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How we test corded and cordless phones

Our tech experts help you find the best corded or cordless phone for your home.


Even with the arrival of the NBN, cordless phones continue to be an important communication option for many homes. 

Our testers find out which models work best for sound quality, ease of use and answering machines. Here's how we get the results.

How we choose what we test

Models chosen for testing include the most popular landline phones based on past sales as well as new models as they hit the stores. 

The most dominant brands in the Australian market are Panasonic and Uniden, with these two companies producing a wide variety of models with different features and functions. When we find a model that is widely available, we include it in our test.

How we test

Our testers assess all cordless phone models with an extra handset. 

Models that are only available as a single handset are tested using an additional handset of the same model or brand. 

Ease of use

Accounts for 40% of the CHOICE Expert Rating.

Our testers consider factors such as quality of the instruction manual, feel and comfort of the handset, whether the screen is easy to read and any other special features.

Sound quality

Accounts for 40% of the CHOICE Expert Rating – 20% for receiving sound quality and 20% for sending sound quality.

A panel of users receive calls in a quiet environment and assess speech clarity, volume, and line and background noise on each model. Sound quality is also assessed while making and receiving a call.

Battery life

Account for 20% of the CHOICE Expert Rating.

We time how long each phone takes to run out of charge while in talking use, and also record the claimed standby time. 

After fully charging each phone's battery, our testers set the phones to talk and record how long each takes to go flat. A perfect score of 100% is awarded to a model still operating after 24 hours.

Maximum volume measurements

Volume levels are measured using a decibel meter, placed one metre horizontally away from the base of the phone. We measure the volume of the handset and base ringer, the speaker in the handset and the earpiece.

Answering machine score

Our testers looks at ease of use and set-up when creating a message and managing calls, as well as sound clarity and quality for the machine and caller message.

Scoring what we test

  • Charging times are rounded to the nearest 30 minutes.
  • While answering machine performance is scored, it doesn't contribute to the CHOICE Expert Rating. This allows direct comparisons to be made between landline phones with or without an answering machine.
We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.