The best business phone service provides a simple way to manage a cost-effective and software-based business phone system.
Business phone services have changed radically over the past decade. VoIP services (opens in new tab) have now replaced the desk covered with a bank of phones.
The result is that employees can use their mobile devices on the go, using nothing more than an app to join with the corporation's network, whether for chat, conferencing, or even to manage online fax services (opens in new tab).
Set up is usually easy and very simple, as it requires little more than signing up to a digital service and then accessing it once paid for. While there may be some small configuration settings that need to be done, this can take only a few minutes. Once completed you now have a full service phone system that can scale up to as many employees as you need to cover.
Different services tiers are commonly offered, with cheaper plans offering essential features, with more expensive plans offering additional features if required.
Costs are usually based on a user basis rather than business turn-over, and though many phone service companies offer clear and flat-rate pricing, some providers will seek to provide a personalized quote instead which can often cost more while allowing for extra options not normally available.
Here then are the best business phone services, with our main choices featured, with additional options to consider following.
We've also featured the best IP phones.
Best business phone service in 2023 in full:
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RingCentral MVP promotes itself as an all-in-one solution for all business sizes, with a unified communications (opens in new tab) strategy that means plenty of integration options, from Google to Microsoft, Oracle to Amazon, and Zendesk to Salesforce.
The most basic tier offers call management and phone system administration, as well as phone rental options for conference phones and even desks.
However, it's the pricing tiers above this where RingCentral MVP really comes into its own with a comprehensive set of features that should be integral to any modern phone service.
RingCentral also provides Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) (opens in new tab) as well as Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) (opens in new tab), meaning that it can provide the enterprise experience for even small businesses.
On top of this, RingCentral can also deliver a Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) (opens in new tab), which means access to a developer network which allows you to use APIs to truly customize and integrate your phone system with other software you use.
Overall, though, which the cheaper plan probably delivers enough to satisfy the smallest businesses, it will be mid-sized and larger that will probably get the most from the incredible wealth of features that RingCentral MVP can provide.
Read our full RingCentral Office review.
Ooma Office is a business phone service which aims to deliver a big business phone experience to small businesses. Ooma might not have all the features found with rival services, but it presents itself as a solution for smaller firms with tighter budgets, and is positioned very well in this respect.
However, don’t get the idea that this is a barebones business phone service offering – in fact Ooma Office gives you all the core features you would expect, plus some more advanced functions like a virtual receptionist that allows for calls to be automatically directed to the right department.
Subscribers also benefit from hold and transfer music, and Ooma provides mobile apps for iOS and Android, so you can set up capabilities such as call forwarding, enabling calls to be sent from your desk phone to your mobile when you’re out and about. That said, some of the online feedback about the mobile apps isn’t great, so bear that in mind.
Generally speaking, though, Ooma gives you a lot of functionality for a relatively modest outlay, with the exception of CRM integrations.
Read our full Ooma Office review.
Aircall is another cloud-hosted business phone service solution, which can be set up with just a few clicks. This then provides your business with a complete communications center solution for calls, video, and messaging from the web, desktop, or mobile.
Aircall is also very easy to set up, and includes a wide range of CRM (opens in new tab), helpdesk (opens in new tab), and productivity (opens in new tab) functions to both support your phone service, as well as improve how your sales and support teams handle calls, not least in terms of transferring them as well as approaching customers. And, as expected, there's an analytics suite to help gauge efficiency and track KPIs in workflows and look for ways to improve them.
Because Aircall looks beyond providing just a business phone system and instead toward unified communications and CRM, it can provide better support for sales and support teams. There are also a large number of integrations available, not least for SalesForce, Zendesk, Hubspot, Zoho, Freshdesk, and Slack.
Read our full Aircall review.
Dialpad is especially known for its video and audio-conferencing software, Uberconference. Dialpad Talk is their VoIP system.
The basic tier offers single sign-on which is missing from a lot of other providers. The basic plan includes integrations such as Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) and Microsoft 365.
The pricing structure for Dialpad makes it much more accessible for businesses of any size, which is welcome as other providers favor enterprises over small businesses. Users can also try the service with a 14-day free trial. The annual subscriptions offer discounted monthly rates making it even more cost efficient.
Pricing is a lot more small business-friendly than some of the above, with even the most basic plan including toll free numbers, unlimited calling in US/Canada, call forwarding, call controls, HD video calling, call waiting, voicemail greeting, unlimited, SMS, MMS, group texting US and Canada.
Read our full Dialpad review.
Mitel offers a cloud-based business VoIP phone system in the form of MiCloud Connect, which aims to provide a comprehensive voice, collaboration, and contact center solution for business.
The platform itself operates using Google Cloud, which means that it satisfies HIPAA and SOC 2 compliance, Key benefits include the Mitel hosted PBX phone systems which can run on mobile devices on the go, plug and play service functionality, as well as a simple interface that allows for one-click management of systems.
The basic pricing tier includes PBX, conferencing, and collaboration tools. The next level up adds call recording and integration features on top. Note that advertised pricing is for 50-100 users and that a smaller number of users will likely be charged at a higher rate.
However, for those with teams you can mix and match different plan types for different users, therefore ensuring you're only paying for the level of service required from each for greater cost efficiency.
Read our full MiCloud Connect review.
8x8 offers a cloud-based platform that provides different service tiers for providing calls, conferencing, collaboration, and a call center.
For small businesses, the cheapest tier available is the 8x8 Express, which is available with a 30-day free trial. There are a lot of basic but essential features present, and this level of plan could be a great way for a very small business or start-up to try out the phone service without much outlay.
After that tier plans offer unlimited calling to fourteen countries, mobile apps, team messaging, HD video conferencing with screen sharing, call recording, transcripted voicemails, analytics, Single Sign On (SSO), as well as integration with Salesforce, Zendesk, and NetSuite.
More expensive tiers for large businesses and enterprises add unlimited calling to more countries, supervisor analytics, call quality reporting, and an operator switchboard.
Compared to other providers 8x8 can work out as an especially cost-effective phone service for small businesses.
Read our full 8x8 X Series review.
Phone.com aims to be an affordable business VoIP service for small businesses, and with base plan that is cheaper than most competitors. The trade-off is that the plan offers limited voice minutes and text message volumes that may not be adequate for most business use.
On the bright side, even on this bare plan there are premium features included, such as voicemail to email, call blocking and call queuing. It is also indicated that the service is HIPAA compliant to meet the standards of privacy for healthcare-related businesses.
Perhaps the more realistic options for most businesses are the more expensive options which increase the limits on phone minutes and texts.
What Phone.com does really well is make full-featured cloud-based business phone services really accessible to the smallest of businesses, so whether you're a one-person LLC or sole trading you can still access features normally available only to enterprises.
Read our full Phone.com review.
Other business phone services to consider
Whether you're looking for a more traditional PBX phone system or a VoIP phone system, there are a lot of different providers out there. Which one is best for you will depend on your own needs and business size. While we've featured five providers above, there are a huge number of alternatives. Here we'll take a quicker look at another five.
Avaya (opens in new tab) is another of the big names in unified communications, and along with Mitel has established itself as a leading specialist player for business telecommunications. Even so, the Avaya OneCloud caters for the full range of business sizes, from small to enterprise, so don't be put off thinking big names means big costs. Cloud-based VoIP is already an established offering from Avaya, with many different options available to suit your business.
FluentStream (opens in new tab) is another cloud-based VoIP provider that offers a multi-faceted UCaaS platform and a good number of integrations. There's a decent list of features even for the basic plan, with increasing levels of service options up to contact center level. As expected, mobile use is treated as standard rather than an option, with apps available for Android and iOS.
Skype (opens in new tab) is possibly an option easily overlooked, but had already established itself as a leading provider of VoIP even before it was purchased by Microsoft. Now it offers all the cloud and Office integrations you'd expect from the powerhouse parent company. So long as you're happy to keep your calls online and use mobile phones or tablets for calls and conferencing, this could be the cheapest option of all the ones listed here.
Spitfire (opens in new tab) is an impressive VoIP provider without being a standout. The fact the company owns and maintains its own SIP trunking infrastructure is a huge plus, as is their porting agreement with major telecommunications providers in the UK. And international porting makes it possible to communicate seamlessly with customers and clients from across the world.
How we tested the best business phone service
To test for the best business phone service we searched for a range of popular options as well as took recommendations from people we know who run their own business phone service. We then tried each platform to see how user-friendly each was, as well as determine what range of tools and advanced options were available. Pricing also came into account when determining our best list.
Which business phone service is best for you?
When deciding which of the best business phone services to use, first consider what actual needs you have. For example, someone simply wanting to talk to a handful of people on a casual basis may find a cheaper option is the most cost-effective while providing all of the necessary tools that would be required. However, if you're planning to use a business phone service for professional or business purposes, especially with a large number of people and on a regular basis, then you will probably want to look to the higher-end options for the more advanced tools that are included.