The 13 Best Business VoIP Providers in 2019
What is VoIP? Switching to a Voice over Internet Protocol business phone system could save you up to 75%1—if you know what you’re looking for. Business.org reviews some of the best small business VoIP solutions.
Best OverallWide feature range at a low costGenerous toll-free minutes
Best for Few EmployeesUser-friendly interfaceAffordable pricing
Most InexpensiveBudget-friendly small-business plansMulti-locale scalability
Best On-the-Go OptionGood mobile optionEasy-to-use interface and simple setup
Best for GrowthFlexible plans99.999% uptime
- Best business VoIP providers
- RingCentral Office review
- Ooma review
- Nextiva Business review
- Grasshopper review
- Vonage review
- Verizon Business VoIP review
- 8x8 VoIP Business review
- Jive Business review
- Mitel review
- Phonecom review
- MegaPath review
- 1VoIP review
- Frontier review
- What other business owners say
Your office probably has an e-graveyard—a dusty side room filled with outdated electronics and computer gear that the business has long outgrown.
Business VoIP services have become increasingly attractive to small-business owners because of their simplicity, wide range of features, and—most of all—inexpensive pricing, compared to traditional phone line systems. They can also eliminate a lot of on-site hardware, so it might be time to deal with that e-graveyard.
VoIP transforms outgoing or incoming calls into a digital signal and sends it through the internet, converting it to a standard telephone signal to reach a non-VoIP number. Through VoIP, you can place outgoing calls or receive incoming calls directly from a computer, a VoIP phone, or a regular phone that’s hooked up to a VoIP adapter, as well as wirelessly through mobile hotspots.
If it isn’t obvious yet, VoIP business phone systems require reliable high-speed internet of DSL quality or above, in addition to some specialized software and hardware. But your service choices aren’t limited to a handful of local legacy telephone companies, as VoIP is cloud-based and ubiquitous (the sheer amount of business VoIP service providers is staggering; we’ve included as many as we could here).
|Verizon VoIP||$25||View Plans|
What you should know about VoIP
Since VoIP is a relatively new technology that differs from traditional copper-line telephone systems, there may be a bit of a learning curve before you dive into adopting it for your business. Here are a few elemental points to get started.
Basic features to expect
Just as a smartphone can do more than a landline phone, a VoIP phone system for business can perform all the expected tasks of standard phone systems and then some. They’re a great choice for small businesses that need full functionality, and the VoIP systems we’ve reviewed include most, if not all, of the following features:
- Web-based system administration
- Mobile management (iOS and Android)
- Automated attendant
- Hold music
- Call forwarding
- Conference bridging
- Conference calling
- Caller ID
- Call blocking
- Call waiting
- Call transferring
- Find Me/Follow Me
- Ring groups
- One-line sharing on multiple phones/devices
- Video conferencing
- Voicemail to Email (as audio file)
- Voicemail to Text
- Fax to Text (as PDF)
A private branch exchange (PBX) is the closed telephone network within a business, which employees share for outbound, inbound, and interoffice phone calls. VoIP systems manage PBXs off-site through cloud hosting, eliminating the need for costly (and space-hogging) on-premise equipment and maintenance.
A SIP (session initiation protocol) trunk carries voice, data, and video through a “trunk” that replaces copper telephone connections through the conventional PSTN (public switched telephone network), consolidating phone and internet service into a single digital line.
In plain English, SIP trunking allows you to physically disconnect from your phone company, opening the door for digital, internet-powered options (read: VoIP). And unlike hardwired telephone lines, digital lines allow you to scale your phone solutions as your business grows.
If you’ll be switching to a VoIP business system, will you want to keep your current phone number? Most VoIP services offer number porting, which lets you transfer—or port—your number to a new service. Check for number porting in a VoIP service’s features; some will apply it for free, while others may charge a one-time fee.
“Bring your own device” (BYOD) refers to employees conducting company business on personal laptops, tablets, and phones instead of on company-owned gear. Most VoIP companies offer BYOD features and solutions within their plans, either included or at additional cost. However, extra IT security layers and company guidelines for BYOD are on you.
Power outage vulnerability
As mentioned earlier, VoIP is entirely reliant on a high-speed internet connection—and is also entirely at the mercy of power outages. Telephone lines may be archaic, but they still work in a blackout—internet equipment and connections, not so much. If your business requires 24/7 uptime, make sure backup power sources are in place.
Unlike traditional telephone lines, VoIP numbers can’t be traced by 911 operators. This doesn’t mean you’d be helpless in case of a natural disaster or Sasquatch attack, however. Upon initial setup at a location, you simply need to enter your info manually through the system’s E911 (Enhanced 911) feature, which will attach a physical address to your VoIP number.
Is one of these VoIP systems a good choice for your business? Check the pros and cons:
RingCentral: Best Overall
- Wide feature range
- Generous toll-free minutes
- Costlier rates
- Outsourced customer service
RingCentral isn’t an instantly recognizable name with a lot of VoIP advertising hype behind it, but the San Mateo, California, company has been in the small-business telephone game since 1999. With network backbones in the US, Europe, and Asia, its reliability is well established. RingCentral’s VoIP service also isn’t the most inexpensive out there, but it includes features that others charge extra for (such as generous toll-free minutes and unlimited video conferencing), so it kind of evens out.
For small to midsize businesses, RingCentral’s Premium plan ($34.99 a month) would cover most office phone needs more than adequately. Features include unlimited users, a toll-free or local number, 2,500 toll-free monthly minutes, unlimited internet faxing, inbound caller ID, automatic call recording, and 50-person video conferencing (which sounds like professional—if not sensory—overload, but it’s available).
On the customer service front, RingCentral receives mostly positive reviews, offering phone assistance during standard work hours, 24/7 online chat service, and ticket service, in addition to weekly webinars and an extensive online knowledge base. Businesses of 20 users or fewer should note, however, that RingCentral favors larger enterprises for US-based support and outsources smaller-office support overseas.
If you’re looking for a feature-loaded, easy-to-implement VoIP system that you won’t have to think about too much, RingCentral is a proven player that does it all. If you’re OK with paying a little more for the comfort, that is.
As a consultancy marketing business for small-business owners, part of our business is to help small-business owners set up their VoIP and local phone numbers. We used to have RingCentral, and we advised our clients to use it. RingCentral gives you a local phone number regardless of whether you are in the building or not—or even in the city. You will always have a local phone number that you can redirect to any cell phone, depending on who’s working in the company. RingCentral offers good customer service and has great flexibility, but it’s a bit expensive.
Our real estate investment company has 14 phone lines altogether. For a phone service, we needed a local number, good call quality, uninterrupted service, calling apps for our laptops and cell phones, and an internal messaging platform for team communication. We started out with a niche company called Sound Communications, but their call quality and app were not very good. So once we made a bit more income, we decided to switch to RingCentral. RingCentral provides great call quality and is highly recommended in the real estate investment community. They are on the pricier side—$419.88 per line per year—but I’m OK with the price because their service is worth it and the high-quality phone calls are very important to our business.
Ooma: Best for small businesses (with less than five employees)
- Scalable services
- Affordable pricing
- Easy-to-use interface
- 30-day free trial
- 24/7 live chat
- Higher-than-average hardware costs
- One standard plan
- Complaints of dropped calls
Based out of Sunnyvale, California, Ooma is our top small-business phone service. The pricing is affordable, and the service offers scalable solutions that can grow with your company. That makes Ooma phone systems ideal for small businesses looking to expand and keep their communications costs low as they grow.
|Ooma Office||$19.95||Unlimited calling in the US and Canada, three-way conferencing||View Plans|
Ooma advertises only one plan: Ooma Office. Ooma Office includes unlimited domestic calls, three-way calling, virtual fax machines, plus most of the industry-standard features you’d expect from a leading private branch exchange (PBX) provider. Of course, if you need more lines, you can always get an Enterprise plan. Enterprise plans get you a unified communications solution that’s completely customized to your business, so costs vary depending on your phone service plan.
Ooma also offers a lot of customer relationship management (CRM) integration features with its Enterprise plans. In other words, you get complete integration of your phone system into your existing customer relationship management software. This allows you to enjoy extra perks like transferring an entire customer workspace whenever you transfer a customer call within your workspace—that way, you don’t lose all the progress you made on your customer’s account just because you have to transfer them to another station.
There is a catch, though. While Ooma’s starting prices are low, they don’t include hardware costs. It’s true that customers can mix and match between their existing analog phones and IP phones, and they can even go mobile-only, but our research showed that other PBX providers include the cost of devices in their plan costs.
Still, if you’ve already got digital phones and hardware, the integration features and low costs of Ooma make it a top-notch choice for small businesses.
Nextiva: Best inexpensive VoIP
- Budget-friendly rates
- Multi-locale scalability
- Confusing pricing
- Expensive international calling
You don’t want to cheap out on your business’s VoIP plan, but . . . admit it, you sort of want to cheap out on your business’s VoIP plan. Nextiva, a company based in Scottsdale, Arizona, offers an impressive balance of pricing and features that could assuage any guilt over saving a few bucks. Also, their online management platform makes it simple to juggle multiple lines and employees in different locales (read our review of Nextiva for more info).
|Office Pro||$19.95*||View Plans|
|Office Pro Plus||$22.95*||View Plans|
|Office Enterprise||Varies||View Plans|
*With a prepaid 36-month agreement on 100+ users plan
Nextiva’s pricing can be a little misleading—you’ll want to click those question mark prompts and read the fine print. The basic Office Pro plan is only $19.95 a month if you have 100 or more users and sign a 36-month contract. For one to four employees and no contract, it’s $34.95 a month. Mid-level plan Office Pro Plus starts at $22.95 for the same high employee count and contract, but it climbs to $37.95 a month with the smaller employee base and a month-to-month agreement. With the full-blown bells-and-whistles plan Office Enterprise, it’s the same deal: $29.95 a month with the high count and contract, $44.95 without.
Still, with all the features and functionality Nextiva includes, the fact that no plan exceeds 50 bucks a month is notable. A micro-sized office could get by easily with the bare-bones Office Pro setup, but the advanced features of Office Pro Plus and Office Enterprise are tempting for a few dollars more: the Nextiva mobile voice and video app and the Team Presence status indicator (both included in Office Pro Plus) are useful upgrades, as are call recording and the number-meshing Nextiva Anywhere app (Office Enterprise).
Nextiva VoIP service does a whole lot for very little—and that’s not even mentioning that its customer support is handled completely in-house with no overseas outsourcing. As with Jive, Nextiva is not recommended for heavy international calling, but for a small business on a tight budget, Nextiva could be a simple answer.
Grasshopper: Best for mobile businesses
- Easy-to-use interface
- Easy setup
- Toll-free vanity numbers
- Audio quality problems
- Problems with transcription features
- Extra charges for some features
Let’s face it: the office environment isn’t for everyone. If you frequently work out of office or run a mobile business (like a food truck or pop-up store), you may find that Grasshopper is the best phone service for you. Grasshopper offers iOS and Android apps that allow you to make and receive calls on your cell phone using your business number—that way, you can keep your personal and work communications separate. It’s a great VoIP software for any entrepreneur who doesn’t want or need desktop phones as part of their PBX solutions.
|Solo||$26*||1 number, up to 3 extensions, Voicemail to Email, virtual fax||View Plans|
|Individual||$35*||1 number, email integration, text integration, hold for incoming calls||View Plans|
|Partner||$44*||3 numbers, up to 6 extensions, Voicemail to Email, virtual fax||View Plans|
|Small Business||$80*||5 numbers, unlimited extensions, Voicemail to Email, virtual fax||View Plans|
*With annual billing
While we think Grasshopper is great for small businesses, it misses out on our “Best Small-Business Phone Service” title because, compared to Ooma, Grasshopper is a little expensive. Grasshopper plans start at $26 per month, assuming you sign up for annual billing. And starting plans include only one business phone number with up to three extensions.
Still, we like that (unlike many business VoIP solutions) Grasshopper offers the same features on each of its plans. In other words, small businesses that need only a few extensions get the same high-end features as a large company with unlimited extensions. That makes it easy to find the right Grasshopper communications plan for your business, saving you valuable work time.
That being said, Grasshopper also offers fewer unified communications features than other PBX solutions on the market, and it does place some industry-standard features behind paywalls. Grasshopper also requires you to provide your own devices, which means lower monthly costs but potentially higher up-front costs if you need to upgrade your office’s old analog phones.
Long story short: Grasshopper doesn’t provide perfect, low-cost phone systems. But if you’re looking for a solution that offers complete integration with your personal mobile devices, Grasshopper is a good bet.
Vonage: Best for growing businesses
- 24/7 service and Vonage Business tech support
- 99.999% uptime
- Simple activation and setup
- Complaints of technical issues
- Extra monthly fees for industry-standard features
- Over 400 BBB (Better Business Bureau) customer complaints
Vonage is probably one of the most well-known PBX providers on the market—and for good reason. Vonage phone service is easily scalable, so it can keep up with your business as it grows while maintaining affordable pricing. As we covered in our Vonage review, Vonage also offers integrations with everything from Salesforce to Slack. So if your business outgrows your current customer relationship management tools, you can switch without having to worry about whether your VoIP communications service offers integration with your new CRM.
|Mobile (1–4 lines)||$19.99||Unlimited calling and texts, mobile and desktop apps||View Plans|
|Mobile (5–19 lines)||$17.99||Unlimited calling and texts, mobile and desktop apps||View Plans|
|Mobile (20–99 lines)||$14.99||Unlimited calling and texts, mobile and desktop apps||View Plans|
|Premium (1–4 lines)||$29.99||Video conferencing, CRM integrations||View Plans|
|Premium (5–19 lines)||$27.99||Video conferencing, CRM integrations||View Plans|
|Premium (20–99 lines)||$24.99||Video conferencing, CRM integrations||View Plans|
|Advanced (1–4 lines)||$39.99||Call group, visual voicemail||View Plans|
|Advanced (5–19 lines)||$37.99||Call group, visual voicemail||View Plans|
|Advanced (20–99 lines)||$34.99||Call group, visual voicemail||View Plans|
Vonage is also one of the more inexpensive virtual PBX providers. For a mobile plan that includes just one to four lines, it’s just $19.99 per month (per line)—just 4￠ more than our budget pick. And as your business grows, your cost per line goes down dramatically.
Vonage’s Premium and Advanced plans also pack a punch with their integrations and features. With a Premium or Advanced plan, you can use Vonage on your mobile devices or desktop phones, so you don’t have to pay extra for devices and hardware. You do, however, have to pay extra for some features (like toll-free numbers and paperless fax to replace your outdated fax machines).
We think that’s understandable, though, considering Vonage offers top-notch customer support to match its top-notch phone systems. All Vonage customers enjoy 24/7 customer support and IT solutions. And with Advanced Vonage plans, business owners get Orange-Glove Setup of their phone systems. And in case you’re wondering, Orange-Glove Setup = white-glove setup, but, you know . . . orange to match Vonage’s colors.
Basically, between its features, integrations, and scalable pricing, Vonage can keep up with any changes your growing business experiences—whether it’s a company-wide device upgrade or just a growing salesforce.
Verizon VoIP: Best for medium-sized businesses
- Full-service connections
- Mobile solutions
- Higher prices
- Limited fiber-optics
You know Verizon; everybody knows Verizon. It’s a mobile leader, and its ultra-fast Fios (fiber-optic internet) service is expanding rapidly—so of course it’s also in the VoIP business. Verizon has built-in bring-your-own-device (BYOD) solutions, as well as the internet connections (both fiber-optic and DSL) to support a reliable VoIP business service. Consolidation of all your business’s telecommunication needs into a single bill could be easily accomplished with New York–established Verizon. It would be more convenient than cheap, however.
|Business Digital Voice 1–10||$35||View Plans|
|Business Digital Voice 11–20||$30||View Plans|
|Business Digital Voice 21+||$25||View Plans|
Verizon’s Business Digital Voice VoIP plans start high but come down in price as more users are added. For under 10 employees, it’s $35 a month; 11 to 20, $30 a month; and 21 or more, $25 a month. It’s a sliding-scale illusion that would end up costing about the same no matter the number of people in your enterprise. But Verizon isn’t a budget choice for small businesses: it’s a reliability choice.
If you’re located in one of the 21 states currently serviced by Verizon Fios—which are mostly in the northeast—you’ll have access to one of the fastest internet connections available, which is perfect for VoIP. If you’re in DSL-only country, the speed will be slower, but uptime is still guaranteed at 99.95%. Either internet option will support steady VoIP service, and if your business is more medium-sized than small, Verizon could add up to a better value in the long run (especially if you’re in Fios territory).
Since Verizon is a massive company, customer service ratings are in line with what you’d usually read in the comments section—meaning, people are far more motivated to complain than praise. Navigating Verizon’s bundling plans for businesses may be like a choose-your-own-adventure odyssey, but its support lines are segregated well, with separate contacts for small, medium, and larger businesses. Verizon also offers competitive SLAs (service level agreements) for quality and service and 24/7 support via phone, email, and tickets.
Verizon Business Digital Voice isn’t necessarily budget friendly for a smaller business, but the upper-tier plans should be attractive to medium and larger outfits that demand reliable uptime, or at least prefer an all-in-one telecom provider.
8×8: Best VoIP for international calling
- Inexpensive international calling
- Crowdsourced customer service
- Limited mobile access
- Closed API
San Jose–based 8×8 is one of the earliest VoIP providers, launched in 2002 and now serving over a million businesses. And it keeps it simple: 8×8 has only three VoIP plans, but they’re loaded with features, and small companies conducting international business should be especially interested in what they have to offer. Additionally, 8×8 is set up to integrate with many a useful third-party business app, including Salesforce, Zendesk, Netsuite, and Microsoft Dynamics.
|Virtual Office||Varies||View Plans|
|Virtual Office Pro||Varies||View Plans|
|Virtual Office X8||Varies||View Plans|
The 8×8 plans have all of the expected VoIP features and then some, and the calling zones are inexpensively expansive: the basic Virtual Office plan can put your business in touch with Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK—as well as the US and Canada. The Virtual Office Pro plan adds 18 more countries, while Virtual Office X8 beefs up that reach by 14 for a total of 46 countrie. Mobile, special, and premium number access is limited in some countries, but 8×8’s coverage versus cost is still impressive.
It’s relatively easy to set up and get started with 8×8, and its multi-channel 24/7 customer support and online knowledge base are on point. Plus, 8×8 offers an additional, unique help solution in a form of crowdsourcing, wherein certified, established customers provide assistance and firsthand know-how to newcomers for rewards. So you can become a helpful 8×8 consultant for warm fuzzies and cold cash.
Even if your business doesn’t make many outgoing calls outside of the US and Canada, 8×8 is a solid VoIP choice in terms of service and features. For regular international callers, it’s a practically unbeatable value.
Jive: Best feature-rich VoIP
- Feature parity
- Sliding-scale pricing
- Expensive international calling
- Limited video conferencing
Should you trust a company called Jive? The reviews say yes: Jive has nearly as many glowing critical quotes as the Radiohead discography, minus the pretentious lyricism. The Orem, Utah, VoIP provider has established a positive industry reputation since its launch in 2006, thanks mostly to its interface simplicity, focus on small businesses, and large array of telephone features that are available to all pricing tiers.
|Tier 1||$29.95||View Plans|
|Tier 2||$25.95||View Plans|
|Tier 3||$23.95||View Plans|
|Tier 4||$21.95||View Plans|
|Tier 5||$19.95||View Plans|
Like Verizon, Jive’s monthly per-user rates come down as employee count goes up. But the Tier 1 plan (1 to 4 users) at $29.95 a month is just 10 bucks more than the Tier 5 plan (50 or more users) at $19.95—not a huge bump in costs, which are already quite inexpensive. Also, Jive includes the same 75+ VoIP features across all of their tiers, with a handful of extra-charge exceptions (like international calling and number porting).
Jive VoIP is a simple setup if you buy their preconfigured phones—which come from recognized names like Cisco, VTech, and Panasonic, so quality isn’t an issue. Jive’s customer service is US-based, with 24/7 phone, live chat, and email options, as well as specific lines for small businesses, larger businesses, government entities, and education clients. Jive also hosts an exhaustive YouTube channel dedicated to understanding phone systems and features.
For a smaller company conducting business within the US, Jive is a simple and feature-loaded VoIP that could be hooked up and running immediately for little money and no long-term contracts. Companies planning on extensive international calling, however, might want to look elsewhere.
5 more VoIP providers reviewed by Business.org:
What other business owners say
The biggest recommendation I can make is to make sure you/the business have enough bandwidth to handle VoIP services.
Copper phone lines are almost a thing of the past—like it or not, VoIP systems may soon be your only business phone choice. Fortunately, you have plenty of VoIP options to choose from, with more digital features and price-point variations than the telephone companies of ye olden days could have ever provided. It’s an increasingly competitive market—do your homework before settling on a small-business VoIP system.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.
- BuiltWith, “Squarespace Usage Statistics”