That was our top criteria for selecting the best cordless phone.
If you want to cut to the chase the Panasonic’s Expandable Digital Cordless Answering System scored high marks in all of these categories and is our top pick.
Cordless Phone Comparison
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Cordless Phone Buying Guide
What is a Cordless Phone?
Cordless phones really gained popularity in the 90s and they have replaced the majority of traditional corded phones in most homes. While offices still use corded phone systems, most people like the freedom cordless phones afford them and like having them in their homes so they are not tethered to the wall. They are especially helpful for people who like to be outdoors in their yards, garages or gardens and can prevent the user from missing important calls since a cordless phone can be carried outside a certain distance and not lose reception or sound quality.
How it Works
The technology of a cordless is fairly straightforward. It has a handset that is powered by a battery that communicates with the phone base that is plugged into the wall and a phone jack. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has set aside 7 frequency bands that can be used for cordless phones from 1.7 MHz to 5.8 GHz; most of the cordless phones on the market use about 900 MHz bands or higher.
House phones are not as common in homes as they used to be with the increasing cell phone craze that has been around for years but there are still a lot of benefits to having a landline in your home. Voice quality for both talking and hearing with cordless phones has been tested and found to be much better than even the best cell phones, and they also provide better security in the event you ever need to call 911.
A cordless phone system makes having a landline more convenient than ever. Many have multiple handsets that only require one phone jack and then additional outlets to use. You can place the handsets in different rooms and not have to go running for the ONE handset you have in another part of the house.
How to Buy?
When it comes to buying a cordless phone system, there are a few things that you will need to know the answers to before you start comparison shopping. These are not difficult things to answer by any means, but they will help you narrow down your choices and determine which type of cordless phone system will be the best for your family’s needs.
- How many phones do you want? – Consumers used to have to purchase one cordless phone at a time. If you wanted more than one phone in your home you had to buy 2 or 3 separate phones and plug each one into a separate phone jack but that is not the case anymore. Many of the cordless phone systems have the capability to have 2, 3 and even 6 handsets that all work from the same base. You only need one phone jack and then there are separate handsets that you place in the rooms you need them in. All you need is a regular outlet to power the handset and you’re good to go. This ability to have several handsets makes the days of hunting for the ONE cordless phone that was lost in the couch somewhere a thing of the past.
- Do you want an integrated answering machine or a separate, stand alone one?- Some of the more advanced cordless phone systems have answering machines that are a part of the cordless phone system itself. The answering system’s controls are in the main base of the phone. There are many benefits to having integrated answering systems but that is a personal choice that may differ from consumer to consumer.
- Do you Work at Home? – Having a home office can mean needing a higher quality cordless phone system that has excellent sound quality and reliable battery life. If you NEED your phone system to be top notch, the top ranked ones we reviews here are all great choices that will work well as both a regular house phone AND an office phone.
- What Features are Important to you? – Caller ID, Call Waiting. Call Forwarding, Cell phone integration…all of these are features of some cordless phone systems. What kind of features are you going to need your cordless phone system to have? Make sure that the model you choose includes the features that you truly need and want so you are satisfied with your purchase.
There are some common features that tend to be fairly standard when it comes to cordless phone systems. Others may only be offered with some of the higher end models. We have outlined below, many of the features that you can get with certain cordless phones so you can narrow down the ones that are important to you.
- LCD Display Screen – Most handsets have a screen that displays a variety of information such as the name of the caller, the number being called from, the time, battery strength, whether you have messages or not, the last number you dialed and information about the call you’re on, including how long you have been talking to that person. If you have Caller ID with Call waiting, you can also get dialer information on who is calling in while you’re on the phone with someone else.
- Support for Two Phone Lines – This is perfect for those who work from home or for roommates. Two line capability means that two different phone numbers can work on the same phone. In most cases each line has its own separate ring so the people can tell whose call it is or whether it is a business call or house call. Two line featured phone systems also work to handle conferencing calls between two separate callers and the user.
- Speakerphone – Speakerphones are a great way to converse with the caller without having to use the handset. Click the speakerphone and you can talk on the phone while cooking, washing dishes or tending to your children. It’s also a great way to allow several people in the room to talk to the caller at once. The speakerphone feature allows for hands-free talking anywhere you are in the house as long as you have the handset nearby.
- Keypad on the base – Some cordless phone systems have a keypad on the base and not just the handset. This feature is really handy if you need to scroll through some of the phone’s information while you are in a call. These keypads are usually lighted so you can view them easily no matter what the light conditions are. Some bases have ringer controls and volume controls as well.
- Headset Jack – This feature is very handy if you work at home and do webinars, conference calls or even transcription where you need to have your hands free to type while you are listening to the call. They can also be useful for moving around the house if you want to do other things while you’re talking and have a belt clip that you can clip to your pants as you talk and go about your day. Headsets for these jacks are not usually expensive at all, just be sure that the jack is the right size for your phone.
- Battery Backup – This is probably one of the most popular features you can get for your phone and also one of the most important. Cordless phone systems can stop working if your power goes out, but with a battery backup feature your phone will continue to work even if you lose AC power. Regardless of the battery backup feature, it is always a good idea to have a regular corded phone in a safe place where you know where it is in the event of a power outage and the cordless phones don’t work. This way you can plug the corded phone during the outage and still have access to emergency personnel if you need it.
- Caller ID – Caller ID is a very popular and much used feature that allows users to know who is calling them and in most cases the number they are calling from. Some units will have a voice announcement; others just simply flash the information on the LCD screen.
- Call Waiting – This feature is very useful if you are currently on a call but are expecting another one. It is very beneficial for those who work from home since you can be talking to one person and still get work calls rather than the old fashioned (and frustrating) busy signal that can actually cause you to lose business in many cases. Call waiting alerts you to another caller calling in with a beeping sound. You can choose to place the current call on hold and answer the first (which is done automatically when you properly switch between calls) and you can let the incoming call go to the answering system while you continue the current call you’re on.
Cordless phone systems have come a long way from when they first got popular in the 90s and they continue to increase in functionality and technology every year. Most models have several features that you get and you can even choose the number of handsets you want to use with many types. Whatever your personal home phone needs are, there is a cordless phone system available that will fit them.
With the information you have learned in these reviews and the buyer’s guide, you are ready to compare the different models and see which one you like the best. Don’t forget to look at things like battery life and pay attention to the reviews and comments consumers are making about the models you are interested in.
We even brought you three top ranked cordless phone systems that customers love and that are all feature rich. Whichever one you choose if you have read the information here and decided ahead of time what you are looking for, you will find that phone that will be perfect for you.
- Panasonic – http://shop.panasonic.com/
- AT&T – http://www.sears.com/
- Panasonic – http://shop.panasonic.com/