Let's be honest, 24 month phone contracts suck. And so do the bloatware-ladened, network-branded handsets that come with them.

We don't want to wait two years until we can upgrade, especially since every top brand now seems to be on yearly product cycles.

And ultimately we'd like our smartphone to come the way the manufacturer intended, without all the additional apps, skins and start up animations that are no use to anyone.

Luckily help is at hand: SIM-only deals are a great way to avoid lengthy contracts and a load of bubbles appearing on the screen every time they switch on and power down.

TechRadar has done the leg work here (aren't we kind?), so you can easily pick out the best contract-free smartphone deal for you.

Not sure which handset to pair with your newly found SIM-only deal? Then check out our special mobile phone features:

So without further ado, let's take a gander at what all those lovely UK networks are offering in their SIM-only plans.

giffgaff

Best for… SIM-only specialists

giffgaff is owned by O2, so no surprise when we tell you that's the network it uses. But because it specialises in SIM-only deals (that's all it offers) you should feel right at SIM-only home here.

It offers a range of plans - or "goodybags", as it likes to call them - which work on a rolling 30-day contract system.

It's worth noting that if you have a BlackBerry then you'll need to add an additional £3 on to the tariff you select to get access to the various BlackBerry services.

If you're eyeing up one of those swanky smartphones that require a microSIM, then don't fear, since giffgaff can cater for your needs.

Cheapest

Clocking in at a tidy £10, giffgaff's cheapest "goodybag" offers up a very reasonable 250 minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited data and free giffgaff to giffgaff calls per month.

If you don't want data included in your "goodybag" (although that's unlikely in today's smartphone world), then you can pick up a deal for just £5 per month, which gives you 60 minutes, 300 texts and free giffgaff to giffgaff calls.

Middle of the road

For those of you who spend a bit more time nattering on the blower, then giffgaff's £15 goodybag may be more suited to your needs.

It gives you the same as the £10 deal, but bumps the minutes up to 400 a month.

Dearest

If you're a bit more flash with cash, and are rarely off the phone, then you may want to plump for giffgaff's top-end £25 goodbag – once again offering all the same perks as the previous two we've mentioned, but with a bumper 1,500 minutes for you to chat with away each month.

O2

Best for… going "On & On"

As well as owning the SIM-only specialist giffgaff, O2 also offers its own range of SIM-only deals.

O2 has named its SIM-only deals "Simplicity", and you've got the choice of a rolling 30-day contract or 12 month contract, which obviously keeps you locked in for longer, but provides slightly better value for money.

Cheapest

Kicking off with the rolling 30-day contract, the cheapest option available here is £13.50 per month, giving you 100 minutes, plus 100 additional O2 to O2 minutes, unlimited texts and 100MB of data.

If you're able to stomach the 12 month contracts of old (we have fond memories of our Nokia 3310's one year deal) then you can get all of the above for just £10.50.

Middle of the road

O2's special "On & On" SIM-only deal is a good'un, offering up unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data for just £20 per month on a 12 month contract.

Unfortunately the On & On simplicity offer isn't available on a 30-day contract, meaning you'll need to lay out £21.50 in return for a far less enticing 300 minutes (plus 500 O2 to O2 mins), unlimited texts and 250MB of data.