Anyone with a landline phone will be able to relate to the infuriating moment you answer your home phone only to be met with the sound of an inexplicably enthusiastic telemarketer. Worse yet are the automated messages trying to get in touch about that personal injury you’d comepletely forgotten about (or that mis-sold PPI from years ago) as there isn’t even a human on the other end you can vent your frustration at. It used to be that all you had to do to put an end to irritating sales calls was register your number with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which is still worth doing, and can be done here. However, TPS only deals with live sales and marketing calls, which is the reason that even after you’ve registered, you could still end up plagued by the automated calls.
Recently, the top manufacturers of cordless phones have started to in include various Call Blocking features to help combat the problem. We take you through the top 3 brands for cordless phones – Gigaset, Panasonic , BT – and delve into the what each has to offer.
Gigaset: Call Blocking & Anonymous Call Silencing
In many Gigaset phones you’ll find what is called “Anonymous Call Silencing” (it is also referred to varyingly in their manuals as: Anon. Calls Silent; Anonymous Calls Silent; and Protection from Anonymous Callers); a full list of which models include this feature can be found below. What anonymous call silencing does is not exactly “Call Blocking” as such, but can be an effective way to prevent against the distubance of some nuisance calls. As with all forms of Call Blocking technology, it requires a subscription to Caller ID in order to work and essentially stops your phone from ringing if Caller ID is restricted. The handset will still register the call on the display but at least you won’t be dashing in from another room at the sound of your landline ringing.
The Best Call Blocking Phone from Gigaset
The Siemens Gigaset C620A
The Gigaset C620A is the only model currently available from Gigaset to offer more than just protection from Anonymous Callers simply by silencing the ringer. It actually enables you to block the calls entirely so that the incoming call won’t appear on your handset’s display. You can also blacklist up to 15 specific numbers for numbers with Caller ID that are causing problems. The C620A is a firm favourite with our customers thanks to outstanding sound quality, great features, and competitive price; it was also recommended by Which? as a Best Buy and featured on our list of the Top 5 Phones for Battery Life.
Full list of Gigaset phones with Anonymous Call Silencing:
A420A, A510A, C300, C300A, C430, C430A, C530A, C530A, C590, C595, C620, C620A, CS3, E500A, E630, E630A, SL400, SL400A, SL910A
Panasonic: Nuisance Call Block & Call Barring
Panasonic were one of the first manufacturers to incorporate Call Blocking features in their DECT phones with most of their mid-range models offering Call Barring. Similar to blacklist function of the Gigaset C620A, call barring on Panasonic phones enables you block specific numbers (up to 30) from getting through. It would also enable you to block ranges of numbers by storing the first few digits of an area code (eg. 08) in the block list. Whilst useful in dealing with a lot of nuisance calls it wouldn’t help to mitigate the disturbances from withheld or anonymous numbers.
Thankfully, their most recent range of DECT phones now include Panasonic’s “Nuisance Call Block” feature so that you can block “incoming calls that have no phone number” as well as blacklist specific numbers.
The Best Call Blocking Phone by Panasonic
The Panasonic KX-TGH220
Cheaper than Gigaset’s C620A (especially multipacks) the Panasonic KX-TGH220 is an excellent choice if your looking for a dependable set of call blocking cordless phones that offer great value for money; you can block up to 50 specific numbers (or range of numbers) as opposed to Gigaset’s 15, and that’s in addition to the protection against incoming calls from withheld and/or anonymous numbers. A great home phone that is another Which? recommended Best Buy, and scored highly in our own review.
All Panasonic phones with Call Blocking:
Call Barring Only: KX-PRS120, KX-PRW120, KX-PRX120, KX-TG6811, KX-TG6821, KX-TG8061, KX-TG8561, KX-TG8621
Call Barring & Nuisance Call Block: KX-TGC210, KX-TGC220, KX-TGH220
BT: Nuisance Call Blocking & Call Guardian
BT are the trailblazer when it comes to user-friendly and innovative Call Blocking phones, and were the first to address the persistence of nuisance calls. Almost their entire catalogue of home phones boast call blocking as standard, and they have all bases covered with the facility to block numbers specifically, and by type: Withheld, International, No Caller ID, and Payphone. As with Gigaset’s Anonymous Call Silencing though, when a call comes through from one of the blacklisted sources “Blocked” will be displayed on your handset (without the backlight activating); neither the handset or base will ring but the call will still register. Another bonus of BT phones is a Do Not Disturb feature, which means you can program the handset not to ring at certain times of the day (or night) so you can be sure there will be no unwelcome disturbances (and can set VIP privileges so those most important to you can always get through).
The Best Call Blocking Phone by BT
The BT 8500
This is the top dog when it comes to protecting your home from unwanted sales calls. For the 8500, BT paired up with Call Blocking experts, TrueCall, to make sure that their latest DECT phone will block 100% of nuisance calls. This is thanks to BT Call Guardian; a new feature, which requires callers from unknown numbers to announce their name before being put through. After listening to the recorded message you can then decide whether or not to answer. It might still be a bit of a nuisance the occasions it happens but with the facility to block up to (a staggering) 1,000 numbers as well as calls from withheld and international numbers – you are pretty covered.
All BT phones with Call Blocking:
Different Ways of Call Blocking
Call blocking tends to take on a few different forms. You might see phones advertised with “call blocking” only to find out that this term can be used liberally to describe a range of different functions the phone might have. Generally speaking, there are a few categories call blocking features fall into. They are:
Blacklists are often one of the more useful features, but they are entirely manual and can therefore make blocking multiple numbers or ranges of numbers difficult or even impossible. On phones with a Blacklist feature, you can input specific numbers for which the phone will automatically terminate incoming calls before they ever disturb you.
These types of blocking features allow you to block numbers from a specific range, for example from a specific area code. Useful for mitigating certain types of nuisance calls.
This is a block which can be enabled to block any calls from withheld or anonymous numbers. Very useful to have if you receive harassing phone calls or telemarketers using withheld numbers or other anonymous caller techniques.
Block All/Night Mode
Many phones include the ability to enable a function to block all incoming calls, automatically routing them to the answer phone or voice mail. While not a specific type of call blocking and more of a general feature, this can often be a helpful way of getting rid of nuisance calls or having your phone disabled once you’ve simply had enough for the day. Some devices have the ability to schedule Night Mode to automatically block calls during a specified period.
Getting the Job Done
With the features listed above, most have the toolkit they need to block out the majority of nuisance calls. This can be everything from unwanted solicitors, harassing debtors, and unwanted phone calls of all varieties. Anonymous Blocking and Range Blocking features can often be the double-whammy which throws telemarketers out of your phone receive for good, and with the help of Blacklists and Night Mode you can make sure you never have to take an unwanted call at off-hours or from an undesirable person.
If you’re interested in taking your action further the independent consumer group Which? are currently running a campaign “Calling Time on Nuisance Calls & Texts”.
In the meantime, you should be able to protect your home from nuisance calls with one of the call blocking phones. But which one to go for? Whilst Gigaset and Panasonic are starting to catch up with BT, and might offer better build and sound quality (Gigaset) or more for your money (Panasonic) if your looking for the best call blocking phone out there, then it has to be the BT 8500:
- The BT 8500 Single is available for £48.99 – read customer reviews & order online here.
- The BT 8500 Twin is available for £58.99 – read customer reviews & order online here.
- The BT 8500 Trio is available for £78.99 – read customer reviews & order online here.
- The BT 8500 Quad is available for £98.99 – read customer reviews & order online here.