Between the cost of data packages and the price of the phones themselves, staying up to date isn’t exactly cheap.
That’s not to mention the indirect costs -- the endless distractions, annoying notifications, or the fact that many of the big tech companies allegedly monitor nearly everything you do on your phone.
With these things in mind, people are starting to switch back to the phones of yesteryear…
Whether you call them basic phones, dumb phones, feature phones, or non-smartphones, this guide is going to break down some of the best options available.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for 2022
1. Alcatel GoFlip 4
Best Basic Flip Phone for Most Users, Best Flip Phone for Kids, Best Budget-Friendly Flip Phone
If you're looking for a solid middle ground between ultra-basic flip phones and the newer smart flip phones, the Alcatel Go Flip 4 is an excellent option.
It offers a few apps (such as navigation, email, and YouTube) while not loading you down with endless options and notifications. It's not the largest screen around, but it's more than enough for quick texts and using your phone more like a phone.
Better yet, the price is right in the sweet spot for most reviewers, making it an excellent value for those experiencing sticker shock from the prices of modern smart flip phones.
Learn More: Alcatel Go Flip 4 Review
2. Nokia 225 4G
Best Basic Candybar Phone for Most Users, Best Budget-Friendly Candybar Phone
If you're looking to avoid flip phones but still have all of the basics, the Nokia 225 4G brings much of the durability and battery life of classic Nokia phones of the past to a modern market.
4G support makes the phone compatible with a range of carriers and provides a bit of future-proofing as well. If you're looking for the essentials in an ultra-compact format, this one has you covered!
Learn More: Nokia 225 4G Review
3. Sonim XP3plus
Best Premium Rugged Basic Phone, Best Rugged Basic Phone Warranty
With its ultra-rugged design, ample battery life, snappy UI, and whopping three-year warranty, the Sonim XP3plus should serve anyone looking for a rugged phone well—assuming you have solid T-Mobile coverage in your area that is.
Learn More: Sonim XP3plus Review
4. Kyocera DuraXE Epic
Alternative Rugged Basic Phone Pick
As with many rugged flips, this one has limited network support. However, if AT&T coverage is good in your area, it's a compelling pick with a durable design, excellent battery life, and all the essentials to stay connected from the work site or on your next outdoor adventure.
Learn More: Kyocera DuraXE Epic Review
5. TCL Lively Flip
Best Senior Basic Phone with Health Services
As the successor to the ever-popular Jitterbug, the Lively Flip combines basic phone features with a powerful flashlight, an extra-loud speaker, and an emergency button to provide extra utility.
Additional paid monitoring services and emergency features can also add peace of mind.
Learn More: TCL Lively Review
6. Nokia 2760 Flip
Most Stylish Basic Flip Phone
You can pick up a flip phone that looks pretty awesome (for an all-plastic design) and meets most of your basic communications needs for less than the price of a dinner with friends.
Its large keypad is excellent for visibility or dialing by touch, and the front-facing screen keeps notifications simple and accessible at a glance. It's even 4G compatible, so there's little to worry about regarding future network support.
If you're looking for the essentials and a bargain price, the 2760 Flip has you covered.
Learn More: Nokia 2760 Flip Review
The Wisdom of a “Dumb” Phone
There’s no doubt that smartphones have changed the world forever. However, there’s more debate lately on whether many of those changes were for the better.
From blue light interfering with sleep to notifications keeping us constantly distracted, there’s mounting evidence that smartphones might be causing increased stress and decreased productivity.
That’s not to mention the impact of constant social media streams on mood, the possibility that any number of companies could be watching your every move, and the fact that smartphones essentially place a never-ending source of advertising in your pocket.
If you’re curious to see why many people are choosing to ditch their smartphones for simpler models, check out our smartphone ditching guide.
It includes links to additional reading and resources to help you make an informed decision about the right tech for you or your family.
How We Picked
The picks in this buyer's guide are what we think are the best non-smartphones (aka dumb phones) for most people.
We selected these models based on analysis of expert reviews from around the web, user feedback on sites like Amazon, forum comments on our site, social media discussions, and more.
We compared the things most people consider when purchasing a basic phone.
In short, we did the research — so you don’t have to.
When answering the question, “What’s the best phone that’s not a smartphone?”, we considered the following primary criteria:
A Strong Battery
A phone is only useful if it has a charge. While standby battery life is often better on basic phones, we wanted to make sure that you could get through a day or two without hunting for a charge.
Calling, texting, and picture messages felt like a great baseline for standard phone use. This also means that unless noted in the description, these picks won’t sit and vibrate or chime all day and distract you.
Easy to Find
While you can buy a smartphone just about anywhere these days, basic phones are getting harder to come by. For that reason, we chose picks that you can easily pick up online or that you might find at a local carrier store.
Let’s face it, most basic phones sit at the bottom end of the price scale. And when prices get that low, quality can get sketchy. We scoured online reviews for each of our picks to be sure that you won’t find weak hinges, dim screens, tinny speakers, or other surprises.
- Best Basic Flip Phone for Most Users, Best Flip Phone for Kids, Best Budget-Friendly Flip Phone: Alcatel GoFlip 4
- Best Basic Candybar Phone for Most Users, Best Budget-Friendly Candybar Phone: Nokia 225 4G
- Best Premium Rugged Basic Phone, Best Rugged Basic Phone Warranty: Sonim XP3plus
- Alternative Rugged Basic Phone Pick: Kyocera DuraXE Epic
- Best Senior Basic Phone with Health Services: TCL Lively Flip
- Most Stylish Basic Flip Phone: Nokia 2760 Flip
Still Not Sure?
While we feel our picks offer a great experience to a wide range of people, there’s not a single pick that will be perfect for everyone.
How you like to keep in touch, your budget, and even personal design preferences will change what you consider ideal.
This is why we make multiple recommendations and suggestions based on phone features , prices, and unique characteristics.
If you’ve got a favorite basic phone, or you’ve made the switch from smartphones to a more simple option, let us know how it went in the comments below!
We want more people to live a bit more and worry a little less -- and this seems like a great way to calm the chaos.
Disclosure: You should know that in some cases, we may receive a referral fee (at no additional cost to you) for products purchased through the links on our site. These links help support our work but they do not influence our content. Our editorial recommendations are always genuine and we try to feature only the best products and services. Why trust us?