Cordless vs. Wireless… who knew this was even a debate?

So this post started due to an online forum discussion and since I was so surprised that there could be so many different definitions for something, I thought I would do a little blog post about it.  I actually haven’t got much sleep this week, and almost nothing in the past 24 hours, so maybe I am not even sure what I am typing.  It is just as plausible that I am not typing this and when I wake up from where ever I am at the moment I will think of this great blog post idea and then start to type it.  Hmmm… maybe I already did and this is the real blog post?  Got a headache yet?

In a nutshell, I have my own definition for Cordless and Wireless which I assumed everyone kinda agreed with but there are definitely some varying opinions out there… read the instigating thread here if you are interested…

I actually find the definitions in the thread kind of confusing.  Many people define Cordless as something (DECT for example) where I define what Wireless means and throw everything else in Cordless.  And unlike David, I have used the word Cordless several time in the past year and don’t consider it a “90’s term” at all.


The primary difference I see is that cordless devices have replaced their cord.  Wireless devices never had one.

Cordless telephones

Cordless telephones

I define “Wireless Devices” as anything I consider digital or using WiFi with no physical cord… this would include Bluetooth, anything connecting to WiFi, 4G, etc. (laptops, Bluetooth headsets, tablets, cell phones, keyboards and mice, gaming consoles, etc.).  These devices can have power cords or charging stations but can run on battery with no base station requiring cords.  I suppose I should take this opportunity to plug the most comfortable bluetooth earpiece I have ever worn… the Plantronics Voyager UC.  Here is where I would have to tell you by law that I can make money if you click on a link… but I can’t.  I just love this headset.  Every other one hurt my ear after a long day at the office.  I have lost count of how many times I have fallen asleep with this thing in my ear.

my favorite wireless device... Plantronics Voyager headset

my favorite wireless device… Plantronics Voyager headset

Cordless Ryobi drill

Cordless Ryobi drill

“Cordless Devices” are the ones left over, I consider them analog and not using WiFi… this would include DECT devices unless that device will also work on WiFi (if the device has a base station that requires a cord, then the handset is cordless, not wireless)… my cordless Ryobi drill is new technology (not really) that allows a battery to replace a cord, hence, cordless… as an aside, I am not a big fan of Ryobi’s new green drill with the keyless chuck because is loosens up all the time.  If you need a drill and can find the old blue one grab it.  It will likely bee on sale because it was replaced several years ago but it uses the new Lithium Ion batteries as well!

Bizarre Devices with My Definition:

Raimond's wireless Plantronics headset

Raimond’s wireless Plantronics headset

I do have two devices that require additional definition… Headphones can be cordless OR wireless.  A cordless headset has a base station that sends out a signal to a headset but requires that base station and cord.  A wireless headset typically has a Bluetooth dongle / base station connecting it to a device or connects to a device directly via Bluetooth.  So my son has both a cordless headset and a wireless headset on his gaming computer.

Raimond's cordless headphones

Raimond’s cordless headphones

Radios can be cordless but not likely wireless, and usually neither.  If you have a transistor radio or boom box with 124 D-cell batteries you have a cordless radio.  The device itself is designed to replace a cord with batteries.  Your home stereo or car radio has a power source but by definition there is no such thing as a plugged in radio so these devices, while not having cords and can be digital, are not considered cordless or wireless in my mind.  They are just radios.

Can you be Cordless and Wireless at the same time?

FM / Bluetooth receiver for helmet

FM / Bluetooth receiver for helmet

And now the bizarrest (it is the rightest word I could think of here) device I have ever tried to categorize… my motorcycle helmet.  It is a radio but it’s primary purpose is to protect my head from when idiots try to kill me on the roads… it can have speakers and get FM radio signal but be battery powered so it is a Cordless device by my definition.  Wait a minute… it also syncs to my cell phone and provides Bluetooth streaming via A2DP and allows me to make and answer phone calls using just my helmet which by definition would make it a Bluetooth headset and a Wireless device.

My current helmet is a VCAN blinc v210b

My current helmet is a VCAN blinc v210b

For the record, my current motorcycle helmet does not support FM radio streaming so it is a wireless device and not a cordless device.

I am not going to argue the point (maybe I will) but if you think you have another device that fits in both my definitions I would be very curious to hear about it.  Also, if you flat out disagree with me please leave a comment at the bottom of the page.  I would love to hear you opinion no matter how wrong it is.

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