To find out who’s the best small business VoIP service, we tried all the top providers and compared them based on price, features, reliability, ease of use and customer support.
Best Small Business VoIP Provider: Nextiva
Our choice for the best small business VoIP phone provider for 2015 is Nextiva. We chose Nextiva for their excellent customer support, ease of set up, company stability and risk free 30 day money-back guarantee.
Best Small Business VoIP Provider: Nextiva vs. RingCental vs. Phone.com Summary Table
30 Day Money back Guarantee
Free 30 Day Trial
Free 30 Day Trial
Basic Pricing For 5 Employees incl. taxes. Learn More
$232.92 / month
$298.63 / month
$158.53 / month
Basic Pricing For 5
Employees Incl. Taxes. Learn More
$219.32 / month
$232.25 / month
$145.34 / month
|Unlimited US Calls?|
|Mobile apps to receive & make calls|
from business #
iOS, Android, Window Phones
iOS, Android, Blackberry
Yes W/ Digital Signature
Available as an Add-on
Available as an Add-on
US Based Phone, Email, & Chat
Not Solely US Based By Phone, Email, and Chat
24 Hour Support, US Based
Note: The exact amount you pay in taxes and fees will vary depending on location. Some states, counties and cities will charge more than others. The prices in this example reflect the taxes in New York City.
Why We Recommend Nextiva’s Small Business VoIP Phone Service
We recommend Nextiva because of their reliability, top-notch customer service, and stability in a rapidly changing industry. Between the physical hardware and back-end software, business phone systems can be a challenge to set up. Nextiva is the only provider to give small business clients a personal U.S. based account representative to talk them through the process. This, as well as the free professionally recorded phone greeting, are just a few examples of the conveniences you get from Nextiva.
Nextiva provides US based customer support and answers 95% of all calls within two rings or less. Its major competitor, RingCentral only guarantees US based customer service to larger companies, those paying for more than 20 lines.
Nextiva is a rapidly growing company, which recently added several hundred employees. Unfortunately, it does not appear that Phone.com is growing nearly as rapidly. Given the enormous benefits of scale in providing VoIP services, it’s likely that many smaller providers will merge with larger ones or go out of business. For a company doesn’t want to have worry about the stability of its service provider, Nextiva is a better choice than smaller competitors.
When to use Phone.com
One of the key benefits of Phone.com is the price. You can purchase a comparable plan for $10-$15/user/month less than Nextiva. There’s also a pay-per-minute option, which can save you even more money if your employees speak on the phone less than several hours per month.
Phone.com is also the best at international calling. With an unlimited plan, you can make free outgoing calls to landlines in Canada, France, Germany Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Puerto Rico and United Kingdom and rates for other countries are low compared to competitors. Phone.com even gives you the option to purchase an international phone number for as little as $5/month, so you can avoid international fees if you make a lot of calls to a particular country.
With Phone.com, you have the option of using a mobile phone or desktop softphone app instead of a VoIP handset. This means a tech-savvy user could theoretically get up and running in minutes. The downside is you don’t get a setup specialist like you do with Nextiva and the customer support is not as effective. For small business owners who aren’t as tech-savvy, we recommend using Nextiva.
When to use RingCentral
RingCentral is the “luxury” VoIP service for businesses who can afford the higher price tag. It has a top-notch interface for setting up the auto attendant and for users to check their voicemail or customize call forwarding settings. It has by far the best mobile app, which lets you make calls over the internet or over your mobile network using your business phone number, and even switch between the two mid-conversation. Thanks to RingCentral integrations, you can even make calls within Salesforce, Zendesk, Desk.com and other business applications.
Where RingCentral falls short is their customer service, which prioritizes larger businesses. U.S. based support is only available to 20+ user accounts. Likewise, while small businesses do get a setup specialist similar to Nextiva, this is non-US based unless you have over 10 users.
When to use a provider besides Nextiva, Phone.com or RingCentral
If you need a phone system that can integrate with your CRM or Help Desk software, but want a more affordable option than RingCentral, check out 8×8. For about $30-$40/user/month, you get a high-powered phone system with unlimited minutes that integrates with Salesforce, SugarCRM, Netsuite, Zendesk, eAgent and other business software.
If you prioritize good customer service and reliability of phone service, but want a more affordable option than Nextiva, check out Jive. We found Jive to be one of the most reliable phone services, having few reports of technical issues like dropped calls, outages or poor voice quality. They also have highly-praised customer service.
We reviewed two other VoIP providers, Ooma Office and Grasshopper, but did not find them worth recommending. Ooma Office has by far the lowest pricing, yet the highest number of technical issues reported by users, with many noting poor sound quality in particular. It also has a steep one-time hardware fee of $250 and a not-so-clear pricing policy that has caused many businesses to pay more than they expected. Grasshopper, while also inexpensive, does not actually provide phone service. You can use it to set up a professional call forwarding system, but to talk, you must use cell phones, landlines, or Skype accounts. This is something Phone.com can also do, but for cheaper.
Small Business VoIP Costs
(price per month,
(price per month,
(price per month,
Pricing for small business VoIP can be very confusing. The pricing plans quoted above are all for unlimited US and Canada calling minutes. If your company doesn’t receive or make many calls (under 500 minutes per month per user), you might be much better off with a pay per minute plan. While Nextiva don’t offer such a plan, Phone.com and RingCentral do, charging 3.9 and 4.9 cents per minute, respectively.
All the companies above offer a free 30 day trial or money back guarantee. However, you may be able to negotiate with your account executive for an extra free month. A cost not mentioned in the table above is the cost of the phone handsets themselves, which can range from $50 to $200 per handset.
Each provider also charges $5/month for additional phone numbers. Nextiva and RingCentral include a unique 10-digit number for each user with the base price. Phone.com, however, does not. Instead you have to pay $5/month for additional phone numbers. Although, as an alternative, you can give each user a unique extension at no extra cost.
Phone.com is by far the cheapest provider for both the monthly and annual contracts at $159 for 5 users on the monthly contract and $145 per month for an annual contract. There’s also pay-per-minute plans. If you have 5 employees who talk an average of 5 hours per month (or 1,500 minutes), you could pay as little as $84 total per month.
The downside is that each user does not get a unique 10-digit number.This costs an additional $5/user/month. Also, you also have to pay more for advanced features like automatic call recording ($5/month for 300 minutes) voicemail-to-text transcription ($1.50 per extension) or caller analytics ($2/month).
A fully-loaded Phone.com package would come out to $207 for 5 users on the monthly contract – still a little cheaper than Nextiva, and much cheaper than RingCentral. Visit Website
RingCentral monthly pricing ($299 for 5 users) is the most expensive of all the providers we reviewed. The price radically drops, however ($232) with an annual contract, although you have to pay for the entire year upfront.
While you get unlimited outbound calling, RingCentral is also the only provider to charge for incoming toll-free calls. With a mid-tier “Premium” edition account, each user gets 2,500 toll free minutes, which is over 41 hours. After that, you must pay 3.9 cents a minute. Visit Website
At $234 for 5 users on a monthly contract and $219 annually, Nextiva falls in in the middle. We calculated pricing based on the “Office Pro Plus” edition, which includes all the key features as well as call conferencing and a mobile app. For an additional $7/user, you get premium features like call recording and monitoring. There’s also a basic “Office Pro” plan that gives you just the essential features at a slightly lower cost. Visit Website
Standard Features of Small Business VoIP Phone Service
All three of these VoIP providers will enable you and your employees to make and receive calls anywhere in the United States with high quality audio for free. Here are some basic features which are standard with all three providers.
- Each employee and / or department can have their own unique phone number, phone greeting, and voicemail box. RingCentral and Nextiva give each user a unique 10-digit number for free. Phone.com charges an additional $5/month per number.
- Each company can use local phone numbers, have an 800 number or a combination of the two. Phone.com and RingCentral also offer international numbers for some countries.
- An auto-attendant can direct callers to the right department or you can give callers the options of dial by name directory. For the phone greeting, Nextiva lets you send in a script to be professionally recorded by their production team at no extra cost.
- You can set rules for how calls are handled. For example, sales calls can ring on multiple lines at once or roll from one person to another if calls aren’t picked up. Nextiva and RingCentral give you the most options for call routing.
- Employees can make and receive call on their personal smartphone, using their business phone number. RingCentral had by far the best mobile app.
- You can send and receive electronic faxes (e-faxing).
- All services will help you port / transfer your existing number to your new phone service.
Small Business VoIP Provider Mobile App Comparison
Each of these providers also offers a mobile app for iOS and Android which you can use to check your voicemail, update your account settings and make or recieve calls. The key benefit to using the mobile app vs. your regular cell dialer is you can make outgoing calls using your business number. This way you can reach clients outside the office without “giving out” your personal number.
All 3 providers offer this functionality, although they differ in how well they work and in their additional features. In a nutshell, RingCentral has a killer mobile app while Nextiva’s is not quite up to par. Phone.com is in between.
Phone.com’s mobile app lets you manage your voicemail, fax and SMS inbox, view call logs, open your address book and more. You can make outgoing calls using your business number, but you have to be connected to the internet. The call itself, however, goes out over your mobile network, so the call quality will not be affected by your internet connection. It will, however, count as cell minutes.
Unlike Phone.com, RingCentral lets you choose between placing calls over the internet (WiFi/4G) or your mobile network. If you have a strong enough signal and can place the call over the internet, you get loads of in-call tools – with a single click you can begin recording the conversation, put the caller on hold or transfer the call. If the signal is getting weak, you can transfer the call to your cell network without the caller being interrupted.
If you don’t have a strong wifi signal or are connected to 3G / 4G instead, you can still place calls using your business number. The call, however, will go out over your mobile network instead of VoIP. This means the call will count as cell minutes. Also, you do not get the same tools (record call, transfer call, hold caller, etc.) that you get with a VoIP call.
Like Phone.com, you can also check your inbox and change user settings.
Compared to the others, the Nextiva app is fairly primitive. You can’t check voicemail messages or change user settings like call forwarding. You also don’t the advanced in-call tools you’ll find with RingCentral.
You can make outgoing calls that display your business number, but you need to be connected to the internet and select “VoIP” after dialing. If you select “mobile” instead, it will go over your mobile network and display your personal mobile number to callers. If you aren’t connected to the internet, then you won’t be able to make a VoIP call.
Because the call is routed over the internet, you don’t have to use your cell minutes. Based on our personal experience, however, we noticed the call quality was rather poor.
Note: The mobile app is only available on an Office Pro Plus Edition ($33/month) or higher.
Best Small Business VoIP Providers Customer Service
Nextiva provides all US based customer support by phone, email, and chat. However, the hours are limited to 5 AM – 6 PM MST during weekdays and 9 AM – 1 PM MST on Saturday. Based on user reviews and our personal experience, we found Nextiva customer service to be among the best, boasting fast response times and knowledgeability.
Phone.com has 24 hour US phone and chat support. While response times are fairly quick, some users have noted trouble getting answers to more technical questions or troubleshooting their system. I can confirm this based on my personal experience.