Handset conferencingAlso referred to as handset-to-handset intercom, and other terms. Many multiple handset capable phones allow conversation handset to handset, or among handsets for conferencing. For some phones the handsets have to be within range of the base, while others also allow a direct link between two handsets so you can take them with you to use like walkie-talkies. Multiple handset phones without this capability can't be used to conference.
Talking caller ID
Talking caller IDTalking Caller ID, also referred to as Caller ID announce, speak the name of the caller, which is useful because you don't have to view the display to know who's calling.
Voice-mail indicatorA visual indicator on the handset or base to notify you that you have new messages awaiting from your telephone company message waiting service, such as an LED, or an envelope icon on the display. That means you don't have to pick up the handset to respond to a message waiting signal.
Corded phone on base
Corded phone on baseIn addition to an extra handset extension, a corded handset can enable the phone to work if you lose household AC power, provided you're on a traditional landline service, or one with backup power.
Base speakerphoneA base speakerphone offers a hands-free way to converse or wait on hold and lets others chime in as well, and allows you to answer a call without the handset. When used with a base keypad, you can make a call from the base and have a hands-free conversation.
Base keypadAlso referred to as Dual or Second Keypad. A keypad on the base supplements the keypad on the handset. It can be handy for navigating menu-driven systems, because you don't have to take the phone away from your ear to punch the keys. When used with a base speakerphone, you can make a call from the base and have a hands-free conversation.
Base ringerAll phones have a handset ringer, and many phones have a base ringer, but not all allow you to set them on or off, adjust the volume, or change the auditory tone.
Handset speakerphoneA handset speakerphone offers a hands-free way to converse or wait on hold and lets others chime in as well conveniently anywhere in the house as long as you stay within a few feet of the handset.
Lighted keypadAlso referred to as backlit keypad. A keypad that either glows in the dark or lights up when you press a key, and when the phone rings; makes the phone easier to use in low light conditions.
Wall mountableThe phone base can be mounted on a wall, and includes with the product any parts that may be needed, such as a wall mounting bracket.
MailboxesFor phones with an answerer, some phones have several mailboxes where a caller can direct a voice message to an individual family member, or to separate business and personal calls, for instance. This allows the convenience of listening to messages just meant for you. We show the maximum number of mailboxes.
Advanced playback controls
Advanced playback controlsMost answerers can skip to the next message, skip back to a previous message, and repeat a message. Some also have convenient features such as fast playback (to listen to messages more quickly), slow playback (to slow down a part of the message, say to understand a phone number), and rewind (to go back to a certain part of a message).
One-touch dialA dedicated button or buttons on the handset or base allowing you to dial a phone number with the press of a single key. Useful say, for an emergency number, or a most frequently called number.
RingerAll phones have a handset ringer, and many phones have a base ringer, but not all allow you to set them on or off, adjust the volume, or change the auditory tone.
Handset and base ringer on/off control
Battery holderA compartment in the base to charge a spare handset battery pack or to hold alkaline batteries for power backup. The spare handset battery is usually not included. The handset battery pack or alkaline batteries sometimes can be used as the base power backup, enabling the phone to work if you lose household AC power.
Headset jackAllows you to plug a headset into the phone. Many cordless phones have a handset headset jack plus a belt clip (headset usually sold separately) allowing hands-free conversation anywhere in the house. Useful for say a home office, some have a base headset jack, allowing long or many hands-free conversations without needing to be concerned about the handsets' battery life.
HoldAllows you to put the first caller on hold, to take a second call, or to switch phones without disconnecting a caller.
MuteBlocks the microphone of the handset, or a base speakerphone, allowing you to communicate with others in the room without the caller listening in.
Handset and base
Announce-only modeFor phones with an answerer, this feature allows you to set the unit to play a greeting, but does not allow the caller to leave a message.
Remote handsetFor phones with an answerer, this feature allows you to listen to messages from the handset and may allow access other answerer functions, such as recording your greeting, this offers more privacy and convenience.
BluetoothSome cordless phones have Bluetooth technology and use your cordless handset to make or take cell calls and/or import their address books. Besides the convenience of using one cordless handset for all your calls, you might get better cell-phone reception within your home. (For example, if you don't get cell service in you basement, you might be able to make or take calls from there using the cordless handset.)
Talk timeTalk time, displayed to the nearest hour, is the manufacturer's claim of how long you can converse on the handset when it is fully charged. "NS" indicates that the manufacturer did not provide a value. Typically, these are stated as "up to X hours talk time."
Caller IDCaller ID with a three-line display shows the name and phone number of a caller and the date and time of the call, provided you subscribe to caller ID services. Some phones have an additional display line that shows which line, say line 1 or line 2, the call came in on, or indicators such as a battery strength or voice mail. If you have Caller ID with Call Waiting, the phone displays the name and number of the second caller if you're already on the phone. The display is usually on the handset; some phones also have one on the base. Phones with Call Waiting Deluxe provide you with more choices on how to handle a second call when you are already on the phone assuming you subscribe to the service, but not all features may be available in all areas. Some of the choices that the service supports; facilitates conferencing with two outside parties, or a prerecorded message states that you will be available shortly, and the caller is put on hold, or prerecorded message indicates you are busy, and the waiting call is disconnected, or the caller is sent to your voice mail.
Wireless technologyCordless phones transmit their signals between the base and handset wirelessly using Analog or DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications). See Buying Advice for more information on the advantages and disadvantages of the technology. Note that the information shown for tested and similar models has been verified in our labs, while the information shown for non-tested models has not.
Wireless frequencyCordless phones transmit their signals between the base and handset wirelessly in one or two of the four available frequency bands, 5.8-GHz, 2.4-GHz, 1.9-GHz, and 900-MHz using analog or digital technology. See Buying Guide for more information on the advantages and disadvantages of the frequency and technology. Note that the information shown for tested and similar models has been verified in our labs, while the information shown for non-tested models has not.
Supports multiple handsets
Supports multiple handsetsSome phones support multiple handsets, so you can have two or more cordless handsets supported by one base without the need for extra phone jacks, though an AC outlet is needed for the charging cradle. Additional handsets including the charging cradle may be sold separately, although many phones come with an additional handset and charging cradle.
Answering machineCordless phones of all types are available with a built-in answering machine that has digital message storage, typically 15 to 20 minutes. Desirable features include a digital message-counter display, the ability to repeat or skip the message, and, for large households or for separating personal and business, several mailboxes.
Two phone lines
Two phone linesA phone that supports two phone lines can receive calls for two phone numbers. Useful if you have two phone lines in the home--say, a business line and a personal line that you'd like to use from a single phone. Some phones have two ringers, each with a distinctive pitch to let you know which phone line is ringing. Also facilitates conferencing two callers in three-way connections. Some have an auxiliary jack data port to plug in a fax, modem, or other phone device.