Cordless home phones offer numerous advantages: they're secure, they're keyed to your address should you need to call 911, and they help enable home security systems. Cordless phones are also invaluable in home office situations where more than one unit is required on the same line. Each of our five finalists offers excellent benefits to users. They are:
Products we Considered
Last update on 2018-12-08 PST - Details
In this part of our ratings, we examine phone design and reveal any quality or functionality issues reported by owners.
Functions & Call Quality
Today's cordless phones offer all kinds of useful functions: caller ID, number memory, rapid dialing, and more. We also scrutinize the actual quality of the call -- an issue that's particularly important for those with reduced hearing.
Range & Additional Features
In this part of our ratings, we examine each phone's operational range and any other benefits the manufacturer offers.
Although none of our finalist are particularly expensive, there's still a notable difference between the cheapest and most expensive cordless phones on the market today. We examine the overall value of each product.
Motorola DECT 6.0 Cordless Phone with 1 Handset and Caller ID L601MAlmost all cordless phones advertise the term "DECT 6.0." (This stands for Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications; the 6.0 defines models that work in the 1.9 GHz frequency range.) DECT 6.0 is an international standard is applied to phones with better range and sound quality. Other wireless networks (and household items like your microwave) shouldn't interfere with the signal of a DECT 6.0 phone.
The Motorola L601M cordless phone appeals to consumers who want simplicity. Aside from the necessary power supply and telephone cord, you get a single handset, a base station, and batteries. (There is no answering system.) In pictures, the base can seem a little large, but in reality, it's quite small. In fact, several owners thought the handset was too diminutive, comparing it to a flip-type cell phone. Our research also uncovered some issues with perceived quality.
AT&T EL52300 DECT 6.0 Cordless Phone with Answering System and Caller ID/Call Waiting, 3 Handsets, Silver/BlackThere are single and two-handset options, but the AT&T; EL52300 DECT 6.0 cordless phone actually offers three handsets and an answering machine. Only the base-station needs a phone jack, so provided they're within range, additional handsets can be put anywhere you like. There's a useful wall bracket for the base unit, and many owners like the brightly lit keypad and screen -- though one or two thought it made the characters difficult to read. A notable percentage of owners have had an issue with batteries failing to hold charge. However, batteries are not supplied, so we have to wonder if those who had problems chose to purchase cheaper batteries. The problem does not affect everyone, and this product does receive plenty of positive comments.
VTech CS6429-4 DECT 6.0 Expandable Cordless Phone with Answering System and Caller ID/Call Waiting, Silver with 4 HandsetsFor a relatively small additional investment over some of the other products on our shortlist, the VTech CS6429-4 DECT 6.0 provides a system with four handsets and an answering machine. As with the AT&T; model, the additional VTech handsets do not require phone jacks. As such, they provide tremendous positional flexibility. Customers also receive a wall mounting option for the base and back-lit keypads throughout. Given the mid-range price, we wish that the manufacturer had included batteries with this package. Our research uncovered sporadic quality issues and occasional owner complaints about screen legibility. However, we did not find any glaring problems that point to long-term or ongoing fault.
Plantronics Cordless Headset Phone (CT14)The smart Plantronics Cordless Headset Phone consists of a base station, dial pad, headset, and battery. Some owners have been slightly confused by the term "cordless" on this model. For clarification: the base unit plugs into the mains and the phone line. There's a separate, cordless headset and dial pad. These two elements connect to each other via a thin cable and jack plug. For convenience, the dial pad has a belt clip that could as easily attach to a waistband or pocket, granting you the freedom to roam anywhere within range! When not in use, the base doubles as a stand and recharging station for the pad and headset, keeping everything in one sleek, tidy package. A few owners have complained that the phone is not truly cordless, and a number of users told us they received faulty units. Plantronics has identified the problem with these faulty units; hopefully by now now it has been resolved.
Panasonic Link2Cell Bluetooth Enabled Phone KX-TG7875SConsumers who require a lot of handsets would struggle to find a better solution than the Panasonic Link2Cell phone and answering machine. In addition to the base station with its accompanying handset, customers receive four additional units. Ten batteries are also included. (Considering the fact that many manufacturers don't include any batteries with their product, this is a nice perk!) We like the efficient look of the design; owners are particularly complimentary about screen legibility. Indeed, the Panasonic is a very popular choice among consumers. It's not without critics, but our research uncovered few quality issues or defects.
Functions & Call Quality
Owners rave about the AT&T;'s EL52300 DECT 6.0 Expandable Cordless Phone's sound quality -- even from the speaker phone.
Range & Additional Features
Motorola DECT 6.0 Cordless Phone with 1 Handset and Caller IDMany factors can impact the effective range of cordless phones. In our ratings, we integrate manufacture figures with relevant owner comments to assess range. The reach of the Motorola cordless phone is claimed by the manufacturer to be 160 feet inside and 980 feet outside. Owners don't usually measure actual distances, but several were unhappy with the distance they got before the signal started to break up. One owner actually reported an "out of range" warning when the handset was on the base! Of course, this incident must be balanced against the many owners who were perfectly satisfied. The Motorola is quite a basic model. Aside from the ability to add further handsets to the system, it offers no additional features.
AT&T EL52300 DECT 6.0 Expandable with Answering MachineAT&T; claims that this phone has an "unsurpassed" range that, in independent tests (by Wyle Labs), performed 45 percent better than its competitors. However, they do not quote actual distances. Owners give some impressive feedback about the phone's range; one woman told us she can walk across her 1.5-acre plot and still get reception at her neighbor's house. However, another owner told us he could only travel 20 feet from the base before losing reception. The majority of owners suggest that the phone's range is satisfactory. This system is also hearing aid compatible.
VTech CS6429-4 DECT 6.0 Expandable Cordless Phone with AnsweringAlthough visually different, there are many technological similarities between the AT&T; and VTech cordless phones. VTech suggests that their product has a great range, but they provide no actual figures to support this claim. However, many satisfied owners vouch for the fact that the phone has a great range. One owner said she has no trouble staying connected inside the walls of her 4,000-foot home! During our research, we encountered only a few owners who weren't happy with their VTech phone. Most were highly satisfied.
Plantronics Cordless Headset PhonePlantronics happily provides figures for the range of its Cordless Headset Phone. Considering the fact that roaming is purported to reach up to 300 feet, we're not surprised that the manufacturer wants to draw attention to it. While none of the owners surveyed confirmed that kind of distance, one man did tell us that he uses the Plantronics in a 75-foot building without problems. As is common with all cordless phones, a few owners voiced complaints, but it's impossible to tell whether their issues were due to equipment faults or the local environment. As for "additional features," it's worth mentioning that the Plantronics can also be worn as an ear-wrap (much like some hands-free bluetooth devices for cell phones). Some consumers find this to be more comfortable.
Panasonic Link2Cell Bluetooth Enabled PhoneAs suggested by its name, the Panasonic Link2Cell can be linked to your cell phone. This feature offers several unique functions: you can make cell calls from home, you can link your cell number memory to your Panasonic, you can charge your cell from the USB port provided, and you can alert your cordless handset when a cellular text is received. Most of these functions rely on Bluetooth technology, which has a much lower operational distance than the usual cordless signal. Having said that, owners report effective use between 40 and 80 feet -- a distance that is adequate for many. Although specific range figures aren't provided by the manufacturer, one owner did tell us he is able to successfully use his Panasonic Link2Cell in an 11,000-foot warehouse.
You're unlikely to find a good multi-function cordless phone for $24.40, which is what you'll pay for the Motorola. It may not have the expansive memory of some, but a 30-number phone book and nine speed dials is enough for many people. Some owners were surprised by how small the Motorola actually is, and our research did uncover a few complaints about reception and general product quality. However, the Motorola it has plenty of satisfied owners, too. One owner summed up the Motorola's no-frills approach quite succinctly when he said, "I don't use a phone often. It's fine."
If you're looking for a budget cordless phone and answering machine, you'll find the $59.95 AT&T; a tough act to beat. Three handsets working off the same incoming line give you plenty of in-home options, including speakerphone, call transfer, and conferencing functions. The directory will hold 50 numbers, and the answering machine will hold 14 minutes of messages. (The answering machine function will also time and date-stamp each message for later reference.) AT&T; does not provide batteries for this phone, and some find the range to be poor. However, most owners are delighted with it. One man told us the AT&T; cordless is "all you could ask for." You can't get a much better endorsement than that!
The VTech cordless phone package offers four handsets and an answering machine for just $69.95. That's enough coverage for a home or a small business! The AT&T; and VTech models on our shortlist are very similar, so the question becomes why you should choose one product over the other. If you need four handsets, the answer is easy. (Whereas the VTech offers four handsets, the AT&T; includes only three.) However, a fair number of owners who had occasion to contact VTech directly were dissatisfied with the customer service they received. For some consumers, that will be an important factor in their final purchasing decision.
BEST OF THE BEST
- Ideal for Home or Small Business Use: single-line phone with five cordless handsets can link up to two smartphones via Bluetooth to make and receive cell calls anywhere in the house, no landline required
- Answering Machine with Message Forwarding: Digital Answering Machine feature allows you to get voice messages from the base unit at home or from your registered cell on the road
- USB Charge and Power Back-up Feature: Panasonic's cordless home phone system keeps your smartphone charged with convenient USB input and stay connected even when the power goes out
- Talking Caller ID: With Panasonic home phone system, you can hear who's calling from across the room; Talking Caller ID feature uses text-to-speech technology, announcing the caller's information in between rings
- Noise Reduction Technology: Panasonic Link2Cell's Enhanced Noise Reduction not only suppresses background noise but also enhances your voice at the same time
Last update on 2018-12-08 PST - Details
All of the finalists on our shortlist are excellent products, but the best cordless phone of all is the Panasonic with its Link2Cell Bluetooth-Enabled Phone.
The five-handset/answering machine combination might come with the highest price tag here, but unit for unit, it's not much more expensive than any of our other finalists. Considering all that you get with this package, in fact, the Panasonic represents a fantastic economic value. It also leads its class in terms of functionality. The huge feature set includes caller ID, speakerphones, transfers, intercom and conferencing, call blocking, a phone book of up to 3,000 numbers, an amazing talk time ceiling of 13 hours, and standby for up to 11 days. The Panasonic even comes with batteries -- a feature you'd have to pay extra for with some other models.
The quality that truly separates the this phone from the rest of the crowd, however, is the Panasonic's Link2Cell function. This technology allows you to integrate two cell phones into the system. When you integrate a cell phone with your cordless, you get the convenience of a cell with the security of a land line. There's even a jack for a headset. As a home or office installation, it's difficult to imagine how this cordless package could be improved.
A few owners found the Panasonic system to be a bit difficult to set up. An even smaller handful of customers complained about battery life, call quality, and operational range. However, the small number of negative comments about the Panasonic must be weighed against the overwhelming number of positive comments. Truly, the Panasonic Link2Cell is an exceptional product. It's simply the Best of the Best.
BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
- DECT 6.0 Digital Technology, DSL Subscribers may need to us a DSL Filter..
- Handset Speakerphones, Three Handset System (use 3 handsets through a single phone jack)
- Lighted Keypad on Handsets, Caller ID/Call Waiting Capability*
- Up to 14 Minutes of Digital Recording Time*** , For optimal performance batteries should be charged for 16 hours prior to use
- No headset jack.
Last update on 2018-12-08 PST - Details
Each of the cordless phones on our shortlist has satisfied countless customers, and none of them are overly expensive. In the end, however, the Best Bang for Your Buck cordless phone is the AT&T; Expandable Cordless Phone w/Answering System.
Three phones are enough for the majority of households, and we really like the fact that this product provides three handsets. The AT&T; offers all the features you would expect: caller ID, call waiting (depending on your line provider), conferencing, a 50-number directory, hearing aid compatibility, and the ability to digitally record up to 14 minutes of calls. In short, it offers as much as the vast majority of consumers could want in a cordless phone system. If you're on a budget and you can get a quality system like this -- along with an answering machine -- for $59.95, why pay more?
Regardless of price or manufacturer, every cordless phone will attract some complaints. For example, batteries aren't provided with the AT&T; phone, and consumers who install cheaper batteries sometimes report more problems with recharging. However, this popular cordless phone has many more fans than detractors. Most think it's a top-value choice. We endorse the AT&T; Expandable Cordless Phone system as the Best Bang for Your Buck.
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