The best cordless phones combine the freedom of a wireless handset with the reliability of a landline. With the ability to keep the handset with you or place multiple handsets throughout your home, answering and / or making calls has never been easier.
Many modern cordless phones come with answering machines, allowing you to listen 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 it spans 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 that you can find the ideal cordless phone for your needs.
Want to go more mobile? Take a look at our guides to the best smartphones and the best smartphones for seniors. If you're looking for discounted cordless phone, then a good time to buy could be when the best Black Friday deals are announced, which will be during the weeks leading up to the last Friday in November.
The best cordless phones we recommend in 2023
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The best cordless phone overall
The Panasonic KX-TGE433B tops our list as the best cordless phone you can buy right now, thanks to many features covering nearly all needs. This is primarily a cordless phone with 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 them later via the handset or speakerphone. We say handset, but there are three included, with six that you can expand to, making this a great option for a small office.
While the handset is larger than most, the space is used well with large, lit, and clear buttons and 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 to keep telemarketers at bay easily.
On the side is a port that allows you to attach a hands-free headset, again ideal for office use. But also helpful for taking calls while doing other tasks at home. The speakerphone isn't the best on this handset, so it's made with headset use in mind. It also supports hearing aids, so this should have you covered no matter the connection.
Battery life is excellent, so you can have it out of the dock for long periods and only need to leave it in for about six hours to charge it fully.
- Read our full Panasonic KXTGE433B review
The cordless phone with the best design
Cordless phones can enhance their surroundings in rare cases, like the VTech CS6719, 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 have to sacrifice some of the more advanced features you might find on other handsets, but if minimal design and simple functionality are needed, 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 still packs in caller ID, the phonebook can hold up to 50 numbers, and the phone lasts 30 hours when detached from the base before needing to go back in for a charge.
The phone is a slender and svelte handset that is light to hold and compact enough to be comfortable in the hand while 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 excellent quality, making hands-free calling without a headset possible.
- Read our full VTech CS6719 review
The best cordless phone for hard of hearing customers
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 hard of hearing. That applies to visual issues, too, as this is clear to the eye and easy to control.
There are large and clear buttons, supported by a huge lit display and 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 needed. 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 remains affordable and is built to a standard 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
The best cordless phone for at-home business users
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 more time setting this up than other phones, but you'll be left with a far more bespoke offering that specifically works with your needs.
One of the stand-out features is cell phone integration. The Link2Cell feature means you can connect this cordless phone 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. The base of the phone unit has a USB port to charge your cell from the cordless phone system.
This is also packed with standard features like an answering machine, caller ID, backlit LCD, 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 phone. Call blocking is also onboard, with the ability to block up to 250 numbers.
The only downside is that the buttons aren't the clearest in low-light situations, and the price is high. But if they're not problems for you, this could be the perfect cordless phone option.
- Read our full Panasonic KX-TG7875S review
The best cordless phone for multiple handsets
If you need a cordless phone setup that can work with many handsets, few can claim to offer as many as the AT&T CRL32102. This cordless phone can expand to a massive 12 handsets in total so that you can have even larger property 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 the last 50 caller ID numbers.
The number buttons on the phone can be spoken out to help those struggling to see what has been pressed. This visual assistance continues with the handset display, a large and clear backlit screen. There is also a talking caller ID option available which allows you to hear who is calling and see that on the handset screen at the same time.
Audio support comes in 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
The best budget cordless phone with an answering machine
An entry-level phone from network giant AT&T, the EL52113 uses the power of that company to offer an entry-level handset that 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 that is clear to read and displays numbers and names. Useful since this phone features a caller ID allowing you to easily see who is calling before answering – or to call back someone from the recent calls list.
Other features include speed dial, which allows you to call a specific person by just pressing and holding one 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 to fast forward, rewind, and the like while in your message.
- Read our full AT&T EL52113 review
How to choose the best cordless phone
There’s a wide range of possibilities when 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 remember.
A basic cordless phone can cost as little as $20, but features like an answering machine, talking caller ID, and emergency backup power increases the price. An inexpensive phone like the VTech CS6719 works perfectly for simply making and receiving calls. 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 a 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 charging cradle.
Phone lines still work when the power goes out, but many cordless phones lack backup power features, making it impossible to make calls. If you have frequent power outages or don’t have a charged cell phone as a backup option in case of emergency, look for a phone with an emergency backup battery.
Features and Settings
Features like handset location, handset-to-handset intercom function, caller ID, backlit displays, and speakerphones are standard across all the phones we tested. Other features, like a built-in answering machine, headset jack, or talking caller ID, can be extremely useful, particularly for home offices.
Phones like the Panasonic KX-TG7875S have customizable features and settings, including cell phone integration and call blocking. These phones are great for business but may be too much for a humble home phone.
The best cordless phone: FAQs
Where to buy cordless phones?
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 for a new smartphone to supplement your cordless handset, look at our guide to the best cell phone providers. If you're worried about the coverage you'll get, check out our cell phone coverage map of the US, where you can find out who delivers the best coverage.
How do the best cordless phones work?
Cordless phone systems all follow a similar form: one main base connected to your telephone socket and one or more handsets connected to the base wirelessly. 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 those 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
According to this survey by the National Center for Health Statistics, most people in the United States do not have landlines. 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 with landlines also have cell phones, making the landline an added, unnecessary expense for many people. Even with cordless setups, landline phones are locked to their locations. Most people carry cell phones 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 emergencies, 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 when you’re home.