Best Answering Machines

Choosing the Best Answering Machines

We spent over 15 hours researching and evaluating the best answering machines for all budgets and needs. There are standalone models as well as ones that are combined with a phone system. The best choice for most people is the Amplicom AB900. This standalone answering machine offers good storage capacity as well as rotary control over tone and playback speed. The analog interface is a smart choice for those who prefer simple technology. If you’re trying to keep to a budget, the AT&T 1740 is our value choice, as it combines an unbeatably low price with 60 minutes of storage time. And if you prefer your answering machine to double as a cordless phone set, the VTech CS6429-2 is a phone answering machine worth considering. It offers 14 minutes of storage and can expand to include up to five handsets.

Best Overall Answering Machine

The Amplicom AB900 is a standalone answering machine and a great option for anyone who wants just that, without fancy extras or a tagalong phone system. You can record up to 24 minutes of voicemails, and as a safeguard the system has built-in flash memory so calls won’t be cut off if your power fails. One of its more unique features is the two rotary dials, which give you manual control over tone and playback speed. Aside from that, you have all the standard answering machine controls at your fingertips.

Best Value Answering Machine

Even if you’re on a budget, there’s an answering machine for you. Costing under $15, the AT&T 1740 has all the standard features at a fraction of the cost. The standalone answering machine gives you 60 minutes of voicemail storage – more than any other units on our lineup. Its small design means it can easily fit into any room, and its simple interface is easy enough for anyone to use. You can delete or skip messages and set up your outgoing message, and the small LCD screen shows you how many new voicemail messages you have.

Answering Machine Worth Considering

If you need an answering machine as well as a landline phone system, consider the VTech CS6429-2. You can add up to five individual handsets, and access your voicemails from each of them, as well as from the base. Though it doesn’t have as much storage for voicemails – just 14 minutes – it offers all the standard voicemail playback and management features. The CS6429-2 lets you save up to 50 individual contact entries, and the phone system doubles as an in-house intercom.

Answering Machines: What to Look For

Choosing the best answering machine comes down to your needs. Do you need a phone, too, or simply an answering machine? How about a machine that connects to multiple lines? Be sure to find the device with the right combination of features for your phone setup. The categories below will help you narrow down your choices.


The primary function of a telephone answering machine is its ability to capture messages and replay them. A common issue among older models was sound quality, but with modern advancements, this is no longer such a huge problem. The device should allow you to manage your messages, such as playing, stopping, deleting and skipping messages. In addition, the digital storage capacity is a critical element, because if you run out of space on the answering machine it quickly becomes useless.

Standalone vs. Phone Combos

While standalone answering machines still exist, they are becoming rare as manufacturers pair most cordless phones with an answering machine. The advantage of a standalone answering machine is that you can use it with any telephone. However, combo devices are convenient since the phone charging base is integrated with the answering machine. If you want to keep your current telephone, then a standalone machine is an excellent option, though they are becoming hard to find.  You’ll be able to find combo options for a price that’s comparable to the standalone, and with more features.

Warranty & Support

Answering machines are like any other electronic device and are prone to failure after years of use or in the event of manufacturing defects. In either case, you need a warranty that will protect all of the device’s components, including its recording storage. If the storage isn’t covered, then you’re forced to just replace the entire device as that is most likely the cheaper alternative.

Manufacturers generally provide one or more ways – such as email, online contact form, phone or live chat – to directly contact their customer support reps and learn more about how your phone answering machine works. Should you ever find yourself with a problem, you should also be able to look over the included user guide or access informational resources like a FAQs section or video tutorials on the manufacturer’s website.

A phone answering machine can help you stay on top of calls without running up your phone bill or taking up storage space with voicemails. Whether you’ve got a family with kids that need a way to contact friends or you use your phone to conduct business, you need a convenient way to save and check message whenever you’re unable to answer.