Home Phones Buying Guide

Looking for home phones can be a very confusing venture. Do you get a corded phone or one that is cordless? Do you buy a single handset or one with a base unit and then several handsets? What sorts of functions are essential?

The good news is that it boils down to one actual question: What do you need from your home phone?

While you could read a tremendous amount of information about phones, the one deciding factor is really what you intend to get from the phone, or phone system, that you choose. Of course, there are the many technical matters that also impact your decision-making process too, but the very first thing to consider is how the phone is to be used.

Making the Choices

To begin narrowing it down, just ask yourself if you need a corded or a cordless phone. Not everyone is comfortable having to rely on electricity to make a phone call, and when you purchase wireless and cordless phones it can mean that there is no way to make or accept phone calls if the power should go out.

With that choice out of the way, you then have to ask yourself: "One or more?"

This question has to do with the number of "handsets" that you require. You may have a small home or use the phone in a single room of the home, and that would mean that a good system with a single handset can suit your needs. Naturally, you might require a phone in a lot of different rooms, and that could be easily managed when you purchase a phone system with multiple handsets instead. Keep in mind that you will need an appropriate power source for each, individual, handset; even though the entire set will be wireless.

Understanding GHz and DECT

You also can get a good idea of the quality of the home phone system by taking a look at the gigahertz or GHz by which the phone communicates with its "base". In the past, it was felt that the lower the numbers associated with the GHz, the higher the quality. For instance, a 1.8 GHz was going to be less likely to encounter loss of quality than the 2.4 GHz. However, the advent of DECT technologies, a Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications changed how you should go about shopping for a phone.

Although this jumble of numbers and acronyms tends to really confuse consumers, the thing to keep in mind is this: Interference from other cordless and wireless devices is eliminated by using DECT, and you need not worry about the GHz on any DECT units.

If you discover a home phone that does offer information about GHz, it is because it is using DSS (Digital Spread Spectrum) which has higher frequencies of 2.4 or even 5.8 GHz, but which is secure and clear.


You also must consider the range of a home phone (when you choose the cordless models). Most systems utilize their main bases to transmit and receive information, as well as to charge the handset. Many systems now also have the single handset bases operating as receivers and transmitters too, and this increases the range of the system.

So, if you want your cordless home phone system to operate over a much broader range, such as in the backyard as well as the front of the house, you will want to scout out handsets that operate as receivers and transmitters too.


Using your cordless phone means that you also use up batteries each time it is removed from the base. Though the batteries will be recharged many times, they do have a limited lifespan. This is why it is important to find units with at least ten hours of battery-only time and with warning signals that let you know when it is time to change or recharge.

Nice Extras

Most home phones are not just meant to provide the owner with a means of taking or making calls. They also have answering functions, Caller ID features, onboard phonebooks, intercom features, hearing aid compatibility, adjustable volume, large and easy to read displays, and niceties such as speakerphone options or hands-free calls. Many allow you to access them while away from home by dialing in using pre-programmed codes.


Obviously, the final factor for anyone shopping for a home phone is their budget. This is why all of the issues identified above must be considered well in advance. Don't forgo a top of the line phone, however, if you don't have the budget at the moment. Instead, look for phones that are "expandable". Many of the best names in cordless phones make their single phone base units expandable, and this could be the smartest way to get a new home phone that is full of the latest technologies, and at a price that you can afford.

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