Assessing the best cell phones for seniors can be tricky. There are lots of things to consider when evaluating cell phones, and some of the features seniors want may not be the same as what someone younger wants. There may be differences from senior to senior as well, so let’s take a look at what most seniors want their cell phone to do and what features they’re looking for.
What Should A Cell Phone Do?
At a bare minimum, any good cell phone should be able to make and receive phone calls reliably and be easy to use. If you want a cell phone with some extra features, you may also want a phone that can take pictures, sent and receive texts and connect to the Internet. If you want additional features, you’ll need to look for a smartphone. If you have mobility issues or live alone, you should also consider a cell phone that has additional emergency contact capabilities in the event of an emergency.
A cell phone will keep you connected to your family and friend, help you stay in your home longer, keep you safer, and ensure you can get the products you need. It can also provide you with entertainment and socialization and broaden your horizons. Choosing the right one can make a huge difference in your day-to-day life.
What Features Should You Look for in a Cell Phone?
There are several features to consider when shopping for a cell phone, including:
- Durability. Make sure the cell phone won’t easily break or crack if dropped and that it is water-resistant. Accidents happen.
- Long battery life. While you’ll need to charge any cell phone regularly, there will be times when you may forget or you won’t be able to plug it in. You don’t want a dead battery when you need to make a call in an emergency.
- Bright, easy-to-read display, and large buttons. A large display and buttons you can hit without misdialing will make it easier to place phone calls without frustration. If you have poor vision or arthritis, these issues will become even more important.
- Good sound quality. Nothing is more frustrating than having to ask the person on the other end to repeat themselves. Look for a phone with superior sound quality that has adjustable volume.
- Emergency call capability. A cell phone that has a single-touch emergency calling for emergencies can save time and possibly your life.
- Extras. What extras are essential to you? Do you want to be able to take pictures? Send and receive photos? Then you may want a smartphone with a built-in camera and a QWERTY keyboard. Explore your options if you want the extra bells and whistles.
Our Top Cell Phone Picks for Seniors
This nifty little phone is inexpensive, easy to use, and features the traditional flip phone style so many people have loved for decades. It has text and voice and checks all the boxes for ease of use for seniors. You can turn the volume up, the buttons are large for easy dialing, and you can choose a monthly plan based on your minutes and texts. There’s also noise-canceling technology and a full 10 hours of continuous calling on one battery charge. It stores photos and has an emergency call button and optional GPS service.
- Easy-to-locate emergency button
- Large keypad
- Stores up to 1,000 photos and 50 texts
- Stores 200 contacts
- 10 hours of continuous calling
- Background noise cancellation
- Adjustable volume
- Voice dialing
- 5Star emergency GPS tracker is at an additional monthly cost
- No Internet or email capability
- Not a smartphone
Final Thought: If you want a reliable, solid phone and decent picture quality, this is an excellent phone at a great price. The intuitive design makes it easy to use if you aren’t interested in Internet connectivity.
This little phone is a stripped-down model that has a surprising amount of power packed into it. The battery life is its shining feature. You can talk up to 20 hours on one charge and it can hold its charge for up to four weeks at a time, so neglecting to charge it occasionally isn’t an issue. It comes in colors like blue, warm red and yellow, making it easy to find if you’re prone to misplacing it around the house.
You can take basic photos and make phone calls with this, but that’s about it. While you can text, you’ll be using the numbers, as there isn’t a keyboard, so if you text a lot, this may not be the right model for you. On the other hand, this is virtually indestructible and easy to use.
- Large keypad
- Simple camera
- 20+ hour talk time on battery
- Charge lasts for weeks
- Sturdy case
- Have to use the numeric keypad to text
- No emergency key
- No Internet or email capability
- Not a smartphone
Final Thought: If you want a budget-friendly, basic phone that’s stripped down to the bare essentials, the Nokia 3310 may be the right fit. For anything else, look for an upgrade.
If you’re ready to graduate to a smartphone but are apprehensive about learning how to use all the newer features, the Jitterbug Smart2 is an excellent transitional phone that gives you a lot of features without overwhelming you with confusing mumbo-jumbo. It’s got a front and rear-facing camera and advanced texting, but the interface is easy to learn and its simple to use. Don’t worry, you’ll be navigating this phone in no time and you won’t have to pester your grandkids for weeks with questions. The simple menu is easy to read with large letters and easy to see icons for easy navigation. There’s also an available health and safety service for an extra fee.
- QWERTY Keyboard for easy texting
- Almost unlimited photo storage
- Full Internet and smartphone capability
- Exceptional sound clarity
- Large fonts for texting and easy reading
- Pressing the emergency button connects the caller to 911
- Optional health and safety service for extra fee
- Battery life isn’t great, so you’ll need to charge it every night
- You’re limited to Verizon in some areas
Final Thought: This is the perfect starter smartphone for seniors, with large fonts, exceptional sound quality, and an easy to use keyboard.
Our Top Pick
We love the Jitterbug Flip Easy-to-Use Cell Phone by GreatCall for its affordability, ease of use, and simple design. The classic flip phone design is easy to slip into a pocket or purse to take anywhere. It has just enough functionality for what most seniors need. You can adjust the volume, take pictures, and send the occasional text, and it doesn’t cost much. It’s a solid performer and is our top pick for checking off all the boxes for a basic cell phone.
If you’re looking for an upgrade, the Samsung Jitterbug Smart2 Smartphone is highly rated for several reasons. It takes exceptional photos, including flash pictures, has tons of data storage, and connects to the Internet for texting, surfing, video chat, and anything else you might want to do online. The fact that you can quickly get up and running without confusion or a steep learning curve is due to the impressive design. It’s worth far more than the price tag.
There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles on the Nokia 3310 3G, but this little workhorse is an exceptional value because it’s built like iron. You don’t have to handle it with kid gloves, and you don’t have to worry about cutting a conversation short. It will last for years, hold up to daily abuse and hold a charge for days or even weeks, all at a bargain-basement price.
Before you buy your next cell phone, think about what you want to do with it. Is it purely for calling family and friends and emergency use, or will you be playing video games and taking pictures? Are you hard on your phones, or will you be keeping it on the shelf? Determine what are essentials, then consider your hearing and eyesight and compare features before making your final decision.