Gone are the days of the landline telephone. Now, all we have to do to communicate is send a quick text or join FaceTime. However, while our mobile phones are convenient, some users require more calling features than cellular services can deliver. This includes small businesses and some homeowners.
Enter Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. First developed in the 1990s, VoIP is now widely used in homes and businesses large and small. VoIP enables users to communicate over an internet connection instead of via copper wires or cellular service.
For homeowners, VoIP provides benefits such as keeping the existing landline phone number and cost savings on local and long-distance calling.
For businesses, VoIP enables teams to do more with less. For example, VoIP services typically include talk, messaging and video, all in one platform. Plus, VoIP services integrate seamlessly with existing collaboration tools. For businesses that are scaling quickly, VoIP is cost-effective—there’s no need for additional hardware.
VoIP also enables portability, meaning the same phone number can be used across devices, whether at home or in the office. Calls made via VoIP are typically clearer and more secure than cellular or landline calls.
Selecting the VoIP service that’s right for you will require you to consider several factors. For example, are you looking for VoIP for your home, office, or both? Most VoIP services will lean towards home or business use, and the features of each service will vary accordingly.
You must also consider what features you can’t do without. For example, do you want to keep your current phone number? Do you want to take advantage of features such as call forwarding? Do you need your VoIP service to connect to other apps like Google Workspace? Not all of these things are important to everyone, so if you don’t need them, why pay extra?
All of the picks below are solid VoIP options. However, each has specific features and unique properties that make it an excellent choice for its category.
Best VoIP Service for Home: AXvoice
- ✓ Low-cost plan options
- ✓ Unlimited calling plans available for domestic and international calling
- ✓ Same price each month
- ✗ Setup and phone adapter required
The lowest-priced option comes at just $6 per month when you purchase the service for a year. Call forwarding or the ability to forward VoIP calls to a cell phone is included as well as a simultaneous ring. Using this feature, you can allow calls to ring through up to three devices simultaneously. These features ensure you don’t miss a call, even when you’re not at home.
This price is considerably less than other residential VoIP prices out there. The popular Vonage features a residential plan that costs $10 for calling within the US and Canada. However, that price quickly jumps to $20 after the first six months.
While Vonage does offer 400 free minutes to the US and Canada, double the 200 minutes offered by AXvoice, Vonage charges five cents per additional minute, much more than the 1.5 cents charged by AXvoice.
If you don’t want to worry about minutes, AXvoice does offer an unlimited to the US and Canada plan for $15 per month. And if you need International calling, there are unlimited calling plans available. This is perhaps the biggest benefit of AXvoice—it’s flexible enough to fit your calling needs without breaking the bank.
But be forewarned, AXvoice does require a bit of setup before you can use it. You’ll need to plug a phone adapter into an Ethernet port on your router/modem if you wish to use the internet and make calls simultaneously. AXvoice will send you the adapter once you activate your service.
A great VoIP service for homeowners that need simple yet flexible calling plans with robust features that don’t break the bank.
Best VoIP Service for Small Businesses: dialpad
- ✓ All-in-one, talk, messaging and video capabilities
- ✓ Scaleable pricing
- ✓ Integrations with Google Workspace and Microsoft 365
- ✗ Advanced features such as AI tools come at an additional cost
The name of the game for small businesses is doing more with less. In small business land, funds are often strapped, and teams must find VoIP solutions that deliver the collaboration tools they need at a price they can afford.
This service is also cost-efficient at $15 per user per month (if billed annually). This is less than many options currently available. In comparison, another popular business VoIP service, Nextiva, costs $23 per user per month.
dialpad’s basic $15 plan includes everything a small business needs to stay connected, including unlimited calling, text, and video meetings. In addition, the plan also provides unique features such as AI-enabled voicemail transcriptions.
If your business requires international capabilities such as calling or texting, or if you want to integrate your service with your customer relationship management service (CRM), you’ll need to upgrade your plan. Luckily, dialpad’s pricing is scalable. This is a great feature for startups just getting their feet wet—if you need more features later on, you can upgrade your plan without going to another service.
A standout benefit of dialpad is the ability to use the platform’s AI features to build an intelligent call center quickly. For example, dialpad will deliver call coaching by providing scripts and more to your customer service representatives as they speak with customers. When consumers are looking for seamless, personalized experiences, these smart tools are critical.
It’s important to note that advanced features such as AI tools come at an additional cost. However, the features included in the basic plan are more than enough for small businesses to communicate effectively in-office and with customers.
dialpad is a solid VoIP service choice for forward-thinking small businesses that want a scaleable, easy-to-use, all-in-one communications platform.
Best VoIP Service for Medium to Large Businesses: RingCentral
- ✓ Competitive pricing
- ✓ Loads of app and software integration options
- ✓ Unlimited calling, audio conferencing, and, video meetings
- ✗ Potential learning curve due to the complexity of features
Medium to large-sized businesses have unique needs when it comes to VoIP services. They may need access to tools such as internet fax and call reporting. And for these busy businesses, nothing less than unlimited calling will do.
RingCentral is a top choice as it includes all of these critical features and more at a competitive price. The Standard Plus pricing option is a great value at $35 per user per month. This plan includes key features such as unlimited calling within the US and Canada, unlimited audio conferencing, and video meetings.
However, the plan doesn’t stop there. Large business-specific tools such as hot desking, unlimited audio conferencing, and real-time analytics are included.
What stands out about RingCentral is the number of integrations available. Large businesses will already have robust tech stacks that include everything from CRM software to collaboration tools like Slack. For truly unified communications, the VoIP service must connect seamlessly with every critical platform inside that stack.
RingCentral offers integrations with CRM software such as Salesforce and other tools like Microsoft 365. Plus, RingCentral offers a developer platform, where businesses can build apps to connect their workflows.
One disadvantage of RingCentral is the complexity of the platform. Aside from the Essentials plan, there are many features businesses must learn to use to make the most of their investment. Is this a con? Perhaps not. However, businesses must factor in the potential learning curve of RingCentral when considering their options.
RingCentral is the top pick for medium to large businesses that require unlimited calling, a wide range of software and app integrations, and competitive pricing.
Best Free VoIP Service: Google Voice
- ✓ Free
- ✓ Offers voicemail transcription and other features
- ✓ Available for virtually any device
- ✗ Businesses must pay business pricing
- ✗ Not available outside of the US
Google is known for its incredible tools. Google Voice, our pick for the best free VoIP service, is no exception.
Google Voice is completely free for personal use. Plus, it’s available on virtually every device, including?iOS, Android, and Windows. Google Voice includes both calling and text messaging, as well as other tools such as voicemail transcription—a service you often have to pay for.
When you sign up for Google Voice, you receive a free Voice number on the mobile app and the web. And just like everything Google, the interface is simple, and the tools are incredibly easy to use.
Google Voice is also available for businesses. However, it comes with a cost. Service plans start at $10 per user per month. The business model of Google Voice does come with a lot of the features you would expect, such as call monitoring.
Unfortunately, Google Voice is only available for personal Google accounts within the US. However, if you’re within the US and want a simple way to make free calls to your friends and family, this service is for you.
If you’re an individual looking for a simple, clean, and free VoIP service, Google Voice might be the one for you.
Best International VoIP Service: 8×8
- ✓ Toll-free number support in over 100 countries
- ✓ Unlimited calling for up to 48 countries
- ✓ Unlimited calling to the US and Canada offered on basic plan
- ✗ Not suitable for personal use
The winner of this category was chosen from a business perspective. After all, businesses make international calls frequently, so a service geared towards international calling is more useful to a business than an individual. 8×8 is a business-specific service that offers varying levels of unlimited international calling based on the package you purchase.
For example, the 8×8 x2 package includes unlimited calling to 14 countries for $24 per user per month. However, businesses can upgrade to the 8×8 x4 package to receive unlimited calling to 48 countries.
The deciding factor is 8×8’s toll-free number coverage. 8×8 offers toll-free phone number support in over 100 countries across the globe. This enables businesses to truly serve their customer base, regardless of where they’re from.
It’s true that 8×8 only serves businesses. However, if you’re an individual needing international calling, Ooma is a great choice. With Ooma’s World Plan, you can call over 60 countries for $18 per month.
For businesses that need unlimited calling to the US, Canada, and other countries across the globe, 8×8 is a solid choice.
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