Choosing the best small business phone system can be tricky with so many manufacturers and service providers to choose from. To help you make the right choice, our team of independent experts have reviewed dozens of suppliers from across the USA and ranked them on their pricing plans, build quality, feature set and customer support. Read on for our pick of the top small business phone systems of 2018.
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Top Small Business Phone Systems of 2018
|Best For||Overall||Small Offices||Virtual Setups||Call Centers|
|On-Premise or Cloud||Cloud||On-Premise||Cloud||Both|
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The small business phone systems compared on this page are our top picks, the top four phone systems for small businesses in the US. Small teams should bear in mind that these suppliers all cover large areas of the country, so if your team is locally based than it is possible that you may find a better deal with a smaller service provider that is based in your area. We compare small business phone systems on a national and regional level, so fill out the form at the top of the page to find the best small business phone systems for your area.
8x8 Virtual Office
8x8 communications are easy to use, manage and deploy. All you need is a high-speed Internet connection and a phone of your choice.
|8x8 Virtual Office|
8x8 Virtual Office is one of the best all-around small business phone systems. It’s easy to use, has an assortment of useful features and is highly affordable. 8x8 is also an industry leader in customer support and boasts a 99.997% uptime. So, businesses can rest assured that their lines will be remain up and running throughout the year and that an agent is only a phone call should assistance be required.
Since 8x8 Virtual Office requires no equipment to be installed or maintained, it’s an excellent choice for small businesses. Setup with 8x8 is as easy as plugging in your new 8x8 router and connecting your phones via an Ethernet port to start making and receiving calls. Unlike on-premise systems, 8x8 takes care of all maintenance and upgrades so you don’t need extra IT staff.
8x8 has an impressive assortment of features ideal for small businesses. This includes call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail-to-email, automated attendants, caller ID blocking, and many more. Team collaboration is made easy with 8x8’s presence features which show who’s available and who’s busy, and lets staff members host online meetings. A full list of 8x8 features can be found on the 8x8 website.
Ooma Office is an enterprise-grade phone service built for small businesses so you can be more professional. Ooma Office supports select IP phones, analog phones, and mobile phones.
What makes Ooma Office a great choice for small businesses is its straightforward setup, low cost and top-notch customer support. While Ooma doesn’t have the vast feature set offered by other suppliers, they offer the essentials for as little as $9.99 per month.
Small businesses have the option of choosing a traditional or virtual phone system with Ooma. Ooma’s virtual system (Ooma Office for Mobile) is perfect for small businesses that want to present a professional image at all times and don’t want their personal devices to double up as office phones.
Ooma Office for Mobile supports up to 20 employees and is the most affordable virtual small business phone system on our list. Ooma claims that small businesses who opt instead for their traditional on-premises system can get setup in 20 minutes or less.
RingCentral Professional offers a complete hosted virtual phone service with toll-free and local numbers for voice, fax and text, starting at $9.99.
RingCentral is one of the leading virtual phone systems for American businesses. It’s easy to use, is affordably priced and comes with a host of valuable features. What makes Ringcentral Professional an ideal choice for small businesses is that small teams can use their mobile devices to make and receive calls as their primary phone while still presenting a professional image at all times.
Unlike most virtual phone systems that connect your desktop phone to a router, RingCentral Professional is a call-forwarding service that lets employees answer calls from customers on their mobile, home phone or any preferred line. Setup with RingCentral Professional is simple since no additional equipment is required to get up and running. If customer support is a priority then you are sure to be satisfied as we found RingCentral’s phone support to be of superb quality.
Want a hosted, managed service from the cloud? Prefer to maintain onsite control? Want a mix of both? ShoreTel Connect gives businesses the freedom to tailor their system to their needs.
ShoreTel is an excellent small business phone system for teams that require call center services. It comes with a host of advanced features ideally suited for call centers and is available as an on-premise and cloud-hosted solution. A key benefit of ShoreTel Connect is its built-in fail-safe that helps ensure your system is always up and running. Because each site switch acts as an independent call processor and the switches tap into landlines, the phones will work even if your system has gone out.
The on-premise solution is a popular choice for small teams because it’s easy to scale the number of active devices up or down depending on your needs. It’s worth noting that, unlike their cloud-hosted system which is called ShoreTel Connect CLOUD, ShoreTel Connect ONSITE requires a technician to set-up.
ShoreTel’s cloud-hosted systems can be set-up straight out of the box on the other hand. Businesses who opt for ShoreTel’s cloud system will find that maintenance is easy since ShoreTel handles everything and acts as your team’s very own IT department.
Other Leading Suppliers
A leading telecoms provider for over 30 years, Cisco has a range of options and phone system solutions to help small businesses improve their communications. As a leader in the field Cisco offer solutions that can help the growth of companies regardless of their sector or industry.
Cisco offers a range of small business phone systems that can help your company compete more effectively with larger organizations. Businesses that choose Cisco use the company’s voice, conferencing, and unified communications solutions to enhance their business communications.
Estech Systems (ESI) is a Texas-based company which is trusted by some of the country’s biggest brands. So, if you’re a small team with an ambitious growth strategy then they may be right for you.
ESI have been in service for over 30 years and offer cloud, hybrid, IP and SIP solutions. ESI provide a number of features that are ideal for small to medium sized organizations, including customizable music or messages for customers on hold as well as IP and softphone capabilities.
Panasonic is one of the country’s leading small business phone system suppliers. They offer a range phone systems but their desktop IP phones are a flagship product for small teams.
Why Panasonic?Panasonic manufacture a wide range of desktop phone systems and handsets ideal for small offices. With Panasonic you can save big on upfront costs by only adding new devices onto your network as and when they are needed. Panasonic phones are a great choice for small teams who need an affordable and quick solution.
Mitel lets small businesses to take total control of their communications by offering tailored solutions for different industries and team sizes, making them a great choice for teams operating in niche industries.
Canadian-based Mitel has been helping businesses improve their communications since 1973. Mitel have a reputation for manufacturing phones that are affordably priced and of a very high quality. The company’s desktop IP phones are perfect for teams who want to appear professional at all times.
Another leading provider, Zultys’ highly rated cloud phone systems allows small business to compete with larger organizations by offering feature rich solutions tailored for SMEs.
Zultys specialises in integrating voice, instant messaging, email, video and web conferencing, so that businesses can seamlessly communicate across all devices. Trusted by brands like Allstate, NPR, Timex and Mitsubushi, small teams won’t have to worry with Zultys about downtime or related service issues.
Best Desktop Phones Systems for Small Businesses
Today’s small business phone systems aren’t like ones found on desks a decade ago. Now even small teams can compete with the industry’s best in the business communications arena with the help of cloud technology. Read our reviews of the best desktop phone systems for small businesses in 2018.
Polycom VVX-500 VoIP Phone
The Polycom VVX-500 boasts a powerful, easy-to-use full-colour touchscreen. This IP phone handset also comes with a built in speakerphone and can connect up to 10 users for further collaboration.
As well as speakerphone capabilities, the VVX-500 handset has a dedicated RJ-9 headset port making hands-free multitasking a breeze. Polycom machines also with state-of-the-art high definition voice technology ensuring your calls will be crystal-clear.
Yealink W52P IP-Expandable VoIP Phone
The Yealink W52P cordless phone is perfect for office mobility and the plug and play wireless technology included makes it a great fit for smaller businesses.
The Yealink W52P is ideal for very small teams who need a powerful desktop phone. With Yealink, you can connect up to four phones per base and as many as four calls can be made simultaneously, making it a good choice for offices who require an affordable multi line solution.
Panasonic Link2Cell Bluetooth® Phone
The Panasonic DECT 6.0 is a hybrid phone system that can be easily scaled as your company grows. The combination of cordless and corded phones means your team can take calls on the move while your administrator can monitor and track calls from a powerful, centralized base.
The Panasonic KX-TGF382 is an ideal solution for very small teams who are constantly on the move. The system includes two cordless phones which can be expanded up to five per base if more devices are required. With Panasonic, you can also sync up to two smartphones to make and receive calls using Link2Cell handsets and set-up ID alerts from handsets when texts are received.
Unified Communications Solutions for Small Business
Unified Communication business phones systems combine a variety technologies into one seamless package. With a unified communications system, voice, data and video can be integrated into one system. We’ve reviewed our favourite picks for small businesses in 2018 below.
Fortinet is a leading small business phone systems provider, offering a range of IP solutions. In 2013, the FortiVoice 200D was awarded the Unified Communications Solutions Product of the Year by Internet Telephony and Customer magazines and it remains a preferred choice today.
The FortiVoice 40, 40S, 70, 100 and 100T can accommodate up to 400 users without sacrificing any of the features offered by enterprise level phone systems. The FortiVoice phones are conveniently compact, which makes them perfect for small-to-mid size teams.
Although the Fortivoice systems share several features with the Avaya and Cisco systems reviewed below it’s the Ring Group feature, which lets you have multiple phones ring when one extension or number is dialed, that distinguishes the FortiVoice system from the others. One potential drawback of the Fortivoice systems are that they don’t have sophisticated video and audio conferencing capabilities like the Avaya IP Office 500.
Avaya IP Office 500
Avaya IP Office 500
The Avaya IP Office 500, named the Unified Communications Product of the Year by Internet Telephony Magazine, has a range of features ideally suited for small teams.
The Avaya IP Office series s are designed with the needs of small to medium-sized companies clearly in mind. The outstanding feature that distinguishes the Avaya IP Office 500 product from the others on our list is its 128 part video and audio conferencing feature that comes with full video softphone and conference recording.
The system, compatible with Avaya and Nortel phones, is also highly customizable and can be scaled with the needs of an expanding business. Like the FVC series, the Avaya IP Office 500 can be used as either a traditional phone system or by utilizing VoIP. The Avaya system can use digital, analog, IP and SIP in any combination, and unlike the FortiVoice and Cisco systems, voicemail is free.
Cisco 300 Series
Cisco UC 320W- FXO-K9
The Cisco Unified Communications 300 series was specially designed for small businesses. The model UC 320W- FXO-K9 is incredibly compact, accommodates up to 24 users and is licensed for as many as 24 phones.
Installation and system maintenance are both carried online by Cisco, so it’s a great choice for teams that don’t have in-house IT expertise. The Cisco UC 320W -FXO-K9 supports both traditional landline and VoIP phones, making it a highly flexible communications solution.
The Cisco 300 series comes with wireless access points which enables co-workers to connect with each other by voice or data on and off-site. Wireless networking is available on-site. This system also supports Ethernet WAN, connecting the office to the Internet. There is VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) support as well should the business need to expand and/or connect more devices.
Small Business Phone System Buyers Guide
Choosing the right small business phone system can be tough. You have to consider the size of your office, the size of your team, the service you deliver and your future growth strategy. That's why our team of experts have created this helpful guide. We've reviewed dozens of suppliers to help you choose a system that you can manage easily as your business grows. If you want to compare prices from top suppliers with Expert Market, simply fill out the form at the top of the page.
Reasons to Upgrade Your Phone System
Today's small business phone systems are designed to cater to the needs of growing, tech-savvy businesses. With the right small business phone system, you can compete effectively with leaders within your industry and present a professional image at all times by making use of features like advanced call forwarding which lets you make and receive calls from any device.
Considerations for Small Teams
Don't forget anything when choosing your phone system. Here's what you need to consider:
- Current Size of your Business – how many staff does your company have
- Office Space – smaller spaces favor cloud based systems
- Custom Features – what will help you get the most out of your phone system
- Growth Strategy – where is your business heading in the next five years in terms of number of employees and workload
- Usage – will you being using your phone for conference calls, from a remote location, or will it be placed on your desk?
Types of Small Business Phone Systems
Each phone system comes with a unique set of features. When deciding which is best for you be sure to consider the size of your business, the industry you operate within, the current size of your business as well as whether you plan to grow in the coming years. The most common types of phone systems are listed below:
Each type of system has their pros and cons and often small business phone systems will run on private branch exchanges (PBX) which allow organizations to seamlessly manage inbound and outbound calls. A benefit of PBX systems is that they can be easily scaled, making them perfect for teams with growth strategies in place. As well as this they use the same networks that handle their internet data, which saves you money on installation and maintenance fees.
Small Business Phone System Costs
|Compare Small Business Phone System Providers|
|Ooma Office||$9.99 to $19.99 per user per month|
|RingCentral||As little as $12.99/mo|
|ShoreTel||From $19.99 per user per month|
Calculating the cost of a phone system for your small business depends on a number of factors. As laid out in the section above, there are a number of different types of system that come with their own unique advantages.
Today there are a number of phone systems with the capabilities to be hosted away from your office on external servers. This reduces initial installations costs as well as helping you save money on hefty equipment and recurring maintenance fees, which can have a big impact in the long run. These virtual systems are easy to expand, meaning you no longer have to worry about paying huge fees whenever you need to add additional devices. Read our VoIP Phone System Buyers Guide [Updated for 2018] here.