Great sound, good range and secure calling
Cordless phones—you want one that sounds clear, works anywhere in the house and doesn't let anyone else listen to your calls. These qualities are determined by the phone's format (digital or analog) and frequency.
• Analog: While they are a less expensive option, analog phones can have additional noise on the line, and your conversation can be picked up by radios and other devices pretty easily.
• Digital: Just as a CD offers better sound than a cassette, a digital phone offers better sound than an analog phone. You'll enjoy clearer reception and enhanced security, as the digital format makes it much more difficult for anyone to listen in on your conversation.
• DSS: Digital Spread Spectrum technology is a special type of digital phone that offers the most secure calling. It breaks your conversation into little pieces of digital data to travel over the airwaves, so no one can eavesdrop.
• 2.4GHz: Although you may see 900MHz phones out there, 2.4GHz has become the standard for cordless. This frequency offers great range and substantial security from eavesdropping.
• 5.8GHz: This frequency is less crowded than 2.4GHz, so calls have less interference and are clearer. Range and security are comparable to 2.4GHz. Wireless home networks work on 2.4GHz frequency, so if you're into WiFi look for a 5.8GHz phone to prevent interference.
Features to look for
From basic phones to complete systems with all the lights, whistles and bells, cordless phones have the features you need to make the most of your talk time.
Expandability: Want to keep a phone in the garage? Instead of installing an expensive phone jack, consider an expandable phone system. With a base unit and one phone jack you can add a series of extra handsets that just need to be connected to a regular wall socket to work.
Answering system: A digital answering system records messages on a chip inside the phone, which means you can jump from one message to the next without rewinding or fast forwarding. Plus, some phones offer remote message retrieval, which allows you to play back messages using either the touchpad on your handset or a remote phone.
Caller ID: Caller ID displays the name and number of the person calling on an LCD screen located either on the handset or base of the phone. Some caller ID systems let you see who's calling even if you're on the phone (call-waiting caller ID) or "speak" the name of the caller out loud (talking caller ID).
Speakerphone: If you've got a speakerphone in the handset, you can set it down wherever you happen to be and continue to have a conversation. Base speakerphones can serve the same function, but they're even better when paired with a base keypad. If your handset has gone AWOL or is charging, you can still make and receive calls.
Selectable ring tones: It's fun to set the ringer to a sound you like. Some phones come with several built-in options, and others even let you download more ring tones.