Product Reviews
Take Action

Fight for Fair Finance

Tell the administration and Congress to stand up for the consumer watchdog that protects you from financial fraud and abuse.
Take Action
Why Do We Have Campaigns?
We're fighting to ensure you and your family can get a fair deal in the marketplace, especially on the choices that matter most: health care, privacy, automobiles, food, finances and more. Join our campaigns and together, we'll hold corporations and lawmakers accountable.

The best cordless DECT phones from Panasonic, AT&T, and Uniden

Consumer Reports News: July 25, 2011 08:08 AM

In this era of snazzy, do-it-all cell phones, cordless phones get little attention, but don't hang up on them just yet. Cordless phones have a few advantages that make them a smart choice for at-home use.

For one thing, they have much better voice quality than cell phones, so you can enjoy day-to-day chats more. They're also more dependable in emergencies: A cordless phone connected to a landline will more reliably give your address to 911 operators, and models with a corded handset on the base, such as the AT&T TL86109 ($130), will work even during power outages (provided your phone service is still up and running; cable modems require electrical power unless you have a backup battery).

Cordless phones are also better than ever, thanks largely to DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication) technology:

  • You can use a handset farther from the base. Phones like the Panasonic KX-TG4053B ($100), for example, should work even in the yard.
  • There's virtually none of the interference problems that plagued older analog and digital phones that shared radio frequencies with microwaves and baby monitors.
  • New handsets offer 12 or more hours of talk time on a single charge.
  • You can have as many as 12 handsets connected to one base, each requiring just a power outlet, and use them as intercoms from room to room.

Some cordless phones, such as the Uniden DECT3288-2 ($100), support Bluetooth technology, which enables you to connect to a wireless headset, so no more crunching the phone between your head and shoulder while you're doing chores. You can even route cell calls through your cordless phone, a big plus. You don't have to figure out which phone is ringing, or remember where it is, and you might get better cell-phone reception in otherwise hard-to-reach areas like your basement. There's a financial plus as well. You can more easily use your cell phone's unlimited calling plan at home, on a handset that might be more comfortable.

To see which of the latest models performed the best, check out our Ratings of cordless phones, available to subscribers.

Mike Gikas

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Electronics News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more