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Answering Machine Digital - Digital Answering Machine Buying Guide - The Top Models of Answering Machine Digital Stand-Alones

machines features storage messages

Although many people today use the automatic voice mail service offered from their phone provider, hardware answering machines still enjoy a fair share of the market. Those who choose to take full control of their phone answering system have two choices to consider: a phone system with an answering machine built in or a stand-alone answering machine.

There was once a choice of two different types of answering machine: digital or tape. Answering machines that record on audio cassettes or mini-cassettes are officially defunct, and no company currently manufactures them. Today, the only type of answering machine is digital.

Digital answering machines deliver higher quality voice recordings than tape ever could. In addition to the higher quality, digital systems are also faster, easier to operate, and offer the user more features than old tape recorders.

To determine which answering machine digital system will meet the needs for your home or business, the following criteria should be considered:

Stand-Alone or Built-In – The first option to consider is whether to buy a stand-alone machine or a whole new phone with an answering machine built-in. Stand-alone units have several advantages over units with a built-in recorder. They can be used without the handset. They also offer more recording space and have more features than most phone systems.

Storage – The second of the criteria is the storage capacity for recorded messages. This is the one category where digital machines fall short of the old tape machines. Instead of 30 to 45 minutes of storage on one tape, digital machines only offer from 14 to 20 minutes. Some units have slots for SD memory cards that can expand storage.

Message Time – This differs from storage time in that it is the length allowed for a single message. Many digital answering machines have a selectable length. It can be made short to maximize how many messages can be stored, or it can be long in cases where you have callers that leave detailed messages.

Access – Digital answering machines can always be accessed from the machine, but the better systems also allow remote access. Some of the remote access features are easier to use than others. Some require you to memorize commands and codes, while other systems have helpful voice prompts and options.

Features – Some additional features that are worth considering on an answering machine include a battery backup for use during power failures, auto-disconnect, and time stamps so you always know when a message was left.

The Top Models of Answering Machine Digital Stand-Alones

There are two companies manufacturing digital answering machines that stand above the rest: GE and AT&T. Finding another brand can prove difficult, but Panasonic and a few other companies manufacture them. Here are the top models of digital answering machine:

GE 29869GE2
This is considered the best model of answering machine that GE has to offer. Its features are robust enough to handle busy homes with one or more roommates or even a small business. It has four separate mailboxes so messages can be secured for different individuals. It has 40 minutes of storage and a time limit can be set for the maximum message length. This model also features a 9-volt battery backup. It sells for about $199.

AT&T 1722
This is a more basic digital answering machine, but it still has many features. Maximum recording time is 19 minutes. Messages come date and time stamped and can be retrieved remotely. Messages are protected from loss by power failure and can be up to 1 minute long each. This model sells for $17.99.

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