A softphone is software that gives users the ability to make calls, send texts, and check voicemail on a computer or mobile device via an app. These software-based phones are connected to voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) services that transmit calls as data over the internet instead of relying on copper wires. We looked at the best softphone apps on the market and evaluated them based on pricing, features, and usability.
Business Cell Phone Plans
(Best Overall) Teams looking for a full-service VoIP service with an intuitive softphone app
Businesses that need to make lots of international calls through a softphone
Teams looking for a simple, user-friendly softphone app to supplement their existing service
Organizations looking for free softphone calls between team members
Businesses that use Apple products exclusively and want integration with Apple’s calendar and address book apps
Solo workers and freelancers looking for a no-frills softphone with a free business line
How We Evaluated Softphone Apps
While the best VoIP-based business phone systems give you the option of using their built-in desktop app as a softphone, softphone apps can also be purchased as standalone software with additional functionality; for example, they can also offer text messaging, voicemail, and even advanced features like video conferencing. For this reason, we considered a number of use cases when evaluating the best softphone apps for small businesses.
Our criteria for evaluating the best softphone apps included:
- Pricing: We looked at the individual prices of each service.
- Ease of use: Systems should be easy enough to use for workers of all skill levels.
- Operating system support: We looked at the compatibility of each VoIP service with Windows and Mac platforms.
- Mobile support: Many leading services offer apps for iOS and Android devices.
- International calling: We examined each system’s international calling capabilities.
- Integrations: We looked at each softphone app’s ability to connect data with customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and other outside business software applications.
- Advanced features: Some market leaders offer advanced functionality like team chat, call monitoring, and video conferencing.
- Customer service: Services should offer fast, easy help in the event of a problem.
Based on the above, we find that RingCentral is the best softphone app for most small business users. RingCentral is not just a VoIP service, but a full business communications suite with video calling, file sharing, and team chat functionality. On top of that, the service is affordable and exceptionally easy to use.
RingCentral: Best Overall Softphone App
What it is: RingCentral is a small business VoIP service that offers a softphone app, mobile capabilities, and video conferencing with a starting price of $19.99 per user, per month on an annual basis for two to 20 users.
Why it is great for businesses: RingCentral offers a full set of communication features at a price that is friendly for most budgets. While it offers the ability to make calls with an on-screen software app, it also comes with software integrations, video calling, and call monitoring features for your team. It is perfect for teams that want to stay in touch through more than just the phone.
Smooth, modern user interface (UI)
Potential overkill for smaller teams
Advanced features like file sharing and CRM integrations
Advanced features locked behind premium packages
Video calling for up to 200 people
Fees for international calls
- Essentials: $19.99 per user, per month for up to 20 users, unlimited calling, and unlimited texting*
- Standard: $24.99 per user, per month with unlimited audio conferencing and video meetings for up to 100 participants*
- Premium: $34.99 per user, per month with unlimited call recording, analytics, and integrations with outside business software*
- Ultimate: $49.99 per user, per month with device status reports and unlimited storage*
*Pricing is on an annual basis for two to 20 users. Pricing goes down as you add more users, and monthly plans are available as well.
In an attempt to ease some of the strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, RingCentral has temporarily made their Office Premium tier free for K-12 educators, healthcare providers, and nonprofit organizations. This provides, among other things, a free automated attendant and video conferencing for up to 100 people. You can read their COVID-19 offer page for more details.
- Slick softphone apps: Whether you want to make calls on a desktop computer or mobile device, RingCentral’s softphone is streamlined, modern, and easy to understand.
- Video calling: Depending on what package you choose, RingCentral offers HD video calling for up to 200 people.
- Automated attendant: Unlike some of the no-frills options we looked at, RingCentral comes with an automated attendant that can greet and route all of your incoming callers without human intervention.
For more information on what RingCentral can do for your company, check out our RingCentral user reviews page.
8×8: Best Softphone App for International Calling
What it is: 8×8 is a VoIP system that comes with unlimited international calling for up to 47 countries. Pricing starts at $12 per user, per month.
Why it is great for businesses: While most softphone apps offer some sort of international calling capabilities, they charge a per-minute rate that can quickly add up. The fact that 8×8 offers unlimited calling for up to 47 countries offers a huge value to companies that need to stay in frequent contact with overseas associates, suppliers, and customers. Additionally, 8×8 offers all the software features you need to make and receive calls via a modern softphone app.
Unlimited calling for up to 50 countries
Specific calling countries locked behind premium tiers of service
Video conferencing for up to 100 people at once
Mobile softphone somewhat clunky
Call center capabilities such as call monitoring and reports
Limited online file storage
- Express: $12 per user, per month for unlimited domestic calling and a basic automated attendant
- X2: $25 per user, per month for unlimited calling for up to 14 countries, VoIP faxing, and integrations with outside business software
- X4: $45 per user, per month for up to 47 countries
- Softphone app: 8×8’s softphone app, which is available for desktop and mobile devices, works in an identical fashion to the default phone app found on most smartphones. It about matches the competition in this regard.
- International calling: In its most expensive package, 8×8 offers unlimited international calling to up to 47 countries all over the world. If you make lots of calls to international numbers, this could be a large saving over paying a per-minute rate for calls.
- Call center capabilities: The X2 and X4 versions of the solution come with call detail records that can give you data such as your team’s total calls, average call time, and the times all calls were placed. You can use this data to make better staffing and scheduling decisions.
CounterPath Bria Teams: Most Intuitive Supplemental Softphone App
What it is: CounterPath Bria Teams is a communications app that supplements existing business phone services by offering a more streamlined, user-friendly experience than most built-in desktop apps. Pricing for the Teams version starts at $4.95 per user, per month.
Why it is great for businesses: Mainstream VoIP services usually come with their own softphone apps, but they can be overwhelming for the average business user with no technical expertise. CounterPath Bria Teams is a softphone that connects with nearly every leading VoIP solution to provide one of the most intuitive softphones on the market. It is great for companies looking to give their staff a simplified calling experience.
CounterPath Bria Teams Strengths
CounterPath Bria Teams Weaknesses
Exceptionally simple to use
Requires an existing VoIP provider
Works on all devices
Could be unnecessary if your provider already has a solid softphone app
CounterPath Bria Teams Pricing
- Bria Teams (Standard): $4.95 per user per month; support for three devices per line, HD voice calls, and team chat
- Bria Teams Pro: $9.95 per user, per month; adds virtual team meeting room, unlimited HD video calling for up to 200 people, and an integrated chat panel
CounterPath Bria Teams Features
- Softphone overlay: CounterPath Bria is not a standalone service, but rather a softphone system that connects to a session initiation protocol (SIP)-based service like OnSIP or FreePBX.
- Call management: Bria teams come with all of the call transfer, hold, and drop features found in all mainstream phone services.
- Hardware support: Bria teams is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices. This means that your remote workers can use the solution regardless of where they are located.
Definition: SIP stands for session initiation protocol and is a technology that, like VoIP, is used to transmit data, such as audio calls. However, unlike VoIP, which routes calls exclusively via the internet, SIP can also connect to the more traditional telephone network. As a result, it requires less bandwidth and tends to be favored by larger organizations.
ZoiPer: Best Softphone App for Intrateam Communications
What it is: ZoiPer is a VoIP softphone dialer that offers a free version of a package that costs a one-time fee of $49.99. However, calls between team members are completely free.
Why it is great for businesses: ZoiPer has all of the common features you’d expect in a phone service, such as calling, texting, and a software-based dial pad. However, one unique advantage of ZoiPer is that it offers free unlimited calling among team members signed up to the same account. This could be a tremendous savings for teams that do mostly intrateam communication.
Free intrateam calling
Mac support only available for older versions
Open software development kit (SDK)
Requires existing VoIP service
Could be overwhelming for tech novices
- ZoiPer offers a free, non-commercial version with free calling between other ZoiPer users. The complete version costs a one-time fee of $49.99.
- Team calling: Calls between other team members using ZoiPer will always be free, no matter which business phone system you connect the app to. Considering it’s just a one-time fee, this could be ideal for teams that mostly use their phone service to call other staff members.
- Linux compatibility: ZoiPer is one of the few softphone apps on the market that offers a Linux application. However, it is missing compatibility with recent versions of macOS, which is unfortunate because this puts it behind nearly every mainstream phone system.
- Open SDK: ZoiPer offers a software development kit (SDK) for developers who want to go into the system’s code and change features as they see fit. This essentially means that you can create a bespoke application to suit your needs. This is similar to offerings from RingCentral and other providers.
iSoftPhone: Best Mac-exclusive Softphone App
What it is: iSoftPhone is a softphone app that works exclusively with Mac, iOS, and iPadOS devices. It costs a one-time fee of $45.00.
Why it is great for businesses: While most solution providers on the market offer apps for Apple devices, few offer the ability to easily connect data from Apple’s calendar and address book applications. If your team already has a SIP or VoIP service in place and uses Apple devices exclusively, then you might find iSoftPhone a good fit. This is especially true considering that the app comes at an affordable price.
Requires existing VoIP service
Full Mac integration
No compatibility with Windows or Android
Video call capabilities
- iSoftPhone costs a one-time fee of $45.00
- Apple product integration: iSoftPhone is exclusive to Apple products. If your team uses Macs and iOS devices, then you might appreciate the value of this low-cost system. You also might appreciate full integration with your Apple ID address book and calendar.
- Secure communications: The service comes standard with call encryption, just like its competitors.
- Desktop sharing: iSoftPhone comes standard with the ability for users to share their screen with other users of the solution. This could be useful during remote collaboration.
Google Voice: Best Softphone App for Freelancers
What it is: Google Voice is a free virtual phone service that provides users with a free local phone number, unlimited domestic calling, texting, and voicemail.
Why it is great for businesses: While full-fledged VoIP services are great for established companies, they are overkill for solo workers, freelancers, and teams of less than five people who only need a basic phone service. As a virtual phone solution, Google Voice needs an existing line to forward calls from. However, the fact that it offers a dedicated business line, unlimited domestic calls, and a full range of basic features makes it one of the best values in the telephony space.
Google Voice Strengths
Google Voice Weaknesses
Basic feature set
Unlimited domestic calls
Requires existing phone line
Free local telephone number
No video calling
Google Voice Pricing
- Google Voice is completely free to use for any user with a Google Account.
Google Voice Features
- Free local number: Google Voice offers a free local phone number from nearly every U.S. area code.
- Call recording: Google Voice comes with the ability to automatically record all calls, which is something that many paid systems lack.
- Unlimited calls and texts: The softphone comes with unlimited calling to most numbers in the U.S. and Canada. It also comes with the ability to send unlimited text messages on desktop and mobile.
A softphone app is simple in nature: It takes the dialing and management functionality of a traditional phone dial pad and converts it into software that can be used on a computer, tablet, or phone. However, as VoIP adoption increases, they are becoming an important part of many workers’ daily lives.
We find that RingCentral is the best possible choice for teams looking for a new softphone app. Unlike some competitors, it’s an all-in-one service that requires no existing SIP-based solution. It is also affordable, powerful, and easy to use. Click the button below to learn more.