Handset is another term that means different things to different people. Handset is used to describe the receiver on a phone, an entire phone or a cell phone. It is sometimes mistakenly used instead of the word headset. For the purposes of this discussion, we will define a handset as the receiver or the part of the phone that you hold to talk and listen.
There are many handsets made for different phones. Our company, Applied Voice and Data deals with handsets on business phone systems. Handsets are not all the same. They differ in fit, color and internal components. If your handset isn't the right size and shape, it won't fit properly in the cradle to hang up a call or it will fall off if wall-mounted. There are many different colors to handsets as well. Finally, if the internal components aren't made to match your phone, you and your caller won't be able to hear each other well, if at all. Different phone systems, even from the same manufacturer, often require different handsets.
Handsets break. It is a fact of life. People drop them, slam them, throw them and knock them out of their cradle when wall-mounted. It is probably the most common part on a phone that goes bad. Their vulnerability is unique since they are easily dropped and they are in the hands of people who may have become upset.
Given this fact, it is hard to find handsets. Most interconnects (phone companies that install and service phone systems in a local area) don't respond too quickly to a call requesting a replacement handset. They don't stock them or know where to find them. They may be too busy to stop what they are doing to solve such a small problem. I know of a lot of customers who became too frustrated and replaced the whole phone at a much higher expense.
Replacing a bad handset is something end users can easily and inexpensively fix themselves. The first thing to do is to make sure the handset is the problem. Get a handset that is known to work well from another phone on the same phone system and put it on the phone you are having trouble hearing on. If the phone now works, you have isolated the bad component. If not, try replacing the handset cord, too. If that doesn't work, you have a bad phone.
If you have determined that the handset is the problem, identify the phone that it is from. Then order the proper product from your phone vendor or find a company that supplies them. This will save you the cost of replacing the entire phone. If you have handsets break now and then, consider keeping a few on hand as spares.
The above advice applies to handsets for business phone systems. If the phone you use is a residential or single line phone, it may be more cost effective to just replace the entire unit. It will also be hard to find a vendor with an exact match for such a phone.
I hope this helps you get all of your phones working.
Short note about the author
Bob Mrozinski has been in the phone system industry for almost twenty years. you can find out more about handsets at http://www.store.yahoo.com/usedphonesforless/handsets.html