Virtual phone number systems allow you to add a business phone number to your personal cell phone. We reviewed over 20 different systems to identify the top six providers. We compared and contrasted on ease of use, cost, and additional features such as an auto-attendant and voicemail to email to arrive at the best overall and determine who each system is right for.
Top 6 Virtual Phone Number Providers 2018
|Grasshopper||(Best Overall) Businesses owners who want a good mix of price and functionality.|
|Google Voice||People looking for a free virtual phone number with basic functions.|
|Nextiva||Companies that want virtual business phone numbers and a business phone system.|
|Phone.com||Businesses that want a custom or vanity virtual phone number.|
|VirtualPhone.com||Business owners who want an international number for international clients or vendors.|
|eVoice||Small businesses that want a virtual phone number with strong faxing capabilities.|
How We Evaluated Virtual Phone Number Providers
Virtual numbers are great for separating your business calls and texts from your personal calls and texts and are typically used by solopreneurs, sole proprietors, small companies, and remote salespeople. That being said, there are many strong providers, each a great choice for businesses of all sizes. We evaluated the top ones by getting a hands-on experience with their services for an in-depth feature comparison and to see who each is right for.
The specific criteria we used to evaluate the best virtual phone providers include:
- Pricing: What is the cost to use the system and are free trials available?
- Multi-line management: How easy is it to separate your business calls from your personal with just your mobile phone?
- Call handling and management: What options do you have for handling incoming and outgoing calls?
- Extensions and call routing: What extensions and forwarding options do you have for routing incoming calls?
- Additional features: What are the other features that the virtual phone number providers offer that may be beneficial to the user?
- Setup and ease of use: How easy are the systems to set up and use?
We recommend Grasshopper as the best virtual phone number provider because it offers unlimited extensions, integrated faxing and many customization capabilities. Grasshopper also provides a mobile app, and all features with no per user, per month pricing. This makes it the best system for businesses that don’t use a lot of minutes, or the small business owner who needs an easy way to appear professional to clients.
Best Overall Virtual Phone Number for Small Businesses: Grasshopper
Grasshopper is a virtual phone system that provides key business phone features without any equipment to install. They provide three simple pricing plans, and they stand apart due to their flat rates with no per user fees. With unlimited calling, an auto-attendant, and forwarding, this is the best service if you’re a small business owner who needs a business number with extra functionality to make you more professional, along with the possibility of five additional numbers and unlimited extensions.
Grasshopper is available in three different service plans: Solo for $29 per month, Partner for $49 per month and Small Business for $89 per month. All plans offer all of Grasshopper virtual phone system features, such as auto-attendant, unlimited minutes, voicemail to email and extensions for forwarding.
The specific pricing plans include:
- Solo Plan: 1 number and 3 extensions for $29 per month
- Partner Plan: 3 numbers and 6 extensions for $49 per month
- Small Business Plan: 5 numbers and unlimited extensions for $89 per month
Grasshopper includes many features that give the solopreneur or remote employees the tools that many traditional business phone systems provide. An automated attendant that can be customized, on-hold music, dial-by-name directory, voicemail-to-email, faxing and texting are among the features Grasshopper offers.
The specific Grasshopper features include:
When a call is received, Grasshopper’s automated attendant answers the call and then forwards it to the employee or the department the customer or client is trying to reach. Users can designate the phone number they’d like to have their call forwarded to, which can be a mobile phone, home phone or any other phone number.
Call Handling and Management
Grasshopper provides you with several options on how to handle calls you receive. You can choose to answer the call, send the call directly to voicemail, or choose to hear the caller’s name or number and then decide if it’s a call you’d like to take. This is perfect if you need both a business number and personal number on the same cell phone.
Extensions and Call Routing
You’ll have total control over how calls are routed with Grasshopper. You can create extensions and choose the numbers you’d like to have your calls sent to, define the order in which those numbers should ring, and how many rings before switching to the next number.
You can even define when you’d like to have calls forwarded to you: either 24/7, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, or only on the weekends. This is great for small business owners who need a virtual phone number for themselves as well as other key employees.
Grasshopper also offers an integrated fax service. Your number can receive fax messages that are then converted into PDF documents and sent to you by email. You can also choose to use the call blasting feature, which allows you to have all your connected phones ring simultaneously if they’re connected to the same extension.
Grasshopper Setup and Ease of Use
What makes Grasshopper such a great option is that no equipment is required and it’s simple to use. The user interface is clean, with separate tabs for all configuration options. The setup process is intuitive and easily describes each step. You get a local or toll-free number with virtual extensions to route calls, and the home page notifies you of any missed calls and voicemails.
What Grasshopper Is Missing
Grasshopper doesn’t include an extensive list of features like its competitors, such as call recording, a multi-level auto-attendant, video conferencing, or integrations with programs like Microsoft Office. It functions as a call forwarding system, so if your business grows and you need physical phones or phone lines, you’ll have to switch to another business phone provider.
What Users Think About Grasshopper
Users happy with Grasshopper love the pricing and reliability of the service, and also how helpful the customer service team is. Those unhappy with the service mostly had difficulties in managing and configuring the call forwarding service and its rules. For a more in-depth summary of user feedback, see our reviews of Grasshopper.
Where to Find Grasshopper
From the Grasshopper website, you can begin the process of creating your account and getting a local or toll-free virtual number for your business. The process takes only a few minutes, and your number is ready to use as soon as your account is created.
Best Free Virtual Phone Number Provider: Google Voice
Google Voice allows you to obtain free virtual phone number that can be used with all of your phones. Along with a comprehensive set of controls, it allows for business call management but doesn’t have things like multiple numbers, extensions, or auto-attendant functionality, making it good for solopreneurs who need a basic virtual business phone number only. If you need a virtual phone number with more functionality, Grasshopper is for you.
Google Voice Pricing
Google Voice offers a second phone number for incoming and outgoing calls with no monthly fee. Unlimited calls and texts within the U.S. can be made for free through your computer, and international calling from $0.01 per minute. When calls are made or received through your mobile device, it’ll rely on your phone’s calling plan.
Google Voice Features
Google Voice offers the same call routing and forwarding options that you can expect to get with a phone provider. You can add many phone numbers to your account for forwarding, define which numbers calls should be forwarded to, and easily define the times that calls should be routed either to a number or directly to voicemail.
Google Voice’s specific features include:
Unlike Grasshopper, Google Voice does not have a standard auto-attendant that provides your callers with options and routes them to different extensions. However, it does have a screening feature that welcomes the callers and prompts them to say their name before being routed.
Call Handling and Management
A variety of options are available when you receive calls. Google uses information from your address book or contact list to tell you who is calling. You can choose to hear the person’s name and answer the call, send it to voicemail, send it to voicemail and listen in live, or have the call come directly to you without any screening. You can also record all calls with the click of a button while on the call.
Extensions and Call Routing
While extensions aren’t available with Google Voice, through the advanced routing settings, you can set your preferences so that certain calls will be directed only to certain phones, or directly to voicemail. If you need extra extensions or numbers or call routing, check out Grasshopper instead.
Google Voice Setup and Ease of Use
Google Voice is perhaps one of the easiest to setup. With a Google account, you can easily add your mobile, home or work phones. Once your phones are linked, you can receive calls, SMS messages and reply to messages from either the phone or the web interface. Voicemails are automatically transcribed moments after each call, and you’ll receive notifications of missed calls and messages through email and SMS.
What Google Voice Is Missing
While it works as a great call forwarding solution, Google Voice lacks many of the features that are standard with virtual phone systems, such as an automated attendant, and extensions for multiple users. Another drawback to Google Voice is the lack of customer support. Community forums are available, but there is no personal support available like there is with other providers.
If you need a more robust virtual phone number with more business phone systems, check out Grasshopper.
What Users Think About Google Voice
Users happy with Google Voice generally loved the routing features, screening, voicemail and SMS functionality. Those disappointed with the service were unhappy with the difficulties experienced in porting phone numbers from landlines, and the lack of individual customer support.
Where to Find Google Voice
If you already have a Gmail account, then you also have a Google Voice account. You’ll just need to choose your virtual number and you can select from any of the numbers provided by Google, select a toll-free number, or port your mobile phone number.
Best Custom Virtual Phone Number Provider: Phone.com
Phone.com is our best vanity phone number system and offers an auto-attendant, voicemail, and many other features that require no hardware to use. The service allows you to choose a special “vanity number” for your business like 1-800-FLOWERS, have unlimited users at no additional cost per user, and the choice between unlimited or pay-per-minute plans. This makes it the best if you’re looking for a virtual vanity phone number.
Phone.com offers three plans, all of which allow you to choose either unlimited calling or pay-per-minute: Base for $22.99, Plus for $24.99, and Pro for $27.99. Each plan is discounted by 20 percent to 30 percent if you choose the pay-per-minute option, and all include all the features that Phone.com has to offer.
Phone.com provides many features that give the solopreneur or remote employees the tools that many traditional business phone systems provide. An automated attendant that can be customized, on-hold music, dial-by-name directory, voicemail-to-email, faxing and texting are among the features Phone.com offers.
Along with the ability to customize your phone number, Phone.com’s features include:
The auto-attendant provides your callers with an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu that allows them to press 1 for Support, 2 for Sales, and so on. This feature can be personalized with custom messages, music and voice greetings, and even includes a dial-by-name directory to prompt the caller to enter either their first or last name to be transferred to the person they are trying to reach.
Call Handling and Management
Phone.com’s online management system provides advanced options that allow you to use your computer as a phone with their Communicator software. This is a desktop app that allows you to manage calls, and you can easily configure all incoming calls to be directed to one or multiple phone numbers.
Extensions and Call Routing
Managing extensions with Phone.com can be done with either the mobile or the intuitive web interface. You can create and manage an unlimited number of group or individual extensions and customize the rules for routing calls to an extension or voicemail.
Phone.com also offers conferencing capabilities that allow you to hold a video conference with up to 25 people and a voice phone conference with up to 200 participants. They also provide an assortment of on-hold music that you can use along with your auto-attendant to customize the menus for your callers.
Phone.com Setup and Ease of Use
Phone.com prides itself on having a self-service platform. Once your signup is complete, the system is ready to use. Call routing and all other features are performed with a few simple clicks, and if your business expands to where you need a complete phone system, you can purchase adapters or phones that work immediately directly from Phone.com without needing to port your number.
What Phone.com Is Missing
While you can easily reach support agents through live chat, phone and email, Phone.com does not, unfortunately, provide 24/7 support. While it provides features such as call recording and analytics, there are other providers that do so without an additional cost for each feature.
What Users Think About Phone.com
Users happy with Phone.com were genuinely pleased with the affordability of the service. The flexible calling plans allow them to add features as needed. Those who were unhappy were disappointed with the quality of customer support, long wait times and delayed responses. For a more in-depth summary of user feedback, see our user reviews of Phone.com
Where to Find Phone.com
You can sign up for Phone.com’s service by either calling their toll-free sales and support line, or the signup button on their website. The signup process takes only a few minutes and your account is ready to use once billing information has been entered.
Best Virtual Phone Number with a Business Phone System: Nextiva
Nextiva is our best small business VoIP provider. Along with a virtual phone number, you’ll get all calling features, multiple service plans, and the mobile app that you can use for your business. This is the best choice for any business that wants a virtual phone number that can be used with a complete and integrated business phone system.
Nextiva offers three simple plans, with volume discounts offered at every level. The Office Pro starts at $34.95, the Office Pro Plus starts at $37.95, and the Office Enterprise starts at $44.95. You get a virtual phone number and can choose between a local and a toll-free number.
Nextiva Tiered Features
|Professionally recorded greetings|
|Unlimited Calls & SMS|
|Free Local & Toll-Free Number|
|Voicemail to text transcription|
|Analytics & Reporting|
The Office Pro plan includes your choice of a local or toll-free virtual number, unlimited calling, voicemail-to-email, virtual faxing, and on-hold music. If you have one to four users, the plan costs $34.95 per user per month, but it can go as low to $17.95 per user per month if your business has more than 100 users with their own phone lines.
Unlike the Pro Plus or Enterprise plans, this plan doesn’t give you access to the softphone mobile app or conference calling. With those limitations, this plan is best if you just need a virtual phone number with unlimited calling without any advanced features.
Office Pro Plus
The Office Pro Plus plan has everything in the Office Pro Plan, as well as one professional recorded greeting, conference calling, and access to the mobile app. If you have one to four users, the plan costs $37.95 per user per month and can be as low as $20.95 per user if your business has more than 100 users.
Unlike the Pro Plan, the Plus grants access to the mobile app, team presence feature, and some customer management features like an automation engine and conference calling. This plan is best if you need conference calling abilities with your virtual phone number and the ability to manage your calls from a mobile app.
Office Enterprise Plan
The most expensive option is the Office Enterprise plan. It includes everything in the Office Pro plan with three professional recorded greetings and call recording. If your business has one to four users, the plan costs $44.95 per user per month and goes as low as $27.95 if you have more than 100 users.
Unlike the Pro or the Plus plans, this provides access to Nextiva’s full suite of CRM features, which include customer journey mapping and advanced call recording. If you need a complete phone system with a customer management system to track calls and activity with your customers, this plan is the best one for you.
Nextiva Setup and Ease of Use
Setting up Nextiva is a piece of cake, and the system overall is fairly easy to use. The interface can be a bit confusing for those completely new to the concept of a virtual phone system. While it’s easy to manage call forwarding options, the process for configuring business hours and the customized greetings for your auto-attendant could use some improvement.
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 and that have also committed to a three-year contract. While a contract isn’t required, the pricing for the monthly service plans should be made clearer.
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 Find Nextiva
Nextiva’s sign up and registration is not as instant as other providers. Completing their signup form puts you in touch with a sales expert who contacts you via phone to complete the setup process and get you started with your 30-day free trial.
Best International Virtual Phone Number: VirtualPhone.com
VirtualPhone.com is a VoIP system that provides virtual international numbers at no additional cost. Your customers can dial a number in their home city, and their calls are forwarded to your mobile phone or any of your internet-connected devices. If you are expanding into international markets and want the ability to appear local to your customers, this is the best service to use.
VirtualPhone.com’s pricing is structured into three plans: Starter, Medium and Large. The Starter ranges from free to $37 per month, the Medium is between $59 and $99 per month, and the Large is between $199 and $499 per month. There are no per user per month charges, and a free trial is offered with every plan.
Within each plan, you can choose from two options for calling minutes.
- The Starter plan: Between $0 and $37 per month with options to pay as you go, 12 or 60 minutes
- The Medium plan: Between $59 per month for 240 minutes and $99 per month for 480 minutes
- The Large plan: Between $199 per month for 1,200 minutes and $499 per month for 3,600 minutes
VirtualPhone.com comes with all the features you can expect with a phone system. In addition to your local or international number, you’ll get a softphone, call forwarding, SMS, call recording, scheduling, voicemail and fax.
VirtualPhone.com’s specific features include:
VirtualPhone.com gives you a prerecorded greeting for your international callers. You can customize your auto-attendant to direct callers to a department, such as press 1 for Sales, press 2 for Support, and further customize the system with your own greetings.
Call Handling and Management
VirtualPhone.com’s call management options make sure that you never miss a call. You can configure the system to ring multiple phones simultaneously or to the softphone on your mobile app or computer. You can choose to route calls to voicemail if you’re unable to answer or forward calls to another destination.
Extensions and Call Routing
One of the greatest features of VirtualPhone.com’s system is the call routing. With a few clicks on the colorful interface, you can instantly set up new extensions, virtual numbers or change where calls are forwarded.
VirtualPhone.com Setup and Ease of Use
Setting up an account with VirtualPhone.com takes seconds. The interface is neatly organized and with the click of a button, a free account with 100 demo calling minutes is set up. You can then choose your number and calling plan, review the activity, and access configuration options through the menu.
What VirtualPhone.com Is Missing
While VirtualPhone.com offers a robust set of features, multiple pricing options and a free tier, the pricing on the website can be quite confusing. With many different rates for countries, prices per minute, and calling plans, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’ll be getting with the plan you’ve selected.
What Users Think About VirtualPhone.com
Businesses that use VirtualPhone.com would agree that it is an excellent phone system for having international customers get in touch with them easily. Getting to try the system before purchasing with VirtualPhone.com’s free plan is a favorite among business owners as they shopped for a virtual phone number.
Where to Find VirtualPhone.com
The signup process on VirtualPhone.com’s website is surprisingly fast. With the click of a button, your account is setup, and then you’re prompted to customize with your information and choose a country and number.
Best Virtual Phone Number for Faxing: eVoice
eVoice is virtual phone system that is known for its integrated faxing capabilities. Developed by j2, the company that created the eFax internet faxing service, it comes with great tools and a friendly user interface. This is the best virtual phone system to use if you’ll be sending and receiving a lot of faxes with your virtual phone number, like if you’re in the field and sending sensitive documents that can’t be distributed via email.
eVoice offers four service plans that vary in price, numbers, and extensions. Rates start at $12.99 for 300 minutes, two extensions, six numbers, and go up to $79.99 for 4,000 minutes, 15 extensions and 45 numbers. Plans are on a monthly basis with no contract required, and you can try the service for free with a 30-day trial.
eVoice plans with over 1,000 minutes include inbound faxing. All plans include the standard features such as call blocking, call forwarding, call logs, call queues, scheduling, screening, hold music and voicemail to email/text. A mobile app is also available that allows you to make and receive calls, read your voicemails and modify your call settings.
The features included with eVoice’s virtual phone number are:
With the auto-attendant, the virtual receptionist offers your callers menu options and extensions. You can efficiently manage all your business calls, your callers can easily reach the person or department they are looking for, and you can efficiently manage all your business calls.
Call Handling and Management
Calling features are on-par with other service providers in the market. Using the mobile app or computer over Wi-Fi actually provides a better call quality than when using the app with your phone’s minutes.
Extensions and Call Routing
eVoice lets you create as many routing rules as you need, with two options for forwarding your calls: a sequential ring that forwards your calls to numbers in sequence and a simultaneous ring that forwards calls to multiple numbers at the same time.
eVoice Setup and Ease of Use
eVoice’s setup is pretty straightforward, and the interface is one of its strong points. You first choose a main business number, which can be a local or toll-free number, create a custom greeting for the auto-attendant, and then configure your routing rules. It’s easy to find the options you need; the menu system is easy to navigate and its features are comparable to other services.
What eVoice Is Missing
Unlike other virtual phone system we reviewed, eVoice doesn’t have a discount for annual subscriptions or for multiple users. Another drawback is the monthly minutes associated with each plan. As most business phone systems provide some form of unlimited calling, the minutes could prove to be a limitation if you need to make a lot of calls with your virtual phone number.
What Users Think About eVoice
Users of eVoice liked their approach of three basic plans that have similar features except for minutes and extensions. They also like that you get an additional 100 minutes for each extension you add. Those who were unhappy with eVoice were dissatisfied with the quality of customer service from the provider
Where to Find eVoice
You can sign up for eVoice’s service by either calling their toll-free sales and support line or the signup button on their website. The signup process takes only a few minutes and once the signup is complete, you can try the service for a month with their 30-day free trial.
Grasshopper is a great solution for your virtual phone needs. With unlimited extensions and call forwarding options, you and every one of your employees can stay connected from their own phones. All the features that are available with all the plans and no a la carte pricing are just a few of the reasons why we feel that Grasshopper is the best virtual phone number system.
Your Grasshopper phone number can be used to receive faxes, and you can get either a local or toll-free number to use for your business. Periodically, Grasshopper holds promotions where they waive the signup and setup fee, allowing you to get started on the service for just the monthly service fee. See if your desired phone number is available: