Cordless Phone Recommendation?

Say what you want about Northern Telecom, they made telephones built like tanks. I never, ever had one of their phones fail: from the old beige rotary wall-mount in our kitchen when I was a kid right up to the reconditioned Maestro I have on the desk beside me, they just work. Forever.

Which is sadly not true of any of the cordless phones we’ve had at home for the past decade: we’ve been through a Panasonic, a four-handset Siemens, and a three-handset Motorola setup. And they’ve all failed us in the same way: after 2 or 3 years of use, the keypads stop working. The Motorola is the worst: it’s just over a year old, and it has become almost impossible to answer the phone or make a call. Serves us right for buying telecommunications products at Wal-mart, I guess.

So I need recommendations: we’re looking for a simple two or three handset cordless system. Doesn’t need to have any special features: we don’t need an answering machine, or the ability to hook up to Skype or play Tetris. We just want something built as solidly as an old Nortel.

(By the way, did you know there is a Telephone Museum of Prince Edward Island?)


DerekMac's picture
DerekMac on October 8, 2008 - 14:45 Permalink

Give Panasonic another try. I’ve been using one of their dual handset models constantly for a couple of years, and both handsets still work like a charm. They had a round of cost-cutting/quality cutting awhile back, producing one model that was identical in outward appearance to another one I had, but had an unusable keyboard. However, they seem to have learned their lesson, and recent models are back to the original quality that they are noted for.

By the way, my 1983 or so Panasonic microwave is still in daily use, and my similar-vintage Panasonic VCR still works, but is no longer used. I have no other gadgets left from that era, so I am a big fan of the brand!

Stay away from GE, as the accountants at Thomson in France seem to have cheapened their products to the unusable level.

As I am sure you know, avoid the 2.x gig models like the plague, as they can get interference from wireless routers and the like. I have a 5.x model. The latest is DECT (Digitally Enhanced Cordless Technology) 6.0, and is supposed to be immune to interference from other home electronics.

My recommendation would be to purchase a three (or four) handset unit, and keep one or two handsets stored away, just in case the others fail. You can buy units with extra handsets for very little more money if you get a good sale.

Another recommendation, if you use your phone a lot, would be to buy the extended warranty, and get the unit replaced when it fails. I think the extra handsets option would be preferable, though, as dealing with the warranty people can be a hassle.

Jeff Smith's picture
Jeff Smith on October 8, 2008 - 17:16 Permalink

I’d also recommend giving Panasonic another try.

We’ve gone from an old Nortel cordless model (lasted 6 or 7 years) to a Sanyo (only lasted 2 or 3 years) to one of these ( Panasonic sets. We’ve only had it for 6 months or so, but it works flawlessly. Haven’t run into any problems with interference (as this is a DECT model — as discussed above). Another great bonus with this unit and the extra handsets is not needing a jack to plug the additional handsets into. Cleaned up a lot of wires in our apartment.

Just my $0.02 of course.

Charles's picture
Charles on October 9, 2008 - 01:15 Permalink

I’ve had good luck with VTech. My first one lasted about 7 years, and I’ve had my current one for at least 5 with no problems. My mother has one of those multi-handset Panasonic units as well, and it seems to work pretty well.

DerekMac's picture
DerekMac on October 9, 2008 - 12:41 Permalink

Today’s Staples flyer has a 3 handset Panasonic for $99.99, and a 4 handset V-Tech for $109.99. Both appear to be quality units (I will not say the same for the 4 handset GE for $99.99).