Best Cell Phones for Seniors

These fuss-free cell phones keep you in touch with loved ones without missing out on fun features.
Best overall
Jitterbug Smart2 cellphone for seniors
Jitterbug Smart2
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Audio and display features designed for seniors
  • Icon Pros  Light
    One-touch SOS button
Best smartphone
iPhone 8
Apple iPhone 8
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Adjustable accessibility features
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Up to 256 GB of memory
Best flip phone
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Alcatel Go Flip 3
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Large physical buttons
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Built-in Google Assistant

The bottom line: The Jitterbug Smart2 is accessible, simple, and affordable

GreatCall’s Jitterbug Smart2  is a smartphone designed for older adults. It has a simple menu with only the essentials like maps and directions, a camera, email, and an internet browser. So there are fewer distractions to keep you glued to your screen.

Even the phone’s service plans have senior-friendly features like on-call conferencing with a doctor or nurse, an SOS button, and a family app to keep you connected with loved ones. Plus, each plan is contract-free, so you can cancel service at any time.

Compare senior cell phones

Best overall Best smartphone Best flip phone Tech pick Best for basics
Jitterbug Smart2Apple iPhone 8Alcatel Go Flip 3Samsung Galaxy Note 8Palm Phone
Jitterbug Smart2 cellphone for seniorsiPhone 8Alcatel Go Flip 3Samsung Galaxy Note 8
List price*
Screen size5.5 in.4.7 in.2.8 in.6.3 in.3.3 in.
Memory16 GB64 GB32 GB64 GB32 GB
Camera quality13 MP12 MP2 MP12 MP12 MP
Hearing/vision accessible
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Internet access
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Contract required
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Learn more
Read review

*Amazon.com price as of 12/17/2020 at 3:13 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer. ​

Best senior cell phone reviews

1. Jitterbug Smart2: Best overall

Jitterbug has been a leading brand for senior cell phones for decades. After taking a closer look at the Jitterbug Smart2, we can see why. 

From the payment plans and features to the design of the phone itself, the Smart2 is tailor made for older adults. This smartphone has all the must-haves like an internet browser, email, and maps without the distractions of social media and apps.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Simple menu
Pro Bullet Loud audio
Pro Bullet Customizable service plan
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Only 16 GB of memory
Con Bullet No app store

Jitterbug Smart2 best features

When you turn the phone on, you’ll be greeted by a bright, simple menu. You can make a phone call, check your voicemail, or send a text in just a few clicks. And the call quality is loud and clear too thanks to the front-facing speaker. 

Our favorite features come with the Health & Safety service plans. For a little extra every month, you get telehealth conferencing, one-touch emergency response, brain games, and an app that connects you to your family. 

Urgent Care is one of the Jitterbug’s most unique features. It connects you to a doctor or nurse for an instant telehealth session. It’s like cutting in line at the doctor’s office for health questions or common prescriptions. 

Urgent Response is the Jitterbug’s emergency response feature. The Jitterbug Smart2 has a simple SOS button that contacts monitoring professionals who can help you in a fall or if you’re locked out of the house. You call them; they call first responders. It’s that simple.

Jitterbug Smart2 service plans

GreatCall gives you lots of options when it comes to customizing your phone plan. Talk, text, and data come à la carte or you can pair them with a Health & Safety plan for a discount. 

No Health & Safety Plan
Basic Health & Safety
Preferred Health & Safety
Ultimate Health & Safety
Unlimited Talk & Text
$39.99
$20.00
$20.00
$20.00
Unlimited Talk, Text & Data
$59.99
$40.00
$40.00
$40.00

The Health and Safety plans get you cool features like Urgent Care, Urgent Response, and Brain Games. Without them, the Smart2 is a reliable smartphone for surfing the web or texting and calling loved ones. 

Thumbs Up
Also check out the Lively Flip

The Lively Flip is the flip phone from GreatCall that acts like a smartphone. It’s a classic flip phone with large buttons, bright screen, and powerful speaker. It also comes with the Alexa smart assistant built in. Alexa can answer questions, provide weather forecasts, or help you control home automation—all you have to do is ask. 

Check out the Lively Flip in our Jitterbug Phone review.

2. Apple iPhone 8: Best smartphone

Best smartphone

While it’s not the latest iPhone, the Apple iPhone 8 is one of the best in recent years for seniors and older adults. We like its straightforward home button that exits out of apps and brings you to the home screen. 

What we like most about the iPhone 8 for seniors are its built-in health monitoring app, connectivity to smart devices, and accessibility features.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Built-in health monitoring app
Pro Bullet
Pro Bullet Quick connection to smart devices
Pro Bullet Accessibility features
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Varied prices based on carrier

Health monitoring app

The Apple Health app is like having a tiny doctor in your pocket. It can record nutrition, activity, and vitals information from daily steps to blood glucose. If you need to track it, it’s probably there.

If you use a smartwatch like the Apple Watch or a FitBit, your device will automatically sync with Apple Health. 

Connectivity to smart devices

There are advantages to going with one of the most popular smartphones around. The iPhone 8 is a great choice for older adults who love to tinker with tech. For example, if you have loved ones who also use an iPhone, you can video chat with them directly through FaceTime.

Apple iPhones connect to a huge range of smart home and health devices. The iPhone is compatible with popular smart home devices like these: 

Accessibility features

As you get older, tasks like typing, reading, and remembering become more of a challenge. The iPhone 8 has the power to tweak almost every aspect of the phone’s functions to make it more accessible to those with hearing, vision, or motor impairments.

Toggle the VoiceOver feature on to have the phone read text aloud to you or hook it up to your hearing aid to hear conversations more clearly. You can also adjust the color settings to make the screen easier on your eyes.

Or for a simpler solution, adjust the font size on the phone to make the text bigger.

3. Alcatel Go Flip 3: Best flip phone

The Alcatel Go Flip 3 is a workhorse of a flip phone that handles all the basics and more. Along with calling, texting, and email, it has Google Assistant built in to answer questions and provide directions. 

It also has some basic accessibility features like Real Time Text (RTT) for live captioning and Text Telephone (TTY) for hearing impaired users. And its 7.9 hour battery may make other phones jealous. 

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Simple texting and calling
Pro Bullet Long battery life
Pro Bullet RTT and TTY for hearing impairments
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Poor camera quality
Con Bullet Tricky navigation

One of the biggest complaints we saw about the Go Flip 3 was its camera. If you aren’t planning on snapping a lot of pictures, it’s not a problem. But the photos a 2 MP camera produces will look grainy and unclear compared to those from phones with 13 MP cameras.

Alcatel Go Flip 3 service plans

This flip phone for seniors is available through T-Mobile or Metro by T-Mobile, so prices may vary. But when we checked, the phone is $100.00 from T-Mobile or just $4 monthly for 24 months. 

If you’re looking for a simple cell phone, the Alcatel Go Flip 3 is a cheap option for just calling and texting. Reviewers on T-Mobile said navigation takes practice and the camera was a big drawback for them. That said, it’s great for the ultra-minimalist in your life who prefers short phone calls and a way to check emails on the go.

4. Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Tech pick

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comes with a huge 6.3-inch display and a stylus. You can do a lot with all that real estate. Like the iPhone 8, it has adjustable accessibility settings, allowing you to zoom in and make text larger or read the text aloud.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Large display
Pro Bullet Easy control with stylus
Pro Bullet Built-in health monitoring
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Prices vary by carrier
Con Bullet May be too busy for some older adults

It has all the new features you may want in a smartphone like apps, internet browsing, a voice assistant, and social media. We also like Google Fit, Android’s built-in health monitoring app. And because it’s a newer phone, it can sync with other health and safety wearables like a Galaxy smartwatch or FitBit

You can find an unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note 8 online, but you’ll need to take it to your cellular carrier to get it working. So prices may vary depending on where you buy. The good news is most major carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T support this smartphone.

The Galaxy Note 8 is great for seniors who like tinkering with home automation, new devices, and surfing the web. It can connect to smart home devices and control your home security system.

The Android operating system on your Galaxy Note works with smart devices too. Here are just a few goodies you can control from your phone:

But if you’re looking for something simple, the Galaxy Note 8 may be a little too feature packed.

5. Palm Phone: Best for basics

Best for basics

The tiny Palm Phone is a bite-sized smartphone for older adults on a budget. It’s super tough and water resistant with Gorilla Glass and a IP68 rating (outdoor cameras are usually rated IP65).

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Compatible independently or via carriers
Pro Bullet Waterproof
Pro Bullet Tough glass screen
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Hard-to-read screen

The Palm Phone is aptly named because it’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Its 3.3-inch screen keeps everything simple but may be tough to see for some older adults.

But it does have a dual speaker for better audio. And its face-unlock feature means you won’t have to remember any codes to use your phone.

Palm Phone service plan

The Palm Phone works independently or with major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Mobile. If you don’t go with a carrier, you can use a SIM card of your own or the one Palm includes with the phone.

If you go with Palm’s plan, it’s $5 per month for data and you get the first month free. And the phone itself costs around $280. We like that you get the option of going with one of the big guys or keeping it simple. 

Our approach

Older adults have different needs than younger folks. So cell phones with large displays, simple controls, and loud audio got pushed to the front of the line during our research. 

We also looked for phones with fewer distractions. The best cell phones for seniors put communication front and center, rather than apps, games, and social media. 

And finally, we looked at the price. Newer phones are expensive, so we wanted to help seniors save some cash for what matters to them, like spoiling the grandkids or enjoying a vacation.

Check out our methodology page to see our best practices for reviews like this one. 

Final word

For us, the Jitterbug Smart 2  hits the sweet spot. It caters to older users without watering its function down. You’ll get all the important features from your smartphone without the distractions and noise that comes with standard phones.

Whether you thrive on the latest tech or prefer a simple phone in your pocket, it’s important to be honest about your needs in a cell phone. After all, you’ll probably use it every day.

Senior cell phones FAQ

If it’s a smartphone, yes. The FCC requires all wireless and wireline phones to be compatible with hearing aids.1  But smartphones like the iPhone or Galaxy Note 8 come with features that let you adjust your hearing aid settings from your phone.

Without diving into a photography lesson, most smartphones with cameras have up to 13 MP to take clear pictures. Many flip phones out there have cameras with 2 to 8 MP, which may produce blurry or grainy images. Poor quality images from cameras like these aren’t as easy to share or print off without sacrificing quality.

Data allows you to use apps and surf the web without using Wi-Fi. Carriers often charge by the amount of data you use and prices vary from plan to plan. If you plan to stream music, watch videos, or play games, we recommend getting a data plan with your phone with at least 2 GB.

You can find a deal on a phone online with a quick Google search. You’ll just need to be sure your carrier supports it before you click that “buy” button. Most phone manufacturer pages will list carriers they work with. When in doubt, call your carrier to make sure the phone is compatible.

Related articles

Sources

  1. Federal Communications Commission, “Hearing Aid Compatibility and Volume Control,” May 2019. Accessed October 28, 2020.

Disclaimers

*Amazon.com list price as of 12/17/2020 at 3:13 p.m. (MT). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy.