About Block Box
After plugging the device into your phone using the included cable, Block Box’s large backlit caller ID display allows you to identify annoying calls from scammers and salesmen, and then block them with a simple touch of a button. The website tells us it can also block private, international, unknown, and out-of-area callers if you choose.
On top of this, there’s no set up required, no contracts or monthly fees, and no power or batteries needed. The device even comes preprogrammed with 5,000 common nuisance numbers, with space for up to 2,000 additional numbers customized by you. And if you ever block someone by mistake, simply go back to their number and manually unblock them.
With its big red button and backlit display, its plug-and-play functionality, and space for up to 7,000 phone numbers, it seems that Block Box could represent a simple solution for getting rid of robocalls, telemarketing calls, political calls, and scam and other unwanted calls.
But is it necessarily your best option that will deliver the most value? Give us a few minutes of your time, and we'll help you find your own answer to this central question.
How Do Call Blockers Like Block Box Work?
If you’re old enough to remember dial-up modems, you’ll probably have the unmistakable electronic screeching forever imprinted in your brain. But according to How Stuff Works, the reality is that these sounds represent bits of data—which can include phone numbers. In many instances, it can also include the caller’s first and last name or identifying business information.
But in order to decode these sounds, though, you need a piece of hardware or software. “The caller ID box contains a modem to decode the bits,” they explain, along with “a little circuit to detect a ring signal, and a simple processor to drive the display.”
Well, devices like Block Box simply take things one step further by remembering any numbers blocked by the user, whether by pressing a button or through manual entry, and preventing them from going through in the future.
Given this relatively straightforward, simple technology, let’s take a look at how much you’ll pay in this instance.
How Much Does Black Box Cost?
One Block Box device is priced at $29.99, plus $9.99 S&H and a $1 web service fee, bringing your total to $40.98.
All orders also come with a 60-day money back guarantee, less S&H. In order to request one, customer support can be reached at 844-201-2238. Who, exactly, will you be calling?
Block Box is brought to you by OnTel Products Corp, a company based out of Fairfield, NJ and who’s been making products like Night Angel, Simply Straight Brush, Miracle Teeth Whitener, and Veggetti since 1994.
As of 1/22/18, the company held a B rating with the Better Business Bureau, based on 29 customer reviews (97 percent of which were negative) and more than 380 closed complaints.
Most of these (when details were available) appeared to revolve around everything from less-than-stellar support and quality, to long shipping times and steep S&H charges. A company representative responded in each instance with a resolution.
Block Box vs. the Competition: How to Choose a Landline Number Blocker
While we didn’t encounter a ton of competition during our research, we did come across a handful of popular products with much of the same functionality. In a couple of instances, they also featured very similar designs:
|Block Box||$40.98||Large red ‘block’ button, 3" backlit display, pre-programmed w/5,000 nuisance numbers, space for up to 7,000 numbers, can unblock numbers if needed|
|CPR Call Blocker V202||$79.99||Large red ‘block’ button, 3" backlit display, 1,200 number capacity, can unblock numbers if needed|
|CPR Call Blocker V5000||$89.99||Large red ‘block’ button, 3" backlit display, pre-programmed w/5,000 nuisance numbers, space for up to 6,500 numbers, can unblock numbers if needed|
|T-lock Incoming PRO Call Blocker with LCD Display and Blacklist||$39||Blocks up to 1,500 numbers, stores up to 150 different numbers, password protected Blacklist prevents erasing blocked numbers, powered by landline no batteries)|
|Call Control Landline||$120 (subscription required)||Patented technology works automatically based on numbers others have blocked (i.e., no manual blocking or number input), syncs with smartphone app (monthly app charge applies), can set your personal quiet hours, create personal block and allow lists|
How to choose which of these—if any—is the best option for you? As with other electronics purchases, it’s largely going to come down to your specific needs. After all, as we learned earlier, all of these boxes operate basically the same by decoding signals, translating them into numbers, and then allowing you to block any that you deem necessary.
For example, if you want a true “set it and forget it” experience, along with other patented, customizable features, the Call Control model seems like an ideal choice. However, at $120, it’s also the most expensive among the list above.
On the other hand, the T-lock model comes closest to Block Box as far as price, but it doesn’t feature a similar large 3" LCD screen or red ‘block’ button. Furthermore, with just 1,500-number capacity, T-lock comes with a much smaller amount of memory than the product in question.
Functionally, the CPR Call Blocker models featured the most similar designs to Block Box, but were priced much higher between $70 and $80.
Pro tip: As we mentioned earlier, in most of these instances, you’ll have to subscribe to a caller ID service through your phone provider in order to utilize these types of boxes, which could run you an extra $3-$10 per month, depending on your provider. Be sure to keep this extra expense in mind.
Does this mean you should go ahead and place an order?
Our Final Thoughts About Block Box
While landlines are quickly becoming a relic of a bygone era (currently, only 43 percent of households have a working landline telephone), based on what we learned from the product’s website, its basic functionality certainly seems like it could deliver on its central claim of identifying annoying calls and blocking them with a touch of a button.
As we outline in How to Stop Spam & Telemarketing Calls, though, you also have other free options at your disposal, including minimizing whom you give your number to, adding your information to the National Do Not Call Registry, joining a rejection service directly through your phone carrier, as well as sternly requesting that you be removed from the caller’s list (this might be considered a last resort, if no other options are successful).
Furthermore, some newer phone models also include a call blocking feature (although how many numbers they can store will vary), which could help you avoid having a phone and a call blocker as separate pieces of hardware.
With all of this said, Block Box comes with a highly competitive price, is manufactured by a company with nearly three decades in business, and features a 60-day refund policy. Just keep in mind that you’ll lose your initial S&H charges if you decide to process a refund, plus whatever it will cost to ship the device back to the company.