Choosing the best home phone service may seem useless. After all, you already pay for a cellphone that doesn't leave your side; right? I have certainly had some doubts of my own.
After sufficient research, though, I have uncovered the many benefits to purchasing a landline local phone service in your area. I have also discovered some things you need to know and consider before making a decision. Once you've got it down, I will show you the best home telephone service providers in your area based on cost, customer service, bundle deals and essential call features offered.
Landline Phone Service Providers
Compare the Best Home Phone Services
Key Considerations Before Choosing a Landline Provider
1. Which home phone services are offered in my area?
It's important to check out which home phone companies provide landlines in your area. There are many online search engines that will show you local phone service providers by ZIP code. This is the easiest way to determine which landline services are available to you. You may have AT&T Home Phone, with cheap landline service, or Time Warner Cable in your area. Many of these home phone service providers have Internet services as well.
2. What kind of calls am I, my family, or business going to be making?
When purchasing home phone service plans, you should consider what kind of calls you're going to be making. You should also take into account how often you'll be using the phone(s). These determinations will help you decide on a plan that works best for you at the most affordable price.
Phone companies add charges based on what kind of calls you're going to be making. For instance, if you make a lot of long distance calls to people outside your local and regional area, you may want to choose a plan that offers unlimited long distance.
3. What features does the company offer?
Home phone companies usually offer call features like international calling, long-distance, multiple extensions and more. In this article, I have compared each provider's features to determine which home phone service is best for you.
4. What are the cheapest home phone service options?
Again, make sure to research the bundles your home phone service offers. Bundles are a way to save money and make bill-paying more convenient. You can pay for the home phone and high speed Internet bundles with TV all in one bill. Furthermore, some companies may offer individual cheap landline services.
Related: You can learn more about Intenet and TV bundling with our guide.
You can opt into a prepaid home phone service such as Global Connection. Global Connection also offers a special package for customers who are enrolled in certain government assistance programs.You may also want to check out our article on the best VoIP home phone service for other cheap home VoIP service provider options, such as Google Voice or Phone.com, which gives you your own telephone number.
5. How is the customer service?
When looking for a home phone service, customer support is a vital consideration. You'll want to make sure they have a good reputation for getting back to their customers. If they have a live chat option, that's even better. You also want to make sure they'll send someone to help if anything goes wrong.
6. Are there contracts and extra fees?
When you purchase a home phone service, many providers will expect you to sign a contract binding you to them for a certain amount of time. If you choose not to keep their service, you may have to pay a fee. Just keep this in mind.
Also, keep in mind that most phone companies offer a guarantee that your price won't go up if they make you sign a contract. Make sure they allow you that option. It's also important to note if the phone company charges extra fees for activation and installation, equipment, taxes or if the price goes up after a certain amount of time.
What to Know About Landline Phones
It may seem as though traditional landline home phone services are on their way out. About 45 percent of U.S. households just use mobile phones these days. But according to The New York Times article from 2014, about 80 million people and several million small businesses still used copper-based landline phone service providers.
This number has certainly decreased since then; it has been recorded that cell phone usage will be higher than landline usage for the first time in 2016. Unfortunately, many of those choosing to live without a landline may not fully understand what they're giving up.
...about 80 million people and several million small businesses still use copper-based landline phone service providers.
The cheapest landline phone service options can benefit you and your family in numerous ways. There are several things you may not know about the best home phone service in your area. For instance, how do traditional landlines differ from digital connections and VoIP services?
What is a landline and how does it work?
- Landlines used to be mainly analog phone systems which operated via copper cables. These days, most phone systems have switched to digital but still require two cables: a voice and a data cable.
- These cables transmit call information to the telephone box outside, which sends the information to your local or regional phone provider.
- The provider then connects you with the receiving party, all within a split-second.
Home phone systems with digital or analog landlines are more secure and dependable because of the way they are set up to transmit call information. There are newer options available, such as VoIP networks; but they are not as reliable as traditional landlines, even if the VoIP home phone service or business VoIP providers make the telephone service cheaper compared to a landline.
VoIP stands for voice over Internet Protocol and defines a system which transmits voice data via a high-speed Internet connection. A high-speed Internet connection is essential for stable and fluid calls. Two examples of VoIP service providers are Google Voice, Phone.com, and Vonage Business.
Furthermore, a VoIP phone service also comes in two major types: residential VoIP and business VoIP, though business VoIP tends to be the focal point of many VoIP phone service providers compared to the residential VoIP. However, you will either want to use your mobile phone with a VoIP service or a specialized VoIP device such as an OBi device. There are several OBi devices available to you, such as the OBi1032 IP phone or the OBiWiFi wireless adapter.
What's also associated with VoIP is the virtual phone number, which can act similar to a gateway between traditional calls - or PSTN - and VoIP. A virtual phone number is a telephone number without a directly associated telephone line.
Digital phones differ from VoIP services because they are run by cables a lot bigger than VoIP cables; but ultimately, digital phones use a lot less power.
Types of Home Phone Calls
- Local calls - When you choose a plan, your local call radius is determined. Any call you make within this radius is considered a local call.
- Regional or local toll calls - These calls are outside of your call radius, but they are not far enough to be called long distance. The federal government dictates which areas are local and which are regional.
- Long Distance - This includes calls that are outside of your local and regional calling areas. These calls are made to people in your state, in another state, or in another country.
Landlines are more secure and dependable because of the way they are set up to transmit call information.
Knowing the meaning of local, regional and long distance calls can save you money when you purchase your best home phone service plan. If you make a lot of long distance calls, look for a plan that offers unlimited long distance calls within it. This way, you won't get angry when you see extra fees on your next bill.
The Best Home Phone Service Providers
AT&T Home Phone
- No long-term commitment required
- Popular features
- Home phone and Internet bundles
- Up front about extra charges
- Installation, taxes and other extra fees
AT&T standard home phone services start at $26 a month or less. They go up to just $59 a month or less with extra features and packages. They have one package including the Internet and home phone services for just $41 a month or less, but unfortunately, the package does not include U-verse TV. However, instead of U-verse TV, you can build a bundle around U-verse Voice (now AT&T Phone), DIRECTV, and high speed Internet. Prices vary depending on where you live.
Their plans contain options like unlimited local and nationwide calling, long distance plans and the most popular calling features. AT&T home phone features include three-way calling, reliable connection, call return, call forwarding, privacy manager and more.
Unfortunately, AT&T does charge installation, taxes, equipment and other fees. The good thing is that they are honest about it on their site. They also don't require that you commit to them long-term; so you can switch if you feel the need.
Verizon Home Phone
- Good value bundles
- Reliable service with good features
- Long distance operator service
- Virtual support agent, how-tos and video tutorials
- Two-year agreement
- Extra taxes, fees and equipment charges
Verizon home phone service offers cheap TV, high speed Internet, and phone bundles. Their cheapest deal starts at $19.99 for high-speed Internet and phone services. They also have a Fios Triple Play bundle that includes high-speed Internet, TV, and phone starting at $69.99 a month. Their premium Ultimate TV, 150/150 Internet plan comes with Internet, TV, and phone for $144.99 a month.
Verizon's home phone plans are affordable and reliable with good features, but prices vary with location. They also have adequate customer service, including a virtual agent option available on their site whenever you have a question. Keep in mind, though, Verizon requires a two-year contract and charges extra for taxes, equipment, etc.
Some of Verizon's home phone features include their "let your calls follow you," three-way calling and privacy options. With "let your calls follow you," you can send your incoming calls to another telephone so you never miss a call.
Verizon has an international operator feature as well, but they charge rates per call. Overall, Verizon is known to be reliable with cheap home phone service options.
Comcast Phone Service
- Comes with popular features
- Great bundles
- Live Chat option
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Two-year contract
- Extra fees
Comcast home phone service has exceptional customer service with a live chat option. This allows you to contact an expert at any time when you have a question or concern.
Comcast offers two calling plans including Comcast unlimited and Comcast local with more. You can choose various amounts of data and popular features like three-way calling and call-forwarding for each plan.
They also offer affordable bundles and specials on their website. For instance, right now you can add TV and home telephone number service to your Internet plan for just $34.90. Keep in mind, though, bundles and specials may vary depending on your location and special offers.
Comcast home phone service even offers a 30-day money back guarantee. If you don't like their service, you can get your money back and switch providers within 30 days. Unfortunately, after your 30-days is up, you have a two-year contract to abide by. They will also charge you for equipment and installation; prices vary by location.
Charter Phone Service
- No contracts
- They'll buy out your existing contract
- Popular features
- No added fees
- Prices may rise after a year
- Runs on the Internet instead of digitally
Charter home phone service is affordable and requires no contracts. They'll even buy out your existing competitor contract for up to $500. Their plans are cheap too, starting at just $29.99 for their Spectrum Voice plan.
Charter's phone plans run via the Internet, so they don't have the same reliability as traditional landlines. However, they do have a lot of popular features and claim to have no added fees. They also offer three bundle deals including TV, phone and Internet plans with various unlimited and local calling plans.
Some of their features include call forwarding, speed dial, readable voicemail and more. Unfortunately, their prices may raise after a year of your service. Additionally, their customer service department doesn't have the most stellar reputation. There is no live chat option on their site.
Cox Phone Service
- Live chat
- Free installation with bronze bundle
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Bundles - all including unlimited long distance
- Digital cable service for emergency security
- Limited free installation
- Watch out for hidden price hikes
Cox home phone service offers digital cable services within bundles and by themselves. In the event that you call 911, Cox will automatically send your address and location to emergency services for help. They also have a live chat option on their website for a fast and easy response to your questions.
Charter offers bundles with free installation, but you must at least purchase their bronze bundle to receive it. Bronze bundles start at $89.99 and include fast Internet, TV, and unlimited calling to over thirty countries.
With Charter, you are guaranteed no contract and price consistency for twelve months. Be careful, though. They have a tendency to raise rates after a year and you may not be notified of the change until you receive the bill.
Key Benefits of Landlines
1. Clear and Reliable Reception
Have you ever had your call dropped in the middle of a really important conversation? I know I have. It's embarrassing and inconvenient, especially when you have waited a long time to speak with an actual human. You may experience this issue more often if you live outside of the city.
Fortunately, a home phone service can be much more reliable than a mobile phone. If you like to make important calls without worrying about your reception, a home phone can save you the hassle. It is also great for businesses.
With a landline phone service, you do not have to worry about whether your phone has battery life. Cell phones often run out of power. In contrast, home phones are put back on the receiver when not being used; so they should never run out of battery. They can even work when the power goes out.
If you have a cordless phone, just make sure you keep it on the receiver when it's not in use. That will keep it charged up.
2. More Security
Land lines work differently than VoIP and cell phones. For one, they provide better security. 911 operators can trace calls straight to your exact emergency location when you call with a landline. It links your address with your call; so if you get disconnected, they can still find you.
Cell phones don't work nearly as efficiently in emergency situations. According to the National Emergency Number Association, it can take up to twenty-five seconds or even minutes to retrieve your location information when you call 911 from a cell phone. When they receive your location, they still don't know your actual address, just your general vicinity.
A VoIP provider service doesn't always link your address with your call. Cell phones do not link your address either. This is definitely something you should know before going with a VoIP or cell phone instead of a trusty home landline service.
Additionally, landlines are known to stay on in power outages. If your cell phone dies or the Internet service goes out in a power outage, you're in luck with a landline.
3. It's Good for Families
Families need a reliable system of communication. On the other hand, parents worry about getting their children their own cell phone numbers too early. Landlines are the perfect solution for families in this predicament. Having a home landline service can keep your kids from becoming slaves to their cell phones, at least for a couple more years.
4. It's Convenient
Landlines are very useful for families and businesses. They can provide multiple reliable extensions for everyone to use at once. The best thing about landline connections is their reliability. Reliability is really important for big businesses and even small businesses that rely heavily on being able to make phone calls.
VoIPs and cell phones are great, but what if there's a storm? VoIP connections can go down in a storm, leaving communications throughout your business fluttering in the wind. Even cell phone receptions are known to be iffy. This is especially true in rural areas or inside big buildings that block signals to cell phone towers. Of course, you can always purchase a cell phone signal booster, which comes complete with an external antenna. A cell phone signal booster would certainly help with dropped calls and improved reception thanks to the external antenna, which you will need to place in an area that has a stable signal.
5. Most Providers Offer Discounted Bundled Packages
Landlines can be expensive. Fortunately, you can pay a fair fee for TV, the Internet and a landline with a bundle. Most providers, like Time Warner Cable and Verizon, feature double play or triple play bundles for you to choose from. Make sure to review every option for bundles before making a decision.
Also be sure to read over your bundle deal before signing up. You'll never know if you're signing up for extra charges if you do not read your contract's terms and conditions.
The best home phone service plans will have excellent customer service. They will be reliable and affordable with features that make your daily tasks less of a hassle.
Some features included in home phone services include:
- Three-way calling
- Call forwarding
- Call waiting
- Speed dial
- Privacy options
- Unlimited long distance and local calling
You should understand every feature before picking the perfect home phone plan. If you purchase a bundle, make sure it comes with the correct features to suit your specific needs.
If you don't like to miss a call, your service should offer call forwarding to direct your calls straight to you. If you make a lot of international calls, you need to make sure your plan includes unlimited international calling so you don't get charged extra fees.
It also doesn't hurt to understand your privacy options, such as whether or not your name can be seen when you make a call. These are all things to consider when determining which home phone company is the best option for you.
Important Questions to Ask
There are several important things to know and ask yourself before choosing the best home phone provider in your area.
- Which home phone providers are available in my area?
- What type of phone connection is the company offering?
- Is the service reliable?
- Is the customer service reliable?
- How many people will be using the line?
- What kind of calls will users be making?
- How is the company's customer service?
- Are there any contracts?
- Will a bundle save me money?
- Can I transfer phone numbers?
If you ask yourself these questions when searching for a home service, I guarantee you will figure out what's best for you in no time. Make sure to read all of the details of your plan and get them in writing before you sign up for anything. You don't want to get stuck in a contract that costs hundreds of dollars to get out of.
Also, make sure a home phone line is what you need before making a purchase. There are many different options and connection out there these days. It's important you understand how each home phone system works to determine if they can cater to your needs.
Overall, home phone lines have many benefits for homes and offices. They can provide you with a way to keep your children from owning a cell phone, even just for a little while. They can also be a convenient communication medium for offices needing various extensions and reliable phone connections.
According to my research, the home phone providers mentioned in this review are some of the best you can get at affordable rates. Make sure to pay attention to bundles and see what you can do to get the lowest price available.
Now that you're educated about home phone systems, I think it's a good idea to compare your best home phone provider to the best internet provider and the best cable TV provider. Bundles usually include Internet plans and TV packages; so it's important to know what you're getting.