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.
Remember, for any call-blocking phone to work you will need to activate your Caller ID with your landline network provider. They may do this for free but some may have a monthly charge.
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
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.
This is a high-quality phone that’s packed with a number of nifty features and which can be linked with your mobile to sync your contacts. It incorporates a virtual secretary which screens your calls, instantly connecting friends and family while asking anyone else to explain why they're calling.
This excellent home phone uses the same trueCall virtual assistant system as our top rated call blocking phone, enabling you to decide who you want to speak to. Calls are clear and it also has an extensive range, though it has a smaller memory than its more expensive sister model, so can record fewer answering machine messages and store fewer contacts.
This phone has extensive call-blocking features and can block up to 1,000 numbers - either specific numbers or those including a strings of digits (for example, all those which begin with 0871 or 0203). It can also block withheld numbers though not international or mobile callers. Blocked callers are disconnected and can't leave a voice message.
This good value model lets you automatically reject up to 100 specific numbers as well as different types of calls such as those from international or withheld numbers. There's also a call-blocking button to reject a call as it comes in plus a Do Not Disturb feature that will prevent all but your specially tagged VIP callers getting through during a set time.
Table notes: Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of September 2019.
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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.