Buying a cordless phone

We give you info on buying the best cordless phone

A cordless phone. (Image credit: Philips)

A cordless phone. (Image credit: Philips)

Cordless phones are almost an essential household item. While earlier technology suffered from call quality issues, cordless phones now provide more than adequate sound quality at a decent range.

Purchasing a cordless phone can become complicated and confusing thanks to a number of selling points and technologies. Here is a rundown of what you should be looking for.

Getting started

Today’s cordless phones look very similar to mobile phones. Most have an LCD screen, caller ID and the ability to change ringtones. There are three types of cordless phones on the Australian market – analogue, digital (DECT), and digital spread spectrum (DSS).

Analogue cordless phones are the cheapest, but the lowest quality phones. Sound quality is not as good as a digital phone, but if you don’t plan to walk too far away from the base, then one should suffice. The biggest disadvantage of analogue cordless phones is the fact that appliances like microwaves can interfere with them. Analogue phones use the 900MHz frequency.

DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Communications) phones are more expensive than analogue phones, but sound quality and range is improved. DECT is a frequency that is only used for cordless phones, so there is no chance of interference from other wireless devices.

The most expensive technology used in cordless phones is DSS (Digital Spread Spectrum). DSS phones randomly change frequencies during a telephone conversation, so it's very difficult for other devices (such as scanners or CB radios) to interfere. Regardless, any hint of interference will result in a DSS phone changing to a new frequency. DSS phones have a longer wireless range and are known for excellent sound quality, and they may use 2.4GHz or 5.8GHz frequencies.

In addition to better sound quality, digital cordless phones encrypt your conversation, so general eavesdropping isn't likely to occur – and this may be an important consideration if you use your credit card over the phone.

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