Do cordless phones need to be plugged in?

Cordless phones have been around for decades now. They provide a good way for you to make landline calls in your home without having an old school wired phone that means you have to sit next to it whilst you’re making the call.

And although technology advanced each year, cordless phones have pretty much stayed the same. They still use the same connection, the same answering machine setup and the same frequency to connect the phone to the base or dock.

This leads people to ask the question – when does a cordless phone need to be plugged in? And for the most part, there’s actually a very simple answer to this question.

Do cordless phones need to be plugged in?

The answer is that whilst the cordless phone itself may not need to be plugged in, the base station that you dock it in will. Otherwise, there will be now power for your cordless phone to operate.

So, ensuring that the base of your cordless phone is plugged in is one thing. But, you’ll also have to ensure that it’s plugged in to your landline too if you want to make calls in and out from your home network. You’ll usually use the base station for your answering machine, and to block unwanted calls too.

For some cordless phones, you may need to plug it into your home internet via an ethernet cable too. This is only if you’re looking to make VoIP calls from your phone (you’ll need a VoIP enabled phone to do this, most of them can’t).

You won’t need to plug your cordless phone itself in whilst you’re using it – that’s the whole point of a cordless phone. Most models have a certain amount of time that they can last without needing to be connected to the dock.

How does a cordless phone connect to the base?

People often wonder how a cordless phone connects to its base. And the answer is that it does so in a similar way to both wifi and Bluetooth.

Cordless phones use radio frequencies to connect the phone to the base station. Typically in the US, they use the 2.4 GHz radio frequency, which is essentially 2.4 billion hertz per second.

A hertz is an oscillation or vibration, so it oscillates (sometimes referred to as ticks) billions of times in one second to create the frequency to connect the two together. This is how frequencies work to connect things together in general.

The only problem with this is that both Bluetooth and wi-fi use the 2.4GHz frequency band too. Sometimes, this can cause interference between the devices. In the US, you can get 5.8GHz cordless phones that run on a completely different band and frequency.

Luckily for us in the UK, DECT phones actually work on a different frequency (1.88 – 1.9 Ghz). This means that we don’t need to worry about it interfering with our home wi-fi network.

Currently, there are not any cordless phones that don’t need electricity. In the future, there may be a cordless phone that connects a dongle that’s directly plugged into your landline. But at present, you will need to get a cordless phone that has its own dock that needs powering, and therefore a connection.

Can you leave a cordless phone on charge?

After wondering how to connect a landline phone, another common concern is about the phone’s battery. If you leave it on charge, will this have some negative effect on the battery, and will it overcharge the phone?

The good news is that you don’t need to worry about taking your cordless phone off charge when the battery is full. It is actually better for you to leave your cordless phone on charge than leaving it out of its dock.

This is because if the battery stays full, then it’s not getting run down. Over time, your phone battery will gradually get worse and worse the more that you use it. The repeated charging and using your phone will only wear the phone’s battery down.

Keeping it plugged into your charger means that the battery doesn’t run down more often than it has to. So yes, not only can you leave your cordless phone on charge, you should.


With more and more of us turning to our mobile phones, less people are opting to use a landline in their home. Part of this is likely because there’s no need to have two phones, especially one that’s tied to one position.

But with a cordless phone, you can use it without being plugged in directly to your wall. But for it to stay consistent, you’ll need to stay within a certain range (usually 50 metres) from the base of your cordless phone. Otherwise, the signal will be compromised, and so will your call quality.

So the truth is a cordless phone is doesn’t need to be plugged in, but it does rely on its dock to work. And, it needs to stay within a certain distance of that, so you are tethered to one place.

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About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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