5 of the Best Business Phone Services for Small Business in 2019

Not too long ago, implementing a phone service for your small business was a far more tedious and daunting task. It often required you to speak with some sort of consultant and potentially call them in to configure the entire system. Quite a bit has changed, but there are still some choices to make when looking at the best business phone services for small business.

For instance, do you need a voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) solution or something more traditional? Does your small business consist of several customer support representatives, a larger team, or is it just you managing a freelance operation?

With questions like these in mind, keep reading to learn more about the best business phone services.

What to look for in the best business phone services for small business

In terms of the essential features for small business phone services, it’s essential to make sure that your phones are connected to the Internet. This way, someone like a company founder, or customer support rep, would have full access to the phones by connecting through tablets, cell phones, or remote computers. Some of the best business phone services also include strong support for expanding the number of lines that you may need.

Having said all that, here are some other essentials to look for when researching the best business phone services:

💰 Reasonable pricing
Plus there are options to either upgrade or get a high number of phone lines.
⚙️ A speedy and simple configuration process
Along with a clean dashboard for phone network management.
☎️ Options for having several phone lines
With connections between business and personal lines.
🤖 Automated assistants
For sharing a brief message and redirecting callers.
🔗 A softphone link
For completing phone calls when at your computer or using your smartphone.
✍️ Transcriptions
You can send readable voicemails to cell phones.
📱 Mobile apps
For accepting and making calls and voicemails while away from the office.

As we go through the best business phone services below, you’ll find that most of them include the essentials we outlined. However, we’ll let you know when one stands out or falls short.

Five of the best business phone services for small business

Here’s a summary of our findings. Check it out if you’re short on time:

 8x8 Virtual OfficeGrasshopperVonageRingCentralNextiva
Cheapest Price (Per user/month)$25$26$19.99$29.99$34.95
Cheaper per user, for larger teams?NoNoNoYesYes
Voice to text/emailYesYesFor some plansFor some plansYes
Mobile AppsYesYesYesYesFor some plans
Quick and Reliable or Tons of Features?BothQuick and reliableQuick and reliableTons of featuresBoth

1. 8×8 Virtual Office (www.8×8.com)

8x8 - one of the best business phone services
8×8 offers several phone system products, one of which is a virtual edition.

We like it for small businesses, seeing as how founders and employees are often on the move.

You can expect reliability, mobility, and superior tools for international and domestic calls between team members.

 

Overall cost and pricing plans

The 8×8 Virtual Office product is sold as three packages:

  • X2 Edition – $25 per user per month.
  • X5 Edition – $35 per user per month.
  • X8 Edition – $55 per user per month.

The main part of the pricing to consider is how much you’re going to spend per user. After that, the higher plans do provide some additional benefits.

For example, you see improvements in the following if you plan on upgrading from the X2 Edition:

  • The number of countries you can call to.
  • Media storage.
  • Call recording support.

Ease of use and reliability

8×8 is a VoIP phone service with cloud hosting included. Therefore, you have no need for any complicated hardware. Internet-connected phones and high-speed Internet do the trick.

Collaboration is a big part of what makes 8×8 so functional for small businesses. It includes media storage, instant messaging, and team messaging for powerful internal communications.

It’s also nice to have things like video conferencing and Salesforce integrations that bring your office together into one place.

Top features

  • A completely virtual phone setup, with calling from remote locations.
  • Unlimited calling to dozens of international zones.
  • Instant messaging for team members.
  • An auto-attendant for greeting customers and routing calls.
  • Video and audio conferencing.
  • Call recording in some plans.
  • Contact center tools for some plans.

2. Grasshopper (www.Grasshopper.com)

grasshopper
Grasshopper features VoIP and WiFi calling, allowing small businesses to remain connected at all times.

You quickly get a business phone number on the homepage and sign up for a system that includes call forwarding, multiple extensions, and voicemail transcription.

 

Overall cost and pricing plans

The Grasshopper pricing appears quite manageable for small businesses, with three plans and several extensions for each plan:

  • Solo – $26 per month for one phone number and three extensions.
  • Partner – $44 per month for three numbers and six extensions.
  • Small Business – $80 per month for five numbers and unlimited extensions.

Ease of use and reliability

The setup process from Grasshopper is one of the best in the business. The VoIP configuration means you have a connection through all Internet devices – but this does completely rely on your Internet quality.

During testing, the voicemail inbox took some time to configure, but once everything is set you should be good with voice-to-text tools and forwarding to different extensions. The multiple extensions (for no extra cost) should serve small businesses well.

We talked some more about Grasshopper in another post on the blog.

Top features

  • Multiple extensions per phone number.
  • Desktop and mobile apps to make calls on the go.
  • Both WiFi and VoIP calling.
  • Texting through your business phone number.
  • Call forwarding to your smartphone or another device.
  • Text transcriptions for all voicemails.

3. Vonage (www.Vonage.com)

vonage
During the early days of Internet calling, Vonage became the marquee name for VoIP communications – and it still appears to be one of the top solutions, especially for small businesses.

The customer support staff is known for its experience, while the service offers impressive reliability and a fairly user-friendly experience for even the busiest of business owners.

 

Overall cost and pricing plans

Vonage is known for having promotional offers throughout the year. So, you might find a great deal on something like the Vonage Business Cloud + Vonage for Salesforce bundle. That being said, we’re only going to cover the standard prices:

  • Mobile – $19.99 per line per month.
  • Premium – $29.99 per line per month.
  • Advanced – $39.99 per line per month.

Many small businesses will enjoy the low cost of the Mobile Plan and forget about the extra features. However, an upgrade to Premium gets you the following:

  • An auto-attendant.
  • File sharing.
  • Chat and video conferencing.
  • CRM integrations.

Upgrade to the Advanced plan and receive:

  • Call recording.
  • Forwarding calls to multiple extensions at once.
  • Visual voicemail.
  • Onboarding.

Ease of use and reliability

You truly can’t beat the Vonage set-up process. Not only are most of the plans inexpensive compared to the competition, but the call quality is clear and reliable from multiple devices.

The main downside would be that Vonage tends to lag behind other contenders on this list in terms of extra small business features. For instance, the video conferencing was only recently added so it’s not as powerful as other services.

Top features

  • Unlimited calling and texting.
  • Calling and texting through mobile apps.
  • A team messaging portal.
  • A beautiful desktop app.
  • CRM integrations for some plans.
  • Visual voicemails for some plans.
  • Video conferencing and chatting for some plans.

4. RingCentral (www.RingCentral.com)

ringcentral
RingCentral provides one of the more robust small business VoIP systems.

Along with hundreds of business app integrations (including AI programs,) and a laundry list of strong business tools (voice chatting, call logs, team collaboration) RingCentral stands out as a phone service powerhouse.

 

Overall cost and pricing plans

RingCentral has four pricing plans charged per user per month. As the plans get more expensive you receive more features. However, your monthly per user rate gets cheaper for each plan if you have a certain number of users.

For example, the Essentials Plan sells for $29.99 per month for one user. But, if you have anywhere from 2-99 users, the plan costs $19.99 per month per user. Overall, this structure makes it more affordable per user for larger teams.

We can’t cover all of the tiered costs, so let’s take a look at the plans for one user:

  • Essentials – $29.99 per month per user.
  • Standard – $34.99 per month per user.
  • Premium – $44.99 per month per user.
  • Ultimate – $59.99 per month per user.

Some of the features that improve as you upgrade include:

  • Toll-free minutes.
  • Number of people for video and audio meetings.
  • Auto-attendant support.
  • Internet faxing.
  • Better service reports.

Ease of use and reliability

For such a feature-heavy phone service, RingCentral is surprisingly easy to launch and manage. It definitely helps that the online and phone support is known for its reliability.

Video conferencing and team messaging is just a start to how you’re able to quickly bring together the voices in your organization. It’s especially useful for communicating with clients, seeing as how you receive features like business texting and auto-attendants.

You do have options to rent phones and other equipment, but it seems expensive. Another downside is that voice-to-text transcriptions are only in the Premium and Ultimate plans.

Top features

  • Beautiful video, audio, and screen sharing meetings.
  • Toll-free calling support.
  • Unlimited phone calls on all plans.
  • The most flexible pricing on the market.
  • Mobile apps.
  • Team collaboration like file sharing.
  • Integrations with 100s of apps – like some customer support apps.
  • Multi-site support for some plans.

5. Nextiva (www.Nextiva.com)

nextiva
Nextiva is one of the best business phone services out there due to its flexible pricing and strong feature set.

In addition, you receive a reliable VoIP service without any hassle when it comes to the setup. It’s comparable to Vonage but with a longer list of features.

 

Overall cost and pricing plans

The pricing from Nextiva isn’t exactly transparent, but it’s built so that larger teams pay less per user per month. So, a team with 1-4 users would pay less overall, but more per user – compared to a team with 5-10 users.

Since it’s tough to show all of these pricing tiers, we’ll only show pricing for 1-4 users:

  • Office Pro – $34.95 per user per month.
  • Office Pro Plus – $37.95 per user per month.
  • Office Enterprise – $44.95 per user per month.

Ease of use and reliability

Nextiva boasts a sophisticated platform without the complicated interface of an old-school phone system. The customer support typically gets rave reviews, so it’s nice knowing that you have people ready to help you if something goes wrong.

Testing and online reviews show that the call and text reliability is rather impressive. Not to mention, Nextiva is constantly rolling out cool new features and getting feedback from its customers for the future.

My only problem with Nextiva is that the pricing on its website is extremely misleading. The company highlights its lowest pricing based on a long contract and lots of users – with the entire pricing breakdown kind of hidden under an information question mark.

Top features

  • Voice calls using advanced cloud technology.
  • Free local and toll-free numbers.
  • Unlimited calling.
  • An excellent setup wizard.
  • Call forwarding, IDs, and waiting.
  • Auto-attendants.
  • Text messaging and conferencing on some plans.
  • Professionally recorded greetings on some plans.
  • Team collaboration on some plans.

Which of these best business phone services are right for your small business?

I know, it’s tough to make this type of decision. But hopefully, the previous analysis helps you to understand the details a little better.

Here’s that summary table again to give you a general overview of how these services compare head to head:

 8x8 Virtual OfficeGrasshopperVonageRingCentralNextiva
Cheapest Price (Per user/month)$25$26$19.99$29.99$34.95
Cheaper per user, for larger teams?NoNoNoYesYes
Voice to text/emailYesYesFor some plansFor some plansYes
Mobile AppsYesYesYesYesFor some plans
Quick and Reliable or Tons of Features?BothQuick and reliableQuick and reliableTons of featuresBoth
If you have any questions about the best business phone services for small business, let us know in the comments below!

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