Find the best home phone service plans based on price and service. We cover both traditional land line companies and internet phone services that offer extremely low prices.
These days, it seems like everyone has forgone the home phone. Landlines have been on the steady decline for many years as the prevalence (and price) of cell phones has gone down. But what if you still want or need a home phone? Who has the best service and price around?
No matter whether you want a home line for your security system or simply like a phone on the kitchen wall, plenty of providers still offer home phone service. Let’s take a look at the best options out there, based on price.
If you have internet service, you can have a low-cost VoIP phone line. VoIP service–which stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, or simply an internet-based phone – is an affordable option. You can choose a phone number, call long distance (and in some cases, internationally) without an added cost, and usually get the same benefits of a typical landline.
You can add features like voicemail, caller ID, and even access to your messages via email. But VoIP does have some limitations.
First, in order to have a VoIP phone line, you’ll need to have a high-speed internet connection. Of course, this isn’t an issue if you already have high-speed internet in your home. However, it’s not cost-effective to add internet to your home simply to purchase VoIP service.
Second, because VoIP phones run off of your internet connection, they will not work in the event of a cable service or power outage. Some services won’t allow for 911 dialing, either, as they’re unable to determine your location. If you’re planning to keep a home phone line around for emergencies, this can be limiting. However, if you also have a cell phone available, you may be willing to take the risk in exchange for the low price.
Lastly, if you are setting up a home phone line for your security system, be warned: many companies will not work with a VoIP line, or strongly recommend against it. Since you’re at the mercy of the internet provider (and power lines), a VoIP home phone can cause a delay if you have a home security event.
However, if you aren’t planning to use the line for your home security system and simply want an affordable home phone option that has plenty of features, VoIP might be the perfect (low-cost) choice for you.
- Equipment cost: $79.99 through Amazon
- Ongoing cost: ~$4-10 a month
If you’re looking for a plug-and-go system that works with your existing phone equipment and even your current phone number, look no further than Ooma. The system is up and running mere minutes out of the box. And the only expense you have to pay for the service is the initil equipment purchase. After that, you can opt for the free service (paying only $3-4 a month in required FCC pass-through fees) or upgrade to the premier service for $10 a month.
Both levels include voicemail, caller ID, 911 service, call waiting, and free calls within the US or other Ooma users. If you want international calling, you’ll get unlimited calls with the $10/month service, as well as additional features like call forwarding, an instant second line, and spam call blocking.
Straight Talk Wireless
- Base station equipment cost: $50+shipping
- Ongoing cost: $15-30 a month
Another VoIP service, Straight Talk wireless is also a plug-and-go option that’s cheap and easy. The equipment is cheaper than Ooma. But you’ll see a higher monthly cost depending on the service you require.
Both the Nationwide and Nationwide+Int’l plans include caller ID, voicemail, call waiting, 411, 3-way calling, and call forwarding. With the $15/month plan, you’ll get unlimited nationwide calling each month. Opt for the $30/month plan and you’ll get unlimited nationwide calling plus unlimited calls to Canada, Mexico, China, and India.
You can use your existing corded or cordless home phone with the system. If you need to call 911, the base station has a built-in GPS chipset. This will give responders an idea of your location, but you will still need to provide your actual physical address when you call.
- Equipment cost: Free to lease
- Monthly cost: $8-50 a month
This VoIP option may be a great choice if you don’t want to purchase home base equipment up front. Instead, PhonePower will lease the hardware to you free of charge for as long as you maintain service.
You can choose between nationwide and international plans, ranging in price from $8 to $50 a month. For USA/Canada plans, you’ll pay $19.95 if you pay month-to-month. Or you can pay $9.95 a month if you sign up for a 12-month term, and $8.33 a month if you prepay for a year’s service.
For international plans, Unlimited World runs $19.95 (for calls to 28 countries), Unlimited World Plus is $24.95 (for 75 countries), and Unlimited World Premium is $49.95 a month (for 87 countries). There is no contract for the international plans.
You’ll enjoy caller ID, call waiting and forwarding, enhanced 911, voicemail, a free second line, speed dial, a block list, and much more with whichever plan you choose. You’ll also be able to keep your current phone number and equipment.
If you’re looking for a good old-fashioned landline–complete with a dial tone and all–you’ll be hard-pressed to find one these days. Plain old telephone service is quickly becoming obsolete. In fact, AT&T has decided to eliminate landlines altogether, switching all of their customers to internet phone service.
Depending on your state (and even your county) rates will vary wildly for true landline services. Your best bet is to reach out to the providers in your area to get quotes for basic monthly service, if you do not wish to use an internet-based home phone. Some ZIP codes will not be able to receive services from certain companies, as the company doesn’t own the actual phone lines in that area.
- Equipment costs: None
- Ongoing costs: $60 a month
One of the few companies still offering traditional landline services, CenturyLink is available in 40 states. You’ll get unlimited nationwide calling with your home phone plan, as well as basic features like caller ID, voicemail, call forwarding, call waiting, and more.
The price tag can be a bit more prohibitive than VoIP services. You’ll pay $60 /month for CenturyLink’s home phone service, plus applicable fees and taxes.
Of course, you can choose your own phone hardware, and you’ll have the security of a non-internet/non-cell based phone line. If the power goes out or the cell towers go down, you’re likely to still have communication. This is beneficial for emergency calls, too, as 911 will be able to pinpoint your exact location with a landline.
Can’t Afford It?
If you are a low-income consumer, the FCC has established the Lifeline Program. This program provides communications services to those individuals who meet income threshold requirements.
While the Lifeline has shifted to providing cell phone service to qualified participants, they do still provide landline service in some areas. You can get more information about the program here.
Another Option: Your Cell Phone
If you want a phone option that is affordable and easy to set up, you may want to consider using your current cell phone account as a home phone line. In fact, it’s usually cheaper to add an additional line to the account than to set up a separate home phone.
Most phone companies will allow you to add a line (with a non-smartphone device) to your account for around $10 extra a month. You can then keep this phone at home, allowing you to provide a source of communication for your kids or a babysitter in case of emergencies. In this case, you won’t have to worry about 911 service, either, as the phone will already include enhanced emergency service features.
Updated April 29, 2018 and originally published April 27, 2018.