Cell Phones for Seniors

While many older adults are excited to use the latest gadgets, some may find new technology overwhelming. Cell phones, in particular, have functionality that often makes them confusing or difficult to use for non-digital natives. When it comes to using cell phones, many older adults prefer simplicity.

Best Overall
Jitterbug Smart2
Designed for seniors
Internet access, email, maps, etc.
Safety Features: Urgent Care, Concierge services
Service: plans starting at $19.99 / month
Best for Emergencies
Jitterbug Flip
Designed for seniors
Basic features, loud speaker, bright screen
Safety Features: Urgent Care, Concierge services
Service: plans starting at $19.99 / month
Budget Friendly
Doro7050
Designed for seniors
Speaker designed for hard of hearing
Safety Features: pre-programmed speed dial
Service: plans starting at $15 / month

What to look for when choosing a cell phone for a senior

We looked at phones marketed specifically to seniors. When evaluating each phone, we considered the following factors:

Speakers

Speakers tend not to be a priority feature for many mainstream cell phone models. But, many older adults have difficulty hearing. Cell phones marketed specifically to older adults often come with speakers that are extra loud and compatible with hearing aids.

Battery life

When choosing a new cell phone consider the trade off between features and battery life. Feature rich smartphones require frequent charging. Flip phones have fewer features, but a far longer battery life. Do you mind needing to charge your cell phone every day? Will you use the features afforded by the smartphone or are you more likely to use the phone just for calling and texting?

Safety features 

Phones marketed to seniors sometimes come with a built-in emergency response system. Typically, these phones have a dedicated button that allows the user to directly connect to an operator who can help with an immediate emergency (e.g. a fall), potential danger (e.g. a flat tire on a highway), or an anxiety causing situation (e.g. getting locked of your house).

Cost

Many phones have a low initial cost for the unit. But, some have an additional monthly fee of $35 or more for the cell service. These monthly fees can add up quickly; thereby, making the cheapest phone an expensive option in the long-term.

Additional features

Today’s new cell phones have many other features that you may want to prioritize based on your preferences and usage patterns. 

For example, individuals with poor eyesight may want to consider the phone’s font size, screen brightness, and other accessibility options. 

Almost all cell phones have cameras. Is the quality of the camera important to you? Do you want to use your new phone to take pictures of your grandchildren or capture life moments for Facebook? 

Lastly, it’s important to consider the phone’s carrier compatibility. A lot of the phones marketed to seniors have their own carriers, but many are also compatible with the nation’s largest carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.). If you are planning on adding your phone to your family’s plan, make sure it’s compatible with their carrier.

Of all the phones we reviewed based on the criteria above, here were our favorites:

Jitterbug Smart from GreatCall - Best Overall


The Jitterbug Smart is for the modern senior that wants a simple display with all the key features that come with smartphones like Internet access, email, maps, and a high megapixel camera. Our favorite features, however, are all the other benefits that can come with Jitterbug devices like urgent care, GreatCall Link, and a personal operator. 

Speakers

Front-facing speaker for clearer conversations

Battery life

Battery life is average with about 4 days on standby but far less with active usage.

Safety Features

All monthly plans come with the 5Star Urgent Response Service. The 5Star Service connects you to a trained emergency response agent who can confirm your location, evaluate the situation, and get you the help needed.

The optional add-on monthly services include access to the following benefits:

Cost

The retail cost of the phone is $149.99. Occasionally, there are promotions.

Monthly plans range from $19.99 to $34.99 per month

Additional Features

Accessibility features
List-based menu, large bright screen, typing by voice

Camera
Easy to use 13MP camera with LED flash

Jitterbug Flip from GreatCall - Best Phone for Emergency-Only


The Jitterbug Flip is perfect for those who prefer ultimate simplicity. The phone is designed for easy use. It has big buttons, a bright screen and a powerful speaker.

Speakers

The Jitterbug Flip features a loud and powerful speaker. The speaker allows you to talk hands-free.

Battery life

10 hours of talk time and days of standby time.

Safety Features

Like the Jitterbug Smart, the Jitterbug flip comes with many emergency feature. 

All monthly plans come with the 5Star Urgent Response Service. The 5Star Service connects you to a trained emergency response agent who can confirm your location, evaluate the situation, and get you the help needed.

The optional premium add-on monthly services include access to the following benefits:

Cost

The retail cost of the phone is $99.99. Occasionally, there are promotions.

Monthly plans range from $19.99 to $34.99 per month

Additional Features

All of Jitterbug Flip’s features are designed to make it easier to use. The phone has large button, a simple Yes/No navigation menu, a magnifier, and a flash light. 

Doro 7050 - Budget Friendly


The Doro7050 is offered by ConsumerCellar and runs on the AT&T network. It is a lightweight, durable flip phone with an extra-long battery life that makes it a perfect emergency phone companion. Its large buttons and font make it easy to use.

Speakers

The Doro 7050 has a loud and clear speaker specifically designed for those who have trouble hearing. It is also compatible with some hearing aids.

Battery life

14.5 hours talk time. 16 days standby time.

Safety Features

Includes an Assistance button that lets you have an emergency contact on speed dial. This feature can be used to pre-program a phone to allow the senior to quickly call 911 or a designated loved one.

Cost

The phone costs $50. Plans start at $15 per month.

Additional Features

The Doro 7050 is compatible with some hearing aids. 

Honorable Mentions