Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Cordless Phone of 2021

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Our testing process involves buying the top models on the market and p...
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
By Austin Palmer and David Wise  ⋅  Jun 24, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
After carefully considering over 70 models, we bought the 11 best cordless phones available in 2021 and comprehensively evaluated them side-by-side in our quest to find the best phone of them all. We compared the sound quality and range of each product and measured their actual maximum talk time. We also extensively compared all the different features and functions of each phone to see just how user-friendly each product is. Read on to find out which phone is the very best, which has the most features, and which is the best bargain option.

Top 11 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 11
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Awards   Editors' Choice Award   
Price $60 List$55 List
$51.75 at Amazon
$65 List
$59.74 at Amazon
$70 List
$69.95 at Amazon
$58 List
$56.24 at Amazon
Overall Score
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69
67
59
Star Rating
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Pros Great range, user-friendlyEasy to use, good sound qualityVery easy to use, great sound quality, strong battery life, fair priceExcellent range, tons of featuresGood sound quality, easy to use, good range
Cons So-so sound quality, limited battery lifeLackluster battery life, limited featuresLittle light on featuresUnimpressive battery life, sound quality could be betterLimited features, short battery life
Bottom Line This phone is easy to use and has an impressive range but didn't make much of an impression on us overallIf you are looking for a middle-of-the-road phone at a middle-of-the-road price, then this is itIf you want a great cordless phone that is simple and easy to use without a lot of fluff, then this is the model for youWhile the KX-TGE432 came close to scoring an award, it was held back by its less than stellar sound quality and battery lifeThis phone does have one of the larger displays of the group but otherwise failed to stand out against the other phones
Rating Categories Panasonic KX-TGD532W AT&T DL72219 AT&T CL82207 Panasonic KX-TGE432 VTech VS112-2
Sound Quality (30%)
5.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Range (25%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (20%) Sort Icon
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Features (15%)
5.0
4.0
4.0
7.0
4.0
Battery Life (10%)
3.0
3.0
7.0
4.0
3.0
Specs Panasonic KX-TGD532W AT&T DL72219 AT&T CL82207 Panasonic KX-TGE432 VTech VS112-2
Link - to - Cell No Yes No No Yes
Caller ID Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Caller ID announce Yes No Yes Yes No
Unobstructed Range Test 840 ft. 840 ft. 840 ft. 840 ft. 840 ft.
Obstructed Range Test 390 ft. 280 ft. 300 ft. 350 ft. 230 ft.
Call Waiting Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Call block Up to 150 Up to 1,000 Smart Call Blocker* Up to 250 Up to 1,000
Expandable Handsets Up to 6 Up to 5 Up to 12 Up to 6 Up to 5
Corded (phone) Base No No No No No
Speaker Phone on Base No No No No No
Speaker Phone on Handset Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Phone Book Capacity 100 1000 50 100 1000
Speed Dial Yes No Yes Yes No
Redial Yes Last 10 Numbers Last 10 Numbers Yes Last 10 Numbers
Wall mountable Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mute Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hold Yes No No Yes No
Any Key answer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Push to talk (PTT) No No Yes No No
Backlit display Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Eco Mode Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Silent/Quiet Mode Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Voice Command No No No No No
HD Audio w/ equalizer Yes No Yes No Yes
Lighted Keypad Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Optional Belt Clip No No No Yes No
Headset Jack No No No Yes No
Additional Lines No No No No No
RoHS Compliant Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Answering Machine Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes


Best Overall Cordless Phone


AT&T CL82207


69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Range 7
  • Ease of Use 7
  • Features 4
  • Battery Life 7
Answering Machine: Yes | Link-To-Cell: No
Great sound quality
Extraordinarily easy to use
Excellent battery life
Limited on features

The AT&T CL82207 is one of our all-time favorite cordless phones and one of the best we have seen to date. Its interface is exceptionally intuitive and is a great option for anyone who doesn't want to deal with a hassle every time they use their phone. Accompanying its user-friendliness is excellent sound quality and quite an impressive range, as well as a battery life that should last for 10+ hours of talk time.

Compared to some of the other phones we have tested, the AT&T CL82207 is a little short on features, though it does have an integrated phone book and answering machine. Although it can't quite match some of the other top-tier products when it comes to capabilities, we love how intuitive and user-friendly this phone is. It's a great option for someone who wants a cordless phone without all the fuss — and if you are shopping with cost in mind, the price makes it a reasonable option, too.

Read Review: AT&T CL82207

Best for Maximum Range


VTech DS6621-2


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Range 9
  • Ease of Use 6
  • Features 4
  • Battery Life 3
Answering Machine: Yes | Link-To-Cell: Yes
Very impressive range
Good sound quality
Limited features
Lackluster battery test performance

Just narrowly missing out on the top spot, the VTech DS6621-2 was another strong competitor. This model provides static-free and crystal-clear conversations and has a phenomenal range. We could separate the handset from the base by hundreds of feet without any noticeable drop in call quality. This phone is also one of the most user-friendly products in our review fleet.

Unfortunately, we found that the VTech DS6621-2's battery life is a little shorter than other models and unable to last more than 10 hours before running out of juice. Its feature set also wasn't the most extensive, but in our opinion, it includes the most critical ones. Overall, this is a great phone and one of our top recommendations if you need a new phone that can go the distance.

Read Review: VTech DS6621-2

Best Bang for Your Buck


AT&T EL51203


53
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Sound Quality 6
  • Range 6
  • Ease of Use 5
  • Features 4
  • Battery Life 4
Answering Machine: No | Link-To-Cell: No
Inexpensive
Good range
Decent sound quality
Not feature-packed
Shorter battery life

If you're searching for a reliable phone to fit your budget, then the AT&T EL51203 is an excellent choice for you. The value of this phone is fantastic, offering solid across-the-board performance at a reasonable price. The sound quality and range on the EL51203 are above average, and it is relatively easy to use.

Though its mediocre battery life and somewhat limited feature set were unimpressive, these drawbacks only had a minor impact on this product's overall performance. This is a great pick if you are shopping on a budget and don't want to make too many concessions when it comes to performance.

Read Review: AT&T EL51203

Best Smartphone Integration


AT&T TL96273


67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Sound Quality 7
  • Range 8
  • Ease of Use 6
  • Features 6
  • Battery Life 5
Answering Machine: Yes | Link-To-Cell: Yes
Fantastic range
Solid sound quality
Decently easy to use
Average battery life

The AT&T TL96273 performed exceptionally well in our testing process, narrowly missing out on the top spot overall. Although this phone didn't claim the top prize, it distinguished itself by being the best at connecting to a mobile device. This feature allows you to leave your phone charging by the base, with any incoming calls passed to all of the handsets of the TL96273. If you don't like carrying your cell phone with you or if you only get good cell service in a certain area of your home, this feature is particularly handy.

Regrettably, the AT&T TL96273 delivered a somewhat lackluster performance in our battery life tests, and we thought its sound quality was slightly inferior to the top-tier phones. We identified this cordless phone as a well-rounded and capable option, especially if routing landline calls to a cell phone is a desired feature. Even if you don't plan on using that feature, it still is a great option based solely on its performance in other areas.

Read Review: AT&T TL96273

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price Our Take
69
$65
Editors' Choice Award
This phone is a fantastic option if you want a bare-bones product that is easy to use with impressive sound quality and range
68
$60
Editors' Choice Award
Earning one of the top scores overall and particularly impressing us with its range, we highly recommend this VTech phone to anyone who wants the best
67
$90
Top Pick Award
Performing exceptionally well overall, this model distinguishes itself as being the best bet if you want to use Link-to-Cell
67
$70
The KX-TGE432 is a great phone but couldn't quite match the overall performance of our best phones
64
$55
This phone performed moderately well across the board and usually retails at a reasonable price
62
$100
Sacrifices sound quality for increased battery performance and features
62
$60
While this phone might not have claimed the top spot, it delivered alright results, earning a score in the middle of the pack
60
$150
An expensive phone packed with features and good sound quality, but falls short on range
59
$58
While this phone does have some unique features, like a visual ringer and a larger display, it struggled to distinguish itself overall
53
$45
Best Buy Award
Great phone for a great price
50
$40
Low on features and price tag with decent sound

We test phones across a range of performance capabilities and price...
We test phones across a range of performance capabilities and price ranges to find the best models to fit your needs.
Credit: Laura Casner

Why You Should Trust Us


Our cordless phone testing team of Austin Palmer and David Wise have tested hundreds of tech products and over a dozen different cordless phones. They have used their extensive background in reviewing consumer tech products to formulate a testing plan and process that truly highlights the differences in these products. A separate panel of judges was also convened to compare and rate the audio recordings created with each phone.

We pushed each phone to its limits, even if that meant walking hundreds of feet to determine their maximum range. We also ran dozens of hours of recordings to ascertain how long you can talk on each model. A widespread group of users — including some who weren't the most tech-savvy — came together to evaluate and compare each phone's ease of use and interface.

Related: How We Tested Cordless Phones

We performed specific tests with each phone, while also using each...
This phone is very easy to operate in our minds.
We fully charged each model before we performed the battery tests...

Analysis and Test Results


We broke our testing process into five weighted rating metrics — sound quality, range, ease of use, features, and battery life. We aggregated the results from each category to determine the overall performance for all cordless phones. To make our ratings as practical and fair as possible, we used a mixture of objective side-by-side assessments, like maximum range and battery life, as well as more subjective tests, like audio quality, using a panel of judges.

Related: Buying Advice for Cordless Phones


Value


If you are shopping for a new phone on a budget, it's hard to go wrong with either the AT&T EL51203. This model offers acceptable performance and can be purchased for a surprisingly low price. To maintain its approachable price, however, there are a few compromises. It has a slightly inferior sound quality and range and lacks key features like built-in answering machines. For some, this might be a deal-breaker. If so, then you should consider the more expensive AT&T CL82207 or VTech DS6621-2. The AT&T DL72219 can also be a good budget option, with a price point and performance that usually falls right in the middle between the top-tier and the budget-friendly options.

Sound Quality


Sound quality is an integral part of a phone. The principal function of a telephone is being able to hear and understand someone in a different area. Cordless phones offer clear conversations without the hassle of a cord. Our test for sound quality may be on the more subjective side, but it is a good analog of what most people will use these products for.


To test each model's sound quality, we set up the base of each phone and moved the handset a consistent distance away. We then left a voicemail on Google Voice with each model and read a passage from a book (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne). Next, our panel of listeners rated the quality and characteristics of each message without knowing the make or model of the handset.

We felt that the AT&T CL82207 and the VTech DS6621-2 did the best in our sound quality metric, sharing the top spot in this performance metric. The CL82207 left extremely clear messages, with a noticeable lack of static compared to many of the other models that we evaluated. Though not the loudest phone of the group, we think its sound levels are close to ideal.

The audio quality on the VTech DS6621-2 is among the best on the...
The audio quality on the VTech DS6621-2 is among the best on the market.
Credit: Laura Casner

The VTech DS6621-2 also lacked any static or buzzing. Conversations sounded as if you were almost within the same room. However, we did find it to be just a touch quieter than the AT&T CL82207.

The AT&T TL86103, AT&T TL96273, the AT&T DL72219, the VTech VS112-2, and the VTech CS6719 all came next in sound quality scores. The audio emanating from these phones was clear, but a little bit of distortion was detectable, accompanied by a reduction in volume. These second-tier phones all do a good job of keeping conversation sounding fairly close to face-to-face conversations but just a bit worse than the top-tier models. One thing we did appreciate about all of these phones was the limited to nonexistent background buzzing or hissing.

The VTech VS112-2 offers decent sound quality, though it was among...
The VTech VS112-2 offers decent sound quality, though it was among the models that produced a noticeable amount of distortion.
Credit: Laura Casner

Next, the Panasonic KX-TGE432 and the AT&T EL51203 both earned above-average scores for their decent sound quality. For both of these phones, you can usually hear the person on the other end of the line without any difficulty, but the sound is far from the crystal-clear audio of the top models. We noticed a bit of static with both phones and thought voices sounded like they were coming from far away, with a much flatter tone.

Range


Our next metric rated and scored the effective range of each of these products. Since range can vary wildly, depending on the number and type of obstructions, we split our range metric into two distinct tests; an unobstructed line-of-sight test and an obstructed test with multiple walls between the base and handset.


All the phones we tested thoroughly impressed us with their unobstructed range, which we would guess would be more than enough for just about any application.

However, our second test with multiple walls truly separated the top-tier phones from the rest of the pack. We left each phone's base inside the house, forcing the phone signal to pass through approximately six walls. Our tester walked each phone along the test course and played an audiobook into each handset. Our test course had markers every 40ft, up to the end of the street, and our tester called out the number of each marker over the audiobook as he walked by. We then listened to each voice message to determine the effective obstructed range of each product.


The VTech DS6621-2 received top marks in this metric for its unparalleled performance. This cordless phone maxed out in the unobstructed test, delivering clear sound with well over 840 feet separating the base from the phone. It also was able to transmit understandable conversation from 390 feet with multiple walls between the phone and main station.

The VTech DS6621-2 has an exceptionally impressive range.
The VTech DS6621-2 has an exceptionally impressive range.
Credit: Laura Casner

The AT&T TL9673, the Panasonic KX-TGE432, and the Panasonic KX-TGD532W all followed. These all made easy work of the unobstructed range test, making a clear and understandable call with over 840 feet separating the base from the handset.


These phones all continued to perform very well in the obstructed tests as well. We successfully carried on a conversation with more than 300' separating the base and the handset. There were tiny bits of static, and the call quality was diminished, but you could still easily carry on a conversation at this distance.

The AT&T CL82207 and the AT&T DL72219 followed, matching the top scorers in the line-of-sight test but falling a little short in the multiple-obstructions test. While it did match the performance of the AT&T TL96273, the audio of the CL82207 wasn't as clear at 300 feet, becoming almost unintelligible.

The AT&T DL72219 did a bit better than the CL82207 in the obstructed range test, peaking at close to 390'. However, one interesting thing that we noticed about this phone is that it only seems to do well at the furthest extents of its range if you were standing still. The call quality would plummet the moment we started moving but then resume whenever we stopped.

The VTech VS112-2 delivered impressive results in our range test.
The VTech VS112-2 delivered impressive results in our range test.
Credit: Laura Casner

The VTech VS112, the Panasonic KX-TGF382M, and the AT&T EL51203 all received above-average results in our range test. These three all reached the maximum distance in the unobstructed test, but their effective range dropped quite a bit in the obstructed test, with the audio cutting out 50-80 feet closer to the base than the top products.

The VTech CS6719 delivered a relatively mediocre performance. Cutting out almost 100 feet before the other models, this handset couldn't match the top models in the line-of-sight test. The same can be said for the obstructed test, where it cut out significantly closer than most of the other competitors.

We like how intuitive and easy to use the AT&amp;T DL72219 handset is.
We like how intuitive and easy to use the AT&T DL72219 handset is.
Credit: Jason Peters

Ease of Use


Our next set of tests rated and scored the user-friendliness and ease of operating each cordless phone. We looked at what people typically use their telephone for — making and receiving a phone call, paging a lost handset, and entering numbers into a phone book — as well as some of the more advanced functions of each product.


When it comes to ease of use, the Panasonic KX-TGD532W and the AT&T DL72219 both tied for the top spot overall. The KX-TGD532W has an ample backlight and a display that is very easy to read. The page function makes it easy to locate a misplaced handset, and it has one of the loudest ringers of the group. This phone also has an integrated answering machine and makes easy work of answering calls, adjusting basic settings, and muting calls. We did wish that it hyphenated phone numbers when entered, though.

The large buttons on the VTech VS112-2 add to its ease of use.
The large buttons on the VTech VS112-2 add to its ease of use.
Credit: Laura Casner

The more advanced menus are intuitive to navigate, and it isn't a huge hassle to block calls or save numbers to your phonebook.

The DL72219 has a solid backlight and illuminated keys that make it easy to read in a dark environment. It has a decently loud page function that makes it easy to locate a misplaced headset, beeping about every 1.5 seconds for a full minute when activated. The text on the screen is large enough for most people to easily read at a distance of 6' — made even easier by the fact that this phone hyphenates the numbers.

It has a solidly loud ringer and it's easy to make calls or quickly call back a missed call, though we did notice that this phone is missing a speed dial or a "Hold" function. The DL72219 also makes it very convenient and easy to use some of the more advanced functions.

While the AT&amp;T DL72219 is exceptionally easy to use, it can be a...
While the AT&T DL72219 is exceptionally easy to use, it can be a little light on features compared to the competition.
Credit: Jason Peters

It's about average to input names and numbers into the directory but we do like how easy it is to block calls with this cordless phone. Unfortunately, this does require a CallerID subscription to function. The menus are intuitive and easy to navigate through and the quiet mode is easy to set for when you don't want to be disturbed.

The AT&T CL82207, the VTech VS112, and the Panasonic KX-TGE432 all followed. The CL82207 is very easy to read, but we thought the speed dial function was a bit harder to use, and calling back a missed number was less intuitive than it is on some of its rivals. We also found the ringer was a bit quiet on the AT&T CL82207, but it has a very bright display, making it incredibly easy to use in a dark room.

We found the CL82207 to be particularly easy to use, even if you...
We found the CL82207 to be particularly easy to use, even if you aren't the most tech-savvy.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Panasonic KX-TGE432 is very easy to read and has a fantastic backlight for operating it with the lights out, but we wish that it would hyphenate a number when you enter it. It has decent volume, and it is fairly easy to answer calls or call back a missed one, about the same as theAT&T CL82207. Unfortunately, it can be a little more challenging to navigate the menus on the Panasonic KX-TGE432 since it has so many features to sort through, and it lacks a quiet or Do Not Disturb mode like the CL82207.

The VTech VS112 has a decent backlight and one of the loudest page/find-a-phone features of the group. It also has a very large and easy-to-read font on its display, with hyphenated numbers when dialing. It's about average to make and answer calls but does lack a speed dial feature.

It&#039;s quite easy to listen to a message or call back a missed call...
It's quite easy to listen to a message or call back a missed call with the VTech VS112-2.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Panasonic KX-TGF382M, VTech DS6621-2, and the AT&T TL96273 followed, with their slightly above average ease of use. It's a little trickier to enter and save numbers in your phonebook on the Panasonic KX-TGF382M, but it is much easier to use the speed dial function on this pair of phones than the AT&T TL96273, which only has a speed dial for voicemail. They are also very easy to read and provide more than enough light for a dark environment.

The numbers on the VTech DS6621-2 aren&#039;t the easiest to read.
The numbers on the VTech DS6621-2 aren't the easiest to read.
Credit: Laura Casner

Features


Current cordless phones have an assortment of features, enough that it can be overwhelming to consider them all when shopping for a new one. We compiled a comprehensive list of features across all the models that we tested and weighted scores based on the features that we felt were the most useful and important to us.


After extensive use and testing of these phones, we felt that the most important features were keypad lighting, whether or not the base had a keypad/speaker, and the ability to add additional handsets.

The TL96273 includes more features than most phones we have tested...
The TL96273 includes more features than most phones we have tested. One of its most convenient ones is its ability to connect with your cell phone.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Panasonic KX-TGF382M and the AT&T TL86103 both earned top marks for having most of the features we think consumers are seeking. This pair was hurt by their relatively small buttons and less-than-stellar keypad lighting. However, they both have an integrated keypad and speaker on the main base and link-to-cell capabilities, as well as an integrated answering machine, belt clip, and audio jack to connect a headset for hands-free operation.

We do think the Panasonic KX-TGD532W is a little short on some of...
We do think the Panasonic KX-TGD532W is a little short on some of the features we were looking for.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Panasonic KX-TGE432 closely followed. This phone shares many features with the top two phones, but it lacks a keypad or speaker on its main base and is unable to link to a smartphone. However, it did earn a few points by having particularly large buttons that are much easier to see and use than the Panasonic KX-TGF382M and the AT&T TL86103.

The Panasonic KX-TGE432 offers a nice suite of features, but it...
The Panasonic KX-TGE432 offers a nice suite of features, but it cannot link to a mobile phone.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Panasonic KX-TGD532W delivered average results in this metric. You can expand the system to up to 6 handsets and it has a modest phonebook with up to 100 entries. The handsets don't have a belt clip or headphone jack, and the main base doesn't have a speaker or keypad, but we do like the larger buttons and the bright keypad lighting. You can also use this phone as an in-home intercom.

The VTech VS112-2 phone system can only be expanded to 5 handsets...
The VTech VS112-2 phone system can only be expanded to 5 handsets, which might not suffice for an office.
Credit: Laura Casner

Battery Life


One downside to having a cordless model compared to a corded phone is the handset's potential to have a completely depleted battery, therefore making it unusable.


A corded phone can draw power over the incoming phone line, while a cordless handset has an internal, rechargeable battery that will recharge through the base of the phone. One of the models tested, the AT&T TL86103, has a corded handset on its base, allowing it to operate in a telephone line power mode. This would be something to consider if you lived in a place that commonly had power outages, as this phone will continue to work in the situation where the power is out, but the phone line is still intact. However, it is only possible to use the corded handset at the base when it is in this line power mode, not any of the cordless handsets.

To test the manufacturer's claimed talk time, we set up a handset from each model around a speaker playing music and called our Google Voice number. We timed how long each phone lasted, as well as when the low battery indicator came on.

To test the talk time of these phones, we clustered them around a...
To test the talk time of these phones, we clustered them around a speaker playing music while leaving a voice message, and continuously monitored them until the batteries depleted.
Credit: Kat Elliot

The Panasonic KX-TGF382M was the top scorer in this category, lasting a little over 13.5 hours. This was followed by the AT&T CL82207 and the AT&T TL86103, which both lasted for about the same length in our talk time test, but each had a shorter claimed standby life and took longer to charge than the KX-TGF382M. The AT&T TL96273 scored about average, lasting for approximately 11 hours and 20 minutes before its battery was depleted.

The AT&T EL51203, the VTech CS6719-2, and the Panasonic KX-TGE432 scored just below average. The VTech CS6719-2 lasted just shy of 11 hours, while the AT&T EL51203 was able to make it a little over 10. The Panasonic KX-TGE432 did the worst of this group but still lasted for 9 hours and 40 minutes before completely depleting its battery.

Overall, we weren&#039;t the most impressed with the battery life of the...
Overall, we weren't the most impressed with the battery life of the VS112-2 from VTech.
Credit: Laura Casner

Conclusion


Some may view this category as a bit of an antiquated one, but plenty of individuals and businesses still rely on cordless phones and use them daily. There is an enormous variety of phones on the market today, and while you might not put a lot of initial thought into your purchase decision for this category, we found a poorly performing phone to be incredibly frustrating. With so many impressive options available, there's no reason for that. Hopefully, this review has given you the information you need to make the perfect choice for your purposes and budget, whether you are looking for the latest and greatest tech to integrate into your home or just a simple phone that delivers great sound without breaking the bank.

Austin Palmer and David Wise