Cordless Phones – 10 Things You Need to Know

BT 6500

Thinking of a buying a new cordless phone? Then here are top 10 things you need to know about your new phone.

1. One phone point – more Handsets

You can have up to 6 handsets in your home, all working wirelessly from one base unit (which is connected to your phone point). You can have handsets in your bedrooms or other locations where you don’t have a phone point. No more cables everywhere. Read more about this here.

Just how many handsets could you possibly need? Whatever the number, you can probably find a system to accommodate it.

Recommended Phones:

Siemens Gigaset SL910A –   £109.99

Panasonic KX-TG 6826 Sextet – £119.99

sextets cordless phones

2. The standard features

Virtually all phones comes equipped as standard with: speakerphone (for hands-free talking), Caller display (so you have see who’s calling) and call waiting (to let you know someone else is trying to get through whilst you’re on the phone). The speakerphone on all cordless phones is located on the back of the handset. The quality of sound will vary and of course the more you spend, the better it will get.

3. Improved range

If you suffer from poor reception or range, then there may now be just the solution for you. Add a repeater (also known as a ‘booster’) to your set of phones, and you should see a two fold increase in your range. These are covered in depth here.

Recommended phones:

Siemens Gigaset S795 – £74.99

Panasonic KX-TGH220 – £44.99


4. Connectivity galore

There is now more options than ever before to add another device to your cordless phone. Perhaps you’re looking for a headset. With virtually every phone there is the option of adding a wireless headset and with some you can also add a corded/wired version. Maybe you’d like to make calls via SKYPE using your existing phone – well now you can with the uConnect adaptor or the Siemens Gigaset M34 USB dongle. You can even sync your phone (depending on model) with outlook, download contact, pictures etc. And some of the latest phones, even have bluetooth connectivity so you can pair up your bluetooth headset or connect your home phone to other bluetooth devices and exchanged data.

5. Add more handsets later

If you’ve just bought a twin phone only to realise that a trio would have better, fear not. With nearly all models of cordless phones, you can purchase an additional handset (or two) at a later date. Registering this extra handset to your current system should only take a minute or two.


6. How Does a Cordless Phone Work?

While the details of exactly how cordless phones work might take an engineering degree to truly understand, the simple overview is more than enough to suffice for most. The basic operating principles of a cordless phone rely on radio technology, just like the radio in your car or the two-way radio in your emergency kit might.

In a cordless phone, the base unit is plugged into mains power and a land line phone connection (or VoIP ethernet for internet telephony.) It acts as both a radio transmitter and receiver, sending the connection to the handset’s speaker and receiving input from the handset’s microphone, which is sent along the land line like a normal connection.

Helping facilitate the complex translation of radio signals into the human voice and back is a technology known as Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications, or DECT, an international standard in cordless phones.

7. How to Set Up a Cordless Phone

While every cordless phone tends to include its own set of features and unique elements, setting up a cordless phone for basic calling functionality is almost universally the same. You’ll need to select a location where you can connect both the land line phone cord and your mains electrical to place the base unit, then plug it in. On many modern cordless phone systems, you are now ready to place and receive calls!

Some systems may require charging the battery in the handset initially before it will work, other phones can be used out of the box. Once everything has power and phone connection, you may wish to configure things like date and time settings, changing the answering machine message, and other relatively minor details.

For more advanced phones, you may wish to take use of the call blocking features or other elements. These types of settings can be changed with the help of the on-screen menu on your devices handset.

Gigaset Picture Caller ID cordless phone


8. Make Your Mobile Calls On Your Cordless Handset

LiGo Bluewave is a technology that can connect to your mobile phone via Bluetooth so that you can make outgoing and incoming mobile calls through your handset.

9. Do Cordless Phones Need To Be Plugged In?

Depending on your definition of “plugged in,” this question could mean multiple things, but regardless of which one you intended the answer is pretty much the same. You’ll need to be plugging your cordless phones into a few things.

The base station requires connection to electricity in order to power its radio, operate the answering machine, and charge the handset (which you’ll have to plug into the base station to charge, technically.) And then the base station also requires connection to a land line telephone, or ethernet for VoIP services. So you’ll definitely be plugging into something.


wirelessheadset_feature cordless phones

10. Go Cordless with VoIP

VoIP technology may well be the future of our home telecommunications infrastructure. Cordless phones have already embraced this, with a variety of models which incorporate the ability to use both VoIP connections or to opt for the traditional land line hook up. Such versatility allows users to slide seamlessly into the new technological landscape as it unfolds.

In Conclusion

If there’s anything you’d like to add, we’d love to hear from you. Did you recently purchase a cordless phone or are thinking of buying one – do you have an experience you’d like to share with us and other visitors. These do so by writing your message below.


  • Geomelyn Jaramilla says:

    Why that there are some telephones doesnt appear the number even it has a features for caller ID?

  • sam says:

    There could be several reasons for this but to name a couple:

    – Caller ID service hasn’t been activated on your phone line (you need to contact your line provider such as BT)

    – The caller has withheld their number

  • John says:

    Shared addressbook is such a MAJOR feature of DECT that it’s a shame many phones don’t have it. The ones that do have it (e.g. some Panasonic, BT or Philips ranges) do not advertise it very readily. I can’t understand why it should be so difficult to find out what phones DO have shared addressbook, but IT IS – frustratingly.

  • daniel says:

    Hi John, don’t you think that shared addressbooks have advantages and disadvantages? We are a family of 4 and each one of us has their own addressbook on their phone. That way the addressbook stays smaller in size and your contacts are much easier to find. And yes, we have 2 more handsets, where we have all numbers stored, just in case.

  • john says:

    hi, daniel. i agree – there are some disadvantages to shared addressbook. and that is why it should be optional to use it. the great advantage, however, is that you don’t have to go round every phone manually inputting every number, every time you get a new one. and i still think, all the same, that with it being such a major feature it should be more clearly advertised. the only way i found out that philips and panasonic have shared addressbook is by going to their site, downloading the manual and scrutinising it with a magnifying glass. thanks for your comments!

  • sam says:

    John, you’re right. A shared phonebook is an important feature that unfortunately few manufacturers have this one their phones and even at that, they dont readily make this information available.

    The more common feature is the ability to copy the address book from one handset to all otherrs by the press of a few buttons. Its not quite the same as a shared address book but I guess it makes life a little easier than having to put them in manually into every phone. If there are any phones in particular you’re looking to purchase and would like to know if they have a shared address book, post the model names here and we’ll do the research for you. I hope that helps.

  • val says:

    I see that Argos has some very good offers until 16 Jan, Binatone brand eg.triple set for 29 pounds (half-price)
    they also have Wharfedale brand a bit dearer – how British does that sound!!!

    Is there anything we should know about BinatoneG11 or Veva 1210 bearing in mind the adage that you get what you pay for?

    Does anyone think that 10 quids worth of replacement product cover for 3 years is a good idea?


  • daniel says:

    Val, I see that you are contemplating buying a Binatone Phone or another of the cheap range argos is offering. From my experience (Binatone), it is money thrown out of the window. The phones were completely useless, the sound was extremely bad, the functionality awful and after just 5 months the phone stopped working. I am now looking on this site for a proper phone and having read the blog and the reviews on the shopping site, I think I will just go for the Siemens S685, which is Which recommended. I will let you know how i will get on with that one. Daniel

  • Ella says:

    Yet another complaint to add to the list. iDECT v2i single hanset.less than 1 year old (no receipt off course). Moved from its position for decorating. Now the hanset is receiving no signal from the base unit. All lines, power etc ok. other phones in the house (not iDECT ) are fine. The answer machine part still answers callers but there is no dialling tone or any thing on the appropriate hand set. Complete waste of money.

  • Michael says:

    Your site is “probably” the web-best! Following extermination by lightening, we followed ….? advice
    and replaced with a rubbish BT cordless… Checking reviews, I miss reference to the audio quality
    at the “other end”, ie as perceived by the other party. Clear audio suggests a good quality phone with good signal processing characteristics, but this may not guarantee the same at “the other end”. This will necessarily be subjective as it will depend not only on the quality of the phone under review, but also on transmission loss, audio processing in the other party´s phone etc. It would nevertheless be a useful complement to reviews to have a “subjective” assessment of the average perceived quality of audio at the other end : “fuzzy”, distorted, soft/loud, clear, hi-fi etc.

  • janette kirkpatrick says:

    I am looking for a new 4 handset cordless. Siemens has very good reviews, so, is the new Siemens SL785 available in this format & if so is it good to buy?

  • Alan says:

    My present Panasonic Triple system KX-CD210e is fine but can longer read the phone displsy easily.What phone has the biggest, clearst displayand do I need to buy a complete system or just three phones, i.i. can \\\i use the docking cradles supplied with the panasonic, thereby saving money and any installlation problems?

  • sam says:

    Hi Alan, I like your logic but unfortunately the handsets are not available on their own. They always come complete with cradles. There are a few phones with big displays – it really depends on your budget. I would recommend sticking to Panasonic or if you budget can stretch a bit, then Siemens. Here are a couple of nice phones:

  • Pete says:

    Will any of your handsets give you a list of the calls that you have missed if Caller ID is activated by BT?

    Also, will any handsets syncronise with outlook, i’ve 700 contacts that i’d like on the handset.

  • jacqui says:

    i have puchased a siemens gigaset s675, to find out that it is not compatible with adsl router, and hence caller id can not be displayed. As this function is very important to me, i am going to have to replace this with a adsl compatible phone.

  • Margaret says:

    I have the BT Privacy at Home plan which is supposed to give me Caller display, but on enquiring about Caller display not being activated BT tell me it is not available, can anyone tell me why when my phone is compatible with this service.

  • Mark Poole says:

    I’m in the market for a new cordless phone set, probably 2-3 handsets. On my last model, which admittedly were a few years old, the main problem was that the phones didn’t ring, only the base unit actually rang. This meant that i was always losing the handsets as they never rang! Do the handsets generally ring now as standard or are there still soem to avoid?

  • Sam Mac says:

    My wife and I find it difficult to hear the phone in the hall ringing, with the TV on and the reception is also very weak, on our present phone so we would like to buy one with much louder ringer and reception. The problem is that with the exception of a few specific phones, in all of the sites I’ve tried, there is no indicatoin of what power to expect from a phone.

  • Natalie Ng says:

    I am looking for a system that can handle door entry,( with a distincly different sound to a normal telephone ring), intercom communication between at least 8 rooms, and 12 handsets. I have been recommended the Panasonic KXT7735 Phone system. Will this system fit the above requirements?? Thanks for any info!

  • Amy says:

    Hello you phone geeks! I live in Hong Kong and all the houses here are built with solid walls and our experience with our current cordless panasonic is that reception is very bad if the handset is used in another room which doesn’t have the base station. Our current phone is a 5.8GHtz which I thought was quite good? Our house is a 3 storey house. We now need a new cordless phone system with 4 handsets and we have 4 telephone ports (1 for each). However, I have some questions:

    1. Does plugging each handset into a telephone port increase the reception/range? Or does it not make a difference?
    2. Does each additional handset need to be plugged into an electrical socket or are they battery powered?
    3. I assume all these phones have an intercom system where we can intercom a particular phone in the house? There’s little mention of the intercom system in the reviews.

    Any tips of advice much appreciated!

  • Bruce says:

    Does the Panasonic KX-TG8422EB ring when not on the base

  • Derek says:

    I need 2 systems. The first a 6set using the direct wall socket connection and the other a 4set using my broadband router connection.
    I favour the Panasonic 84** series. Would the 2 identical systems be compatible or would they interact adversely ?

  • BJW says:

    We currently have a a BT diverse 6450 cordless system wher your numbers can be loaded from your SIM card
    is there any other manufacturer that provides this feature? If so who are they and what is the cost?

  • len bashford says:

    can some one tell me, of a phone that tells me of call, on answer machine, by a sound as well as a light.?

  • Grenville Hill says:

    I need a triple cordless phone with .1 – Loud and clear sound .2 -When I lift the phone and find is
    for a person in another room I want to tell them to lift their phone and tke the call while I hang up.
    I do not want to press any buttons or enter a code which I will have forgotten.
    Can you suggest a suitable make please.

  • christiane Lieberman says:

    I am hard of hearing but do not yet want to purchase phones ‘for the deaf’. Does anyone know which ordinary dect phones have the loudest and clearest sound for hearing callers, and for hearing the phone ringing? Two shop assistants told me Panasonic, but I find the one I got on trial isn’t really very good for me. Many thanks.

  • Ray says:

    I live in an old three storey house with lots of rooms, most of which have individual telephone sockets. If I install 2 different cordless telephone packages ( not necessarily the same make and model ) each with their own base unit and say 3 x extension phones with plug in chargers ( therefore 8 x handsets in total ) will they all still work ?

  • colin wakinshaw says:

    i am thinking of renewing my phone system as the present phones interfere with my internet connection, everytime someone rings me the signal from the phone cuts my internet connection off which then takes me between 10 and 30 min to reconnect is there a product on the market that will prevent this as i am in a broadband area i have taken it up first with my provider who said that there phones out there which will do as i wish but i cannot find them yet can you help many thanks

  • curious says:

    I have a Panasonic 6522 bu would like to add an additional handset. Must I buy an addition handset for this model or would any additional panasonic handset work with my system?

  • Ellen Burke says:

    I wear hearing aids and my partner cant hold small hand sets plus press small buttons,I would like a phone with clear speech, ID info and a answer machine a triple set.

    What would you recommend.

  • Nat says:

    Does a base unit exist that functions simply as a base without having a phone on it?

    I ask because the only phone line connection at my place is in my landlord’s apartment but not mine. I can leave the base unit there and the cordless instrument and charger in my flat. I don’t want to have to leave an actual phone instrument at my landlord’s place to bother him/intrude on my privacy though. Any ideas?

  • Craig says:

    Hi Natasha, Gigaset have a few phones that you might be interested in that have a separate base station (there is only one button, which can be pressed to locate the handset if lost but the base itself cannot be used to make or receive calls and has no speakers in it). I’d recommend the Gigaset S850A but there are others such as the SL400, SL450A, and SL910A you might also want to consider.

    Let us know how you get on or if you have any other questions. Thanks, Craig

  • David says:

    I am trying to find a cordless landline phone that can also make mobile calls with built-in sim card. Nobody seem to have such a phone also I seem to remember BT used to have a dual phone that could make and receive landline calls and mobile calls from one phone.

  • Craig says:

    There isn’t at the moment but Panasonic are releasing such a model within the next 1-2 months with a Link2Mobile feature that enables you to pair your mobile so that you can make & receive calls on it with your landline. Until then you could take a look at our Bluewave, which provides this function with any landline phone.

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