Buying a low-cost cell phone for seniors will help make sure you or your loved one doesn't pay too much for a cell phone that is too small, complicated to use, and not tailored to their needs.
For example, if you have hearing aids, you may need a phone with a better speaker. Certain senior phones even provide access to emergency cell phone services in case something goes wrong.
If you're looking for low-cost cell phones for seniors, you've come to the right place. After diligent research and analysis, I have come up with a list of the five best low-cost cell phones for seniors available right now. Below, I will go through the best phones for seniors and explain what makes them better than the rest.
In This Guide
Our Top Picks
GreatCall Jitterbug Smart Review
- 5.0 Megapixel camera
- Exclusive senior safety/health apps
- No-contract plans and no cancellation fees
- Senior smartphone mode
- Reliable, U.S. based customer service
- Takes a long time to recharge
- Doesn't work with Sprint
- A bit expensive
The GreatCall Jitterbug has a 5.0 Megapixel camera and large icons, making it easy to read and navigate. It's a pay-as-you-go phone, so you won't have to worry about contracts or cancellation fees if you want to switch cell phone plans or carriers.
The Jitterbug also provides access to senior safety apps to keep you or your loved one safe if you ever get into trouble alone. The only possible downside to the Jitterbug is that it may take a while to recharge, even though it has a 2,500 mAh battery.
It also doesn't work with the Sprint network and is a little expensive compared to other senior phones. Other than that, the Jitterbug is a reliable low-cost cell phone for seniors with U.S. based customer service that will be there for you or your loved one every step of the way.
LG Optimus Zone 3 Review
- Allows you to download most apps
- No annual contract plans
- 5.0 Megapixel camera
- 1,940 LI-ion battery
- You may experience random popups
- The display screen is somewhat small compared to others
The LG Optimus Zone 3 is an inexpensive smartphone with all of the features of a more expensive one. You won't have to worry about annual contract plans with the LG Optimus Zone 3 as it is a pay-as-you-go phone.
You also won't have to worry about apps; you'll have access to pretty much any essential app with the LG Optimus Zone 3. The Zone 3 even has a 5.0 Megapixel camera just like the more expensive Jitterbug; although, the Zone 3's battery has a little less capacity at 1,940 mAh.
The only downside to the LG Optimus Zone 3 is that you may experience bothersome pop-ups every so often. Additionally, the screen is a bit smaller than phones like the Jitterbug Smart, which is 5.5 inches compared to the LG's 4.5.
BLU JOY Review
- Dual SIM Card Slots
- Built-in SOS button
- Numerical Keypad
- Built-in Flashlight
- VGA Camera
- Small 2.4-inch display
- Doesn't work with 3G only providers or any CDMA minor or major carriers
The Blu Joy cell phone is perfect for seniors with its numerical keypad that's easy to see and its built-in flashlight at an extremely affordable price compared to most phones. It even has a built-in SOS button so seniors can contact the police, medical, or firefighters instantly in the case of an emergency.
The Blu Joy has a dual SIM Card slot, so you don't have to worry about whether your SIM card is the right size. It has a VGA camera as well, which is pretty good for such an inexpensive phone. The Blu Joy also has a 1,450 mAh battery capacity, Bluetooth, and an external memory slot to store up to 32GB of data, pictures, etc.
The only thing you may have to worry about with the Blu Joy is the 2.4-inch display that's kind of small compared to other phones. Other phones, however, don't include the numerical keypad. Additionally, the Blu Joy will not work with 3G only providers and CDMA carriers. If you have a minor or major carrier with CDMA service, switching to Blu Joy will be more difficult.
Jitterbug Flip Review
- Large numbers that are easy to press and read
- Loud speaker
- Simple menu buttons
- No contracts or cancellation fees
- Affordable cell phone plans
- Only works on the GreatCall Network
- Somewhat expensive for a flip phone
The Jitterbug Flip was designed with seniors in mind. It has large numbers that are easy to press and read, simple yes and no menu buttons, and a loud speaker for those who have hearing aids or trouble hearing. It can be used with affordable, no-contract plans with no cancellation fees. It also has a lasting 1780 mAh battery.
The Jitterbug Flip is a bit expensive for a flip phone but still much less expensive than the Jitterbug Smart smartphone. Unfortunately, it will only work with GreatCall Wireless plans; it won't work with any other carrier.
The best part about the Jitterbug Flip is that it comes with a 5-star button. The 5-star button will connect you to highly-trained agents in the case of any emergency situation. If you're looking for a quality flip phone with excellent senior specifications, the Jitterbug Flip might be your best bet.
Kyocera DuraXV Review
- 5.0 Megapixel camera
- Military-grade shock and dust proof
- High-contrast display for outside viewing
- Dual, front-facing speakers
- Somewhat expensive for a flip phone
- The design is bulky
The Kyocera DuraXV has 1,500 mAh battery life and a high-contrast display for easier outside viewing for seniors. It is even waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof, so you won't have to worry about getting it wet or dropping it.This solid flip phone also has a 4G high-speed Internet browser that's simple to use along with a 5.0 Megapixel camera.
This solid flip phone also has a 4G high-speed Internet browser that's simple to use along with a 5.0 Megapixel camera. The Kyocera DuraXV's dual, front-facing speakers are perfect for those who have trouble hearing. Basically, the Kyocera was built for seniors.
The only downside to the Kyocera DuraXV may be its price and bulky design. It's a bit expensive for a flip phone, but it is durable and reliable. On the other hand, its durability makes it big and heavy, so it won't be easy to just put it in your pocket or small purse.
Forty-one percent of senior citizens don't use the Internet at all, according to the Pew Research Center. That means 59 percent of seniors do; every senior is different, however. As a result, there are several things every senior should consider before buying one of the best low-cost cell phones for seniors. Here are some questions to ask before you buy.
1. How much does it cost?
The cost is important to consider before you buy a phone for seniors. Some phones like the Jitterbug Smart are more expensive starting at over $100 while others like the Blu Joy cost less than $30. Just remember, the price often dictates the camera quality, app selection, high-speed Internet capabilities, battery life, and other features.
2. How big are the screen and icons?
Do you have bad eyesight? If so, you may want to look for a bigger screen with bigger icons. This way, you won't have to worry about being able to see what you're doing when you're navigating your phone. Maybe you prefer a keypad over a touch screen. You'll need to keep these things in mind when you go shopping for a new phone.
3. Does it have extra apps or features for seniors?
Certain phones have buttons, apps, and extra features to make it easy for seniors to get help in an emergency of any kind. This is especially important for seniors who live alone. You should take specific features into consideration before buying a low-cost phone for seniors.
Additionally, you should consider whether or not you use high-speed Internet. Some flip phones don't provide access to high-speed Internet.
4. Does it work with CDMA or GSM?
Most pay-as-you-go senior phone plans only work on CDMA or GSM, not both. For this reason, you might want to pay attention to which networks you'll be able to use your phone with.
5. How are the ease-of-use and battery life?
How user-friendly is the phone? Will a senior who isn't into technology be able to easily access the menu, contacts, camera and special features? If not, it may defeat the purpose of such features.
You should make sure the phone is easy to read and easy to use before you decide to buy. You should also pay attention to the battery life. What good is a phone if it doesn't stay alive long enough to use?
Related: Compare Prepaid Cell Phone Plans
Free Cell Phones for Seniors
There are even ways to get free cell phones for seniors if you're interested. After all, who isn't interested in a free phone? For example, the Lifeline Program is a government program in which seniors within a certain income bracket can get a free phone if eligible.
The free phones are provided by national prepaid wireless companies like Safelink Wireless and Assurance Wireless, as well as various regional carriers throughout the country. Companies like Safelink Wireless and Assurance Wireless are able to provide free phones with support from the federal government.
All you have to do is fill out the application on the Lifeline Program website to confirm eligibility for a free flip phone. You'll get a minimum of 250 free minutes of talk and texts every month.
Related: 75 Great Discounts for Seniors
AARP Cell Phones for Seniors
You should look into certain wireless carriers first when searching for the perfect senior plan and cell phone for you or your loved one, according to the AARP website. Here are the four to pay attention to.
Consumer Cellular has affordable prepay phones and plans for senior citizens and AARP members starting at $25. Members get discounts including the choice between a $9.50 monthly calling plan with pay-as-you-go minutes at $.24 a minute or 300 minutes for $19 a month, according to AARP.
GreatCall also has affordable pay-as-you-go phones starting at $40 and plans for seniors and AARP members. Their pay-as-you-go plans start at $15 for 50 minutes.
Just5 provides prepay phones starting at $90 along with talk and text plans starting at $10 for 100 minutes and 50 text messages per month for AARP members. They do not charge activation fees.
Tracfone has a $20 monthly plan that includes 125 minutes of talk with no activation fees or cancellation fees for AARP members. Tracfone even has a Samsung T155G for just $15.
Now that you know what to consider before you buy a low-cost senior cell phone, make sure you get the right phone with the perfect features for you or your loved one before you buy. Additionally, make sure you know what you're getting yourself into when you decide to purchase a specific cell phone and cell phone service. You may be better off with a contract plan or a bring your own phone plan.