How to choose a business phone

A man in an office on a phone call.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Setting up a company and establishing your brand involves a lot of thinking, and it can be easy to give some things a miss. A business phone system should not be one of these things - having a clear way to communicate with your clients is at the top of any business’ priority list.

A business phone system consists of a network of multiple phone lines, unlike a traditional landline. Below is a brief explanation of each.

Key telephone system 

This type of business phone setup is best suited to small companies, with calls coming in via a landline to a central switching unit. Here, an operator can view the status of the lines and assist in transferring incoming calls (to the right department, for example). 

It is an easy to use concept but it’s somewhat lacking in features, though callers will still be able to leave voicemails.

Private branch exchange 

Best suited to larger businesses with multiple departments and a growing workforce, a private branch exchange - or PBX - is able to handle hundreds of calls simultaneously. The latest setups are digital, with a computer managing and switching the calls automatically. While a more expensive outlay in the first place, a PBX phone system helps to lower a company’s continuous overheads.

The best private branch exchange phone lines are capable of call logging and automated extension routing (otherwise known as direct dial-in). With support for individual voicemails, a PBX helps to give customers a more personal experience.

Virtual phone systems 

Adding to the list of features supported by a private branch exchange, a virtual network used with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) aligns with modern business needs and streamlines a company’s approach to communications.

Features vary, but can include support for video conferencing, instant messaging and even file sharing. Because these devices are connected via the Internet, there’s little additional hardware needed making it a cost-effective solution.

Not only are VoIP systems easier to use and install, but they also offer lower costs and improved privacy, as well as the ability to scale without needing to invest in additional hardware. If you’re considering modernizing your enterprise’s communications, here are 7 reasons why you should consider a business phone system.

Choosing a business phone 

Once you’ve nailed the basics, buying a business phone needn’t be a complex mission. Below are some of the main things to look out for. 


Historically, workers have been based from a desk for most of the day, with little need for anything other than a corded handset. With more workers opting for a hybrid working routine, the office has had to adapt. Fewer desks are reserved for individuals as focus rooms, huddle spaces and conference rooms become more prominent. Going for a cordless business phone is most sensible in an effort to futureproof your decision.

If your office challenges the conventional setup, using fewer desks and offering more flexible working spaces, a business phone that can be mounted to a wall could be beneficial. This helps to unclutter office desk space that is both limited and needs to serve multiple functions.

Consider the type of business employees will be conducting. Some phones are designed to operate in a call center environment, while others are built for conferences. A conference phone is more likely to have a speakerphone, and even support for videoconferencing.

If a business phone supports conferencing, taking note of how many additional lines are supported can help prevent disappointment later down the line.

Consider how you will implement its use in your business. While you should always set aside time to train staff on how to use any equipment, certain business phones can prove easier to use, helping widespread adoption within your company and boosting productivity.

Accessibility should form part of any decision, and this is true of a business telephone. Workers with hearing difficulties will appreciate the support for headsets, especially models that can connect with hearing aids. Creating an inclusive workplace helps to retain existing staff and attract new employees, though there are plenty of other reasons why organizations should be striving towards creating an inclusive environment.

Built-in features 

Most business phones have a screen, but consider whether it’s worth forking out for a more advanced display. Oftentimes, a simple greyscale screen that shows key information can be all you need.

A customer-facing business will be particularly interested in models that can handle call recording, whether that’s for training and monitoring purposes or just to have a backup copy of any call. If a business phone supports this, check whether the recording is saved onto a memory card, a USB, or even a Bluetooth or Internet-connected device.

Consider your company’s existing technology landscape and infrastructure. If you’re already committed to using a conferencing system like Microsoft Teams, buying a business phone that includes native support will help simplify the process of connecting to certain calls.

Environmental impact 

Companies are increasingly aware of their carbon footprints, but helping to reduce our environmental footprint shouldn’t always involve a complex solution and masses of investment. Opting for power-efficient devices across the board can have a significant impact, so choosing a model with a good power-saving standby mode.

Paying attention to a manufacturing company’s eco-credentials wouldn’t go amiss either. Check what happens at the end of a product’s lifetime - whether the hardware can be recycled, for example. 

Business phones as multifunctional tools 

Some companies may be reluctant to invest thousands of pounds equipping their offices with business phones that are limited in terms of where they can be used, especially with workspaces undergoing some changes and workers exploring hybrid and working from home opportunities. 

Investing in a VoIP system is a great way to futureproof any business because you will not be limited to these old-fashioned devices. With a little work, it’s possible to connect employees’ smartphones to a VoIP network allowing workers to toggle between their personal phone number and their business extension. Do remember that, while convenient, a smartphone will be lacking in some features that make dedicated business phones more adept to the job.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!