In this Article
01Top cellphones for seniors
02Most affordable cellphones for seniors
03Best overall phones for seniors
04Tablets as a cellphone alternative for seniors
05How to choose a cellphone for seniors
Read on for a rundown of the top smartphones and flip phones on the market — discover the most affordable cellphones for seniors and find tips on how to choose the best option.
Top cellphones for seniors
Smartphones offer more features and amenities than basic flip phones. Video chat capabilities keep families and friends connected, while food delivery servicesand transportation request apps like Instacart and Uber can make life easier.
If you do choose a smartphone, look for those geared toward seniors. As the number of older Americans with smartphones grows, companies cater to more of their needs with larger screens, higher volume settings, and increased brightness.
- Jitterbug Smart3— This phone is clearly designed with seniors in mind. GPS locating services, medical assistance, and operator services accompany great battery life, a large touchscreen, and voice dictation.Cost:The Jitterbug Smart3 is an affordable smartphone option at approximately $150.
- Google Pixel 5a— With a 6-inch screen, this smartphone is easy to operate one-handed and has fingerprint recognition capabilities. Its plastic body is more durable than some newer models, and the camera takes clear, high-resolution pictures.Cost:Starting at $450, theGoogle Pixel 5ais more affordable than other Google Pixel models,and it offers many of the same features.
- Motorola Moto G Stylus— For a moderate price, this phone offers excellent voice quality for seniors with hearing loss and a screen over 6inches tall.Cost:TheMoto G Stylusis available for $299 out of contract.
- iPhone SE— The SE offers newer-model iPhone features, but it is still small, light, and has a home button for easy unlocking. This is a senior-friendly cellphone for tech-lovers, as the SE offers high-quality speakers and screen, a great camera, voice-to-text, Siri virtual assistant services, and many other cutting-edge features.Cost:At approximately $399 for the 64 GB storage model, theiPhone SEcosts about half as much as the newer iPhone 13.
Flip phones are often the best option for seniors who want something simple. These easy cellphones for seniors feature traditional buttons similar to those on a handset, and many offer longer battery life and more durability than their smartphone counterparts. For seniors, a flip phone with high-quality speakers, large buttons, and a camera for capturing memories is optimal.
- Lively Jitterbug Flip2— Its affordability and senior-oriented design make it a top choice. Senior-friendly features include a 5Star Urgent Response emergency button, lengthy battery life, large keypad, camera, and noise-canceling speakers.Cost:The Lively Jitterbug Flip2 can be purchased directly from Lively for approximately $99.
- Alcatel Go-Flip 4— Word dictation, durability, and basic smart features accompany this phone’s easy texting and long battery life.Cost:The Alcatel Go-Flip 4 rings in at about $100 from major retailers.
Most affordable cellphones for seniors
Is affordability your No. 1 concern? If so, check out these options.
- AT&T Cingular Flip IV—AT&T offers a fairly inexpensive price for the Cingular Flip IV. At just above $60, the phone features large buttons and a screen that supports high-resolution video playbackat 1080p. Additionally, the fast-charging battery offers up to 10 hours of talk time and approximately three days on standby.
- Consumer Cellular Link II—While theConsumer Cellular Link IIdoesn’t offer many flashy features, it’s approximately $59 and is a senior-friendly cellphone with large buttons and effective speakers. Also, AARP offers a member discount on service plans.
- Tracfone LG Classic Flip—This phone isn’t made specifically for seniors, but it’s the most affordable option on our list at approximately $14.99. If you’re looking for a bare-bones “emergencies only” cellphone, the pay-as-you-go Tracfone LG Classic Flipwill do the trick. It even features an SOS Key that will contact a preset emergency contact.
Best overall phones for seniors
If you are looking for anideal phone with convenient features for seniors, these cellphones check all the boxes.
Lively Jitterbug Flip2
Features:TheLively Jitterbug Flip2is a flip phone with a long-lasting battery that can handle 12 hours of call time or weeks in standby, a nice feature for sporadic users. With 16GB of storage — unusually high for a flip phone — there’s room in the camera app for thousands of memories. The powerful speakers filter background sounds to maintain clarity and are compatible with hearing aids, meaning they have built-in protection against the interference cellphones often cause. Plus, the newest model offers Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant, making it easy to call, text, set a timer, and even play music with a simple request. It also offers Lively Link, which allows caregivers to monitor their senior loved one’s health and safety, and Lively Rides, which enables seniors to call a Lyft ride with the click of a button.
Why it’s good for seniors:The Lively Jitterbug Flip2 phone is compatible with Lively’s senior-specific services. It features an emergency button and is connected to the 5Star emergency network, which uses GPS tracking. Big buttons and a magnifying screen round out this senior-friendly option.
Cost:This is one of the most affordable cellphones for seniors at approximately $99.99. The phone can also be found at a lower price at certain retailers. SomeLively cellphone plans offer additional amenities like Urgent Care, which connects seniors with certified nursing professionals.
Lively Jitterbug Smart3
Features:Billed as “the simplest smartphone ever,” theJitterbug Smart3is both modern and user-friendly. Its bright display is clear and easy to read, with large fonts and simple icons. Seniors can easily access the internet, stream videos, and use face-to-face chat. Despite higher-tech features, the Smart3’s battery lasts up to 17 days on standby and 12 hours in use.
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Why it’s good for seniors:In addition to the standard 5Star emergency network offered through the Lively Flip, the Smart3 offers visual features like Lively Link, which allows caregivers to stay informed about the health and location of their loved ones. The large touchscreen also supports Brain Games — a daily selection of memory-enhancing puzzles and challenges. Just like the Jitterbug Flip2, this phone also offers Lively Rides.
Cost:At approximately $149.99, this choice is inexpensive for a smartphone. The unlimited calls, data, and texting plan is $49.99 a month with add-on potential.
Features:With 4G LTE, Wi-Fi calling, and Bluetooth compatibility, theSnapfon ez4Ghas the amenities of a smartphone in an easy-to-use device. Standard weather, email, and Facebook apps accompany unique features like traditional FM radio compatibility, fall detection, and an SOS emergency program.
Why it’s good for seniors:The Snapfon ez4G is designed specifically for senior safety and ease of use. SOS emergency features include automatic call/text alerts to a personalized contact list and a single-button 911 call. For immediate help, a siren can sound. This phone offers built-inprotection against interference and its audio is compatible with hearing aidsanda hearing aid’s telecoil.The keypad has large, distinctly textured buttons, making it an easy-use cellphone for seniors. In addition, the “speaking keypad” recognizes both English and Spanish.
Cost:Depending on the plan, the ez4G’s price ranges from $40 to $120. The phone can be paired with service plans ranging from basic talk and text at $20 a month to an unlimited “SOS plus plan” that includes surgical history, medications, and primary care physician information on the phone. Even more, accessories like the charging cable, wall adapter, and headphones are included in the price.
Samsung Galaxy S20
Features:Ideal for shutterbugs,theGalaxy S20’striple-lens camera adapts to dark or light environments and takes high-quality pictures automatically, without adjusting settings. A built-in stabilizer makes sure photos don’t turn out blurry, even when taken by shaky hands. A large, clear screen makes reading and texting easy, without sacrificing picture quality.
Why it’s good for seniors:The Galaxy S20 has long battery life for a smartphone — up to 12 hours of constant use — and a large screen that’s great for video chatting with family or streaming favorite TV shows. While this phone is definitely for tech-savvy seniors, all Samsung models have an “easy” mode for those who want to ease into a smartphone technology with fewer icons and larger text as they learn.
Cost:At about $500, the S20 offers many great features of a 5G phone at a more affordable price than many competitors. Because the Galaxy S20 can be used with and purchased through national cell service providers, financing is available with certain plans for lower monthly costs.
Motorola Moto G Stylus
Features:TheMoto G Stylushas a 48-megapixel camera — fargreater thanthe 16-megapixel smartphone average — to capture sharp family photos and videos. It’s also water-resistant and includes features like facial recognition, fingerprint unlock, and high-quality audio when streaming. The phone’s battery can last up to two days and comes “unlocked,” meaning you can use it with any service providerorpay in advance for minutes and texts.
Why it’s good for seniors:This is one of the loudest phones on our list. With sound quality that peaks around 88 decibels, the phone is ideal for seniors with hearing impairment. The screen is 6.4inches tall and allows for text enlargement. It also comes with a built-in stylus for those who like writing notes or memos by hand.
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Cost:The starting price of $299 is fairly low for a smartphone, but what makes the Moto G Stylus ideal for budget-conscious seniors is the option to choose a pay-as-you-go plan, perfect for those who want the Wi-Fi capacities of a smartphone without the commitment of unlimited talk and text that many national providers require.
Tablets as a cellphone alternative for seniors
With Wi-Fi calling and text capabilities, small tablets can be used as a cellphone alternative for seniors who aren’t ready for a smartphone. Because of their size, tablets may not be the best choice for in the car or on the go, but they offer features like video calling, entertainment, and interactive smart assistants like Alexa or Siri.
Top multi-use tablet phones for seniorsinclude:
- Consumer Cellular Grandpad — Affordable and designed with seniors in mind, the device offers games, music streaming, video chat, and cellular calls.
- Apple iPad Mini — Like a smartphone, you can text on the iPad as well as video chat, play games, and write.
- Amazon Echo Show 15— The Echo integrates Alexa into a senior’s home. It’s compatible with Zoom as well as Skype and can stream videos, play audiobooks, and act as a control panel for other smart devices, like thermostats and locks, throughout the home.
How to choose a cellphone for seniors
Ask yourself these questions to determine which features your senior loved one may need in a cellphone:
Is hearing or vision an issue?Think about special features, like HD voice for those who are hard of hearing or text-to-voice and large displays for seniors with vision challenges.
Are they tech-savvy?Phones designed specifically for seniors are often lower tech and easier to use. If your loved one is up on the latest trends, or willing to spend time exploring a more complex device, many widely available smartphones also offer features like increased text size, voice-to-text, and high-quality speakers.
Will they use the phone regularly?If the phone is intended for emergencies only, there’s no need to splurge on an unlimited plan or flashy device. Look for a pay-as-you-go phone, or consider a multi-use tablet that can also be used for streaming, reading, and more.
Is safety a primary concern?If you’re worried aboutpotential fallsor medical emergencies, consider a phone with a built-in SOS service or 5Star plan. Yes, all phones can call 911 — but in a true emergency, a clearly marked button can save time alerting paramedics, especially when important medical information is included in the alert.
Are pictures a priority?Does your relative still snap pics on a digital camera or have disposables developed at the drugstore? A good, high-quality camera may be a top consideration when picking a phone. Be sure there’s plenty of storage space to save all those memories!
Are they on a budget?The phones on this list vary in price, but monthly service costs are just as important to consider. Some companies offer inexpensive, senior-friendly cellphone plans, while others only have unlimited talk, text, and data packages through major providers.
Do they have dementia?If you’re concerned your loved one may get lost or wander, a phone withbuilt-in GPS trackingmay be a priority. You can download a GPS tracking app on most smartphones, and some senior-specific phones already come with such; e.g., Lively devices with a tracking feature, Apple iPhones with the “Find My Friends” app, or Consumer Cellular devices with OnStar emergency services.
Is dexterity a concern?Arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and other medical conditions can make using a cellphone more difficult for seniors. If hand pain or immobility is a concern, consider a newer-model phone with Google Assistant or Alexa compatibility and voice-to-text.
Although we live in a world where technology is evolving fast, there are still several options to help seniors adjust and thrive. Having a cellphone is an important tool for living a safe and convenient life. Just make sure to select a cell phone suited to your elderly loved one’s unique needs and abilities.
If you are looking to buy a new cell phone for your senior, now is the best time. With the holidays coming around, there are several deals and discounts available on cellphones and cellular plans all around the country. Always research the best options in order to find the safest cellphone for your senior loved one.