Business phone systems allow you to set up a communications system for your business quickly. We looked at the major players and compared the overall pricing and features of each, narrowing it down to six. From there, we looked at things like subscriptions, number of lines, virtual answering, call forwarding and more, arriving at the best overall business phone system.
Top 6 Business Phone Systems
|Business Phone system|
|Nextiva||(Best Overall) Businesses that need a balance between features and pricing from our recommended VoIP provider|
|Grasshopper||Solopreneur or small business owner who wants a business line on their personal cellphone|
|RingCentral||Larger businesses that want a robust VoIP provider option with multiple lines|
|8x8 Virtual Office||Those who need international calling for team members and customers|
|Ooma||Small businesses that want a low-cost and simple phone system with hardware|
|Verizon Preferred Voice||Those who want a traditional phone service with a reputable brand and reliable Internet|
How We Evaluated the Best Business Phone Systems
There are many types of business phone systems that are right for different businesses, which include voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP), virtual phones and traditional phone systems. While there is a diverse range of phone systems for small business, the best need to be easy to manage from any Internet-connected device and give you the ability to configure your lines as needed.
Therefore, we evaluated the top six phone systems on the following features and criteria:
- Number of available phone lines: Some systems only allow one line for you to switch between your personal and business phones, like virtual phones, while others provide you with multiple lines and extensions like VoIP and traditional phone lines
- Pricing and total cost of ownership: We look at the startup costs, monthly service fees and any other associated costs that might be required to use the phone system
- Types of plans: We compared the different pricing tiers and structures to see which had the most value for the price in terms of calling minutes, texts and availability of international calling
- PBX: A private branch exchange (PBX) is a system that lets you share phone numbers with multiple lines in the same office
- Auto attendant: An automated system that greets callers and routes their call to different extensions
- Softphone: An application that allows you to make calls from your computer or mobile phone
- Voicemail to email/text: Voice messages are automatically transcribed to a readable text or email message
- Ease of use: It’s fine if a service has a great price, but how easy is it to get started? How is the customer service and will it cost your business more time than money?
After conducting extensive research, we recommend Nextiva as the best phone system for small business, which is also our best VoIP service. From a solopreneur who just needs a professional phone number to a business with a large sales team and customer service reps, Nextiva’s features can support any type of business at any stage, and it’s simple pricing ensures businesses get what they need without breaking the bank.
Best Overall Business Phone System: Nextiva
We feel that Nextiva is the phone systems for small business because they offer the best combination of features, customer support and price. The system is extremely reliable, offers multiple service plans and industry-leading customer support. Nextiva also provides a wide array of calling, collaboration and mobile features that are extremely valuable to any business looking for good features for the price.
Nextiva Pricing & Total Cost of Ownership
Nextiva’s pricing is broken down into three simple plans: Office Pro for $34.95 per user per month, Office Pro Plus for $37.95 per user per month and Office Enterprise for $44.95 per user per month, each with different features to match your specific needs.
Nextiva Tiered Features
|Professionally Recorded Greetings|
|Unlimited Calls & SMS|
|Voicemail to Text Transcription|
The Office Pro plan includes unlimited calling, voicemail-to-email, virtual faxing and on-hold music. The plan costs $34.95 per user, per month but can go as low to $17.95 per user, per month if your business has more than 100 users with their own phone lines.
Professionally recorded greetings aren’t offered with this plan as they are with the Pro Plus or the Enterprise Plan, and you’ll be left with the prerecorded. automated auto-attendant system for greeting your callers. So, this plan is best if you’re looking for a basic business phone system to make and receive calls.
Office Pro Plus
The Office Pro Plus plan has everything in the Office Pro plan as well as access to the conference bridge for conference calling and the mobile app for easier management of your system. Unlike the Pro Plan, the Plus grants you one professional recorded greeting for your auto-attendant menu.
The plan costs $37.95 per user, per month, and the price drops as low as $20.95 per user, per month if your business has more than 100 employees. This makes the plan ideal if you’re looking for a more personal touch to your customer greetings and an even easier way to make and receive calls with the softphone app.
Office Enterprise Plan
The most expensive option is the Office Enterprise plan. It includes everything in the Office Pro plan along with access to call recording and the full customer relationship management (CRM) suite. Unlike the Pro Plus plan, the Enterprise plan provides three professional recorded greetings. The plan costs $44.95 per user, per month and goes as low as $27.95 per user, per month if your business has more than 100 employees.
If you’re looking to completely customize your auto-attendant system for your business as well as leverage Nextiva’s complete customer management system along with your phone system, then this is the plan for you.
What Nextiva Is Missing
While Nextiva offers the best balance between price and features, the pricing on their website can be a bit misleading. The prices shown are for businesses with 100 or more employees that have also committed to a three-year contract. While a contract isn’t required, it should be made clearer what the pricing is for month-to-month accounts.
What Users Think About Nextiva
Customers are mostly happy with the level of service received from the customer support team, how easy the service is to set up and use and the reliability of the platform. For a more in-depth summary of user reviews, check out our user reviews of Nextiva.
Where to Get Nextiva
Signing up for Nextiva is as easy as using the rest of the service. The process takes a few simple steps and a representative will contact you as soon as you complete the registration form for your plan. You can begin the registration by using the button below.
Best Business Phone System for Solopreneurs & Remote Workers: Grasshopper
Grasshopper is our choice for the best virtual phone system. It requires no equipment, is easy to use and allows users to switch between their business number and personal number on their mobile phone. This makes it the best choice for the solopreneur or businesses with an entirely remote workforce.
Grasshopper Pricing & Total Cost of Ownership
Grasshopper’s pricing is set up in three different plans. The solo plan is $29 per month, the partner plan is $49 per month and the small business plan is $89 per month, all of which include the full suite of features, unlimited calling and access to the Grasshopper mobile app and softphone.
Specific pricing includes:
- $29/month for 1 incoming number and 3 extensions
- $49/month for 3 incoming numbers and 6 extensions
- $89/month for 5 incoming numbers and unlimited extensions
Grasshopper provides an extensive set of features that allows businesses with a completely remote workforce to present itself professionally. Using just their mobile phone, the user can have a toll-free number, custom greetings, receive calls through their extensions, store hours and directions, conference calling and more.
Even without the mobile app, users can have calls forwarded to their mobile phones through their extensions, allowing you to forward calls to as many numbers as you need for your business.
Grasshopper features a virtual PBX, which provides all the features that one can come to expect from a PBX system, such as simultaneous ringing on multiple devices and call forwarding. The virtual PBX has an intuitive dashboard for easy customization of all options.
Grasshopper’s automated attendant answers all calls to the main line and forwards them to the extensions that have been configured to forward calls to a mobile or home phone. The auto-attendant feature allows for custom greetings or, for a one-time fee of $75, a professional greeting could be recorded through Grasshopper’s voice studio.
Grasshopper provides all users with a mobile app. Available on both iOS and Android, the Grasshopper mobile app allows users to make and receive calls from the business line. Along with the ability to review employee voice messages, faxes and call history, when a call is made through the app, the business number is shown on the caller ID of the person called.
Voicemail to Email/Text
Grasshopper transcribes all voice messages received. Providing notifications and message details through email and the soft-phone app. This is a handy feature for the solopreneur who might not have the time to listen and sort through recorded voice messages.
Number of Available Phone Lines
Grasshopper offers between one and five lines and phone numbers depending on the service plan selected. The number of forwarding extensions also varies depending on the service plan. There are one line and three extensions with the solo plan, three lines and six extensions with the partner plan and five lines and unlimited extensions with the small business plan.
What Grasshopper Is Missing
A feature that would have been nice to see with Grasshopper, is recording and integrations with productivity programs like Office or Gmail. It’s also not the best for larger teams that need to stay connected or businesses with call centers that need to have a dedicated phone system. If your business needs a call center phone system, look at Nextiva.
What Users Think About Grasshopper
Entrepreneurs love Grasshopper’s simplicity and how well it works with existing devices. In a world where convenience is extremely valuable, users appreciate the lack of equipment to set up and the straightforward pricing options. For a more detailed summary of user’s reviews, see our user reviews of Grasshopper.
Where to Get Grasshopper
If entrepreneurs are still hesitant about signing up, they can always fall back on Grasshopper’s 30-day money back guarantee. Getting started with Grasshopper can be done easily through its website by clicking on the link below.
Best Business Phone System for Call Centers: RingCentral
RingCentral is another VoIP provider that offers an excellent balance of price and features. It’s a close contender to our best phone system for small business, Nextiva, and it provides a rich set of features such as Internet fax, call forwarding, cloud-based PBX and auto attendant. It’s flexible pricing without a contract make it an attractive option for small businesses, particularly those needing 50 or more lines.
RingCentral Office Pricing & Total Cost of Ownership
RingCentral offers a 15-day free trial and four plans from which to choose. At $29.99, $34.99, $44.99 and $59.99 per user, per month, all its plans have the option of being purchased with an annual contract for a discount on the cost per user. If you decide to pay by the month, there’s no penalty for canceling.
RingCentral Office Tiered Features
|Multilevel Auto Attendant|
|Call Logs & Reports|
|Automatic Call Recording|
|Integration with Salesforce|
This is the starter package, which includes 10 phone lines, 100 toll-free minutes and unlimited calls and short message service (SMS). The price starts at $29.99 a month per user. Unlike the other plans, this is only available if your business has 10 or fewer employees. So, if your business grows, you’ll be forced to upgrade to the Standard package.
This is the best for the startup with fewer than 10 employees that need simple call management and unlimited video conferencing. Along with visual voicemail, mobile apps and voicemail-to-email transcription, this plan has everything you need to run your startup and keep your team connected.
The standard package has everything in the essentials package as well as 1,000 toll-free minutes for $34.99 per user, per month with no limit to the number of lines you can have. If your business has more than 100 users, the price drops to $32.99 per user, per month and $29.99 per user, per month if you have more than 1,000 users.
Unlike the essentials plan, the standard supports unlimited users with Internet faxing and reports, making it the best for businesses looking to establish a call center or have a larger team that wants the simplicity of the essentials package but with the added benefits of faxing and the professional appearance of having a multilevel attendant.
This is RingCentral’s most popular package that has everything in the standard package with 2,500 toll-free minutes for $44.99 per month, per user. If your business has more than 100 users, the price drops to $42.99 per month, per user, and $39.99 per month, per user for more than 1,000 users. Other additional features include video meeting for up to 100 people, automated call recording, integration with Salesforce and voicemail-to-text transcription.
Unlike any of the previous plans, the premium plan provides integration with sales and productivity tools like Salesforce and Zendesk. This is the best choice for businesses with an already established call center or a large corporation with a lot of employees that need call and CRM capabilities with access to productivity tools need support for regular conference calls.
This is RingCentral’s most expensive package at $59.99 per month, per user and contains everything in the premium package. This package supports video meetings for up to 200 people, twice the amount of the premium plan, and it provides 10,000 toll-free minutes. The price drops to $52.99 per month, per user for more than 100 users, and $49.99 per month, per user if you have more than 1,000 users
There isn’t much difference in regard to features between this and the Premium package. However, this is the best choice for the truly large businesses, such as call centers and help desk support agencies that spend a lot of time on the phone with customers.
What RingCentral Is Missing
This option certainly isn’t for the solopreneur or startups. All the features, such as Salesforce integration, automatic call recording, call logs and reporting, custom app development and deployment and others might be a little too much for a small business in the very early stages. If all you need is a business number and the ability to separate your business from your personal number, then check out Grasshopper, our best virtual phone number provider.
What Users Think About RingCentral
Businesses that use RingCentral feel would agree that it is an excellent cloud phone system for business. Getting to try the system before purchasing with RingCentral’s 15-day trial period is also a favorite among business owners as they shopped for a business phone system. For a more in-depth summary of user feedback, see our user reviews of RingCentral.
Where to Get RingCentral
Signing up for RingCentral is easy and only takes three simple steps: entering contact and payment information, choosing a phone number and selecting users. If you’re not convinced it’s the right choice for your business after 15 days of use, you can cancel without penalty. Click the button below to begin your free trial.
Best Business Phone System with International Calling: 8×8 Virtual Office
8×8 offers three types of phone hardware (IP phones, cordless IP phones and conference IP phones) as well as a variety of accessories and international calling functionality. If your small business conducts a lot of its business outside of the United States, then 8×8’s packages may be right for you. All plans include international calling to anywhere from 14 to 46 destinations.
8×8 Virtual Office Pricing & Total Cost of Ownership
8×8’s pricing is broken down into three different calling plans that are $25, $35 and $55 per user, per month. All of these include access to the mobile app, unlimited faxing and unlimited calling to a number of countries depending on the plan you select.
8×8 Virtual Office Tiered Features
|Unlimited Calling Countries|
|Phone Number & Virtual Extension|
|Mobile & Desktop Apps|
|Virtual Office Supervisor|
|Call Quality Reporting|
|Inbound Contact Center|
|Outbound Contact Center|
Virtual Office X2 Edition
The Virtual Office X2 Edition package features all standard calling features, audio and video conferencing for up to five participants, unlimited faxing and an unlimited number of phone lines. Along with 1GB of media storage, this plan provides unlimited calling to 14 different countries — all for $25 per user, per month. While that’s great, it’s not nearly as much storage or countries as the X5 or X8 plans.
This is a great option for smaller companies who are just beginning to expand globally. It is a cost-conscious choice for international calling that includes the most necessary features without breaking the bank. If your company is just looking to expand team communication across borders and reach potential customers in other countries, this option will get the job done.
Virtual Office X5 Edition
The Virtual Office X5 Edition package includes everything in the X2 package plus unlimited calling in up to 32 countries and an additional 4GB of media storage. Also available at this level is an operator switchboard and call recording for an additional $10 per user, per month.
This is the best package for an international business with an already established international workforce that needs to be able to keep all communications synchronized. The additional feature of the operator switchboard also helps a growing business achieve a more professional appearance.
Virtual Office X8 Edition
The Virtual Office X8 Edition package costs $55 per user, per month. It includes all of the features in the X5 packages, plus unlimited calling for 46 countries, up to 50 participants in a conference call and virtual office supervisor. An automated system that provides a real-time view of all call activity so you can manage your staff accordingly.
Where this plan truly shines is with its contact center features that are not available in the X2 or the X5 packages. This is the perfect package for a well-established business with an international reach that needs a contact center to be able to service all the countries in which it does business.
What 8×8 Is Missing
When your callers are placed into the call queue, 8×8’s auto attendant won’t inform them of how long their estimated wait time will be or what number caller they are on the list. If you have a business with a high call volume, this might be important to your customers. Another feature that we found missing was the lack of 24/7 live chat or customer service.
What Users Think About 8×8
Businesses that use 8×8 Virtual Office are incredibly satisfied with the cost of the service and the quality of customer support received during their operating hours. However, disappointed users were unhappy with the reliability of the service. For a more in-depth summary of 8×8’s user feedback, check out our user reviews of 8×8
Where to Get 8×8
Getting started with 8×8 is easy. A call to its toll-free number puts a business in touch with its friendly solutions specialists, or you can sign up for 8×8 by requesting a customized quote through its website through the button below.
Best Business Phone System for Low-cost Ownership: Ooma Office
Ooma office is a bit different from the VoIP competition. Instead of multiple pricing tiers, you purchase a hardware adapter and then pay a low monthly fee for the service with no pricing tiers to debate. With the option to try with a 30-day trial, Ooma could be a good option for startups who want a low-cost way to own their equipment.
Ooma Office Pricing & Total Cost of Ownership
Ooma Office’s pricing is broken down into a one-time hardware cost and monthly service fees. The business starter package provides a base station and two wireless Linx devices for $250. The monthly fee is simply $19.95 per user and, if your business grows, it’s $50 for each additional Linx device and $100 for another base station.
Ooma Office may not offer the most extensive features list, but it does have the most important items that a business may need like call and voicemail forwarding, extension dialing, conference bridging and hold music. It evens provide a few of the more advanced features like after-hours modes, virtual receptionist and call logs.
The Linx devices allow you to connect any phone to the phone system, even older analog phones. You can also use a fax machine with Ooma Office to send and receive faxes.
Ooma Office provides a cloud PBX system. This means that all features are hosted in the cloud without a physical PBX switchboard in the office, making it easy to share the phone system with any phones that are connected to the Linx devices and base stations.
The auto-attendant, known in Ooma Office as a virtual receptionist, answers and routes all incoming calls. It also provides a one-way text-to-speech feature that allows you to type messages that are automatically converted into recordings to be played for your callers. This is a useful feature for those who might not want to pay for a professional recording but also don’t want to record a greeting themselves.
Along with the option to use an existing phone or an IP phone, Ooma office provides all users with a mobile app. Available on both iOS and Android, users can make and receive calls from anywhere on any type of phone.
Voicemail to Email/Text
Ooma office has a one-way text-to-speech feature that allows conversion of typed messages into recordings. Unfortunately, the text-to-speech feature does not support transcription of voice messages that are left by callers nor does it provide text or email notifications of missed calls or voicemail.
Number of Available Phone Lines
Ooma Office places no limits on the number of phone lines. If your business expands and you need new phone lines, you can add a line through the admin console and get a phone number and virtual fax and decide which device calls to the new lines are routed to.
What Ooma Office Is Missing
For the cost-conscious startup, the biggest downside to Ooma Office is the upfront hardware costs. Depending on how many employees are in a business, the initial costs can range from $250 to $1,250. Another downside to Ooma Office we found is the lack of a voicemail-to-text feature and some other features like call screening or video conferencing.
What Users Think About Ooma Office
Users that positively reviewed Ooma Office are pleased with how simple the system is to set up and appreciate that it works with any type of phone, including analog phones meaning no special phone purchase is required. For an in-depth summary of what users think, check out our user reviews of Ooma office.
Where to Get Ooma Office
Getting started with Ooma Office is easy. A call to its toll-free number puts a business in touch with its friendly solutions specialists, or the order and setup can be initiated directly from its website through the button below.
Best Traditional Phone System from a Well-known Provider: Verizon Preferred Voice
Preferred Voice is one of the standard phone systems for small business provided by Verizon. This is a traditional phone line service with unlimited calling and is ideal for businesses in rural areas with high call volumes. Because Verizon is a well-known provider of landlines, it’s best for less tech-savvy business owners who want a phone system with brand reputability.
Verizon Pricing & Total Cost of Ownership
Keeping things simple, Preferred Voice has only one package with the price starting at $59.99 per month with a two-year agreement. To get the most of the package, the right phone equipment is needed and Verizon offers a two-line telephone that starts at $99.99, which is the best phone hardware to take advantage of the package’s features.
Although Verizon’s Preferred Voice is a traditional phone package that uses a landline connection, it still provides some of the more advanced features users can expect from a business phone system like call forwarding, three-way calling and call waiting.
In addition to the above-mentioned features, you also get inside and outside ringing, which allows you to distinguish between internal and external calls and, for an additional fee, you can make international calls and obtain a toll-free number for your business.
This feature in Preferred Voice is aptly named call pick-up. All users within the business can answer calls on other lines, share phones and dial users on other phones within the business and distinguish between internal and external incoming calls easily. However, it doesn’t allow you to have customized greetings for your callers outside of business hours.
The Preferred Voice package doesn’t have the virtual receptionist to answer and direct calls. Instead, it features what’s called line hunting, which routes calls through all lines to send the caller to a live employee before going to voicemail. If an auto attendant is a must-have feature for your business, look at Nextiva, our best auto attendant phone system.
Softphone & Voicemail to Email/Text
Preferred Voice is a traditional phone system that uses a landline. As such, there isn’t a visual dashboard that you can log into to manage the system, voicemail-to-email or text or a softphone mobile app that allows you to switch between your business and personal lines easily like Grasshopper, our best virtual phone number provider.
Number of Available Phone Lines
Preferred Voice allows one to five lines when ordering and setting up the system through Verizon’s website. You can order as many lines as needed for your business, which increases your monthly rates. The best way to set up and request additional lines would be to contact a Verizon business solutions specialist.
What Verizon Preferred Voice Is Missing
While Verizon is known for being stable and reliable, it’s a fairly simple package and doesn’t have all the features that are commonly found in today’s VoIP phone systems, such as a softphone/mobile app, an online system for managing your account or voicemail to email or text transcription. The price is also significantly more expensive than VoIP phone systems currently on the market today.
What Users Think About Verizon’s Preferred Voice
Verizon is well-known for its nationwide network and superior customer service, and users enjoy the same reliable service with Preferred Voice. Users also love the savings that can be had when the phone service is bundled with Verizon’s broadband Internet and mobile phone services.
Where to Get Verizon Preferred Voice
Signing up for Verizon’s Preferred Voice can be done by starting the process on its website, or you can call a business solutions specialist to guide you through the process and check if Verizon Preferred Voice is available in your area.
The Bottom Line – Phone Systems for Small Business
If you’re looking for business phone systems that offer a great balance between pricing and features, especially on a multinumber or multilocation VoIP system, and top-notch customer support, then you can’t go wrong with Nextiva. The provider has a great track record and offers all the features you need for a great price.
Nextiva is the best phone systems for businesses with one or multiple locations because it can be managed from one online platform, is easy to use, is extremely reliable and includes a wide range of features businesses expect from a phone system. This makes it our recommendation for the best business phone system for 2018.