Phone Plans

The Best Cell Phones and Cell Phone Plans for Seniors

Kyle Reyes
February 20, 2023

The great majority of seniors in the United States own a cell phone, and due to that, cell phone providers have worked to create a set of cell phones and cell phone plans that are perfect for them. These plans and devices are catered to seniors who don’t need all the high-speed data, streaming capabilities, and high-def cameras that younger customers love. In this article, we will cover the various types of cell phones and the cell phone plans that are your best bet when it comes to finding a cell phone and cell phone plan for a senior citizen. 

Best Cell Phones for Senior Citizens

The market is so saturated with cell phones these days that without knowing what to filter out, it is almost impossible to make a decision and figure out what are the best cell phones for seniors. This section will cover what makes a good cell phone for seniors as well as some of the best ones on the market. There is no one true phone for anyone, rather, it is about figuring out what phone delivers everything that they need without extra bells and whistles added on that drive up the price and make it more challenging to use. 

What Makes a Good Cell Phone for Seniors?

Step one is figuring out how to lessen the variables on the table. Starting from square one, it is important to figure out what you want in a device. There are a variety of variables that go into a phone, and this section will give a bit of an overview of each one. We will discuss some of the traits of phones that we think are most important for seniors, but in the end, it is up to the individual. 

This is all about figuring out what they will use their phones for the most. Also, there is a subset of seniors who take to the UI of smartphones very well and are able to deal with the more complicated aspects of them. Still, not everyone is interested in learning this new UI and figuring out how to navigate through their smartphone. For them, we have a variety of non-smartphones on this list that prioritize calling and texting. 

  • Battery Life: Battery life is fantastic in phones. It allows them to stay connected even if they don’t charge it as regularly as they should. 
  • Camera: This is best for people who take a lot of pictures. The cameras on new phones are astonishingly powerful, but they also drive up the price.
  • Processing Power: Likewise, the processing units in phones are really robust. They are designed for serious use, like streaming HD video, high-resolution screens, and turning phones into handheld computers. 

These three factors can drive up the price of phones tremendously, turning them into serious purchases. People pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars for phones and many get great use out of them, taking advantage of all the features and high-tech parts of the device to make it a worthwhile purchase. Seniors, however, might not need a phone that’s on the cutting edge of technological development. 

The right cell phone will differ from person to person, but finding one that the senior is comfortable with is a great step in keeping them connected through their device.

Best Cell Phones for Seniors

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite cell phones for seniors with a little analysis of what makes them special. Every phone on this list is perfect for a particular kind of person, and once you find a phone that you think will be a good fit, you can check out our best phone plans for seniors after! We generally believe that seniors don’t need too much from their cell phones, prioritizing affordability over a large number of features. There are seniors, however, who do want a new phone with a lot of features, and we believe that communicating with them and figuring out what features they want in their new smartphone is key to getting them the right phone. 

Samsung Galaxy A13 — Best Battery Life

The Samsung Galaxy A13 is an affordable option that comes with an impressive suite of features and a great battery life. The battery lasts around 50 hours of light use, making it a great choice for seniors who aren’t always near an outlet or don’t always remember to plug it in at night. They won’t have to worry about their phone dying on them when they are out and about or when they have an important call to make. 

Alongside its awesome battery life, it only costs around $150, and it has all the features common to today’s smartphones. 

Jitterbug Smart3 — Best Overall

The Jitterbug Smart3 is from Lively, one of our favorite cell phone carriers for seniors. This phone costs around $150 and is designed with seniors in mind. Its user interface is simple and easy to navigate, and alongside that, it offers all the features of a modern-day smartphone as well. It has a camera, GPS, and it is connected to the Google Play app store, so they can download any application that they want with their phone. As a part of Lively, there are often some sweet deals for new customers buying new phones, so keep your eyes open for those. 

Link II — Cheap, Simple Service

The Consumer Cellular Link II is a flip phone that costs $50 and is perfect for seniors who aren’t interested in the complexity of a new smartphone. It provides all the features of a basic phone and has extra large keys for ease of use. This is one of the cheapest senior-friendly phones on the market and is a great choice for seniors interested in a phone that will keep them connected without having to worry about anything else. 

GrandPad — Best Tablet

The Consumer Cellular GrandPad is the only tablet on this list, but we’ve included it because it could be the right fit for seniors who don’t need a phone when they are going out and about but would rather have a larger and more robust device situated in their home from which they can call, text, video chat, and access the Google Play app store. This device also runs on Consumer Cellular’s mobile network, so seniors can use its full suite of features even if they aren’t within a WiFi zone. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G — Best Smart Flip Phone

For seniors who are set on a flip phone and want smartphone capabilities, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G is an excellent option. It is very expensive, coming at around $700, so we only recommend this phone for seniors who are very tech-savvy and would get good use out of a phone with a great camera and processor. This phone also is very resilient, good for seniors who may drop their phone or get it wet by accident. 

Apple iPhone SE — Best Apple Smartphone for Seniors

There is some draw to using an Apple device. Accessing iMessage, the app store, and all of their other connected programs can make it easier for seniors to navigate through their phones, and we think that the iPhone SE is the best Apple smartphone for seniors. This phone, with 64 GB of storage, costs $430, making it one of the more expensive options on this list. That being said, for an Apple family, bringing in another iPhone into the middle is a great choice for a senior, and this one is perhaps their most user-friendly, making it the best-suited for seniors. 

Kyocera DuraXE Epic — Most Durable

The Kyocera DuraXE Epic is a phone that will never break. It comes in at around $270, so it is on the expensive side but that extra cost comes with the near guarantee that it will withstand just about anything. It is very durable, perfect for seniors who are likely to drop their phone a lot or accidentally submerge it into water. It is an IP68 phone, meaning it is very water and drop resistant. If they’ve had trouble with breaking their phone in the past, this is a great choice. 

Jitterbug Flip2 — Best Medical Alert Features

The Jitterbug Flip2 costs $100 and has built-in features to ensure that seniors are always connected to emergency services should something happen. Lively comes with two health and safety packages that add on an extra cost per month but give the seniors an urgent response system if they need it. If you are worried that they might get into trouble without having a way to contact anyone, the Jitterbug Flip 2 is a great choice. 

Snapfan ez4G — Easiest to Use

Last but not least, the Snapfan ez4G is so easy to use and has a very simple user interface. Priced at $100, it has extra large keys, simple menus, and no superfluous features that may confuse seniors who are not very tech-savvy. It has an emergency button with constant monitoring that seniors can add to their plans for a small fee. This cell phone is great for seniors who want to stay connected without adding a lot of bells and whistles to their devices. 

Best Cell Phone Plans for Senior Citizens

Understanding how much seniors need from their cell phone plan is essential in figuring out which one is the best fit for them. 

There are a wide variety of phone plans on the market, each of which brings something to the table. There are a lot of different ways to go about finding the best phone plan for seniors, but first, think about whether or not they can add themselves to your account. If you are okay with monitoring and managing their account, tacking an extra line on your current account is a great way to get some multi-line savings as well as save yourself, and them, the hassle of opening up a new account and going through that process. Sometimes, however, your plan is not a good fit, and if that’s the case, let’s dive into the best phone plans for senior citizens. 

What Makes a Good Cell Phone Plan for Seniors?

Before we get into specific plans it is important to figure out what makes a plan good for seniors. There are a few major types of cell phone plans, and each one has its pros and cons. 

  • Talk and text plans. These data-less plans are for people who only need their phones for talking and texting, like those without smartphones. If they don’t download apps or use their phone for browsing the web, these plans are a great way to get them connected very affordably. 
  • Unlimited Phone Plans. On the other side of the spectrum are unlimited plans. These are best for seniors who use their phones a lot or spend a lot of time outside of WiFi zones. Streaming audio and video is a great pastime, and an unlimited plan is great for seniors who are oftentimes on their phones. 
  • Prepaid Cell Phone Plans. Prepaid plans allow seniors to pay for what they need at the beginning of the month. These are generally on the cheaper side, making it a good choice for seniors who want to save money on their cell phone bills without sacrificing their coverage and quality of service. There are a lot of prepaid options on the market, and they are great for seniors who don’t want to accidentally add data overages to their bills. 
  • No-Contract Cell Phone Plans. These flexible and affordable plans allow users to switch between different plans every month, perfect for seniors who are new to the cell phone game and are not certain what kind of phone plan they want. 

Best Cell Phones Plans for Seniors

This is a short list of our favorite cell phone plans for seniors, as well as what each one brings to the table. Different seniors need different stuff from their cell phone plans, and it is important to figure out what they are looking for in their phone plan in order to pick out one that they will love. 

Lively Cell Phone Plans — Best Overall

Lively, the company behind the Jitterbug line of phones is our favorite phone company overall for seniors. They have two talk and text plans, one priced at $15 a month (limited talk and text) and the other at $20 a month (unlimited talk and text. We personally think the extra $5 makes the unlimited plan worthwhile. After that, you can add anywhere from 100 MB to 20 GB of data to their plan, making this an excellent and flexible plan for a wide variety of phone users. 

On top of their plans, Lively offers two health and safety packages for seniors which we cannot recommend enough. It keeps them safer in their own home and it gives their loved ones assurance that they know the senior is just one button away from contacting emergency services. 

T-Mobile Unlimited 55+ — Best plan for high-data users

T-Mobile has a fantastic set of unlimited plans, and they have a program where users over 55 years of age can save big on their unlimited essentials plan while getting access to T-Mobile’s high-speed network and as much data as they can use. These are great for seniors who are always on their phones and using them a lot outside of WiFi areas. T-Mobile’s senior plans are available everywhere in the United States and give a hefty discount to seniors, making it the most affordable way to capitalize on a major wireless network’s unlimited plan. 

Cricket Wireless — Best Family Plans

While we mentioned adding a senior to your current plan, companies like Cricket are great options for people looking to switch themselves. Cricket Wireless has crazy good family plans that drop in price big time for each line that’s added. If you are not tied to your current phone plan, moving to an MVNO like Cricket allows you to enjoy very affordable service and a fair amount of data that could be a good compromise between your data usage and the senior’s data usage. Cricket does not have a senior discount, but their plans are good enough on their own. Cricket also does not charge overage fees for users who might accidentally use more data then they are allocated so you can rest assured that you will not see an egregious cell phone bill next month. 

The Best Cell Phones and Plans for Seniors

There is no one right answer, rather it is all about figuring out what you think works best for their lifestyle. We hope that this list has helped illuminate what some of the factors are so you can make the right call by picking out a cell phone and cell phone plan for the seniors in your life. 

Kyle Reyes
Kyles Reyes is a journalist from Pittsburgh, PA that specializes in the wireless industry, phone plan comparisons & advice.