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Best Answering Machine

Despite the popularity of smartphones and voicemail, there's still a demand in the marketplace for answering machines. These products have evolved from the clunky, micro-cassettes recording units into convenient digital units perfect for today's high-tech lifestyles. But even with these modernized advancements, there are fewer companies out there offering good options on answering machine systems so finding a quality product such as this can be a challenge for some.

The best answering machine options out there should feature good sound quality, time/date stamp, lengthy recording times, and remote message retrieval. Luckily, we've done the research for you and have determined the five options currently available. These best answering machines have been chosen based upon the following criteria including their sound quality, quantity and types of features, their ease of use, and affordability.

AT&T 1740 Digital Answering System

The 1740 records both incoming and outgoing messages on a microchip capable of storing up to 60 minutes of recording time. Fully digital operation enables you to access your messages instantly, either on the unit itself or via remote. The same remote feature also allows you to change your outgoing message from any location. There's also a Message Guard Memory feature on the machine that will keep your messages safe in the event the power goes out.

Set-up and general use are a cinch with large, clearly labeled buttons to control options like volume, play, rewind/fast forward, and message deletion while red LED light display the number of messages. At this price you're getting a secure and reliable answering machine that will perform consistently.

Amplicom AB900 Amplified Answering Machine

The AB900 is designed for use by hearing impaired individuals so you can crank the playback volume on this unit all the way up to 40 decibels with a rotary volume dial. But what also makes this unit so unique is that you can also control the speed of each message, either slowing it down or speeding it up as you wish.

One-touch playback makes this machine easy to use and you can skip, repeat, and erase messages with just the push of a button, making it suitable for anyone who has trouble with “fancy gadgets”. Oddly enough, the AB900 also offers voice prompts in six languages; English, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, and French. However, there’s only 24 minutes of recording time, so this machine may not really be suited for anyone missing a lot of calls.

ClearSounds ANS3000 Digital Amplified Answering Machine

The ANS3000 comes with 30 minutes of record time and playback can be amplified for clarity. The machine allows for you to record two outgoing messages and it even has two pre-recorded versions if you'd rather use one of those instead. User-friendly, this machine has big, clearly labeled buttons that do most basic functions with just one touch. Each message has time/date stamp and you can access all of them remotely as well.

The unit lets you screen calls and playback is clear, although in comparison the sound was better on some of the other picks on our list. It also features memo recording, not offered by any other pick on our list, allowing you to record messages for others at duration of up to three minutes long.

AT&T CRL32102 Cordless Answering System

AT&T CRL32102 Cordless Answering System

AT&T's combo pack includes a digital answering system and cordless handset with built-in speakerphone capability. It has caller ID announce which tells you who's calling on both the base and the handset, and an extra large LCD display to easily read the ID and call history. You can access that history through the oversized button panel with enlarged font and huge backlit keys, making it well-suited for consumers with impaired vision.

The CRL32102 is a great choice for hearing impaired individuals, coming equipped with an HD audio equalizer. This lets you tweak the bass, treble, and natural tones to your preferred levels along with four preset audio profiles. The audio assist function takes it one step further to enhance volume and sound frequencies so the party on the other end is better heard and understood.

VTech CS6529-17 Cordless Answering System

VTech CS6529-17 Cordless Answering System

The CS6529-17 brings an answering system and handset together for all the amenities in one unit. The digital answering system has up to 14 minutes of recording time, offers remote access of your messages, and has an indicator light to let you know you have unheard messages. The handset is cordless and offers called ID on a large, easy to read display that shows the name, number, time, and date of the caller.

You also get a speakerphone in the handset for hands free communication that you can take along with you anywhere in the house. Standard stuff like redial, call memory, 50 number phonebook directory and mute are all part of the package. Even the price is right, around $30 at most online retailers.

Marc Gottlieb
I'm a rabid sports-aholic who's been to Super Bowl XXI, the Indy 500 and witnessed Doug Flutie's hail mary pass to Gerard Phelan live in Miami. Sundays are sacred in my household and I'm a two-time back to back champion of my fantasy football league. I played a lot of sports in high school; football, soccer, tennis, lacrosse and I was on the school ski team. I even tried my hand at racquetball in college. I've jumped out of two perfectly good airplanes and bungee jumped off a construction crane. Since then I've worked for one of the top product placement companies in Hollywood, coordinating with most of the major sports apparel labels to get their products featured in films and TV. But it's a life-long obsession with music and film that has given me years of experience with the latest technologies and innovations in electronics. If they've built it, I've tried it and likely bought it. Laserdisc, DVD, Bluray players; I own multiple units that cater to all of these formats and more. A misspent youth immersing myself in pop culture meant I craved the hottest devices through which to enjoy it all, and at the highest possible quality. What I learned over time though, is that the most expensive items aren't always the best.
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