To choose the right VoIP conference phone, you have to make sure it can handle the size of your conference room and will work with your VoIP provider. To give you our recommendation, we found three good to high quality models that cover a range of meeting sizes.
Best Fully Featured VoIP Conference Phone: Polycom Soundstation 6000
The Polycom Soundstation 6000 is perfect for businesses who have a medium-sized conference room (6 to 12 participants on a call) and are using a standard VoIP setup with ethernet connectivity.
Best Value VoIP Conference Phone: Jabra SPEAK410
The Jabra SPEAK410 is perfect for smaller teams (3 to 6 employees) who use their computer for conference calling, whether through Skype, Google Voice, UberConference or a VoIP softphone.
Best VoIP Conference Phones
3 to 6
6 to 12
12 to 16+
up to 10 kHz
up to 14 kHz
up to 22 kHz
mute & volume
with call transfer,
hold & forwarding
with call transfer,
hold & forwarding
long as you’re
We We Recommend The Polycom SoundStation 6000 As The Best Conference Phone For Small Businesses:
If you’re looking for a standard VoIP conference phone that is connected via ethernet, Polycom gives you the best sound quality for the price.
Good acoustics is vital for conference phones. You not only need to pick up voices in high definition, but you need to eliminate echo, static and background noises as well. The Polycom SoundStation 6000 does this, in part, by using 3 microphones: When a participant is speaking, the microphone closest to them is turned on and the other two are turned off. Of all the models we looked at, Polycom had consistently the best customer reviews on sound quality.
Another perk is that their microphones register up to 14 kHz, which is twice as high as standard high def phones (7 kHz). This means with a high quality phone connection, you can transmit crystal clear voices – just about as clear is if you were actually in the room.
With a twelve-foot microphone range, the Polycom SoundStation 6000 is ideal for medium-sized conference rooms with 6 to 12 participants. If you find your business growing, however, and need more participants on a call, Polycom also has optional expansion microphones that give you an extended range.
When to use the Jabra SPEAK410
The Jabra SPEAK410 is ideal for smaller teams who have fewer than 6 participants on a conference call. It’s microphone range is officially rated at 3 feet, although we found it can work at a distance of up to 6 feet during our own trial. The sound quality is high. It’s not quite as crystal clear or static-free as a Polycom phone, but it’s a huge improvement over a cell phone speakerphone or computer microphone.
The Jabra SPEAK410 is connected via USB, which means you can use it with Skype, Google Voice, UberConference or any computer-based VoIP service. You can also use it with a business VoIP system like Phone.com, Nextiva, or RingCentral, but only only if it’s hooked up to a softphone on your computer.
When to Use The Polycom SoundStation 7000
For businesses that have larger conference rooms and/or need more than 12 people on a call, the Polycom SoundStation 7000 gives you a microphone range of up to 20 feet. It’s similar to the SoundStation 6000, except it has slightly higher quality microphones (up to 22 kHz). Like the SoundStation 6000, it can also be expanded with additional microphones.
How to Choose a VoIP Conference Phone
To find the right VoIP conference phone, you have to answer two key questions:
1. How many employees will be on conference call at one time?
Each of these phones has a specified range in which they can pick up voices. The Jabra SPEAK410 has a range of 3 feet, so it’s ideal for small teams (3 to 6 people) sitting around a desk. The Polycom 7000, by contrast, can pick up a diameter of up to 20 feet, so you can use it for larger teams in a conference room. The Polycom 6000 is in between at 12 feet.
2. Do you need USB or Ethernet connectivity?
The Jabra SPEAK410 hooked up through USB, which means you can use it with Skype and Google Voice. You can also use it with a VoIP provider like RingCentral and Nextiva, but only if it’s hooked up to the softphone on your computer. You cannot use it as a standalone phone without your computer.
The Polycom conference phones, on the other hand, are hooked up through ethernet – just like a typical VoIP phone. This means they can make and receive phone calls without being linked to a computer. They work with most business VoIP providers, including Nextiva, Phone.com, 8×8 and Jive. The Polycom 6000 also works with RingCentral (the 7000 can as well, but you may need to reinstall firmware).
The Polycom conference phones are powered over ethernet (PoE). This means that the same jack that gives it internet phone service (ethernet) also gives it power. If your office is not currently setup to provide PoE, you can also buy an adapter for about $100. For more on power over ethernet check out this guide from Veracity.
What Does Microphone Response Mean?
Each of these phones are capable of transmitting high definition audio. This is measured in part by microphone response, or how well the mic is able to pick up your voice. Another factor is the audio codec, or how well the phone maintains your voice when it is being transmitted. Traditionally, phones did not transmit frequencies higher than 3.3 kHz, which is why they tended to sound muffled. HD codecs transmit up to 7 kHz, however, which gives voices much more high-end and clarity.
The Polycom Soundstation 6000 and 7000 can produce the highest-quality audio, with frequency responses of up to 14 kHz and 22 kHz, respectively. Because most phone providers cannot transmit frequencies this high, however, you may not notice a significant difference.
On the receiving end, each of these VoIP conference phones have high quality speakers. As long as person on the other end is using a HD phone, you should hear them very clearly!
The Bottom Line
If you make a lot of conference calls at your business, a high quality speakerphone is a worthy investment. Although there’s cheaper options out there, the poorer sound quality can cause a lot of strain on your ears. It can also lead to unproductive conversations when you repeatedly deal with echoes, static or muffled voices.
By contrast, the Polycom SoundStation 6000 has some of the best customer reviews. It’s a little more expensive than some economy speakerphone brands, but far cheaper than Cisco conference phones, which deliver similar high-end sound acoustics.