Best Small Business Phone Systems of 2019

Billy Bommer ·
Audio & Travel Writer
Updated
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We spent 20 hours researching and evaluating the best phone systems for small businesses by comparing pricing, features and integrability with popular business tool platforms, like Microsoft 360 and Google’s G Suite. Vonage Business Cloud is our pick for best overall, because it has a distinct advantage in terms of scalability, ease of use and platform reliability. There are more cost-effective options if you have a small workforce, but if your business employs more than 10 people in an office, or in remote locations, Vonage Business Cloud is the best solution.

Editor's note: Looking for pricing information on phone systems? Answer the questions below, and our vendor partners will contact you with a free quote: 

Best Overall

Vonage Business Cloud

Vonage Business Cloud is easy to install and offers three pricing and feature tiers for customizing your small business phone service to meet the demands of your office. The Mobile plan is a good option for businesses with remote workers or less than 10 employees. It starts at $19.99 per month for each line and includes unlimited calling and text, an easy-to-use mobile app for iOS and Android devices and VonageFlow team messaging for video calls and media sharing.
The Advanced plan is more appropriate if you need more than 20 phone lines. It adds video conferencing through the Amazon Chime platform for up to 100 people, 15 hours of call recording per month and visual voicemail that sends transcribed voicemails directly to an email account. Vonage plans offer the best integration with customer relationship management (CRM) platforms of all the services we evaluated. It’s compatible with popular services like Office 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Clio, Bullhorn and more. Vonage doesn’t require an annual contract, and if you need to buy hardware, phones from Polycom and Yealink are available for purchase through the website.
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Great CRM integration
  • Reliable platform
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Toll free numbers cost extra
Get QuoteVonage
Best for Less Than 10 Employees

Ooma Office

Ooma Office specializes in small business phone services for offices with less than 500 employees.
There’s only one pricing tier and it’s the same if you have 3 or 300 employees. Some services we reviewed offer discounts for adding more lines, but Ooma offers just one cost-effective flat rate: $19.99 per month for each user. Monthly subscriptions don’t require a contract and include a toll free number with 500 minutes. Toll free numbers with other phone services, like Vonage, cost $20 per month or limit the minutes to less than 100 per month. The Ooma Office mobile app has a simple interface and allows you to make and receive calls as if you were at your office. Installation is simple and if you run into a problem, Ooma offers 24/7 support. This small business phone service allows you to transfer your current phone number or choose a new local or toll free number. Some of the features included with a monthly subscription include music-on-hold, a virtual receptionist and conferencing. This isn’t a good service for offices that make a high volume of international calls, because the cost per minute is among the highest of the services we reviewed.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Simple installation
  • Toll free number included
Cons
  • No volume discounts
  • Expensive international calls
  • Limited scalability
Get QuoteOoma
Best for International Calling

8x8

8x8 offers unlimited, international calling for up to 47 countries, depending on the service tier you choose, and 4,000 minutes of contact center calling within those countries.
This is one of the most simple small business phone services to install because it doesn’t require any hardware at the office, which also means system maintenance is all done offsite. 8x8 is one of the most expensive platforms we reviewed. Plans range from $28 to $115 per month for each line with discounts that kick in after 100 users. All plans include unlimited text and online fax; mobile and desktop applications; integration with G Suite, Office 365, Salesforce and Zendesk; and video conferencing for up to 100 participants. Upgraded plans add interactive voice response, queued and web callback, customer experience analytics and post call surveys. 8x8 is one of the best services we evaluated in terms of outbound and inbound analytics, but those features are only offered in the premium tier plans. This small business phone service has great feature offerings for small and large business alike and is a good choice if you plan to expand.
Pros
  • International calls included with all plans
  • Support for large offices
  • Great analytics offerings
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Basic plans are limited
Get Quote8x8
Best Cloud Provider

MiCloud Office

This cloud-based VoIP platform has an expansive feature set that includes cross-platform applications like a PC softphone, an end-user portal, expanded support for teleworkers and call recording.
It doesn’t offer transparent pricing tiers like the other services we evaluated, however. The Essentials plan starts at $19.99 per month, but it only allows for one connected device per user and doesn’t include the MiTeam collaboration features. Finalized pricing information for all service levels requires you to submit an email form and wait for a customized quote. The Premier and Elite packages add call recording, Salesforce integration, voicemail transcription and archiving. MiCloud Office has a wide selection of contact center features too, including skill and agent priority routing, an outbound dialer, multimedia routing and personal agent queueing. All packages include the easy-to-use mobile app that can start a call at your desk and allow you to finish it at home on your mobile device. If you have more than 10 lines in your office, it includes a free desk phone for each user.
Pros
  • Cloud platform improves efficiency
Cons
  • Opaque pricing
Get QuoteMitel
Best for Remote Employees

Grasshopper

Grasshopper offers great features for companies with a large remote workforce, and the virtual platform doesn’t require any installation or hardware. If you want desktop phones, Grasshopper provides them through a third-party named Jive. Another great incentive of this virtual platform is a free trial. This isn’t possible for companies like Vonage or Ooma because of the need for installed hardware.
Some unique features of Grasshopper include customizable automated greetings from professional voice actors, automated answering that sends callers to the appropriate department or employee, and vanity numbers that allow you to create unique toll free numbers that reflect the business name. The mobile and desktop applications are simple to use and send information about incoming calls that helps prepare you to answer calls with as much customer info as possible. There are three price tiers that max out at $89 per month. The Small Business plan includes five numbers and an unlimited amount of extensions. The Solo plan is perfect for entrepreneurs that use a business phone for side projects. It costs $29 per month and includes one number and three extensions. All plans qualify for a 10 percent discount if you pay annually instead of monthly.
Pros
  • Simple virtual platform
Cons
  • No desktop phone support
Get QuoteGrasshopper
Easiest Setup

RingCentral

If you are nervous about integrating desk phones and setting up a reliable phone network in your office, RingCentral is a great option.
All plans include a dedicated onboarding specialist to walk you through the setup process and preconfigured phones. Plans start at $29.99 per month for less than 10 users and go up to $44.99 for the Premium plan. There’s a 33 percent discount available if you pay annually instead of monthly, and every plan offers integration with Microsoft, Google, Box and Okta small business services. The Premium plan adds single sign-on to help switch between mobile and desktop apps. The RingCentral mobile app isn’t as easy to navigate as most services we reviewed, but it allows you to send and receive a fax, create and join conferences and configure desk phone settings. Visual voicemail is included with all plans and gives you access to messages from the desktop and mobile app, an email account and the RingCentral online platform.
Pros
  • Simple setup with support
Cons
  • Limited minutes for toll free numbers
Get QuoteRingCentral

Why Trust Us  

Top Ten Reviews has researched and evaluated phone systems for small business for more than five years. We take the time and resources to dig beyond surface-level marketing materials to find the features and flaws of each product. As reviewers, we are insulated from sales and marketing to make sure our impressions are impartial. Our recommendations are based on our impression of the services while researching them as overly-thorough consumers.

How We Evaluated  

For small business phone services, we spent hours compiling a list of common and unique features for each product. We then contacted customer service teams to test that each service provides the necessary support to troubleshoot and solve problems for managers of a business that may not have dedicated IT support. The last step in our evaluation process was to analyze the features and support data alongside a list of concerns commonly raised by small business managers. This process helped us recommend a product that suits the needs of the wide-ranging customer base of small businesses.

Important Features for Small Business Phone Systems  

Stable Mobile Application
All the services we evaluated have companion apps that allow you to initiate and receive calls and messages on your mobile devices. We recommend trialing the accompanying apps before making a final decision about which phone service you choose. Verified customer reviews are a good resource to find out how reliable apps are and if the manufacturer is willing to fix frequently reported issues.

Virtual vs Hardware Infrastructure
If you have a workforce that needs the flexibility of an office phone but also works remotely on mobile devices, avoid a virtual platform like Grasshopper. Virtual systems work well for remote employees and businesses with less than five employees but don’t offer the stability and features of traditional VoIP services like Vonage. Virtual platforms are heavily reliant on stable Wi-Fi and cellular networks because most of the interactions are on smartphones, where VoIP services utilize secure high-speed networks as the transmission medium.

Help and Support
Small businesses that rely heavily on phone systems need a knowledgeable customer service rep available to quickly fix everyday issues. Most services we reviewed offer 24/7 customer support, but some have limited office hours that may not align with your availability.