For small businesses needing an inexpensive phone, both magicJack and Ooma come to mind. Each provides voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) solutions allowing you to take phone calls from various devices without giving out your personal phone number. You can also choose from residential or business plans. However, magicJack’s business plan offers a lower starting price point, whereas you’ll spend more to get started with Ooma.
- magicJack: Best for solo business owners, freelancers, and sidepreneurs needing an inexpensive solution
- Ooma: Best for small business owners wanting call management features and integrations with other technologies
magicJack vs Ooma Overview
$39.99 for device and 12 months of calling
$99.99 one-time fee and free calling forever
Only as an add-on feature
Yes, free with business plans
$19.95 one-time fee
$39.99 one-time fee or free with paid plans
Unlimited SMS Messaging
Yes, but only on business plans
Unlimited Nationwide Calling
Yes, except for Alaska
Takeaway: Independent business owners on a tight budget appreciate the low startup costs and overall affordability of magicJack. That said, entrepreneurs looking for more robust call management functionality may prefer Ooma’s intuitive interface and feature range along with its reputation for reliability.
How We Evaluated Ooma vs magicJack
Coming up with a low-cost solution that doesn’t sacrifice quality can be a challenge. Although both internet phone service providers provide VoIP calling capabilities, differences in call quality and features exist. We compared both systems to see how they stack up to each other.
For the sake of comparison, we examined several elements, such as:
- Cost of hardware and plans
- Application and feature ease of use
- Types of calling features
- Customer service response times
- Call quality and reliability
- Availability of other services
Both companies offer cheap VoIP services, but there are distinct differences. For instance, if you go with a magicJack paid plan, you’ll save $30 or more over Ooma’s startup cost. If initial costs are your main concern, go with magicJack. However, Ooma provides high definition (HD) voice quality and better customer service. Therefore, for reliable communications, Ooma is the better deal overall.
When to Use magicJack
With magicJack, you can choose from personal or business plans at affordable rates with features that you get with traditional phone service, such as voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, and call blocking. For $39.99, you get the magicJack USB device and one year of service. Or choose the business plan for $15.99 per line, per month. All plans include iOS and Android applications, unlimited texting, and other essential services, making it a low-cost way for those with simple needs to replace a landline.
magicJack Pros & Cons
|Unlimited calling to 49 states||Limited features on all plans|
|Inexpensive personal and business plans||Call quality may not be reliable|
|Inexpensive personal plan||Poor customer service|
Choose from a residential or business plan with magicJack. Both offer unlimited calling to the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with some exceptions.
- magicJackHOME: Pay a one-time fee of $39.99, plus taxes, regulatory fees, shipping, and handling for the USB device and get 12 months of service. Renewal plans cost $39 per year, plus taxes and fees.
- magicJack for BUSINESS: Pay $15.99 per line, per month plus taxes and regulatory fees. The monthly price includes a mobile app for calling. Or, you can purchase a compatible phone for $49.99 to $219.99 plus shipping and handling.*
*Business features cost extra: $10 per month for an auto-attendant, $5 per month for virtual fax, and $5 per month for a toll-free number.
Why magicJack Is Better for Sidepreneurs or Solo Business Owners
- Affordability: The residential plan and startup costs are very economical, allowing you to replace your existing landline at significant savings. For international calling, you’ll pay low rates and can use prepaid calling credits.
- Call management: Enjoy simple tools like caller ID, call waiting, voicemail, and call blocking on personal plans. magicJack for BUSINESS adds music on hold, call transfer, call queue, and online call logs.
- Ease of use: Connect your USB device to your router using the provided Ethernet cord, then plug your phone or computer into the router as well. Or you can use the app to make calls on your Android or iOS phone.
When to Use Ooma
Ooma offers a free plan as well as residential and business solutions that come with unlimited nationwide calling, voicemail, call waiting, and integrations with Amazon Echo, but do require you pay a one-time device fee. Its business plan starts at $19.95 per month, and comes with over 35 features, including a virtual receptionist, call park, on-hold music, and virtual fax. This makes Ooma a highly affordable small business VoIP service for growing teams looking to establish a more professional presence.
Ooma Pros & Cons
|Clear calls with PureVoice HD technology||Unlimited calling doesn’t include Canada, Mexico, or Puerto Rico|
|Paid plans connect to Nest and Amazon devices||Only one desktop phone available for purchase|
|All Ooma systems come with a free 60-day trial of the Premier plan||A separate adapter is required to use your home’s Wi-Fi|
Ooma’s solutions work on cell phones using an iOS or Android app and include unlimited nationwide calling. Residential plans require the Ooma Telo device, which is $99.99 or $69.99 if buying from Best Buy. For the Ooma Office plan, you can use the desktop app for service or purchase a base station to connect analog devices. Choose from four calling packages:
- Free: You’ll pay taxes and fees on your plan; otherwise, it’s free for call waiting, online call logs, caller ID, call hold, Amazon Echo integrations, and voicemail.
- Premier: Pay $9.99 per user, per month to add voicemail to email, do not disturb, enhanced caller ID, custom call blocking, and other connected home integrations.*
- Ooma Office: For $19.95 per user, per month, services include unlimited calling in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, call park, virtual receptionist, ring groups, SMS messaging, virtual fax, and on-hold music.*
- Ooma Office Pro: Pay $24.95 per user, per month to add video conferencing, screen sharing, call recording, enhanced call blocking, and voicemail transcription.*
*With all plans, you’ll pay additional fees and taxes. Use Ooma’s calculator to figure out total charges.
Why Ooma Is Better for Small Businesses Needing a Phone System
- Feature-rich business plans: Ooma provide over 35 business calling features, including call handling tools like a robust virtual receptionist, conference bridge, multidevice ring, and a toll-free or local phone number.
- Free for life residential plan: Once you buy the hardware, you get a phone line for only the cost of fees and taxes, saving you hundreds of dollars each year compared to conventional landline services.
- Advanced features: Enjoy communication and collaboration tools allowing two or more people to share screens simultaneously, up to 25 people in a video meeting, and a meetings dashboard to easily schedule one-time or recurring events.
magicJack vs Ooma: Which Is Better Overall for Small Businesses?
With both Ooma and magicJack, you can replace your landline for yearly savings while enjoying unlimited nationwide calling. However, Ooma provides many features for business owners, making it a better overall choice for small businesses.
Both plans simplify calling by:
- Easy to set up: After signing up for service, you can download an app to start making calls immediately. Upon receiving your magicJack adapter or Ooma Telo device, it’ll take less than 10 minutes to install and allows you to use your analog phone for VoIP calls.
- Basic call features: Plans from both providers include caller ID, call hold, voicemail, call waiting, and call blocking.
- Free calling to other users: Although you’ll pay low international rates and get unlimited domestic calling, it’s free to connect with other Ooma or magicJack users regardless of their location.
When to Use a magicJack or Ooma Alternative
Ooma and magicJack offer some of the lowest prices for residential plans, making both solutions a good choice for personal use. However, magicJack’s business plan doesn’t include popular features such as a virtual receptionist, and Ooma only offers video conferencing on its Pro plan. If you want a full-featured business phone system, a magicJack or Ooma alternative may be a better option.
For instance, RingCentral, which we consider to be one of the best business phone systems, has plans that start at $19.99 per user, per month when paid annually, and include more robust features not found with magicJack or Ooma’s basic business plans. With RingCentral, you’ll get team messaging, document sharing, presence data, and phone rental options.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I pick a local or toll-free number?
Yes, many VoIP providers offer local and toll-free numbers, although there may be extra charges. Ooma business plans come with your choice of a local or toll-free phone number at no additional charge, whereas a toll-free number from magicJack costs $5 more per month.
Do I need a desktop computer for VoIP calling?
No, most VoIP calling services provide iOS and Android mobile apps for calling from a cell phone. Both Ooma and magicJack state on their websites that no computer is required to use their services. However, many users prefer to use a softphone to make or receive calls using a desktop.
Can I make an unlimited number of calls?
Although VoIP plans say you can make an unlimited number of calls, there are limits noted in the fine print. In most cases, it’s difficult to go over their limits. But, if you have a high call volume, then free or low-cost plans may not work for you. According to magicJack, if you dial “more than 50 different telephone numbers per day or forwarding calls from your app for longer than a two-week consecutive period,” this may be considered excessive use. Ooma’s fair use policy allows for “5,000 minutes per month for outbound calling, which is more than 80 hours of total talk time.”