This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
RingCentral and Grasshopper are leaders in the voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) space, but the two platforms provide dramatically different solutions. RingCentral provides a robust, full-featured phone system that offers a variety of communication features and channels, whereas Grasshopper takes a more simplistic approach in providing basic call and text solutions and works by forwarding calls to existing lines.
Based on our expert analysis, the best use cases for Grasshopper vs RingCentral for small businesses are as follows:
- RingCentral: Better for small to mid-sized companies wanting a scalable, unified communications platform with voice, video, text, and chat channels
- Grasshopper: Better for solopreneurs and small businesses looking for a budget and user-friendly virtual phone system with basic business phone system features
If you’re looking for phone systems with unmetered international calling or less expensive plans for solopreneurs, you may prefer an alternative to RingCentral and Grasshopper. Check out our picks for the best small business VoIP services.
Grasshopper vs RingCentral at a Glance
$26 per month*
$19.99 per user, per month**
7-day free trial
30-day free trial
Ease of Use
Toll-free Minutes Included
Call Routing Features
293 plus more through open application programming interfaces (APIs)
Analytics and Reporting
24/7 chat and phone support (not available with Essentials plan)
For More Information
*Grasshopper pricing includes one business phone number and three extensions with yearly prepayment. Grasshopper plans support multiple users for a flat fee using extensions, whereas RingCentral’s pricing is per-user.
**RingCentral cost is based on two to 20 users with annual billing.
How We Evaluated RingCentral vs Grasshopper
Grasshopper and RingCentral both rank among the best small business phone systems. But their pricing models and features differ significantly. We reviewed Grasshopper phone vs RingCentral pricing, including discounts offered. We also checked out general and advanced features, ease of use, and the types of communication channels each provides.
Here’s a complete breakdown of these factors:
25% of Overall Score
RingCentral charges per user with a tiered pricing model, with higher tiers offering more features. Grasshopper charges a flat fee for one or more phone numbers and extensions, and all features available come with all plans. While not an apples-to-apples comparison, we ranked providers based on an estimated per-user cost and factored in discounts.
25% of Overall Score
Grasshopper and RingCentral offer local, vanity, and toll-free numbers. We also verified that both systems include unlimited calls and business texting in the U.S. and Canada as well as voicemail. Plus, we looked for features such as visual voicemail and an auto-attendant.
25% of Overall Score
Both VoIP platforms provide mobile and desktop apps. We looked at how many steps it took to perform basic tasks like viewing a call log or making a call. We also checked out customer reviews and assessed learning curves for new users.
25% of Overall Score
We evaluated how each phone system could be used to communicate with co-workers and customers. This included audio and video conferencing, short message service (SMS), and instant messaging.
Best for Pricing: Grasshopper
All packages included unlimited calling within the U.S. and Canada, business texting, voicemail, one or more local, toll-free, or vanity business phone numbers, and an auto-attendant.
RingCentral MVP Pricing**
All packages include unlimited calling within the U.S. and Canada, texting, voicemail, an auto-attendant, and a toll-free or local business phone number.
*Grasshopper prices are based on annual prepayment.
**RingCentral prices are based on annual billing for two to 20 users.
Thanks to plans that allow your entire team to share multiple extensions, Grasshopper earns the top spot when it comes to the best cheap VoIP services. For $80 per month with annual billing, you get five phone numbers and unlimited extensions. If your team has five people, it averages out to $16 per user, per month. But the real per-user cost can be much lower as you get unlimited extensions, which can be used to route calls to other team members.
The lowest-priced RingCentral package costs $19.99 per user, per month with yearly prepayment. At a minimum, you’ll pay $99.95 for five users. If you want integrations or automatic call recording, your monthly costs increase to as much as $59.99 per user. When looking at RingCentral’s base plan versus Grasshopper’s subscriptions with unlimited extensions, you can save over $239 per year (or even more) with Grasshopper.
Although you can buy a toll-free number through Grasshopper, subscriptions don’t include toll-free minutes. Additional local, vanity, or toll-free numbers cost $5 to $10 per month.
RingCentral pricing includes up to 10,000 toll-free minutes per month, and you can add any type of phone number for $4.99 per month. But you’ll pay a one-time $30 fee to activate a new vanity or toll-free number. Also, vanity numbers don’t come with RingCentral plans, whereas Grasshopper lets you choose vanity, toll-free, and local numbers.
Another consideration is international calling. Neither provider offers unlimited calling worldwide, unlike some RingCentral alternatives. But you can receive international calls with both systems.
If you make a significant number of business calls to another country, check out the international rates from each vendor. For instance, RingCentral charges 3.9 cents per minute to call China, whereas the same call using Grasshopper costs more: 6 cents to 7 cents.
Best for Call Routing Features: RingCentral
Both VoIP providers feature an auto-attendant with custom greetings and a dial-by-name directory for incoming calls. The virtual receptionist welcomes callers and routes them according to preset answering rules, such as your business hours. However, RingCentral’s platform supports higher call volumes and more complex call flows with its multi-level automated assistant for Standard, Premium, and Ultimate plans.
You can route incoming callers to multiple team members using simultaneous, fixed order, and longest idle methods, which is helpful if your phone lines stay busy in your customer support department. Call queues hold up to 25 callers in a line and distribute callers based on your settings.
On the other hand, Grasshopper supports simultaneous call handling. If callers reach a busy line, Grasshopper’s virtual receptionist forwards them to the next available number. While this works for low call volumes, RingCentral’s advanced call handling features improve caller experiences during high-traffic hours.
Both service providers support call transfers and Wi-Fi calling. You can answer calls using your personal phone and use call management features. Although Grasshopper offers fewer features, these include Instant Response, which automatically sends the caller a text message when you can’t pick up their call.
Best for Communication Features: RingCentral
RingCentral is an industry leader with a built-in unified communication as a service (UCaaS) platform. Its entry-tier plan supports voice calls, SMS texting, team messaging, document sharing, and presence. Upper tiers add video conferencing with up to 200 people, audio conferencing with 1,000 attendees, and unlimited inbound and outbound faxing.
In contrast, Grasshopper’s virtual number service provides texting and calling capabilities, although you can also receive incoming faxes on all Grasshopper plans. But you’re limited to 10 people on audio conference calls, and Grasshopper doesn’t support video or team messaging. Grasshopper’s phone services keep your team connected through voice and text messages but lack the more versatile functionality available on unified communications (UC) platforms.
If you want a central platform with alternative communication channels, RingCentral is the better choice. Your team can keep a huddle room ready for impromptu video chats, share screens, and whiteboard together in real time. Explore more features in our RingCentral review.
Best for Ease of Use: Grasshopper
Grasshopper’s platform was designed for simplicity. It turns your cell phone into a business line with a second phone number that can be up and running within minutes. Grasshopper offers a pared-down feature set, so the learning curve is minimal. Users rank the Android and iOS apps high for ease of use, although RingCentral receives higher overall ratings for its mobile applications.
RingCentral packs a lot of handy features into its platform yet is still relatively easy to use. However, there are multiple tabs to navigate and there’s a slight learning curve, especially when setting up more complex call handling rules. Fortunately, RingCentral provides a drag-and-drop phone tree builder and a rich database of self-help tutorials for users and administrators.
If you’re looking for the easiest solution, Grasshopper is the clear winner―but you’ll need to use a different platform for video conferencing and team collaboration. It may be simpler to learn a single RingCentral phone system in some cases instead of navigating separate apps for video meetings, team chat, and document sharing. Check out more ratings on our Grasshopper reviews page.
Best for Integrations: RingCentral
RingCentral wins hands-down for integrations with third-party solutions. The Essentials plan connects to your OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box accounts for seamless document sharing. Choose the Standard version for integrations with Slack, Google Workspace, and Microsoft 365. The Premium plan comes with customer relationship manager (CRM) integrations like Salesforce and Zendesk, whereas the ultimate package includes industry-specific tools such as Canvas.
These connections let your team make and receive calls from other applications and record or update customer data from the RingCentral platform. Advanced integrations offer speech analytics, chatbots, and marketing automation. Grasshopper doesn’t integrate with your tools, and you can’t click-to-call from your CRM or email platform.
Best for Analytics & Reporting: RingCentral
Call logs are a common VoIP business phone system feature, and both Grasshopper and RingCentral offer them. But RingCentral provides a closer look at your agents’ performance, traffic by business phone number, and hourly overviews. You can pull up live reports with call queue data or view your average handle time or abandoned call rate. The quality of service (QoS) dashboard and real-time portal let you monitor connectivity and address problems quickly.
You can also save time by automating reports, as RingCentral will send them to your email according to a set schedule. Plus, you can get notifications on your app or device for metrics like call quality. These reports deliver insights about your agents and callers, allowing you to track and continually optimize experiences regardless of call volume.
Grasshopper supplies just three reports. Usage reports monitor average call length as well as inbound and outbound minutes, whereas Detail reports provide time frame-specific data. Or you can run an Activity report to see an overview of different call types, including hang-ups, faxes, and voicemails. Small businesses with low call volumes may find this sufficient, but as your company grows, you may want all the features and reports that RingCentral provides.
Best for Hardware Options: RingCentral
Choose from hardware that comes with manual setup or online assisted installation. A basic desk phone starts at $4.99 per month, whereas a video phone with a larger screen costs $8 or more per month. RingCentral hardware options include:
- Poly and Jabra headsets
- Polycom, Poly, and Yealink conference phones
- Unify, Polycom, Cisco, and Yealink receptionist phones
- Yealink, Poly, Unify, Cisco, and Polycom cordless and desktop phones
Although Grasshopper can forward calls to any device, including VoIP desk phones, the company doesn’t sell or rent hardware. In our Grasshopper vs RingCentral comparison, both vendors provide mobile apps for Android and iOS devices and desktop apps for Mac and Windows computers.
There are several excellent RingCentral and Grasshopper competitors, and these virtual phone systems and VoIP providers could be a better fit for other use cases. For example, solopreneurs needing a second phone number to use as a business number may prefer a free plan, whereas small teams may want a combination of metered and unmetered calling packages.
A few Grasshopper and RingCentral alternatives include:
- Google Voice: If you’re a solopreneur, you can get a free local business number for inbound and outbound calls, voicemail, and texts. Google Voice also offers paid plans as an add-on to Google Workspace. Learn more by checking out our Google Voice review.
- Phone.com: Mix and match metered and unmetered VoIP plans that come with more than 50 calling features. Volume discounts drop plan prices to as low as $8.99 per person.
- Nextiva: Like RingCentral, Nextiva provides toll-free minutes and UC features, including team messaging and video conferencing. It offers volume discounts for five or more users and is slightly less expensive than RingCentral. Explore our Nextiva review for more details.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which is better: RingCentral or Grasshopper?
RingCentral is better for companies wanting a full-featured phone system with multiple communication tools and advanced call management features. It replaces your traditional phone system and reduces the number of apps your team needs for communications, like video conferencing and team chat apps. Grasshopper is a good fit for teams needing a second phone number or a business phone system with basic voice calling and texting features.
Do Grasshopper or RingCentral offer international numbers?
RingCentral supplies business phone numbers in more than 100 countries on its Standard, Premium, and Ultimate plans. Grasshopper only offers toll-free, vanity, and local numbers in the U.S. and Canada. If you have a global customer base, check out our list of the best services for VoIP international calling.
Can Grasshopper replace your current phone system?
No. Grasshopper is a virtual phone system that forwards calls to an existing phone. To receive and make incoming and outgoing calls, you must have an active mobile, home, or office phone. To replace your current business phone system, you’ll need to select a VoIP service like RingCentral or 8×8.
In the Grasshopper vs RingCentral debate, we give RingCentral the edge due to its multi-channel functionality, integrations, and analytics. If you receive dozens of calls per day or collaborate with your team remotely, RingCentral is the better option. Alternatively, if your team is small and you just need basic calling and texting without the frills, you could save money by forwarding calls to an existing phone number using Grasshopper’s virtual phone services.