About two out of five American households have disconnected their home phones and rely solely on cell service to stay in touch with the world. If you’re thinking of joining the mobile-only movement, though, you might want to reconsider: Here are five reasons to stick with a home phone, whether it’s a landline (traditional copper-wire connection) or VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) service from your cable company.
1. A home phone sounds better than a cell phone
In our tests, voice quality for talking and listening on a cordless home phone was generally better than that of the best cell phones—important if you suffer from hearing loss, your household is noisy, or you spend a lot of time on the phone, especially in a home office.
2. A home phone offers enhanced security
Cell phones use a GPS-based method to report your location in a 911 emergency. That’s fine when you’re on the road, but if you live in a high-rise building, it won’t indicate which floor you're on. A home phone is connected to your address, including the apartment number, so the 911 operator knows exactly where to send help even if you can't talk.
Also, a phone with a corded base can work during a power outage, as long as it’s connected to a conventional landline or VoIP service with battery backup.
Another advantage: Home-security systems generally require a home phone connection to monitor fire- and burglar-alarm sensors. If you don’t have one, certain alarm companies will install a special device that communicates with their office via a cellular connection, but that will cost extra.
3. You might not save much when you drop home-phone service
Dropping a phone line from a triple-play telecom bundle might save you as little as $5 or so a month. That's because the discount for an Internet and TV double play is usually less than for a triple play with phone service. In a recent survey, about 40 percent of Consumer Reports readers who thought about switching telecom services kept the phone as part of a bundle because of the skimpy savings.