Of the 26 services we analyzed and reviewed, Nextiva is our favorite cloud-based phone system. They are an industry leader in unified communications and deliver an easy-to-use, affordable phone platform for any business. You can sign up right now for a seven-day free trial of Nextiva’s entry-level plan or continue reading for more information about the best cloud phone systems on the market today.
Top Cloud-Based Phone Systems: Golden Eggs
Check out our Golden Eggs—the top cloud-based phone systems among the dozens we reviewed:
Nextiva is an all-in-one cloud phone system that offers unlimited domestic calling and limitless scalability. Get started today by reaching out to Nextiva for a demo.
RingCentral offers every call management feature imaginable to support businesses that need to handle lots of calls. Start your 14-day free trial of any RingCentral plan today.
Zoom is a major player in the cloud communications space, standing out from the crowd with its simplicity, affordability, and user-friendly interface. If you don’t need unlimited calling, try out Zoom with a live demo.
Cloud-Based Phone System Review Process
We organized all of the reviews you’ll find below by use case, making it easy for you to compare the best solutions to your specific needs from a cloud-based phone system.
To properly appraise the 26 providers we reviewed, our research team found seven common use cases for which these platforms provide a solution:
- Remote work
- Virtual phone number
- External communication
- Internal communication
- Call center
- International calling
- Small businesses and solopreneurs
These insights are based on 682 real user reviews and 4,340 review snippets that highlight how people are truly using cloud-based phone systems to address their needs. By segmenting our reviews into these specific categories, you can quickly narrow down the field to best phone system options for you.
The individual reviews within each use case will help steer you in the right direction as you’re going through this process.
We also put together a guide that follows the reviews, which identifies key features and factors to consider in terms of their importance to each use case. You can jump straight to our methodology of what matters the most when reviewing cloud-based phone systems for more information.
The Best Cloud-Based Phone Systems for Remote Work
With remote work growing in popularity, there’s an increased demand for cloud phone systems that work for dispersed teams. These phone systems should make it easy for teams to communicate from laptops, desktops, and smartphones without being tied to a desk. Service reliability is also extremely important here, as users will all have different internet connections from their home offices or when working on the go.
Nextiva is an all-in-one solution for communications and team collaboration, making it an excellent option for teams working in different locations. Remote and hybrid workforces can take advantage of team messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, and texting within a single platform, in addition to Nextiva’s VoIP phone capabilities.
The system doesn’t rely on any complicated hardware, so it’s easy to onboard new users without any technical assistance. A new employee working from home can be set up in minutes and easily switch between supported devices no matter where they are.
Nextiva also offers 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email. This is great for organizations with employees that work odd hours or in different time zones. You can rest easy knowing that your staff always has access to help, troubleshooting, or solutions without having to provide support internally.
RingCentral has excellent desktop and mobile apps that can be used on Mac, PC, iOS, and Android. So your entire team can use RingCentral, regardless of their preferred operating system, and experience the same quality service.
For an advanced cloud-based phone system, RingCentral is surprisingly easy to use. They bolster that with guided support for both administrators and staff, so you can get started and manage everything without any technical knowledge.
RingCentral also delivers a wide range of collaboration and monitoring features. Your team can collaborate with each other from anywhere, and managers can listen in on calls, regardless of their location. That latter feature makes RingCentral particularly appealing to companies that review customer or client calls to make improvements to their service.
Try a 14-day free trial of any RingCentral plan to get started. We also have a complete RingCentral review with more information on its pros, cons, plans, and pricing.
Zoom has become famous with the rise of remote work and offers a wide range of plans and pricing to accommodate varying business needs. For example, you can bundle Zoom’s phone service with other communication tools for video conferencing, team messaging, or texting.
Most businesses with remote or hybrid employees will want to take advantage of all of those features. But if not, you can choose not to pay for them and keep your costs low. That makes it a smart choice for organizations that need the basics of video and voice calling with none of the bloat of other providers’ feature sets.
Zoom’s desktop and mobile apps are highly rated, letting your team confidently access this phone system and collaboration tool without being tied to a specific desk or location. They can start their mornings at home, continue taking calls or meetings in the car, and finish the day at a coffee shop without ever missing a beat.
Read our Zoom review for a more in-depth analysis of Zoom’s offerings.
Mitel caters to hybrid work environments within large organizations. The MiVoice border Gateway service makes it possible to extend on-premises PBX systems to include your remote staff and field service employees. That’s further bolstered by solid mobile apps for iOS and Android, plus a reliable web-based portal and dashboard.
This solution can scale up to 25,000 employees, ensuring that your entire hybrid workforce has access to the phone system. And Mitel delivers enterprise-class reliability to match.
For a cloud phone system that can accommodate employees in a wide range of environments, Mitel is still easy for administrators to manage. No matter how many phones or employees you have, onboarding and making changes is a breeze.
Talkroute is a lightweight virtual phone solution that can easily turn personal devices into a business communication tool. The service lets you add a business line to any device while keeping your personal number separate and private.
This scenario is perfect for smaller remote teams. Each employee can easily get started without any technical skills, and admins can quickly manage accounts and permission levels.
While Talkroute does not offer team messaging, file sharing, or faxing solutions, it’s a viable option for any business that wants a fast and easy way to give each employee a dedicated business phone line. All of which can be accomplished without sacrificing the privacy of your staff or spending extra money on new hardware.
The Best Cloud-Based Phone Systems for Virtual Phone Numbers
Virtual phone numbers are ideal for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and employees that want to separate work calls from private calls. You can add a virtual phone line to your existing devices—giving you multiple phone numbers from a single device. When you take an incoming call, you can easily see whether it’s personal or work-related.
With Nextiva, you add a new, virtual toll-free or local number to your business with ease.
Nextiva’s platform is available to use on iOS and Android, so you can install the apps on your personal devices and quickly switch between business and personal calls without needing new hardware.
If you want to keep your existing phone number, you can also port it over to Nextiva free of charge. This is great for businesses that want to eliminate landlines without having to get a new phone number.
While Nextiva definitely has tons of great features for unified communication, you can keep it simple and stick with the entry-level Essentials plan.
RingCentral is the perfect virtual phone solution for scaling businesses. You can use it to buy additional phone numbers in other countries to give you a local presence there, regardless of your actual location.
The platform supports phone numbers in more than 100 countries worldwide. So there’s a good chance your preferred options will be available. And RingCentral also offers special calling plans for international communications, helping you lower the costs of communicating with far-flung regions your business is taking off in.
So if you’re starting to land new clients or get an influx of leads from a new region, you can easily add on a virtual phone number. Best of all, you’re getting this capability in addition to a complete VoIP phone system that’s packed with other great features.
Try any RingCentral plan free for 14 days. Our full RingCentral review breaks down these offerings in greater detail.
Grasshopper shines in its simplicity. It has a clean interface that’s easy for anyone to use—regardless of technical skill level. That makes it an ideal interface for people who don’t need all the technical bells and whistles of other phone services, but still need a robust system that also delivers virtual phone numbers.
The entire sign-up and deployment process takes just five minutes. If you only need one phone number with a few extensions, Grasshopper is the perfect lightweight solution.
You can use Grasshopper with virtual vanity numbers, toll-free numbers, and local numbers. Most businesses can port over their existing number for free, as well.
Grasshopper offers a seven-day free trial that includes a free number, three extensions, 100 minutes, 100 texts, and access to all features. Read our Grasshopper review for more.
Google Voice is another ultra-simple cloud phone solution. It’s an agile system that works best on smartphones and desktops.
For those of you who are currently using Google Workspace for other business purposes, you can easily add Google Voice to your plan for just $10 per month.
Number porting is a bit limited, so Google Voice is best for those of you who want a completely new local number. The platform does support international calling, but those calls are charged at separate rates beyond your base fee.
If you’re on a tight budget and want to extend the functionality of your Google Workspace account without turning to a completely new provider, you can add Google Voice with just a few clicks.
OpenPhone is a relatively new option in this space, but an excellent one for smaller startups and solopreneurs. A simple, straightforward interface and dashboard make it easy to manage your business communications from a virtual phone number.
The great part about OpenPhone is its ability to quickly and affordably add new numbers based in the U.S. or Canada to an existing account. Plans start at $10 per month, and you can add additional numbers to your account for just $5. You can even add toll-free numbers with an 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, or 888 prefix.
Even as a single user, you can set up multiple lines for sales, support, marketing, and more. But all of those lines can be routed directly to your phone. This gives customers the perception of working with a larger company, even if it’s just you running the entire operation.
The Best Cloud-Based Phone Systems for External Communication
Cloud phone systems address the need to communicate with clients, partners, vendors, suppliers, and anyone else outside of the organization. These solutions support inbound calling, outbound calling, or a mix of both. Pay close attention to call management features in this category, as this helps you stay organized and professional as call volume scales upward.
Nextiva’s cloud phone system offers excellent features to support a wide range of external communications beyond voice calls (which Nextiva handles with aplomb, as it has for over 15 years).
Some of you might be using it to send and receive faxes from vendors or suppliers. Others might focus on the video conferencing features for sales, marketing, and support calls. The platform also has screen-sharing capabilities, which is perfect for sales demos and customer service troubleshooting (made doubly effective if you add-on one of Nextiva’s call center packages).
In terms of call management, you’ll benefit from a multi-level auto attendant, call forwarding, caller ID, advanced IVR, call routing, and more. All of these help ensure callers are sent to the right phone agent as quickly and effectively as possible.
Reach out to Nextiva to get started. You can also refer to our in-depth Nextiva review for more insight.
RingCentral has one of the best mobile apps on the market within the cloud phone system category. This feature is ideal for teams and organizations that need to field and handle calls on the go, either from home or in other locations outside of the office.
You can also rely on RingCentral for a high volume of inbound call handling. Noteworthy call management features include answering rules, call screening, call flips, and call transfers, which work together to make call flows efficient and gap-free.
It’s a highly sophisticated solution, yet still easy to use. RingCentral’s performance and reliability also rank at the top of their class, ensuring that your organization always comes off as professional when you’re dealing with clients, vendors, and other third parties outside of the business.
Sign up to try any RingCentral plan for free with a 14-day trial. Our RingCentral review provides a better understanding of what to expect from this provider.
11Sight is a unique solution compared to the other cloud phone systems on our list. Instead of providing you with a phone number, they generate a URL for your customers to use for sales and marketing support.
Let’s say a prospect lands on your website and wants to request more information about your services. They can simply click a link and be automatically connected to a service rep to answer their questions via audio, video, or live chat. Reps can easily transfer calls to other agents and even invite other reps to join the call with a single click.
Overall, 11Sight helps organizations provide prospects and leads with better service. They can get questions answered quickly and your team can close deals faster.
Channels is perfect for ecommerce websites that want to offer phone sales, returns, and customer support.
Channels seamlessly integrates with ecommerce platforms, allowing it to pull all information about a customer during a call. This includes previous purchases, reviews, location, and more. So when a caller reaches out to your team for an inquiry, your phone rep has all of the necessary information at their fingertips immediately.
If you upgrade to the next step above its entry-level plan, Channels also offers texting. This is great for follow-ups and sending return QR codes to customers during or after a call, making communications even more convenient for your shoppers.
Take advantage of Channels’ seven-day free trial, or its free-forever plan that supports 250 web calls per month for up to three users—perfect for smaller ecommerce stores and startups.
The Best Cloud-Based Phone Systems for Internal Communication
Some phone systems are made for in-house collaboration with unified communication features that go beyond basic calling. Businesses seeking an internal communication system likely won’t need to prioritize call routing features, auto attendants, and other offerings as much as collaborative features such as video conferencing, file sharing, and chat on top of traditional voice calling.
Nextiva is a complete solution for communication and team collaboration. It comes with all the unified communication features you’d expect, like team messaging, unlimited faxing, screen sharing, private group messaging, and unlimited video calling.
You can also use Nextiva for unlimited video conferencing with up to 250 participants. This is perfect for employee training seminars, organization-wide presentations, and departmental meetings, among other uses.
Users can quickly ping team members to start a private chat. From there, they can hop an audio or video call to take communication to the next level—even being able to share screens for enhanced collaboration.
Read our complete Nextiva review that dives deeper into these service offerings.
RingCentral brands itself as an all-in-one communication solution, and rightfully so. The platform supports team chat, video calls, faxing, SMS, and everything else your team needs to collaborate at scale. Video calls support up to 200 participants, which is great for all-hands-meetings and organization-wide digital events.
However, keep in mind that you’ll need at least Ring Central’s Standard plan to access video calls and conferencing, unlimited faxing, and unlimited audio conferencing. But, on the Standard plan, you’ll also unlock access to international phone numbers (great if you’re looking for a single solution for both internal and external communication), no limits on the number of users, and integrations with key tools like Slack, Microsoft 365, and others.
For companies that commonly host virtual training sessions and seminars, you can easily add RingCentral webinars to your phone system plan, too.
Try RingCentral for free with a 14-day trial. Read our full RingCentral review to learn more.
Ooma is a perfect internal communications platform for businesses with employees who are all working on-site. Plus, you can use the desk phone and fax machines you already have on hand without having to purchase devices or proprietary equipment.
If your in-house team is constantly communicating via phone or fax within the same building, but across multiple floors or departments, Ooma has you covered. It’s an affordable phone platform that doesn’t add a hefty bill on top of your office space rent and maintenance.
Ooma supports video conferencing when you pay for the mid-tier plan or higher. While screen sharing and team messaging are not available, those features are more important for remote workers and dispersed teams. With your organization all under one roof, Ooma’s voice, video, and fax will work perfectly and integrate well with any team messaging or project management software you’re already using.
Refer to our complete Ooma review for more information.
For larger organizations that have already invested in a Microsoft ecosystem, look no further than Microsoft Teams for internal communication. The platform obviously integrates with and supports Microsoft 365 plans, plus it’s easy to get started.
The cool part about MS Teams is that you can pick your collaboration features based on the plan subscription. For example, you can simply add a more complete phone system to your existing Microsoft 365 plan or upgrade to Microsoft 365 E5. The latter includes all Microsoft 365 apps in addition to PBX phone capabilities and a complete cloud phone solution.
When compared side-by-side with similar products on the market, MS Teams is best known for team chat. It’s also great for video conferencing and file sharing, allowing in-office, hybrid, and remote teams to collaborate with ease.
Phone.com is an affordable internal communication option for smaller teams with infrequent calling needs. If you just need something that can handle a light volume of communication between team members, the entry-level plan comes with 500 pooled minutes and 1,000 pooled texts every month.
You can also mix and match plans for each user. Pick and choose which users need unlimited calling without having to pay the higher price for everyone. That way, Phone.com stays wonderfully affordable, even if you have a team leader or managers that lean harder on your phone system than the rest of your organization.
Phone.com even offers video conferencing for between 10 and 100 participants on select plans, as well as traditional conference calling.
Read more details about Phone.com by checking out our full brand review.
If you prefer using desk phones instead of softphones, 1-VoIP is a solid alternative that blends the lightweight Phone.com with the office space-minded Ooma. This phone system is ideal for organizations with infrequent calling needs.
You can use 1-VoIP’s SIP trunk bundle or business VoIP and pay just $0.02 per minute. Do some quick math to see the price of your internal communication costs using this number—if the total is less than the cost of an unlimited subscription offered from another provider, you ought to go with 1VoIP instead.
They also offer conference calling and texting with the softphone application. Fax-to-email capabilities can be added on for just $4.95 per month.
Get started with 1-VoIP now. You’ll be up and running for under $15 in less than 30 minutes.
3CX is an ideal internal communication system for businesses with an in-house IT team. That’s because the software runs on an open-source platform, meaning you can host everything on your own.
This gives you complete control over how your cloud phone system is set up and managed in-house. The only catch is that it does require you to have the appropriate tech resources. But if you have those on-hand, 3CX offers a level of customization and flexibility that few others on this list can come close to touching.
Even if you’re hosting 3CX on-premises, the platform still supports remote work. You can use it for video conferencing with up to 250 users, team messaging, text messaging, faxing, file sharing, and more. For full control over your internal comms system without sacrificing collaboration features, 3CX has you covered.
The Best Cloud-Based Phone Systems for Call Centers
Call centers must be able to accommodate a high volume of calls from customers while delivering features that help your reps provide impeccable service. Regardless of the specifics of customer requests and needs, every call center must prioritize call management features, agent monitoring tools, and call recording from a prospective phone system.
Nextiva easily handles inbound and outbound calls at scale. The platform also comes with advanced IVR and conversational artificial intelligence, which means customers can be routed to the appropriate agent by simply stating their reasons for calling.
Outbound call centers will benefit from the click-to-call add-on feature for desktop calling, allowing your team to make more calls per hour. Nextiva also offers call recording, but only at the Enterprise tier—which is a plan that many large contact centers would be considering.
In terms of call monitoring, a manager can barge into an active call to provide assistance or help get the call routed to a different agent. So your customers can get instant help without lengthy holds or transfers.
Get started for free and read our full Nextiva review for more.
RingCentral has dedicated call center plans that come with all of the advanced call management features you could ask for. The platform excels for larger organizations, particularly outbound call centers with a high volume of international calls. You can easily purchase an international plan or bundle to save some money if you fall into this category.
Call recording, which is crucial for call centers, can be set to automatic or on-demand. RingCentral lets you save up to 100,000 recordings per account, download those recordings, and play them back for up to 90 days. So if you need to provide employee training or resolve a customer dispute, finding an old call recording is a breeze.
Businesses on a contact center plan will also benefit from progressive, predictive, and preview outbound dialer tools—all of which help increase your call volume.
Try it free for 14 days, and check out our RingCentral review to learn more.
Dialpad’s AI functionality makes it a popular choice for contact centers seeking a cloud-based phone system.
For starters, the platform’s intelligent AI-based call routing ensures that each inbound call is transferred to the right agent. And, with real-time sentiment analysis, your agents can quickly see how a customer is feeling on the call, then use that information to adjust their support or sales pitch accordingly. The software even provides agents with next action recommendations during live calls.
Every Dialpad plan comes with call recording, which is refreshing when you consider other providers don’t offer this until its mid-tier or most expensive packages.
To provide your outbound call agents with power dialing and in-queue callback options, you need to upgrade to a contact center plan. But this is well worth it for larger call centers that want to increase outbound dialing volume.
For more information, use our Dialpad review as a resource.
CallHippo delivers a unique tool with special usefulness to busy outbound call centers—a voice broadcasting tool that allows your agents to send automated voice messages to multiple people simultaneously.
But that’s not all. With CallHippo’s power dialer, calls will automatically be made by pulling numbers from lists associated with each campaign. Your agents simply need to stay on the line without ever having to dial or click a button to call. That can boost your team efficiency by leaps and bounds.
Another standout feature of CallHippo is the integrated call ratings and feedback. This gives managers more information about how their agents are performing for better training and adjustments.
Vonage is ideal for call centers that want more customization and flexibility. You can start with a base plan and add your desired features from there. Some of the features are 100% free, while others incur a monthly cost.
One of those paid add-ons is call recording. Compared to other providers on the market, Vonage’s call recording gives you much more control. Admins can fully customize the recording rules based on the company or agent’s needs. If you’re using the browser-based plugin, agents can quickly dial any number with just a single click. Your team can say goodbye to manual dialing.
Vonage also maintains a wide range of security standards for PCI-DSS, GDPR, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and more. Vonage even supports strict privacy compliance regulations with messages to inform callers that they’re being recorded. That makes this a top pick for specialized and regulated industries, or call centers that take payments over the phone.
Try Vonage for free with a 14-day trial. You can also read our full Vonage review to learn more.
CloudTalk accommodates both inbound and outbound call centers with features such as power dialing, smart dialing, and automated queue callbacks. These are available on every CloudTalk plan except for the entry-level option.
In terms of inbound call handling, CloudTalk offers IVR, call flow designs, and other sophisticated tools to ensure every call gets routed to the right department or agent. So, when someone calls your business, CloudTalk puts them in touch with an agent immediately without lengthy hold times or transfers.
You’ll also get call recording built-in with unlimited storage. So you can go back and listen to calls no matter how old they are.
Start your free 14-day free trial now and be up and running on CloudTalk in under five minutes.
Organizations that prioritize high-tech hardware and accessories should consider Webex by Cisco as a contact center solution. It’s perfect for agents that use headsets, cameras, and other high-end products to facilitate communication with clients, customers, prospects, and others.
All of the Webex hardware is plug-and-play, pre-configured and ready to work out of the box. You won’t need any specialized training or IT assistance to set up your hardware on this platform, provided you get it all from Cisco.
Managers love Webex’s call monitoring features. You can quickly set up call barging from your control hub to join calls or takeover, if necessary. Webex also prioritizes security and compliance with end-to-end encryption and secure cloud recordings. In addition to being HIPAA/BAA compliant, Webex Enterprise is FedRAMP authorized—perfect for government agencies and contractors.
Avaya is an ideal call center solution for healthcare organizations. As expected for any solution in this industry, the private cloud deployment of Avaya is HIPAA compliant. But beyond that, it’s also PCI compliant—meaning you can take and store credit card information over the phone.
With that said, make sure you explicitly request your compliance needs when you’re signing up for an Avaya plan to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need.
Inbound call centers benefit from Avaya’s answering rules, call transfers, call screening, forwarding, and more. All of these features make it easy to route callers to the right department.
The outbound call center features do leave a bit more to the imagination. For example, you need to have a custom call center plan to get progressive dialing and predictive dialing features. But most healthcare organizations don’t need either of these, so it’s not a deal breaker.
The Best Cloud-Based Phone Systems for International Calling
To help you sell to and support customers and clients located around the world, cloud phone systems should make it easy (and not prohibitively expensive) to connect calls from one country to another, whether you’re connecting with customers, vendors, suppliers, or even internal offices located in different regions.
RingCentral is the best international calling system for businesses seeking an all-in-one solution for collaboration and communication.
Rates vary by country and are charged on a pay-as-you-go credit system, so you’re only being billed for what you use. Or, you can easily get set up on one of RingCentral’s international plans to reduce your costs associated with regular calling to or from all over the globe.
RingCentral shines above the crowd with its exceptional call quality. Communicate with clients and vendors from different corners of the world and it will still sound like you’re calling someone in the next room. This high quality refers to video calling as well—perfect for internal collaboration with offices overseas.
You can get started today with a 14-day free trial. For more information, review our full breakdown of RingCentral here.
Zoom offers businesses a couple of different options to get international calling at an affordable price. All of these options are great for call quality and reliability.
The Pro Global Select package gives you access to unlimited domestic calling in one of over 40 countries, including a local number in that country. This is the best way to establish your business with a local presence in a new country where you’re either expanding your footprint or have tons of local customers.
Alternatively, you can add on an unlimited international calling package to 18 countries. So if the majority of international calls you make go to countries on this list, Zoom will be the best option for your needs. All other international calls are billed per minute based on the country rate you’re dialing.
Read our complete Zoom review for more.
Net2Phone is a strong option for organizations with a global presence. The cloud phone system supports unlimited calling to 40 different countries. You can also use Net2Phone to get a virtual phone number in more than 50 countries.
When you compare this to packages from other reputable providers, it’s clear that Net2Phone simplifies international calling. They even have a dedicated receptionist console that’s perfect for organizations with an in-house answering agent. The console makes it easy to get calls to the right person with a single click.
This is perfect for organizations with an international presence, as a single receptionist can manage all inbound calls from a single location, then transfer them accordingly.
The great part about 8×8 for businesses with international calling needs is that the platform can grow with your business. If you don’t need every international calling feature today, you can still use 8×8 as an affordable option and just upgrade as needed.
For example, the 8×8 Express package comes with unlimited calling to the United States and Canada. But if you start to expand, you can upgrade to the X2 tier, which gives you unlimited calling to 14 different countries. From there, every other 8×8 tier offers unlimited calling to 48 countries.
You’ll also benefit from exceptional call quality, regardless of your location. 8×8 offers a 99.999% uptime and quality SLA, and it’s highly secure as well. As a complete softphone service, it’s easy to scale 8×8 to agents in different locations without having to ship them expensive hardware.
Try it free for one month to get started. Our full 8×8 review has more information to help aid your buying decision.
GoTo Connect has multiple plans that support unlimited calling to 52 countries. Compared to other top players in this category, this is the highest number of countries included in an unlimited package.
The cool part about GoTo Connect is that it also offers a wide range of collaboration and communication features at each tier—giving you more value for your cloud phone system that goes beyond international calling capabilities.
International calling is available with GoTo Connect’s standard packages. You’re not forced to purchase a separate international add-on. For smaller teams that have a lower volume, this route can be more cost-effective than other solutions.
Try GoTo Connect free for 14 days. You can also dive deeper into the pros, cons, plans, and pricing with our in-depth GoTo Connect review.
If none of the above cloud phone systems offer what you need, Aircall is a viable alternative.
That’s because Aircall gives you the ability to create a completely custom plan. These plans offer unlimited international minutes at the top tier, which is perfect for high-volume outbound sales teams.
You’ll need to work with an Aircall representative to go over your custom options and craft a plan that’s right for you. The pricing is custom based on your needs as well.
For non-profits with global donors, Aircall also provides discounts up to 50% for eligible organizations, which is a boon if you fall into this category.
The Best Cloud-Based Phone Systems for Small Businesses and Solopreneurs
Smaller business owners, solopreneurs, and anyone with a side hustle can benefit from cloud phone systems. These tools give small business owners mobility without being tied to landline or office space. For solopreneurs that want to separate personal calls from business calls without sacrificing privacy, a cloud-based phone system is the answer.
Nextiva’s Essential plan is an excellent starting point for a small business that’s moving to a cloud phone system.
While other options on the market force you to upgrade as your team grows, Nextiva lets you stay on the entry-level plan forever—no matter how big your team gets. So you get a reliable phone system without any of the extra bells and whistles that you’ll never use—all at an affordable price.
Getting started and customizing your phone system is a breeze. Everything can be handled through the admin portal, where you’ll find plenty of guided assistance. Small business owners love this feature because they can manage everything on their own without IT help.
If you do need some extra assistance, you can rest easy knowing that Nextiva’s customer support team is available 24/7 via phone, ticket, and live chat.
You can start by reaching out to Nextiva for a demo or read our complete Nextiva review to learn more.
For small businesses that prefer desktop phones over softphones, Ooma is the clear choice. The DIY setup ensures you’re up and running in under 20 minutes.
All of Ooma’s hardware is extremely easy to install, and things are ready to go out of the box. So when headsets, phones, and other hardware arrives at your office, you simply plug them in, and you’re ready to start calling.
Plans start at just $19.95 per month with no long-term contacts. You’ll also benefit from unlimited calling and texts in the US, Canada, and Mexico. This is an excellent value for small businesses that don’t want to spend a fortune on a phone system.
Many real user reviews say that switching to Ooma saved them money. One notable customer said that Ooma helped reduce their costs by $500 per month.
eVoice is perfect for both small businesses that want a receptionist without having to hire one in-house. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to add some professionalism to your company and take work off your plate without breaking the bank.
The cool part about eVoice is that their receptionists do more than just answer the phone—they even help with administrative tasks. You can find a specialized receptionist trained for industries like healthcare, legal services, and real estate.
In terms of value, eVoice starts at just $14 per month, which is one of the lowest prices you’ll find in a cloud phone solution. But extra features and services, like the receptionist, can be added on for additional monthly fees.
Starting at just $10 per line per month, OpenPhone is one of the cheapest options on the market. But don’t let the price fool you. OpenPhone is still a high-quality cloud phone system.
It’s perfect for solopreneurs and comes with unlimited calling to the US and Canada. Additional lines can be purchased for just $5 per month, so the system can grow with your business if you decide to expand your team down the road.
The platform still comes with plenty of great call management tools, inbound call handling features, and more. These really come in handy if you’re a single user managing all calls on your own. OpenPhone can simplify things for you.
Start your 7-day free trial today to give it a whirl and see if OpenPhone is right for you. To save even more money, they offer 20% off annual subscriptions.
If you’re running a side hustle or starting a new business from scratch, Talkroute offers cloud-based phone systems without locking you into a contract. So you can go month-to-month without burning through your cash.
This is also a perfect option for businesses with multiple users sharing a single number. Talkroute charges just $5 per additional user if that person doesn’t need a dedicated line. You won’t find this type of offer from most cloud phone systems on the market.
As a virtual phone system, Talkroute is extremely easy to set up. There are no technical skills or complex maintenance requirements. You can figure everything out in minutes.
For solopreneurs that want to add toll-free, vanity, and 800 numbers to their business, Talkroute makes it possible. So you can give your customers the impression of a larger operation, even if it’s just you.
What Matters When Reviewing Cloud-Based Phone Systems
Our research team identified all of the relevant considerations for cloud phone systems. But not every consideration is important for each unique case. Below you’ll find more information on the evaluation criteria, the top use cases for each one, and why they’re so important to consider.
Inbound Call Handling
From single users taking infrequent calls to full-scale contact centers managing a high volume of support inquiries, inbound call management is crucial. This helps ensure callers are routed to the right person or department without going through complex holds and transfers.
When it Matters Most:
- External communication – Tools like auto-attendants, call routing, and IVR get customers, vendors, and suppliers on the line with the appropriate agent so you can handle a higher volume of incoming calls.
- Call centers – Call centers primarily solve problems for customers, so getting that caller helped quickly is crucial at scale.
- Internal communication – Extension dialing, call parking, forwarding, and overhead paging can all be helpful for internal comms, as someone working the register could quickly page a warehouse manager or communicate with the back office.
- Small businesses and solopreneurs – A small business owner or solopreneur receiving calls on their own device wants to easily distinguish between business and personal calls.
Call Center Features
Call centers handle a larger than average volume of calls. Some centers specialize in outbound sales, some specialize in inbound support, and others are a mix of the two. Businesses in this category need to look for features to improve efficiency, train agents, and meet compliance regulations.
When it Matters Most:
- Call center – Look for tools like call recording, data storage, sentiment analysis, and integrations with CRMs and helpdesk software to streamline support.
Getting started shouldn’t be intimidating for businesses that don’t have an in-house IT team. You’ll want to get up and running as quickly as possible without having to worry about extra hardware, extensive training, or support. The phone system should also be easy to maintain down the road.
When it Matters Most:
- Remote work – Your staff should be able to set up the system on their own from anywhere without any IT support.
- Virtual phone numbers – This lets you turn any device into a business phone line with just a few clicks.
- Internal communication – Employees should have the ability to quickly start a video conference, ping teammates, share files, and send a fax on their own from a simple interface.
- Small businesses and solopreneurs – Small business owners should be able to manage all admin responsibilities from an intuitive dashboard, and solopreneurs usually want to turn their existing devices into business phone systems.
Mobility gives you and your team the option to make and receive calls from anywhere—without being tied to a physical desk, office, or device. Web and mobile apps are great for hybrid and remote work environments, as you’ll have the full capabilities of the tool from any smartphone, tablet, or computer.
When it Matters Most:
- Remote work – This gives your staff the ability to work from home, on the road, in coffee shops, in shared working spaces, or anywhere.
- Virtual phone numbers – Give yourself a local presence by adding a phone number to your existing devices.
- Small businesses and solopreneurs – Modern business owners and solopreneurs are agile and can’t rely on a single desktop phone to run their companies.
Bundling your cloud phone system with an all-in-one communication solution can help you save money and simplify your tech stack. Your staff can communicate with clients, vendors, and in-house team members all from a single system. Collaboration tools typically come with features for team chat, video conferencing, file sharing, and faxing, in addition to basic cloud phone capabilities.
When it Matters Most:
- Remote work – Allow your team to communicate and collaborate from anywhere, in both hybrid and fully remote environments.
- Internal communication – Employees can quickly ping each other, schedule audio or video calls, share screens, and share files to improve the way they work together.
- External communication – You can use videoconferencing or screen sharing to provide demos to prospects or enhanced support to clients.
- Call center – Agents can communicate with their team and managers in real-time via chat as they’re providing support to callers.
If your business regularly makes outbound calls to other countries, you need an affordable international calling solution. Typically, international calls are billed per minute based on the country. But some international plans give you unlimited minutes to a specified number of locations.
When it Matters Most:
- International calling – To expand your reach and communicate with customers, suppliers, and internal offices overseas.
- Virtual phone numbers – This can provide businesses with a local presence in other countries, even if that organization doesn’t have a physical office in that location.
- Call center – Businesses can set up a call center in another country as a way to reduce costs associated with international calling.
Regardless of your use case, you want to make sure that you’re using a reliable phone system. Poor call quality can often be an indicator of untrustworthiness, which isn’t something you want associated with your brand.
When it Matters Most:
- Virtual phone numbers – Some virtual phone numbers are free or inexpensive, but that shouldn’t be a compromise for quality.
- External communication – Dropped calls or echoing can make it difficult to chat with customers, suppliers, or partners.
- Call center – You don’t want any hiccups in your call center, as many customers are already frustrated when they have to call a business for support.
- International calling – Just because you’re communicating with someone in another corner of the world doesn’t mean you should have to compromise reliability.
Many smaller businesses don’t have a dedicated IT staff to support the phone system. So you should be looking at providers that offer assistance to your team 24/7. Support via phone and live chat is often better than ticket support or DIY guides.
When it Matters Most:
- Remote work – Your staff should be able to call a support number for help, regardless of the time or their location.
- Small businesses and solopreneurs – If there’s an issue with your system settings, admin controls, or setup, you’ll want answers and resolutions ASAP.
The cost of cloud-based business phone systems varies greatly depending on the provider and service you’re considering. For example, an international calling solution to 50+ countries with a live receptionist service will cost significantly more than a bare-bones virtual phone number. But beyond the obvious cost differences, you should look closely at any usage charges and features that may cost you extra down the road.
When it Matters Most:
- Small businesses and solopreneurs – Businesses on tighter budgets that want to keep costs as low as possible may not need additional features beyond basic calling needs.
Here at Crazy Egg, we have dozens of other resources that extensively cover topics related to cloud-based phone systems. Check out these guides, reviews, and other blogs below to dive deeper and see what else you can do with cloud-based phone systems.