When it comes to technology, it’s sometimes best to get back to basics. While there are a number of high-tech smartphones with seemingly endless features, many of us want a simpler phone experience. That’s where a flip phone comes in handy.
Flip phones are compact, folding cellular devices that feature tactile buttons and simplified menus. In the past, flip phones only possessed basic features like calling and texting, but modern flip phones have incorporated voice commands, cameras, and internet access.
When testing out a range of flip phone options, we looked for the following features:
Simple design: The main benefit of using a flip phone is that they’re easy to use. So we looked for devices that had simple menus and gave us few headaches when it came to making calls, sending messages, and taking photos.
Long battery life: Unlike smartphones, which usually need a daily charge, flip phones can last days – and in some cases, weeks – without requiring additional charging. All of the phones on this list lasted us for at least one week in terms of standby time.
Smart features: Many of our favorite flip phones offered advanced features normally relegated to smartphones, including internet access, app stores, and even medical alert capabilities.
Affordability: In addition to simplicity, the low cost of flip phones is a big draw. All of the phones on this list cost $200 or less.
Lively offers an impressive medical alert system, the Lively Mobile Plus, so it’s no surprise that their phones are senior-friendly too. Their Jitterbug Flip2 was made specifically for seniors and is designed to be easy to use. It even doubles as a medical alert device – all users need to do is press the 5Star button on the handset to be connected to the urgent response center.
In terms of its design, the Jitterbug Flip2 features a bright backlit display and large buttons for ease of use. It also has a clear speaker, flashlight, magnifier, and dual cameras for both selfies and traditional photos. Moreover, all of these features are easy to access through this phone’s simple list-based menus. Another impressive feature of this phone is its built-in Alexa voice commands. With this, you can ask Alexa to set reminders, make calls, or even look up basic information – all by using your voice.
Additionally, as with any Jitterbug phone, the Flip2 has optional medical alert features. If you subscribe to a Lively Health and Safety package (starting at $19.99 per month), you can have access to monitoring agents, board-certified nurses, and even personal operators.
Overall, the Jitterbug Flip2 is reasonably priced, easy to use, and ideal for seniors who don’t need a smartphone but still want to keep in touch with friends and family. To learn more about this company, read our rundown of Jitterbug phones for seniors, in addition to our full Jitterbug Flip2 review.
FYI: The Jitterbug Flip2 offers some impressive medical alert features; however, if you’re looking for a standalone device, read my rundown to find the best medical alert system.
Loud and Clear Speaker
Hearing Aid Compatible
Urgent Response Button
Large Buttons and Screen
No Family Plans
Additional Charges for Going Over Minutes or Texts for Some Plans
The Alcatel GO FLIP 4 is our No. 2 choice for the best flip phone because it combines the best of both worlds: the advanced features of a smartphone with the simplicity of a flip phone. What’s more, when paired with one of T-Mobile’s senior plans, you can get all of this at an affordable price.
In terms of design, this phone features a small, external screen that displays the time and a larger internal screen that allows you to navigate its features. In terms of buttons, this phone uses a large, tactile keypad, and the buttons are also backlit in low lighting conditions. What impressed us most about this phone, however, was its sound quality. When making calls with this device, voices and sounds were consistently loud and clear. Additionally, it worked exceptionally well with hearing aids, due to its M4/T4 rating for hearing aid compatibility.
The battery of this phone also impressed us. In our tests, it lasted for nearly three weeks on standby and one week with heavy usage. The Alcatel GO FLIP 4 also gives you access to the KaiOS app store. Unlike other smartphones, which are confined to basic features, this phone allows you to download additional free apps for internet browsing, social media, and emails.
For those prone to dropping their phones, the Kyocera DuraXE Epic is the perfect solution. Though no larger than the average flip phone, this handset is drop-proof, dust-proof, and waterproof, making it virtually indestructible.
In addition to this phone’s durability, we were also impressed by its sound quality. Through its HD voice features and noise cancellation, calls came in crystal-clear on both ends. Additionally, this phone’s battery lasted us for nearly two weeks on standby time.
While the menu of this phone looks pretty standard for a flip phone, you can also customize it to have your favorite features front and center. For example, we were able to make one of our home screen buttons call emergency responders. Although this phone was not fully compatible with hearing aids, it’s still a compelling option for those who want durability.
To learn more about this phone and AT&T’s plans, check out our guide to AT&T senior plans.
Price: $59 when purchased through Consumer Cellular
While the Consumer Cellular Link II doesn’t offer the plethora of features found on other flip phones, it’s hard to find a more affordable flip phone. Add this on top of the affordable Consumer Cellular prices, and you get one of the most budget-friendly flip phones on the market.
In terms of features, you’ll find the basic ones with the Link II. It makes calls, sends text messages, and takes photos. It also has a large, legible keypad and Bluetooth capabilities for a wireless headset or streaming. This phone is also rated M3/T4 for hearing aid compatibility, and in our tests, we used it with hearing aids and didn’t experience any noise issues. Additionally, this phone’s battery lasted for a long time. During heavy testing, it lasted for four days on a single charge. On standby, it lasted us for two weeks.
While the other flip phones on this list offer safety features, voice commands, or higher quality cameras, the Consumer Cellular Link II performs the basic duties of a phone at an unparalleled price point.
While the Nokia 2720 V Flip looks like your ordinary flip phone, it has a bevy of smart features that make it a highly advanced device. The V Flip has an app store, SOS features, and even a built-in Google virtual assistant.
For starters, this phone features the keypad and large screen that you’d expect from a flip phone. It’s also got adjustable font sizes, a loudspeaker, and a battery that lasted us over a week on a single charge. Where the V Flip really impressed us was with its Google Assistant features.
By pressing the Google Assistant button on our home screen, we were able to accomplish a number of functions through voice commands. Making calls, browsing the internet, and even sending messages could all be accomplished solely by using our voice. Additionally, this phone gave us access to an app store where we could download popular programs like Facebook and WhatsApp.
To learn more about this phone and different options from Verizon, check out our guide to Verizon senior plans.
Google Assistant capabilities
Dedicated SOS button
Long battery life
Compatible with hearing aids
Poor camera quality
Occasionally lags in performance speed
If you’re looking to learn about other great cellular options for seniors, then be sure to check out our most recent list of the best cell phones for seniors.
Additionally, consider taking a look at our other cell phone guides:
Ryan has years of experience researching and testing products that help people successfully age in place. After years of working for various publications such as Boston Magazine and The Believer, he has found his home at The Senior List, writing about all things related to caregiving and senior healthcare.