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Do you need a landline for a cordless phone?

Do you need a landline for a cordless phone?
(Image credit: Getty Images.)

They remain an essential communication device in many homes, but do you need a landline for a cordless phone? The answer may seem obvious, but the question can cause confusion to some owing to the wireless nature of many cordless phone handsets. 

We’ll take a closer look at the advantages the best cordless phones can bring and answer the question ‘do you need a landline for a cordless phone?’ once and for all. For true freedom from wires, take a look at our best smartphones and best smartphones for seniors guides too. 

Does anyone still use a phone connected to a landline? 

According to research carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 62.5% of adults and 73.6% of children live in wireless-only households, that is households without a landline or who don’t connect to their landline. This can of course be directly attributed to the dominance of smartphones as an individual’s primary communication device, and the affordability of cellphone plans thanks to competition among the best cellphone providers.

But that doesn’t mean landline phones are entirely redundant, with data from Statista suggesting that about 37% of American households are still using phones connected to a landline.

Do you need a landline for a cordless phone?  

Because most cordless phone handsets require a base unit, or dock, to be connected to a landline and a mains socket, the simple answer is ‘yes’. However, thanks to cordless phones, long gone are the days when you’d trail a coiled telephone wire attached to a wall-mounted telephone and receiver, knocking over objects and irritating family members while you have a conversation.

Cordless phones provide that wireless freedom that we now enjoy with smartphones, but they also have a few advantages too.

It’s easy to charge phones in their base unit, which is permanently connected to the mains electricity supply, but this also makes them easier to locate in the home. You might struggle to remember where you left your smartphone, but your cordless phone is nearly always where you left it last: in its dock.

Many cordless phones are also expandable, in the sense that you can add more handsets to your setup throughout the house so that multiple members of your household can use a handset at the same time. Read our AT&T CRL32102 review for a great example of this kind of cordless phone.

Cordless phones, and their included dock, often provide a more intuitive way to listen to answer machines, which makes them ideal for seniors.

Some cordless phones also offer the advantage of working on backup power should you experience a power outage. If you can’t locate your smartphone in an emergency, or your smartphone has run out of charge, this difference could well be lifesaving.

So, while most cordless phones still require a landline to use, many people still enjoy the convenience and reliability of such handsets.

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Rich Lee is Tech Editor at Top Ten Reviews and writes about all forms of consumer technology, especially products that make domestic life easier and more fun. When he's not pouring over current affairs, pop culture and the latest developments in tech in his free time, Rich is probably pouring his seventh coffee of the day and pondering where to go out for dinner.