The 10 Best Corded Phones

Updated April 20, 2018 by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you prefer having something more substantial than a cellphone to hold while you chat, or you just don't like needing to squint every time you dial out, an old-fashioned corded phone might be the answer. One of these selections will keep you connected with colleagues, clients, friends and family, even if you're technologically-impaired, the power goes out, or the local cell towers fail. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best corded phone on Amazon.

10. AT&T 210M

This AT&T 210M offers a decent array of functions for such an ostensibly simple unit. It can store ten numbers in speed dial, and it has three 1-touch memory buttons you can set for emergency or frequent calls, making it almost as convenient as a cellphone.
  • ringer volume control
  • 7-foot long cord
  • sound quality is poor
Brand AT&T
Model 210WH
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Emerson EM300WH Big Button

The Emerson EM300WH Big Button will finally allow you to make a call without searching for your reading glasses first. Its large buttons mean easy dialing, and its few features offer little chance for confusion -- basically making it the complete opposite of a smartphone.
  • sturdy and durable
  • works even when power is out
  • slides around on a table
Brand Emerson
Model EM300WH
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Wild Wood Retro

The attractive Wild Wood Retro was inspired by the classic rotary designs of the 1960s, updated with push-button dialing and colored in an elegant French blue hue. This no-fuss, aesthetically pleasing option offers a redial function and plugs into any standard line.
  • old-fashioned bell ringer
  • exceptionally comfortable handset
  • doesn't have volume control
Brand Wild and Wolf
Model ATP066
Weight 3.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Cetis Scitec 2510E

If you want every call to feel important, the Cetis Scitec 2510E looks like the famous "red telephone" presidents use in the event of nuclear war. While you (hopefully) won't be calling in any airstrikes, you will be able to hear the loud ringer, even in a crisis.
  • second jack for a fax machine
  • good for use as an emergency line
  • not the most long-lasting option
Brand Cetis
Model SCI-25003
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

6. Geemarc Ultra

If you have an aging relative that you're worried about, setting them up with a Geemarc Ultra will go a long way towards assuaging your fears. The sound is amplified up to 60 decibels, and it uses a bright camera flash to alert the user to an incoming call.
  • ideal for nursing homes
  • volume control is sensitive
  • prone to static
Brand Geemarc
Model Amplipower60
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Crosley CR59-PI

Ideal for nightstands or compact desks, the Crosley CR59-PI is a charming and uncomplicated pastel pink reproduction of the iconic princess-style devices from 1959, outfitted with redial and flash functions. Plus, it's compatible with an array of digital answering systems.
  • adjustable receiver volume
  • substantial and sturdy feel
  • cord is a bit short
Brand Crosley
Model CR59-PI
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Polycom VVX-310

If you're looking for something for the office, the Polycom VVX-310 has everything the modern professional needs, including the ability to speak over the internet. It offers 6 available lines, and the simple interface ensures you never get calls mixed up.
  • great for large call volumes
  • easy-to-read grayscale lcd
  • perfect for receptionists
Brand Polycom
Model 2200-46161-025
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. VTech AT&T CL2940

This VTech AT&T CL2940 is a great choice for the office or for home use. Its large, crisp LCD lets you see who you are calling, and its caller ID function lets you know who is trying to contact you. Plus, the speakerphone option allows you to multitask.
  • voices come through loud and clear
  • call-waiting feature
  • excellent for the hearing impaired
Brand AT&T
Model CL2940
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Cortelco Landline

Let's face it -- if you're looking for a corded phone, "flashy" likely isn't a part of your criteria. If that's the case, then the Cortelco Landline is perfect. It's plain white with basic keys, but it's great for making and receiving calls. What more could you ask for?
  • no confusing functions
  • sound quality is excellent
  • can stand up to abuse
Brand Cortelco
Model ITT-2500-V-WH
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Panasonic KX-TGF352N

The Panasonic KX-TGF352N ships with both a corded base as well as portable handsets, giving you the best of both worlds. It allows you to identify callers and block them with one touch, which is ideal for dealing with telemarketers (or relatives you don't want to talk to).
  • built-in baby monitor
  • quick and easy to set up
  • all-digital answering machine
Brand Panasonic
Model KXTGF352N
Weight 3.4 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Two Cans And A String

One of the coolest things about corded telephones is that they can work on next to no power. It's such a small amount of power, in fact, that it's supplied to you by your phone company.

Do they bill you for it? Probably, but their systems have so many battery generated fail safes that in the event that the power went out for days in your neighborhood, you'd still be able to reach out and touch someone.

This is all related to the fact that a telephone is an utterly simple device. Without over-simplifying it, it really is just two cans and a string.

Modern phones have incorporated everything from caller ID to video conferencing technologies, and the line between these older corded designs and the more futuristic applications is daily blurring.

But a phone still takes your voice, translates its vibration into a digital signal, sends it across a long stretch of copper wire (adult string), and translates it back into vibration through a small speaker.

These Are The Phones Of The 1990s

I am what you might call an early millennial. Some people define members of Generation X as kids born from the loins of baby boomers, and I technically fit that description, as well.

I guess you could say that I'm on the cusp.

That means that, unlike the stereotypical millennial, I spent most of my childhood playing outside, allowed to roam the town and the parks without a cellular leash tied around my neck.

When I finally did get a cell phone, it was in conjunction with the acquisition of my driver's license. That way, if I ran into trouble on the road, I could more easily seek help.

So, I have fond and storied memories of my youth and teen years spent talking on corded phones.

The first phone I remember growing up with was an old orange rotary phone in the shape of a propeller driven airplane. Its numbers and rotary dial were built into where the propeller would turn.

And, of course, I became a master at picking up the handset without being heard when my sister was already on the phone (sometimes with boys!). I was that kind of awesome brother. Such eavesdropping is impossible with the state of modern technology. Unless you're the NSA, that is.

It's that kind of memorable physical interaction with the world that I fear is disappearing from the lives of the next generation, as the consolidation of services for entertainment and communication reduces the variety of ways in which we experience life.

Grabbing one of these corded phones for your home isn't just about clinging to older technologies or riding the wave of a fad; it's about experiencing and investing in a mode of communication that will sorely be missed once it's gone for good.

Phoning It In For Over A Century

While it's assumed that the lover's telephone, made by stretching a length of string taut between two tin cans, dates back even further, the first known example of it comes to us from a British physicist in 1667.

It took more than 200 years from that time for the telephone as we know it today to be developed. Let that sink in for a moment: 200 years.

200 year ago today, James Madison was the president of the United States. That year–1816–was known for the Summer that never was, an agricultural disaster that resulted in great poverty and hunger.

What I'm getting at is that a lot has changed in 200 years, and even more will change in the next 200. Yet, somewhere nestled among all that change there came about this method of communication that laid the groundwork for the revolution of the Internet, which is liable to be remembered as a great turning point for our species.

Could Alexander Graham Bell have foreseen any of this when he first spoke those famous words to his assistant? -- "Mr. Watson–come here–I want to see you."

Well, in 1906 he also said, "The day will come when the man at the telephone will be able to see the distant person to whom he is speaking."

Not bad, Alex. Not bad at all.

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Last updated on April 20, 2018 by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer who fled the dry heat of the desert for Southern California, where she continues to enjoy drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of everyday life and channeling Rick Steves.

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