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Last updated: 16 November 2017

The latest cordless home phones are staying relevant by working better with smartphones and providing peace of mind in case of an emergency – with many working in a blackout. 

Take a look at our buying guide to help understand the myriad of features on offer, and how we test cordless phones to find out how we get our results.

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We review more than 30 cordless phones and two corded models priced from $45 to $399. We rate each model for:

  • ease of use
  • sound quality
  • battery life.

All models are tested with an extra handset and while we test the answering machine on the models with them, we don't include this in the overall performance score so you can easily compare the performance of phones with or without answering machines. 

Our Recommended list will help you see at a glance the best performers.

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List of brands we tested in this review.

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Recommended retail but you should be able to find a better price if you shop around.

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Operates during power outage

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Cordless phones being the only option in the home is a concern for some home owners, because a power outage means you can't make an emergency call for help. Unfortunately, the arrival of the NBN has confused the situation somewhat for many owners of home telephones. You may be able to power your cordless phone when using the NBN but it still may not allow you to make a phone call as the connection depends on the NBN modem and router working. Check out our NBN FAQ for more information.

Hearing aid compatible

Hands free

Test results

Ease of use score

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

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Battery life score

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

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Answering machine score

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

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Sound quality receiving score

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This score reflects the quality of the phone call sound when listening on the tested model's handset.

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  • Overall score
  • Recommended
  • Sound quality receiving score
  • Sound quality sending score
  • Ease of use score
  • Battery life score
  • Answering machine score
  • Bluetooth handset support score
  • Talk time - measured (hr)
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Text to speech
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Status
  • Standby time - claimed (days)
  • Recommended initial charging time (hr)
  • Power consumption - base only (W)
  • Power consumption - base and phone (W)
  • Handset ringer loudness (dB)
  • Maximum volume for handset speaker (dB)
  • Maximum earpiece volume (dB)
  • Base ringer maximum volume (dB)
  • Operates during power outage
  • Backlit keypad
  • Colour display (LCD)
  • GAP compatible
  • Headset port
  • Night mode
  • Call barring incoming
  • Outgoing call barring
  • Conference calling
  • Hearing aid compatible
  • Cord and cordless combination
  • Hands free
  • Wall mountable
  • Handsets supported
  • Intercom
  • USB charging port
  • Baby monitor
  • Minimum rings
  • Maximum rings
  • Total phonebook
  • Total ringtones
  • Polyphonic ringtones
  • Battery type
  • Answering machine recording time (min)
  • Digital system (GHz)
  • Country of origin
  • Contact
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