Decades ago, the humble answering machine recorded audio on mini tapes. This was such a hassle as you need to erase recordings if the tape was full. Now, most machines use chips or memory cards to save recordings. You can now save hundreds of calls or messages and enjoy tons of new features, as well. Whether you’re looking for an upgrade to your old answering machine or you’re searching for your first, we recommend these 7 top models.
What is an answering machine?
If you’ve never seen or heard of an answering machine before, it’s a piece of recording equipment that is connected to your landline phone. It records messages when you’re away so you can playback when you’re home. A caller calls your number, and a recorded voice tells them to leave a message after a beep or tone. The machine will playback messages according to the first to the most recent. The machine also gives you an option to move from message to message or delete messages as you listen to them.
As mentioned, older answering machines use a cassette tape to record messages, and oftentimes, it was so hard to store messages because a cassette tape has limited storage space. Playback options were also difficult, and if the cassette tape is ruined, your saved recordings are lost. Today, messages may be stored for a long time. Functions like day and time stamps, LCD screens, and other features have made the answering machine an indispensable device in any home or business.
Table of the Best Answering Machines
|AT&T (1740WH) Digital AnsweSystem||- Easy to operate|
- With time and date stamp
- With Message Guard memory
|Panasonic DECT 6.0 Expandable Cordless Phone System||- Improved voice quality|
- With bilingual caller ID
- With voice paging features
|AT&T CL84102 DECT 6.0 Expandable Corded/Cordless Phone||- Expandable system|
- Large phone book directory
- The large and bright LCD screen
|AT&T CRL82312 3-Handset Expandable Cordless Phone||- With visual ringer|
- A large and bright LCD
- Cordless and expandable
|VTech CS6649 Expandable Corded/Cordless Phone System||- Uses DECT 6.0 technology|
- Large buttons and LCD screen
- With handset and base speakers
|CaptionCall 67Tb Amplified Captioned Corded Home Telephone||- With Bluetooth|
- Answering machine
- With extra amplification
|Clarity E814CC Amplified Corded/Cordless Combo||- Easy to use|
- Extra-loud handset speakers
- With Direct Communication features
1. AT&T (1740WH) Digital AnsweSystem with Time and Day Stamp
One of the most important things about getting an answering machine is how easy is it to operate the device. Consider the person who will be using the machine, such as seniors, young children, or people with disabilities. This is probably why the AT&T AnsweSystem is easier to use than other digital answering machines.
It may not be integrated with a phone handset, but it has a simple design, loudspeakers, and easy to operate buttons and controls. You can record messages on a microchip so you can save these for a long time. Your outgoing announcements will be clearer, too, so your callers can easily understand your message. You’ll get up to 60 minutes of digital recording time, and with the Message Guard memory feature, you can protect messages in a power failure.
A convenient time and date stamp will announce the time and date before each message, which is another good feature. The buttons are large, while the bright numerical LCD screen tells you the message number.
Conclusion: The AT&T Digital AnsweSystem is a standalone digital answering machine that will record messages on a microchip so messages may be kept longer. It has good audio, easy to navigate buttons, and a simple but helpful LCD screen that tells you the message number. It is easy to use and thus may be appropriate for seniors and people who want a simple, seamless answering machine. It may be the unit you’ve been searching for.
#2. Panasonic DECT 6.0 Expandable Cordless Phone System with Answering Machine and Call Blocking
If you want an answering machine + cordless phone system, then you must check out the Panasonic DECT 6.0 Expandable Cordless Phone System. It is an answering machine that’s built in a cordless phone unit, and with this bundle, you will get three wireless phone units with one main unit with the built-in answering machine.
The answering machine is easy to operate with a larger LCD screen that tells you the message number as well as some information about the unit. This is a bilingual handset with a talking caller ID that will announce the caller information in English or Spanish. This is a convenient feature if you are not close to the base unit to view the screen.
The phone offers a one-touch call blocking; you can register up to 250 numbers in just one touch. You may also use the Voice Paging feature that turns all the cordless handsets into a paging system. The phone handsets offer a longer range using the DECT 6.0 wireless system. And the phones have larger, easy to read numbers, cursor, and navigation buttons while the screens have larger fonts and are brighter than other cordless handsets.
Conclusion: The Panasonic DECT 6.0 expandable cordless phone system and answering machine is a set with three cordless handsets, updated answering machine features, and convenient cordless phone features. The answering machine is easy to use since it is integrated with the cordless phone base unit; you can listen to messages and respond to calls fast. And despite some flaws, this may be the answering machine you’ve been searching for.
#3. AT&T CL84102 DECT 6.0 Expandable Corded/Cordless Phone with Answering System
Record messages, make and receive calls, and enjoy a lot of new features with AT&T CL84102. This is an expandable corded/cordless phone with an answering machine bundle. You’ll get a corded and cordless phone unit that fits a moderate size home or a home with two floors. The answering machine is easy to operate with just a few buttons to operate, but it’s integrated with the phone system, so if the phone unit is broken, so will the answering machine, and your messages may be compromised.
But despite this flaw, AT&T CL84102 has impressive features like caller ID announce in high definition audio, caller ID, and call waiting, which can store up to 50 calls and up to 14 minutes recording time and with 50 names and number directory. The base unit has a bigger screen with large fonts. The LCD screen is brighter and thus may be visible at a distance from the machine.
This is an expandable system as you can add up to 12 handsets, but the answering machine saved messages are only accessible from the main corded base unit. And for optimal cordless performance, batteries of the cordless phone units must be charged for at least 16 hours before use.
Conclusion: The AT&T CL84102 DECT 6.0 expandable corded and cordless phones have a built-in answering system that has convenient features. It has caller ID announce, call ID, and call waiting plus a larger phonebook directory. This is truly an efficient answering machine and phone bundle, but you need to be extra careful since a broken phone means your messages may be compromised as well. It has a larger screen, large fonts, easy to operate the phone and answering machine. And despite a few flaws, it is a good answering machine and phone combo to check out before this year ends.
#4. AT&T CRL82312 3-Handset Expandable Cordless Phone with Answering System
The CRL82312 is another AT&T bundle cordless phone and answering machine. This also supports DECT 6.0 digital technology that allows for longer wireless ranges from the base unit. You will love its large and bright LCD that shows caller information, call status, and unit battery status. The buttons are larger, so it’s easier to use and has a visual ringer for hearing impaired users.
The answering machine is found on the base unit and only has a few buttons to press (play, stop, skip, repeat, and delete). It has a small, dark circular LCD screen that tells you the number of the message you are listening to. This is an expandable unit that can accommodate up to 12 wireless units. You’ll store more contacts on this phone with its large 50 name and number phone book.
Conclusion: The AT&T CRL82312 is an expandable 3 handset cordless phone unit that comes with a built-in answering machine. It has simple answering controls with easy to use navigation and delete buttons on the unit. The cordless units have larger and brighter screens with large fonts, so it will be easier to check caller identity, phone status, and battery status. This comes with more cool answering machine and phone features, and despite some flaws, we think that this makes a good answering machine to check out.
#5. VTech CS6649 Expandable Corded/Cordless Phone System with Answering System-Caller ID
The VTech CSS6649 is a set that includes a corded phone with answering machine and one cordless phone unit. It also uses DECT 6.0 digital technology, so this is capable of long-range use. You’ll enjoy phone features like caller ID and call waiting plus the Quiet Mode.
If you don’t want to be disturbed or you are not at home, then this answering machine can save messages for you. It has simple navigation buttons to operate the answering machine plus message status, and call information is stored and displayed on the screen.
It is easy to manage messages as you listen to them since you can play, pause, repeat, skip, or delete messages. It can store up to 50 calls, and with its ECO mode power-conservation feature, you’ll save power as you use this daily. And just like most cordless handsets, you should charge this for at least 16 hours for optimal use.
Conclusion: The VTech CS6649 is an expandable cordless/corded and answering machine system. It has good calling features, large LCD screens, larger buttons, and easy to operate buttons on the cordless phones and the answering machine. The problem is that it has limited storage space for messages, and since it is built in the corded phone, problems with the base unit can affect the answering machine, and thus, your messages may be lost. But despite these disadvantages, no doubt that this bundle system is a good one to try out.
#6. CaptionCall 67Tb Amplified Captioned Corded Home Telephone
CaptionCall is for the hearing impaired. It is an amplified corded phone with a caption feature on its large touchscreen. Take note that you can only purchase CaptionCall if you have difficulty in hearing.
It operates like a regular landline phone with enhanced audio amplification, tone control, and word-for-word captioning feature. You can easily use the touchscreen because it’s large, made for people with poor vision. It also comes with traditional phone features like caller ID, speakerphone, a loud ringer, and an answering machine. It also comes with Bluetooth, which allows you to pair it with a compatible handset, streamer, headphones, and hearing aids.
Also, CaptionCall requires a landline phone and internet service to work. Captions can be in English and Spanish and are only available in the US.
Conclusion: CaptionCall is heaven-sent for seniors, hearing impaired and visually impaired. It is a traditional phone with improved voice and ring amplification and has a convenient caption service. However, it is only available for the hearing impaired and needs landline phone and internet to work, but other than these, it is a good phone and answering machine to try, especially for people who are hard at hearing and with low vision.
#7. Clarity E814CC Amplified Corded/Cordless Combo with Answering Machine
The E814CC is an amplified corded and cordless Clarity combo and answering machine. It is an amplified digital answering machine system, so you’ll find it easier to listen to messages. It has a speakerphone and has a high contrast number so you can dial numbers with ease. You can also store up to 5-speed dial numbers in this device.
You also have a large CID display light to easily check message status and phone status. You also have a visual ringer for hearing impaired people. Clear handset speakerphone allows you to have hands-free conversations all the time. Finally, it also has Direct Communication, a feature for assistive listening devices, or a headset. The Dual Power Battery Backup feature allows you to make calls even when there’s no power.
Conclusion: The Clarity E814CC is an amplified corded or cordless combination answering machine made for people hard at hearing and those with visual problems. The answering machine records messages and plays back recordings in a listening device, headset, or from the clear handset speaker. It has large numbers, a large and bright LCD screen, and easy to use controls. It could be the answering machine, corded and cordless phone combo you need at home or at the office.
Value Section on Answering Machines
How to buy the right answering machine for your needs?
As you may have noticed, answering machines are available in a variety of features and designs. Taking time to choose one would help you find the right machine that will suit your needs.
Standalone machine or integrated answering machine
A standalone answering machine lets you choose the landline phone unit you want to use. Standalone machines are usually larger and may not be compatible with all phones, but at least, if the phone breaks, your messages and machine will remain in tip-top shape. Meanwhile, a built-in answering machine is ready to use because you already have a landline device to use.
Message memory capacity
You need an answering machine that can hold a large number of audio recordings. Usually, the device recording capacity is expressed in several hours. A device that can record only 15 to 30 minutes of a recording won’t be enough if you frequently leave home.
Date and time stamp
A machine that is able to provide the date and time on a recording is another good feature. This will allow you to identify recorded information with the date, especially if you want to keep or save them for a long time.
As much as possible, choose an answering machine that has a loudspeaker system with adjustable volume controls. This will allow you to listen to calls and messages even when you’re across the room.
Large LCD display
LCD or any kind of display would do. Having a display that shows only the number of messages is inefficient. You need the message number, message status, answering machine status, and phone status. Finally, the LCD display must be large and bright.
Final Words: The AT&T Digital AnsweSystem has a simple design, with loudspeakers and easy to operate buttons and device controls. You will be able to record messages on a microchip to save these for a long time. You can make clearer outgoing announcements so your callers can easily understand your message.
You will get up to 60 minutes of digital recording time, and the Message Guard memory feature protects messages in case there is a power failure. It has a convenient time and date stamp to announce the time and date before each message, which is a great feature. The buttons are huge, while the bright numerical LCD screen provides information about the message such as the message number.
The AT&T Digital AnsweSystem is a standalone answering machine that will record messages on a microchip for longer and efficient message storage. This answering machine has good audio, easy to navigate buttons, and a simple LCD screen. It is easy to use and thus may be ideal for seniors and people who want a simple, standalone answering machine. The AT&T AnsweSystem could be the answering machine you’re searching for.
And if you think that the AT&T Digital AnsweSystem is your kind of answering machine, check out this link.