones while you’re out walking without the need for typing, and the oversized icons make the screen easy to read. The companion mobile app means you have the option of granting others access to your location and calendar too, while the battery only requires charging every 48 hours.

There are some drawbacks to the Freedom Guardian though. The $44.95 a month subscription charge is hefty, and there’s no automatic fall detection, which could be an issue depending on your health condition and whether you like exercising in remote areas. In that case, we’d also recommend you look at our guide to the best fall detection sensors.

8. Lauren’s Hope: Best stylish medical alert bracelet 

Best medical alert bracelets: Lauren's Hope Rhythm and Blues

(Image credit: Lauren's Hope)

8. Lauren’s Hope Medical Alert Bracelet

The best medical alert bracelet that looks like jewelry

Material: Sterling silver | Size: Various

Interchangeable ID tags
Room for six lines of text
Very beautiful designs
Far more expensive than others

One of many gorgeous options in the Lauren’s Hope range, this Rhythm and Blues bracelet is a must if you want to wear your medical information in a way that seamlessly blends substance with style.

Looking more like a piece of jewelry than one of the best medical alert bracelets, you can choose to customize it with one of nine different faceplates that have room for six lines of text. The sterling silver, crystal, and rose gold, and teal tone beads are fastened together with a rose gold plated stainless steel lobster clasp.

Suitable for everyday use, this Lauren’s Hope medical alert bracelet can withstand hand-washing and bathing. It comes in a range of sizes from 5.5 inches through to 8.5 inches, and the faceplates are interchangeable, so you can mix and match with other bracelets in the Lauren’s Hope range. Choose from premium laser engraving or standard etching. 


9. Key2Life Sport: Best medical alert bracelet for USB storage

Best medical alert bracelets: Key2Life Sport in blue

(Image credit: Key 2 Life)

Key2Life Sport

This rugged medical ID bracelet isn't afraid of a little sweat

: | :

All-day comfort
Comprehensive medical records
3.75GB storage
High sweat absorption

The Key2Life Sport earns a spot in our guide to the best medical alert bracelets because it accommodates complex medical data, thanks to a slim USB drive with 3.75GB of storage. The drive slips into a pocket under the velcro strap, so it's out of the way. Once plugged into a computer, a digital folder automatically opens to reveal your medical records in a PDF or Excel spreadsheet format. To enter your information, the folder has software to create the records.

However, the interface of the program isn't easy to navigate, and the data entry is more complicated than other medical ID bracelets. It's designed to record your entire medical record and history. While this makes it ideal for people with complicated conditions, it's overwhelming if you're just wearing the bracelet because you need people to know you have diabetes.

The Key2Life Sport is designed for an active lifestyle. The band is made from canvas with adjustable velcro straps, though you may have to tighten it throughout the day. During testing, it was one of the more comfortable bracelets in terms of all-day wear and while exercising, though it does absorb more sweat than other bracelets we've tried.


10. QRepublik MED ID: Best medical alert bracelet on a budget

Best medical alert bracelets: QRepublik MED ID

(Image credit: QRepublik)

QRepublik MED ID Bracelet

A cheap medical alert bracelet that works with QR scanners

Material: Canvas, velcro | Size: Adjustable

Very cheap
Comfortable to wear
Difficult to access information
QR code printed on cardstock

The QRepublik MED ID is comfortable and simple medical ID bracelet capable of providing first responders, nurses and Doctors your necessary medical information. But rather than relying on a USB drive to store the information, they have to scan a QR code with a smartphone. 

This directs them to a webpage with your information. At less than $14 it’s more affordable than most engraved or printed ID bracelets, but it's still capable of providing responders with complicated medical histories. In addition, the data entry for your medical ID profile is one of the easiest to navigate.

The QRepublik QRepublik MED ID does present some major hurdles though. For starters, scanning a QR code requires the person to download an app. Fortunately, any QR reader app works and there are plenty of free ones, but using this technology assumes too much from your responders. Are you willing to wait for them to download an app so they can view your medical history? 

Secondly, the QR code is printed on a piece of thin cardstock, which slips into a pocket underneath the velcro strap. Sweat and water will stain and degrade the cardstock over time, which is a problem. While it's a comfortable medical ID bracelet, the canvas strap isn't of a high quality and may fray quickly. 

Today's cheapest prices on the best medical alert bracelets

Best medical alert bracelets FAQ

How much do the best medical alert bracelets cost?

You can pick up a basic medical ID bracelet for under $15. These typically feature your medical information printed on a metal or plastic plate attached to a strap or band, although some cheaper brands now offer an engraved option. These bracelets are perfect if you have basic medical needs that don’t require much explanation.

Medical ID bracelets with USB storage for more comprehensive medical records cost between $40 and $60. Or you could consider a smartwatch medical alert system with GPS tracking, which has an initial cost plus a monthly subscription fee. 

If you’re someone who doesn’t want their medical alert bracelet looking like a medical alert bracelet, then you’re in luck. There are now plenty of companies like Lauren’s Hope Medical ID Jewelry and Universal Medical ID that make stylish and comfortable medical ID bracelets and other items that look more like jewelry. For those brands, we are thankful! Ranging from $20 to $100 depending on the design, they're a worthwhile investment if you would like something a little more discrete.

How we chose the best medical alert bracelets

The medical ID bracelets we reviewed are full-profile bracelets capable of storing or providing access to your full medical profile. As such, we started by thoroughly evaluating the applications each bracelet has installed on its storage device for ease of use and comprehensiveness. At the same time, we evaluated the comfort and style of each bracelet.

The advantage of full-profile medical ID bracelets is they can give your doctors, nurses and emergency responders as much information as you need them to have. However, some provide more comprehensive record keeping while others make the data entry process easier. You must weigh the benefits. 

For example, the medical record application installed on the Key2Life bracelets can provide people with every minute detail of your history, but the interface is very complicated and not easy for entering data. Conversely, the HealthID bracelet has an excellent interface to navigate, but the stored records are not nearly as comprehensive.

Since medical ID bracelets are meant to be worn all the time, we also evaluated the comfort while exercising. Sweaty arms have a significant impact on comfort. In addition, the absorption of sweat in the materials, particularly with canvas bands and velcro, is a hygiene concern.

What kind of medical ID bracelet do you need?

Most people don't need anything more than a simple medical ID bracelet to inform first responders of their condition – something that says you have a rare blood condition or a severe nut allergy. In fact, simplicity is ideal. After asking a local EMT what information they looked for, I was told to follow the KISS rule: "keep it simple stupid." 

For example, if your main health risk is passing out from low or high blood sugar because you're diabetic, you only need a bracelet that indicates what type of diabetes you have. Medics don't have time to pull up your entire medical history to realize you have diabetes. A simple medical ID bracelet lets them know how to treat you. In fact, according to Lauren's Hope, you should wear a medical ID bracelet if you have the following:

  • Chronic medical and mental health conditions
  • Food or drug allergy
  • Important medications
  • Any information that would change the way a first responder treats you.

However, if you have a lot of health issues or your medical history is complicated, a simple bracelet isn't the best route. This is when you get a full-profile bracelet. If you don't know what to include in your medical profile, consult with your doctor.

Medical ID apps 

The medical alert bracelets we tested represent the best wearable solution for notifying first responders about medical conditions and complex medical histories. If you forget to wear an ID bracelet, or you simply want a backup of your medical information on a device that goes almost everywhere with you, a medical ID app is the best option. These free apps display your medical information on your phone’s lock screen.

Apple Health This app is available only for the iPhone and Apple Watch, but it’s free and has an entire tab dedicated to medical ID information. Once the app is open and you select the Medical ID tab, you add medical conditions, medical notes, allergies and reactions, current medications and blood type to the form.

Then, you scroll to the bottom of the screen and make sure the Show When Locked button is toggled. Apple Health also has a place to enter emergency contact information, and when you use Emergency SOS to call emergency services, the app notifies your emergency contacts and sends your current location.

Medical ID (Free) This is the best medical ID app for Android phones. It houses all of the same medical information as Apple Health and posts an alert banner on the lock screen for first responders or passersby. Unlike Apple Health, Medical ID has a second lock-screen layer with custom widgets that enable quick access to medical information and a customized alert-button trigger that sends alerts to emergency contacts.

Kathryn Rosenberg

Kathryn is a freelance health and wellness writer who is passionate about the mind-body connection, the role of food as medicine, and exploring how we can live in more sustainable and humane ways. A lover of the natural world, she’s at her happiest when walking the beach, staring out at the ocean, or sat amongst lakes and mountains.