RingCentral Professional is one the best virtual phone systems. It's easy to use and affordable, with a ton of valuable features. The system is ideally suited for businesses with a remote workforce, or for very small businesses that want employees to use their mobile devices as their main phones but still be able to present a professional image at all times.
In addition to being a top virtual phone system, RingCentral is among our top contenders for the best phone system for small businesses, the best phone system for very small businesses and the best cloud-hosted phone system.
- Best for: Virtual, small business, very small business and cloud-hosted
- Phone service: VoIP
- Hosting: Cloud
- Costs: Virtual service costs $12.99 to $39.99 per month. Traditional phone service costs $19.99 to $69.99 per user, per month, depending which service plan you choose and whether you sign an annual contract.
- Mobile app: iOS and Android devices
- Support: Phone, email and live chat
RingCentral's virtual phone system, RingCentral Professional, works as an extensive call-forwarding service that has a wide array of features and tools.
Instead of connecting to an employee's desktop phone like most phone systems do, virtual phone systems, like RingCentral Professional, connect customers and clients with employees on their mobile or home phones. A huge benefit of these systems is that they require no equipment and don't need any type of installation to get up and running. The virtual system can be activated and ready to use in just minutes.
With a traditional phone system, when a customer or client calls a business's main line, they are typically transferred to the desktop phone in the office of the employee they are trying to reach. Virtual systems work somewhat similarly, but instead of transferring calls to an employee's desktop phone, the system's automated attendant automatically routes calls to the phone of the employee's choosing. Employees can configure their settings so calls are transferred to their mobile device, home phone or any other phone line they want.
Employees can have calls forwarded to up to 10 different phones, choose whether they want the service to ring their numbers simultaneously or in a sequential order, and select how many times the phone should ring before an unanswered call is forwarded to another of their numbers.
In addition to the automated attendant and extensive call-forwarding options, RingCentral Professional includes a host of other valuable features, such as voicemail, voicemail-to-email, call recording, call screening, on-hold music, missed call and message alerts, and online faxing. You can see the full list of features on the RingCentral website.
The entire system is controlled via RingCentral's web-based portal. The online portal is where employers can assign employee extensions and employees can manage their call routing tree.
Traditional Phone System
RingCentral also offers a robust traditional phone system that is a great option for small and very small businesses. RingCentral Office is a cloud-hosted VoIP phone system that requires no equipment to be installed within your business. RingCentral houses the equipment in the cloud and is responsible for its maintenance and upgrades.
All businesses have to do is ensure they have enough bandwidth on their data connection to support the number of calls they make and receive (RingCentral requires a minimum of 64 Kbps of bandwidth per call) and configure their data network to prioritize voice traffic. Once the system is activated and a local or toll-free number has been selected, IP phones can be plugged into Ethernet ports and be ready to start making calls.
The system includes an even wider array of features than the virtual system does. RingCentral Office offers call recording, shared line options, an intercom, call parking, and reports that let those in charge analyze company-wide and employee call history and patterns. It also includes audio and videoconference calling, as well as online meetings and internet faxing.
The RingCentral mobile app, available on iOS and Android devices, allows employees to connect with phone system wherever they are. With the mobile app, employees can make and receive calls from their business lines, send and receive faxes, set up and join conference calls, and configure phone system settings, notifications and voicemail.
In addition, the system integrates with a number of programs many businesses are already using, including Dropbox, Google Apps for Work, Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce and Zendesk. A complete list of the RingCentral Office features is on the RingCentral website.
Similarly to how the virtual service works, RingCentral Office is managed through an online portal. The portal has an easy-to-understand interface with check boxes, dropdown menus and fill-in text fields. From the portal, administrators can manage the entire system, such as by assigning extensions, creating departments that serve as call queues, recording customized greetings, and creating user profiles for each employee.
The user profiles give employees access to the system so they can use the RingCentral softphone to make and receive calls on their computers, start conference calls or online meetings, screen incoming calls, and access the company directory to see who is available for a call.
In addition to its traditional phone and virtual systems, RingCentral offers contact center services that include advanced call routing, call queues, and a variety of analytics and reporting tools. Services for businesses with multiple locations are also available.
All of RingCentral's prices for both its virtual system and traditional phone service are clearly outlined on its website. The virtual service is available in three plans, which differ in the numbers of included features, talking minutes and extensions. The cheapest option, the Pro plan, costs $12.99 per month with a yearly contract or $22.99 per month with no contract. It includes 300 local, long-distance and toll-free minutes and two extensions.
The Pro Plus plan is 19.99 per month with a yearly contract or $29.99 per month with no contract. It includes 1,000 local, long-distance and toll-free minutes and four extensions.
The most expensive option is the ProPower plan, which is $24.99 per month with a yearly contract or $39.99 per month with no contract. It includes 2,000 local and long-distance minutes, 1,000 toll-free minutes, and 10 extensions.
The only other costs are $4.99 per month for additional local or toll-free phone numbers, $2.99 per month for additional extensions, and $4.99 per month for a dedicated fax number. There is also a one-time $30 fee for vanity numbers.
RingCentral Office is also available in three service plans – standard, premium and enterprise – which differ by price, number of included toll-free minutes and features. For each plan, prices drop if the number of users increases, if a contract is signed and if you pay for a year upfront.
Prices for the standard plan, for between two and 19 users, range from $24.99 per user per month when the yearly costs are paid in advance to $34.99 per user per month on a month-to-month basis with no contract. Prices drop by $3 per employee for businesses with 20 to 99 users.
For the premium plan, prices for between two and 19 users range from $34.99 per user per month when the yearly costs are paid in advance to $44.99 per user per month on a month-to-month basis with no contract. Prices drop by $3 per employee for businesses with 20 to 99 users.
Prices for the enterprise plan, for between two and 19 users, range from $49.99 per user per month when the yearly costs are paid in advance to $59.99 per user per month on a month-to-month basis with no contract. Prices drop by $5 per employee for businesses with 20 to 99 users.
For all plans, costs on a per-user basis are lower for businesses with more than 100 employees. Additional local or toll-free numbers are $4.99 per month, and there is a one-time $30 charge for vanity numbers.
Overall, we were happy with the level of support we received from RingCentral when we contacted the company, posing as a business owner interested in virtual and phone system services.
During our research, we reached out to the company several times by phone and live chat. While we did have one bad phone experience, all of our other calls with the company were very positive. All but one of the representatives we spoke to answered our call quickly and provided us with all of the information on the systems we were looking for, including how each works, how they differ, the features they include and their costs. They also followed up by email to see if we had any more questions.
RingCentral's live chat service was a little spottier. While sometimes our questions were promptly answered, other times it took up to 30 minutes to get an agent to chat. There were times when our questions went completely unanswered.
RingCentral offers support over the phone for its virtual service Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. EST and 24/7 phone support for RingCentral Office customers with more than two users. The RingCentral website also features a wide selection of support materials, including user guides, FAQs, webinars and videos.
To read reviews of other phone system providers, or simply learn more about business phone systems, check out our business phone systems buying guide.