Though you can’t carry a landline phone everywhere you go as you can a cell phone, even the most basic landline phone has a major advantage: reliability. As long as it’s connected to a phone line, it can function. Moreover, many landline phones still work even when the power goes out, making them an ideal choice for emergencies.
Whether corded or cordless, landline phones include a range of features that can help you communicate in your home or home office. Features like voice quality, intercoms, and multiple handsets also make them helpful when running a small business.
Keep reading to learn about many of the key features of landline phones, and when shopping, consider this list of some of the top products for a home office or home phone.
- BEST OVERALL: AT&T DL72219 DECT 6.0 2-Handset Cordless Phone
- BEST EXPANDABLE: AT&T BL102-2 DECT 6.0 2-Handset Cordless Phone
- BEST CORDED/CORDLESS: PANASONIC Corded / Cordless Phone System
- BEST LONG-RANGE: VTech Super Long Range 5 Handset DECT 6.0 Phone
- BEST ROTARY: Sangyn Rotary Dial 1960s Retro Telephone
- BEST FOR SENIORS: VTech Amplified Cordless Senior Phone System
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Landline Phone
When setting up a home office or installing a central home phone, a landline phone is a good choice. Before deciding on a phone, consider a variety of features and factors, including corded or cordless, the number of handsets, and the working range of the signal. Keep reading to find more information about these key features and a few other important considerations.
Corded vs. Cordless
When shopping for a landline phone for the home office, first determine whether a corded or cordless phone would work better for the situation.
- Corded landline phones require only a phone connection, so they aren’t impacted if the power goes out. The most basic corded phones have push buttons or a rotary dial input, while more advanced models can communicate with other phones on an interconnected network. This capability allows for phone-to-phone calling, intercom messaging, and high-quality speakerphone systems.
- Cordless landline phones usually have a range of more than 100 feet, allowing a handset to be used inside the house or even out in the yard. However, these devices operate on battery power, so they must be charged regularly. Also, the base requires both a phone line and an electrical connection to function properly. If the phone will be used if the power goes out, look for an option with a battery backup.
A corded phone’s range is to the length of the cord, while a cordless landline phone’s range varies among products. Most modern cordless landline phones can work anywhere within an average-size home and even out in the yard.
Because it works with a signal, the workable range may be impacted by the location of the base and the number of walls or floors the signal must pass through to link the handset with the base. Because every home is different and range depends on the signal going through different wall and floor materials, including concrete, drywall, stone, metal, or wood, many manufacturers don’t provide range information for cordless landline phones. In general, the denser the wall or floor, the more difficult it is for the signal to pass through.
If range is a primary concern, look for a phone that lists the measured range. If the phone signal ends up being poor, signal boosters are available to use with certain products to extend their range.
Important phone meetings won’t work if a call sounds garbled, distorted, or barely human. Landline phones often excel in this area because they use simple phone line connections that transmit clear signals through physical wiring, which helps ensure the signal doesn’t degrade over time and space. Moreover, the user can increase the volume on the call, so individuals with poor or damaged hearing can adjust it.
Both corded and cordless landline phones typically have a stronger connection than a mobile device, though voice quality through a cordless phone may suffer if the handset is too far from the base. The best voice quality usually comes from corded landline phones simply because the signal is transmitted directly to the handset through the cord instead of wirelessly.
Since hackers must tap into the physical wires to break into communication, landline phones are usually more secure than cell phones, reducing the likelihood of eavesdropping. Wirelessly connected phones have a greater security breach potential. Many of these phones include caller IDs and may even announce the caller through the speakerphone so you know who is calling.
Landline phones also may include automatic blocking that filters incoming calls through a secure algorithm to determine whether it’s genuine or a scam call. Some landline phones can store 200 to more than 1,000 numbers in their call-blocked directory.
Number of Handsets
Both corded and cordless landline phone systems can be expanded to a maximum number of phones ranging from five to 12. A corded system uses a corded phone as the base but incorporates several other phones, either corded or cordless.
Cordless phone systems have a main base and several additional charging bases for the extra handsets. Some products have a simple handset location feature that causes the handset to beep or ring so users can find the misplaced handset.
While most corded landline phones need only a phone line, some more advanced products have features that require an electrical connection. Cordless landline phones always need a power connection to charge the battery. To feel confident that the phone will work in case of an emergency, consider a cordless landline phone with a battery backup.
Modern landline phones have a variety of additional features, including intercom functionality, built-in answering machines, cell phone integration, amplified rings, picture dialing, and, for a retro experience, rotary dialing.
- Intercom functionality allows several phones to communicate directly through the speakerphone, so the phone system acts as an intercom.
- Built-in answering machines, which aren’t included on all landline phones, provide peace of mind in knowing that callers can leave a message.
- Cell phone integration provides the ability to make and receive calls from a cellular plan, landline plan, or both at once.
- Amplified ringers, a sometimes-overlooked feature, can help individuals who have hearing difficulties.
- Picture dialing allows users to save one or more phone numbers to a preset button on the base and place a picture so kids and seniors can make important calls quickly.
- Rotary dialing phones don’t rely on an electrical connection.
Our Top Picks
The following products are some of the best landline phones available in quality, features, and value. Organized by type, these top products would work well in a home office.
This AT&T cordless landline phone system has large, bold text; intercom functionality; and clear, backlit screens. The caller identification system lists the name and number of the caller, and it has a smart call blocker to screen incoming calls.
The phone system can connect to two different cell phones to allow calls from both the cell phone or landline. This feature also may enhance the voice quality.
- Base connects with up to two cell phones using Bluetooth
- Large, bold text and backlit screen to see numbers better
- Affordable,with intercom function and two phones included
- Also has call answering system and call blocking
- Can be too many features and may confuse some users
- Setup is complicated
- Those who need only one phone don’t need to pay for a set
This AT&T cordless landline phone system has a main base with a built-in answering machine and a smart call blocker, which screens incoming calls to automatically block scammers the first time.
This cordless landline phone system features an intercom so the handsets can be used to communicate directly with each other. The caller ID system lists the name and number of the individual calling and even has a caller announcement system.
- Visual ringer and audio assist
- Expandable with accessory handsets
- Built-in answering machine and call blocking
- Features an intercom system
- More handsets than some users need
- Lots of features; may confuse seniors or other landline users
The Panasonic Corded / Cordless Phone System comes with one corded phone and base and two cordless phones with charging docks. The corded phone helps the user be confident in the voice quality of important business calls. It also comes with a built-in answering machine to ensure that callers can leave a message.
The two corded phones can be placed in different areas of the home. This portability allows the user to move around while remaining on the phone. The base comes equipped with a one-touch call blocking system and can register up to 250 numbers in the call blocked directory.
- Corded base set and two cordless handsets with charging docks
- Blocks up to 250 numbers
- Long-range signal
- Attractive champagne-gold color
- Display can be hard to read
- Sound quality does not always hold up
This five pack of VTech cordless landline phones includes the main base, four charging docks, and five handsets for whole-home coverage. However, the system can be expanded to up to 12 handsets. Connect it with two paired cell phones or one cell phone and one headset, so users can make calls on their mobile devices and get the same voice quality as on the landline phone.
These cordless landline phones have an operating range of 2,300 feet, and the base contains a battery backup to allow calls even when the power goes out. The system has a built-in answering machine and intercom functionality with a caller identification announcement system.
- Cordless base and four additional handsets with charging docks
- Long range (2,300 feet)
- Extra features: call blocking, headset jack, and answering machine
- Complex use that requires manual for directions
- Costs more for those who don’t need long range or five handsets
The Sangyn Rotary Dial Telephone comes in four colors: black, white, dark blue, and turquoise. It has a standard rotary phone appearance with a genuine metal bell ringer so when someone calls, it even sounds like the classic 1960s product. The rotary dial has large, bold numbers so it’s easy to see while dialing, and the pound sign can be used to quickly redial a number.
With no internal battery, the corded rotary landline phone won’t lose power or connectivity when the electricity goes out. However, this classic phone doesn’t come with some of the features common in modern products, such as caller identification, call blocking, or cell phone integration, though it can be used with an answering machine system.
- Retro design with large, bold numbers
- No need for batteries or power with hand dial
- Comes in several colors, including basic black
- Simple use for those who prefer simple technology
- Basic features for calling
- Rotary dial is slower than push-button
- Corded handset only
This VTech cordless landline phone has a loud, amplified ringer that can reach up to 90 decibels (dB), which is about the sound of a shouted conversation.
The landline phone has a large display with bold letters and clear, distinct numbers. It has four photo dial slots in which to place the picture of a child, grandchild, or friend to indicate the person a button will call. The volume of the phone call can be temporarily increased by up to 50 dB.
- Cordless design with seniors in mind
- Amplified ringer and ability to increase volume during call
- Large numbers and backlit display for easier dialing
- Program up to four numbers on photo dial
- Handset easy to see, but more buttons than most seniors need
- Probably too basic for younger users or home offices
For cordless calling and two handsets for convenience, the AT&T DL72219 Cordless Phone is a right-size solution with plenty of features for landline users. Serious users, large families, and home office owners might prefer more handsets, better range, and extra features, like those that come in this expandable, long-range VTech 5-Handset Cordless phone system.
How We Chose the Best Landline Phones
We considered typical landline users, like large families, seniors, and those who have home offices, when looking for the best landline phone. Cordless sets can let you answer a line from anywhere in the house or office, but only if the system has a good range to carry the signal from base to handset.
Voice quality also is important for those with home offices or seniors who might have lower hearing. We considered battery backup and extra features; most of these landline phones can help block or screen calls, and some add answering machines or accessibility features for ease of use. Several of these picks include more than one handset or the option to expand for large families and home offices. But we also looked at a few single bases, including this Sangyn retro corded phone for those most familiar with old rotary dials (and no need for power).
FAQs About Landline Phones
After reviewing the top products and helpful shopping tips, some questions about the details may linger. Look below to find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about landline phones.
Q. Do I need a corded or cordless landline phone?
The answer depends on your home office setup and your individual preference. A corded phone never needs to be charged, but your movement is limited by the length of wire attaching it to the base. Cordless landline phones don’t have that problem, but they require regular charging.
Q. Can I set my landline phone on “do-not-disturb” mode?
Some landline phones have a function that disables the ringer, so all calls go straight to the answering machine instead of interrupting an important meeting.
Q. Can I see the number that’s calling me on my landline phone?
It depends on the landline phone. While some products cannot give this information, many landline phones include a caller identification feature that displays incoming numbers.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series, including This Old House and Bob Vila’s Home Again, he popularized and became synonymous with “do it yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.
Timothy Dale is a freelance writer, specializing in the home repair and construction niche. He spent his post-secondary years working in the plumbing trade, while completing degrees in English Literature and Psychology, before taking on a Project Management position that ended up lasting 10 years. Mr. Dale has worked in residential plumbing and carpentry over his time as a Project Manager and also spent a year of his career in the commercial and industrial sector.