Best phones for older people

Phones for the elderly icon

Need an easy-to-use, durable phone with big buttons that's suitable for older people? Looking for with a large, clear screen and an SOS alarm for emergencies too? We've picked out the best here.

Cutting-edge smartphones, with their extensive and puzzling array of features, can be a bit intimidating and hard to get to grips with. Especially when you get a little bit older.

The good news is that there are plenty of stripped down phones that are manufactured specifically with elderly users in mind. You'll find our selection of the best here.

1. Doro PhoneEasy 612

Doro Easyphone

Designed with accessibility in mind, Doro's PhoneEasy 612 is a clamshell-style phone suits an elderly person perfectly.

Large widely-spaced buttons, an extra loud speaker, and shortcut keys that basically function as speed dial makes it easy for elderly people to stay in touch and alert you when they're in need of some help.

It comes with a charging dock too so there's no need to fiddle around with wires. There's no internet access and you can't get any apps either.

But if you're looking for a pared-down phone for making calls and texting, the PhoneEasy 612 is a really good bet.

2. Binatone M250

Binatone M250

Binatone's M250 is the same design as its landline handsets that are also designed for elderly users. So if you're familiar with the latter, you'll be able to use the M250 without having to learn anything new.

The phone's also home to an SOS emergency alarm function that's activated by a button on the rear, as well as an LED torch and back-lit large keys that make it easier to locate the correct number.

3. Nokia 105 (2017)

Nokia 105

The Nokia 105 has everything the company's older models were known for: it's durable, keenly priced and is powered by a long-life battery that'll last several days in standby mode.

Unlike Doro's handsets, it's not designed specifically for elderly users. But it's nice and simple to navigate, nonetheless.

The 105 also makes room for a torch, a calculator, a calendar and Nokia's Snake game.

What it doesn't have is a camera and internet connectivity, but for the people it's designed for that won't really matter.

4. iPhone SE

iphone se

Not everyone wants a pared down phone in their old age. And for them, the iPhone SE is a good buy.

Apple's intuitive iOS interface doesn't take long to master, which makes this pocket-sized handset ideal for someone who hasn't owned a smartphone before.

We recommend the iPhone SE in particular because of its sturdy build and low price. And with a four-inch screen, it's the perfect size too.

For accessibility, iOS is second to none. The Siri voice-control app is one of the best around for converting spoken messages into text messages and allows users to search the web and make calls without having to use the touchscreen keyboard.

You'll also find a wealth of settings to help anyone with impaired vision, hearing, and mobility, such as options for bigger text, altered colours, mono audio, subtitles and closed captions.

AssistiveTouch and Switch Control make the touchscreen easier to use and you can even get hearing aids that are designed to work seamlessly with iPhones.

5. Doro 6520

Doro 6520

The Doro 6520's keys are large and widely spaced, with a black-on-white colour scheme that makes them easy to differentiate for visually impaired users.

Compatible with hearing aids and with extra-loud clear sound, the 6520 is less pared-down that other Doro phones and offers mobile internet access, an FM radio and a basic two-megapixel camera.

So it's a good buy for someone who is comfortable with mobile phones, but doesn't necessarily want or need a high-tech smartphone.

As is standard with Doro phones, there's an SOS button for emergencies and a long-life battery that'll get you up to eight hours of talk time.

6. Nokia 3310

Nokia 3310 colours

Released back in 2000, the original Nokia 3310 remains a byword for durability and incredible battery life.

This fresh version of Nokia's best-selling phone keeps the original model's sturdy construction and has a battery that offers 22 hours of talk time on a single charge.

It doesn't have the large buttons as Doro phones, but the 3310 is easy to use, keeps features and functions down to the bare essentials and has a decent-sized 2.4-inch bright screen.

Nokia's revamped 3310 also makes room for a web browser and a built-in Snake game.

How we chose the best phones for elderly users

The phones we've picked out here were chosen principally because they fulfil these criteria:

  • They're equipped with built-in accessibility features
  • They're durable enough to withstand a drop or two
  • They're easy to use and typically have an SOS mode
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