Voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) software enables you to make and receive calls using a computer or mobile device over the internet, instead of a desk phone. Softphones offer several advantages, including increased mobility and functionality, greater savings, and effective integration of tools.
Based on our research of dozens of providers, here are the best VoIP softphone providers for small businesses:
- Nextiva: Best overall VoIP softphone provider
- RingCentral: Best for centralized communications
- Vonage: Best for tailored service plans
- Grasshopper: Best for affordable, flat-rate pricing
- Google Voice: Best no-frills virtual phone number provider
- 3CX: Best for social media communications
- GoTo Connect: Best for frequent international calling
Best VoIP Softphone Providers Compared
Monthly Starting Price (per user)
FSB Rating out of 5
4.52 out of 5
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Do you know how softphones work? VoIP phones send voice data to recipients by breaking up the audio into segments and converting them into binary code using codec software. The codes are then sent from your device to the recipient’s device and “decoded” into the original sounds. Read our comprehensive softphone guide to learn more about this technology.
Nextiva: Best Overall VoIP Softphone Providers
*Save up to 27% by paying annually; volume discounts are available for more than five users.
When it comes to VoIP softphone providers, Nextiva is the top-seeded solution because of its feature-rich business phone system and powerful collaboration app. Advanced calling capabilities include analytics, three-way calling, priority alerts, ring groups, and toll-free numbers. Nextiva is also pretty generous with its toll-free minutes allowance, a base plan that comes with 1,500 minutes, and Enterprise plans that have up to 12,500 minutes.
Nextiva’s Cospace app is an excellent communication tool for companies with remote teams. It keeps everyone connected and solves the challenge of siloed data and confusing app switching. However, even with all its productivity tools, its video conferencing solution has a 45-minute meeting limit. If you have meetings with less than 25 people, check out 3CX. Its free plan has a 25-attendee limit but has unlimited meetings with no time caps.
- Call flow builder: Use Nextiva’s menus and route calls based on your operational days and hours. Manage call flows and create a business phone system with routing protocols based on your operational requirements.
- Music on hold: Replace the silence customers hear while in queue with recorded music. Hearing music informs callers that the call is still active. Consider playing recorded messages sharing information about products and offers instead of music.
- Team chat: Communicate with customers or colleagues using this group messaging feature. Share files, thread conversations, and create rooms for private discussions for select people.
RingCentral: Best for Centralized Communications
*Save up to 33% with annual payment, and volume discounts are also available.
When it comes to the best softphones for all-in-one business communications, RingCentral is our top pick because it unifies voice, video, SMS, and fax into one platform. Its entry-level plan includes unlimited domestic calling, business SMS, team messaging, and audio and video conferencing. RingCentral also offers powerful productivity tools like custom dashboards and real-time analytics.
When it comes to video conferencing, it has a free plan for high-definition (HD) video meetings with unlimited 50-minute meetings for up to 100 participants. However, the solution may offer much more than what a small team or startup needs. The best softphone for businesses with a limited budget is Grasshopper. It charges a flat monthly subscription fee for multiple users. It offers up to five phone numbers and unlimited extensions and users on its highest plan. It’s an excellent choice for businesses looking for a virtual phone number.
- Hot desking: Use shared desk phones with access to your personal settings, voicemail, and personal extension. This feature is excellent for companies with mobile teams who work in different offices or locations.
- Visual voicemail: Manage your voicemails directly from RingCentral’s desktop or mobile apps. Listen, preview, forward, or delete voicemail messages.
- RingOut: Consider this a backup connection when your internet connection is unstable. This click-to-call feature allows users to make outbound calls using a landline or mobile phone with your RingCentral number as the caller ID.
Vonage: Best for Tailored Service Plans
*Discounts apply for five or more users; Vonage requires a one-year minimum contract.
We pick Vonage out of all the VoIP softphone providers because it lets users customize plans based on their unique needs. There are three pricing plans to choose from, which include unified communications (UC) features like auto-attendant and receptionist console. Prebuilt plans include 42 standard features, and there are 17 optional features available, such as a conference bridge and on-demand call recording.
In addition to a range of a la carte plans, Vonage has an intuitive app, making it one of our preferred VoIP apps for iPhone and one of the best VoIP apps for Android. However, one of its drawbacks is that it only accommodates 25 video conferencing participants. Choose RingCentral if you require a VoIP softphone provider with large virtual meeting capacities. Users can host up to 200 video conference participants—much higher than Vonage’s offering.
- Spam shield: Detect and avoid spam callers and telemarketers using Vonage’s spam shield. Activate this feature to screen all incoming calls for phone scams. The system checks the number versus a spam/robocall database. Detected spammers will trigger a “Suspected Spam” message.
- Call groups: Create call groups for business teams and send specific calls to agents with skills that match their needs. This add-on service directs incoming calls to up to 25 extensions, either in sequence or simultaneously.
- Custom call tag: Label each phone number or extension with descriptive tags you see during incoming calls. It allows you to distinguish calls and take appropriate action easily.
Grasshopper: Best for Affordable Flat-rate Pricing
*Pricing is based on monthly billing; save over 10% with annual billing.
Grasshopper is the most cost-effective VoIP softphone platform thanks to its flat-rate subscription pricing. It allows teams to access features like custom greetings and call forwarding at small business-friendly prices. Get multiple phone numbers and extensions to handle simultaneous customer calls with ease. Access features like voicemail transcription and simultaneous call handling, regardless of your plan subscription.
As an affordable VoIP phone system, Grasshopper offers an internet-based phone with essential features like call transfers and voicemail. However, it doesn’t come with video conferencing, team chat, and task management. If these are features you need, we suggest trying the best overall VoIP softphone, RingCentral. It’s an all-in-one solution with phone, video, SMS, and extensive integrations.
- Voice Studio: Make recording messages easier by using Grasshopper’s voice studio. It provides professional voice talent for your auto-attendant with English and Spanish language options.
- Unlimited extensions: Maximize your monthly plan by using a single number that an entire team can use, such as sales or marketing units. Users can assign a specific extension to each person.
- Instant response: When you cannot answer an incoming call, instant response allows you to send an SMS informing the caller you are unavailable to answer. Use this to avoid missing potential customers.
Google Voice: Best No-frills Virtual Phone Number Provider
*Google Voice does not provide annual discounts.
Google Voice has basic call and messaging features, such as unlimited text messages, ring groups, and unmetered domestic calling. A Google account gives users access to a Google Voice phone number without a monthly subscription. All plans come with Google Meet and Calendar integrations and a 99.9% service level agreement (SLA) uptime guarantee, vital for small, internet-based businesses.
While Google Voice is one of the best softphones for small businesses using the Google Workspace ecosystem, its virtual phone number options are limited to local numbers. For teams looking for softphone VoIP providers with multiple types of phone numbers, go with Grasshopper. It’s one of the few VoIP softphone providers offering multiple phone number options, including local, toll-free, and vanity numbers.
Google Voice Features
- Workspace integration: Google Voice is part of the Google ecosystem and gives users access to popular applications like Google Meet and Google Calendar. This expands your collaboration tools and allows you to host video conferencing sessions with screen-sharing and hand-raising capabilities.
- Voicemail transcription: Save time and get your voicemail messages in text format. Google Voice transcribes and converts voicemails into text format so users don’t have to play message recordings repeatedly.
- Ring groups: Google Voice alerts multiple team members simultaneously when there’s an incoming call. Configure the ring group feature by identifying the ring order, setting, and business hours, and determining who in the ring group makes the outbound calls.
3CX: Best for Social Media Communications
*Plans are paid in full annually with bulk renewal discounts of up to 10%.
3CX beats other softphones for business when it comes to social media management thanks to its multi-channel communication like VoIP calling and business messaging. All 3CX plans come with live chat, WhatsApp, and Facebook integration. It also includes the 3CX Talk link, allowing people to call you for free using their browser. Place your talk or meet link anywhere, including your website to your email signature.
3CX is one of our top free unified communications (UC) platforms for small businesses—but it does have limited integrations for improving communications, overall productivity, and data management. If you want a UC platform with robust integrations that can be connected with popular business tools, check out RingCentral. It has over 300 out-of-the-box integrations, including customer relationship management (CRM), automation, and productivity tools.
- Live chat: Customize this chat solution with voice and video capabilities. Easily elevate chat conversations to real-time calls when complex discussions require instant discussions. This lets you give clients real-time advice as they shop for products or services.
- Video conferencing: Depending on your plan, users can host meetings between 25 and 250 participants. Hold face-to-face conversations with colleagues who can seamlessly join meetings from their browsers with no logins or installation requirements. Join in via browser or use free Android or iOS video apps.
- Call queues: 3CX’s call management system allows users to call queues to individuals or groups, minimizing missed calls. Agents can answer calls from any location and use the callback option when there’s high call traffic.
GoTo Connect: Best for Frequent International Calling
*Save up to 11% with annual billing.
If your team makes regular calls overseas, GoTo Connect is a great option because it offers unlimited international calling to over 50 countries, such as Singapore and the United Kingdom. Subscription rates are applicable for both incoming and outgoing calls. While the base plan applies per-minute rates for toll-free and international calling, Standard plan subscribers get unmetered global calling and 1,000 free minutes shared across an account.
While GoTo Connect offers international calling, its SMS offering is limited—users only get 40 to 80 SMS credits, depending on the plan they’re subscribed to. Alternatively, try Nextiva. It offers mobile SMS and multimedia messaging service (MMS) solutions for Professional and Enterprise users of up to 2,000 messages sent and received per user. Add this communication channel and interact with teammates and customers from any device, anywhere, anytime.
GoTo Connect Features
- Mobile screen sharing: Control what other meeting participants see with GoTo Connect’s robust video conferencing functionality on mobile devices. Users on both desktop and mobile can share their screens as well as edit, highlight, and mark up documents instantly.
- Custom call flows: Use the drag-and-drop interface and edit, update, and change call flows to suit your workflow. Add auto-attendants and monitor how calls are routed to different extensions or departments.
- Reporting and analytics: Track interactions across multiple channels like social media, chat, and calls. Gain actionable business insights based on customer interaction for better decision-making.
How We Evaluated the Best VoIP Softphone Providers
VoIP softphones take and place calls over the internet, allowing users to access their phone system across various devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and cell phones. To assess the best softphones for business operations, we looked at each provider’s subscription cost, plan inclusions, calling capabilities, usability, and customer support. Our evaluation also includes our expert option on value and experience using the platforms.
Learn how we evaluated the best VoIP softphone providers by clicking on the tabs below:
15% of Overall Score
Cost is a significant consideration for small businesses. We ranked subscription plans according to their price vis-a-vis inclusion to determine affordability. We also gave more points to those with discounts for annual billing and bulk purchases.
25% of Overall Score
When choosing the best softphones for business use, we looked at unlimited calling within the U.S. and Canada, uptime SLA, and audio and video conferencing. Since people often use applications on their mobile devices and laptops, we also looked at whether platforms offer mobile applications.
20% of Overall Score
The specialized features we considered were international calling and the availability of global numbers. We ranked softphone service providers with IVR systems and robust integrations higher than those without these features.
10% of Overall Score
To determine ease of use, we looked at the expertise required to set up and operate the platform. We tested the interface to see if it could be used intuitively by new or non-tech-savvy users.
10% of Overall Score
Our evaluation also considered the variety of customer communication channels each VoIP softphone provider offers. More points were awarded to providers with email, phone, and live chat support. In addition, the hours these channels are active and operational were also a factor affecting scoring.
20% of Overall Score
The expert score includes our evaluation of the provider’s standout features, value for money, and ease of use. We checked user ratings in third-party review sites to gauge the platform’s popularity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, softphones allow you to place calls over an internet connection—specifically via Wi-Fi or your cellular network. When using your cellphone and there’s a Wi-Fi connection available that you’re authorized to use, you bypass the cellular network. This avoids per-minute rates and roaming charges, but remember that you will still be paying for a data connection or the Wi-Fi connection you’re using, unless it’s public.
The prices for softphones vary per provider, but it typically costs between $10 and $40 per user, paid monthly. Some softphone providers offer free solutions, but these come with limited features. A paid plan gives access to more tools and advanced capabilities like CRM integration and advanced routing. Ultimately, the cost of a softphone depends on your needs and the size of business or team.
Yes, VoIP phone systems are secure as long as its IT infrastructure is up to standard. You can also revisit your settings and enable security features like encryption and user permissions to minimize unauthorized system access. Choose a service plan with excellent security features so you’re better protected. If you’re in a regulated industry like health or insurance, ensure your provider is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
VoIP softphones facilitate device-based communications and increase a workforce or team’s flexibility and mobility. It lets you use your phone system from your mobile device just as you would on your desk phone. Based on our review, Nextiva emerged as the best softphone for businesses and small teams, as it offers advanced call management features, a powerful mobile application, and a generous toll-free minute allowance for managing high call volumes.
Head to Nextiva’s website to learn more about how this solution can give you greater mobility, and sign up for its seven-day free trial today.