Prepaid phone for seniors: Best Prepaid Cell Phones for Seniors in 2023

Best Prepaid Cell Phones for Seniors in 2023

Cell phones are one of the best ways for seniors to stay connected with their loved ones and the outside world. While landline phone services tend to be more affordable, these services are bound to be used only inside the home, and they often interfere with your home internet connection. Cell phones, however, can function just about anywhere, even in rural parts of the country.

According to studies, 92 percent of older adults ages 65 and up own a cell phone. However, many people might not be aware of the high costs associated with traditional cell phone carriers. In addition to charging overage fees and hidden fees, these providers often require users to commit to contracts.

Luckily, there’s a better option for those of us not looking for such a commitment, and that is a prepaid cell phone.

Top Prepaid Cell Phones for Seniors

  • Jitterbug Flip2 : Best Overall Prepaid Phone
  • Consumer Cellular Link II : Best Affordable Prepaid Phone
  • Jitterbug Smart3 : Best Prepaid Smartphone With Larger Screen
  • NUU F4L Flip Phone : Best Prepaid Phone With VoLTE Technology
  • Nokia 2720 V Flip : Best User-Friendly Flip Phone

Prepaid Versus Postpaid Cell Phones

The main difference between prepaid and postpaid (that is, traditional cell phone plans) is the contracts. Postpaid plans from carriers such as Verizon and T-Mobile often lock you into a contract for at least one year. Should you exceed your monthly allowance of talk time or data, you’ll either be charged an overage fee or receive throttled data speeds, meaning your service will be slower.

Depending on the carrier, prepaid cellular plans allow you to choose your monthly allowance of talk time, messages, and data. Essentially, you pay only for what you need, making it an excellent option for older adults who don’t need an unlimited plan.

Here are some other key differences.

Prepaid and Postpaid Cell Phone Plan Comparison

Prepaid Cell Phone Plans Postpaid Cell Phone Plans
  • No long-term contracts required
  • Pay only for the services you plan to use
  • No overage charges
  • No credit check required
  • Best suited for casual phone users
  • Options including unlimited talk, text, and data
  • Most modern handsets available
  • Best suited for heavy phone users

What to Look for in a Prepaid Cell Phone

When it comes to prepaid cell phones, there are a lot of options. We had our work cut out for us to figure out which ones were best for seniors. Here’s what we looked for in our testing.

  • Simple plans: Our favorite part of prepaid phones is their simple billing process: You get what you pay for. So we looked for cell phones that worked on networks free of overage charges and other unexpected fees.
  • Call quality: While today’s best smartphones offer the functionality of a telephone, computer, and digital camera — all in one device — we think it’s most important for phones to make clear calls. All of the phones on this list tested highly in terms of call quality and clarity.
  • Data functionality: Here at The Senior List, we know that older adults are far from Luddites. In fact, many seniors own smartphones and can benefit from their varied feature sets. With this in mind, we looked for prepaid plans with the option of data usage, allowing you to browse the web and use apps.
  • No extra fees: If you’re looking for a prepaid cell phone plan, then you’re likely hoping to save some money. So we looked for phones that worked on networks that won’t surprise you with extra fees or overage charges.
  • Senior features: From large buttons to hearing aid compatibility, today’s phones are equipped to suit the needs of older adults. While the features vary across the following devices, they all have several aspects that cater to seniors, simplifying their use and bolstering their functionality.

The Best Prepaid Cell Phones for Seniors

After weeks of testing devices and reading through the fine print of prepaid cellular plans, we’ve come up with a list of the five best prepaid options for seniors. Some of them provide a simple cellular experience, while others have advanced features like touchscreens and triple-camera arrangements. Regardless, there’s sure to be a device here to suit your needs, and it won’t require a long-term contract.

Here are our picks for the best prepaid phones for seniors.

1. Jitterbug Flip2 – Best Overall Prepaid Phone

4. 8 / 5

View Packages

Call for best price:
855-403-6340

What We Like Most:
  • Alexa compatibility
  • 8-megapixel camera
  • Optional medical alert features
  • Magnifier and flashlight

Overview

Cost: $74.99 when purchased through Lively

Lively offers the Jitterbug Flip2, a modern flip phone that combines the functionality of a traditional phone with the advanced smart features of a medical alert system. You can choose from several Lively prepaid plans with no long-term contracts or cancellation fees.

Complete with large buttons set against a backlit keyboard, the Jitterbug Flip2 is easy to use for older adults with dexterity issues. It also has a 3. 2-inch screen, powerful speaker, and emergency response capabilities to connect you to the Lively Response Team as quickly as possible. Due to its classic design, we also found that it was a breeze to pick up this handset and use it. In terms of call quality, this device impressed us with its powerful speaker, and it even worked with hearing aids, causing no excess noise in the process.

We also appreciated the red urgent response button located on the bottom of the phone. When we pressed this button, we were immediately connected with an IAED-certified response agent who assessed our situation and — in the event of an emergency — would have contacted proper help, be it a loved one or first responder.

Plans: Through Lively, you can build your own plan for the Jitterbug Flip2, with no long-term contracts or cancellation fees. If you’re looking for a basic talk and text plan, I’d recommend Value Talk & Text for $14.99 per month. This plan comes with 300 minutes, and text messages cost 10 cents each. If you enjoy talking and texting without limits, I’d recommend going for the Unlimited Talk & Text plan, which starts at $19.99 per month and features unlimited minutes and text messages.

Pros
  • Flexible, affordable monthly plans
  • No long-term contracts
  • Medical alert features
  • U.S.-based customer service
  • Strong camera
  • Amazon Alexa voice assistant features
  • Urgent response button for emergencies
  • Stimulating apps
  • Magnifier feature to read small print
  • Large screen and easy menu navigation
Cons
  • No data capabilities for Jitterbug Flip2
  • Potential overage charges for talk and text messages

2.

Consumer Cellular Link II – Best Affordable Prepaid Phone

What We Like Most:
  • Highly affordable
  • Large buttons
  • Internal and external screens
  • Hearing aid compatible

Overview

Cost: $59 when purchased through Consumer Cellular

With flexible prepaid monthly plans, Consumer Cellular offers a variety of affordable flip phones for older adults such as the Consumer Cellular Link II. This cell phone costs just $59, before the cost of a monthly plan. Equipped with a long-lasting battery and a lightweight design, the 4.5-ounce phone fit right inside my pocket, unlike most wide and clunky smartphones.

First thing’s first. The call quality on this flip phone did not disappoint. In each of our test calls, the audio was sent and received with unparalleled clarity. Additionally, with this phone’s M3/T3 hearing aid compatibility rating, we were able to make calls while using hearing aids. I was particularly pleased with the classic 12-key keypad with large buttons that are comfortable to use.

For a traditional flip phone, it has a pretty good battery life because I was able to enjoy up to 14 hours of talk time without constantly having to recharge the battery. What’s more, I was able to take photos with the 2 MP front-facing camera and shoot video at up to 720p. Although the pictures weren’t as high resolution as those from more advanced smartphones, this flip phone still did a decent job.

Overall, Consumer Cellular Link II is a great prepaid cell phone if you don’t like being tied down by contracts or you don’t spend a great deal of time texting or calling loved ones. If you’re just looking for a lightweight flip phone with FM radio, Bluetooth compatibility, and physical buttons, then I’d recommend this phone.

Plan: Consumer Cellular offers a variety of prepaid plans that fit your budget, especially if you don’t text or call as often. Unlike with Lively’s Jitterbug Smart3, you don’t have to opt for a data plan with the Consumer Cellular Link II. If you do decide to get a data plan, you can choose from 1 GB of data to unlimited data for $20 per month to $55 per month, respectively. If you just want an Unlimited Talk Only Plan, you can get it for $15 per month with premium nationwide coverage.

To learn more about this phone, check out our Consumer Cellular review.

Pros
  • Simple, sturdy design
  • Great battery life
  • Affordable device and plans
  • Dual screens
  • 8 GB of internal storage
Cons
  • Poor camera quality
  • No internet or video calling

3. Jitterbug Smart3 – Best Prepaid Smartphone With Larger Screen

4.8 / 5

View Packages

Call for best price:
855-403-6340

What We Like Most:
  • Large, bright screen
  • Easy menu navigation
  • Medical alert features
  • Affordable price

Overview

Cost: $112. 49 when purchased through Lively

The Jitterbug Smart3 is Lively’s latest smartphone model, with impressive smart features and a long-lasting battery life that make it an affordable prepaid smartphone option for older adults.

With its large, 6.2-inch screen to view important messages and browse the internet, this smartphone does not disappoint. Compared to other smartphones, the screen size on this phone is much larger, giving visually impaired seniors the opportunity to see text clearly when reading or typing messages. What’s more, this prepaid smartphone also has speech-to-text capability, which can convert your spoken words into a text message.

In terms of other smart features, we also made clear video calls with this phone. When connected to Wi-Fi, our calls came through with crisp video and audio quality. We were also impressed by this phone’s high-quality built-in front-facing camera, which delivered photos that could rival a traditional digital camera. As a bonus, if you currently have the Lively Wearable2, it works as a great safety accessory and companion for your Jitterbug Smart3. When used together, they can detect a fall and connect you to an Urgent Response Agent.

Plan: With Lively, you can build your own plan for your Jitterbug Smart3 phone. With flexible and affordable plans with no contracts, you can get the recommended Unlimited Talk & Text plan for $19.99 per month. If you’re not much of a talker or texter, you can opt for the basic plan, which is the Value Talk & Text plan at $14.99 per month. It includes 300 minutes, but you will be charged 10 cents per text message.

One of the downsides of the Jitterbug Smart3 is that it requires a data plan, even if you don’t plan on using any data. However, there are several data options to choose from, with the cheapest plan costing $2.49 per month for 100 MB of data and the most expensive plan costing $30 per month for unlimited data usage.

To learn more about Lively, check out our rundown of Jitterbug phones for seniors.

Pros
  • Intuitive Design
  • Hearing Aid Compatible
  • Large, Bright Screen
  • No Long-Term Contracts
  • Medical Alert Capabilities
  • Powerful Camera
Cons
  • Must Be Charged Nightly
  • Somewhat Large

4.

NUU F4L Flip Phone – Best Prepaid Phone With VoLTE Technology

View on Amazon

What We Like Most:
  • Great sound quality
  • Affordable device
  • WhatsApp functionality
  • Durable buttons

Overview

Cost: $79 when purchased through Mint Mobile

The NUU F4L Flip Phone is a great option for older adults who are accustomed to flip phones and don’t want to upgrade to a smartphone. This flip phone has a ton of great features such as clear calls through its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) calling technology and faster speeds from 4G LTE connectivity. Other standout features include large buttons for easy dialing and a large 2.8-inch interior screen to help older adults with vision problems view important messages with confidence and ease.

I especially appreciated the easy-to-use side buttons to adjust volume for clearer calls. With plenty of built-in storage space and Bluetooth connectivity to stream music, this flip phone has basic features that are just as advanced as those of many smartphones. The NUU F4L Flip Phone is a great option for seniors who are looking for a basic flip phone on a budget. Overall, when it comes to deals and affordable prepaid plans, this basic flip phone is a good place to start.

Plan: With Mint Mobile, you can pick your own 12-month plan based on your preferred data usage (4 GB, 10 GB, 15 GB, or Unlimited). Plans will vary based on the data, so if you choose the 10 GB monthly prepaid plan for 12 months, you’d be looking at $190 for the cost of the plan in addition to $79 for the phone, which amounts to $269, which is a bargain compared to other prepaid plans.

For the best price, I’d recommend going for the 12-month Unlimited Plan on the NUU F4L Flip Phone, which is priced at $310 plus the cost of the phone, which totals $389. This is still a great bargain because other prepaid plans like AT&T can be as high as $65 per month for unlimited talk, text, and data, which is $780 annually, plus the cost of the phone.

Pros
  • Great sound quality
  • Affordable device
  • WhatsApp functionality
  • Durable buttons
Cons
  • Somewhat slow app performance
  • Average battery life

5. Nokia 2720 V Flip – Best User-Friendly Flip Phone

What We Like Most:
  • Google Assistant capabilities
  • Dedicated SOS button
  • Long battery life
  • Compatible with hearing aids

Overview

Cost: $79. 99 when purchased through Verizon

The Nokia 2720 V Flip offers some of the advanced features of a modern smartphone for older adults who are more familiar and comfortable with a classic flip phone.

Its well-spaced-out buttons provide an easy way to navigate and type out messages. In our tests, our calls came through loud and clear on both ends, and I was able to talk for over five hours straight without recharging the battery. For older adults who want answers to questions right away, this flip phone has a helpful Google Assistant feature for a better user experience. You can use your voice to get the weather forecast or make hands-free calls.

With tactile and larger buttons for easy navigation, this flip phone has a bright 2.8-inch LCD screen with a larger font size to see important messages. What’s more, this flip phone has advanced capabilities that can send an emergency text to five contacts by pressing the Emergency button. With medical alert system-like features, this flip phone gives you some smartphone features without compromising basic features that seniors are familiar with.

Plan: When purchasing Nokia 2720 V Flip through Verizon, you can choose from a variety of monthly plans. Their Talk & Text plan is intended for older adults who want talk, text, and light data usage; it starts at just $35 per month. The great thing about Verizon is that all their plans come with nationwide 5G service along with perks like a $5-per-month discount for using autopay.

Pros
  • Google Assistant capabilities
  • Dedicated SOS button
  • Long battery life
  • Compatible with hearing aids
Cons
  • Poor camera quality
  • Occasionally lags in performance speed

Recap

When it comes to prepaid phones, there’s a whole world of options. When deciding on a device, be sure that it works with your provider of choice. In terms of no-contract providers, we recommend Lively and Consumer Cellular, as both of these companies are well-versed in the needs of older adults. Once you’ve decided on a provider, you can peruse a list of device options right on their web page.

Choosing a cell phone can be a complicated process, but if you go with a provider that doesn’t lock you into contracts, you’ll likely save yourself a good amount of money.

To learn more about phones and plans, be sure to check out our helpful guides:

  • Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors
  • Senior Cell Phone Discounts
  • Best iPhones for Seniors
  • What are the benefits of a prepaid phone plan?

    Some of the benefits of a prepaid phone plan include the flexibility to upgrade or cancel your service at any time. Usually, a prepaid phone plan doesn’t tie you to a long-term contract or subject you to cancellation fees or other hidden fees.

  • Are prepaid cell phone plans cheaper than traditional ones?

    In general, prepaid cell phone plans tend to be cheaper than traditional, postpaid cell phone plans. However, this varies from provider to provider.

  • Can you get a smartphone with a prepaid provider?

    Yes, you can purchase a new smartphone and look into a prepaid phone plan instead of a traditional plan. In some cases, you may be able to find affordable prepaid plans for as low as $25 per month.

  • Does Verizon offer prepaid phone plans?

    Yes, Verizon offers prepaid phone plans starting at $25 per month.

The 7 Best Cell Phones for Seniors of 2023

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. Why Trust Us?

Best for Photos

SAMSUNG Galaxy A32 Smartphone for Seniors

Best for Photos

SAMSUNG Galaxy A32 Smartphone for Seniors

$340 at Amazon

Pros
  • Multiple camera lenses
  • Long battery life
  • Attractive design
Cons
  • Low resolution

This affordably priced smartphone from Samsung comes fully equipped with features like a long-lasting battery, 64 gigabytes of storage, and four different camera lenses (perfect for the grandparent who loves to take pictures and videos).

Edge-to-edge, the phone screen measures 6.5 inches—larger than many other smartphones on the market. The display picture is bold and crisp, which can be beneficial for someone older with vision impairments, but the resolution isn’t as high as some competitors.

The device has a fast internal processor and a Gorilla Glass display, so it is less likely to crack or break when dropped.

Key Specs

Best For Taking pictures/videos, internet browsing, texting and calling
Battery Life Up to 12 hours
Carrier Compatability Unlocked
Storage 128 GB
Features Multiple camera lenses, large display screen, Gorilla Glass

Best Flip Phone

LIVELY Jitterbug Flip2 Cell Phone for Seniors

Best Flip Phone

LIVELY Jitterbug Flip2 Cell Phone for Seniors

Now 20% Off

$80 at Amazon$75 at Walmart

Pros
  • Urgent Response button
  • Simple main menu design
  • Amazon Alexa capability
  • Very affordable price, both the device and the plan
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
Cons
  • Setting up the menu can be confusing

For a minimalistic phone with basic capabilities, the Jitterbug Flip2 from Lively is the way to go. It has large buttons and on-screen text for readability, and an Urgent Response button that provides an easy way to contact nurses and doctors around the clock.

The device is also compatible with Amazon Alexa for voice navigation of the phone, as well as a simple and straightforward list-based menu design that won’t break your brain trying to figure out. There are plans available for unlimited talk and text, too.

Key Specs

Best For Texting and calling
Storage Not listed
Battery Life Up to 12 hours
Carrier Compatability Unlocked
Features Urgent Response button, Amazon Alexa, large buttons

Best High-Tech

SAMSUNG Galaxy S22 Ultra Smartphone for Seniors

Best High-Tech

SAMSUNG Galaxy S22 Ultra Smartphone for Seniors

Now 16% Off

$1,002 at Amazon$1,009 at Walmart

Pros
  • Stylus included
  • Large screen display
  • High-resolution
  • Long battery life and quick charge time
Cons
  • Back of phone can scratch easily

This is certainly the most pricey device on our list, but the Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with an included S-pen that’s great for taking notes and navigating between apps and different screens. The 108-megapixel photo resolution is the highest available for cellular devices today, so pics are as crisp as they can get.

The screen size is also a little larger than the other Samsung Galaxy device listed above, with an edge-to-edge measurement of 6.8 inches. This pick is great for seniors who are already comfortable using touch screens, and want lots of features to play with.

Key Specs

Best For Writing and navigating screens, taking pictures/videos, texting and calling
Battery Life Not listed
Storage 128 GB
Carrier Compatability Unlocked
Features S-pen, multiple camera lenses, large display screen, Gorilla Glass

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Best Simple Smartphone

Lively Jitterbug Smart3

Best Simple Smartphone

Lively Jitterbug Smart3

Now 25% Off

$112 at Walmart

Pros
  • Large and easy-to-read font
  • Straightforward main menu
  • Urgent Response button
Cons
  • Middling camera quality

Another reliable choice from Lively, the Jitterbug Smart3 is an uncomplicated smartphone with a lot of capability. The main menu is in a simple list design with a large, legible font.

There is an Urgent Response button like the Jitterbug Flip2, but this device is also compatible with the Lively Link app, which sends emergency alerts and location information to a loved one without interfering with your independence.

The device has a long battery life, and voice typing allows you to stay in touch wherever and however you want to. Best of all, the interface is designed with seniors in mind, with large icons and intuitive menus

Key Specs

Best For Internet browsing, texting and calling
Battery Life Up to 22 hours
Storage 32 GB
Carrier Compatability Lively
Features Lively Link and Lively Rides apps, Urgent Response, video calling, large fonts

Best Battery Life

Motorola Moto G Power Smartphone for Seniors

Best Battery Life

Motorola Moto G Power Smartphone for Seniors

$230 at Amazon

Pros
  • Long battery life
  • High refresh rate
  • 50-megapixel camera
  • Compatible with most cell phone carriers
Cons
  • Not the best resolution

The Moto G Power offers an excellent battery life (up to 72 hours from one full charge), which can be helpful in the case of a grandparent or elderly loved one who forgets to charge their phone on a regular basis.

The device has a higher refresh rate than others on this list, which makes for a less choppy browsing and streaming experience. The large storage capability makes saving pictures, videos, and documents a breeze, and you won’t often have to clear out space for more data.

There is a lower display resolution, however, so while the screen may show bright and bold colors, there might be some pixelation on certain images or videos.

Key Specs

Best For Internet browsing, texting and calling
Storage 128 GB
Battery Life Up to 72 hours
Carrier Compatability Unlocked
Features Long battery life, high refresh rate, decent camera lenses

Best Features for Hearing Impaired

Nokia 2780 Flip Phone for Seniors

Best Features for Hearing Impaired

Nokia 2780 Flip Phone for Seniors

$85 at Amazon$89 at Walmart

Pros
  • Compatible with major cell phone carriers
  • Very long battery life
  • Front display screen
Cons
  • Not as durable as other options

This flip phone has a front display screen, so seniors can see the caller ID, take pictures, and check the time without even opening the device. Nokia boasts an 18-day standby time from a single charge and seven hours of talk time, making this a viable option for seniors who don’t use the phone much, but need to be accessible to loved ones.

There are large buttons and an easy-to-navigate home screen, and most importantly, you can connect your hearing aids right to the phone to make sure you don’t struggle to hear calls. This phone is also fit with real-time text, an assistive technology tool that sends messages immediately as you type them without having to hit send.

Key Specs

Best For Calling and texting
Battery Life Up to 18 days (standby time)
Storage 512 MB
Carrier Compatability Unlocked
Features Hearing aid compatibility, real-time text, long battery life, large buttons

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Best iPhone

Apple iPhone 13 Mini (128 GB)

Best iPhone

Apple iPhone 13 Mini (128 GB)

$729 at Amazon

Pros
  • Ultra wide camera lens
  • Accessibility menu in settings
  • Quality resolution display screen
Cons
  • Accessibility settings can be complicated to set up

The iPhone 12 Mini is a smaller mobile device compared to some of the newer models on the market, but it has the same functionality as any other Apple device.

The intuitive swipe technology makes it easy to navigate between screens, and swipe-to-text might be easier for seniors who have trouble typing on a touchscreen.

In Settings, there is an Accessibility menu, so seniors can customize their cell phone experience by turning on the screen reading feature, so they can hear the content on a page, or adding AdaptiveTouch for an easier time touching the screen or using an adaptive accessory with your phone.

Apple is a favorite for accessibility because of its customizability, but if you aren’t comfortable with touch screens, you might need a hand diving into the settings to configure your iPhone just how you need it.

Key Specs

Best For Streaming, browsing internet, taking pictures and videos, calling and texting, downloads
Battery Life Up to 17 hrs.
Storage Up to 512 GB
Carrier Compatability Locked
Special Features Swipe screen, accessibility customization, quality cameras

Best iPhone

Apple iPhone 12 Mini

Best iPhone

Apple iPhone 12 Mini

$729 at Amazon$524 at Walmart

Pros
  • Ultra wide camera lens
  • Accessibility menu in settings
  • Quality resolution display screen
Cons
  • Only available with Cricket Wireless carrier subscription

The iPhone 12 Mini is a smaller mobile device compared to some of the newer models on the market, but it has the same functionality as any other Apple device.

The intuitive swipe technology makes it easy to navigate between screens, and swipe-to-text might be easier for seniors who have trouble typing on a touchscreen.

In “Settings”, there is an Accessibility menu, so seniors can customize their cell phone experience by turning on the screen reading feature, so they can hear the content on a page, or, adding AdaptiveTouch for an easier time touching the screen or using an adaptive accessory with your phone.

Apple is a favorite for accessibility because of its customizability, but if you aren’t comfortable with touch screens, you might need a hand diving into the settings to configure your iPhone just how you need it.

Key Specs

Best For Streaming, browsing internet, taking pictures and videos, calling and texting, downloads
Battery Life Up to 15 hours
Storage Up to 512 GB
Carrier Compatability Locked
Features Swipe screen, accessibility customization, quality cameras

Amber Joglar

Digital Content Producer

Amber is the Digital Content Producer for Popular Mechanics, Runner’s World and Bicycling, where she covers a range of tasks for the commerce team.