Do you pay $100 a month or more for cell phone service? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average monthly cost of service in 2018 was $114. If you decide to get a new smartphone with your plan and break up the cost of it into monthly installments, you’ll pay even more. Of course, even the quickest smartphone on the market may not stay fast for long. Consumer watchdog groups have proven that smartphone manufacturers use software updates to intentionally slow down older phones.
One easy way to solve these problems is to simply get rid of your smartphone and switch to landline phone service. If you’re willing to make that leap, you’ll be able to save quite a bit of money. Some landline phone service providers charge only $15/month. In addition to cost savings, there are other benefits to consider as well. These modern cordless phones actually sound better and clearer than smartphones because they all support the new DECT 6.0 cordless phone standard.
The best low-cost cordless phone
If you just want a basic phone and you’re not interested in fancy features, VTech’s CS6114 might fit the bill. Even though it sells for around half the price you’d expect to pay for a cordless phone, you’ll probably find the audio quality to be surprisingly crisp and clear. That’s because it supports the new DECT 6.0 cordless phone standard, which eliminates common sources of interference and static.
- Inexpensive compared to other cordless phones. It costs about half the price of what other cordless phone manufacturers charge.
- Clear sound quality. The CS6114 supports the new DECT 6.0 standard, which avoids WiFi interference and provides much better sound quality compared to older 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz phones.
- Built-in digital contact list. It has enough memory to save 30 contacts.
- Green button backlighting. The backlit buttons makes it easy to locate and use the phone in the dark.
- Caller ID. Like almost all modern cordless phones, this one comes with a built-in caller ID feature.
- Doesn’t interfere with hearing aids. Another standard cordless phone feature, the CS6114’s TIA-1083 compliance ensures that it won’t cause static in hearing aids.
- Wall-mountable base. The box includes a wall mount system, which lets you screw the base to the wall. If you don’t want to do that, you can place the base on a table or any other flat surface instead.
- Bare bones features. The CS6114 doesn’t have a built-in voice message system, a speakerphone feature, or speed dial capability. It can’t block calls, either.
In a nutshell
Combining crisp, clear DECT 6.0 sound with an extremely low price point, the VTech CS6114 is the best inexpensive cordless phone you can buy. There’s no speakerphone mode, call blocking, or built-in answering machine, though. Speed dial is another key missing feature. If you don’t care about these extras, it could be worth a look.
The best cordless phone with an intercom feature
Cordless phones that can be used as intercoms are convenient for people with large families. Instead of shouting and hoping for the best, you can send an intercom announcement instead. Most cordless phones with an intercom feature require the use of two handsets, but the VTech CS6719-2 doesn’t because you can use its base as an intercom station.
- The charging station is equipped with an intercom speaker. Since you can broadcast intercom messages from the handset to the charging station, you don’t need two handsets to use the intercom feature.
- Expand to up to five headsets. All headsets within the system can join and answer intercom calls.
- The redial button pulls up the last ten numbers you dialed. All you have to do is press redial and select the number you want to call again from the list.
- Green button backlighting. The green glow of the keypad backlight makes it easy to operate the handset in the dark.
- Digital directory feature. The CS6719-2 has enough memory to accomodate 50 contacts.
- You can assign up to nine numbers to speed dial. Just open the directory, scroll to the number you want to set up for speed dial and select the button you want to use.
- No call blocking. There is a caller ID feature, but you can’t use it to automatically screen calls.
- No built-in voicemail feature. The CS6719-2 doesn’t have an onboard voice message system.
In a nutshell
It can be difficult to get someone’s attention from several rooms away– especially if they are watching TV. The VTech CS6719-2 can make your life easier if you struggle with this. Its charging base can be used as an intercom station. If you want more intercom communication points, you can add up to four additional handsets.
The cordless phone with the best sound quality
The AT&T CL82207 offers even better sound quality than the average DECT 6.0 cordless phone, thanks to the fact that it’s equipped with an equalizer. You can reduce or increase the lows and highs to suit your personal audio preference. Its onboard answering machine system, call blocking feature and built-in intercom add additional value.
- Adjust sound with the built-in equalizer. The CL82207 is the only cordless phone we’ve seen that lets you fine tune the way it sounds.
- Supports intercom communications. The box comes with two handsets, which can send and receive intercom announcements to each other.
- Records voice messages. The built-in answering machine is another strong perk.
- Amber button backlighting. The backlighting makes it easy to answer calls and dial numbers in the dark.
- It can block up to 1000 phone numbers. The integrated call blocking feature lets you stop telemarketers and other unwanted callers from reaching you.
- Digital phone directory. The directory– which holds up to 50 contacts– lets you easily check who is calling when your phone rings and quickly pull up their numbers when you want to make a call.
- Holds up to nine speed dial numbers. Using the CL82207’s menu, you can quickly add and remove numbers from your speed dial list.
- Limited battery performance. The handset’s battery takes ten hours to fully charge, but only yields seven hours of talk time.
In a nutshell
The AT&T CL82207’s built-in equalizer is its most unique feature. You can adjust the highs, lows and mids to your liking. This– combined with the fact that the CL82207 supports the new DECT 6.0 cordless phone standard– makes it hard to beat when it comes to sound quality.
The most user-friendly cordless phone
Convenience seems to be the AT&T EL52313’s main focus. Its large screen, easy-to-understand menus and oversized buttons are just some of its key user-friendly features. There’s also a handy quiet mode button. If you’ve ever turned your phone ringer off and then missed an important call because you forgot to turn it back on again, you might find it to be useful.
- Easy to use. The screen is larger than most cordless phones, and the handset locator button lets you quickly find your phone if you lose track of it.
- Quiet mode. Another convenient feature, quiet mode lets you turn your ringer off for a specific period of time so that you don’t have to remember to turn it back on later.
- Onboard answering machine system. If you’re not there when someone calls, the EL52313 will record a message for you.
- Access your voice messages from anywhere. You can set up a code that will let you check your voice messages from any phone in the world.
- Digital directory holds up to 100 contacts. That’s twice the storage space that you get with a standard cordless phone.
- Saves up to ten speed dial numbers. Most cordless phones that have a speed dial feature only let you save nine numbers to speed dial.
- Lacks a built-in call blocking feature. Since there’s no built-in call blocking feature, the only way to automatically screen calls is to have your phone service provider do it for you.
In a nutshell
If tiny displays and clumsy button layouts frustrate you when you use digital devices, you may want to give the AT&T EL52313 a hard look. You can access many of this cordless phone’s features– like quiet mode, for example– with the press of a button. The built-in answering machine is another nice perk.
The best cordless phone for screening calls
The best thing about Panasonic’s KX-TGD533W is that it lets you identify and filter out telemarketing calls and other types of calls that you may not want to take. When the phone rings and you don’t want to talk to the person on the other end of the line, you can stop them from harassing you by adding them to your blocked caller list.
- You can assign unique ringtones to callers. This feature comes in handy because it instantly lets you know when a friend, family member– or perhaps someone you want to avoid– is calling.
- Block calls with the press of a button. If the phone is ringing and it’s someone who you don’t want to communicate with, the block call button will stop them from bothering you.
- Talking caller ID. You can set up the KX-TGD533W so that it announces who is calling each time the phone rings.
- Easy-to-read display. The 1.6-inch display is large in comparison to most other cordless phones.
- Efficient battery. The battery can function in standby mode for up to five days and supports ten hours of continuous talk time. Eco Mode provides additional power efficiency.
- Built-in voicemail. The voicemail system has enough storage space to accommodate up to 17 minutes of messages.
- Three different color options. Choose between white, black or metallic black.
- There is no new voicemail indicator light. The display shows the number of messages you have, but there’s no indication of whether or not you’ve received a new one.
In a nutshell
Plagued by telemarketers? If your answer was yes, the Panasonic KX-TGD533W could be your best option. No other cordless phone we’ve seen offers as many options for screening calls and identifying who is on the other end of the line before you pick up the phone. You can press the “call block” button to stop unwanted callers from pestering you.
Buying guide for cordless phones
With call blocking, you can stop any number from calling you just by adding it to your blocked caller list. Another way to set up call blocking is through the use of a white list. Once set up, only numbers that are a part of your white list will be able to ring your phone. Some cordless phones support both whitelist and blacklist call blocking, but others only support blacklisting.
Onboard answering machine system
If your cordless phone system has a built-in answering machine, you won’t have to pay the additional monthly fee to set up voicemail through your landline service provider.
More buttons is generally better when it comes to cordless phones. If all the features you plan on using have dedicated buttons, you won’t have to scroll through menus to do what you want to do.
Digital phone directory
Cordless phones that have a phone directory feature let you save your contacts to memory. 50 contacts seems to be the standard here, but some cordless phones have enough memory to store 100 contacts or more.
Some cordless phones can be used as intercoms. If your prospective cordless phone system has this feature, you can install handsets all around your house. This will give you the ability to send announcements to your loved ones when you want to get their attention from a distance.
Most cordless phone systems can support up to five handsets. Some can support more, others less. Cordless phone manufacturers typically offer reduced prices to people who buy two or more handsets at a time.
Talking caller ID
With talking caller ID, your cordless phone system will announce the name of whoever is trying to call you, usually before or after every ring. This gives you an opportunity to know who the caller is before you pick up your phone.
DECT 6.0 is the latest standard for cordless phones. It replaced the 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz phone standards of the past. Because they run on totally different frequency bands, cordless phones that run DECT 6.0 don’t become staticy when exposed to WiFi networks and microwaves.
Speed dial lets you assign a frequently dialed number to a keypad button. Usually all you have to do to set it up is select the number you want to add to the speed dial and then pick the keypad button you want to use for it.
The least expensive cordless phones cost around $15, but they usually don’t have many features. On the plus side, even the cheapest new cordless phones sound good because nearly all of them support DECT 6.0.
If you’re willing to spend about $40, you’ll be able to get features like intercom calling. Mid-range cordless phones tend to have more dedicated buttons, too. Instead of navigating through menus to do what you want to do, you can block calls or enter quiet mode with a single button press.
Premium cordless phones that cost $60 or more usually have better range and battery life than mid-range and budget phones. Talking caller ID is another feature you may find at this tier.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Do cordless phones cause brain cancer?
A: According to the American Cancer Society, cordless phones are “much less likely to be a concern in terms of health effects” compared to cellular phones. The reason for this lack of concern is that cordless phones are only 1/600 as powerful– and even though cellular phones emit far more radiation than cordless phones, it’s still not enough energy to damage DNA directly.
Q: Why isn’t caller ID working?
A: Probably because you haven’t signed up for it yet. Contact your landline phone service provider to see whether or not caller ID services are included in your subscription package.
Q: I hear a high pitched squealing sound every time I try to use my phone. What’s going on?
A: You probably have DSL internet, and it’s causing interference. To get rid of the noise, you’ll need to attach DSL filters to all your phone jacks. Most internet services provide these for free.
- You may want to keep a corded phone on hand as a backup way to communicate in the event of a power outage. Corded phones run on a tiny amount of electricity, which they draw from the phone line itself.
- If you have a large house, you may want to consider getting multiple handsets. Most cordless phone systems can support about five extensions.
- To make sure you get the most out of your cordless phone’s battery, you should drain it once a month. Leave it off the hook until the battery dies, then charge it up again to maintain optimal battery performance.