The Best Business Phone Lines

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If you're wanting to bridge the gap between yourself, your team, business partners, and clients, then choosing the best business phone line is a must. Our team of in-house researchers found 8×8, RingCentral, and Vonage to be the best business phone line suppliers in the industry.

Even with the emergence of smartphone, email, and chat technology, a business phone line remains at the top of the game by creating a network of connections with functionalities equipped for the business environment. In this article, we'll bring clarity to what a business phone line is, comparing the different types of business telephone lines, and explaining what the future holds for them.

Expert Market's team of experienced researchers has been reviewing the top phone lines for business for years. So if you want our personalized advice, try our free quote comparison tool. Just answer a mini survey, and trusted business phone line providers will contact you with obligation-free quotes that are customized to your needs.

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Expert Rating
4.7
Expert Rating
4.7
Expert Rating
4.5
Price

Custom

Price

$20 per user, per month – $35 per user, per month

Price

$19.99 – $39.99 per user, per month

Key Features

Onboarding support

Call queue

Ring groups

Analytics

Customizable call routing

Call recording

Key Features

Voicemail to text

High-definition (HD) voice

Multi-level auto attendant

Visual voicemail and voicemail to email

Key Features

Onboarding support

Call queue

Ring groups

Call recording

Call monitoring

Analytics

Web conferencing

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What is a business phone line?

In the past, a phone line referred to the wire attached to your telephone (landline), which links you to a network that allows you to make and receive calls. Eventually, as businesses grew more complex, the limitation of only allowing one call per line became a problem.

Thankfully, business phone lines no longer require a connection to a landline network to make a call — they now use the internet through a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) system. This allowed the telephone industry to develop various features suited to the business environment, such as accommodating multiple phone calls simultaneously, forwarding calls, and conferencing.

Hence, a business phone line today refers to a telephone system, whether landline or VoIP, that enables you to perform multiple functions designed for business, including call queue call forwarding, voice and video conferencing.

The types of business phone line

There are three types of business phone lines today: public switched telephone network (PSTN), integrated services digital network (ISDN), and voice over internet protocol (VoIP).

Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)

The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) was the original technology invented in the late 1800s. It's what you call a landline today—the copper telephone lines that run throughout your city to transmit analog voice. Although we’re using modernized PSTN landlines, the principle behind its technology is essentially the same since its conception.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

PSTN's successor, the integrated services digital network (ISDN) launched in the late 1980s. It digitized the standard landline, enabling the simultaneous transmission of voice and data over copper PSTN wires. Compared to its predecessor, it offers businesses clearer, higher voice quality with less distortion and faster data transmission.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

Finally, we have voice over internet protocol (VoIP), overtaking PSTN and ISDN connections in the business world. As the name suggests, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) refers to voice transmission over the internet instead of traditional phone lines.

Since calls are conducted over the internet, VoIP eliminates physical barriers to communications. Your phone system can grow as your business scales. With everything on a single data network instead of separate phone lines, features like conference calls and call forwarding are made easier. It outperforms all other business phone lines, especially in efficiency and scalability.

Landline phone lines vs. VoIP phone lines

Now that we've defined what a business phone line is and its different types, let's go in-depth on the difference between landlines and VoIP lines, focusing on three key categories: price, functionality, and mobility.

Price

You won’t need a huge initial investment to set up a VoIP phone line. Since it’s a cloud-based system, you can choose not to invest in handsets because it can operate through smartphones and computers. You also don’t need to pay installation fees for wiring and telephone equipment.

In contrast, telecom companies that provide landline services will charge an installation fee per phone line. Your expenses will increase as you add more phone lines. Likewise, landlines can only operate through analog devices, so you will have to purchase and configure office phones in your office. Moreover, you have to add new wiring and phone jacks to your overall cost.

Functionality

VoIP lines have many features under their belt. Depending on your subscription choice, you can utilize tools like ring groups, call queue, and virtual receptionist. You can also automate the management of high call volumes, facilitate conferencing with multiple users, and forward calls.

A traditional landline system requires a person to route call traffic, or you’ll need to upgrade to a pricier on-premise private branch exchange. Both landlines and VoIP offer voicemail. However, digital phone services provide voicemail-to-text or voicemail-to-email. Plus, you can read voicemail transcriptions on your mobile or desktop app.

Mobility

VoIP lines have nationwide coverage, some providers even offer services abroad. So, should you decide to transfer overseas, you don’t have to cut off your service. Simply inform your provider of your address change for continuous coverage anywhere that offers internet access.

If you leave your landline provider's service area, you probably won't be able to keep it. You will have to  transfer your number to a local provider whenever you travel abroad, or go into rural areas.

Moreover, landline service requires a desktop or handset to make a call. VoIP makes use of apps to turn smartphones, computers, and tablets into business communication devices.

The best business phone lines

We recommend that you invest in VoIP phone lines rather than landlines because they are cheaper, flexible, and have significantly more features. Here are our three best business VoIP suppliers according to our research:

1. 8×8: Best overall business phone line supplier

8x8 logo
8x8
4.7
Pricing Custom
Quick overview

Our best pick, 8x8, has a stellar overall rating of 4.7/5 in our analysis. All 8x8 plans come with unlimited domestic minutes. When you subscribe to the second cheapest plan, this will expand to unlimited international minutes to 14 countries. This will then upgrade to 48 countries on the X4 plan. Additionally, it supports number transfers across all pricing tiers, allowing you to keep your current business phone number while also getting call flexibility.

Strengths

Most comprehensive list of features

Up to 500 video conferencing participants per meeting

Various customer support channels

Widest selection of pricing plans

Weaknesses

Expensive plans

Mediocre customer review score

Advanced outbound communication features (power dialer, predictive calling, and auto-dialer) are add-ons

Pricing
Custom
Based on your business' size and requirements

8×8 is our best overall business phone line supplier because it has the most extensive collection of communication tools, including ring groups, external video calling, and call-flow designer. It receives the highest features score in our analysis (4.7/5) with extensive outbound communication tools like set caller ID, custom call lists, and call conferencing with up to 500 participants per meeting. To maximize your time for client calls, you can even add power dialer, predictive dialing and auto dialer for an extra cost, making it the best choice for sales teams.

Customer service is another strong suit, earning a perfect 5/5 in our research. You can quickly contact the 8×8 helpdesk via a user forum, online knowledge base articles, live chat, email, or phone. Best of all, it offers a 24/7 phone line and live chat, so you can call them around the clock.

2. RingCentral: Best for customer service teams

RingCentral logo
RingCentral
4.7
Pricing $20 - $35
Quick overview

RingCentral earns top scores in our research for scalability (4.9/5) and external connections (4.3/5). It also has the best inbound communication features, making RingCentral our top choice for small to medium businesses. In addition to being dependable, it also has a broad range of software compatibility and is adaptable enough to grow alongside your expanding company.

Strengths

Up to 97 CRM and 57 analytics integrations

A wide range of call features in Premium and Ultimate plans

Weaknesses

Advanced outbound communication features require RingCentral Engage

The bulk of integrations are only accessible on the Premium and Ultimate plans

Pricing
PlansStarting price Per user, per month. Billed annually.
Core $20
Advanced $25
Ultra $35

RingCentral is our best business phone line supplier for customer service teams because it offers the best set of inbound communication features, including a customizable greeting and virtual receptionist. You can even add ring groups and a call queue to manage the call traffic from customers. Plus, you can set your own schedule on when you want your phone line open for customer service,

For as low as $20 per user per month, RingCentral offers a virtual receptionist, helping you direct callers to the appropriate department and allowing you to add business hours in case a customer wants to learn more about the company.

If you work on a marketing team, you probably won't be as impressed by RingCentral. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer many outbound communications features, like power dialing or predictive dialing, making RingCentral unsuitable for outreach. You would have to buy the Ring Central Engage add-on to gain access to these outbound communication features.

3. Vonage: Best for small businesses

Vonage logo
Vonage
4.5
Pricing $19.99 – $39.99
Quick overview

Vonage scores a 4.5/5 in our feature analysis, offering over 50 communication features, such as voicemail-to-text, a call queue, and ring groups, to choose from and include in your plan. This makes it easier on your pocket because you only pay for the functionalities you need. This allows you to start on the cheapest plan with basic features, and scale up as your demands grow.

Strengths

Affordable plans

A variety of inbound communication features

Wide customer support channels

Weaknesses

Some basic features are for an extra cost

No 24/7 live support

Pricing
PlansStarting price Per user, per month
Mobile $19.99
Premium $29.99
Advanced $39.99

Vonage is our best phone line provider for small businesses because it provides excellent third-party integrations at a reasonable price, scoring 3.5/5 for external connections and a 3.8/5 for pricing.

Third-party integrations will boost the efficiency of your call center agents by giving them access to information and tools across various platforms in a snap. With a better way to organize customer data, you'll be able to make calls faster and handle calls more efficiently.

Vonage also scores a high 4.5/5 in our features analysis. Equipped with outbound communication tools, such as set caller ID, external video calling, custom call lists, it will help teams reach out to their leads and customers to boost relationships. As a result, Vonage is our best pick for small businesses that need an automated help desk for handling customer queries, such as lawyers.

Get free, tailored quotes from the best phone line providers for your business
Do you already use business VoIP?
Just answer a few questions - it only takes a minute

How did we compare the best business phone lines?

Expert Market researchers thoroughly evaluated the best business phone lines to help you find the perfect telephone system for your business, using the following key criteria to assess each provider:

  • Price – each plan's cost and value for your money
  • Integrability – the software's ability to integrate with other platforms, such as Salesforce, Slack, and GSuite
  • Features – the tools and capabilities that empower your inbound and outbound communications, internal conversations, agent management, and team collaboration
  • Customer Support – the customer support channels available, such as phone lines, live chat, and email
  • Customer Score – the average consumer review scores across the most trusted review sites: G2, Capterra, Trustpilot, and TrustRadius
  • Security – the security measures the vendor enforces to protect your data
  • Scalability – an aggregated score that assesses a product's ability to scale with your business's growth

Once our researchers collate all information and score each key category, we compute each business phone plan’s final scores and rank them.

Verdict

There's no doubt that VoIP lines are a better choice than landlines. They are much more flexible, allowing you to call from your smartphone or computer. Best of all, you can enjoy many features that are useful for call handling, management, and collaboration with your team. Because of this, PSTN and ISDN will soon switch off bringing telephony fully online.

Our researchers chose 8×8 as the best overall phone line supplier because it offers the strongest list of features. RingCentral comes close, providing the best inbound communication features. This is followed by Vonage with excellent integrations at an affordable price.

If you still can't decide which business phone line supplier to choose for your business, try our free quote comparison tool. Just answer a few questions about your team, and we will match you up with the best providers. They'll then be in touch with obligation-free quotes that are tailored to your needs. It's a quick and easy way to compare the right options for your business.

FAQs

What is VoIP?
VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol allows you to make and receive calls over the internet instead of your traditional copper phone lines.
Is VoIP better than landline phone lines?
VoIP is better than landline phones because it can cater to multiple calls on one business phone line. In addition, it grants you more features and capabilities than your traditional landline phones, including SMS, chats, and video calling.
What's the difference between PSTN (analog) and ISDN (digital) phone lines?
A PSTN phone line, or analog phone line, is suitable for those requiring a simple phone system. This is because it supports just one call at a time. If you want to receive more than one call at the same time, you’ll need multiple PSTN lines, and this will mean having multiple phone numbers.

While this solution is fine for very small businesses with no more than a few employees, it soon becomes expensive when you need more than a couple of lines. You’ll also need a separate line for your internet.

An ISDN phone line, or a digital phone line, is capable of doing far more. Firstly, it carries up to eight calls at the same time – this means there’s no need to invest in more than one phone line. Secondly, it can carry internet, voice, video, and fax data, and it even prioritizes the voice data to ensure you benefit from the highest call quality.

ISDN phone lines are the most common type of phone line, and provide a faster internet connection and download speed. However, these days, many businesses are choosing to switch to fiber lines, which provide an even quicker internet connection.

What’s the difference between a hosted and self-hosted phone system?
A hosted phone system, also known as a cloud phone system, is hosted offsite on a remote server, which is usually owned and maintained by your phone system provider. These phone systems are cheaper to install, and easier to manage.

A self-hosted system is hosted by you, usually on a server inside your premises. This type of system is usually costly to set up, and requires dedicated IT expertise to maintain it and keep it updated. On the plus side, you can tailor self-hosted systems to your exact requirements, and choose when to update your system.

How many phone lines does a business need?
The number of phone lines you need will depend on various factors, including your call traffic, the size of your company, and how many employees you have.
Do I have to have a business phone line?
A business phone line is essential because it offers features that will help you manage calls, supervise your agents, and collaborate with your team. It's also good for branding, as it adds professionalism to the way you handle customers.
Written by:
If you want insights into the best phone systems for your business, Claude Quiba will give you the lowdown on the latest in the industry. She's also a dreamer, a writer, and an autism advocate. Talk to her about art, coffee, or anything under the sun. But mostly, she's your go-to person when it comes to finding the best solutions for your team. 
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.