Keep A Corded Phone If You Have A Land-Line


If you are of a preparedness mindset, and if you still have ‘land-line’ phone service, you really should consider getting your hands on an old-fashioned corded phone that doesn’t have electronics requiring that it be plugged in to power it…

While many people are giving up their hard-wired land-line service for just cell phone service, you might think twice about it. While it’s true that cell phone towers are a high priority to get back online after a power outage (and many have backup power), the fact is that a good old hard-wired land-line to your house may be even more reliable during a power outage.

The power required for a land-line corded phone to work is built-in to the land-line itself. You don’t need a separate power source for it to work. The phone company supplies the power that your phone needs using the copper phone wires to your home.

The thing is, many people (including myself) connect cordless wireless phones to their land-line for convenience around the house and yard. This is all fine and good, as long as you also keep a corded phone backup – one that doesn’t need batteries or plug into the wall outlet.

So even if the power goes out at home, your corded phone still gets it’s power through the phone line. At the phone company office there is not only generator backup, but there is an extensive battery system which supplies power through the phone lines during a power outage.

It’s a simple thing, but it could be a very important thing!

This is the one I have:
AT&T Corded Phone


  1. I have this exact phone for this exact reason. One thing you have to watch for in modern setups these days is that even land line phones that used to be reliable as a back up to cellular are limited. For example, if you have Verizon FiOS (Fiber optic)the signal converter box runs off of AC power. When they install it they install a battery back up that lasts for 8 hours or so depending on the age of your battery (I’ve replaced mine twice.) So the lesson is to know what kind of service you have and how it’s actually powered. The days of Ma-Bell and the powered land lines have passed.

    1. Great advice! My wife and I keep an old land line phone that used to be a military phone (was thrown out when base building was updated). Amazingly it has the best reception in the house, they don’t make products like they used to.

  2. We also keep a hard wire phone on hand. Living out in the country we lose power at least a couple times a year and it is nice to have to call the power company with or neighbors. We have also started to re-memorize all our family and friends numbers like we used to do when younger. Having a cell phone with built in numbers has ruined that.

  3. We got our ATT phone over 30 years ago. Never got rid of it. My wife always felt that the cell phone system was not reliable. Smart girl.

  4. We cut the line about ten years ago and will not be re-connecting it again. In fact, the last home we lived in was a brand new build and the land line was never ran underground or connected to the home. We got along just fine when power outages did occur, and some were extended longer more than my wife cared for.

    All of this was done in order to reduce monthly cash outflow and lower our overall debt. In today’s economic climate, the elimination of every monthly expenditure that isn’t absolutely necessary counts. It’s called sacrifice…

    There used to be simpler times in decades past when people walked, biked, or drove over to knock on someones door, and I’m not quick to pay extra money monthly just to satisfy a land line as a communications redundancy.

    Now, if money grew on trees, sure…

  5. All,

    I’m a RF engineer that designs cell phone repeater systems for large buildings and campuses. I see first hand how dependent people are becomming on cell phones (much to my delight) but I also know how the infrastrusture behind it is setup. By definition cell phone service is “best effort” at best and there are tons of emergency as well as economic features built into the system too numerous to detail here that underscore the “best effort” description.

    Case in point was a service call I was on a week ago. A large regional hospital was in dire need because their 8 year old system based around a second tier wireless carrier was failing. Problem was they had designed in the use of this carriers cell phones for critical nurse to doctor calls and with the system failing people were coming close to dying. The hospital management did not fully understand how many weak links were in their communications link. When I educated the IT manager as to how many failure modes there were and how many were outside his control, he decided to migrate away from cell phones for this critical comm link.

    With this said while many of us have the good old phone jack on our wall we need to understand that not all are the same. FIOS, cable TV phone companies etc require local AC power to work. If the power on the poles dies you either immediately lose service or lose service when the local battery dies. The only truly robust phone is the one where the pair of wires goes directly to a telco CO switching office… and they are becomming a rare breed. Even those systems die when the CO loses power but that system was designed to much more ridgid redundant standards.

    With all of this said cell phones are a great primary/backup but everyone should understand what their comms are and how they work/potentially fail. I personally have a hardwired phone but I use a local cable company so know line AC failure will disrupt my service. I have cell phones on a major carrier and know two towers are close to my home. Also have a backup Wifi over cellular device to backup my cable modem. Backup to that is a pair of handheld radios kept in Faraday cage as well as handheld emergency radio.

  6. We live out in the farmlands (my neighbors all around are farms) and we regularly lose power. A cheap corded phone is in the drawer ready to come out whenever the power goes out. I have important numbers “on” the phone (P-touch/Dymo labels) for the power company, phone company, and a few “others”. That way, I ALWAYS have them available “on” the phone.

  7. question: I got notice from my AT&T that they’re getting rid of DSL in a month & I won’t have any internet or service unless I switch to their U-verse. from what I understand, doing this means that I will no longer have my ye olde land line but instead will have their Digital-goes-out-with-the-power-&-cable phone instead!

    Any ideas (since their customer service leaves a lot to be desired & if they weren’t the only game in town I’d leave) for how to talk them into letting me keep the landline? I don’t care about the internet per say. but I want that phone!

    1. We’ve been going through a similar shakedown with at&t. So far we’ve kept their demand to switch to u-verse at bay by asking them if my old rotary phone will still work. They always answer no, and I always reply with “then I’m not switching.” It may be too late for your area if most of your neighbors already switched over, and who knows maybe I’ll be in the same boat soon enough. I really like having my old rotary as a back up, plus I’ve diagnosed my own line issues several times with it. I keep alligator clips hooked up to the wire ends instead of a phone jack, when I need it I go straight to the box outside on the wall.

  8. In our suburban area POTS over copper lines is not even available anymore. The only option for our house was via fiber optics. The telephone, internet, and cable TV signals are all delivered through the same fiber optic cable. The box on the side of the house is a cable modem powered by a small lead acid battery kept charged with AC power.

    I have also read that even if you do have a twisted pair connection it only runs to the first “concentrator” which combines many signals onto a digital line. From there to the central office it’s probably going to be fiber.

    AT&T has a plan to phase out copper completely.

  9. One important reason to keep a land line is privacy. Especially when talking with your bank or credit card company. You usually are required to punch in your card number, etc. and on a cell or cordless phone, that can be intercepted. It’s not likely you have a petty criminal tapping your land line.

  10. What phone company do you have ? Do you have frontier .because I have frontier an I’m having a problem with them !I got phone calls and when the name comes up ! Its my name an number .an I’ve called them to tell them an they can not do anything about it. !so I’m looking for a different phone company around Goshen NY or Middletown NY .I’m paying for someone else to use on my dime. An I’m tired of it .I don’t mean a cell phone I mean a landline .phone company.

    1. Adeline Dr Groat,

      It’s not your phone provider’s fault, it’s the digital age we live in evidently. Telemarketers have software that allows them to attach a caller I.D. name and number picked randomly using area code and exchanges common in the region they are targeting for their robo-calls.

      I have received several calls on my cell phone where the caller I.D. showed me as the one calling myself, only to answer and get a recorded pitch to buy extended car warranties. Then, one day I got an angry call from a man in my own community, on my home land-line, accusing me of repeatedly calling his home trying to sell extended car warranties. He said he knew it was me because his caller I.D. showed my name and home phone number. Took me a while to get him calmed down and accept my explanation for what was happening. He apologized for his taking out his anger on me.

      If it’s any consolation, the calls shouldn’t be charged to your phone. They will be charged to the phone actually generating the calls.

  11. Hope to hear back. I went through the same thing with AT&T telling me that they were no longer going to support DSL. I fought it for a long time, but finally thought I might as well go ahead and change because I knew it was inevitable anyway. So I was told that even though I now have the fiber-optic line that a phone that only plugs into the wall phone jack (not AC plug-in) would work in a power outage. From what I am reading I am thinking not now. I have not plugged in the old landline phone but guess I will have to try it. Hope to hear back from someone that knows. R

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