- The best cellphone for seniors is the TCL Go Flip 2, an affordable device with a classic design.
- Our choice for the best landline is the V-Tech SN1128 due to a range of Senior-centric features.
- There’s no real category for senior phones, but hundreds of models claim to fit the bill.
- Senior phones come in a wide variety of form factors and styles including classic models and smartphones.
Phones have undergone significant changes since the old Bakelite models were introduced in the 1930s. Users have long since transitioned to cordless and mobile devices which can cause more problems than they solve.
The best phones for seniors come from some surprising brands and aren’t nearly as smart as many of today’s handsets. They are simple to use, affordable, and will make conversing with family and friends a breeze, however. With that in mind, we compiled a list featuring six models we feel stand out whether you need a cellular device or a landline. Take a look at them below:
- Best Overall: TCL Go Flip 2
- Best Landline: VTECH SN1128 Amplified Corded Phone
- Best on a Budget: AT&T 210 Trimline Corded Phone
- Best Simple Smartphone: Nokia 6300 4G
- Best Big Button Phone: Acenis Big Button Phone for Seniors
- Best for Caller ID: AT&T CL4940 Phone with Answering System
Best Overall: TCL Go Flip 2
The best cellphone for seniors is the TCL Go Flip 2, which may come as a surprise to Apple and Samsung fans. This phone has a classic clamshell design, and while the operating system is based on Android, there is no touchscreen display.
The TCL Go Flip 2 is simple to use whether you’re 17 or 75 years old. Design is a large part of that, as the device has oversized buttons that take up most of the panel when opened. There are only five navigational buttons, and a large 2.8-inch display rounds things out inside this phone. Users don’t have to open it to see who’s called thanks to a smaller display on the outer panel.
Another flagship feature on this cellphone is an SOS button, which sits slightly above the front display. We don’t know the resolution of that panel, but it’s 1.44 inches and vibrant. The phone gets its power from a Snapdragon processor. It has a microSD card slot and 4GB of storage but only 512MB of RAM. While you can browse the web with 4G, the phone isn’t built for speed but for simplicity.
Flip phones are popular with seniors as they are familiar and easy to use. Many of the most popular cell phones had a similar design, so it’s a device they’ll feel right at home with. The TCL Go Flip 2 isn’t a traditional smartphone, but it is one of the best phones for seniors that need a dependable device — not smart features.
|It has large, oversized buttons and a streamlined design.||It has limited connectivity features.|
|The SOS feature for emergencies.||The web browsing is subpar.|
|It has 4G VoLTE connectivity with mobile hotspots.|
|The phone has a standby time of up to 17 days.|
Check out the TCL Go Flip 2 on Amazon.
Best Landline: VTECH SN1128 Amplified Corded Phone
All of the best phones for seniors are designed with ease of use in mind, but the VTECH SN1128 Amplified Corded Phone takes things a step further. It’s the only system on our list with an answering machine and it’s a fantastic option for people that have difficulty hearing the phone.
Getting to the phone quickly will never be an issue with the VTECH SN1128 Amplified Corded Phone. The digital answering machine solves that problem and it has a slow message playback feature. Seniors can talk hands-free thanks to the full-duplex speakerphone, and a dual-function system can boost the audio on this phone as well.
Users can increase the call volume by 40dB while the ringer receives a 90dB boost. There are also visual aids with a ring flasher and speed dial keys. You can place photos on seven keys across the top, and there’s a dedicated bright red emergency button. The buttons on this handset are considerably larger than most and it can work without power through Line Power mode.
Whether you’re in need of a phone with large buttons or one with visual cues, this VTECH amplified corded answering system delivers on all fronts. There are features for people who have trouble seeing or hearing, and it’s half the price of comparable models from lesser-known brands. It may be overkill for homes that need something simple, but it’s packed full of great features for seniors.
|It has large photos on the speed dial keys.||It has a limited message capacity.|
|There is an audio booster for ringer and call volume.||The phone needs AC power for full functionality.|
|The phone has a digital answering machine.|
|There is a full-duplex speakerphone function.|
Check out the VTECH SN1128 Amplified Corded Phone on Amazon.
Best on a Budget: AT&T 210 Trimline Corded Phone
Our selection as the best budget option is the AT&T 210 Trimline Corded Phone. It’s a style of phone that was common for decades, but the latest version of this classic has some additional senior-friendly features.
If you or a senior in your life remember the days when phones didn’t require a power cord, you’ll love the AT&T Trimline 210. It’s a traditional corded phone with a curly connection between the handset and base. It’s simple by design with several features seniors will find useful. It doesn’t have the largest keypad, but it is backlit and easy to read in the dark.
Above the keypad are three quick-access buttons with icons for the fire department, police, or medical services. Those are one-touch buttons for use in emergencies, but the phone has 10-speed dial keys as well. Other noteworthy features of the Trimline 210 include last number redial, volume control, and a mute function.
Cordless phones are nice, but this phone is foolproof even if it’s stationary. Power will never be a concern, and it has enough memory buttons to suit most people’s needs. The only knock on this phone is the lack of weight. It’s very light, which could cause it to slide off flat surfaces. While we chose the black model, the Trimline 210 is available in three other colors, including white, beige, and pink.
|It has three quick-access emergency keys.||It could be too lightweight for some.|
|The 10-speed dial keys are handy.||The phone feels a bit cheap.|
|It’s hearing aid compatible.|
Check out the AT&T 210 Trimline Corded Phone on Amazon.
Best Simple Smartphone: Nokia 6300 4G
Nokia may not be at the top of the food chain anymore, but the Nokia 6300 4G is the best simple smartphone for seniors. While it doesn’t have a modern design or cutting-edge features, this phone is affordable and incredibly easy to use regardless of the users’ age.
This is another smartphone with a familiar form factor. The “bar” was popular before flip phones, and the Nokia 6300 put that space to good use. There’s a 2.4-inch 320 x 240 display on the front, along with a dial pad and seven navigation or function buttons. Those are separate from the dial pad for ease of use and they are necessary for accessing additional features.
While not smart, this senior phone provides access to social media. Facebook and WhatsApp messaging is available, but so are YouTube and other select apps from the KaiOS app store. The processor and tech specs are on par with the TCL Go Flip 2 and it has a .03MP camera. That may seem uninspiring but the addition of Google’s voice assistant more than makes up for that.
The Nokia 6300 is an interesting choice for seniors that want to stay social but prefer a phone with buttons over a touchscreen display. It’s not quite as easy to use as TCL’s senior phone, but the menus and apps are not overwhelming. This unlocked phone is available in three colors, including charcoal, cyan, green, and white.
|It has a bright, colorful 2.4-inch display.||The camera is inadequate at only .03 MP.|
|The phone has excellent battery life.||It only has Bluetooth 4.0.|
|Users get access to YouTube, Google Maps, and more.|
|Perform hands-free actions through Google’s voice assistant.|
Check out the Nokia 6300 4G on Amazon.
Best Big Button Phone: Acenis Big Button Phone for Seniors
If you need an easy-to-use phone with big buttons, the Acenis Big Button Phone for Seniors is a fine choice. This aptly named device has the largest dialing pad on our list, plus a slew of other features that seniors will appreciate.
This phone doesn’t have photo buttons or a retro design, but the buttons are supersized. The minimalistic design makes the phone easy to use, as there are only nine buttons to deal with when seniors need to make a call. Functions like redial and flash are larger than normal but smaller than the dialing pad. The same is true for the dual memory keys at the top and the red SOS button.
While large, this phone can be placed on a desktop or mounted on the wall. It’s comfortable to use for extended periods and it’s slip-proof thanks to a foam receiver cover. Users can adjust the volume of the ringer and receiver to suit their needs. As a bonus, there’s a small, bright LED at the bottom of this phone that flashes when calls come in.
This is another senior phone designed with features that are easy to access using the giant buttons. It gets an edge over comparable models due to the size of the main buttons, volume boosting, and price point. The only potential negative comes into play with volume adjustments. They are small and on the back, which makes them harder to adjust but also more challenging to accidentally turn down.
|The giant dialing buttons are easy to use.||The ringer and volume controls are small.|
|It has amplified volume for the ringer and handset.||There are only two memory buttons.|
|There are flashing notifications.|
|It has a foam cover for the receiver.|
Check out the Acenis Big Button Phone for Seniors on Amazon.
Best for Caller ID: AT&T CL4940 Phone with Answering System
It’s not hard to find a phone with features for seniors, but when you want a system that can do it all, the AT&T CL4940 Phone with Answering System is the best choice. While it may not look like a traditional phone for seniors, it’s full of useful features that are familiar to everyone.
Telemarketers cause issues for seniors, but this phone will help keep them at bay. Caller ID is an overlooked feature on senior phones, and this one has an oversized backlit display. It doesn’t talk, but it tilts. The buttons are large and well-placed, although the function buttons are considerably smaller. Those let users check the Caller ID or answering machine — another flagship feature on this phone.
The answering machine is simple to use and allows seniors to boost volume across the board. Pressing the Audio Assist button increases the volume and fine-tunes certain frequencies to make calls easier to understand. It’s designed to work with hearing aids, has a flashing ringer, and is a system that can be hung on a wall or placed on a flat surface.
The AT&T CL4940 has a modern vibe with more features than other landlines in this class. From the large, tilting CID display to the volume boost, there’s a lot to love with this senior-friendly phone. Just keep the setup in mind, which could prove challenging due to the wealth of features compared to other models on our list.
|It has a large, backlit Caller ID.||It could be challenging to set up.|
|There is a boost volume feature for both the ringer and handset.||Many of the phones features require power.|
|There is a digital answering machine.|
|The phone has an equalizer and a speakerphone.|
Check out the AT&T CL4940 Phone with Answering System on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Phone for Seniors: Step by Step
If you’re a senior in need of a new phone or know someone who is, finding the best choice is relatively easy. Our guide will help narrow the field and make choosing the right phone simple regardless of whether it’s cellular or something more stationary.
The first step in finding the best phone for seniors is to consider a landline or cell phone. “Senior” phones fall into both categories but don’t share much in common outside of a few features. After you know which type of phone you’re after, dig into these areas.
- Special Needs
Are you looking for a phone with visual aids? That’s important as we age whether it’s due to poor eyesight or memory. Thankfully, manufacturers kept that in mind and there are dozens of phones designed for people with visual impairments.
Hearing loss is another concern and a major problem with telephones. They are hard to answer when you can’t hear them ringing, and many have subpar components in the receiver. That’s another problem easily solved by landlines and cellular phones designed for seniors.
Vision and hearing loss are common problems as people age, and so are medical issues. Getting assistance quickly is important for anyone, but even more so when you’re older. The best phones for seniors with medical issues should always provide several ways for them to quickly access key numbers if a problem arises.
Senior Phone Features
The types of features found on senior phones vary depending on whether it’s cellular or a classic landline. Both styles provide features that make life easier for older people, which starts with tactile buttons.
Having a phone with large buttons that are easy to press helps people with motor or vision problems. Smaller keypads result in misdials and frustration, but double-sized keys solve that problem quickly. If the phone is used in dim or dark areas, you’ll want to consider backlighting on landlines. Illuminated keys are fantastic, but so are flashing ringers.
Landlines that flash as the phone rings help with hearing loss. There are phones designed to work with hearing aids as well, along with models featuring volume amplification. That’s another common feature with house phones for seniors, but Caller ID and answering machines are harder to find on senior phones.
While handy, many of these features can be complicated to use unless properly designed. That’s even more important with smartphones and cellphones, which tend to be light on features for older users. Voicemail replaces an answering machine and Caller ID is standard on these phones. If you want to keep things simple, you’ll want to steer clear of smartphones with too many features, however.
Design is an often overlooked part of finding the right phone for a senior. It’s understandable to want the best for an aging loved one or to treat yourself to a flexible smartphone. Premium phones are nice, but they are sometimes more trouble than they are worth when an older person needs something simple to use.
With cell phones, don’t try to switch from a flip phone to a smartphone. Instead, go for a more familiar form factor like a clamshell flip phone or bar-style device. Cellphones and smartphones should have larger buttons with a screen that is bright and easy to read.
Corded landlines are something every senior will remember, even if they currently have a cordless phone in their home. Both styles are available with senior-friendly features and classic designs. You can still buy the same type of phone used in the 1960s, only now they are much easier to use than the outdated models of the past.
What to Know Before Buying a Phone for Seniors
Phones for seniors are lumped together, so you’ll find a wild mix of products when attempting to search through this niche. The areas we touched on are key, but you’ll need to dig into the fine details on many devices to see if they are actually good for seniors.
How they are classified can be confusing, especially with smartphones. Landlines or house phones are easier to wrap your head around, although we found many models have identical features. When torn between two devices, consider the brand and warranty if budget isn’t a concern. You’ll also want to consider battery-powered features on landlines, along with cord lengths.
Using a Phone for Seniors: What It’s Like
When a senior uses a phone designed for their age range, they should expect it to be easy to use. We’re pleased to say that’s generally the case when sticking to cell phones and landlines that are familiar.
Buttons will be easier to press and see, but you may also notice a significant increase in volume levels. Some models have boost functions that raise the volume anywhere from 10dB to 80dB or more. While others may require a bit of assistance for the initial setup, the best phones for seniors should always be very easy to use.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©stockfour/Shutterstock.com.