With one of the best cordless phones, it's possible to combine the modern freedom of a wireless handset with the stability and reliability of a solid landline. This is especially great if you live in an area with poor coverage but is also useful to have as a back-up line, to make sure you can be contacted in emergencies.
One of the great things about a wireless handset is that you can keep it with you, or have multiple handsets dotted about your home, so if you need to make a call or there's a ring you need to answer, it's a simple matter of reaching for the handset. Many even come with belt clips, making them a useful safety tool for those who may feel vulnerable.
Many modern cordless phones come with answering machines, allowing you to listen both on the unit or the handset itself – some can even be accessed remotely. You can also add handsets to the main unit, letting you leave them about the property – ideal if that spans across multiple floors.
Other features include large buttons for easy sighting and controls, hearing aid support, caller ID, number blocking and more. This guide lays out all the best options with those features in mind, so you can find the ideal cordless phone for your needs.
Best cordless phones 2023
The Panasonic KX-TGE433B tops our list as the best cordless phone you can buy right now thanks to a plethora of features that cover nearly all needs. This is primarily a cordless phone which has a power backup, meaning even if your property loses power, you can still make and receive calls wirelessly.
You get an answering machine with this unit so you can receive calls even when you’re not around, to listen to later via the handset or speakerphone. We say handset, but there are actually three included with a total of six that you can expand to, making this a great option for a small office.
While the handset itself is larger than most, the space is used well with large, lit and clear buttons as well as a clear and bright black and white lit display. Usefully there is a dedicated call blocking button, combined with caller ID this allows you to block up to 250 numbers so you can keep telemarketers at bay easily.
On the side is a port that allows you to attach a handsfree headset, again ideal for office use. But also helpful for taking calls while doing other tasks about the home. The speakerphone isn't the best on this handset so it's clearly made with headset use in mind. It also supports hearing aids so no matter the connection, this should have you covered.
Battery life is excellent so you can have it out of the dock for long periods of time and only need to leave it in for about six hours to have it fully charged.
- Read our full Panasonic KXTGE433B review (opens in new tab)
The VTech SN5127 is built with seniors in mind. It has a large and very clear LED display which shows numbers and letters very clearly – perfect for caller ID recognition. When making calls, it is built to help those with dexterity or sight issues as the keys are very large and light up, making them both clear to see and easy to press.
This phone has one of the best caller ID systems when it comes to blocking unwanted calls. You are able to block a number after the call, when you realise you don't want another call from them, with a massive 1,000 number storage space available. So even if telemarketers have several numbers they're calling you from, this phone should make short work of blocking them all.
A really helpful feature is the speed dial photo option. There are four large buttons on the handset, and each one can be set to call a certain number with a single press of the button before you ring out. This can make for very easy access to regular callers without the need to memorize numbers or even to key them into the handset. The best bit is that you can attach a photo to each number so that person will be displayed on the screen, ideal for remembering which button is which person.
Another great feature is the ringer which is far more powerful than many other options out there. This phone will ring at a volume of up to 90dB, which should suit even those hard of hearing. When on a call, there are audio assistants built-in which will make sure you hear the person on the other end loudly and clearly, but also that they can hear you well too.
Cordless phones can actually enhance their surroundings in some rare cases like the VTech CS6719, which was designed with aesthetics in mind. As such, this phone manages to offer good looks while at the same time keeping the price relatively low. You do have to sacrifice some of the more advanced features that you might find on other handsets, but if minimal design and simple functionality are what you need then this is ideal.
What's lacking here is an answerphone, headset port and hearing aid attachment. But if you don't need any of those, this does still pack in caller ID, the phonebook can hold up to 50 numbers and the phone lasts a whopping 30 hours when detached from the base before needing to go back in for a charge.
The phone itself is a slender and svelte handset that is light to hold and compact enough to be comfortable in the hand while still offering a clear and comfortable number pad. It is possible to get up to six phones at once in your property, ideal for taking calls wherever you are but also helpful as this works as an intercom system letting you talk between rooms. This speaker works on calls as that duplex speakerphone is of an excellent quality making hands-free calling without a headset a possibility.
- Read our full VTech CS6719 review (opens in new tab)
When it comes to audio performance, there are few cordless phones as capable as the Motorola CD5011. That makes it an ideal choice for anyone that is hard of hearing. That applies to visual issues too as this is made to be clear on the eye and easy to control.
There are large and clear buttons, supported by a huge lit display as well as an LED alert light so you can see the phone ringing even if you can't hear it. That said, there is a very loud ring option with a range of volumes to suit most people with varying levels of hearing degradation.
You also have support for hearing aids, which can be accessed with a single button press, making it very easy to switch into that mode when you need. Crucially, this phone will also let you listen to your answer machine messages through that headset connection, meaning your hearing aid will work across all the phone's communication features.
This cordless handset still remains affordably priced and is built to a standard that is clearly made to last long term. You can add up to four handsets to this setup, so you should be able to cover multiple floors and rooms even in larger properties without having to walk far to answer or make calls. There is also a number blocking feature allowing you to stop nuisance calls easily.
- Read our full Motorola CD5011 review (opens in new tab)
Ideal for your home office needs, the Panasonic KX-TG7875S is a feature-filled cordless phone. It is, as such, one of the more expensive cordless phone options out there but the feature list and build quality help to justify that. You may need to spend a bit more time setting this up than other phones but you'll be left with a far more bespoke offering that works with your needs specifically.
One of the stand out features is cell phone integration. The Link2Cell feature means you can have this cordless phone connect via Bluetooth to your smartphone. You're then able to both make and receive calls to your cell number, as well as your landline, via the cordless handset. A great way to leave your cell phone on charge while still staying connected. In fact the base of the phone unit has a USB port so you can charge your cell right there from the cordless phone system.
This is also packed with standard features like answer machine, caller ID, backlit LCD display, call log, handset intercom between the potential six handset setup and more. Battery life is excellent and this also comes with a battery backup feature meaning even if power should go down to your property you will still be able to make a receive calls using your cordless phones. Call blocking is also onboard with an ability to block up to 250 numbers.
The only downside is that the buttons aren't the clearest in low-light situations and, of course, the price is high. But if they're not problems for you, then this could be the perfect cordless phone option.
- Read our full Panasonic KX-TG7875S review (opens in new tab)
If you need a cordless phone setup which can work with lots of handsets, there are few that can claim to offer as many as the AT&T CRL32102. This cordless phone has the option to expand up to a massive 12 handsets in total, so you can have even a larger property totally covered by this phone setup. It's also built to work well for those with visual or hearing impairments.
There is an answering machine on the main unit with controls to access messages without the handset needed. This holds up to 14 minutes of messages in digital audio format for clear playback. The phone itself can store up to 50 phone numbers, and also stores the last 50 caller ID numbers too.
The number buttons on the phone can be spoken out to help those who may struggle to see what has been pressed. This visual assistance continues with the handset display which is a large and clear backlit screen. There is also a talking caller ID option available which allows you to hear who is calling as well as see that on the screen of the handset at the same time.
Audio support comes in the form of four different profiles which you can switch between to suit most hearing needs. There is also an Audio Assist feature which will adjust the volume to help if there are struggles with hearing the caller at the other end of the line.
- Read our full AT&T CRL32102 review (opens in new tab)
An entry-level phone from network giant AT&T, the EL52113 uses the power of that company to offer an entry level handset which keeps the price low while still delivering quality and plenty of features. You even get an answering machine, capable of storing 14-minutes of audio, as part of this very low-priced package.
The white and metallic design gives a finish that surpasses that price point and the features do the same. All the buttons on the handset are backlit making them clear at night or in low-light rooms. There is also a medium sized screen which is clear to read and displays numbers and names. Useful since this phone features caller ID allowing you to see who is calling before answering – or to call back someone from the recent calls list with ease.
Other features include speed dial, to call a specific person by just pressing and holding on of the number buttons; a handset locator, invaluable if you misplace things often; a quiet mode feature, several ring styles to pick from and multiple volume levels while on calls.
While you can access the answer machine messages from the base unit, it's also possible to listen using the handsets, which is ideal if you need extra volume and clarity. Although you'll need to use the base buttons if you want to fast forward, rewind and the like while in your message.
- Read our full AT&T EL52113 review (opens in new tab)
Cordless phones buying advice
Where to buy cordless phones?
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You can pick up a new cordless phone from most major electronics retailers, and if you visit the stores they will often have display models that you can test to see how you like the feel, if the buttons are big enough etc.
If you’re looking to order a cordless phone online, then either Best Buy or Amazon are our top recommendations.
If you're looking for a new smartphone to supplement your cordless handset, take a look at our guide to the best cell phone providers (opens in new tab). If you're worried about the coverage you'll get, make sure you checkout our cell phone coverage map of the US (opens in new tab) where you can find out who delivers the best coverage for you.
How to choose the best cordless phone
There’s a wide range of possibilities when it comes to choosing a cordless phone. There are simple phones that are great for emergencies, and complex systems that can make a great addition to a small business. Whatever you’re shopping for, these are some things to keep in mind.
A basic cordless phone can cost as little as $20, but features like an answering machine, talking caller ID and emergency backup power increase the price. For simply making and receiving calls, an inexpensive phone like the VTech CS6719 works perfectly. But if you want something nicer with ease-of-use features like a headset jack or Bluetooth connectivity, expect to pay more than $50.
Number of Handsets
Most cordless phone systems are expandable, so you can have multiple handsets on a single line by connecting just the main base via telephone jack. Handsets come with your initial purchase, but you can buy individual accessory handsets to expand your system. The products we tested can have five to 12 total handsets. If you wanted, you can keep one in every room of your house. Extra handsets usually come with their own charging cradle.
Phone lines still work when the power goes out, but many cordless phones lack any backup power features, making it impossible for you to make calls. If you have frequent power outages or if you don’t have a charged cell phone as a backup option in case of emergency, look for a phone that has an emergency backup battery.
Features and Settings
Features like handset location, handset-to-handset intercom function, caller ID, backlit displays and speakerphone are standard across all the phones we tested. Other features, like a built-in answering machine, headset jack or talking caller ID can also be extremely useful, particularly for home offices.
Phones like the Panasonic KX-TG7875S are packed with customizable features and settings, including cell phone integration and call blocking. These phones are great for business, but may be a bit too much for a humble home phone.
How do the best cordless phones work?
Cordless phone systems all follow a similar form factor: one main base connected to your telephone socket and one or more handsets that connect to the base wirelessly. Basically, cordless phones combine traditional telephone and radio technologies. The base acts as a transmitter/receiver and translator, sending and receiving signals send back and forth between the base, the handset and the phone line.
Most cordless phones, including all the ones we tested, now run on DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) 6.0 technology. The differences between this type of phone and others (2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz phones) include better range, better sound quality and less interference, as it uses a frequency band specifically set aside for cordless phone use.
Cordless phones vs cell phones
Most people in the United States do not have landlines, according to this survey (opens in new tab) by the National Center for Health Statistics. Mobile phones have replaced landlines over the past decade, and the trend continues, with more Americans living in mobile-only households each year.
Cell phones have a few advantages over landlines, including mobility and accessibility. Most people who have landlines have cell phones as well, making the landline an added, unnecessary expense for many people. Even with cordless setups, landline phones are locked to their locations. Most people carry their cell phones with them so they don't miss important calls, messages, emails or news. And because smartphones continue to offer new conveniences, it often makes more sense to choose a smartphone over a landline.
Landlines, however, can offer better reliability, especially in rural areas where cell service can be spotty. This reliability is especially important in emergency situations, as cellular location may not be accurate. Landline handsets can also be more comfortable for long calls. Many landline phones, including some of the products we reviewed, have features that play nicely with cell phones, including Bluetooth interfacing and message forwarding. These are great features if you don’t want to carry your smartphone with you when you’re home.