12 reasons to bring back your home phone

Diane Balogh profile image June 29, 2023 | 6 min read

As Mark Twain, Stephen King and songwriter Peter Allen remind us, “Everything old is new again.” That’s certainly true for home phones, which are experiencing a comeback in line with scrunchies, flare jeans and tie-dye. In fact, when, Ooma held a National Telephone Day contest, more than 10,000 entrants tried to win their favorite retro phone.

Do you still have a home phone? If not, here are 12 reasons to plug one in and return to curling that cord around your finger.

  1. Make it easy for first responders to find you. If you call 911 from a home phone, emergency medical service providers and fire fighters on an Enhanced 911 system will see your home address pop up on their display. This is not always the case with mobile phones. As long as you’ve provided your current address when setting up your VoIP system, the dispatcher will see it just like with landline calls. This is particularly useful if you’re unable to speak or if a child dials 911 to get help for a caregiver. Safety tip: Make sure to update your VoIP provider with your current address if you move. And remind your kids that 911 is only for life-threatening emergencies, not to turn in a sibling who stole the last cookie.
  1. Give yourself and your mobile phones a rest. Being connected to electronic devices 24/7 can negatively affect your mental health and your quality of sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, you should try to discontinue using your mobile device several hours before bed and never have mobile devices in the bedroom. The blue light emitted from your cellphone disrupts your sleep cycle by decreasing the melatonin your body produces to help you fall asleep. Take control and turn off your mobile phones at a set time every day, like between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Inform family, friends and employers that they can always call your home phone if they have an emergency. Chances are they’ll think twice before waking the entire household.
  1. Teach your kids about phone etiquette. Children without landline phones are missing some life lessons. They don’t need to answer and direct household calls, they aren’t taught to wait their turn or ask permission to use the phone, and they certainly aren’t used to having phone conversations when they can just text or Snapchat their friends. By installing a home phone and putting the cell phones away at designated times, you can teach your kids phone etiquette—a valuable skill. Start by encouraging them to pick up the phone within three rings. Next, instruct them to answer with a polite greeting, like “Hello. You’ve reached the home of the Simpson family, Lisa speaking.” Teach them to put the phone down to find the person needed (instead of yelling for them) and to politely say goodbye at the end of a phone conversation.
  1. Give your abode its very own phone number. Your place already has its own address—it deserves its own phone number, too. It’s the number visitors can use if they happen to be in the area and want to pop in. It’s also handy to give out a home number for general maintenance appointments and deliveries. Be clear when you record your voicemail greeting so callers know they’re reaching your home, vacation cabin or shed, not an individual. Dub it something fun, like Casa de Cupertino, the Schneider Schloss or La Maison de la Montagne.
  1. Create a central number for roommates. You don’t have to be a traditional family to need a home phone. If you’re rooming with friends, a home phone is also a good idea so utility companies and landlords aren’t chasing down one roommate. Instead, they can address the whole house in voicemails or take up their business with the lucky roommate who answers the call.
  1. Experience the joy of hanging up. While admittedly rude and against all phone etiquette rules, slamming the phone receiver into its cradle is much more satisfying than tapping a screen to end an annoying conversation. Anyone have the number of a good anger management therapist?
  1. Boil your phone numbers down to one. We all know someone—a beloved relative or dear family friend—who has trouble keeping track of all the digits for you and your family. Give them your home phone number so they can enter just one number in that dog-eared address book with the embroidered kitten on the cover. A home number is also great if you have kids. They’ll have an easier time memorizing just one number and you’ll have a good number to give out to the school for the directory and school closures.
  1. Get back to that comfort zone. Some family elders may be overwhelmed by technology and long for the days when phones were the size of a loaf of bread, not Pop-Tarts. If your loved ones prefer the handset and bigger buttons on home phones, by all means, do everything you can to help them stay in touch.
  1. Find your mobile phone. Ever misplace your mobile phone? Forgot to set up Find My Phone software? If so, track down your mobile phone by calling it from your home phone. Tip: Turn off your mobile phone’s silent mode. It’s harder to find if it’s only vibrating.
  1. Receive heart-warming (or heart-breaking) news. Sometimes friends and family urgently want to speak to someone in the family who will delight in their joy or offer words of comfort and advice. If it can’t be done in person, a cellphone is less than ideal. The caller doesn’t want to call a mobile number because they don’t know if you’re driving or in the middle of a grocery store. It’s far better to receive these calls in the privacy of your own home where you can:
  • Give the caller your undivided attention
  • React freely with a resounding hooray or a quiet sob
  • Switch to speaker phone so everyone at home can hear the details at the same time
  • Find a comfy spot to sit if the news knocks you off your feet
  • Pass the phone to another family member
  1. Calm your nerves. Are you feeling a little anxious working in an office and not being home when the kids return from school? Or working all summer while the kids are home? It’s handy to have a home phone to call after school to make sure they made it home safely or to periodically check in to see who is home, remind them to do their homework, and maybe even ask them to get dinner started. Home phones are also a great way to stay in touch with your teens if they lose their mobile phone privileges or are grounded.
  1. Avoid costly repairs. Finally, one significant benefit of a home phone over a smartphone is the cost of repairs. Your home phone won’t have a shattered screen that costs upwards of $100 to repair or require major jiggling to get a charge going. And if you happen to break your home phone, the cost to replace it is far less than the cost of a new smartphone.

If you got rid of your home phone because you were tired of paying high service bills, give internet home phone service a try. Ooma has a basic plan with crystal-clear calling for free. You only pay applicable taxes and fees. You’ll get our Enhanced 911 safety feature that will provide your service address if you cannot speak. You’ll need to buy an Ooma  base station for about $100 and connect it to your internet. Use the calculator to find the taxes and fees in your area.