Small businesses and large businesses alike have had to change how they operate dramatically. But these moments of change are the best opportunities to upgrade your business practices and modernize your company. Take advantage of this time in history to switch to more advanced business phone services using VoIP.
Just as Netflix and Hulu are putting cable companies in their place, VoIP phone systems are making your local phone service sweat. They can do everything your local phone company can, and so much more. Once you go VoIP, there’s no going back. But before you make the switch, take some time to evaluate your business’s needs and then check out our 10 best VoIP phone services.
Top 10 Business VoIP Phone Service Solutions to Consider in 2021
What Is a VoIP Phone System?
VoIP is shorthand for Voice over Internet Protocol, which is how devices transmit voice data in real-time over the internet. Instead of using traditional phone lines, which rely on electrical impulses at specific frequencies, VoIP systems take your voice and cram it into a data packet, which then gets sent to another device. That device opens up the packet, hears your voice, and responds in kind.
VoIP phone service works on all of your devices, including your mobile phone! There are mobile and desktop apps that can allow you to make and receive calls from literally any computer, tablet, laptop, mobile phone, and probably even Bloomberg terminals. VoIP phone systems basically turn every device into a phone, and give them more features than your phone ever could.
Can You Use a Normal Phone With VoIP?
Maybe your great grandfather was a world-renowned phonesmith. He handcrafted his phones with a level of artisanship that simply will never be seen again. He left you a beautiful phone carved out of ivory, and despite the ethical quandaries, you still love how it looks on your desk. Well, the best VoIP phone services will let you use your precious heirloom, even with a virtual phone number!
That’s right, some services can give you adapters that let you use regular phones on a VoIP phone system. So, if your hipster office thinks it’s cool to use rotary phones at every desk and force people to stand up in booths to make calls like it’s the 1930s, you can do that. If you decide to keep your traditional phone line along with VoIP, there’s a way to bridge the two systems to use them both at once.
What Do You Need to Install a VoIP Business Phone System?
VoIP doesn’t use the same technology as your landline, so you may need to make some changes to your office infrastructure before going all-in on VoIP phone systems. The most important thing is to have a high-speed internet connection. Large businesses likely already have the best internet connection available, but small businesses may need to upgrade.
Even if your business has an internet connection that’s so fast you can see the memes before they’re even created, you need to think about how your devices access that connection. VoIP works best over Ethernet cables, although modern Wi-Fi 6 connections work very well with VoIP. If you don’t have enough ports or routers, you may experience lag or poor audio quality.
Once your internet connection situation is under control, you need a VoIP provider that has mobile and desktop apps for the platforms you use. Make sure that your VoIP provider supports Mac and Windows, iOS and Android, and if they have Linux support then that’s a huge plus.
Do VoIP Providers Have Features Like Caller ID and Call Forwarding?
Don’t worry: VoIP providers have all of the features of your phone company and then some! Caller ID and call forwarding are standard features that basically every VoIP provider offers with even their most basic business phone system. In fact, most VoIP providers even offer features like unlimited calling with their most affordable plans.
That’s why more small businesses are switching to VoIP phone service. You can actually save money and get more bang for your buck by using VoIP. Many VoIP providers include a free toll-free number for your business as well! That usually costs extra with your phone company.
You can get more advanced features like call recording or call analytics too. That’s just the tip of the VoIP iceberg.
What’s the Best Business VoIP System?
The best VoIP phone service for your business is going to depend on your needs and your budget. If all you need is a cheap way to make and receive calls, don’t splurge on the fancier options we present here.
As we examine your options, consider what features catch your attention and could be useful for your business. Pay attention to the costs of each VoIP provider and think about how much you’d be willing to dedicate to your business phone service. Take a close look at your current phone service bill to get a better idea of how much you could save too!
Some VoIP providers on our list are more focused on providing small business VoIP solutions, while others are clearly designed for large businesses. Still others are flexible and could be suitable for all types of businesses. This list is not a ranking, by the way. These are just ten VoIP providers we think you should investigate for your business phone service.
#1: Nextiva: Unified Communications Platform
Nextiva is one of the best business VoIP options that we’ve come across. They provide unified communications via a platform that works on all devices through their mobile and desktop apps. They are a very forward-thinking company with several advanced features that other services lack.
They’ve got it all under one roof, which is great if you’re looking to simplify your business operations. Their system is focused on improving your customer service by analyzing your calls and giving you suggestions for how to make them better. There are plenty of automation tools as well.
Nextiva offers a cloud-hosted PBX, which is important if you need extensions in your office. Their VoIP service has all the basic calling features, including call forwarding and caller ID, and you’ll get a business phone number from Nextiva when you sign up. In fact, each registered user gets their own phone number!
Their call center functionality is excellent. It allows you to configure which phone numbers ring and what devices should light up when a number is called. Their unified communications platform covers everything from text messaging to video conferencing so your team can stay connected.
Nextiva Pricing and Recommendations
Nextiva is more expensive than other options when you only sign up for 1-4 users per month. At $23.95 per user per month for the essential plan, there are other options on this list that beat Nextiva in terms of pricing and features. The full Nextiva experience costs $37.95 per user per month.
All of Nextiva’s plans drop by $2 per month when you have 5 users and another $3 a month when you have 20. It becomes a better deal for medium-sized businesses.
We wouldn’t say Nextiva is best for small businesses simply because of its high price for very small groups. If you’re a startup, you may want to look elsewhere. But if you already have a moderately sized workforce, Nextiva could be the ticket to big growth for your business.
#2: RingCentral: Small Business Phone System
RingCentral competes directly with Nextiva in a number of ways. However, RingCentral focuses a bit more on calling features and less on some of the AI and analytics features that Nextiva is known for. Both have similar plans and pricing structures.
Like Nextiva, you can get a cloud-based PBX to power your office phones. Their mobile app is excellent and feels as good as a dedicated messaging app like WhatsApp or Messenger. They also offer lots of international calls, and unlimited calling to the US and Canada is standard with all of their plans.
RingCentral is extremely easy to use and makes it easy to invite clients or guests to participate in your group chats, meaning you don’t need to pay for every single user if you manage your phone numbers intelligently.
RingCentral Office provides you with everything you need for unified communications and smooth teamwork. Each user you register will get a virtual phone number and access to the company’s apps, where you can share files and send messages to coworkers or to groups you create. Voicemail to email is a standard feature, as is unlimited calling. If you need video conferencing, RingCentral’s Glip app is completely free to use!
RingCentral Pricing and Recommendations
Small businesses get a better deal with RingCentral as their base plan is only $19.99 per month per user you sign up. The professional plan costs $24.99 and is the one we would recommend for most businesses.
RingCentral is definitely one of the best business VoIP phone services we’ve found. As a small business VoIP solution, we love it since it’s easy to use and easy to expand if you need more users with their own phone numbers. The apps are snappy and keep getting regular updates, which is always a good sign.
#3: Ooma Office: The Customer Service King
Ooma’s business phone system “Ooma Office” has been consistently ranked #1 by users for several years, beating out decades-old telephone companies and other VoIP providers alike. Their customer service is considered the gold standard.
Ooma focuses on providing VoIP service for small businesses. Their Ooma home option could be a great resource for your business if you are running it from home, but if you’d like a more business-centered phone system then Ooma office is the right choice for you. Ooma excels in call quality. Their calls are consistently ranked as clearer and more pleasant by users, although as always this depends on your internet connection to a degree.
Ooma gives its users plenty of features, including unlimited calling and an auto attendant that can field calls and redirect them for you. You can use hold music to keep your customers’ heads bopping while they wait for you to pick up. And their cloud-based system lets you take calls on the go through their mobile app.
Unfortunately, the desktop app is locked behind an upgrade to Ooma Office Pro. They make up for this by offering VoIP phones with their plans, but if you were hoping to simply handle phone calls from your PC, you’re going to have to pay extra.
Ooma Pricing and Recommendations
The base plan is $19.99 per user per month. There are no gimmicky pricing tricks here, which is one thing that we really do like about Ooma. Most of the other providers give you discounts when you pay for the year in full and others cut the price after adding a certain number of users. They then advertise these reduced, ideal prices.
Ooma doesn’t toy with you and gives straight-up pricing information. However, you really ought to pay $24.99 per month to unlock most of the advanced features.
We would recommend Ooma for a small business that doesn’t need more than one phone. It’s got a great price for a single user, and it covers most of the VoIP basics that we expect from a good VoIP service.
#4: Dialpad: Supercharge Your Small Business
Dialpad was created by the very same engineers that put together Google Voice, a free VoIP solution for US residents. You know that if Google hired these guys, then they must be pretty good at what they do. Dialpad is proof of that.
Many of these developers ditched Google when they felt their ideas weren’t being given enough support. So what you get is Dialpad, a mad scientist’s version of Google Voice. It’s VoIP with all the bells and whistles you could imagine.
The basic plan includes some more advanced calling features like call recording and the auto attendant, as well as call routing features. Most other providers force you to pay more for these options, but Dialpad practically gives them away. You even get video conferencing with their UberConference app.
Even some of their AI features are included in the base plan! You can get speech coaching and automatic post-call notes, derived from an AI listening to your call and isolating keywords and dates in your discussion. Dialpad gives your small business the AI power of the world’s large businesses.
Dialpad Pricing and Recommendations
The Standard plan is just $15 a month when you pay for the whole year at once. It’s $20 per user per month if you choose to pay as you go, but even then it’s still a pretty good deal. The pro level costs another $10 per month and unlocks a ton of integrations with other software as well as more support for international phone numbers.
We love Dialpad. It’s got a relatively low entry price while providing more features than the competition at that price point. It would definitely make a great addition to any small business. However, if you need a full-blown business phone system with a cloud-hosted PBX, Dialpad is less forthcoming about their pricing, so you’ll have to call their sales team.
#5: Grasshopper: A Quality VoIP Service
Grasshopper provides its customers with high quality VoIP call functionality and its emphasis is on giving you all the phone numbers you could ever want. Want a vanity number like 1-CALL-STEVE? You can do that with Grasshopper!
Toll-free numbers are likewise a specialty at Grasshopper. Everything goes through their mobile app, which makes your mobile phone your business phone from now on.
Grasshopper is a more simplistic VoIP service compared to the others. There aren’t too many advanced features. Instead, the company opts for an emphasis on user experience with their top quality apps.
Grasshopper Pricing and Our Recommendation
At $26 per month, Grasshopper isn’t cheap. While we like their interface and how they offer plenty of options for your phone number, at this price, it’s hard to recommend Grasshopper over other options that we have on this list unless you just really love the experience they provide.
#6: Mitel: Better for Large Businesses
Mitel’s main product is its MiCloud platform. Small businesses may find it useful as it provides unified communications with features including video conferencing and text messaging for your team. They advertise themselves as the best business VoIP phone service, but upon closer inspection, they seem best for large businesses.
Mitel prides itself on its cloud-based service, which includes PBX functionality and SIP trunking, a connection method that links your existing phone line to your VoIP service. You can certainly replace your entire phone system with this business VoIP phone.
Mitel Pricing and Recommendations
Here’s where things get murky with Mitel. They advertise small business phone VoIP service, but when you try to investigate their prices, they get a bit sneaky. They tell you it’s $20.99 per user per month, but this is based on having a large number of users. It really feels like their definition of small business is a bit off.
Invariably, regardless of what you select, you’ll need to wait for their sales team to call you back. Other VoIP providers let you set up their VoIP system in seconds, Mitel slows you down.
Clearly, if you’re a larger company, Mitel would be great as they have experts who will install everything and hold your hand through the whole process. But for small businesses that just need to get to work, Mitel may be more complicated than what you’re looking for.
#7: Aircall: Upgrade Your Customer Support
Aircall differs from other VoIP services by focusing on how you provide customer support to your clients. One visit to the homepage makes this clear as the company immediately starts boasting about its call center functionality.
To that end, their phone system comes with plenty of features that a good call center could use, including call forwarding and hold music, all driven by an auto attendant. Of course, you can direct clients to your toll-free number so they don’t pay a cent to give you a call.
Overview of Features
One of Aircall’s most noteworthy features is its emphasis on integration with other apps. You likely already have some kind of customer management system, whether that’s as simple as a sheet in Google Drive or a full service like Salesforce to track your customers. Aircall can link up with all of these services and many more. They even have an app store with plugins that help you integrate apps.
API access is included with every plan. This lets you program your own connection to Aircall’s software, which is great if your company has a proprietary piece of software that it uses for customer management.
Aircall Pricing and Recommendations
At $30 per month per user, it’s not the most affordable service out there. However, it does provide tons of flexibility and customization options. If integration with other services matters to your business, then consider giving Aircall a call.
#8: 8×8: the Best VoIP Phone Service?
Is 8×8 really the best VoIP phone service? Well, they certainly have a strong case. And yes, we did put 8×8 at #8 just because of the number eight.
While most of 8×8’s offerings are about complete phone systems, they also offer a more affordable service than any of the other VoIP services on our list today. Their 8×8 Express service gives you an app-based phone system with unlimited calling, an auto-attendant, and voicemail to email functions. There’s a lot to like with 8×8.
In addition to the calling features we mentioned, you’ll get other features like video conferencing and file sharing, as well as text messaging for your team members. You can also upgrade to the X-series plans, which go from X2 to X9. These phone systems replace your desk phones with VoIP phones and expand your calling network internationally.
8×8 Pricing and Recommendations
This is where 8×8 really blows us away. You can get their Express plan for just $12 a month. And not only that, but they even give away a free domain and three months of web design support from Wix when you sign up!
If you’re a brand new business looking for phone systems, it’s hard not to recommend 8×8. They’ve got the best price, plenty of features, and they’re even going to help you start your business. What’s not to love?
#9: Microsoft 365: the Small Business VoIP Champ
It might seem odd to throw Microsoft 365 into the mix. After all, Microsoft isn’t known for phone systems or VoIP systems. However, their suite of software does include some programs that can handle phone calls and, perhaps, replace your phone system.
Microsoft has been consolidating its small business VoIP phone solutions for a while now. It used to be Skype that had toll free numbers and a mobile app. Now, Microsoft Teams is going to be the primary VoIP app.
Between Teams and Skype, you can get the bare minimum in call features and have plenty of ways to communicate internally. But the best part of signing up for Microsoft 365 is that you also get all of the other Microsoft Office apps, most of which you probably already use anyway. This means that Microsoft 365 could replace your phone system and give your office everything it needs to be productive, all for one easy low payment. And yes, it is low.
Microsoft 365 Pricing and Recommendations
Microsoft 365 costs just $5 a month if you only want web and mobile versions of their apps. We’d recommend spending a little extra for the standard plan, which gives you the desktop apps. For $12.50 a month, it’s hard to beat Microsoft 365.
If you’re a small business that doesn’t make a lot of phone calls and can survive on Skype and Teams alone, then it just makes sense to use Microsoft. You’re going to use their other apps anyway, so you might as well save some money on your phone bill too.
#10: Vonage: Top Call Quality
This business VoIP service is one of the oldest in the business. Vonage has been around since the dawn of the millennium, and their VoIP system is one of the best around in terms of call quality and reliability.
Vonage lets you use your old infrastructure if you wish. They provide adapters for your desk phones to give them VoIP capability. However, you can also set up their Unified Communications platform and get unlimited calls and messaging on any device.
Another feature we appreciate is their focus on security and encryption. Vonage recognizes that businesses need this in an age where data privacy laws are rapidly expanding.
Vonage Pricing and Recommendations
At $19.99 a month, Vonage’s basic service is on par with Ooma’s. And we’d recommend it with about the same level of enthusiasm. It’s great if your office just needs a single phone, but it gets expensive if you have to sign up lots of users. Their more expensive service is $29.99, which is too much compared to other options.
The Best VoIP Phone Service Solutions
So, what are the best VoIP phone service solutions? 8×8 is the best for price, Microsoft 365 comes close behind for functionality and versatility, and we love RingCentral or Nextiva for replacing your entire phone system. If you saw a feature you liked from another provider, give them a call. And keep coming back here to stay up to date with the latest VoIP providers and features.