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Cheapism: Best budget cordless phones

VTech CS6719

Nearly 40 percent of American households now rely exclusively on cell phones. A further 16 percent have landlines but use cell phones for most or all of their calls, according to a recent report by an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (The agency examines telephone coverage as part of a national health survey.) And yet, despite the death knells, a majority of U.S. households still maintain a landline. With that hardwired connection, a cordless phone that costs as little as $15 can deliver reliably good call quality. How many cell phones can say that?

Here are four top picks from Cheapism.com:

· The VTech CS6719 (starting at $20 for one handset, $30 for two) can accommodate up to five handsets. Users can enter as many as 50 contacts into the directory and pull up the most recent numbers for quick redialing. Buyers who have posted reviews online call this a good choice for consumers on a budget, with all the expected features, easy setup, and solid performance. (Where to buy)

· The Panasonic KX-TG6512B (starting at $43 for two handsets) maxes out at six handsets and comes with some notable conveniences, including a headset jack, four-way conference calling, and call block to keep certain people (or robocalls) from getting through. Even with so many features, the phone is simple to use, reviewers say. The handsets run on rechargeable AAA batteries, which are less expensive and easier to find than the battery packs in other cordless phones. The phone directory holds up to 50 numbers. (Where to buy)

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· The VTech CS6114 (starting at $15) appeals to consumers seeking no frills -- just a simple, reliable phone at a low price. Still, a phone book can store up to 30 names and numbers, for instance, and users can mute their end of a conversation, although they’re limited to a single handset. (Where to buy)

· The Uniden UN-D1760 (starting at $25 for one handset, $45 for two), on the other hand, accommodates up to 12 handsets and 100 contacts. That makes it a viable option for small businesses, not just home users. Reviewers consider this cordless phone an excellent value for the money. (Where to buy)

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These phones all incorporate caller ID, call waiting, and voicemail support. They have backlit keypads for easy dialing in the dark and the two VTech models sport backlit displays, as well. Only the very basic VTech CS6114 lacks a speakerphone. The full-duplex speakerphone on the VTech CS6719 allows two people to talk simultaneously, instead of dropping the sound on the other end when the user is speaking.

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All four recommended phones employ DECT 6.0 technology, which promises better range, sound quality, and battery life than the analog technology used in older cordless phones. DECT 6.0 phones also operate on the 1.9 GHz frequency band, so they don’t compete with 2.4 GHz wireless routers and other household appliances.

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Full report on cordless phones

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