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Which Verizon plan is best for you? We check out the family, individual, and prepaid plans

Verizon often brags about having the most reliable network, and if tests are correct, the company isn’t wrong. The carrier offers the best service in rural areas where T-Mobile and Sprint users just can’t get a signal. Verizon even recently revamped its plan to make it more simple and understandable.

But the biggest news recently though might be Verizon’s acquiescence to customer demands for unlimited data. The nation’s largest carrier was the last to bring back unlimited data, but it’s nice to see. Don’t fret though: Unlike the other three, the capped Small, Medium, and Large plans remain, just in case you don’t want to pay for data that you won’t use.

Not everybody needs unlimited data — so for these folks Verizon is going to be your best bet. If you’re just a light mobile web user and don’t need to stream, Small’s 2GB limit should be fine. If you want a little more flexibility, step up to Medium’s 4GB. If you’re a once-in-a-while video or audio streamer, and use the mobile web quite a bit, you’re likely going to need the 8GB that Large allows. Any heavier users really should consider the new unlimited plan.

Verizon Plan

People Line cost 4G LTE data Total
1 $20 $35 w/2GB

$50 w/4GB

$70 w/8GB

$60 w/Unlimited

$55

$70

$90

$80

2 $20 x 2 $35 w/2GB

$50 w/4GB

$70 w/8GB

$100 w/Unlimited

$75

$90

$110

$140

3 $20 x 3 $35 w/2GB

$50 w/4GB

$70 w/8GB

$100 w/Unlimited

$95

$110

$130

$160

4 $20 x 4 $35 w/2GB

$50 w/4GB

$70 w/8GB

$100 w/Unlimited

$115

$130

$150

$180

5 $20 x 5 $35 w/2GB

$50 w/4GB

$70 w/8GB

$100 w/Unlimited

$135

$150

$170

$200

A quick note on the unlimited pricing shown: the prices listed include a $5 discount for single-line plans and $10 on multi-line plans as long as you sign up for autopay and paperless billing. If you don’t, you’ll need to add these amounts back in to get your price before taxes and fees.

You’ll pay $20 per person plus the amount of your data package and the cost of any phones you buy on Verizon’s installment plans. Only the cost of talk, text, and data are listed in the chart above. We get into phone payments in a later section. Tablet and hotspot lines cost $10 to connect, and wearables cost $5 to connect.

With everyone going to unlimited data, Verizon’s plans, while attractive, are on the expensive side. They’re not the most expensive though: That distinction currently belongs to AT&T. The bottom line with Verizon is that if you need reliable service just about anywhere, Verizon’s premium to Sprint and T-Mobile might be worth it. In some areas, Verizon is one of the only carriers with decent service (if any), so in some cases you might not have much of a choice.

Recommendations:

  • Stay away from the 2GB plan unless you’re sure you won’t use much data. App-heavy users will exceed this allotment quite easily.
  • Families should really consider the 8GB or Unlimited plans, with our preference being the unlimited plan.

The perks of the Verizon Plan:

  • Strong service in rural areas
  • A big phone selection
  • Decent prices for individuals

The downsides of the Verizon Plan:

  • Verizon charges overages when you exceed your data limit, unless you have data limit or overage protection, which costs $5 a month.
  • Pricier plans than T-Mobile or Sprint.
  • International service costs more.
  • Its network is CDMA, which makes buying unlocked phones that work on the network difficult.

Verizon’s prepaid plan

Verizon also offers a prepaid plan for those of you who want to save some money. Its prepaid plans are a bit pricier than the competition, but if you want Verizon service, they are cheaper. Here’s what you can get with your smartphone:

Talk & Text High Speed Data Cost
Voice:
Unlimited in U.S.
Text:
Unlimited in U.S. and 200 countries
2 GB with Carryover Data $40
Voice:
Unlimited in U.S.
Text:
Unlimited in U.S. and 200 countries
5 GB with Carryover Data $50
Voice:
Unlimited in U.S., Mexico and Canada
Text:
Unlimited in U.S. and 200 countries
10 GB with Carryover Data $70
Voice:
Unlimited in U.S., Mexico and Canada
Text:
Unlimited in U.S. and 200 countries
Unlimited $80

You can also add 1,000 minutes of calling to Mexico and Canada for an extra $10 a month on both the $40 and $50 plans. There are no data overages, but your speed goes down after you run out of 4G LTE data to 128kbps. There’s no way to purchase additional high-speed data either, which is unfortunate. Carryover data allows you to keep any unused data into the next month, but it expires at the end of the following month.

The company also offers a “feature phone” plan, which offers non smartphone users unlimited talk, text, and mobile web access. That plan is $30 a month.

Data device plans

If you’re just looking for a plan for a tablet or other internet-connected device, Verizon’s prepaid plans have you covered there, too. Here’s the breakdown. Keep in mind these data buckets do not carry over, so it’s “use it or lose it.”

 Cost  $15 $20 $35   $60 $100 
 Data  500MB  1GB  2GB  5GB  10GB
 Time period  7 days  30 days  60 days  60 days  60 days

Recommendations:

  • The $50 plan with unlimited talk and text and 5GB of data is ideal for individuals.
  • Families should look elsewhere for cheap prepaid plans.

The perks of the Verizon’s prepaid plan:

  • Great rural coverage
  • Lots of phone options
  • Cheaper than the Verizon Plan
  • Pay week to week or month to month
  • Carryover data lets you save data you don’t use.
  • No overages

The downsides of the Verizon’s prepaid plan:

  • Still pricey for prepaid plans
  • International service is extra (except Mexico and Canada on some plans).
  • Its network is CDMA, which makes buying unlocked phones that work on the network difficult.
  • There’s no way to purchase additional high-speed data if you run out.

More: Free yourself! How to unlock your phone from the icy hands of your wireless carrier

Top phones at Verizon

Phones Down payment Price/month x 24
iPhone 7 (32GB)

iPhone 7 Plus (32GB)

iPhone SE (16GB)

$0 $27.08 x 24 = $650

$32.08 x 24 = $770

$16.66 x 24 = $400

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

$0 $30 x 24 = $720

$35 x 24 = $840

LG G6

LG V20

$0 $28 x 24 = $672

$24 x 24 = $576

Google Pixel

Google Pixel XL

$0 $27.08 x 24 = $650

$32.08 x24 = $770

HTC 10 $0 $27 x 24 = $648

Verizon has a great selection of phones, but you will have to pay the full price now that two-year contracts and subsidies are gone. High-end phones range from $650 to $1,000, so monthly payments run somewhere between $20 and $30 a month for 24 months. Cheaper phones cost as little as $5 a month.

Article originally published 04-05-2017. Updated on 04-25-2017: Added pricing and info of Verizon’s unlimited prepaid plan.