How to Choose a Cordless Telephone

These days, you're more likely to choose a cordless telephone based on features and price than on technological issues. Although there are three possible frequencies for cordless telephones for the home and office, chances are the industry standard 1.9GHz that all DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) 6.0 phones operate on will suit your purposes.

2.4GHz

If you live in a densely populated area where the 1.9GHz frequency receives a lot of interference, you might opt for a 2.4GHz cordless phone. Because these operate on a higher frequency, they output more power than standard DECT phones. Many Panasonic phones use this frequency and also offer hearing aid compatibility. Some USB Skype cordless phones also use 2.4GHz.

5.8GHz

The 2.4GHz frequency, however, is prone to interference from WiFi networks and other wireless devices, so if you have a wireless network, a 5.4GHz model such as the Motorola MD671 may be a better choice. 5.4GHz cordless phones may also offer superior security, especially if they are digital spread spectrum enabled. Digital spread spectrum phones offer greater range due to their higher frequency, and constantly switch between available channels, making it more difficult to listen in on calls.

Multiple lines

If you have an additional line installed for a home business, most of the major manufacturers, including Panasonic, VTech and Uniden, all offer two- and four-line phone systems, so you can receive calls from multiple lines on one handset instead of having to have two or more phones in each room. Products like the VTech DS6151 2 Line system start under $100, while the Panasonic KX-TG4500B 4 line system runs closer to $400.

Features

Beyond considerations like frequency and number of lines, it's really just a matter of shopping around for the model that incorporates as many desirable features as possible to match your budget. Do you need a corded base set for additional security? Are you happy with plain LCD screens or do you prefer a full color screen? Do you need a speakerphone? How about a built-in answering machine? Illuminated keypads and night modes make using cordless phones in the dark, or preventing late night interruptions, much easier.

Are you subscribed to Caller ID and Caller Waiting ID services? If so, you'll probably want a handset that offers those functions. Talking Caller ID, available on models such as the Panasonic KX-TG6445T, means you don't have to see the screen to screen calls. Handy if you're using a headset to use the phone hands-free.

Prioritize features into must-have, desirable and unlikely to be used, and shop for your cordless phone system based on your must-have and desirable features. Don't be seduced into buying a higher-priced system because it has features you don't expect to use.

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