elderly woman looking at a phone held up by a carer

Best Phones for Seniors & the Elderly

Finding the right mobile phone can be difficult, especially with the vast number of handsets on the market nowadays. If you’re an older customer, you may be looking for a phone that’s tailored more specifically to help with visibility, usability, hearing, and functionality. In this guide, we’ve compiled a list of the best phones for seniors and the elderly. 

What to look for

How do you know if a phone is going to work for you? Here’s some of the most important features and specifications you should be looking for when browsing for a senior-friendly phone. 

The display screen

Many people, regardless of age, have sight problems. But older people in particular tend to need glasses and may struggle to read text that is too small. Therefore, looking for a large and clear display will be helpful in allowing the person to navigate their screen more easily. 

Buttons

Whilst some elderly people can cope fine with virtual buttons that appear on screen, others may feel more comfortable with a device that’s split between a screen and physical buttons. If someone has motor issues or arthritis, they may find it difficult to type or navigate their phone without large and clear buttons. Additionally, those with sight impairments will also find big, raised buttons more helpful. 

Hearing aid compatibility

If the senior in question is hard of hearing or deaf, buying a phone that’s compatible with hearing aids should be your top priority. Additionally, some devices come with amplified sound, so ringers and other notification noises can be turned up. 

Emergency features

If you’re particularly concerned about a loved one, buying a phone with built-in emergency features can help to put your mind at ease. Some features include an SOS button that, when pushed, can alert set contacts that the receiver is in trouble and requires assistance. ICE (In Case of Emergency) is a feature which stores the user’s medical details so a professional can easily access them from a locked screen (to know about any conditions or allergies before administering treatment, for example).  

Functionality

One of the most important factors you need to take into consideration when buying for someone older is how tech-savvy they are. If they’re not too confident with technology, making sure you get a phone that is functional with a simple interface is important. 

Other aspects of functionality that can help an older user include an AI assistant, which you can verbally command to complete tasks like call Ellie or send text to Daniel or check the weather. Some other features to look out for are text magnification, the type of data the device supports, and the battery life.
 

Best phones for the elderly

Depending on what you’re looking for, you can use our links below to quickly navigate to the most relevant phone recommendation for you. 

Best overall

Best smartphone

Easiest to use

Best for budget

Largest screen

Biggest buttons

Best for Hard of Hearing

Best for visually impaired

Most durable

Best overall - Doro 8035

Doro is one of the best phone manufacturers for seniors. All of their phones are designed with specialised features catering towards people with hearing loss, sight difficulties, and motor disabilities. If you’re interested in this brand, here’s a full list of the best Doro models you can buy.  

Release date: February 2018

Price: £80 - £100
 

Size of the phone

7 x 0.9 x 14.86cm

171g

Size of the display screen

5 inches

Hearing aid compatible?

Yes - T3/M3

Battery life

2,500mAh

15 hours talk time

550 hours standby time

Cameras

5MP rear

2MP front

Storage

16GB

Connectivity

4G LTE and Bluetooth


There’s a choice between two different interfaces: the traditional Android interface for users who are more familiar with the functionality of Android devices, or Doro’s simplified, action-based version which assists the first-time user by predicting their next steps

SOS button, ICE button, and GPS all work together to send the location and a ‘help’ text to a set number of contacts, as well as store medical information on the phone so a professional can access it

Google Assistant can be used to make verbal requests

Audio Boost function can increase the call volume by up to 20% for louder sound

Adjustable font size so the user can make the text smaller or larger on the screen

Ability to manage the phone’s functions remotely through My Doro Manager - handy for family members to download apps and change privacy settings

 

iPhone SE

Best smartphone - iPhone SE (2020)

Release date: Autumn 2020

Price: £398.99 - £548.99 
 

Size of the phone

157.3 x 86.1 x 27.2mm

309g

Size of the display screen

4.7 inches

Hearing aid compatible?

Yes

Battery life

1,821mAh

13 hours video

40 hours audio

Cameras

12MP rear

Storage

64GB, 128GB, or 256GB

Connectivity

4G and Bluetooth 5.0


iPhones are known for having simple interfaces, making them one of the easiest phones to become familiar with, perfect for older people who are perhaps less confident and don’t want to be overwhelmed with loads of customisable features

Installing apps from the Apple Store is quick, easy, and secure - explore anything from games to health apps to social media apps 

Includes an emergency SOS button that can be activated by pressing the side button, useful for if the user is unable to actually unlock or navigate the handset

Has an IP water-resistant rating of IP67, which means the phone can be submerged up to one metre of water for a maximum of 30 minutes 

Touch ID to unlock device, rather than having to enter a password or PIN number

Has Siri as the AI assistant, which acts almost identically to Google Assistant, in that you can verbally request certain tasks to be completed without having to even touch the screen 

Text fonts can be enlarged, and the user can zoom into sections

Find My iPhone is a useful tool for if the phone goes missing or gets stolen 
 

If you’re interested in learning more about iPhones, we have a list of the best you can buy in 2021, as well as all the tips and tricks a beginner iOS user should know.

 

 

Nokia 105

Easiest to use - Nokia 105

Nokia are a strong and reliable brand, perfect for people on the hunt for simple, nostalgic models without the high price tag. 

Release date: September 2019

Price: £18 
 

Size of the phone

119 x 49.2 x 14.4mm

74.04g

Size of the display screen

1.77 inches

Hearing aid compatible?

Yes

Battery life

800mAh (removable)

14 hours talk time

619 hours standby time

Storage

4MB

Connectivity

2G


One of the simplest phones available for under £20!

The design features buttons for those who don’t like on-screen touch. They’re also raised to help people with sight impairments find them more easily

Storage allows the user to save up to 2,000 contacts (plenty of friends and family!) 

Features a 3.5mm headphone jack to connect wired headphones - this may make it easier for someone to hear during a phone call or while listening to the radio

Long-lasting battery life means it won’t matter if the user forgets to put the device on charge occasionally

 

 

Best for budget - Doro 1360

Release date: 2017

Price: £20
 

Size of the phone

126 x 61.5 x 13mm

96g

Size of the display screen

2.4 inches

Hearing aid compatible?

No

Battery life

800mAh

300 hours standby time

8 hours talk time

Storage

8MB

Connectivity

2G and Bluetooth 3.0


1360 has an Assistance Button and ICE feature for emergencies, so that the user can ask family members and friends for help if they’re in trouble 

Lightweight and portable device makes for easy transportability and holding

The 1360 haslarge, separated (good for dexterity struggles), and raised keys that are labelled clearly with their numbers for easy navigation. The keypad is also backlit in dim lighting to help those with poorer sight 

Acoustics are louder than standard mobiles, with 35 decibel voice volume and 83 decibel ringer volume

The contrast on the screen can be adjusted to a brightness that is easy to see

Includes a 3.5mm headphone jack which may help those who are hard of hearing to listen to audio with headphones (can also listen wirelessly with Bluetooth)

If you’re buying on a budget, you may be interested in reading about the best phones for under £100 and £200 too!

 

Largest screen - LG G8 ThinQ

Release date: April 2019

Price: £150 - £300 refurbished
 

Size of the phone

151.9 x 71.8 x 8.4mm

167g

Size of the display screen

6.1 inches

Hearing aid compatible?

Yes - M4/T3

Battery life

3,500mAh

Cameras

12MP and 16MP rear

8MP front

Storage

128GB

Connectivity

4G and Bluetooth 5.0


Very large and vivid screen for those who appreciate end-to-end displays, and aren't too concerned about having buttons

Rated IP68, which means the phone is waterproof up to 1.5 metres in depth for a maximum of 30 minutes, which is helpful to avoid incidental water damage

As well as hearing aid compatibility, the ThinQ also has an extra loud speaker with a high-end audio chip, and a 3.5mm headphone jack for plugging in headphones for listening

Touch ID and Face ID options to unlock the phone without having to input a PIN number or password. These measures can make a phone safer and more secure

Option for hands-free use

Enhanced visual features like a 3D camera and 3D face scanning

 

Biggest buttons - Artfone C1 GSM

Release date: September 2018

Price: £25
 

Size of the phone

122.1 x 59.3 x 13.9mm

63g

Size of the display screen

1.77 inches

Hearing aid compatible?

Yes

Battery life

1,400mAh

Cameras

0.08MP rear

Storage

32MB (up to 32GB with a microSD card)

Connectivity

3G and Bluetooth


Huge buttons for easy use. They’re also widely separated so people with dexterity struggles can select the right one

SOS button allows the user to send out requests for emergency aid to a set number of contacts that have been pre-chosen

This phone has a ‘talking numbers’ feature, which means it will read out the numbers on the keypad as you press them, so you know you’re typing the right ones

Loudspeaker and 3.5mm headphone jack for those who might struggle with their hearing

Design is built so that the phone can be tied around your neck with a rope attaching to the top of the device - this allows for easy transportation and will ensure you don’t misplace the small, lightweight mobile 

 

Doro 5516

Best for Hard of Hearing - Doro 5516

Release date: November 2016

Price: £59.99 
 

Size of the phone

128.3 x 51.3 x 13.3mm

91g

Size of the display screen

2.4 inches

Hearing aid compatible?

Yes - T3/M3

Battery life

800mAh

500 hours standby time

8 hours talk time

Cameras

2MP rear

Connectivity

Bluetooth


Extra loud sound with up to 35 decibels receiving notifications and 83 decibels ringer

Visual ring indicator, and vibration turned on when the phone is ringing, so the user will be able to tell if a call is coming through

Assistance button and ICE (In Case of Emergency) features both present, so that medical professionals or family members can access the user’s necessary details before being treated

Talking keys feature and keypad is backlit for visibility in dim lighting

Ability to manage device remotely using My Doro Manager service, which a friend or family member can have downloaded on their device to add apps, contacts, and other necessary features to their loved one’s phone

Adjustable font and optional displays which are optimised for those who may also be visually impaired 

 

Best for visually impaired - Blindshell Classic & Alcatel 3C

It’s best to understand the differences between specialist and regular phones for the visually impaired before making a choice. If you know what your loved one needs, it will make it easier to sort through the vast range of devices on offer.

Blindshell Classic

Release date: 2019

Price: £300
 

Size of the phone

58 x 133 x 13.1mm

Size of the display screen

2.8 inches

Hearing aid compatible?

No

Battery life

1,800mAh

Cameras

2MP rear

Storage

4GB

Connectivity

4G and Bluetooth


Designed entirely with visually impaired people in mind, the Blindshell Classic is a ‘talking phone’ that will speak aloud what you’re typing on the keypad so you know you’re saying what you want to

There are different writing sizes available to switch to so that text can become bigger or smaller, depending on what you need

SOS button is integrated in the device to contact relevant people for help if something happened 

Object Tagging feature allows the user to distinguish between different icons with similar shapes so you can find the right app

Voice control activation for making verbal commands, such as calling or texting someone, so you don’t even need to touch the screen

Large, raised buttons help those with poorer sight to find and distinguish them more easily from one another
 

Alcatel 3C

Release date: 2019

Price: £30 - £100
 

Size of the phone

173.4 x 83.4 x 8.1mm

189.5g

Size of the display screen

6.7 inches

Hearing aid compatible?

Yes - M3

Battery life

3,000mAh

18.5 hours talking time

375 hours standby time

Cameras

8MP rear

5MP front

Storage

2GB (expandable up to 32GB with a microSD card)

Connectivity

3G and Bluetooth 4.2


Simple interface avoids visual overload so users can focus on a clear screen and icons, without too much going on

Magnifying Glass feature allows users to zoom in on parts of a text for easier visibility

Face ID for unlocking the phone with facial recognition, rather than typing in a PIN or password

Google Assistant can help the user complete tasks just by using their voice, easily activated by the tap of a button or by saying “OK Google”

GPS feature allows others to be able to identify the location of the phone, in case of any incidents or if it gets stolen 

Design has a textured back for easier grip, making it less likely to drop the phone or have it slip out of the user’s hands

Dual stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack, and audio amplifiers push the sound out louder and clearer for those who may also be slightly hard of hearing too

For more great value and easy to use phones, check out our list to see which Alcatel phone is right for you

 

Hammer Bow Plus

Most durable - Hammer Bow+

Hammer are known for their very strong, rugged, and durable handset. If you need an indestructible device, look no further than our top recommended models.

Price: £89.99 
 

Size of the phone

111.5 x 57.2 x 21mm

136g

Size of the display screen

2.4 inches

Hearing aid compatible?

Yes

Battery life

1,200mAh

Cameras

2MP rear

Storage

64MB (expandable up to 32GB)

Connectivity

3G


Capable of surviving a drop up to 1.5 metres in height without causing any damage, which is handy for those who may not have strong grip or motor impairments 

Rated IP68 waterproof, which means the phone can withstand up to 1.5 metres of water for a maximum of 30 minutes

Features an SOS button for the user to alert friends and/or family members that they need assistance 

Big buttons 

Two display screens (one on the back, as it flips shut, and the normal display inside), so users can see important information like the date, time, network, battery life, and incoming calls or messages, without having to flip open the phone
 

If you like the look of any of these phones, why not pair your new handset with one of our great value SIM only deals or pay as you go plans? You may also be interested in looking at the best apps for the elderly to jazz up your new mobile. 


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