Whether you’re working at a business premises or at home, we review the best office phones for a variety of needs
In 2021, the concept of the office has transformed forever. COVID-19 has pushed teams to work from home, rather than on official business premises – and for some companies (but certainly not all), it’s a cost-effective change that’s going to stick around, even as Australians continue to be vaccinated.
With this in mind, we know that home office phones are in as high demand as regular office phones. That’s why we’ve decided to review both, bringing you the very best examples of both office phones and home office phones. You’ll find a phone to suit your needs here, no matter where your team is based.
At Expert Market, we’ve been helping businesses to find the right communications solutions for over ten years. So, empowered by this expertise, which office phones do we think are best? Let’s take a look:
|Office phone||Best…||Device type||Price|
|Mitel MiVoice 6940||All-round office phone||IP phone||$420 to $525|
|Yealink WH62||Hands-free office phone||Headset||$200 to $250|
|Poly VVX 250||Small business office phone||IP phone||$195 to $260|
|Panasonic KX-DT680||Office landline phone||Digital phone||Unspecified|
|Home office phone||Best…||Device type||Price|
|Cisco IP Phone 8865||All-round home office phone||IP phone||$400 to $535|
|Snom M15 SC||Wireless home office phone||IP phone||$90 to $100|
|Jabra Evolve 20||Home office phone headset||Headset||$80 to $101.20|
|Konftel Ego||Home office conference phone||IP conference phone||$170 to $270|
The 4 best office phones
As we’ve summarised above, our research found the best office phones to be:
- Mitel MiVoice 6940: Best all-round office phone
- Yealink WH62: Best hands-free office phone
- Poly VVX 250: Best small business office phone
- Panasonic KX-DT680: Best office landline phone
Read on to find out what makes these models for modern offices so great, along with a breakdown of their key pros and cons…
Mitel MiVoice 6940
Best all-round office phone
Mitel’s MiVoice 6940 is our favourite phone for offices because it’s so modern in focus: it’s clearly been designed with an understanding of the flexibility and convenience that office workers love in mind. Firstly, you can integrate your mobile phone with the device, meaning you can use the 6940 to answer calls to your mobile, and browse and ring your mobile contacts. You’ve also got an impressive 96 programmable keys, so you can customise the device’s functionality to match your working priorities. What’s more, embedded bluetooth means you can connect cordless headsets for fantastic mobility (in other words, you can roam around the office while maintaining a private conversation). And this is a phone that doesn’t just feel modern, it looks modern too – the MiVoice 6940 boasts a sleek seven-inch colour touchscreen, and a cordless handset to boot.
Price: $420 to $525
- Designed to be completely wireless
- Powered by Mitel Hi-Q Audio Technology, and has a full duplex speakerphone
- Has a USB port that you can use to charge your mobile phone
- The prices we’ve seen from resellers have varied quite widely, from $420 at the cheapest to $525
Best hands-free office phone
Let’s start by saying that hands-free office phones aren’t actually a real thing. What you’re really looking for is an office phone with a headset, and you’re not likely to find these two components combined into one device. With this in mind, the best approach is to find an excellent headset that can integrate with quality desk phones, or the VoIP software you use to take calls via your mobile phone or desktop. A prime example? The Yealink WH62 headset. It boasts the noise cancelling technology needed to keep conversations clear in office environments, and can come with an integrated busy light (available at an extra cost), which you can position at the top of your computer or workstation. The light automatically turns red when you’re on a call, so your coworkers will know not to disturb you. We also love the intelligent muting function: just push the mic up and away from your mouth to have a quick private conversation.
Price: $200 to $250
- Part of Yealink’s new UC Workstation suite of sleek wireless devices
- Compatible with a variety of VoIP systems and UC (unified communications) platforms, including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Vonage
- Completely cordless, so you can move around while speaking
- Expensive for a headset (but it is sophisticated)
- Only works in conjunction with IP phones from Yealink
Poly VVX 250
Best small business office phone
Poly’s (formerly Polycom) VVX 250 model is a four-line IP phone. We recommend it to small offices because it provides all the functionality you’ll need for a team that makes frequent VoIP calls, but for an affordable price. It’s an entry-level phone that’s really easy to set up (just plug it in to get started), making it ideal for businesses that don’t have a dedicated IT department for technical help. The VVX 250 also boasts some nifty features that are quite rare for its price point, including a 2.8-inch colour display screen and the ability to connect the phone to your wifi (using an optional wifi dongle). This phone also offers three-way audio conferencing for important client conversations or collaboration sessions.
Price: $195 to $260
- Excellent sound quality with Poly HD Voice and Acoustic Fence technology (which blocks background noise)
- Has a full duplex speakerphone
- You can deploy and manage your VVX 250 phones remotely using an online platform
- Only has one USB port, so you can’t connect it to your wifi and a USB headset at the same time (but it does have other kinds of headset ports)
▶ Read more: The best small business phone systems in Australia
Best office landline phone
With the advent of the NBN (National Broadband Network), VoIP is definitely here to stay. But if you’re not ready to transition to a VoIP system and IP phones just yet, you can still use landline phones – also known as analogue phones – which connect to your traditional phone network instead of the internet. And when it comes to office landline phones, you won’t get better than Panasonic’s KX-DT680. This device is a digital phone, which means it connects to your landline, but boasts a better sound quality than a standard analogue model. It also has an impressive 4.3-inch colour LCD display screen, and full duplex audio quality via the handset, a speakerphone, and a headset jack.
- Comes with 48 programmable keys for great customisability
- You can upload an image of your choice, such as your business’s logo, to display on the screen
- You can choose between 30 different ringtones
- Well, it’s a landline phone, so it will become obsolete in the future
- Finding current pricing information has been tough, so we can’t advise on how affordable it is
The 4 best home office phone systems
According to our research, the best phones for home offices are:
- Cisco IP Phone 8865: Best all-round home office phone
- Snom M15 SC: Best wireless home office phone
- Jabra Evolve 20: Best home office phone headset
- Konftel Ego: Best home office conference phone
Read on to read our reviews of these excellent home office products, as well as a breakdown of their key pros and cons…
Cisco IP Phone 8865
Best all-round home office phone
Similarly to Mitel’s MiVoice 6940, Cisco’s 8865 model can integrate with your mobile phone for excellent flexibility and control over calls and contacts. But what gives this model an edge as a home office phone is its in-built video camera and screen, which enable you to have 720p HD video chats with remote colleagues in just one tap, and using only the phone. The 8865 also boasts bluetooth connectivity, so you can connect a cordless headset and go for a walk around the room – or grab a snack from the fridge – while talking. And perhaps best of all for home office workers, using Cisco Expressway with your phone system can give you single-sign-on, highly secure access to calls and your team’s collaboration tools from your position outside the company firewall.
Price: $400 to $535
- You can add expansion modules for extra keys if you need them
- Has a USB port you can use to charge your mobile phone
- The prices we’ve seen from resellers have varied quite widely, from $400 at the cheapest to $535
Snom M15 SC
Best wireless home office phone
The world of DECT (digital enhanced cordless telecommunications) phones doesn’t seem to have embraced home working as much as other phone systems have, with most cordless phones still designed for on-site teams. Snom’s M15 SC, however, has been designed with home offices in mind. This no-frills phone can take care of all your everyday calling needs, and comes with everything you need for portability: this includes a 50-metre roaming range from the base, a belt clip so you can carry it with you hands-free, and a headset jack, so you can talk without having to hold the phone to your ear. Lasting for seven hours of talk time and up to seven days in standby mode, it doesn’t boast the most impressive battery life we’ve seen, but it should provide enough juice to keep you talking through the day.
Price: $90 to $100
- Boasts high quality voice transmission and speakerphone
- With an illuminated keypad and backlit LCD screen, it’s incredibly easy to use
- Has an LED that notifies you of voicemails
- Very affordable
- We've seen cordless phones with better battery life
- Quite basic in terms of appearance – it has a graphic screen, rather than a colour display
Jabra Evolve 20
Best home office phone headset
While not a phone in itself, the Jabra Evolve 20 headset can connect to over 10,000 phone models, as well as a variety of UC (unified communications) platforms – including special features for Microsoft Teams compatibility – so it’s likely to be compatible with whatever phone or system you use at home. This headset is particularly well-suited to noisier homes thanks to its advanced noise-cancelling technology, which not only blocks background noise through your ear cushions, but also through the microphone. This means your caller won’t hear your dog barking, your kids playing, or your roommate chatting, either – just your lovely, crystal clear voice. Plus, with a separate control unit for volume, mute, start call, and end call buttons, calls are incredibly easy to control.
Price: $80 (stereo), $101.20 (mono)
- Probably the most sophisticated headset you’ll get for around $100
- Installation is easy: just plug in and go
- Available in both stereo and mono models
- You can choose between foam or leatherette ear cushions
- It’s corded, so you won’t be able to roam from your desk while on a call
- Definitely Jabra’s most basic headset – its other models can do more (but will cost much more)
Best home office conference phone
The Konftel Ego is one of the best conference phones on the Australian market. We recommend it for home offices because it’s designed to be portable – weighing in at just 230g and boasting a 15-hour battery life, you can use it pretty much anywhere. It’s only ideal for small groups of up to six people to sit around, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you’re working away from your team. Plus, if you like face-to-face meetings, you can integrate the Ego with Konftel’s 4K Cam20 device, or regular old Skype for Business. And if you like listening to music or industry podcasts while you work, the Ego doubles as a multimedia speaker for when you’re not busy conferencing.
Price: $170 to $270
- One of the cheapest conference phones available
- Offers HD audio quality, as well as automatic echo cancellation and background noise suppression
- Compatible with a few key VoIP and UC systems...
- ...but not as many as some other Australian conference phones
- Konftel doesn’t specify this device’s exact mic pickup range
If there’s one thing you learn pretty quickly when you decide to buy a new office phone, it’s that no two models are the same. There are lots of different considerations to make, from features and sound quality to that ever-important factor: price.
Of course, an office phone is nothing without a phone system to act as the brains behind the brawn: enabling you to make calls, set up virtual receptionists that direct callers to the right person at your business, and more. In fact, many phone system suppliers will be happy to recommend – and even supply you with – compatible office phones. And if you’d like some help in deciding the right phone system for you, we can help.
Simply answer a few questions about your business’s communication needs, and we’ll match you up with the very best system suppliers for your operation. They’ll then be in touch with tailored, no-obligation quotes just for you, along with answers to your questions. It’s free, it’s fast, and it’s an effortless way to compare the right options.
How much does office phone system installation cost?
That depends on the type of system you’re looking for. A hosted VoIP system (which we’d recommend to remote sole traders, or for teams that are working from home) can cost anywhere between $15 and $60 per user, per month – depending on how sophisticated the system and its features is – plus the upfront cost of your phones.
For an on-premise phone system with SIP trunks (which will more likely suit a larger business that’s based in an office), you’ll be looking at an upfront cost to get all the hardware installed, rather than an ongoing monthly subscription cost. That cost is likely to start at around $5,000. It’ll then be up to you to maintain the system, and pay the call rates for each phone call your team makes.
How much does line rental cost?
Again, that depends on the type of phone system you want! Line rental in its purest sense means paying for your landline to make traditional analogue calls. This tends to cost around $40 per month, but as with any service, that price tag can vary depending on your system supplier.
While not technically correct, many people also use the phrase ‘line rental’ when talking about paying for a VoIP phone system – usually, one with SIP technology. As we’ve covered in the FAQ above, hosted VoIP systems tend to cost between $15 and $60 per user, per month, while on-premise systems can cost $5,000 or more upfront, plus the cost of your calls.
VoIP vs. analogue phones: What’s the difference, and which should I get?
In the simplest of terms, VoIP phones (also known as IP phones) make and take phone calls over the internet. By contrast, analogue phones (also known as landline phones, or digital phones in some cases) make and take phone calls via the traditional landline phone network.
We know that the Australian government plans to replace the country’s old phone line wiring with full fibre by 2023 – which effectively spells the end for landline phones here. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to upgrade to VoIP phones right away. After all, switching from your traditional system to a VoIP solution is an upheaval. But if you’re struggling to decide, know that analogue phones are likely to become obsolete over the coming years, while VoIP is very much the key communications tech of the present and the future.
And there are good reasons for this. VoIP phone systems come with a variety of helpful call features for businesses, as well as the flexibility of being internet-based (in fact, if you opt for a hosted VoIP system, you’ll be able to access it from any location, on any device). There’s also the fact that VoIP calls tend to be cheaper than landline calls.