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 that will work with the major prepaid carriers under $325.
Best on T-Mobile: Google Pixel 3a
The Google Pixel series of phones is the purest Android experience you can get. The Pixel 3a brings the price of that experience down to something a lot more people can afford. You get the same camera seen in the Pixel 3 with all of the great processing the line is known for to bring photos to life. You even get exceptional low-light performance thanks to Night Sight.
Since this phone comes directly from Google, there’s no waiting for Android updates and as a Pixel owner, you’re first in line for the newest software. You get a pure Android build without a bunch of extra software you don’t need. You also get a 5.6-inch OLED display as well as 4GB of RAM to keep things running smoothly.
The price is higher than the other phones here, but with more frequent software updates until May 2022 from Google, this phone should last you a long time before needing to be upgraded. The Pixel 3a will also work on the majority of carriers so you have a lot of options for switching without giving up your phone.
- Great Pixel camera
- OLED display
- Clean software
- Guaranteed Android updates
- A little pricey
- The battery is a bit small
Best on T-Mobile
Google Pixel 3a
Pure Android with updates
Pure Android with a great camera makes the Pixel 3a one of the best phones to use with a prepaid carrier. Let Google handle the updates.
Best on Verizon — Moto G7 Power
The Moto G7 Power packs an insane 5,000mAh battery, making it one of the longest-lasting phones available on Verizon’s prepaid network (or anywhere for that matter). 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. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely it’ll receive a lot of future updates.
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!
- Massive battery
- Clean Android 9 Pie software
- Large display with tight bezels
- Expandable storage
- Unlikely to receive platform updates
- 720p display isn’t as sharp as others
Best on Verizon
Moto G7 Power
A massive battery and modern Android software
The Moto G7 Power has modest specs, but its namesake 5,000mAh battery makes it one of the longest-lasting phones you can buy.
Best on AT&T: Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
Xiaomi makes some of the best affordable phones around and it’s possible you’ve never seen one. Luckily, the Redmi Note 8 Pro works on AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks and brings some great specs to the table. If you are looking for something with a little more flair than most budget phones, the Redmi Note 8 Pro has a striking design often reserved for more premium devices.
A 64MP rear camera joins an ultra-wide and macro camera for a ton of photography options. A 20MP front camera sits in a notch and allows the screen to go out to the edge of the screen coming in at 6.53 inches. The 6GB of RAM should keep things running smoothly with the octa-core MediaTek processor.
It’s worth keeping in mind that this phone isn’t designed for the U.S. market and won’t receive any support if it stops working. However, if you want great specs at a low price, this could still be the phone for you.
- Large screen
- Large battery
- High-end specs
- A lot of photo options
- No U.S. support
- Doesn’t work with all carriers
Best on AT&T
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
Fast hardware and a low price
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro packs in great hardware with a big display and a robust camera array.
Best on Metro: Nokia 6.2
The Nokia 6.2 brings solid build quality in a sleek design to the budget phone segment. A 3,500mAh battery powers the Snapdragon 636 processor with 4GB of RAM to keep this phone running smoothly for hours. A camera notch on the display allows the screen to max out at 6.3 inches. This phone comes with 64GB of storage built-in and it can be expanded with a microSD card.
You get Android 9.0 with the promise of future updates thanks to Android One support. This keeps the software clean and streamlined while making sure the phone is up to date faster than most other phones.
Unfortunately, this phone is a GSM phone meaning you should really only expect it to work on T-Mobile or AT&T’s networks.
- Android One software updates
- Robust camera system
- Large display
- Expandable storage
- No support for CDMA carriers
- Battery could be bigger
Best on Metro
Stock Android in a sleek phone
A modern design with a great set of cameras and a smooth interface helps the Nokia 6.2 stand out.
Best on Boost: Moto G7
The standard Moto G7 brings a few spec bumps over the G7 Power but loses some of the battery capacity. This phone has a 2270×1080 display with 4GB of RAM making it not only sharper but more performant. If you like the styling and software of Motorola but want to keep things sharp, the Moto G7 is a great choice.
This phone has a respectable 3,000mAh battery to keep it running long enough for most standard usage. It also has dual rear cameras coming in at 12MP and 5MP accompanied by an 8MP front-facing camera situated in a central display notch. If you buy it on Amazon, it comes with Amazon Alexa built-in, which can be useful.
This phone works on all major carriers so you can bring it with you if you want to switch. It’s not going to be the fastest or best phone at any one task but at this price point, it’s hard to beat.
- Sharp display
- Works with most carriers
- Good camera quality
- Option for Alexa built-in
- Software updates not guaranteed
- Battery could be better
Best on Boost
A great budget balance
For the price, the Moto G7 provides one of the best experiences around with fast hardware and support for most carriers.
Best on Cricket: LG Stylo 5
The Stylo 5 from LG isn’t winning any awards for the best design or best specifications but it has one distinct advantage: a stylus. The Stylo 5 combines the input accuracy of a stylus with its nice 6.2-inch 1080p display. If you want the precision of a Stylus at a budget price, this phone is a great option.
The hardware powering it should be enough for standard usage and browsing thanks to 3GB of RAM and Snapdragon 450 processor. The rear camera will be able to take some decent photos at 12MP and the front camera’s wide-angle lens makes it great for video calls. To go with the stylus, there is an integrated button to launch Alexa and a 3,500mAh battery making the Stylo 5 one of the most productive budget phones available.
- A large full HD display
- Stylus included
- Alexa hardware button
- Low price
- The camera could be better
- Styling is dated
Best on Cricket
LG Stylo 5
The LG Stylo 5 brings the precision of a stylus to the budget category with a large HD display and the processing power to keep things quick.
Most of these phones will work on any carrier but a few such as the Xiaomi and Nokia will only work on T-Mobile or AT&T networks. You may need to get a SIM card from Verizon or Sprint based carriers to get activated. Carriers based on T-Mobile or AT&T’s network should be able to drop a SIM card in to get going right away which is great if you want to try more than one network.
If you are looking for a great android phone that will work on nearly every carrier without issue, check out the Pixel 3a from Google. It comes with a slightly higher price tag than the rest of these prepaid picks, but it has an excellent camera and Pixel phones are first in line for new Android updates straight from Google.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Samuel Contreras When Samuel is not writing about networking and carriers, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It’s the Pentium 3.