The best prepaid phones you can buy today

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The idea of a prepaid phone has become increasingly vague in recent years. Technically, almost any phone can be a prepaid phone these days — that is, just about any phone can be financed or bought outright and used on a prepaid network. Still, most prepaid shoppers are looking for a value offering, so we’ve compiled some of the best phones offered by major prepaid carriers under $300.

Best on Verizon — Moto G7 Power

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The Moto G7 Power packs an insane 5,000mAh battery, making it one of the longest-lasting phones available on Verizon’s prepaid network. Even better, you get it at a huge bargain. Its 6.2-inch display is surprisingly easy to use in one hand, thanks to the 19.5:9 aspect ratio, and you get a clean build of Android 9 Pie backed by a respectable Snapdragon 632 processor and 32GB of expandable storage.

The 720p resolution on the G7 Power’s display means it doesn’t look as sharp as it does with other phones, but that also contributes to the phone’s outstanding battery life. The G7 Power is able to last as long as three days on a single charge, depending on your usage, making it a perfect phone for weekend camping trips or travel days when you won’t often be near a charger. You can even use it to charge a friend’s phone with a USB-C cable!

Pros:

  • Massive battery
  • Clean Android 9 Pie software
  • Large display with tight bezels
  • 15W fast charging over USB-C

Cons:

  • Unlikely to receive platform updates
  • 720p display isn’t as sharp as others
  • No NFC or water resistance

Best on Verizon

Moto G7 Power

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  • $240 at Verizon

A massive battery and modern Android software.

The Moto G7 Power has modest specs, but its namesake 5000mAh battery makes it one of the longest-lasting phones you can buy.

Best on AT&T: LG Stylo 4+

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The Stylo 4+ is extremely well put together, with a metal frame and a rounded glass back that makes the phone fit comfortably in your hand. It has modern appointments like a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and a USB-C port for charging, and as the name implies, it even includes a stylus for Galaxy Note-inspired notetaking, sketching, and easy navigation.

There’s plenty of room for that stylus, thanks to the huge 6.2-inch, Full HD+ display with an elongated 18:9 aspect ratio. The Stylo 4+ may still be on Android 8.1 Oreo, but it’s still fairly snappy, with reasonable specs including 32GB of expandable storage, a Snapdragon 450, and a decent 13MP camera. The 3,300mAh battery keeps it up and running all day long.

Pros:

  • Large, high-resolution display
  • Handy stylus for sketching and jotting notes
  • USB-C charging port
  • Water and dust resistance
  • High-quality build materials

Cons:

  • Outdated Android 8.1 Oreo software
  • Unlikely to receive software updates
  • No NFC

Best on AT&T

LG Stylo 4+

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  • $300 at AT&T

A stylus that won’t cost you a grand.

The LG Stylo 4 is an excellent mid-range device with a large, sharp display and a handy stylus to use it with.

Best on T-Mobile: LG Q7+

The Q7+ packs a lot of value into a phone that looks and feels far more expensive than it actually is. It’s built out of 2.5D curved glass, with the same IP68 water and dust resistance you’d find on flagship phones. The 5.5-inch display up front uses the modern 18:9 aspect ratio with extremely slim bezels, and the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor makes the phone easy to unlock and start using.

This is also one of the only phones in its price range with NFC for Google Pay, and packs LG’s excellent Quad DAC for high-quality wired audio. The 2890mAh internal battery is a bit light compared to the other phones in this list, and the Q7+ is unfortunately still on Android 8.1 Oreo, but you at least get a generous 64GB of storage, along with a 16MP primary sensor for the camera backed by LG’s Q Lens AI software.

Pros:

  • High-quality build materials
  • Water resistance and MIL-STD 810G durability
  • NFC for mobile payments
  • 64GB of internal storage

Cons:

  • Still stuck on Android 8.1
  • Fairly small battery

Best on T-Mobile

LG Q7+

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  • $275 at T-Mobile

An outstanding phone for a low budget.

The Q7+ has a gorgeous curved glass design and even features IP68 water and dust resistance, plus NFC for mobile payments.

Best on Sprint: Samsung Galaxy A6

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The Galaxy A6 sports an all-metal design that feels great to hold, with a rounded back and a fingerprint sensor tucked conveniently underneath the 16MP camera. With a 5.6-inch display, it’s a relatively small phone by today’s standards, but it has a decently large 3,000mAh battery, as well as an Exynos 7884 processor and 32GB of storage.

Above the display, the front-facing camera is also 16MP, and has its own LED flash for taking selfies at night. Like the LG Stylo 4+ and Q7+, the Galaxy A6 is unfortunately limited to Android 8.1 Oreo, rather than the newer Android 9 Pie like the Moto G7 Power, but it’s still a great option for Sprint customers on a budget.

Pros:

  • Nice-looking Full HD+ AMOLED display
  • Great build with a metal chassis
  • Facial recognition and fingerprint sensor
  • LED flash for front-facing camera
  • Respectable 3000mAh battery

Cons:

  • No water resistance or wireless charging
  • Micro USB charging port
  • Android 8.1 Oreo

Best on Sprint

Samsung Galaxy A6

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  • $284 at Best Buy

An average phone with above-average design.

With reserved specs and last year’s software, the Galaxy A6 isn’t anything remarkable, but its metal design is top-notch.

Best on Boost: LG Stylo 4+

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The LG Stylo 4+ isn’t an AT&T exclusive — you can get the exact same powerful device at Boost, and get just as much bang for your buck. LG puts a large focus on its affordable phones, bringing a lot of features over from its far more expensive phones, including water resistance and a glass backing.

The huge 6.2-inch display is great for watching videos, drawing with the included stylus, and scrolling through social media, and the 3300mAh battery keeps it running for as long as you need. You’ll have to live with older software, since the Stylo 4+ still ships with Android 8.1 Oreo with no word of an upcoming Pie update — but in exchange, you’re getting a powerful phone with a large screen and modern appointments.

Pros:

  • Large, high-resolution display
  • Handy stylus for sketching and jotting notes
  • USB-C charging port
  • Water and dust resistance
  • High-quality build materials

Cons:

  • Outdated Android 8.1 Oreo software
  • Unlikely to receive software updates
  • No NFC

Best on Boost

LG Stylo 4+

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  • $220 at Boost

A stylus that won’t cost you a grand.

The LG Stylo 4 is an excellent mid-range device with a large, sharp display and a handy stylus to use it with.

Best on Metro: LG Q7+

Just like with its parent company, T-Mobile, one of the best affordable phones in Metro’s prepaid lineup is the LG Q7+, which touts an excellent curved glass design with water and dust resistance. Metro often offers special deals on its phones for new customers, but the Q7+ is absolutely worth picking up even if you’re an existing customer.

Of course, if you’re switching over from T-Mobile and you already bought the Q7+ there, all you have to do is pop in your Metro SIM card and it’ll work right away. No matter where you buy it, the LG Q7+ punches well above its weight, packed full of high-end features like slim bezels, MIL-STD 810G durability, and LG’s powerful Quad DAC.

Pros:

  • High-quality build materials
  • Water resistance and MIL-STD 810G durability
  • NFC for mobile payments
  • 64GB of internal storage
  • Even cheaper for new Metro customers

Cons:

  • Still stuck on Android 8.1
  • Fairly small battery

Best on Metro

LG Q7+

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  • $100 at Metro by T-Mobile

An outstanding phone for a low budget.

The Q7+ has a gorgeous curved glass design and even features IP68 water and dust resistance, plus NFC for mobile payments.

Best on Cricket: Nokia 3.1 Plus

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There are other affordable phones in Cricket’s selection with faster performance or better cameras, but the Nokia 3.1 Plus offers the best blend of solid build quality, long battery life, and clean, modern software. The 3.1 Plus is one of the few phones in Cricket’s lineup that ships with Android 9 Pie, with the promise of years of software updates, thanks to the Android One program.

You get a big, bright 5.99-inch 2:1 display, along with a polycarbonate body that features expandable storage and a 3500mAh battery with USB-C charging. There’s also NFC for mobile payments, and a rear fingerprint sensor for quick authentication. The Nokia 3.1 Plus is one of the most balanced phone in Cricket’s lineup of affordable phones, even if it comes with a few compromises.

Pros

  • Years of guaranteed software updates
  • Great build quality
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Ships with Android 9 Pie

Cons

  • Mediocre cameras
  • Occasionally sluggish performance

Best on Cricket

Nokia 3.1 Plus

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$160 at Cricket

Clean, modern software for the budget shopper.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus is an outstanding value with great build quality, elegant software, years of guaranteed software support.

Bottom line

It’s a better time than ever to buy prepaid. Just a couple of years ago, affordable phones weren’t anything to write home about, but these days you can get an outstanding phone for just a couple hundred bucks.

Your options will vary depending on your carrier, but there’s something great on every network. Of course, if none of the phones listed above speak to you, you can also shop unlocked — most unlocked phones work on virtually any carrier these days, vastly expanding your options.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

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Hayato Huseman is a recovering trade show addict and video editor for Android Central based out of Indianapolis. He can mostly be found complaining about the cold and enthusing about prog metal on Twitter at @hayatohuseman . Got a tip or inquiry? Drop him a line at [email protected]