Business Phone Systems

Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped thousands of small businesses choose the right VoIP software so they can make calls and send texts over the internet.

Showing 1-20 of 122 products

Nextiva Office

Nextiva's Business VoIP solutions offer small businesses enterprise-level telephony service that helps them to streamline company's communications and establish an in-house VoIP phone system. It offers an integrated and scalable PBX... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 45 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Jive Voice

Jive Communications delivers a cloud-based unified communication solution to organizations of all sizes across the U.S. Jive Voice includes integrated products for business VoIP, video conferencing and contact center which are all... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 41 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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RingCentral Office

RingCentral Office is a cloud-based business phone solution that offers business communication tools for video, voice, fax and text. Core features of the solution include conferencing, auto-recording and unlimited long-distance and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 38 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Vonage Business Solutions

Vonage Business Solutions is a cloud-based communications solution suitable for small and midsize companies. The solution offers a business phone system that enables businesses to connect their VoIP phone system to internet-enabled... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 32 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Virtual Office by 8x8

Virtual Office is a collection of comprehensive web-based business VoIP solutions from offered by 8x8. Enterprise grade phone service, virtual meetings, mobile applications, virtual contact centers and more are available to help companies... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 27 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Business Voice

Business Voice is a cloud-based VoiP solution created by PanTerra, which allows users to take or make calls from their office phone number, communicate with their team, and have file access, all from any device with an internet connection,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 20 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Ooma Office

Ooma Office is a cloud-based VoIP solution that caters to small businesses across various industry verticals that helps them to manage their business operations. Ooma Office offers various capabilities offered by traditional IP PBX... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Dialpad

Designed for organizations of any size, Dialpad Talk is a cloud-based communications platform that allows businesses to access voice, messaging, meetings and video from any computer, smartphone, or tablet. Other key features include... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Twilio Voice API

Twilio's Voice API is a fully programmable VoIP system that helps companies make, manage and route calls to a browser, app, phone and more. Key features include call monitoring, call transcripts, call routing, PBX, auto dialer / predictive... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Intulse

Intulse is a cloud-based VoIP solution for small and midsize businesses. Key features include conference calls, call transfers, custom hold music, interactive voice response, ring groups, call queues, caller identification and missed... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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NICE inContact Hosted Call Center

NICE inContact is a SaaS-based call center software that helps businesses to maximizes the quality of leads and minimizes the cost of client interaction. The solution comprises of many features required to process inbound support requests... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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FluentStream VoIP

FluentStream is a business phone solution designed for companies of all sizes. It offers call monitoring, telemarketing, IVR and reporting features within an integrated suite. The solution is available both in cloud-based and on-premise... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Five9 Cloud Contact Center

Five9 is an all-in-one cloud contact center solution for inbound, outbound, blended and omnichannel contact centers world-wide.  Powered by Practical AI, Five9 enables agents to provide customer experiences across phone, email, chat,... Read more

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Versature

Versature’s cloud-based business VoIP services provide Canadian companies with unified communications and call analytics solutions to help manage their business operations. Versature’s key features include auto attendants, click-to-dial,... Read more

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Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Voxbone

SIP Trunks by Voxbone is a cloud-based VoIP solution for businesses across various industries such as travel, telecommunication, construction and manufacturing. Key features include online ticketing system, monitoring of network operation... Read more

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Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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net2phone

net2phone’s cloud PBX VoIP phone solution enables businesses to communicate in a variety of methods, whether voice, texting, messaging or web chat, over an array of devices, in the office and on the go. The net2phone solution features... Read more

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Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Skype for Business

Skype for Business is a hybrid voice messaging solution that enables teams and individuals across the world to communicate and collaborate. It offers both cloud-based and on-premise solutions. This solution allows users to interact... Read more

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Adobe Connect

Adobe Connect is a web conferencing software solution used by companies for conducting online meetings, webinars and training sessions. The solution is for adhoc collaboration as well as planned online meetings. The solution enables... Read more

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Mitel

Mitel is a cloud-based VoIP phone system that offers collaboration and conferencing tools to enable information flow within the organization.  The solution enables system administrators to manage user settings, set preferences and... Read more

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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UberConference

UberConference by Dialpad is a cloud-based web conferencing solution that helps businesses of all sizes by combining messaging, voice and video. While it enables users to join meetings instantly without using a PIN, UberConference... Read more

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Buyer's guide


Last Updated: April 16, 2019

The complexity of the business telephony market is nothing short of staggering. With hundreds of differences—some minor, some major—in technology, features and usability, buying a new VoIP phone system can get very confusing very quickly.

We’ve written this buyer’s guide to make business telephony a little easier to understand, and to make the buying process a little more palatable. Here’s what we’ll cover: 

Reviewers' Choice
A Comparison of Top VoIP Solutions
Traditional Business Phone Systems
VoIP Phone Systems
Software Applications
Pricing Considerations
Recent Events You Should Know About

Reviewers' Choice

voip reviewers choice

 

Reviewers' Choice Products

3CX Adobe Connect
Jive Voice Skype
Vonage Business Solutions  

Our Reviewers’ Choice list shows the five highest user-rated software solutions for VoIP when adjusted for total number of reviews and recency of reviews.

If a software solution has more reviews, and more recent reviews, we value those ratings more highly than a product with fewer, older reviews. This is because is it much harder to get 100 five-star reviews than it is to get 10.

We also know that software vendors continually tweak and update their product, so we believe that more recent reviews tend to be more accurate.

To determine which products made the final cut, we looked at how users rated each solution's:

  • Overall performance,
  • Ease of use, and
  • Customer support

A solution can make the Reviewers' Choice top five in all three categories, or just one or two. All software solutions in the Reviewers' Choice have at least 10 reviews from real software users. The final products are listed in alphabetical order from left to right.

For more details on how we selected our Reviewers' Choice, read the full methodology.

A Comparison of Top VoIP Solutions

Top RingCentral Comparisons
Nextiva vs. RingCentral
RingCentral vs. Virtual Office

Traditional Business Phone Systems

Traditional business phone systems use the traditional landline telephone system, often called the Plain Old Telephone Service or POTS. VoIP phone systems, discussed below, use the Internet instead of the POTS. Overall, the technology is in a state of transition from traditional to VoIP, and many businesses have phone systems using elements of both.

Private Branch Exchanges (PBX)
In a PBX system, every office phone is connected to a single, centralized router within the office, which then assigns a unique line (called a trunk) to the public telephone network. A PBX allows internal calls to be routed without connecting to the public phone network at all—translating to significant cost savings, particularly in large offices.

The term "PBX" originates from the days when a live operator manually connected lines (exchanging branches) at a company’s internal switchboard. Though today’s technology is wildly different (there aren’t always branches, nothing’s being exchanged and the business phone system is often managed remotely, which means it’s not even private anymore), the term is so widespread in the industry that it is still used to describe any in-house office phone system. Related acronyms you might hear include:

  • IP PBX: Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange
  • PABX: Private Automatic Branch Exchange
  • EPABX: Electronic Private Automatic Branch Exchange

Key Systems
In a key system, the user selects the line manually, with lights indicating which lines are in use. Though this is a useful feature for small office systems, it quickly becomes impractical as the number of users grows. (Imagine a key system with 50 lines.)

As technology has improved, a hybrid model has emerged that routes keyed phones through an electronic system, similar to a PBX. This has allowed for the rapid merging of keyed and PBX features, plus the development of new features such as:

  • Monitoring the system from a remote location
  • Caller ID
  • Voicemail
  • User- or office-specific limitations (e.g., no international calls)

Though this description drastically oversimplifies all that goes into the technology, what’s important to note is that most keyed systems today operate through some form of hybrid model.

Choosing Between a PBX and a Hybrid Key System
Though these technologies have converged over time, their usability and features make them very different at the user level. Since a modern PBX control unit is essentially a specialized computer, it provides automated call distribution and many more features associated with computer telephony integration (CTI, described in more detail below). The behavior of a hybrid key system, however, may be far more preferable (and more cost-effective) for smaller businesses that don’t need those features or more than a dozen or so lines.

Behavior Key/Hybrid System PBX
Line selection User selects the line, or the system defaults to the first available line. User dials an “escape number” (usually 9, in the U.S.) to access an outside line. (Note that modern systems can often bypass this step through software that recognizes how calls should be routed based on the first number or numbers.)
Inbound calls Can be answered by multiple people. Often, the phone will ring simultaneously at multiple endpoints, and whomever answers first gets it. Calls are routed to a specific user, often automatically to the first available user of a specified type.
Ideal for >50 employees and/or call centers

VoIP Phone Systems

Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, sends communication data through the Internet rather than through a traditional phone line. The biggest benefit of VoIP telephone systems for businesses is that they provide more features and usability at a fraction of the cost: Rates on long distance and international calls, in particular, are much lower. They're also more expandable than traditional phone lines, since they're limited by digital bandwidth rather than by the number of physical lines.

VoIP has further blurred the distinction between key systems and PBXs, since there are now business telephone systems that can perform the functions of both. Here we’ll look at three examples of business VoIP phone systems, starting simple and moving to the more advanced.

A Simple Business VoIP System
The most basic business VoIP system is telephone software run on an office computer. This phone software, also known as a softphone, can receive and make phone calls to any phone number over the Internet. Remember, VoIP calls can be placed to any type of phone; they aren’t restricted to calling other VoIP phones. (If you’re new to VoIP, check out our beginner’s guide.)

The business using the system pays its VoIP provider for a single telephone number. Any calls made to that number will be received by that softphone. Calls made from that account’s softphones will display the company’s own Caller ID information. Customers won’t know if they’re called from a softphone at the office, or a softphone running on a laptop on the road, as long as both are on the same account, a benefit to some.

Many VoIP providers offer softphones and come bundled with basic features like customizable voicemail.

A Typical Business VoIP System
An example of a more typical VoIP system would be found in a small business of 10 employees, each with their own VoIP desk phone. Called “hardphones,” these look like traditional office handsets but connect directly to the office’s computer network. VoIP hardphones can be purchased separately or included as part of a service provider’s plan.

Since the office has multiple phones, calls need to be directed and managed between them. This is the jo