Cheapest Cell Phones for Seniors in 2021
- Alcatel GO FLIP 3 – Best Overall Budget Phone
- Lively Flip – Best Senior-Specific Features
- Snapfon ezTWO 3GV – Best No-Contract Phone
- Lively Smart – Best Budget Smartphone
- Sonim XP3 – Best Durable Budget Phone
What Should You Look For in a Budget Cell Phone
Naturally, if you’re looking for a phone on the cheaper side, then you’ll have to give up some of the more advanced features of the most modern handsets. Unfortunately, the phones on this list won’t support facial recognition, nor will they produce professional-quality photos.
With that said, you’d be surprised by the quality of these affordable phones, all of which cost under $200. Some of them have touchscreens. Some of them are waterproof, and several of these phones even have some smart features like video calling and voice commands.
Here’s what we looked for when it came to budget phones for seniors.
- Call Quality: Although the high-tech smartphones of 2021 might have you thinking otherwise, for most of us, a phone should first and foremost be a phone. So we looked for devices that delivered crisp and clear audio in each of our test calls. Bonus points went to handsets with hearing aid compatibility.
- Senior Features: The percentage of seniors with cell phones grows each year, and companies meet this demand with devices tailored to the older set. The phones on this list feature large text, big buttons, and intuitive menus. A couple of them even have medical alert capabilities.
- Battery Life: Each of the phones on this list had a battery that lasted for at least 24 hours on a single charge. Several of them last significantly longer.
- Durability: Your savings will be for naught if the phone only lasts for a year. For this reason, we looked for phones that could hold up to water and drops, in addition to general wear and tear.
- Simple Service Plans: Over a year, a service plan will likely end up costing more than your phone. With this in mind, we looked for phones that worked with affordable plans that cater to seniors.
The Cheapest Cellular Provider For Seniors
With all the options out there, it can be a bit confusing to figure out which cellular provider gives the best bang for your buck. Our current favorite is T-Mobile, whose trio of 55+ Unlimited Plans start at $27.50 per month and give you unlimited talk, text, and data in terms of the major providers.
Still, for the user just looking to make calls and send text messages, Lively and Consumer Cellular offer custom plans. With these providers, you can select the number of minutes, messages, and data you anticipate using in a month-long period. Especially for those of us who don’t use our phones too heavily, these providers can offer significant savings.
The Cheapest Cell Phones For Seniors
After extensive research and testing, we’ve narrowed your options down to five phones. While some of them are significantly more affordable than others, we’ve concluded that each of the following phones gives you a tremendous bang for your buck.
Without further ado, here is the list of the best budget phones for seniors.
Available through T-Mobile, the Alcatel GO FLIP 3 combines the advanced features of a smartphone with the accessibility of a traditional clamshell device. Capable of making calls through either Wi-FI or 4G LTE, this phone delivers exceptional call quality that can keep you connected just about anywhere.
We also loved that this phone comes with Google Assistant. With this feature, we wrote messages, made calls, and even browsed the web purely through voice commands. This functionality would come in handy for any user that struggles with arthritis or other manual dexterity issues.
Device Cost: $100 through T-Mobile
The GO FLIP 3 can be paired with several different plans; however, we’d recommend one of T-Mobile’s Unlimited 55 plans, which give you unlimited talk, text, and data. These plans start at $27.50 per month.
- Classic Design
- Intuitive Menus
- 4GB Internal Memory
- Large Screen
- Voice Commands
- Hearing Aid Compatible
- 4G Network Compatibility
- Low-Definition Camera
Designed specifically with seniors in mind, the Lively Flip is both easy to use and affordable. Its buttons are large, and its screen is bright, making it a breeze to navigate through messages and calls. While the Flip can’t browse the Internet, as can other phones on this list, it is a great way to make calls, take photos, and send messages.
What’s more, the Flip can even function as a medical alert device. When used with one of Lively’s health and safety packages, this phone can contact a monitoring center 24/7, with the help of its urgent response button.
Cost: $74.99 through Lively, not including activation fees
Talk-only plans start at just $14.99 per month, and for $39.99 per month, you can have unlimited minutes and messages. Additionally, health and safety packages start at $19.99 per month.
- Built-in SOS button
- Keep your existing number
- U.S.-based customer service
- Built-in magnifier and flashlight
- No contracts, no cancellation fees
- Simple, easy-to-use cell phone designed for seniors
- Low MP camera
- No data, text and call only
- Must use Lively text and talk plans
The Snapfon ezTWO features a simple design with large buttons, a powerful speaker, and a straightforward design, all of which make it simple to operate. It’s also rated M3/T3 in terms of hearing aid compatibility. Starting at $29.99, it’s also the cheapest phone on this list.
This phone also offers an emergency SOS button that will sound a 120 dB alarm and send text messages to preset contacts. You can also add on sosPlus Mobile Monitoring (starting at $15 per month) for access to first responders who are familiar with your medications, health needs, allergies, physician and emergency contact information.
Cost: $29.99 through Snapfon, not including activation fees
Snapfon plans start at just $10 per month for 100 talk minutes. They also offer an unlimited talk and text plan for $25 per month, the most affordable unlimited plan on this list.
- Affordable Plans
- Carrier Flexibility
- SOS Button
- Mobile Monitoring
- Powerful Speaker
- Simple Design
- Low-Quality Camera
The Lively Smart takes all of the features of a modern smartphone and presents them in a simple package accessible to users of all skill levels. Each of its features is laid out in an intuitive menu, and the Smart2’s 5.5in touchscreen makes it easy to swipe through each of them. In addition to a rear 13MP camera, this phone also has a front-facing camera, perfect for making video calls to friends and family.
Much like the Lively Flip, the Smart also can be paired with a Lively health and safety package, turning your smartphone into a fully functional medical alert device. Using the dedicated 5Star button, users can access the Lively monitoring center 24/7. Additionally, with the Preferred and Ultimate Plans, you can get around-the-clock access to registered nurses and doctors who can provide medical advice.
Cost: $74.99 through Lively, plus activation fees
Plans for the Lively Smart start at $17.48 per month; however, this only includes 250 talk minutes, 100MB of data, and no texts. For $59.99 per month, you’ll get unlimited talk, text, and data. Additionally, you’ll receive a discount on your cellular plans when you also sign up for a health and safety package.
- Simplified screen
- Large, clear font
- 30-day return policy
- No long term contracts
- 13MP camera with LED flash
- Medical alert feature included in all plans
- Needs to be charged nightly
- Some complaints about initial set-up difficulty
- Must use Lively phone, text and data plans
At $189.99, the Sonim XP3 is the most expensive phone on this list; however, its value is in its durability. Waterproof, shockproof, and virtually indestructible from everyday use, the XP3 won’t need a replacement for a long time. As if this weren’t enough, Sonim also covers this phone under a three-year warranty.
This phone features noise cancellation, hearing aid compatibility, and large, tactile buttons. Its 100 dB speaker also ensures that you’ll be able to hear your calls clearly, even in noisy environments.
Cost: $189.99 through AT&T
With an AT&T, plans for the Sonim XP3 start at $29.99 per month for 200 anytime minutes and 500 night and weekend minutes. Unlimited plans start at $30 per month.