Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for 2022
While cell phones might seem complicated at first, they hold a number of benefits for seniors looking to stay in touch with family or friends and explore the world around them.
But which model should you choose? With hundreds of options available, finding the best phone might seem intimidating.
You need not worry.
We're here to help!
Before diving into reviews to find the best senior phones in 2022, we came up with a few requirements:
Availability: A specialized phone doesn’t help much if there’s no one there to provide support should things go wrong. We wanted to find phones that most people could find either online through major retailers or at a local store.
Ease of Use: Having a phone you can’t use is more frustrating than not having one at all. Whether this is your first mobile phone or an upgrade, we wanted to find phones that were simple to learn and use.
Reliability: As smartphones continue to become common parts of daily life, they aren’t always the dependable devices they used to be. We wanted to find phones that offered consistent performance and would withstand daily use with minimal frustration and need for replacement.
Features for Seniors: From hearing aid compatibility or emergency call buttons to specialized menus and interfaces for easy use, we wanted our picks to include features beneficial to senior citizens.
With these options in mind, we filtered through a slough of contenders until these great options emerged.
iPhone SE (2020)
With its smaller size, front-facing fingerprint scanner, fantastic camera, and premium design, the Apple iPhone SE (2020) is easily our leading pick for seniors wanting a full-featured smartphone.
Its software is similar across all devices, so you can find endless tutorials to help you use your phone and upgrading to a new iPhone down the road will likely feel very familiar as well.
There are also endless accessories you can find for iPhones, including wireless chargers, protective cases, stands, and more.
Better still, AppleCare+ and access to the Geniuses at any Apple retail location can provide peace of mind and ensure you have access to help regarding your phone anytime you need it.
Learn More: Full Review
Alcatel Go Flip 4
Don't need additional monitoring or assistance services and don't want to deal with the cost and complexity of modern smartphones? The Alcatel GO Flip 4 should be on your radar!
With basic apps, including email, navigation, and even YouTube, you can enjoy some additional convenience without endless notifications and data use. The tactile keypad also makes it easy to dial the phone while the flip design makes answering and ending calls quick as well.
The camera isn't great and you'll need to be patient if using the apps, but for the price, it's a solid choice.
Learn More: Full Review
Nokia 225 4G
Featuring the classic candybar design of older Nokia phones, the Nokia 225 4G is an excellent senior phone option for anyone looking for a more traditional phone design.
It features hardware shortcut buttons for common features, a chunky d-pad for easy navigation and a screen just big enough to read the occasional text and check call notifications. It's also capable of running for days on a single charge with light use—something you won't see from today's more powerful phone options.
If you only need the basics and don't want a flip phone, the Nokia 225 4G offers a stylish update to the dependable phones of yesteryear.
Learn More: Full Review
Samsung Galaxy A03
If you're looking for a budget-friendly alternative to Apple's iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy A03 offers a dialled-back version of the experience of their popular S-series of phones.
The screen is well sized for reading texts and emails, watching videos, and playing the occasional casual game. The specs aren't going to put the phone on the top of any performance charts, but then the price is a fraction of many of this year's top-end phones too.
Power users are probably better off with the iPhone SE (2022) or bumping up to Samsung's S-series of phones. But for the everyday basics of staying in touch with family and friends, the A03 is a compelling, affordable package.
Learn More: Full Review
Mobile phones are a great way to stay in touch with family and friends and reach help should an emergency arise. In the case of smartphones, they’re also becoming a central hub for the entertainment, news and research in our lives.
The choices above for the best senior phone span the full range of options—from simple to the cutting-edge—and offer exceptional value to senior citizens.
Before you get your new phone, there are a few other points to consider:
The True Cost of Mobile Devices
When shopping around, many sites and stores will list two prices for the phone.
The lower price is often a monthly payment plan which typically requires a credit check and allows you to pay off the device over 2 years.
While this is great for getting a newer phone without impacting your budget upfront, it also means you must maintain service with that carrier for the next two years as well.
The window to get a refund or cancel your contract is only 14 days.
If you choose to go with this type of deal, be sure to use your new phone often to uncover any concerns or questions you might have before you’re locked into the contract.
Paying for your phone upfront often removes this contract requirement. If the phone is also unlocked, you can switch between carriers if you do not like the service you receive.
If you pay for your device in full and it isn’t already unlocked, most carriers will unlock the phone for a small fee once you meet their requirements.
For more information on the benefits of buying an unlocked phone, consult our guide.
Choosing a Good Plan for Your Needs
When you’re picking a plan to go with your phone, there’s a good chance the salesperson will try to convince you to take a package much larger than you need.
Related: Compare cell phone plans
Finding a good plan for your needs might seem tricky at first. However, most postpaid and prepaid plans today offer fairly generous allotments for voice calls and texting.
Where the big price differences lie is data.
It’s important to have enough data because overage fees add up fast. However, if you’re paying for data each month that you don’t use, you’re paying more than you should.
Our guide on finding the amount of data you need will make this step simple.
Don’t Forget the Prepaid Carriers
If you’re new to mobile phones, you might think that a monthly plan is an obvious way to go.
However, unless you need unlimited minutes, lots of data or international calling features, there’s a good chance prepaid carriers will save you money and make billing simpler.
Most carriers can tell you if your phone is compatible with their network with a quick phone call.
Don’t Forget the Accessories
- A stylus pen is a great way to improve accuracy and make it easier to use your screen. Not to mention there are fewer smudges and fingerprints to clean up later. Our stylus pen summaries offer advice on finding the perfect option to suit your preferences!
- You might also consider a protective case. While they’ll make your phone a little bigger and heavier, a good case can be the difference between a shattered screen or no scratches at all should you drop your phone.
- Lastly, if you’re always on the go, a smartphone car mount makes it easier to use navigation, hands-free calling and other features without distracting yourself or forcing you to dig under the seat for your phone when you get home.
If you have any additional questions about the phones listed here or have an alternate suggestion, leave us a comment below!
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