What Is a Fall Detection Watch?

A fall detection watch uses motion sensors to monitor movement and notify the wearer of a possible fall. It also often connects to a monitoring center, which alerts emergency dispatchers or a designated family member on the contact list for help with the situation. Some devices are designed to detect a hard fall while others can sense the direction of a possible fall, which could be useful for those who have trouble getting up after a fall. Some fall-detecting watches are standalone devices while others are integrated into medical alert systems, which typically have a monthly subscription fee.

Most medical alert systems use GPS technology to track the location of the wearer, which helps family members or emergency responders locate them when they press a button on the device. A few of the systems we tested even offer two-way communication, which can help a family member or first responder talk with an unresponsive person and determine their condition.

Safety on Your Sleeve: The Top Fall Detection Watches to Keep You Secure

Apple’s new Series 4 and later Apple Watches feature a built-in fall detector that is automatically activated after you take a hard fall. The system has been honed over the course of more than a year to be able to distinguish between a real fall and other movements, such as a small stumble in a pick-up soccer game or jumping jacks during a workout. Using the watch with other functions, such as calling 911, can drain the battery, so it’s important to pay attention to how much usage your device gets.