The Top 7 Small Business Phone Systems in Canada

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With more than a third of Canadians opting to work remote jobs as of 2024,  it’s important to ensure your VoIP phone system offers flexibility. After all, a reliable system for communication is key to a successful small business.

We conducted extensive research into the phone systems available on the Canadian market and have outlined the top seven systems that scored highly for pricing, reliability and scalability. Our favourite phone system for small businesses is RingCentral’s Advanced plan. It offers one of the cheapest plans ($35 per month) that gives users access to numerous external connections while being a scalable VoIP system that can grow alongside your business.

If you're short on time, use our free quote comparison tool. Simply tell us the needs of your business and we'll link you to the relevant providers who will be in touch with obligation-free quotes.

Top 7 Small Business Phone Systems

These are the providers we recommend based on our research. Use our comparison tool to find the best service for your business.

  1. RingCentral Advanced  Best for external connections
  2. 8×8 X2  Best for scalability
  3. Dialpad Pro  Best for conversational AI
  4. Ooma Office Pro Best for affordability
  5. Google Voice Standard  Best for Google users
  6. Net2Phone Business Lite  Best for international calling
  7. GoToConnect Standard  Best for value for money

What Is a Small Business Phone System?

Phone systems for small businesses are telecommunications solutions that enable you to make and receive business calls. However, with the rise of remote working, you'll likely need to transfer and forward calls to your employees' cell phones. That's where VoIP systems can help.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems conduct calls using the Internet, while PBX systems (private branch exchange) rely on traditional telephone lines.

This page will focus on VoIP systems, which are more advanced and hands-off than PBX systems. It leverages your internet connection for making calls, allowing flexible pay-as-you-go options with minimal upfront investment and easy setup. These systems often come equipped with ‘softphone’ apps suitable for Android or iOS mobile phones, as well as other devices like iPads.

The Top 7 Small Business Phone Systems

We researched and tested numerous business phone systems, critically evaluating each one to find out whether it was suitable for a small business. This allowed us to handpick seven of the best phone systems for small businesses in Canada:

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Expert Rating
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$35 per user, per month


$30 per user, per month


$20 per user, per month


$29.95 per user, per month


$10 per user, per month


$29.99 per user, per month


$42 per user, per month

Domestic Calls

1000 inclusive inbound minutes 2000 outbound minutes per user

Domestic Calls


Domestic Calls


Domestic Calls


Domestic Calls


Domestic Calls


Domestic Calls


International Calls


International Calls

Unlimited to 14 countries

International Calls


International Calls


International Calls

Free calls to the US from any country

International Calls

Unlimited to 40 countries

International Calls

Free international calling to 50+ countries

Key Features
  • Onboarding support
  • 90+ platforms to integrate with
  • Call queue
  • Ring groups
  • Web conferencing
  • Internal live chat
Key Features
  • Onboarding support
  • Call queue
  • Ring groups
  • Analytics
  • Customizable call routing
  • Call recording
Key Features
  • Onboarding support
  • Call queue
  • Ring groups
  • Call recording
  • Analytics
  • Call transcripts
Key Features
  • Email and Workspace integrations
  • Call recording
  • Customizable call routing
  • Analytics


Key Features
  • Analytics
  • Customisable call routing
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • User permissions
  • Password rules
Key Features
  • Unlimited Calling to Canada, the US, and 40+ other countries
  • Web Phone and Mobile app
  • Complimentary phone rental (On 3 and 5 year contracts)
Key Features
  • Auto Attendant Recorded Greetings
  • Customizable Dial Plans
  • Ring Groups
  • Call Queues
  • Multi-Site Compatible
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Want to find out what makes them so great? Read on for our reviews of each of these small business office phone systems, including prices, features, and more.

Why Can You Trust Expert Market for Phone System Recommendations?

At Expert Market, we are dedicated to helping our readers make informed purchases to make their businesses thrive. Our publishing team is completely separate from our sales team, so our research-backed opinions are independent of financial persuasion.

We conduct an unbiased, user-led testing process to evaluate the best phone systems on the market. Refer to our methodology section for a more detailed breakdown of how we arrived at our top five.

1. RingCentral Advanced – Best for External Connections

RingCentral logo
Pricing C$30 - C$45
Quick overview

With a Premium or Ultimate subscription, you can integrate RingCentral with 96+ CRM integrations and use all the management and inbound communication features you might possibly need, which is why it's the best phone system for small businesses looking for external connections.


Free 15-day trial available

Businesses with more than 100 users on the system will be offered discounted prices

Integrates with a range of CRM and productivity software


The cheapest plan (‘Essentials’) only includes 100 toll-free minutes - fewer than competitors

The Essentials plan is only available to businesses with fewer than 21 system users

PlanPrice (per user, per month)
Core C$30
Advanced C$35
Ultra C$45

What kind of small business features does RingCentral Advanced offer?

  • Software integrations: The Advanced and Ultra plans allow you to sync your phone system with over 90 CRM platforms, including key helpdesk integrations like Salesforce and Zendesk, analytics, and other platforms like Slack, WhatsApp, and Facebook. This will empower your customer service team by letting them draw on customer-specific data to provide more personalized service and save time when dealing with customer queries.
  • Customer support: RingCentral provides multiple customer support channels, including live chat, a phone line, and email support. It also includes onboarding support to help you set up your system. Plus, it has a 99.9% uptime guarantee to ensure your system won’t experience downtime frequently.
  • Features: RingCentral's ring groups, voice-to-text, and spam prevention features will help your team manage growing call volumes. You’ll also be equipped with advanced tools like call barge, call whisper, and call monitoring to help you supervise calls and train your team. RingCentral also offers outstanding add-ons, such as RingCentral Webinar, RingCentral Contact Center, and RingCentral Engage Digital to boost your team’s capabilities.
  • Scalability: RingCentral has an impressive offer for scalability, equipping you with all the right tools – call queue, ring groups, web conferencing tools, internal live chat, and pretty much all the management features you could ever need as a small business! It also includes multi-factor authentication, password rules, compliance certifications, and encryption, helping protect your operation and data.

How does RingCentral Advanced compare with other VoIP providers for small businesses?

In our research, we gave RingCentral a remarkable score of 4.3/5 for External Connections, the highest in this category among all providers. We also gave it an impressive rating of 4.9/5 for scalability, standing shoulder to shoulder with 8×8 (4.9/5) as the top VoIP system for growing your business.

However, we gave RingCentral a lower Pricing score (3.5/5) than Dialpad, Google Voice, GoTo, and Net2Phone.

What do users think of RingCentral?

We know how important users’ experiences and insights are when choosing your VoIP provider. We scoured the most trusted review sites, including G2, Capterra, TrustRadius, and Trustpilot to learn what customers said about RingCentral. Tallying user ratings, RingCentral receives an average customer score of 3.5/5. Here’s a helpful user review:

Customer review

“I like RingCentral's usage the most. You can literally almost do anything. Their staff is super helpful, too. They can make anything you need to happen, happen. No problem! You do get what you pay for! Ring Central MVP has set up so many phones in my office, I can't even count them all. They set up groups so that I can have one log in with multiple offices. I honestly don't know how I made it is far as I did using VOIP phones and didn't even know what RingCentral was.”

Matthew Tyler,
- June 24, 2023
What's new for RingCentral? January 2024

  • RingCentral for Microsoft Teams: You can now benefit from an advanced integration of RingCentral and Microsoft Teams without the need for a Microsoft Phone license, meaning you can make and receive calls within the Teams app.

2. 8×8 X2 – Best for Scalability

8x8 logo
8x8 X2
Pricing $30- 195 per user, per month
Quick overview

8x8 offers a wide menu of subscription options that'll allow you to gradually – or rapidly – scale up your small business.

With features like ring groups and call queue offered at its X2 subscription plan, your small business will easily be able to deal with large volumes of callers. What’s more, with web conferencing and internal live chat integrations with a wide range of platforms including Telegram and Slack, your team will be able to work remotely, giving you more flexibility and reduced costs.


Boasts some of the most generous customer support in the VoIP-verse

Unlimited inbound and outbound minutes to 48 countries

Offers real-time dashboards and wide range of seamless integrations


Niftiest features not available for X2 subscribers

Free trial only gives you insight into the Express subscription

Unclear if Customer Success Managers (onboarding support) come at an extra cost

PlanPrice (per user, per month billed annually)
X2 C$30
X4 C$55
X6 C$125
X7 C$150
X8 C$195

Since July 2023, 8×8's pricing is no longer transparent, so you'll need to contact the provider directly for a quote. 

What kind of small business features does 8×8 X2 offer?

  • Features: 8×8 X2 is packed with features, including call queue, voicemail-to-text, call forwarding and flip, team messaging, and document sharing. It also includes an AI-powered virtual assistant that automates call traffic routing. Most impressively, its call and video conferences can host up to 500 participants per meeting.
  • Software integrations: The X2 subscription and above is integrable with CRM, Helpdesk, web conferencing, external and internal live chats, email, and more. This means 8×8 can help personalise your customer experience by avoiding the need to hop between different communication channels. It also saves your agents time as they can quickly pull up individual customer files when dealing with cases.
  • Customer support: 8×8 provides 24/7 live chat and phone line support, so you can reach its team any time you experience a problem. It also issues a 99.9% uptime service-level agreement to guarantee minimal downtime for your system. Plus, you can request onboarding support via 8×8’s Customer Success Managers – but it’s unclear whether this comes at an additional cost.
  • Scalability: 8×8 X2 allows you to sync your internal communications via Slack, Telegram, and Teams, so you and your team can work remotely. It’s also equipped with call queue, ring groups, analytics, customisable call routing, and call recording, allowing your small business to handle a large call volume while gathering data to optimise your company.

How does 8×8 X2 compare with other VoIP providers for small businesses?

We scored 8×8 X2 a high overall rating of 4.7/5 in our research, slightly ahead of RingCentral.

While 8×8 only scores 2.5/5 for its pricing in our research, placing it far behind the perfect 5/5 scores of Google Voice and GoTo, it does offer users a broader range of features. Nevertheless, 8×8 redeems itself with a stellar 5/5 rating for its generous customer support and security, which is unrivalled by all of the other providers featured on this list.

What do users think of 8×8?

Rounding up user reviews, 8×8 received an aggregated customer score of 3.5/5 across G2, Capterra, TrustRadius, and Trustpilot. Here’s what a Canadian user had to say:

Customer review

“8×8 Contact Center gave us access to more robust reporting and better control of our support data and we gain insights into how customers feel about our brand. The insights from all the customer interactions are available for all our agents and 8×8 Contact Center helps us provide the right answers.”

8x8 customer via,
- April 24, 2023
What's new for 8x8? January 2024

  • 8×8 for Microsoft Teams: Like RingCentral, 8×8 has recently launched its Microsoft Teams app which allows call agents to comfortably make and receive calls from within the Teams app, with no need for additional software or licenses.
  • 8×8 Video Enhancements: 8×8 is running a new beta program designed for hosting large audience events like company-wide addresses. The improved interface and customization options are suitable for supporting up to 10,000 participants. This ties into 8×8's scalability, making it a good option for smaller businesses that have growth in mind.

3. Dialpad – Best Conversational AI

Dialpad Pro
Pricing $20 - bespoke
Quick overview

Dialpad is known for its innovative use of conversational AI. Known as Dialpad AI, this function accurately transcribes your phone calls in real-time, flags whether or not the conversation features happy or frustrated customers, automates post-call summaries, and enables you to create notes with tips and advice that appear on screen when certain keywords or phrases are spoken on call. You can also choose to turn off this feature for more confidential conversations.


Great customer support, including a user forum, knowledge base, and live chat

Superb customer reputation, with an aggregated review score of 4.4

Offers the best range of features, right after 8x8


Not very easy to scale, scoring 3.3 in our scalability analysis

Doesn’t have an uptime guarantee at the Pro subscription level

PlanPrice (per user, per month)
Standard C$20
Pro C$30
Enterprise Tailored

What kind of small business features does Dialpad Pro offer?

  • Features: Dialpad’s Pro plan comes with an impressive list of inbound communication features, including spam prevention, call queue, and ring groups. Best of all, it has a unique conversational AI that provides your support and sales agents with real-time customized suggestions to improve and speed up customer interaction.
  • Customer support: Dialpad Pro also offers 24/7 live chat and phone lines, which gives you access to its customer support team anytime, any day. You can also request onboarding support to help you set up your system, but this comes at an additional cost.
  • Scalability: With access to call queue, ring groups, call recording, analytics, and call transcripts, Dialpad Pro offers small business a good range of tools to help grow your business. You can also use internal live chat and web conferencing to slash costs, as you can keep your operation remote. However, its security measures do miss out on multi-factor authentication and password rules, making it less secure than other providers like Google Voice and 8×8.

How does Dialpad Pro compare with other VoIP providers for small businesses?

In our product testing, Dialpad achieved an overall rating of 4.6/5.

However, it only supports three CRM integrations compared with RingCentral's 96+. On the flipside, we found it offers strong customer support options, including 24/7 live chat support on its Pro and Enterprise plan. It even achieved a 4/5 rating for customer support, ranking above GoToConnect, Net2Phone, and Google Voice in this category.

What do users think of Dialpad?

Our researchers analyzed Dialpad’s user reviews, and found it achieved an average customer score of 4.4/5 across G2, Capterra, Trustpilot, and TrustRadius. Below is one of the reviews:

Customer review

“We came from an old-fashioned in-house PBX system and considered a number of vendors before trying Dialpad. Support is excellent and very thorough and fast. Documentation is ridiculously extensive, yet well laid out and clear. Call quality is excellent and the built-in auto-attendant, transcription, follow-me, desktop and phone apps are all stable and excellent. No downtime or network problems. The cost per seat is competitive and it works well. We're a small user, but that doesn't seem to make a difference since the customer service is first-rate. And, it just works. What more could you want?”

- July 12, 2023
What's new for Dialpad? January 2024

  • Ai Agent Assist: Dialpad has announced its “next-generation virtual assistant” that helps call agents by offering “on-demand, natural answers” to agent's questions to improve the quality and efficiency of service provided to customers.

4. Ooma Office Pro – Best for Affordability

Ooma logo
Ooma Office Pro
Pricing $24.95 - 34.95 per user, per month
Quick overview

For the affordable price of $29.95 per user, per month, you get access to Ooma's scalable features and generous customer support. This is why we've awarded it a 5/5 for price in our research. Focusing on its customer support, we also like Ooma because you're offered a user forum, a knowledge base, live chat, phoneline, 24/7 live support, and 99.999% uptime guarantee. This gives you peace of mind as a small business owner as outage time will not translate into a massive money loss since Ooma will be there to speedily support you.

Although its price point is very alluring, the downside is that you are compromising on external connections. With Ooma Office Pro, you miss out on CRM, Helpdesk, Web Conferencing, External and Internal live chat, analytics, API, and SSO software integrations. Therefore, if you're looking for a Swiss army knife for external connections, we'd recommend looking at RingCentral instead.


Generous offering of customer support features

Affordable price point


Very limited offering of external connections

Poor security features

PlanPrice (per user, per month)
Essentials C$24.95
Pro C$29.99
Pro Plus C$34.95

What kind of small business features does Ooma Office Pro offer?

  • Customer support: Ooma Office Pro offers 24/7 live chat and a phone line, so help is available whenever you need it. Moreover, it provides a 99.9% uptime guarantee to ensure your system has minimal downtime.
  • Scalability: Ooma Office Pro lets you add an unlimited number of users to the system. It also comes with a solid list of inbound communication features, including ring groups, a virtual receptionist, customisable greetings, and hold music. However, it doesn’t come with a call queue feature.
  • Remote-working: Ooma Office Pro allows you to make and receive calls from the comfort of your home office, or anywhere that you can bring your laptop, as you'll be able to use the desktop app. This especially suits remote teams who don't want to purchase extra hardware or desk phones, or who perhaps don't have a physical office.

How does Ooma Office Pro compare to other VoIP providers for small businesses?

In our testing, we gave Ooma an overall score of 4.4/5 and a perfect 5/5 for price.

Although Ooma's price score is impressive, keep in mind this stellar 5/5 score is equalled by Dialpad Pro, Google Voice, and Net2Phone. Scoring a very poor 1/5 for security in our research, Ooma Office Pro doesn't offer multi-factor authentication, password rules, or user permission. If security is your main concern as a small business, we'd recommend looking at Google Voice standard or 8×8 X2.

Get quotes from the best phone systems for your small business

What do users think of Ooma?

Ooma garnered an outstanding 4.4/5 average customer score from G2, Capterra, Trustpilot, and TrustRadius. Below is what one user had to say:

Customer review

“We have used Ooma for our small business for over 15 years. Overview: the service is good for small businesses with limited phone budgets. It is not suited for call center-type businesses where many lines are needed and with “auto-assignment” of inbound calls. Now the details: The reasons we stuck with its service are many: low price, ease of adding extensions, phone functionalities like forwarding, and digital reception, and it is painless to move the lines to new offices.”

Chris Miller,
- February 23, 2023

5. Google Voice Standard – Best for Google Users

Google Voice Standard
Pricing $10 - 30
Quick overview

Google Voice is a top player for clients who are already big fans of Google in their workspace. Using Google AI within multiple aspects of its operation, from blocking spam to transcribing voicemails, Google Voice is known for its robust security features and its seamless integration with all other things Google.

Although we gave Google Voice just 2.8/5 for external connections, and 2.6/5 for features, which does put it far behind other providers like 8x8 and RingCentral, if you’re already happy with all the Google products that businesses use, the setup will be fairly straightforward and painless.


Fantastic for Google users

Top-rated security features


Difficult to integrate with other non-Google systems

Customer support is quite restricted compared to other providers

Limited range of available features

PlanPrice (per user, per month)
Starter C$10
Standard C$20
Premier C$30

What kind of small business features does Google Voice Standard offer?

  • Security: Google Voice has an unmatched security system, offering complete and updated compliance certificates for various information security and data privacy laws. Its system is also reinforced with multi-factor authentication, strict password rules, and user permissions to protect against hacks and phishing.
  • Customer support: Google Voice Standard has 24/7 phone line support, so you can call whenever you encounter a system issue. Plus, it has a 99.9% uptime guarantee, minimising any downtime.
  • Flexibility:Google Voice app offers the functionality to forward calls to any compatible device, be it a smartphone or desktop. It even allows you to control which devices receive which calls. This feature is especially beneficial for solo entrepreneurs who wish to distinguish between work calls and personal calls but prefer using a single device.

How does Google Voice Standard compare to other VoIP providers for small businesses?

We gave Google Voice an overall score of 3.2/4 in our testing, the lowest score of any system we tested.

While it’s a great option for Google users, its limited features sees it score a 2.6/5 rating in this category. In terms of features, it lags far behind others like RingCentral (4.2/5) and 8×8 (4.8/5). However, we found that Google Voice excels in its security offerings, including encryption and multi-factor authentication. Only 8×8 rivals Google Voice when it comes to security features.

What do users think of Google Voice?

Combining user ratings from G2, Capterra, TrustRadius, and Trustpilot, Google Voice received a high overall customer score of 4.4/5.

Customer review

“The most likeable part of Google Voice is the ease of use and a wide variety of area codes and phone number selections. The service is also excellent as it has never disappointed. I do not dislike anything about Google Voice, but to get the best results, we must have a high-speed internet connection, or the voice quality decreases slightly.”

Steve M.,
- June 22, 2023

6. Net2Phone Office – Best for International Calling

Net2Phone Canada
Pricing $29.99 - 49.99
Quick overview

Most systems charge extra fees for international calls, but Net2Phone stands out because it comes with unlimited calling to more than 40 countries. This means speaking to clients and teams across the world is completely free, allowing you to maintain and expand your international reach.

Net2Phone can also give you virtual phone numbers and dial tones in over 50 countries. So, if you’d like to establish a presence in places like Europe or Asia, your contact options are easily taken care of. We’re also quite impressed by Net2Phone’s international presence as its offices and data centres around the globe hosts more than 33 billion international minutes every year – so we’d say it’s a pretty safe bet if you’ve got plans to expand internationally in the coming years!


Net2Phone will supply you with free upgraded desk phones when you switch to the system

The company provides free, 24/7 customer support via phone or email

The system is very user friendly, and includes a simple management console that makes it easy to make changes to your system


Doesn’t come with audio conferencing or team messaging

Very limited software integrations compared to competitors

Doesn’t offer call flip, barge, or whisper and is limited in management features

PlanPrice (per user, per month)
Business Lite $29.99 /user/month
Business Select $39.99 /user/month
Business Premier $49.99 /user/month

What kind of small business features does Net2Phone Office offer?

  • Customer support: On the Office plan, you can reach Net2Phone's customer support via email, live chat, and phone lines (but note that these aren’t open 24/7). It even offers free onboarding support to help you set up your system. Plus, it has an uptime guarantee and Net2Phone can provide reimbursements for service interruptions that last 30 minutes or more.
  • Scalability: Our researchers gave Net2Phone a 4.1/5 for scalability thanks to its customer support (only missing out on 24/7 live support), call queue, ring groups, and a low user limit of six users. Keep in mind it doesn't score higher because it misses out on important management features like call monitoring, call-flow designer, as well as analytics and reporting.
  • Flexibility: One of the benefits of using a VoIP system like Net2Phone is that you can take calls from your smartphone, meaning you can ensure you don't miss customer interactions while on the go or out of hours and you don't have to invest in any extra hardware.

How does Net2Phone compare to other VoIP providers for small businesses?

We scored Net2Phone a stellar 5/5 for price in our research. However, 8×8, Ooma, and Google Voice also have the same score.

On the other hand, we gave Net2Phone a 1.5/5 for external connections because of the limited menu of systems you can sync it with. It also scores a 2.9/5 for features and security, placing it behind others like Dialpad Pro, RingCentral Premium, and 8×8 X2.

What do users think of Net2Phone?

Averaging user reviews from G2, Capterra, Trustpilot, and TrustRadius, Net2Phone received an outstanding overall score of 4.7/5.

Customer review

“Net2Phone is a robust replacement for our old phone system. It is fully customisable. Once, I was about to have a bad experience, filled out a survey, and within minutes had my answer and both an email and another tech called me with the confirmation and clarification. I was more than satisfied, and time and time again the support team has delivered – Excellent customer service!”

Ronald F.,
- July 11, 2023

7. GoToConnect Standard – Best for Value for Money

GoTo logo
GoToConnect Standard
Pricing $42 - $56
Quick overview

GoToConnect is a safe option if you’re looking to get value for your money, promising a seamless onboarding process using which you can get your cloud phone system working within a day.

Featuring a streamlined admin portal, you can easily configure call flows with a drag-and-drop dial plan editor, and comb through call analytics to identify which team or agent needs improvement.

On top of this, for just $35 per user, per month, you’ll be able to wield all the inbound communication features you might need as a small business, including call queue and ring groups – an offer that no other provider offers at a more competitive price point.


Access to all the inbound communication features your small business might need

Free international calling to 50+ countries and unlimited domestic inbound and outbound minutes

Video conferencing and internal live chat included


Analytics and workspace integrations unavailable

Limited number of compatible external platforms compared to other providers

Not the most comprehensive customer support

PlanPrice (per user, per month)
Basic C$42
Standard C$56

What kind of small business features does GoToConnect Standard offer?

  • Scalability: With ring group, call queue, analytics, call recording, customisable call routing, and an unlimited user limit, GoToConnect Standard is great for a small business that is looking to grow.
  • Remote working: GoToConnect also gives you access to internal live chat and web conferencing, which can sustain a remote working model. This is excellent for geographically scattered teams who want to stay connected while reducing overheads by not renting a physical office.
  • Security: GoToConnect also provides robust security features, including TLS/SRTP encryption and user permissions, so you can protect sensitive information. Moreover, it has compliance certificates for various information security and data privacy laws.

How does GoToConnect Standard compare to other VoIP providers for small businesses?

After testing different VoIP systems, we gave GoToConnect a 4.2/5 overall rating.

Although its customer support score of 3.4/5 lags a bit behind that of RingCentral, the features you can access for what you pay for your Standard subscription give you greater value for your money than those systems would. For example, GoToConnect also gives you free international calling to 50+ countries, making it a great softphone option for businesses who need this sort of offering.

What do users think of GoTo Connect?

GoToConnect receives a high average customer score of 4.4/5 across G2, Capterra, Trustpilot, and TrustRadius.

Customer review

“GoToConnect is a robust, consolidated solution for voice, video and chat. The cost of Voice and Collaboration tools was getting out of control. We wanted a singular phone, virtual meeting, and chat provider which would be highly robust and cost-effective. GoToConnect met our needs at a very advantageous price point versus our other providers. Management is straightforward and the products perform very well.”

Matt Speare,
- September 13, 2023
Did You Know?

Customers want a connected experience. 72% of customers expect all agents to have the same information about them. This is why having a unified communications system that allows you to quickly retrieve client information is crucial!

Can a Cell Phone Be Used as a Business Phone?

With a VoIP software app installed, your cell phone can act like a desk phone. It will allow for inbound and outbound communication, including features like call queues, ring groups, a set caller ID, and an autodialer.

Moreover, VoIP apps boast management and conversation features, as well as various integrations with other apps handy for remote teams or entrepreneurs who need to stay connected on the go.

How Much Does a Small Business Phone System Cost?

A small business VoIP phone system can cost between $10 per user, per month up to $39.95 per user, per month.

There are a few extra points you should keep in mind when it comes to cost:

  1. Monthly vs. Annual contract: Often, signing up for a longer contract will lower the monthly price of your telephone system. If you're after a flexible arrangement, you may find that a monthly rate will cost you a few dollars more per user, per month.
  2. Number of lines and users: Another consideration is the size of your business. Some providers will base your fees on the number of lines or users you require.
  3. Scalability: If you anticipate that your business will expand or reduce in size in the next few months or years, you should consider costs beyond just the monthly/annual fees. Ensure that the provider you choose is scalable, ensuring you don't incur fees when you need to switch providers or face indirect costs like downtime and staff training when switching providers.

How To Choose the Right Phone System for Your Small Business

While researching the needs of small businesses, we found that decision makers considered cost, scalability, and compatibility with existing software infrastructure when choosing a business phone system. Below we explore these factors in more detail:

  • Money: As is the case for many small businesses, cost is at the forefront of most decisions. Therefore, it’s important to prioritise options that charge low up-front monthly fees, offer inclusive domestic minutes, provide multiple communication channels (so you don’t have to pay extra to get these from other providers), and provide solid customer support, so you can avoid losing money during a potential phone downtime.
  • Compatibility with your software infrastructure: Whether you're migrating to VoIP or between providers, you'll want a provider that offers numerous integrations, allowing you to continue using the software you already use to run your small business. Ensure the platform you choose offers ready-made integrations with CRM, workspace software, email, web conferencing, internal messaging, and external messaging platforms.
  • Scalability: A small business can be burdened by long-term additional costs, like outgrowing an important software system. You’ll need a VoIP system that can grow alongside your small business can. Key indicators for this will be providers that let you onboard an unlimited number of users, offer call queues, ring groups, a good array of management features, and features that allow you to run your operation remotely. Security is also a key point as it can help shield your business from risks during expansion.

What Are the Features of a Small Business Phone?

Below are the five most important features need to help your small business scale, run smoothly, and allow for easy communication:

1. Effortless call transfer and routing

Running a small business often means juggling multiple tasks. A user-friendly call transfer option is invaluable, enabling you or your office manager to transfer calls with a simple click. Make sure your chosen phone system offers this feature without the need for an IT team's assistance.

2. Cloud-based flexibility and mobile compatibility

Go for a cloud-based phone system for small businesses that is compatible with mobile devices. This will allow your team to make and receive calls from anywhere with mobile and desktop apps. Also, automatic software updates make management a breeze, empowering you to add new users or hires without external help.

3. Seamless mobile call forwarding

For those on the move, a reliable call-forwarding service is essential. Look for VoIP providers that allow easy setup of forwarding to cell phone numbers or colleagues' lines. Missed calls can be automatically directed to other team members or departments, ensuring crucial calls are never missed, even when someone is out of the office.

3. Keep your existing business number

Maintaining continuity is vital for establishing a reputable brand image. Choose a phone system that allows smooth porting of your existing business number, so your customers and suppliers won't need to update their contact lists, saving them time and reducing hassle for your business.

5. Customisable caller ID

With this feature, you can display a preferred caller ID when contacting prospective clients or customers.

The Difference Between VoIP and PBX

A traditional PBX system uses a landline to make and receive calls, while a VoIP system uses the internet.

What are VoIP phone systems?

VoIP phone systems transmit audio over the internet. Most VoIP phone systems come with an app that your team can download onto a device of their choice. This means they can use these devices to make calls and access the system's features, so you won't need to purchase desk phones if you're on a budget. If you do choose to, purchase IP phones as these are VoIP-compatible desk phones.

What are PBX phone systems?

A PBX phone system turns your traditional phone system into a multi-line system, giving you the option to add extensions that lead to each phone. Once a call comes in, the PBX auto attendant directs the caller to the right extension number, freeing up the phone line for another call to come in.
The features of a landline PBX phone system are basic when compared to those available with VoIP – which is one of the reasons why we recommend VoIP instead.

Can I Integrate a Small Business Phone System With My Existing CRM or Help Desk Software?

Yes, most small business phone systems offer seamless integration with existing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms and help desk software.
For example, RingCentral supports 96+ CRM integrations. This integration streamlines the workflow and enables automatic logging of call data, customer information, and support ticket details. By connecting the phone system with your CRM or help desk, you can improve efficiency, provide better customer service, and gain valuable insights into communication patterns.

The best phone systems for small businesses are RingCentral Advanced ($35/user/mo) and 8×8 X2 ($30/user/mo). They both offer lots of internal features and external connects, and make it easy to scale up with your growing business. However, RingCentral is slightly better value overall for money than 8×8, offering more affordable price plans.

If you're cannot pick a provider from the list above, use our free comparison tool. Simply answer a few questions about the needs of your small business and you'll be matched with the correct phone system providers. They’ll be in touch with obligation-free quotes and answers to any questions you may have.

How We Test VoIP Phone Systems and Services for Businesses

We tested 10 market-leading VoIP products and services to evaluate them in terms of functionality, usability, cost, security options, and more so we can make the most useful recommendations to Canadian businesses.

Our rigorous testing process means these products have been scored and rated in seven main categories of investigation and 16 subcategories – in fact, we covered 78 areas of investigation in total. We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting' to ensure the product's final score perfectly reflects the needs and requirements of Expert Market readers – and that's our product testing algorithm in a nutshell!

Our main testing categories for VoIP products and services are:

Customer Score: external customer opinion; the feedback and ratings given by customers who have used a particular VoIP product – the market position and reputation a VoIP software holds.

Cost: the pricing structure associated with the VoIP service, such as monthly subscription fees, call rates, setup fees, hardware costs, and any additional charges for add-on features or services.

Features: the functionalities and capabilities offered by the VoIP service, including basic features such as call forwarding and voicemail, as well as advanced features like auto-attendant and conference calling.

External Connections: the VoIP service's ability to connect and integrate with external systems or devices, such as compatibility with existing phone systems or integration with mobile devices.

Customer Support: the assistance and resources provided by the VoIP service provider to customers, including technical support, online resources, and access to customer support representatives.

Security Options: the measures and features implemented by the VoIP service to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and protection of voice communications and data.

Scalability: the ability of the VoIP service to accommodate the growth and changing needs of an organization, e.g. capacity to handle a growing number of users or support multiple locations.



How do I set up a small business phone system?
There are four steps that you'll need to follow to have a fully operational VoIP phone system:

  1. Choose a provider that works for you and suits the needs of your small business. Activate your account based on the specific instructions you’re given.
  2. Set up IP phones: If you choose to use IP desk phones, you’ll next need to set these up. It’s as easy as attaching your handset to the base of your IP phone using the cord provided. Plug your ethernet cable into your phone’s WAN port, and the other end into your router. Keep in mind that you don’t need a desk phone if you are installing a VoIP system – you can still access the platform via smartphones, tablets, and computers.
  3. Transfer your existing toll-free number: If you have an existing toll-free phone number, you can port this over to your new business phone system.
  4. Customise your phone system: Every business is different, so there will be features that you’ll prioritise above others. As an administrator, you can change and set up business phone system settings and assign users and extensions based on their job description.
How do phone systems specifically designed for small businesses differ from traditional phone systems?
They're designed with scalability in mind, allowing your small business to easily add or remove lines as your needs change. They are usually cost-effective, offering affordable plans that are tailored to the needs of smaller organisations.
How reliable is the call quality with phone systems for small businesses?
Call quality is generally reliable with phone systems designed for small businesses, especially if you're using VoIP. Unlike landlines, the call quality largely depends on the stability of your internet connection. However, with a robust and consistent internet connection, your small business phone system should consistently deliver clear and crisp audio, ensuring effective communication with clients, customers, and team members.
Can I set up a remote or virtual office using a small business phone system?
Yes, small business phone systems are suited for remote or virtual offices, which is ideal for hybrid working or employees who work from home. With features like mobile apps and softphones, your employees can make and receive calls from their smartphones, tablets, or laptops, regardless of their physical location.
Why is everyone switching to VoIP?
The main reasons people are switching to a VoIP provider are:

  • Increased scalability: As your business grows, new VoIP ports can be easily bought and installed with zero interruption to your business' operations
  • Cost savings: VoIP can save your business a lot of money on phone calls, especially if you make them frequently, with some even making inter-site communication entirely free
  • Easier long-distance calling: If you run a business with multiple sites or home workers who are frequently on the phone, VoIP will ensure easy communication as long as there is a Wi-Fi connection
Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Expert Market writer, specialising in providing in-depth insights about business software to help businesses of all shapes and sizes thrive. From VoIP systems to project management software, she’s passionate about helping businesses find the tools and methods that will help give them an edge over their competitors. Fernanda has ample journalistic experience, having written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to cryptocurrency.
Reviewed by:
James thinks all businesses can improve if they use the right technology. At Expert Market, he utilises his 4+ years experience as a researcher to offer specialised advice on a wide range of categories from CRM to Fleet Management.