The 7 Best Call Blockers
This wiki has been updated 29 times since it was first published in September of 2015. Since it became illegal to send robocalls to cellphones, marketers and pollsters have refocused their efforts on those people who still have landlines. If that's you, you can take back your privacy and rid yourself of annoying salespeople with one of these call blockers. With programmable lists, many of the options we've rated let you decide who gets through and, just as importantly, who doesn't. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 13, 2020:
Our first priority when selecting the best call blockers was effectiveness. Sure, we looked at things like counter footprint, overall aesthetics, and the user interface, but all these features took a back seat to finding options that blocked the majority of, it not all, unwanted calls. We feel that no matter how a sleek a device looks or how easy it is to use doesn't matter in the slightest unless the machine actually stops bothersome callers.
CPR Global makes some of the best devices, so we were surprised to learn that their newest model, the CPR V10000 seemed to have significant problems ranging from delaying a dial tone, blocking either all calls or no calls, a shoddy build quality, and more. With this in mind, we decided to forgo including it and instead kept the tried and true CPR V5000 and CPR Shield, despite the fact that they are older models.
A new addition is the Digitone ProSeries II, which takes the place of the original Digitone ProSeries. Along with all regular landline providers, the ProSeries II supports DSL modems or gateways, VoIP digital to analog telephone service, and broadband analog adapters, making it suitable for most applications. Additionally, it can block a virtually unlimited amount of numbers. The Sentry 3.1 is another option making its debut. We like it for the built-in keypad that makes it easy to add contacts to its whitelist, rather than having to wait for them to call or go through an arduous process on your handset.
The TelPal 1500 is a budget-friendly addition to the list, and while it does have its drawbacks, namely a limited 1,500-number blacklist capacity and the inability to work with cordless phones, it can still block a lot of those pesky callers who might otherwise disturb you.
May 26, 2019:
When it comes to call blockers, the most important thing to most consumers is how effective the unit is. That being said, there are some additional features that can make a particular model easier or more convenient to use. For example, the CPR V5000, CPR V10000, Mcheeta 801, and a few others allow you to block numbers directly from your handset. The CPR V108 not only blocks robocalls, but even stops the first ring on any phone that is hardwired to it, which most other models don't. The LeeKer LK-P06B utilizes a flashing light to provide you with a visual incoming call alert, and the Digitone ProSeries features a three-line display that shows the name of the caller along with the number. Of all the options on our list, the CPR V10000 has the largest number storage capacity, with the ability to block an impressive 12,000 numbers in total, in addition to being able to blanket block international calls, all those from particular area codes, and masked numbers. The CPR V5000 has similar features to the CPR V10000 and is slightly more affordable, too, so if a 6,500 number capacity is enough for you, which should be for most people, there is no reason not to choose this model instead.
RoboKiller Designed for mobile phone use, this app can block over one million robocalls and telemarketers from even ringing, so the chances of you ever being disturbed again are minimal. While this is great, the best part might be how it gets back at the annoying callers. You can actually set it up with answer bots that will carry on a conversation with the telemarketer, wasting their time and driving them crazy. It is available for both Android and iOS devices. robokiller.com
How Call Blockers Work
Even when a number comes up as blocked on your caller ID, the number is transmitted to your phone, but at the caller's request, the phone company has hidden it from view.
Call blockers are fantastic way to screen out calls from unwanted parties. Whether you are trying to block marketing or collection calls, or even those from specific people you would rather not talk to, a call blocker could be the answer. The best way to think of a call blocker is like a combination of a caller ID and an answering machine. First, the caller ID component identifies the telephone number that the call has originated from, and if it matches one of the numbers on the block list, it will automatically answer the phone for you and playback an automated message telling the caller that their number has been blocked.
Call blockers are able to identify the number the call originates from because every phone number is like a fingerprint. When a person makes a call, their telephone number is transmitted along the phone lines as a series beeps at varying frequencies. This code can be read by the called phone and then displayed to the person being called. Cellphones do this automatically, but most traditional landlines need a separate device, either a call blocker or a caller ID. Some landline phones now have caller ID built right into the telephone.
Even when a number comes up as blocked on your caller ID, the number is transmitted to your phone, but at the caller's request, the phone company has hidden it from view. People can manually block their number by dialing *67 before dialing a phone number. Some companies use automatic call blockers that are integrated into their phone systems or subscribe to a service that blocks their number for them so their employees do not need to waste time manually entering the *67 code every time they make a call.
Call blockers contain a list of anywhere from 500 to 5000 scam numbers that are known to be used for robocalls and marketing calls. Many allow you to add new numbers to the blocked list immediately after hanging up the phone or by going into the settings.
The Inventor Of Caller ID
The invention of caller ID is somewhat muddled and it is difficult to determine who deserves the most credit. A number of different inventors in different countries have all been issued caller ID patents, which makes it even more confusing. There is no arguing that Theodore George Paraskevakos first started development on a system that could automatically identify a callers telephone number. He created the tone method that is still used today to transmit telephone numbers via telephone lines. Between 1969 and 1975, he was issued 20 patents relating to automatic telephone number identification. He was also issued patents relating to sending alphanumeric information along telephone lines so that a caller's name and other details could be sent. In 1971, while working in conjunction with Boeing, he constructed the first working caller ID device. After being installed in the People's Telephone Company in Leesburg, Alabama, it was demonstrated to various telephone companies.
In 1976, a well-known Japanese inventor by the name of Kazuo Hashimoto was also issued a patent for a caller ID device. His prototype was also capable of receiving a caller's name and telephone number, and was soon licensed to many of the major telecommunications companies throughout the world. To further complicate matters, a Brazilian inventor named Vladir Bravo Salinas was issued a patent by the Brazilian Patent and Trademarks Office in 1977. It was the first patent issued for caller ID in Brazil, but by 1980, two more Brazilian inventors, Nélio José Nicolai and João da Cunha Doya, applied for caller ID device patents. Mr. Doya's application, filed on May 2nd of 1980 was approved, while Mr. Nicolai's patent, filed on July 2nd, 1980 was denied and cited as being a copy of Mr. Doya's device. Just one year later another patent for a caller ID device was issued to two more Brazilian inventors.
Features To Look For In A Call Blocker
One of the first features you want to look for in a call blocker is a large preprogrammed repertoire of robocall and scam numbers. This will make the unit more effective from the outset and will require less of your time to add additional numbers. Some units may come with as little as 200 preprogrammed numbers, while others may have well over 1,000.
Some units allow you to automatically block any number with no caller ID.
Another feature that can make your life easier is the ability to add new numbers after hanging up a call by simply pressing a button. Some models have an easy to access button on the top of the unit that will allows users to press a single button to block the last number that called, without requiring you to delve deeper into the units settings.
In general, the more automation a call blocking device has, the easier it will be to use and the less you will be bothered by unwanted calls. Some units allow you to automatically block any number with no caller ID. Since many sales and marketing callers block their number, as do many collection companies, this can be a great feature for those looking to avoid any calls of this type. Try and avoid models that depend on you to spend a lot of time managing whitelists and blacklists, as this can be very time consuming and some may find it overly complicated.