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Best Amplified Cordless Phones

By: Amy Livingston on October 19, 2017

Clarity cordless phones help you hear clearly

In preparing this report, we found several cordless phones (with and without answering machines) with features such as amplified sound and large buttons to assist seniors or others with sight and hearing difficulties. However, user feedback suggests that the assist that most of these cordless phones provide is modest, especially when it comes to sound amplification. One notable exception is the Clarity XLC3.4+ (Est. $100). While user feedback is a little more mixed than we'd normally like to see, particularly in the area of durability, happy owners say the XLC3.4+ finally makes normal phone conversations possible for those with hearing limitations. Owners say the ringer is loud, voice quality is clear and free of distortion, and it's easy to adjust the volume and tone settings. The phone is also compatible with telecoils – devices in cochlear implants and some hearing aids that boost the signal from your phone handset. And, like other phones covered here, it's DECT 6.0 compliant, keeping radio interference to a minimum.

This Clarity phone is the only amplified cordless phone we've found that scores well in professional tests. ConsumerReports.org names it the best of all basic cordless phones (without answering machines), with Very Good scores for voice quality and ease of use and an Excellent score for range. Editors say that Clarity makes it easy for seniors (and anyone who's technologically challenged) to set up the phone, even providing on-demand customer service that can be reached with just a push of a button. Help center representatives can walk callers through the process and even remotely perform tasks such as loading numbers into the phone's memory.

The rest of the phone's features also center on improving accessibility. The Clarity XLC3.4+ includes talking caller ID to identify who is calling, and it speaks aloud the digits you dial. The keypad is well-lit, with large buttons that owners find easy to read and press. The backlit screen display features large text in high contrast, although ConsumerReports.org says it's a little on the small side. The receiver can amplify incoming sound up to 50 decibels, and four tone settings can alter sound quality to fit user preferences. Outgoing sound is also amplified (up to 15 decibels), and the ringer is extra loud (95 decibels). The phone also has a backup battery that allows you to make and receive calls during a power outage. One feature you won't find is an answering machine, but most users don't miss it. The Clarity XLC3.4+ includes only one handset, but it can support up to three additional ones, using the Clarity XLC3.6+HS (Est. $65).

If an answering machine is a must, Clarity also offers a corded/cordless hybrid phone with that feature. The Clarity E814CC (Est. $80) isn't as full-featured as our top-rated hybrid corded/cordless phone with answering machine, the Panasonic KX-TGE274S (Est. $105). It also lacks many of the features found on the Clarity XLC3.4+. It can only amplify incoming sound up to 40 dB, and it doesn't have talking caller ID, an important feature for those with visual impairments. It comes with the corded base and one cordless handset, and it can support up to four cordless handsets, available separately as the Clarity D703HS (Est. $35).

We found a total of around 135 reviews for the E814CC at Amazon.com and Walmart.com, with overall ratings between 3.5 and 4 stars. Though most users are pleased with its sound quality, others complain that it unclear or garbled, especially through the speakerphone. They appreciate the large buttons and bright display screen, but many complain that the base unit is difficult to program. They also wish it were possible to adjust tone control and screen contrast on the base unit. Still, if you really need both your phone and your answering system to be amplified, this machine is your best bet.

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