The 9 Best Cell Phones for Senior Citizens to Buy in 2018

Find a phone that's perfect for the elderly

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The List

Best Overall: Jitterbug Flip at Amazon, "featuring 5Star, which turns the Flip into a personal safety device that's customized specifically for an older audience."

Best Display: Jitterbug Smart at Amazon, "a fantastic choice for senior citizens who want something a little extra while still getting the basics."

Best Display: Moto E Plus (4th Generation) at Amazon, "with a bright 5.5-inch display which makes reading text and watching videos easy on the eyes."

Best Keypad: Blu Joy at Amazon, "featuring a large numerical keypad that offers easy-to-find numbers."

Best Battery: ASUS ZenFone at Amazon, "with a high-capacity 5000mAh battery that will deliver incredible performance."

Best Prepaid: LG Stylo 4 at Walmart, "offering the best of both worlds: a quality smartphone and reliable connection, without the cost of an annual contract."

Best No Frills: Snapfon at Walmart, "designed to be the ideal device for the senior crowd."

Best iPhone: Straight Talk Apple iPhone 6 Prepaid at Walmart, "featuring an elegant design and intuitive interface."

Best Android: SIMPLE Mobile Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro Prepaid at Best Buy, "reasonably-priced but still flaunting fancy features like a five-inch 720p OLED display."


Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Jitterbug Flip

Jitterbug Flip
Courtesy of Amazon.com.com
4.3

Jitterbug’s large presence on this list shows their dedication to the senior community and the Jitterbug Flip is no exception. The 4.7-ounce device offers an exterior 1.44-inch 128 x 128 display that has basic information such as incoming call notifications and date and time. Inside the device, you’ll find a 3.2-inch 480 x 320 display that’s bright, but still offers exceptional outdoor visibility. The text is large and easy to read and there's a simple, organized menu that’s navigated through the directional arrows alongside “yes” and “no” selection buttons.

The addition of 5Star turns the Flip into a personal safety device that’s customized specifically for an older audience. With one-button touch for emergencies and agents standing by 24/7, there’s plenty of peace of mind for the phone owner, as well as their families and friends. Additionally, the LED flashlight on the exterior of the device doubles as a reading magnifier for assisting with small print reading in dimly lit areas. The included GreatCall Link app assists family with staying up-to-update with your health and safety while not intruding on your independence.

Best Display: Jitterbug Smart

Jitterbug Smart
Courtesy of Amazon.com
3.9

With a large 5.5-inch touchscreen, Jitterbug’s Smart easy-to-use smartphone is a fantastic choice for senior citizens who want something with a little extra while still getting the basics. Featuring the 5Star Urgent Response integration and simplified Android software, the 6.1-ounce phone offers a 1280 x 720 display surrounded by a black bezel. The display itself is sharp, bright, and has decent enough viewing angles. It offers extra-large font and app icons for quick menu navigation. In fact, the menu itself is organized into a list rather than the standard Android “app drawer” for simplified menu navigation.

Running on Jitterbug’s network, there’s nationwide network coverage that allow owners to stay in touch with family around the country. Additionally, Jitterbug includes the 5Star service, which offers immediate, 24/7 access to help through a single button tap. Upon pressing the button, you’re connected to an agent who can determine if you need medical assistance, emergency services, or if a designated emergency contact needs to be connected. Beyond emergency support, the Jitterbug Smart is hearing-aid compatible and offers a louder-than-standard speakerphone for increased support for an older audience.

Best Display: Moto E Plus (4th Generation) - 16 GB - Unlocked

For those making their first foray into smartphones, the Moto E Plus is a great option.

Running Android 7.1 Nougat, it’s a breeze to navigate between messaging, e-mail and apps. It has a bright 5.5-inch display – the same size as Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus – which makes reading text and watching videos easy on the eyes. As with most high-end smartphones these days, it also has a fingerprint reader embedded on the front, adding an extra layer of security to your phone.

On the inside, the Moto E Plus houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 427 1.4 GHz quad-core processor, plus 2 GB RAM with 16 GB internal memory. That should be plenty of space for storing photos of all their adorable grandchildren, but just in case it’s not, it also has support for up to 128 GB microSD card. And speaking of photos, they will look stunning, thanks to the phone’s 5 MP front-facing camera and 13 MP rear-facing camera. Perhaps our favorite feature is the massive 5,000 mAh battery, which claims to last up to two days on a single charge.

Check out our guide to the best basic cell phones you can buy today. 

Best Keypad: Blu Joy

Blu Joy
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Blu’s Joy is an ideal candybar-style phone that offers just enough flash to not feel outdated while still offering the type of features and looks that seniors will love. Beneath the 2.4-inch display is a large numerical keypad that offers easy-to-find numbers and answer and end keys. Powered by quad-band GSM, the Joy is more than capable of running on T-Mobile’s network (or on GSM networks around the world as an unlocked dual-SIM device). The built-in SOS button offers easy access to police, medical and fire support at the press of a single button. The Joy makes it a point to be both senior-friendly and attractive (the leather-patterned back cover that feels great in the hand). Additionally, a built-in flashlight makes for a handy method to quickly light up a small space or when trying to find the right key to open a door at night.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best senior cell phone plans article.

Best Battery: ASUS ZenFone

While senior citizens might not drain their phone batteries using Snapchat as fast as the rest of us, but keeping them powered is more a matter of safety. The ZenFone 3 Zoom has a high-capacity 5000mAh battery that will deliver an incredible performance. One self-proclaimed basic user noted on Amazon that “After using this phone for a week or two, the battery life is truly as impressive as they say. I get about three to four days before I have to recharge.”

The phone has a 5.5-inch AMOLED Gorilla glass 5 display with 1920 x 1080 FHD resolution and runs Android Nougat 7.1.1. It has three great cameras: two 12-megapixel cameras on the rear and a 13-megapixel camera on the front. At its core, you’ll find a 64-bit, 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB memory and desktop-grade Adreno 506 graphics performance. Overall, it’s a beloved phone that won’t let you down.

Best Prepaid: LG Stylo 4

LG Stylo 4
 Courtesy of Walmart

Enjoy the best of both worlds: a quality smartphone and reliable connection, without the cost of an annual contract. The LG Stylo 4 runs on Straight Talk’s prepaid network which provides reliable 4G LTE service. The screen is a whopping 6.2 inches and displays crisp 720p resolution, so it’s bright and easy to read. It packs 32GB of internal storage, which is more than enough space to download your favorite utilitarian apps and music. You can even expand your storage up to 2TB (with a microSD card) if you need more room.

The prepaid LG Stylo 4 includes up to 13 hours of call time and 11 days of standby. Straight Talk’s service is generally very reliable, but users have complained about the functionality of the pre-installed apps — we'd suggest downloading the standard utilitarian apps (i.e. Gmail or Pandora) as replacements. Also, a few users have had issues with audio quality on calls, which is something to keep in mind for seniors.

Best No Frills: Snapfon

Snapfon
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Snapfon is a name that’s not going to ring any bells with traditional phone buyers, but this device is designed to be the ideal device for the senior crowd. The plastic build is sturdy and feels comfortable in the hand. It has a large, rubbery, easy-to-use numeric keypad with answer and end buttons. The display itself is just 320 x 240 and 1.8 inches overall and, while it offers color, it keeps the numbers and text in black and white for easier reading. An optional charging dock supports the 1000mAh battery with around four hours of daily battery life, which should hold up for a few extra days with minimal use. It’s not the longest battery life in the senior phone category, but it’s good enough for at least a few days.

The rear of the device has a red SOS button and holding it for more than a few seconds connects you to a OneCall mobile response agent who can contact 911 or alert a designated contact. The service itself bills for right around $15 a month, but is well worth the added cost for peace of mind. As a quad-band GSM device, there’s support for T-Mobile’s 2G network along with Bluetooth, a VGA camera and an optional speaking keypad to ensure proper number dialing.

Best iPhone: Straight Talk Apple 6 32GB Prepaid Smartphone, Space Gray

iPhone 6
Courtesy of Walmart.com

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect phone for your parent, and you yourself have an iPhone, it may be wise to get them the same so you can answer all their questions. If that’s the case, we recommend the iPhone 6 due to its elegant design and intuitive interface. Plus, do they really need the latest and greatest version of the iPhone? Probably not. The 6 has a bright 4.7-inch Retina HD display, plus dual 8MP and 2MP cameras. While those aren’t as sharp as the iPhone 6S’s cameras, the untrained eye likely won’t notice the difference.

It has 32GB of storage, which is a steal considering it costs under $200, and should serve all your storage needs. The drawbacks? One reviewer laments: “Overall, the volume could be a little better. But some of us just need to have our ears cleaned.”

Best Android: SIMPLE Mobile - Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro 4G LTE

Samsung Galaxy J3
Courtesy of Best Buy

In the same vein, if you’re a Samsung owner and want to be able to provide Android tech support to your parents, check out the Galaxy J3. It runs Android 5.1.1 and TouchWiz, Samsung’s custom skin, which isn’t the latest version but performs slickly in its own right, thanks to a Spreadtrum quad-core 1.2GHz processor. The phone is reasonably priced, but still flaunts fancy features like a five-inch 720p OLED display. And although it doesn’t have an ambient light sensor, it does have an Outdoors Mode that works brilliantly on bright days.

While its body is plastic, its build still feels solid and slim. Lest you forget you’re holding a budget phone, its mere 8GB of storage will remind you. Still, that should be adequate for most seniors without libraries of music and photos, and thanks to a microSD slot for expandable memory, that won’t be a dealbreaker.

See more reviews of our favorite Android cell phones available for purchase.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 122 hours testing two of the most popular phones for senior citizens on the market today. They texted friends and family, explored the features, used the camera, and evaluated the battery life. We asked our testers to consider the most important factors during testing and we've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Cell Phone for a Senior Citizen

Display - For seniors who have an app for everything, a large screen is a must. Around 5 inches, measured diagonally, should do the trick. A good resolution, around 1280 x 720 or higher, will make viewing media a pleasure. But if apps and media streaming take a back seat to texting and calling, a smaller display with a lower resolution will be just fine. This will also save you some money and earn you a better battery life.

Keyboard - If texting is a top priority, spring for a cell phone that has a convenient keyboard. That might be a subjective quality, but for most it means a digital QWERTY keyboard with no physical buttons. Basic phones generally have a keypad that doubles as a keyboard, but that might slow you down.

Camera - No need to pull school photos of grandkids out of your wallet anymore; a cell phone with a great camera can act as a whole photo album. The best phones have rear-facing cameras around 13 megapixels and some even feature a front-facing camera for selfies. Say cheese!

Test Results: Jitterbug Flip (Best Overall)

4.3

What We Like

  • Large buttons and text

  • Includes a 5Star Urgent Response button

  • Excellent battery life

  • Camera takes clear photos

What We Don't Like

  • No internet access

Jitterbug Flip
Jitterbug Flip
Jitterbug Flip
Jitterbug Flip

Surprisingly, flip phones are making a comeback — and the Jitterbug Flip is a perfect starter model if you’re looking for something with simple features that are easy to navigate. Not only does this phone have a 5Star Urgent Response button, its bright display and large text caters to phone users that usually need a little help reading text messages and phone numbers. One of our testers described the screen as “very large” and he said that the “straightforward features” were the best part about this phone.

Test Results: Jitterbug Smart (Best Display)

3.9

What We Like

  • Very durable build

  • Great battery life

  • Includes 5Star Urgent Response service for emergencies

What We Don't Like

  • Poor sound quality

  • Tedious to set up

  • Underwhelming camera quality

Jitterbug Smart
Jitterbug Smart
Jitterbug Smart
Jitterbug Smart

One of our reviewers praised this phone’s intuitive menu design, saying that it was “very easy to navigate through the apps.” He also added, “The interface covers the basics (call, text, and email) pretty sufficiently.” Our testers raved about its durability, with one person admitting, “I dropped it twice and no cracks!” We don’t recommend putting the phone through the same rigorous testing that we did, but at least you can feel confident that it will stay intact even if it slips out of your hand.

However, our testers did deduct some points from their ratings for the setup process. The phone requires you to call a number to begin using it, but one of our testers had to call multiple times before he could get through to a representative. He summed up that experience by saying, “The customer service was truly a turn-off. I would have liked them to have been more reliable and knowledgeable in letting me know exactly what I would need to do to set up the phone.”