Guide to Selecting Pull String Alarms

There are many different types of alarm systems that are designed to alert caregivers if their patient is getting out of bed and is walking or wandering in the bedrooms or other parts of the house or nursing facility. One of the most effective alarm systems for seniors and patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other special needs is the pull string alarm. What is a pull string alarm? How does it work? And how do you find the best pull string alarm in the market? We will find out we dive into the guide to selecting pull string alarms.

What is a Pull String Alarm?

elderly person holding an alarm on a string or cord

A pull string alarm is a type of alarm system wherein a string, if pulled or tugged, will activate the alarm. [1] The string is usually attached to a magnet, which is attached to the alarm and is responsible for stopping the alarm from creating a sound. So, if the magnet is pulled along with the string, the alarm will detect that the magnet isn’t attached anymore and will produce an alarm sound that the caregiver will hear.

At the opposite end of the string, there will usually be a clip attached to the clothes of the senior or patient. So, if the alarm is placed securely on the bed frame and the clip is attached to the patient, the alarm will be activated if the patient goes out of bed. Besides beds, pull string alarms can also be used in chairs, sofas, toilets, and wheelchairs.

How to Set Up the Pull String Alarm

elderly woman sleeping

Setting up a pull string alarm is relatively easy, as the alarm system is fairly simple and doesn’t have complex gadgets or devices like the nurse call systems and others. Some of the best pull string alarms available today are battery-operated, which basically means that you can put the alarm anywhere without the need to worry about plugging it into an electrical outlet.

Besides being portable, battery-operated pull string alarms are also very safe to use, as they won’t cause shock or electrocution on the senior or patient. But keep in mind that pull string alarms are powered by different kinds of batteries, so make sure that you are using the correct batteries by reading the description and details about the alarm first.

Once you have purchased a pull string alarm, here are simple steps on how to set it up for use:

  • Insert the battery in the alarm’s battery compartment, which is typically located at the back of the alarm so it will be hidden from the patient.
  • Apply the double-sided adhesive tape on the back of the alarm if the tape isn’t applied yet from the factory.
  • Activate the power switch of the alarm that is usually located on the sides or on the front.
  • Before placing it on the desired area of the bed, sofa, chair, or wheelchair, you would need to test the alarm first to see if it works. You can do this by intentionally pulling on the strings or removing the magnet attached to the alarm.
  • If the alarm sound is too low or too high, you can adjust the volume of the pull string alarm by the press of the Low/High buttons or a volume control thumbwheel. However, there will be some pull string alarms that have no volume control.
  • After setting the volume and testing the alarm, you can then place it in the desired area or location. The alarm should be placed in an area where the patient can’t reach it, although you can also hide it from the patient without telling him or her the location of the location.
  • For chairs, sofas, and wheelchairs, the alarm can be placed at the back so that the patient won’t reach it or will have difficulty doing so, and for beds, placing the bed alarm on a hidden area of the bed frame is ideal.
  • Attach the clip at the end of the alarm’s string on the shirt or pants of the patient once he or she is lying or sitting comfortably on a chair, sofa, or bed. Make sure that the clip doesn’t cause harm to the patient, and place it in a safe and comfortable location.

You will hear the alarm going off if the senior or patient with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or special needs gets out of the chair or bed. To turn off the alarm, all you have to do is to attach the magnet back to the alarm. If the pull string alarm fails, you should check the batteries and see if they don’t have juice anymore. There are many pull string alarms that have a low battery indicator, so you wouldn’t have difficulty finding out if the batteries are depleted. However, to prevent the alarm from failing due to depleted batteries, the batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a month.

Tips for Picking the Best Pull String Alarms

Thousands of different pull string alarms are available for purchase online and in physical specialty stores. So, choosing a pull string alarm without knowing much about the device can be tricky, and you may end up with an alarm that isn’t working properly or isn’t durable. To avoid this situation, you will need to know the different aspects of pull string alarms and see which specific details to focus on to ensure that what you will be buying is durable and reliable. Here are some tips for picking the best pull string alarms.

Read Reviews of Various Pull String Alarms

customer reviews

The easiest way for you to determine which pull string alarms is considered the best is to read reviews, which are available through review sites, online forums, and the reviews section of online shops and marketplaces. The reviews you can read online will give you every bit of information you need to know about the newest and popular pull string alarms, including their features, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

By reading reviews, you will be able to see which pull string alarms are regarded as better than most on the market, as you will also see their ratings on review sites and on online shops. You have the choice of going to a physical store to check the sturdiness and effectiveness of each pull string alarm available, but this will take a lot of time and effort compared to just reading reviews, which will only take a few minutes of your time.

Check out these three pull string alarms with good online reviews for reference:

  • Patterson Medical Sammons Preston Magnet Alarm – this affordable pull string alarm features a spring-loaded clip for easy attachment to the patient’s clothes. When the battery is low, the pull string alarm has a low battery indicator so that it would be easy for you to know when it is time to change batteries.
  • Secure Safety Solutions Chair and Bed Alarm – another simple and affordable pull string alarm, but this one has three volume levels. Moreover, this pull string alarm also has two alert tones, with one being the regular alarm tone while the other is the low-battery indicator.
  • Secure Safety Solutions MAG-5 Chair and Bed Alarm – the second pull string alarm by Secure Safety Solutions on this list. This pull string alarm features a bigger magnet, although this one only has two volume levels instead of three. But, the pull string or cord on this alarm can be adjusted from 28 inches to 58 inches so that you can customize how far the patient can move away from the bed or chair before the alarm activates.

Buy from Reliable Brands

Whenever you read reviews online, you will see that most of the top-rated products are the ones designed and manufactured by popular brands. So, when it comes to pull string alarms, you will be sure that the alarm you will be buying is reliable if it is made by brands that are known for having highly rated products that are durable, sturdy, and effective.

If you want to have an easier time finding great pull string alarms, then you should check the brands that offer the best alarm systems for seniors and patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and special needs. Of course, there will be some exemptions, as there will be some products that are not made by popular brands but have good reviews online. Read each review thoroughly to know if the majority of reviewers are legitimate and provide detailed info about the pros and cons of the products.

Here are two pull string alarms manufactured and sold by reliable brands:

  • Smart Caregiver Basic Pull String Monitor – one of the most inexpensive pull string alarms on the market that is sturdy and reliable. This alarm operates using 9V batteries, and it also has a low battery indicator for you to easily know when to replace the alarm’s battery.
  • Drive Medical Tamper Proof Magnetic Pull Cord Alarm – this pull string alarm has two volume levels and a battery check button that can help you know how much juice is left on the 9V battery inside the compartment. This also has an alligator clip that provides a firm grip on the patient’s clothes.

Get Pull String Alarms that Have Accessible Battery Replacements

batteries in different colors

We have mentioned earlier that pull string alarms are powered by different kinds of batteries. However, there are some alarms that use uncommon batteries that can be difficult to replace. So, to avoid this dilemma, you need to make sure that the pull string alarm you will be buying uses common batteries like AAA, AA, and 9V batteries.

You will find many pull string alarms that use AAA and AA batteries, but the alarms that use 9V batteries are significantly better when it comes to longevity and durability. Before buying a pull string alarm, make sure that you read every detail or information about the alarm first to know which type of battery it uses.

So, this is a straight forward guide in pull string alarms and selecting which ones to get for your patient or elderly loved one. Besides the pull string alarms, you may also want to use other alarm systems like door alarms, bed alarms, and emergency call buttons to provide optimal safety and protection for seniors and patients with special needs while also allowing you or the caregiver to have faster response during emergency situations.


[1] Secure Safety Solutions. Pull String Fall Alarm Monitors. Secure Safety Solutions. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from 

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