The best conference phones will provide clear audio conferencing for online meetings, as well as being easy to use and manage.
This is especially important as audio and video conferencing have increasingly become a normal part of business, with many business phone services now offering them as standard features, especially when it comes to cloud phone systems.
Additionally, since the pandemic, many offices now have employees working remotely, so if you need to include a number of people dialling in from another location into a meeting room full of people, then the best conference phones can help.
While using laptops and phones for video conferencing is possible, they are better suited to smaller meetings and individual conferencing.
This is why adding conferencing phones can really prove their worth due to their superior audio abilities. This is due to including multiple microphones with long-range sensitivity, yet are able to filter out background noises that you might expect in an office.
The result is a generally clear audio stream that can be inclusive of everyone present, with no one missing out, and a better experience than trying to crowd everyone around a laptop that has a weak microphone.
Here then are the best conference phones currently available, compared and judged on key factors such as touchscreen, NFC capabilities, recording functions, microphone strengths, and budget.
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The best conference phones of 2023 in full
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If you've ever been in a meeting room, you're likely to have seen a Polycom Soundstation sitting on a table or desk. These are excellent, no-nonsense, conference phones, and the Polycom Soundstation VTX 1000 is its best product. It's easy to set up, with a LCD screen and number pad that lets you easily dial in or view incoming calls.
It boasts three microphones with a healthy 360-degree range of 20 feet (around six metres), and comes with in-built DNR (Dynamic Noise Reduction) to remove background noise and ensure a high-quality call.
Sure, it may look a bit dated compared to conference phones with touchscreens built-in, but it still does the job and it does it it very well. If you're not bothered about the latest mod-cons, the Polycom Soundstation VTX 1000 will not let you down.
While the Polycom Soundstation VTX 1000 is a prime example of a classic old-school conference phone, the Konftel 300IPx is what can be held up as an impressive example of a modern conference phone. Its key selling point is the Konftel Unite app, which allows participants to join and set up meetings easily using their smartphone.
Even better, the Konftel 300IPx has built-in NFC (Near Field Communication), which allows participants to simply tap their compatible smartphone on the Konftel 300IPx to download the app.
There are a ton of other great features that come with this conference phone, including the ability to record to a memory card, bridge calls and connect it to a PA system. There's even patented OmniSound audio technology that promises crystal-clear, natural HD audio, easily making it one of the best conference phones you can buy today.
If the Konftel 300IPx above is too expensive, then the Konftel Ego is a great alternative. It has a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 12 hours before needing re-juiced. That, combined with its size, makes it an excellent portable conference phone.
Unlike some of the bulkier options on this list, the Ego only has a single microphone, but its omnidirectional capabilities mean that it can handle meetings with around four people in a room. So if your business meetings are more inclined to have half a dozen people or more in the room, the Ego's more expensive bigger brother may be the better fit.
It may not the most feature-packed conference phone on this list (though, like the 300lPX it does come with Omnisound), but it does the job well, and is a decent choice if you're on a budget.
If you want the very best conference phone for hosting large-scale meetings with people around the world, then the Yealink CP960 Optima HD IP Conference Phone is easily the best conference phone you can buy right now.
Its elegant and sophisticated design allows it to sit in any meeting room without standing out, and the five-inch 1280 x 720 touchscreen provides the look and familiarity of a smartphone and lets you quickly set up the call and add participants.
Audio quality is fantastic, and the mics can pick up everyone in the room – even in larger venues with up to 20 participants. Compatible with Microsoft Teams the CP960 will even synchronize with Outlook Calendar meeting schedules in real-time. However, it is very expensive, and smaller businesses might not need all the features that the Yealink CP960 Optima HD IP Conference Phone provides.
If you're looking for a device that's more affordable than the Yealink CP960 above, then the Jabra Speak 710 UC is our pick for the best affordable conference phone. It can be easily set up in a meeting room, and although it has only a single mic it is omnidirectional and does a great job of picking up everyone in the room.
The built-in speaker provides excellent audio quality, and it can even be used to play music. Given the price, it is not as laden with additional features as some of the other best conference phones on this list, but its intuitive plug-and-play connectivity makes it easy to use in just seconds, and it's also among the most stylish around, too.
As you might imagine, it is compatible with other Jabra headsets, though it's not a standalone unit, so it needs to be connected (either via a wire or Bluetooth) to a PC. For the price, though, this is an excellent choice.
- Check out the best business smartphones here.
How to choose the best conference phone for you
The first thing to consider when choosing from this list of the best conference phones is the your business requirements. If your conference calls tend to only be populated by a handful of people in a single room, your needs will be more modest than businesses whose conference calls are held in bumper meeting rooms with tens of participants.
Naturally, the latter will require a more sophisticated (and more expensive) option than the former, so make sure to also consider what budget you have available to spend when whittling down your choices.
Lastly, consider other options and features that might prove useful. Would it be of any use if your conference phone could double as a speaker? Is it of benefit to ensure even tech newbies can use it, or is your business populated with IT-savvy workers who could handle a less intuitive but more advanced system? Would it help if the conference phone could record your meeting automatically?
Once you've considered the above options, you should be in a better place to be able to choose the best conference phone for you.
The best conference phones: How we test
By robustly analysing the many top conference phones on the market, we've been able to whittle down the daunting wealth of options to five of the best, listed above.
To do so, we considered conference phone options for both large businesses and small, looking into microphone strength and range, along with advanced features that help to reduce interference to ensure clarity. You'll notice most on this list feature background noise-cancelling technology.
We've also run the rule of battery life as well as portability, given that larger businesses in particular may be in the habit of changing conference call rooms frequently.
Also on this list you'll find conference call phones that boast the latest connectivity options, including built-in USB and bluetooth options, as well as the ability to synchronise with smartphones, cloud calendars and email applications.
Lastly, we've also considered the cost, with options at either end of the scale to suit all business budgets.