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Best VoIP For Business
|Best Residential VoIP|
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With the speed of communication being at an all-time high, it’s more important than ever for consumers to find reliable and effective online voice and messaging services.
- Why VoIP?
- How It Works
- Best Services
- Comparison Table
- Best Online Video Conferencing
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol (also referred to as Voice Over IP, IP Telephony or Internet Telephony).
At its most basic, VoIP is an internet phone service. Instead of having your phone calls delivered through your local phone company they are delivered through your internet connection, so having a high-speed internet connection is a must.
Companies want integrated cloud systems that are secure and reputable. Individual households want to find cost-effective ways to communicate with friends and family. Depending on what you are looking for, it’s important to know exactly what VoIP technologies are available and which VoIP service company can best meet your needs.
VoIP Service Delivers Significant Savings
An excellent alternative to traditional phone services – particularly when it comes to cost – VoIP services are still subject to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations and associated fees. Most VoIPs charge you a fairly minimal surcharge each month to cover these fees, in addition to your state and local taxes.
Still, the savings that consumers and businesses can enjoy run into the thousands of dollars every year.
VoIP services offer many of the same features as traditional phone services. And because this is technology at its best, there’s much more to VoIP than just phone service, including:
- Caller ID
- Call waiting
- Instant messaging
- Web and video conferencing
- Mobile features
Not all services offer all types of technology. VoIP business services also offer hosted or cloud-based service and SIP trunking (see our Terminologies section for a better understanding).
There’s no one standard way VoIP technology operates. General consumers essentially have three different choices:
- Computer to computer
- ATA (aka analog telephone adapter)
- IP phone
Each has its benefits and drawbacks — the choice really comes down to how you want to use VoIP, your budget and which VoIP service you choose based on those needs.
Now that you have the VoIP basics, we’ve reviewed a number of VoIP service providers to help you choose the best service for your needs. We’ve broken down our best picks into two categories: Best VoIP for Businesses and Best Residential VoIP Service.
Below you’ll find our top three picks in each category. These rankings are based on a variety of factors ranging from pricing, features offered, contract terms, service reliability, free trial, customer service and more.
Businesses have different needs than individual households, often having dozens of telephone users per location. This can require lots of bandwidth. Businesses also often require more secure connections.
Bigger is not always better, but in Nextiva’s case, they have perfected the fine line between being a large company and still providing great customer service. Nextiva is designed with both small and big businesses in mind.
All packages come with a special customer relationship software that helps you manage prospects and service and survey customers. With its enterprise-level plan, you can even incorporate live chat into your website. Nextiva provides the widest range of features and is deserving of our first place choice.
Below are the starting prices for Nextiva’s cloud-based business VoIP. Pricing goes down the more employees you have and when you pre-pay for a year or more.
- Basic: starting at $20-$30/month per user
- Pro: starting at $25-$33/month per user
- Enterprise: starting at $30-$45/month per user
- View all plans
All plans include the following: unlimited calling and faxing, unlimited long distance, 100% US-based customer support, call forwarding, call waiting, caller ID, HD voice, no set-up or activation fees, push to talk, group paging, voicemail to email, presence on multiple devices, shared line appearance, unlimited hunt groups, call parking and more.
Nextiva Video Overview
Perhaps the most known of our reviewed VoIP companies, Vonage offers a range of calling plans that are priced competitively. They cater to everyone from residential users and startups to large enterprises with an impressive number of features. Vonage’s mobile service is a huge plus, giving you the ability to take home or business calls on the go. With every business plan, you also get Amazon Chime, a suite of online conferencing and collaboration tools.
Pricing goes down the more users you have. The following price ranges are for up to 99 employees. You must contact Vonage sales for pricing for 100 or more employees.
- Mobile plan: $14.99-$19.99/month per user
- Premium plan: $24.99-$29.99/month per user
- Advanced plan: $34.99-$39.99/month per user
- View all plans
RingCentral Office is a solid, feature-packed option for small to medium-sized businesses looking for a reliable VoIP. With its cloud-based system, you can connect all your employees with voice, fax and text, as well as audio and HD video conferencing. Ring Central is designed for easy mobile access, so if your employees are constantly on the go, this might be the best choice for your business. RingCentral also offers a Professional series of plans for enterprise-level businesses.
You can save 33% off the following pricing if you pre-pay for a year.
- Essentials: from $29.99/month per user
- Standard: from $34.99/month per user
- Premium: from $44.99/month per user
- Ultimate: from $59.99/month per user
- View all plans
Households often don’t require the same features as businesses. They also usually operate on a smaller budget.
PhonePower specializes in home VoIP services, and they offer the biggest savings if you commit to an upfront annual contract. PhonePower is very cost-effective, as long as you have no more than two phones. Users rave about their reliable service.
- Home Phone Services: $8.33/month (1 year prepay), $9.95/month (1 year contract), $19.95/month (no contract)
- Unlimited World: unlimited calling to 28 countries $19.95/month
- Unlimited World Plus: unlimited calling to 75 countries $24.95/month
- Unlimited World Premium: unlimited calling to 87 countries $49.95/month
- View all plans
VOIPo is a great value option, and if you pay your annual contract up front, it is the cheapest VoIP service provider available for residential users. VOIPo is privately owned and entirely US-based. Even though VOIPo doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of other providers, this service is still a great way to get introduced to a VoIP service.
- Home: $6.21/month (2 year contract); $15/month
- Small Business: $6.21/month (2 year contract); $15/month
- View all plans
With our top two residential VoIP picks, you have to use traditional phones, but Ooma brings the latest technology to VoIP. To use their home service, you must purchase their Ooma Telo (an ATA adapter) foror Telo Air for , but then you have no monthly fees. And their devices sync with Alexa.
Ooma is a high-quality service for both homes and businesses. For small businesses, most of the features you want are included in their basic plan, which is a flat $19.95 per month per user. But you also have to purchase adapters. Still, Ooma gets good reviews for its reliability and clarity.
Residential users must purchase their Telo equipment, but then there are no monthly service fees.
- for Telo
- for Telo Air (has WiFi and Bluetooth)
Business plans are $19.95/month per user, regardless of how many users you have. You must purchase their phone adapter starter pack for $129.97, which includes the adapter and 2 wireless extensions. It’s not clear how many of these you’ll need depending on your office space size.
The pricing in the table below is per month per user. All companies have caller ID, call waiting and voicemail.
|Company||#1 for Business: Nextiva||#2 for Business: RingCentral||#3 for Business: Vonage||#1 for Residential: PhonePower||#2 for Residential: VOIPo||#3 for Residential: Ooma||8x8||BasicTalk||Broadvoice||eVoice||Grasshopper||ITP||Jive||Lingo||Phonebooth||Unovon||ViaTalk||VOIP.com|
|Lowest Bus. Price||$20||$19.99||$19.99||$8.33 with 1 Year Prepay||$6.21 with 2 Year Contract||$19.95||$24||N/A||Must Contact||$12.99 (2 Users)||$12.00|
|Highest Bus. Price||$55||$59.99||$34.99||$49.95||$15.00||Must Contact||$115||N/A||Must Contact||$79.99 (15 Users)||$199.00 for 10,000 Minutes||$49.99||Must Contact||Must Contact||$20.00||$44.99||$42.95||Must Contact|
|Lowest Residential Price||N/A||N/A||$9.99||N/A||$6.21 with 2 Year Contract||N/A||$9.99||N/A||$12.99 (2 Users)||$12.00|
|Highest Residential Price||N/A||N/A||$24.99||N/A||$15.00||N/A||$9.99||N/A||N/A||$199.00 for 10,000 Minutes||$49.99||Must Contact||Must Contact||$20.00||$9.99||$15.75||N/A|
|Internet Fax||Additional Cost||Additional Fee||Additional Cost|
|Free Trial||15 Days||14 Days||30 Days|
|411 Directory Assistance||Additional Cost||Additional Cost||Additional Cost|
(Android and Blackberry Only)
Comparing The Pros And Cons Of Other VoIP Services
A cloud-based VoIP phone system, 8×8 targets small businesses to major enterprises, although it also works very well for a home-based business.
They offer a ton of advanced features, including extension calling, auto attendant, instant messaging, web/video conferencing, cloud-based call center software and reporting and analytics. 8 x 8 offers a number of “Fortune 500” features that propel your business’s communications to a high-tech, professional level.
The following pricing is for 8×8’s X Series small business VoIP plans. They also offer plans for large businesses.
- X2: $24-$28/month/user
- X3: $34-$38/month/user
- X5: $54-$60/month/user
- X6: $110-$115/month/user
- View all plans
As its name implies, BasicTalk is a simple and easy-to-use VoIP service for homes. BasicTalk has one pricing plan at $9.99 per month, which includes caller ID, voicemail and call waiting. You can purchase your Basic Talk adapter box online or at participating retailers like Walmart.
There are no bells and whistles to Basic Talk, and they promote their service for what it is – nothing more, nothing less. If all you’re looking for is an inexpensive alternative to your home phone service, definitely check out BasicTalk.
- $9.99/month: no contract requirement
Broadvoice is a solid VoIP service for business users and offers some of the best service options out there with its portable ATA adapter. Although they don’t offer a free trial; they have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Broadvoice is now owned by PhonePower, our #1 pick for the best residential VoIP.
You must contact Broadvoice for pricing.
We feel that eVoice is a great fit for small companies that don’t do a lot of over the phone business. eVoice offers an attractive 30-day free trial and has a low monthly fee for domestic calling (but international calling will cost you). These smaller companies can rest assured that they are still getting a quality VoIP service but without the high costs.
eVoice offers a 30-day free trial. All plans include unlimited extensions, and you can save off the following pricing if you pay annually.
Lite Plan: $12.99/month, 2 users, 300 minutes, 6 numbers
Standard Plans include inbound faxing:
- $29.99/month: 5 users, 1,000 minutes, 15 numbers
- $49.99/month: 10 users, 2,000 minutes, 30 numbers
- $79.99/month: 15 users, 4,000 minutes, 45 numbers
Grasshopper is a 100% virtual service, meaning there are no adapters or IP phones to purchase. Their service is streamlined to work well through their mobile app, so you can use your VoIP on the go.
You have access to most of the features you need for personal use or a home-based small business, but their options for medium to large businesses are limited, depending on your business needs. Grasshopper is a solid contender for small businesses, with reliable service, reasonable pricing and great features.
All plans include free activation, name directory, unlimited call handling, call forwarding, call screening, virtual fax, voicemail and more.
- Solo: $26/month (1 number, 3 extensions)
- Partner: $44/month (3 numbers, 6 extensions)
- Small Business: $80/month (5 numbers, unlimited extensions)
- View all plans
ITP is a simple-to-use, reliable service geared toward residential and home business users.
One of the things we like most about ITP is their à la carte approach to pricing, something we think is ideal for a home business. Their basic plan starts at a very affordable $9.99 per month, which gives you most of the features you want for a residence.
If you want more, internet fax, for example, you pay an extra $9.99 per month. Adding a toll-free number is only $4.99 per month. Good mobile apps and a second line option make ITP a great choice. If we had a category for best home business VoIP service, ITP would be our top choice.
- Basic Residential: $9.99/month per line (2 lines $18.99/month)
- Premium Residential: $19.99/month per line (2 lines $38.99/month)
- Global Residential: $24.99/month per line (2 lines $48.99/month)
- Home Office (includes 2 lines, unlimited calling, auto attendant and music on hold): $49.99
Over the last few years, Jive has become a major player in the business VoIP marketplace. Jive offers comprehensive VoIP services to businesses large and small at a flat monthly rate. All of their features and services (80+) are included in the bundle at no extra charge.
Jive is a hosted service, which means they don’t require an on-site appliance such as a dedicated server. Jive instead relies on a cloud service. You plug a phone into the internet, access Jive’s web portal and then your VoIP service is connected.
- Starts at $19.95/month per user
- For exact pricing, you must request a quote on their website
Lingo offers basic VoIP services for residential users and small businesses. You can use their cloud-based service from your desktop, smartphone or even wall phones with a LinoConnect VoxBox connection. Their plans start as low as $4.99 per month per user.
Lingo’s website says their business plans start “as low as $4.99 per month,” but you must contact them for specific pricing. They list their residential plan pricing as starting at $33.95 per month, which includes unlimited local calling.
Phonebooth’s straight-forward pricing option makes understanding costs easy for small and large companies alike. It’s strictly for business use, and whether you have 2 employees or 2,000, the price is a flat $20 per person for a phone-only VoIP service. Although there are few customizable options, it requires an IP phone and we’ve read many negative reviews about their customer support.
- $20/month per user – IP telephone only
Unovon is a simple, fairly basic VoIP service that caters to residential and small business users. Their service requires their ATA adapter, which is free for residential plans (a $49.99 price tag).
But they also have a mobile app for when you’re on the go. Although not a well-known VoIP service, Unovon offers a lot of basic features for a low monthly cost.
- Super Saver: $5.99/month
- Holiday 999: $9.99/month
- Business Super Saver: $24.99/month
- Business: $44.99/month
- Bang 999: $9.99/month
- Bang 1499: $14.99/month
- Bang 1999: $19.99/month
- View all plans
ViaTalk has competitive monthly pricing, but if you pay for a year, your second year is free. This, in addition to all of its other features, makes ViaTalk one of the most cost-effective VoIP Services. Via Talk also offers wonderful customer support and provides nearly every basic VoIP feature you could ask for.
- VT Unlimited: $15.75/month; $189/year
- VT BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): $15.75/month
- VT Business 1500: $34.95/month
- VT Business Unlimited: $42.95/month
- VT Business BYOD: $42.95/month
- View all plans
VOIP.com is a cloud-based VoIP platform that caters to small and medium-sized businesses. Its plans are packed with features, and it also provides mobile apps, cloud-based PBX, call center features and more, making it suitable even for large-scale businesses.
With excellent customer support, a wealth of online resources and a 30-day money-back guarantee, VOIP.com is a worthy contender among the masses of VoIP services.
Pricing starts at $18/month per user, but you must contact them to get set up.
Below you’ll find some common terms used in conjunction with the various types of VoIP technology and services offered.
- 911 service – Given the nature of VoIP service, your 911 calls may not transmit the same way they do as with traditional phone lines, i.e., your location address may not be transmitted to the emergency call center. For your safety, you should review the FCC’s fact sheet about 911 service and VoIP, which gives you tips on making sure you’re covered in case of an emergency.
- Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) – The most common way to utilize VoIP is through an analog telephone adapter, which allows you to hook up a standard phone to your computer or your internet connection. You simply connect your phone cord into the adapter instead of the wall, and the adapter converts your phone’s analog signal into a digital data signal. Some VoIP services, like Vonage, now include a free ATA bundled with their service.
- Cloud-based, or hosted, service – Some VoIP services offer businesses use of their cloud-based servers to host VoIP. The VoIP service provider takes care of managing and securing these servers, eliminating the need for any hardware in your office.
- Computer to computer – The easiest and perhaps cheapest way to use VoIP is through free or low-cost software that a number of services offer. All you need is the software, quality internet access (high-speed is best), a sound card, microphone and speakers. Other than the initial cost, if any, of the software and your internet fee, you can use VoIP for free, including long-distance calls.
- IP phone – IP phones resemble regular phones but have an ethernet cable connecting them directly to your router. Another option is a WiFi phone that allows you to use VoIP from any WiFi hot spot. These phones run anywhere from $30 to $175 or more.
- PBX phone system – A private branch exchange (PBX) system is a private telephone network used within a business. PBX phone system users share multiple lines to make external calls.
- SIP trunking – SIP is an industry standard communications protocol that enables VoIP in certain cases. SIP trunking delivers VoIP services and related communications to customers with SIP-enabled PBX systems. The PBX system provides features like voicemail, call management and auto attendants. SIP trunks, hardware supported by your VoIP service company, provide the connection between the PBX and the public telephone network. This gives businesses the ability to use IP-PBX hardware and software without having to rely on traditional phone lines and carriers.
Have you always wanted your business to go fully digital? Maybe now’s the time. In addition to switching to digital phone service via VoIP, did you know you can send faxes electronically without a clunky fax machine? Check out our review of the best online fax services. We also review the best online video conferencing providers and evaluate their security protocols, so you can make sure you’re communicating efficiently and securely during this pandemic.
Which VoIP service are you leaning toward and why?
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