In the era of modern technology, you look around and it seems as though everyone — from young children to older adults — has a cellphone and the reasons make sense. In just a few simple clicks, you can book your next vacation, shop for groceries, play your favorite online games, or video chat with a loved one who lives miles away. In fact, according to a study done by the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of cellphone-only households risen over the years, reaching almost 51%.

Woman uses a landline in her home office.

However, with the rise of smartphones, the use of landlines in households is becoming less common, with only 6.5% of U.S. households exclusively having a landline. Yet over a third of households use both a landline and a cellphone. The landline is not obsolete.

If you are a part of a house that still has a landline and are considering if you still need one, then read on. We explain the pros and cons of having a landline vs. cellphone that can help you decide whether to keep it.

What is a landline?

For those that have never used a landline phone before, it works a little differently than a cellphone. Instead of the radio waves your cellphone uses, a landline transfers voice calls over a metal wire or fiber-optic cables.

There are two different types of landlines: a corded landline and a cordless landline. The phone base and handset of corded landlines are connected through a wall jack. However, the phone base for a cordless landline is connected through a jack but the handset is wireless, which can usually reach within the premises of the home or location. Many telecommunications companies still offer home phone services that include both corded and cordless landlines.

Elderly couple uses a green landline phone.

Landline or cell: reasons to keep a landline

Landline telephones were the voice communication standard for decades until the rise of cellphone technology. And though they are being used less in most American households, landlines have a few features that may make them irreplaceable. Here are a few reasons for keeping a landline:

  1. They are good to have during an emergency. Since landlines are wired to a physical building or address, this helps emergency personnel know precisely where a call is coming from. Though cellphones have a built-in GPS, it often transmits only a general location, which could make it more difficult for emergency personnel to find you.
  2. A wired connection means better call quality. If you live in an area where cell reception isn’t as reliable, then a landline may be useful to have. Often, poor cell reception means dropped calls or choppy connection. However, with a landline’s wired connection, you can experience higher-quality phone conversations since there is a more stable connection.
  3. Electricity is not required for a landline to work. Unlike other forms of voice connection, a traditional landline can still work during storms or blackouts. As long as the wires connecting the phone base to the jack is still intact, then the landline will work.
  4. They are easy to use. A landline phone can be easier to use than a cellphone. A cellphone has a more complex interface and touchscreen technology that can make it difficult to use for those not as smartphone savvy. Therefore, having a traditional landline around may be more beneficial to those who want a simpler phone system.

A woman uses a landline phone in her kitchen.

Cellphone vs. landline: reasons for the cellphone-only option

As more households rely on cellphones as their sole means of voice communication, there are plenty of valid reasons to stop using a landline. Here are a few reasons for the cellphone-only option:

  1. Having a landline and cellphone can be expensive. Managing the cost of a home phone and cellphone bill could be too costly for you. If you’re trying to cut monthly spending, then getting rid of a landline phone and just having a cellphone may be the best option for you.
  2. Take and receive calls from anywhere. One of the biggest downsides to having a landline is that you can’t take it with you outside of your home. Cellphones, however, allow you to use your device no matter where you are — dependent on available cell reception, of course.
  3. Access more features from your cellphone. As cellphone technology has advanced, people are able to send emails, video chat and shop online in just a few simple clicks. These types of features are not accessible with a landline, which may encourage people to choose a cellphone over a traditional landline.

Ultimately, the decision about whether to get rid of a landline can come down to its usefulness and practicality in a particular home. Before making your final decision, take time to consider if having a cellphone or landline is the right option for you. Discover more tips, how-to’s and guides on life with technology from CenturyLink.