Sideline vs Google Voice: Which Is Better for Small Business?
This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
Both Sideline and Google Voice offer unlimited calling and texting services. However, only Google Voice has a free version. It scales to paid plans with advanced call handling tools, desk phone compatibility, and team collaboration features. Sideline enables you to share phone lines and send text messages to 50 recipients at once. If you need a second phone number for your business, use our Sideline vs Google Voice comparison to find the best solution for your needs.
We looked at the pros, cons, and standout tools for both options to make your decision easier.
Based on our comparison, the best use cases for the Sideline app vs Google Voice are as follows:
- Google Voice: Better overall value for remote teams and Google Workspace users wanting a low-cost virtual business phone system
- Sideline: Better for budget-conscious small businesses for an affordable text marketing service as well as a virtual phone number provider
Sideline vs Google Voice at a Glance
$9.99 per user, per month**
No free trial for professional-grade plans
Add-on for unlimited calling
Unlimited Calling in the U.S.
Built-in Video Conferencing
For More Information
*Google Voice pricing is based on a personal account. Paid plans start at $10 per user monthly.
**Sideline pricing is based on monthly billing for Standard, Team, and Enterprise plans.
Best for Pricing: Sideline
(Sideline pricing is based on monthly payments.)
(Paid Google Voice subscriptions require a Google Workspace plan.)
Although Google Voice provides a free, personal phone number, at $9.99 per month, Sideline’s entry plan offers better pricing for professional-grade features and a local business number. This option is a rarity for voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) and cellular services. Sideline Pro, which costs $14.99 per line, per month, turns your cell phone into a customer relationship management (CRM) tool with marketing and scheduling features.
Sideline’s plans also support an unlimited number of team members. In comparison, a free Google Voice account isn’t shareable. Paid plans start at $10 per user, per month and are only available as an add-on to Google Workspace, which costs $6 to $18 per user. If your team already uses Google Workspace and each person needs a different phone number, Google Voice is a reasonable option.
If you want a business phone system with an auto-attendant, you’ll pay $14.99 for Sideline vs Google Voice’s $20. Like Google Voice, a Sideline auto-attendant requires the purchase of a separate line. That adds $9.99 to your Sideline Enterprise subscription or $10 to your Google Voice plan.
For companies with a high volume of international calls, Sideline may be less expensive. It has an unlimited global calling plan for Enterprise users that costs $14.99 monthly for unmetered calls to more than 165 countries, whereas Google Voice charges per minute rates.
Best for Mobility & Flexibility: Google Voice
When it comes to mobility and flexibility, we give the edge to Google Voice. Both phone providers offer mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, allowing you to handle business communications from anywhere. Sideline is cellular-based, but you can use it over Wi-Fi by enabling it on your device. Google Voice is an internet-based phone system, but you can answer calls on your mobile using cellular data when Wi-Fi isn’t available.
Google Voice apps work equally well on iOS and Android devices. In contrast, Android users with the Sideline app can’t use do not disturb (DND), appointment reminders, or setting business schedules. Sideline and Google Voice also work on desktop computers or laptops in a web browser.
Sideline Team users have to use the mobile app, as Sideline Web isn’t available for Team lines. If you have a physical office or want to use desk phones, Google is the best option. It works with Poly EDGE, OBi, and VVX models. Sideline doesn’t work on internet protocol (IP) phones.
Learn about more features that offer employees mobility and flexibility in our Google Voice review.
Best for Marketing & Service Reminders: Sideline
Sideline is the clear winner for marketing and service reminders because it supports broadcast messaging and auto-replies. With the Sideline Pro plan, you can announce a flash sale or send a promo to up to 50 recipients at once. Google Voice doesn’t support mass texts, and you’d need to write and send each one individually.
Service businesses benefit from Sideline’s built-in scheduling and reminder tools. Use the app to automatically track your upcoming appointments on your cell phone and schedule texts to remind customers of the upcoming meetings. You can’t schedule texts in Google Voice, and any calendar functions are part of your Google Workspace subscription.
The same goes for contact management. If you’re a Google Workspace user, you have access to the tools for maintaining your contact list. However, these features aren’t part of your Google Voice subscription. In contrast, the Sideline app lets you add or edit notes for each of your contacts, serving as a mini customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Using an iPhone, you can tag your contacts with a label, such as a lead or a very important person (VIP). The combination of broadcast messaging, appointment reminders, and contact details makes Sideline more useful for marketing.
Best for Call Handling: Google Voice
Google Voice is more customizable for handling calls than Sideline. While Sideline works well for solopreneurs and teams sharing lines, it’s not as effective for larger workforces or complex routing needs. Sideline has a basic auto-attendant. You can create a greeting and add up to 10 prompts, like press one for sales. Each prompt sends callers to a phone line.
In contrast, Google Voice provides a multilevel auto-attendant. This means you can create submenus as well as a prompt to send callers to a new phone menu with more options. Google Voice offers different auto-attendant greetings for holiday schedules and after-hours communication. Sideline only sends auto-text replies if you miss a call. Automated texts for after-business hours aren’t offered for Enterprise users.
Additionally, Google Voice lets you add a special announcement after your greeting, such as “use live chat for shorter wait times.” Add a preface before saying your menu options, like “our options have changed, so please listen closely.” Each prompt has several possible actions, including sending to a submenu, playing a message, sending to voicemail, or routing to a department or line. You can even play a message before you transfer callers.
Best for Remote Teams: Google Voice
Google Voice works better for remote teams because it integrates with Google Calendar and Google Meeting for video conferencing. Google Voice features are also accessible from your Gmail account or record calls. These options make it easier for teams to stay connected and spend less time taking notes during calls.
Plus, Google Voice users already enjoy Google’s virtual workspace, so adding voice functionality only improves the experience. Outside of shared phone lines, Sideline doesn’t offer any features for collaboration or integrations. Instead, it’s a reliable voice service that delivers on the basics.
Best for Call & Usage Reports: Google Voice
Google Voice is the best solution to see the total call duration or the number of calls. Sideline doesn’t offer any reports or company-wide call logs. Instead, call data resides within conversations. If you delete a text conversation, the record is gone. The admin portal only shows assigned numbers and it doesn’t provide details about calls or usage.
Google Voice has nine company reports for inbound and outbound calls, messages, and active users. It shows charts and graphs, allowing you to see call volume and usage trends. You can also drill down to the individual level to see how your staff uses the service, from call volumes to time spent on calls. In short, if you need any visibility into your business communications, go with Google Voice.
Google Voice and Sideline offer great features for solopreneurs and small to mid-sized companies. However, the platforms may not be the perfect solution for your organization. Check out your options and compare them based on affordability, features, and ease of use.
A few Sideline and Google Voice alternatives include:
- Grasshopper: Like Sideline and Google Voice, Grasshopper is a virtual phone system that forwards numbers to softphone apps on your mobile and desktop devices. It offers flat-rate pricing for one, three, or five phone lines.
- Ooma: Ooma is a user-friendly business phone service that supports remote and on-premise teams. Subscriptions include softphone apps and support for desk phones, fax machines, and overhead paging systems.
- RingCentral: If you want a full-featured unified communications platform, consider RingCentral. It has tons of built-in tools for communication, collaboration, and conferencing.
How We Evaluated Sideline vs Google Voice
Virtual phone services share some features in common, like a free phone number. They also differ when it comes to pricing and features. Our Sideline vs Google Voice comparison scored each provider on several factors, including overall costs, general and advanced features, mobility, and ease of use.
Here’s a complete breakdown of these factors:
25% of Overall Score
We broke down users’ monthly costs to compare the Sideline app vs Google Voice. Our evaluation looked at additional fees for international calling and an auto-attendant line. We also considered the availability of free trials and free versions.
25% of Overall Score
We examined standard features available with both solutions to see how functionality differed. Our comparison noted differences among subscriptions and looked at voicemail, virtual receptionists, call handling tools, and mobile apps.
25% of Overall Score
We reviewed the ease of use for remote and on-site employees, including flexible options for staying connected on the go. Our research uncovered details about device compatibility and custom call forwarding options.
25% of Overall Score
We based our expert score on the overall value for the money and ease of use. We also looked at customer service options and ratings for apps and browser-based use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does Sideline or Google Voice offer toll-free numbers?
No, neither service provides toll-free numbers with subscriptions nor as an add-on. But you can call a toll-free number using your Sideline or Google Voice line. If your business needs an 800-number, consider Grasshopper, RingCentral, or Ooma Office.
Is video conferencing available on Google Voice or Sideline?
Sideline doesn’t offer video conferencing with any subscription. Likewise, Google Voice only provides texting and calling. However, Google users can use the free Google Meet plan, a separate app, to host conferences with up to 100 people for 60 minutes.
Can I get a free phone number with Google Voice or Sideline?
Sideline and Google Voice subscriptions include one free phone number per line. Solopreneurs also get a complimentary number with a free, personal Google Voice plan. For more information, read our guide on how to get a free phone number.
Google Voice and Sideline are affordable solutions if you want a second phone number for your business. The platforms offer several plans at various price points and include unlimited calling and texting. However, Sideline is better for solopreneurs and small, mobile teams, whereas Google works well for companies needing advanced call management tools.
Google Voice outperforms Sideline when it comes to call handling, analytics and reporting, mobility, and call handling. It is among the top virtual phone number providers and a good choice for solopreneurs and small to mid-sized businesses. If you already have a Google Workspace subscription, you can add Google Voice. Also, sign up for the free version to see if the platform will work for your business.