Three best cordless phones
Many of us still rely on landline phones in our offices and homes. Being tethered to a location via a phone cord, however, has gone the way of the rotary phone. It's just no longer practical. A cordless phone is what you want. But if it's been a few years since your last upgrade, the products available have changed a great deal. This guide can help you understand which features you need to consider when shopping for a new cordless phone.
Considerations when choosing cordless phones
To get what you truly need, you have to ask yourself the right questions. These will help you narrow down your options considerably.
Do I need a cordless phone with one or two phone lines?
Do I need more than one handset?
Do I need or want to use a headset?
Do I need an answering machine or is that already included in my landline service?
Do I need a cordless phone to answer calls that go to my cell phone?
Do I need caller ID, call blocking, recording, memory, and/or speed dial?
DECT 6.0: Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication (DECT 6.0) is a European standard for data transfer and cordless communication. It operates on the 1.9 GHz frequency band. Since your home's wireless network operates on the 2.4 GHz and possibly the 5.8 GHz bands, if your cordless phone utilizes DECT 6.0, you will have a longer range -- as far as 300 feet under optimum conditions -- and a clearer signal with less competition from other wireless devices in your home or office.
Cordless phone prices: Cordless phones are a fraction of the cost of a cell phone. For less than $30 you can find a cordless phone that serves your most basic needs. Between $30 and $70, you'll start to see two handsets, an answering machine, and features such as caller ID and call blocking. Above $70 is where you'll find multiple handsets, larger memory, digital recording options, and more. These packages are often best suited for a small office or very large house.
Q. I'm confused. Isn't a cordless phone the same thing as my cell phone?
A. No. A landline comes into your home and plugs into a base that broadcasts a short-range wireless signal. This allows you to have cordless phone service in your home, but it doesn't put your phone on a cellular network. There are cordless phones that connect to your cell service, but these are not the typical cordless phones.
Q. What happens if the power goes out? Will I still have phone service?
A. If your cordless phone is connected to a standard landline service and you have a unit that includes a battery backup system, then your cordless phone will often work for several hours after a power outage.
Cordless phones we recommend
Best of the best: Panasonic Bluetooth Cordless Phone
Our take: Single-line, multi-phone set with answering machine that's good for a home or small office. Five handsets link to your smartphone via Bluetooth, so there's no need for a landline.
What we like: Comes with five phones plus answering machine. System offers a number of features such as talking caller ID, noise reduction, and remote access to messages.
What we dislike: Individual units function best when fully charged, so you must be careful to keep each phone at full power. Initial Link2Cell setup can be a little confusing.
Best bang for your buck: AT&T Cordless Phone
Our take: Three-handset system with several handy features, including answering machine, that's priced well below what you'd expect to pay.
What we like: Multiple handsets, answering machine, and convenient intercom feature. Lighted keypads are appreciated. If you need to archive a conversation, you can record up to 14 minutes.
What we dislike: No headset jack in this system. If you have a DSL line, you'll likely need to purchase a DSL filter to cancel out undesirable static.
Choice 3: Plantronics Cordless Headset Phone
Our take: This might be your best solution if you need to take calls while performing numerous other tasks at home or at work.
What we like: Adaptable headset can be worn over the head or over the ear. The wireless technology works at 1.9 GHz, providing a longer range than your home WiFi network. Noise-canceling microphone blocks out extraneous background noise so you can be heard more easily.
What we dislike: Design and appearance may seem a little antiquated, but that doesn't greatly impact the user's experience.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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