We have a BellSouth Digital Answering System. As an answering machine for your home phone, this 1188 unit is small, effective, and reliable. I actually purchased this a while back. I needed something to screen my calls while I was at home and catch important calls I might like to return when I was out.
This BellSouth Answering System is quite compact. It's only 6 1/2 x 4 x 3 inches and will fit in the tightest space.
You do not need anything to record messages on for this unit. It records everything on an internal memory device, hence the digital part.
The BellSouth system has a lot of neat features. You can set the machine to answer after 2, 4, or 15 rings. If you forget to turn it on you can activate it remotely. You can also check your messages, or change your outgoing message, remotely. You can use the machine's static answer message (male or female voice) or record one of your own. You can use it as a speakerphone. It also has message time/date coding and a battery back-up option.
We've never had any problems with this digital answering machine as far as getting messages. The only downsides for this answering machine are callers only have a short time to leave a message and you are limited on the number of messages you can get before the mailbox fills.