What Is an Answering Machine with Mailboxes?

B. Miller
B. Miller
Woman holding a disc
Woman holding a disc

An answering machine with mailboxes is a digital answering machine that allows callers the option to leave a message for the specific person they are trying to call, right at their individual mailboxes. Small offices, families, or roommates often select an answering machine with mailboxes, because it increases privacy, and allows people to save time by just listening to their intended messages, not those left for other people. Callers will generally be prompted with a greeting like "To leave a message for Joe, press 1, or to leave a message for Jane, press 2," for example. Each individual in the office or house can then simply listen to the messages in their personal mailbox.

Sometimes, an answering machine with mailboxes will have separate security codes associated with each mailbox, so that only the intended recipient can listen to the message, either by standing right at the machine to listen to it, or by calling it from elsewhere, and entering the code. Less expensive phones may not have this feature, and may include one security code to access all mailboxes, or simply a button to press to listen to the different mailboxes. The level of security desired when purchasing an answering machine with mailboxes depends on the other people who will be using it, and how important it is that messages are kept private.

Though digital answering machines initially only had a few minutes of recording capability, much less than the answering machines that used tapes, which could generally record thirty minutes to an hour, the newer digital answering machines with mailboxes often have 40 minutes or more of recording capability. This is important when multiple people will be using the machine. The amount of available recording capacity will be specified right on the box when making the purchase, either in stores or online.

Another consideration when considering purchasing an answering machine with mailboxes is whether or not the machine will record a date and time stamp on the message. This can be very important in an office setting, for example, when it is necessary to know when a certain person called, and the amount of time that has elapsed. For many people, selecting an answering machine with mailboxes can be an excellent backup or alternative to personal voicemail, allowing callers to feel that extra level of personalization when leaving a message for someone and feeling secure that they'll actually get the message.

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