How to Choose the Best Cell Phones for Seniors

How to Choose the Best Cell Phones for Seniors

How to Choose the Best Cell Phones for Seniors
Reading Time: 6 minutes
No matter your age, communication is essential to your daily life. The fact is seniors are like any other phone user. Some prefer higher-end features, while others want to keep it simple. Some may want to use their phone far beyond calling and texting—preferring to listen to music and watch TV, or share and receive pictures from friends and family. Some may just want a phone. But if you’re on a fixed income, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting enough value for your money regardless of the phone you choose. Hence, such a purchase should be based on needs and preferences. So, read on as we explain in detail how to choose the best cell phone for seniors.

Features a Senior Will Love 

Quality and reliability might vary, but you’ll find common feature sets among what’s available on the market. 

Large Buttons

What you can’t see, you can’t use—at least not very well. Both traditional keypads and touch screens should be large and visible when it comes to cell phones for seniors. This feature makes it much more straightforward to browse menus. 

In addition, large buttons help with dexterity issues, allowing users to type out well-written messages without errors. Fortunately, we’ve left the era where phones with tiny buttons are the rage, so there are plenty of options out there with big buttons.  

Clear Displays

Again, this feature helps users suffering from poor vision, which impacts 1 out of every 28 people over 40-years-old. Phones that are incredibly bright and with high resolution will help offset this issue.


Hearing loss is another issue to consider for seniors purchasing a cell phone, as it afflicts many aging citizens. More specifically, over 50% of those over 75 have poor hearing, while 25% between 65 and 74 suffer from the same problem. Thus, speakers are an integral feature of a cell phone for older consumers. Speakers should be clear and loud enough so that calls aren’t a struggle. Furthermore, if hearing aids are a factor, ensure that the phone you choose has hearing aid compatibility. 

Voice Commands

In a world where phones are becoming increasingly more complicated and perhaps a bit too advanced for the traditionalists amongst us, the voice command is the great equalizer. Phones with this feature eliminate the need for dialling or typing (voice-to-text), simplifying the process on even the most advanced mobile devices. 

Straightforward Plans or Contracts

This feature doesn’t involve what’s on the phone, but it can definitely impact how easy it can be to use a mobile device.  Some cellular plans can put a real dent in the user experience, leading to hassles and stress where it isn’t needed. Ensure that whatever contract you choose involves easy payments. Also, be conscious of the hidden fees associated with long-term contracts.  Something like a pay-as-you-go or month-to-month contract won’t lock you into something long term that’s overly costly. Keep in mind that signing your standard cell phone contract locks you in for 24 months, with no wiggle room to get out if you don’t like your phone.  Finally, note that there are contract options with advantages and perks for being a regular customer.

Why Do Seniors Need a Cell Phone? 

Seniors need cell phones for the same reason that anyone needs a cell phone. First, cell phones keep you connected with friends and loved ones. COVID-19 shone a light on how we can all become isolated at a moment’s notice, and today’s mobile devices offer us intimacy with those who matter most when it’s otherwise unavailable.  Beyond that, smartphones come with internet connectivity, so you can browse the web and stay tuned in to the world around you.  Safety is also a factor as you or your loved one grows older. More phones today have built-in features that help with health monitoring and even have emergency tracking devices.

What Should Seniors Look For on a Cell Phone? 

This section crosses over with what makes a cell phone easy to use, as all the traits we discussed there should be what seniors look for in a cell phone.  But here, we’ll look at other deciding factors and considerations that don’t necessarily revolve around ease of use.

Focus on Safety Options 

When you purchase a cell phone in 2021, you aren’t only getting a one-dimensional communication doohickey. Instead, you have a fully connected mobile device that can do anything from calculating your taxes to—most relevantly—monitoring safety. The added safety features for seniors include tracking technologies and emergency alert capabilities. Such functionality pays massive dividends for caregivers, especially. Those who must keep a close eye on loved ones with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s will appreciate the peace of mind. Moreover, if you’re a senior who’s fallen, emergency alert features are absolutely crucial. 

Compare Price and Quality

You could have saved up a sizable nest egg, or maybe you haven’t. It doesn’t matter—budgeting is always a factor. Whether you’re Warren Buffet or an everyman who lives humbly, wasting money on products you don’t like is never wise. So, you want to ensure that you’re spending logically and responsibly on your phone.  Of course, the more stringent your budget, the more research you’ll need to perform to find something that balances affordability with quality. Beyond how much money you have available to spend, it comes down to your lifestyle and preferences. For instance, a gadget-savvy senior is like any other tech junky who will want the latest and greatest technology with cutting-edge functionality and features.  Alternatively, a throwback flip phone might be enough if you just need something to reach out to family and friends once in a while.  Phone choice also depends on your needs. Provided you’re leading a very independent lifestyle with few medical issues, you won’t need all the safety features and tech, allowing you to avoid excess spending. 

Compare and Contrast Different Models

Taking the first phone that you come across is a recipe for frustration and dissatisfaction.   Instead, peruse all the different carriers near you and figure out whether there’s a trial period so you or your loved ones can test out the device without committing.  Even if a trial period isn’t available, most carriers have models available in their stores, allowing you to look at different features and examine usability. From there, provided the price is right and the phone is up to your standards, complete the purchasing process. If you don’t like the model, keep trying out different ones.

Editor’s Choice: Alcatel GoFLIP 

The Alcatel GoFLIP cell phone is our pick for seniors looking for a phone.  Whatever this phone lacks in an updated appearance, it more than makes up for in substance and functionality. That notion rings doubly true for seniors who don’t care about the trendiest apps around but enjoy voice calls and standard web browsing.  Below is a breakdown of what to expect when purchasing this model.

Key Features: 

A lot can be learned from a name—and the Alcatel GoFLIP lives up to that notion, with its first noticeable feature being that it’s a return to the flip phones of yesteryear.  With the GoFLIP, you have a vintage cell phone that’s affordable, highly connective, reliable, and has a long battery life.   Before going any further, note that this type of device is for those chiefly interested in making voice calls.  Here’s a list of other features that will appeal to many seniors:
  • Ease of use
  • Large tactile keypad
  • Extensive battery life with up to 7.9 hours of talk time or 280 hours of standby time
Although the Alcatel is a throwback model, it isn’t limited in features. Namely, it boasts a built-in Google Assistant, allowing users to run voice searches and commands. This feature offers a seamless way to learn the weather, hear about the news or learn other valuable information.  There’s also the 4G-LTE capable handset. It can run Facebook, WhatsApp, and other basic apps without inundating users with too much smartphone technology.  For those interested in capturing memories and sharing them with their families, there is a rear-facing camera. But the photo quality and operation speed aren’t anything to brag about.


The Alcatel GoFLIP is highly affordable at $69.99. Compared to smartphones on the market, which cost hundreds of dollars, this price offers substantial savings. Some smartphones even enter the $1,000-plus range (without even getting into the contracts). 

Our Take:

With the Alcatel GoFLIP, you aren’t paying for a top-tier phone on the market—but you aren’t sacrificing that much quality if you aren’t into the whole smartphone craze.  Provided you want an affordable option, primarily for making phone calls and using voice features, this model has everything you need. On the other hand, if you’re up on the latest tech trends and enjoy snazzy gadgets, this model might be a little too much of a throwback for your tastes. 
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and they do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the providers being reviewed. The providers and WirelessWizard assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. The information contained in this site is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness and without any warranties of any kind whatsoever, express or implied.
Under the banner Tech For Seniors, WirelessWizard is pleased to share innovations for older adults—with a focus on deferring as much as possible the time when getting older gets in the way of living life independently. Check out all of tech-for-seniors content here.

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