This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The best cordless phones for 2021

Even in a world of smartphones and digital communication, some people keep their landlines for various reasons. Cordless phones are often preferred over corded models because they give users the freedom to talk and walk around untethered. 

To keep up with the modern world, today’s cordless phones are feature-rich. Many have built-in caller ID and voicemail, while others pair with Bluetooth phones or headsets. To learn about these features and more in cordless phones, take a look at this buying guide. We’re even sharing a few recommendations at the end, with Panasonic Link2Cell Bluetooth Cordless Phone System topping our shortlist for its long-range design.

What to know before you buy a cordless phone

Basic cordless phone features

At the very least, a cordless home phone system includes one base and one handset. The vast majority of basic cordless phones have caller ID, call history and speed dial. 

It’s common for cordless phones to include features to manage call waiting or voicemail. However, to use these features, you may need to subscribe to a specific plan from your landline service. 

Signal range

Signal range refers to how far you can distance the handset from the base before the signal is lost. Many consumers gravitate toward long-range cordless phones if they have large homes or intend to use the phone in their yard.

If you’re curious about the actual signal range, you might be surprised to find that manufacturers rarely include the exact distance. This is often attributed to the idea that other variables may impact the signal range.

Generally speaking, you may need to try using the cordless phone at various distances to determine the signal range. Some cordless phones have a limited range of 60-80 feet, while others have strong signals up to 300 feet from the base.

What is DECT 6.0?

In the past, cordless phones experienced interference from other signals coming from radios, baby monitors or Bluetooth. This often resulted in choppy or staticky sound quality during calls. 

These days, many cordless home phones have DECT 6.0. This technology improves sound quality by eliminating interference from other devices and wireless networks. 

What to look for in a quality cordless phone

Number of handsets

It’s common to invest in a cordless phone system with at least two handsets. Those who live in multi-story homes invest in at least one handset per story. It’s common to install additional handsets in the rooms you spend the most time in, such as bedrooms and kitchens. 

Caller ID

Caller ID is a favorite feature in cordless phones since it allows users to screen calls. According to many consumers, it helps them ignore unwanted calls from unrecognized numbers, namely telemarketers or spammers. 

Number directory

Many cordless phones include a number directory, which lets users store telephone numbers and contact information. Some cordless phones store as few as 25 numbers, whereas more advanced models can store up to 75. 

Cordless phone batteries

Cordless phones run on rechargeable batteries that charge when returned to their base. On average, handsets offer between 5 and 15 hours of talk time between charges.

Cordless phone batteries come in two forms, either as proprietary battery packs or standard rechargeable batteries. Over time, these batteries lose their ability to hold a charge, so they’re typically replaced every two to three years. 

Cordless phone with answering machine

Advanced cordless phones are equipped with built-in answering machines, which may hold up to 15 minutes of messages. It’s considered an essential feature among consumers who use a cordless phone system for business. 

Cell phone integration

A few modern cordless phones have cell phone integration and link up with smartphones via Bluetooth. This feature sends cell phone calls directly to the cordless handset, so users don’t need to carry their cell phones around the house. 

Cordless phone with headsets

A few cordless phone systems come with corded headsets for hands-free calls. The handsets with these models often come with belt clips for easy carrying.

How much you can expect to spend on a cordless phone

Basic cordless phones with one handset cost $30 or less. Mid-range options with up to three handsets and premium features run closer to $70. Advanced cordless phone systems with several handsets and advanced features like cell phone integration run as high as $200. 

Cordless phone FAQ

What does it mean if my cordless phone has a call blocking feature?

A. This feature lets users manually block calls from specific phone numbers. Some phones can block an unlimited amount of numbers, whereas others might only block a few dozen. 

Should I buy a backlit cordless phone?

A. Backlit cordless phones, especially those with backlit buttons, are much easier to use in low-light conditions. Additionally, backlit displays are considered easier to read than regular LCD displays. 

What is the best cordless phone?

Top overall cordless phone

Panasonic Link2Cell Bluetooth Cordless Phone System

Panasonic Link2Cell Bluetooth Cordless Phone System

What you need to know: This advanced system can link up to two smartphones via Bluetooth to receive calls anywhere in a home.

What you’ll love: The phone announces the incoming name or phone number, has enhanced phone quality with noise cancellation and the battery backup offers up to 12 hours of talk time. It’s ideal for homes with thicker walls. 

What you should consider: Sound quality isn’t as good as expected. 

Where to buy: Amazon

Top cordless phone for the money

VTech DECT 6.0 Cordless Phone Answering System

VTech DECT 6.0 Cordless Phone Answering System

What you need to know: This is a simple, affordable cordless phone set that offers quick setup and is user-friendly. 

What you’ll love: The display features caller ID, time and date, it’s easy to silence the ringer on the handset and base unit and the backlit display and number pad make the phone easy to see. 

What you should consider: The quick start guide is difficult to follow. Phones have a glossy finish that can slip through the hands. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

AT&T DECT 6.0 Cordless Phone System

AT&T DECT 6.0 Cordless Phone System

What you need to know: There’s a lot to love about this phone, including a speakerphone that offers a high level of clarity on both ends.

What you’ll love: This option includes extra-large backlit buttons and display, easy to scroll through the log to view caller ID history, a quick access key for voicemail and any-key answer option and a nine-number speed dial. 

What you should consider: You can’t use the voicemail unless you have a subscription through your phone service. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.