Top five call blocking home phones
By Alison Potter
Tackle nuisance calls by buying a new cordless home phone with call blocking features. Here are the best and the worst, chosen by Which? experts.
Nuisance calls offering to refund your PPI or to repair your PC are common nowadays, and they can be a daily irritant. Luckily, tech can save the day, and there are plenty of options available to make sure your phone only rings when there’s someone you actually want to talk to on the other end of the line.
Below we’ve listed five great call blocking cordless phones that can help curb nuisance calls. And that's not all - these handsets also impressed in our home phone lab tests and all offer fantastic call quality and excellent cordless coverage.
But not every phone offering call blocking is up to scratch. Find the phones you should avoid at the bottom of the page, so you don’t accidentally shell out for a disappointing handset. And remember, for any call-blocking phone to work you will need to activate your Caller ID with your landline network provider, and in some cases this will be free or be for a nominal monthly fee.
Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Best call blocking home phones
Almost a Best Buy, this cordless phone is ideal for tackling nuisance calls. It has a virtual assistant to filter all unknown callers, so you can decide whether you wish to speak to them and it has a dedicated block button to easily add a number to your blocked list. You can block up to 1,000 numbers and categories of calls too.
This compact home phone is easy-to-use, makes clear calls and it can store 50 specific numbers on your blocked list, as well as stopping number ranges from getting through (for example calls beginning 0330) and all callers that show up as ‘no number’ because their number is withheld.
This Best Buy phone screens all calls and requires unknown callers to say their name before you pick up, allowing you to choose whether to take the call without having to actually speak to them. It's jam-packed with great call-blocking features and it sailed through all of our tests.
Automated screening means that all callers have to leave their name and you decide whether to take the call or send it straight to the answering machine. It also allows you to add a huge number of callers to your blocked list and has highly customisable call blocking settings.
Table notes: Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of August 2018.
Not found the product for you? Browse all of our independent cordless phone reviews.
Bad call blocking home phones
Not all cordless phones are created equal. We’ve discovered call blocking cordless phones that are overly-complicated to set-up, as well as ones that don’t stop bogus calls effectively or prevent loved ones from being able to get through. Make sure you don't waste your money on these handsets.
Call blocking phones to avoid
How to stop nuisance calls with a home phone
There are a number of different ways to prevent unwanted calls. We round up the most common below and explain precisely how they can help to stop these nuisance calls from getting through.
Call screening – This is the most effective call blocking option. Instead of using your answering machine to screen your calls, some cordless phones offer a more sophisticated option. It asks the caller to state their name and business before putting them through – most won’t bother, choosing to hang up and try someone else instead. Legitimate callers will be happy to give their details, at which point your phone will ring, a recording of their answer will be played, and you can choose whether to accept or reject the call. If a number is already on your saved contacts list then they should be put straight through and won’t have to state their name first. Blocked numbers will be immediately prevented from getting through in any case.
Call screening is available on some phones and also through most call blockers.
Last caller barring – Perhaps unsurprisingly, this feature blocks the number of the last person to call you. It’s useful if you take a call from a salesperson or other nuisance caller, and know from that first conversation that you’ll never want to speak to them again. Once selected, the caller will hear a busy tone the next time they call. Of course, they have to call you at least once before you can block them and sadly many nuisance callers frequently change their numbers, which can be incredibly frustrating.
Last caller barring is available on some phones, as well as via your phone provider or through most call blockers.
Anonymous/withheld number call blocking – Lots of nuisance calls come from anonymous or withheld numbers, so this feature will nip such unsolicited callers in the bud by simply not allowing any of these types of calls through. It can be extremely effective, but it’s worth remembering that plenty of legitimate companies and organisations – like banks and the NHS – can also show up as ‘anonymous’ so you may miss out on an important call.
Anonymous call blocking is available on some phones, as well as via your phone provider or through most call blockers.
Individual number blocking – If you don’t want to blanket-block numbers and would rather deal with persistent pests individually, most phones, devices and services will give you the option to block certain numbers. How many depends on how you go about it – services tend to only let you block a small number (around ten), while some call blocking devices can block as many as 1000.
Individual number blocking is available on some phones, as well as via your phone provider or through most call blockers.
International call blocking – If most of your calls from abroad are from a man in Mumbai trying to offer you an upgrade on your broadband, then you might be tempted to block international calls. Only UK-based phone numbers will be able to get through to you, although the trueCall call blocker will also let any friends or relatives abroad enter a special code to bypass the block.
International call blocking is available on some phones or through most call blockers.