There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the best home answering machine. One thing to consider is whether to buy an answering machine that is a stand-alone device or one that is built into a telephone. Another is whether to purchase one that digitally records messages or one that records them on analog tapes. Additionally, there are many supplementary features that can be found on some types of answering machines, such as a backup power supply or additional storage capacity.
Deciding whether to buy a digital or analog home answering machine is often the first step in selecting an answering machine. Most answering machines made today record messages and store the information digitally on small hard drives located inside the machines. Digital recordings are often superior to analog ones in terms of quality, and the messages recorded through this medium are usually clearer and have less background noise than those recorded on analog tapes. Space is limited on a digital answering machine, however, and messages need to be periodically erased to make room for new ones. A person who wishes to save messages indefinitely may consider an analog machine despite the drop in sound quality because analog tapes can be removed from the machine, stored and then replaced with blank ones as needed.
Another factor to consider when determining which home answering machine is the best is whether the answering machine is built into the phone or is a separate device. Purchasing a device that combines a phone with an answering machine can often save both space and money. The answering machine is usually located on the phone's charging dock, making it convenient to listen to messages and make calls at the same time. A stand-alone answering machine is a good choice for a person who already owns a phone.
In order to find the best home answering machine, the usefulness of each of the machine's optional features should be considered. One common feature on an answering machine is a backup power supply that takes over if the power goes out so that the machine can still be used and so that the messages are not lost. Another is a large hard drive, which makes it possible to save more messages on a digital home answering machine without running out of space. Some answering machines also allow people to call in from a remote location and listen to the messages, a feature that is useful for people who travel frequently.