Internet phone services are more affordable and powerful data-based alternatives to traditional landline phones due to built-in features like touch-tone menus, voicemail, and other software integrations. We looked at 23 of the best internet phones available and compared them on price, features, usability, and more to determine the best six, including the best overall system.
Top 6 Internet Phones
|Internet Phone||Best for|
|Grasshopper||(Best overall) Business looking for an affordable service that comes with a toll-free number|
|Nextiva||Companies looking for a complete internet phone system at an affordable price|
|Teams looking for internet phone service with a robust feature set|
|Jive||Organizations with an overseas business presence that need unlimited international calling|
|Phone.com||Companies that want a vanity number for their business|
|Google Voice||Solo workers and freelancers looking for a free basic phone service|
How We Evaluated Internet Phones
Internet phone services should be affordable enough for small businesses. They should also be easy to set up and use, however, reliability, call quality, and call management functionality are also important considerations. More advanced systems even offer features like customer relationship management (CRM) integration, video conferencing, and more.
To determine the best, we evaluated internet phones based on the following:
- Cost: Services should be affordable enough for small businesses to adopt.
- Ease of use: We looked at how easy each system is to set up and use.
- Reliability & call quality: Services should offer adequate audio quality and reliability during calls.
- Call management: We looked at the call screening, routing, blocking, and other call management functions offered by each system.
- Short message service (SMS) functionality: Many leading internet phone systems allow you to send and receive text messages.
- Voicemail: We looked at each service’s voicemail functionality, including visual voicemail and voicemail-to-email transcription.
- Supported phone numbers: All phone services offer a local phone number, but more advanced systems offer toll-free or even customized vanity numbers.
- Software integrations: Leading services offer the ability to connect phone data with CRMs, marketing software, and more.
- Customer support: Internet phone providers should offer customer service in the event of a problem.
- Dial-by-name directory: Automated attendant features offer the ability to greet and route callers without human intervention.
- Emergency: E911 and other emergency modules allow you to notify local authorities, even if you are on an internet-based phone system.
Based on the above criteria, we find that Grasshopper is the best overall internet phone service for most small businesses. The virtual phone system comes at an affordable price, comes with an auto attendant, and even provides customers with a toll-free number. That, along with software integrations, make it one of the best services of its kind.
Best Overall Internet Phone Service for Small Businesses: Grasshopper
Grasshopper is a virtual phone service that provides users with a phone number to use on their existing personal phone without the need for additional equipment. Pricing starts at $26 per month, and all tiers of service offer the same features like call management and unlimited domestic calling. We find that this is the best option for most small business owners who need an internet phone service that they can use on their smartphone or landline device.
Grasshopper offers three different pricing plans. Plans include the Solo package for $29 per month, the Partner edition for $49 per month, and the Small Business edition for $89 per month. Each plan comes with the same feature set, which makes it a good value for an internet phone service.
Each plan comes with the following amount of phone numbers and extensions:
- Solo Plan: One number and three extensions for $29 per month
- Partner Plan: Three numbers and six extensions for $49 per month
- Small Business Plan: Five numbers and unlimited extensions for $89 per month
All editions of Grasshopper come with features found in other internet phone services, such as voicemail, faxing, call routing, and texting. It also includes hold music, a dial-by-name directory, business texting, and an automated attendant to greet and route callers. The fact that it offers so many features at such a low price makes it one of the best options on the market.
Making calls with Grasshopper works in an identical fashion to doing so on your smartphone or softphone. On your mobile or web app, go to the “Call” function, and you will see a virtual dial pad to enter numbers with. Sending text messages with Grasshopper is just as easy. It also comes with call screening, blocking, and forwarding features just like all of the other systems we looked at.
Grasshopper offers call management functionality like call forwarding, call block, call transfer, and custom control that can block calls during set times of the day. The service also comes with a call screening feature that allows you to hear the calls name and numbers before deciding whether or not to pick up the phone. This about matches the functionality found in more expensive business phone systems.
Grasshopper offers you the choice of either a local or toll-free number when you start a new account. Having a toll-free number can be advantageous if your company has a national business presence and you want a phone number to reflect that. It can also make your organization look more professional to all callers. This, along with the ability to have unlimited extensions, put it ahead of free services like Google Voice, which offer no such functionality.
Every Grasshopper account comes with a touch-tone menu, or an automated attendant, that can answer inbound calls and forward callers to the employee or department they are trying to reach. The service lets you route callers to any phone number, including personal mobile phones and landline devices. This matches the functionality of more expensive systems like RingCentral, although it does not have as many modules as that system.
What Grasshopper Is Missing
Grasshopper is a virtual phone service, which means that it needs an existing mobile or landline phone number to forward calls to work. If you are looking for an internet phone solution that can work completely independently, we recommend looking at Nextiva. The VoIP software offers all of the features of Grasshopper, but also includes features like faxing and video conferencing.
What Users Think About Grasshopper
Our readers appreciate the system’s pricing and reliability. However, there are some complaints that the company’s customer service can be slow in helping to resolve service issues. For more reviews, check out our Grasshopper user reviews page.
Where to Find Grasshopper
Businesses that want a powerful internet phone service that comes at an affordable price should look at Grasshopper. There is even a seven-day free trial available so you can try out the service for yourself. Get started today.
Best Complete Internet Phone Service: Nextiva
Nextiva, which starts at $3 per user, per month, is our overall pick for best business phone system. It’s an internet phone service that offers features like unlimited domestic calling, conferencing, and SMS functionality. Advanced versions of the service even come with CRM capabilities, which help make it a more complete service. Nextiva is great for businesses that want a complete internet business phone system.
Nextiva comes in three different versions. Pricing for the service ranges from $35 to $55 per user, per month, of four or less. However, pricing can go as low as $20 per user, per month, if you bring more users. This is one of the more moderately priced options on the market.
Nextiva Tiered Features
|Free Local Number|
|Free Toll-free Number|
*Pricing can go as low as $20, $25, or $30 per user, per month, for larger teams. Get in touch with Nextiva’s sales team for more information.
Nextiva’s Basic plan starts $35 per user, per month, and pricing goes down if you have more than five users subscribed. In this package, you get a softphone, call management functionality, unlimited domestic calling, and SMS texting. Even in this entry-level form, this is still a complete business phone system for an affordable price.
It is unfortunate that this plan does not come with access to Nextiva’s mobile app, which is available in more expensive versions. This means that you cannot take your internet phone service on the go when you are out of the office. This plan is best suited for teams that need an internet phone service, but don’t need mobile functionality.
Nextiva’s Pro plan starts at $38 per user, per month, and comes with all of the features of the Basic package along with a few bonus features. You get conference calling, access to the mobile app, and a free professionally recorded voice greeting for your automated attendant. This can help your business sound a lot more respectable to your incoming callers.
This plan is missing Nextiva’s built-in CRM functionality that comes bundled with the Enterprise version of the product. It is also lacking call recording. This is a shame since this is a standard feature in Google Voice, which is a free product. With that in mind, this version of the service has enough to offer most small businesses users.
Although this package is called Enterprise, it can be used by any business size as it does not require a minimum number of users. For $55 per user, per month, you get an analytics dashboard that provides information on call activity, call time, and more. This package also comes with access to Nextiva’s CRM features so you can track prospects through a sales pipeline.
As powerful as this plan is, it is far too expensive for most small businesses. Unless you need a complete CRM system in your internet phone software, you should go with more affordable tiers of the service, or even a less expensive competitor like Grasshopper. Nextiva Enterprise is best for companies that can afford a complete set of features.
What Nextiva Is Missing
Nextiva is a powerful internet phone system that benefits most small businesses. However, it does not a very intuitive interface. RingCentral, on the other hand, offers one of the smoothest user experiences on the market and is easy enough to set up for novice users. For more information, check out our guide on setting up a small business VoIP service.
What Users Think About Nextiva
Nextiva is popular with customers because of its features and pricing. Our reader highly the company’s customer support options, saying that Nextiva is very helpful in the event of a problem. Still, there are several complaints about glitches and other technical issues. Read our Nextiva user reviews page for more information.
Where to Find Nextiva
If you are looking for an internet phone solution that comes with a complete set of business phone features, you should look at Nextiva. The company even offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee so that you can try it for yourself before committing. Click the button below to get started.
Best Internet Phone With a Robust Feature Set: RingCentral
RingCentral, which starts at $29.99 per user, per month, is an internet phone service with call management, unlimited calling, the ability to host large audio conferences, and an automated attendant to greet and route callers. RingCentral offers advanced features and scalability that makes it one of the most powerful systems of its kind. It is perfect for those seeking enterprise-like features in a small business setting.
RingCentral offers three small business plans. The Essentials plan starts at $29.99, the Standard edition starts at $34.99 per user, per month, and the Premium package costs $44.99 per user, per month. This makes it one of the pricier options on the market.
RingCentral Tiered Features
|Pricing||$29.99/user, per month||$34.99/user, per month|
|Multilevel auto attendant|
|Call logs & Reports|
|Automatic call recording|
|Voicemail to text transcription|
The Essentials version of RingCentral costs $29.99 per user, per month. It comes with options for call forwarding, waiting, and blocking. On top of that, you get access to the company’s mobile app as well as 100 toll-free minutes and conference calling for up to four people. This includes conferencing on your mobile app, desktop softphone, or a VoIP phone.
The fact that conferences are so limited is unfortunate as it forces companies that hold large webinars to subscribe to a more expensive package. It also lacks the multilevel auto attendant module that comes with the Standard and Premium versions. RingCentral Essentials is best suited for smaller teams looking for a strong core set of features.
The Standard edition, which costs $34.99 per user, per month, offers ten times the number of toll-free calling minutes. It also adds a multilevel auto attendant that can serve as an automatic, virtual receptionist for your organization and internet faxing functionality. The conferencing functionality offered by RingCentral makes it great if you use VoIP conference phones in your office.
It would be preferable if RingCentral Standard would accommodate video meetings of more than four participants at once, at allowing more people could make the system great for all-hands meetings with remote staff. With that in mind, the inclusion of the auto attendant in this tier makes it a good choice for established small businesses that want a professional phone presence.
According to the company, Premium is the most popular version of the service. For $44.99 per user, per month, it comes with 2,500 toll-free calling minutes. On top of that, it offers unlimited audio and video meetings for up to 100 people so you can hold mass webinars to your staff and associates. The service also automatically records all calls and transcribes all voicemail messages, even if you are using an analog phone adapter device.
This high-end version of RingCentral about matches the features of similarly priced plans from other VoIP systems. However, the fact that it offers so many toll-free minutes, software integrations, and large video meetings gives this package one of the most impressive feature sets on the market. It is ideal for call centers as well as general business users that want digital records of all call traffic.
What RingCentral Is Missing
RingCentral offers international calling functionality on a per-minute rate. While this is fine for many American businesses, this can be prohibitively expensive for teams with an overseas business presence. If you need to make frequent international calls, we recommend Jive, which offers unlimited international calling to 52 countries.
What Users Think About RingCentral
Our readers like the volume discounts available from RingCentral, as well as the fact that the service has a great interface and is very easy to use. Some customers, however, say that RingCentral’s customer support isn’t very helpful. Check out our RingCentral user reviews page.
Where to Find RingCentral
RingCentral is great for organizations that want an internet phone service packed with tons of features. You can even start a 15-day free trial and get a tour of the system by a company representative. Click the button below for more information.
Best Internet Phone Service for International Calling: Jive
Jive is a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) service that starts at $29.95 per month. It provides features like automated attendant, call management, a toll-free number, and call conferencing. However, what makes Jive stand out from other internet phone systems is the fact that it offers unlimited international calling to 52 countries. It is an ideal service for companies that need to speak with overseas associates on a regular basis.
Jive offers five monthly plans ranging from $29.95 to $19.95 per month, depending on the number of users signed up for the service. Virtual phone numbers are available for an additional 50 cents per month. This is one of the more affordable services available.
How Jive’s pricing tiers break down based on the number of users:
$29.95: 1-4 users
$25.95: 5-9 users
$23.95: 10-24 users
$21.95: 25-49 users
$19.95: 50+ users
Jive has all the features you’d need to make and receive calls over a data network. It also comes with free unlimited calling to 52 countries on top of unlimited domestic calling. That, along with call recording, reports, and access to the company’s mobile app make it a powerful solution.
Like Grasshopper, Nextiva, and other competitors, Jive has all of the basic telephony functions you’d need from an internet phone. You have a dial pad to make calls and contact list for your employees, and you also have an inbox for text messaging. There is also a voicemail inbox for all of your messages, and using the service with your VoIP headset will be just like making calls with a landline phone.
Jive makes it very easy to manage all of your call traffic. The service has call waiting, call transfer, call forwarding, block, and caller ID. A nice bonus here is that it comes with a do not disturb feature that blocks all calls during set times automatically. It also comes with an enhanced 911 (E911) function so that your employees can make emergency calls from any connected device.
Like other VoIP services, Jive comes with the ability to adopt a toll-free number. This is great for giving your company the appearance of a respectable, established organization. It also comes with the ability to adopt an international number. These cost $19.99 to set up, followed by a monthly cost of at least $5.99 depending on what country you would like a telephony presence in.
All versions of Jive come with an automated attendant that greets and routes callers based on their response to your voice menu options. It all works similarly to other solutions we looked at. However, it is worth noting that it does not come with a professionally recorded voice greeting for these menus like Nextiva’s Pro edition.
What Jive Is Missing
Jive is a powerful system, but it’s not without its problems. The fact that all packages offer unlimited domestic calling essentially means that, if you have a low call volume, you are essentially paying for features that you don’t need. Phone.com, on the other hand, offers bundles of minutes starting at just $12.99 per month.
What Users Think About Jive
Jive customers like the system’s international calling options. They also find that the service is easy to use. Criticisms of the service include the fact that the process of adding numbers can be a bit confusing to nontechnical users. Check out our Jive user reviews page for more information.
Where to Find Jive
Jive is ideal for multinational organizations seeking an effective, affordable internet phone service. The company offers a free demo of their product when you get in touch with its sales team. Click the link below to get started.
Best Internet Phone Service for Vanity Numbers: Phone.com
Phone.com, which starts at $12.99 per month, is a VoIP solution that comes with features such as an auto attendant, voicemail, and the choice of either unlimited or pay-per-minute calling plans. Additionally, the system also lets you adopt a customized, memorable vanity number, like 1-800-FLOWERS. These numbers are catchy and likely to be remembered by your audience. Phone.com is great for businesses that want their phone number to be a marketing tactic.
Phone.com’s pricing ranges from $29.99 to $59.99 per user extension for unlimited calling packages. There is a one-time fee for custom numbers starting at $100, and there is also a monthly fee of $4.99 per month. This gives Phone.com one of the more unconventional pricing structures on the market.
Phone.com offers users a customizable auto attendant, unlimited extensions, internet faxing, and SMS functionality. It’s features and pricing make it helpful for solopreneurs as it has many of the same tools found on more expensive platforms.
Phone.com’s dial pad and texting modules look identical to what you’d find on any smartphone. The software allows you to make calls, send text, and check voicemail on both mobile devices and the web app. Being able to make calls on a computer is one of the more powerful features inherent to internet calling.
Like any worthwhile internet phone service, Phone.com provides a range of functions to handle incoming calls. You can block, transfer, and forward calls to other extensions. It also includes a call screening module that reads the number of the caller and shows key call information such as the caller name and location. This is helpful for determining which calls to answer and which ones to send to voicemail.
One of Phone.com’s biggest strengths is that it allows you to adopt a customized vanity phone number for your business. These numbers are easier to remember for customers and help you stand out. If you were a mason, for example, having a catchy number like 1-800-STONES on the side of your truck will stick out to passers-by more than a regular number.
Phone.com’s auto attendant module offers callers a voice menu that supports button presses as well as voice commands, just like competing systems. There is also a dial-by-name directory that allows callers to enter the name of the person they wish to speak with. The auto attendant is extremely easy to set up and deploy, even for nontechnical users.
What Phone.com Is Missing
Phone.com offers a lot of features for an affordable price, which makes it a solid choice for any established business that can afford a paid system. However, solo workers and teams that are just starting out might not be ready to invest in an internet phone system just yet. If you are looking for a free system, we suggest looking at Google Voice, which provides you with a free local phone number and a mobile app so that you can take your business number anywhere.
What Users Think About Phone.com
Our readers like the affordability of the service. They also enjoy the flexibility of the calling plans and the ability to adopt a vanity number. However, some are disappointed with the quality of the company’s customer support, saying that representatives can take a while to respond. Check out our Phone.com user reviews page for more information.
Where to Find Phone.com
Phone.com provides you with an effective, memorable vanity number for your small business while also giving you strong internet phone features. All Phone.com plans from with a 30-day, money-back guarantee. Visit Phone.com’s website today to learn more.
Best Free Internet Phone Service: Google Voice
Google Voice is a free, basic internet phone service that can be used on any device. The virtual phone system comes with unlimited domestic calling to most of the United States and Canada, text messaging, call block, and call forwarding functionality. Google Voice is ideal for solopreneurs, freelancers, or any other kind of worker who is looking for a free separate business number.
Google Voice Pricing
Google Voice is a free solution that offers users a free local phone number. The service offers free calling and texting to most of the U.S. and Canada. Calls to select North American locations and other countries start at one cent per minute.
Google Voice Features
Google Voice offers basic internet phone features like voicemail, call blocking, and call screening capabilities. Unlike paid systems we looked at, you cannot adopt a toll-free number. It doesn’t offer extensions of an auto attendant either. It is best suited for those who only need a basic business phone number.
Google Voice is a very simple solution. As such, navigating around its calling, texting, and voicemail modules is very easy. The service can even sync contacts with your phone’s address book, so all of your contacts are in the service. This is one aspect where Google Voice matches its more expensive counterparts.
Unlike other solutions we looked at, Google Voice does not offer an automated attendant, so you won’t be able to route incoming calls automatically. The service does come with a call screening module that greets callers and asks them to identify themselves, but it is no substitute for the virtual receptionist functionality found in Grasshopper, Nextiva, and other leading products.
Google Voice lets you choose phone numbers from almost any area code in the U.S. However, it does not offer the ability to adopt a toll-free number. This can make your company look less established to prospective customers. However, it probably won’t be a problem if the entire scope of your business operations is in one local area.
Google Voice imports data from your mobile device’s address book to tell you who is calling. You also have the option of answering the call, sending it to voicemail, or blocking the number from calling you. This is nearly identical to how a smartphone’s default phone app works.
What Google Voice Is Missing
Google Voice is free, so it is easy to overlook its lack of advanced features. However, the fact that it does not offer multiple extensions on the same number means it is not viable for most small businesses. If you are looking for an affordable internet phone service that provides a wealth of features, you should consider Grasshopper.
What Users Think About Google Voice
Google Voice users are happy with the ability to adopt a separate business number at no cost. The fact that it offers texting and voicemail is a bonus as well. Still, many users say that they have experienced difficulty when trying to port phone numbers over from landlines. For more impressions, check out our Google Voice User Reviews page.
“I have used Google Voice solely for my business since 2010. Having an essentially free business line has saved me a lot of money during the past nine years, plus it’s saved me from giving out my cellphone number, which helps me get away from business outside of office hours. I have no intention of changing to a different program for my business.”
—Nicole Royer, Principal Consultant, Innovative Revolution.
Where to Find Google Voice
Google Voice is a fantastic option for solo workers, freelancers, or any other business user who needs basic telephony features. Best of all, the service is free to use. All you need is a Google account, and you can start using the service immediately. Click the link below for more information.
Internet phone services provide substantial cost savings compared to traditional landline setups. They also provide useful business features like conferencing, voicemail, and auto attendants that can be useful for freelancers and established businesses alike. They also make your company look more professional than if you used your personal number.
We find that Grasshopper is the best internet phone service for most small business users. The service is affordable, easy to use, and offers a toll-free phone number with every account. Click the link below to start your 14-day free trial.