When someone calls you on their phone and you picture them on the other end, you usually imagine that they are chatting with you on their cell phone, right? In our era of mobile technology, it is easy to think that landline phones are something which belong in the past. But landline phones of both the corded and cordless variety continue to sell for several reasons. First of all, they are still an excellent choice if you grew up with landlines and prefer them. With today’s technology, they now offer more features than ever before. Secondly, many elderly and disabled people find cell phones difficult to use. The larger buttons and screens on landline phones are better for those who are visually impaired or who suffer from arthritis.
Shopping for a landline and not sure where to begin? Below, you can compare features and prices on top landline phones.
If you still are not sure what you need in a home phone system, read on to learn all about landline phones.
What is a Landline Phone?
A landline phone is a traditional phone which sends and receives signals through a metal wire or fiber optic telephone line. You can contrast it with a mobile cell phone, which uses radio waves to transmit and receive information.
Note that landlines may be corded or cordless. A corded phone has the handset connected directly to the base station using a coiled cord, while a cordless phone has a disconnected handset which you can carry around the house with you. The handset of a cordless set communicates with the base station using radio waves, but the base station itself is still wired into the telephone line.
Questions to Ask When Shopping for a Landline Phone
Do you need a corded or cordless phone?
Cordless phones are obviously more convenient since you can wander around your house with them, but corded phones do have some benefits in terms of sound quality and reliability. They also do not rely on battery power as cordless handsets do. Note that you can even buy landline telephones now which include one corded handset at the base station and a couple of cordless handsets as part of a set.
How many handsets do you need (if shopping cordless), and how large is your home?
How many people in your home will be using the landline, and how many of them may want their own handsets? Also note that not all cordless phones share the same range, so if you live in a big home, you need to calculate the range you need and shop accordingly.
Features and Add-Ons to Look For When Shopping for a Landline Phone
Extra large LCD screen and buttons
For users who are visually impaired, a large, high-contrast LCD screen and large buttons which light up can be particularly helpful. Large buttons also are good for users whose hands shake from arthritis.
Hearing aid compatibility
Many cordless phones these days are hearing-aid compatible, which is a must if you are buying a phone for a user who has difficulty hearing.
There used to be a time when there was only one volume for landline phones, but that has changed since technology has moved forward. Just as you can control the volume of your cell phone, you can now also control the volume on your landline phone. This may be particularly important if you are buying just one phone handset which multiple people in a household will be using. Your hearing impaired grandmother will need a different setting than your teenage daughter.
An answering machine picks up the phone when you cannot and allows an inbound caller to leave you a message. While it is a standard feature on most landline telephones, specific features vary from one model to the next. Always check how many minutes long messages are allowed to be, and see what kind of navigational features are allowed. Can you skip messages? Delete them outright? Replay them with ease? Save them? How much storage space is there for saved messages?
There is another cool feature you can find on answering machines now as well. If you are out of the house and you have your cell phone with you and someone leaves a message for you at home, the answering machine can be set up to automatically call your cell phone and alert you. You can even play back the message over your cell phone, so you do not have to wait to return to your house to know what it says.
Caller ID/Call Waiting
There is nothing more annoying than picking up the phone only to find out it is a telemarketer—or possibly an unwanted call from your mother-in-law or that creepy stalker who has been ringing you lately. Caller ID saves you from these hassles by telling you exactly who is calling. That way you only have to pick up if you want to. Some landline phones can also now read the Caller ID screen aloud to you so you do not have to get up and check it.
Call Waiting is another important (and standard) feature which lets you know if someone is trying to reach you while you are in a conversation with another caller.
Need a longer cord for your phone? Some phones give you the option to remove and replace the included cord with one which suits your needs.
One-Touch Call Block
Never want a certain number to call you ever again? Block that number and hundreds like it with the push of a single button. This is the easiest and most reliable way to deal with telemarketers and other persistent unwanted callers!
You now know some important questions to ask and features to look for when you are shopping for a landline phone. To find the perfect landline phone to fit your needs, scroll back to the top of the page to take a closer look at our comparison chart!
AT&T CL4940: A Modern Landline Phone with Classic Features
If you prefer “old school” phones, you’ll love AT&T’s CL4940 model landline. Its display is very easy on the eyes, plus all its buttons are clearly labeled and easy to figure out. CL4940’s owners also love the fact that this phone’s ringer is very loud. Of course, it is easy to turn the ringer down if its volume becomes a problem.
- Big buttons. Dial with ease and avoid mistakes.
- Straightforward interface. You’ll quickly find out everything you need to know about this phone 5 minutes after you plug it in.
- Clear speakerphone audio. The CL4940 sounds as clear as day when you switch to speakerphone mode.
- Answering machine functionality. If you’re not home when someone calls, they can leave a voice message for you to listen to later.
- Tiltable LCD screen. The display provides useful information about whoever is on the other end of the line.
- Extra loud ringer. Crank the volume up as high as you need.
- Adjustable volume controls. The speakerphone, handset and ringer all feature easy-to-use volume controls.
You can still use this phone in the event of an outage, but you can’t use its digital features because it doesn’t have a battery backup system.
AT&T 210M: A Solid, Inexpensive Landline Phone
Most phone manufacturers don’t make phones like this anymore– but AT&T is still churning them out. The AT&T 210M is just about as “barebones” as it gets– all you get in the box is a base, a wall line, a curly handset cord and a handset. But if all you want is a cheap, basic phone that won’t break 5 seconds after you set it up, you won’t find a better product.
- Ultra simple. Just plug it in, pick up the phone and dial a number.
- Sturdy base. The base of this phone is just as hard to crack as its handset.
- Compact. If you need a phone but don’t have enough room for a full sized telephone desk station, the 210M could be the perfect solution.
- Works during blackouts. Complex digital phones don’t work when the lights go out, but this one will keep you connected.
- Thick, high quality plastic. This scratch resistant phone won’t easily chip or bend.
- Wall mountable. The base can be setup on any horizontal or vertical surface.
- Good audio quality. The first thing that you’ll notice is that this old school phone sounds surprisingly good when you use it for the first time.
This extremely basic landline phone lacks modern features that consumers have learned to expect, like caller ID and speakerphone functionality.
Motorola L600: A High Quality DECT 6.0 Compliant Cordless Phone
If you want to upgrade to DECT but you don’t want to spend too much cash, the Motorola L600 phone is worth a hard look. DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) is a new standard that drastically improves the quality of cordless phones. You’ll notice the difference in quality as soon as you place your first call.
- Digitally enhanced. This phone has great quality sound and is fully compatible with the DECT 6.0 standard.
- No interference. The L600 won’t interfere with any of your WiFi devices.
- Great range. Catch every bit of the conversation, even if have to walk several hundred feet away from the base.
- Expandable. The receiver can support up to 5 handsets.
- Speaker phone capable. Switch to speakerphone with the touch of a button.
- Backlit amber display. The screen’s honey yellow screen isn’t harsh or distracting like other types of phone displays.
- Reasonable price. Even though it has DECT technology, the L600 only costs a few dollars more than a traditional landline phone.
There’s no way to mount this phone to the wall. You have to use it as a desk phone.