The 10 Best Phones For Seniors

Updated May 02, 2018 by Misty Alder

10 Best Phones For Seniors
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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. If you or someone you know has difficulty with their hearing or sight, then making a simple phone call can be problematic for them. These phones for seniors are specially designed with features that make staying in touch easier, such as extra-loud call volumes, emergency medical buttons, and large, easy-to-read keypads. They are available as landlines as well as cellular models. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best phone for seniors on Amazon.

10. Panasonic KX

The handy Panasonic KX is big in every way, includes an integrated antenna, eight melodies and a sleek design that fits comfortably in your hand. The main base can control up to six additional handsets, so you'll have one within reach, no matter where you are in the house.
  • low battery indicator
  • eco mode to reduce power consumption
  • can pick up external noises
Brand Panasonic
Model KX-TG6592T
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Future Call FC-1007SP

The Future Call FC-1007SP features a bright red, dedicated 911 quick-dial for emergencies, and a flashing LED to indicate when calls are incoming. Its large photo displays are great for visually impaired individuals, providing familiar faces for favorite contacts.
  • volume control in the handset
  • emergency button can be disengaged
  • sound distorts if turned up high
Brand Future Call
Model 1007-SP
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. AT&T Corded

Designed with background noise-blocking capabilities, the AT&T Corded enhances the overall sound quality, so that you can clearly understand what the person on the other end is saying, and the caller ID will keep up to 50 names in its history.
  • includes a power adapter
  • allows for easy wall mounting
  • data is lost if it is unplugged
Brand AT&T
Model CL4940WHT
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Jethro Unlocked Flip

Whether you like to travel or prefer to be outdoors, the Jethro Unlocked Flip is a great pocket-sized companion that can go with you anywhere. It's compatible with M4/T4 hearing aids and Bluetooth technology, and features a rear-facing camera.
  • quick-charging dock included
  • backlit display
  • won't work with verizon or sprint
Brand Jethro
Model SC729
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. VTech Expandable

Offering rich quality sound, the VTech Expandable has an auto-assist capability that temporarily increases the volume to an acceptable level for the user, and can announce the caller's name through the speaker when a call is coming in.
  • oversized buttons
  • multilanguage setup menu
  • amplifier only on corded base
Brand VTech
Model SN6147
Weight 3.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Hamilton CapTel 2400i

If your hearing isn't the best and you don't want to miss a word of the conversation, the Hamilton CapTel 2400i may be just what you're looking for. With powerful volume amplification and easy-to-read captions, you'll never have to ask someone to repeat themselves again.
  • save conversations for later review
  • picture dialing capability
  • requires ethernet or wifi connection
Brand Hamilton CapTel
Weight 5.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. MaxiAids First Alert

The MaxiAids First Alert can be programmed to auto-answer calls from your choice of five people. There are also spaces to put easily-recognizable photos, in case you're forgetful with numbers, or need to call someone quickly without hunting around for your reading glasses
  • stores 80 contacts
  • built-in emergency feature
  • 4-level volume control
Brand MaxiAids
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Clarity Combo

The Clarity Combo lets you curl up in a cozy chair for a chat on the landline or take the handset out on the patio with you to enjoy a coffee. It has an easy-view jumbo keyboard and a built-in digital answering machine, so you'll know if you've missed an important call.
  • amplifies sound up to 40 db
  • stores 5 speed dial numbers
  • four customizable tone settings
Brand Clarity
Model 1126-CLARITY-E814CC
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Jethro 3G Classic Slider

Stay in touch with your loved ones when you're on the go with the Jethro 3G Classic Slider. Compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile or other carriers on those networks, it features an SOS panic button on the back that will alert up to six of your contacts in the listed order.
  • supports 12 languages
  • high-resolution screen
  • long battery life
Brand Jethro
Model SC435
Weight 12.6 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. ClearSounds Amplified

The ClearSounds Amplified has a strobe light that flashes to announce incoming calls and a large backlit LCD that can be tilted to just the right angle for easy viewing, enabling those with vision and hearing loss to maintain their independence.
  • 6 programmable keys
  • visual message indicator
  • bed vibrator connection
Brand ClearSounds
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Phones For Seniors

Credit for the earliest ancestor of the modern telephone goes to a number of inventors, including Charles Bourseul, Antonio Meucci, Johanna Philipp Reus, Elisha Gray, and perhaps most famously, Alexander Graham Bell.

Bell was the first among those credited with the telephone's invention to earn a patent, which he received in 1876. Bell's first patent is regarded as the master patent for the telephone, and subsequent patents were based on his original.

In the same year Hungarian Tivadar Puskas invented the telephone switch, which would eventually give rise to the exchanges and networks telephones use to communicate over long distances.

Bell's successful telephone design made use of Thomas Edison's carbon transmitter, which translated sounds more effectively than competing technology. The first telephones were often powered by their own battery, and in the 20th century, telephones came to draw current from the telephone exchange, carried over the same wires as voice signals.

Prior to the popularization of exchanges and networks, telephone subscribers would pay to have a line installed between two or more locations. Primitive telephone networks actually called for the user to whistle to get the attention of an exchange operator. Telephone users interested in making long distance calls in the early 20th century were required to make an appointment to use a long distance booth with soundproofing technology.

Phones first took the handset-based desktop shape that dominated the 20th century in 1930, when the Western Electric model 202 was released. With this design, the handset to rests atop the receiver, making it easier to confirm that the phone is "on the hook." Also in the 1930s, the rotary dial became the most popular telephone interface.

After World War II, the popularity of telephone networks boomed, and in 1947, the invention of the transistor greatly improved call quality.

Eventually, telephone networks started digitizing transmissions and sending them across computer networks, using what eventually came to be called voice over Internet Protocol. Voice transmissions over VoIP are considerably clearer than those sent over traditional networks.

The first handheld mobile phone was introduced in 1973 by employees of Motorola. That initial handset weighed 4.4 pounds. In 1979, the first cellular network launched in Japan, and a number of other countries followed suit in the mid 1980s. The first consumer cellular handset hit the market in 1983, marking a new era in communications.

Throughout the 1990s, cellular technology improved with the rollout of 2G digital technology, and in 2001, the 3G cellular standard launched in Japan. With 3G's increased data capacity came an opportunity for handset manufacturers, and in 2002, the first smartphone to achieve success outside Japan was released: the Danger Hiptop.

Soon after, Research In Motion released the BlackBerry smartphone, taking the market by storm. Not until Apple released the multi-touch-based iPhone in 2007 was RIM's cellular phone supremacy challenged. By 2010, however, nearly all smartphones were touchscreen only. RIM, which opted to stick with its hardware keyboard, was left in the dust.

So-called senior phones include variants of both standard and mobile telephones targeted at older men and women. These phones typically feature larger, easier-to-see buttons, and simplified interfaces. They also often offer easy access to emergency services, with many offering a dedicated button for 911.

A Phone Isn't Just A Phone

Phones come in a number of flavors, including the old-fashioned rotary dial, the standard desktop model, and the mobile smartphone.

Smartphones are technically personal computers, with a mobile operating system and abilities well beyond merely placing calls. Modern smartphones can place and receive voice calls, send and receive text messages, and access the internet, where a world of other communications options are available.

Feature phone is a term describing mobile phones that typically provide voice calling and text messaging, along with limited internet capability. Feature phones lack the operating system and touchscreen of smartphones, and many come in the flip phone configuration. Because they are inexpensive to produce, these phones are sometimes employed as burners — that is, phones meant to be used a limited number of times and discarded. Burners are sometimes used by those engaging in illicit activity to make it difficult for law enforcement to track their movement and communications. Others choose to use feature phones as an emergency option, since they don't require a subscription to place emergency calls.

Kosher telephones are mobile phones approved by Jewish orthodox organizations for use by religious followers. These phones have restricted features, lacking the entertainment functionality and connectivity of standard feature phones and smartphones. These phones are most often used by observant Orthodox Jews in Israel.

About Emergency Telephone Numbers

In the early days of telephones, users in need of emergency assistance picked up the receiver and simply told an operator the kind of help they needed.

As these manual systems switched to automatic, dial-based systems, many users feared losing this service. At first, those fears were founded. In some areas there were dozens of emergency numbers, a condition requiring people to memorize multiple numbers.

In 1937, London introduced the first direct-dial emergency line, using the number 999. In Los Angeles, Southern California Telephone Co. introduced 116 as the emergency number.

In 1968, the U.S. established 911 in Alabama. The first ever call was placed by Alabama's speaker of the house to the city's police station, however 911 would not see widespread adoption until the late 1980s. The American 911 system was not without its growing pains, and in its infancy it was not uncommon for a caller to dial 911 only to be directed to an emergency service far from his or her home.

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Last updated on May 02, 2018 by Misty Alder

Born and raised in the American Deep South, Misty's career in elder care took a sharp left turn when she was swept away to the land of Robinhood by her very own Merry Man. She's a coffee-swilling master of stitch-witchery with a magical touch in the kitchen and a never-ending stream of Disney gag reels playing in her head.

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