The 8 Best Phone Systems for UK Small Businesses

man talking on VoIP telephone system in a call centre, woman behind him also on one using headset with an Apple PC in front of her

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Time is running out for small businesses using a UK landline. In 2027, all UK landlines will be switched off meaning businesses based here will need to use a VoIP system instead. To prepare for this transition, selecting the best office phone system is crucial to ensure seamless communication and continued operational efficiency of your business.

According to our research on the best VoIP providers, bOnline Unlimited Calling is the most suitable VoIP system in the UK for a small business. bOnline’s proficient call management tools, extensive communications channels, and handy training features, all at low cost and with unlimited minutes, will help you improve interactions between your customers and agents.

It does lack some security features, leaving Google Voice as a better choice here since it’s protected by the tech giant’s unmatched security defences. While GoToConnect is more flexible for integrating to any brand of desk phone.

Read on to understand how our top eight VoIP products compare on pricing, features, and limitations so you can find the best fit for your unique needs.

What are the Top Phone Systems For Small Businesses in the UK?

  1. bOnline Unlimited Calling Best overall phone system for small businesses
  2. GoToConnect Standard Best phone system for unified communications
  3. 8×8 X2 Best phone system for software integrations
  4. Dialpad Pro Best phone system for call management
  5. Vonage Pro Best phone system for training features
  6. RingCentral Standard Best phone system for scalability
  7. NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise Best phone system for streamlined communication
  8. Google Voice Standard Best phone system for Google users

We rank and review providers based on the results from our latest round of research, which was conducted in the summer of 2024. We explain the precise assessment criteria we used in detail later on in this article.

The top 8 small business phone systems in the UK

As a small business looking for a new phone system, you’re really spoilt for choice. Choosing one also informs your phone pick, as many of the best office phones out there work in conjunction with these systems. Below are our top picks for the small business phone systems on the market.

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Conversational AI

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Google users

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Unlimited to domestic landlines

Domestic minutes

250 inbound minutes and 750 outbound minutes per user

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Unlimited

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Unlimited

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N/A

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Free to 50+ countries

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Unlimited to 14 countries

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£5 – £10 additional cost (calls to 100 locations)

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Free calls to the US from any country

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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.

If you’re looking for a provider to accommodate another type of business, check out the general top virtual phone systems.

Why You Can Trust Expert Market for VoIP Provider Advice

At Expert Market, we are dedicated to helping our readers make informed purchases that can help their businesses thrive. That’s why we conduct original and independent research into the products, services, and software that we rank and review.

We’ve conducted an unbiased, user-led product research process to evaluate the best UK VoIP providers. Refer to our methodology section for a detailed breakdown of how we arrived at our final decision.

1. bOnline Unlimited Calling

Best phone system overall for small businesses

bOnline logo
bOnline Unlimited Calling
4.7
Pricing £7 - £15.50
Quick overview

Chosen by over 50,000 businesses and promising a two-minute setup from scratch, bOnline’s Unlimited Calling plan is a great option for any small business. A superb value money offering with unlimited calling time, we found it had the most comprehensive offering out of our tested VoIP providers. That includes several call management and communications channels for internal and external communications, plus many training features and support documents.

Strengths

Great value upfront monthly costs

Extensive calling and communication tools

Impressive range of positive customer reviews

Weaknesses

CRM and Helpdesk integrations cost an extra £5 per month

Missing multi-factor authentication, compromising your operation’s security

Not compatible with all phone brands

Pricing
PlanStarting price (per user, per month)Inbound communication featuresOutbound communication features
Starter £7 Call routing, Call forwarding, Music on hold 100 minutes of outbound calls per month, High definition (HD) voice, Extension dialling
Unlimited Calling £13.95 1-1 HD video meetings, On-demand call recording, Call monitoring, Call queues Unlimited UK minutes per user, 1-1 onboarding
Unlimited Calling (inc. IP Phone) £15.50 Same as Unlimited Calling plan Same as Unlimited Calling + included VoIP Desk Phone

Prices correct as of June 2024.

If you are happy with purchasing its Yealink hardware, bOnline Unlimited Calling is our top choice. It has the most comprehensive offering of features and functionality across our key testing areas of call management, communication channels and training features per pound of spend.

Geared specifically towards the UK small businesses, bOnline has earned an ‘Excellent’ rating on Trustpilot for its personalised customer service, which is operated from its Surrey offices. In terms of where its data centres are, bOnline describes them as ‘geographically dispersed’ so we can’t be sure where they are located. If your business often handles sensitive data, you may feel more comfortable dealing with a provider that you can be sure is following EU or UK data privacy laws.

bOnline Unlimited Calling Features

  • Software integrations You’ll need to pay an extra £5 per month to access helpdesk and CRM integrations.
  • Onboarding support It is available for Unlimited Calling subscribers.
  • Scalability There’s no limit on user numbers and thanks to call queue and ring groups, you can deal with large numbers of callers using your unlimited minutes plan.

bOnline Unlimited Calling vs Competitors

Backed by our thorough research, which considered eight assessment areas including training and call management features alongside integrations as well as help & support, we scored bOnline Unlimited Calling an average of 4.7/5 for small businesses overall, placing it in the top spot of our top eight telephone systems for small businesses. But what was its standout quality compared to the VoIP competition?

Standout Quality: Pricing

We were dazzled by bOnline’s value for money – a key consideration for small businesses. Offering unlimited inbound and outbound minutes for a base monthly cost of just £13.95 per month (+ £5/mth for CRM integration), bOnline Unlimited Calling is the cheapest plan with unlimited calling that we’ve assessed.

We found RingCentral Standard to be slightly cheaper when factoring in CRM integration, working out to £14.99 per month, however, you’ll only have 250 inbound minutes and 750 outbound minutes per user.

As a result, bOnline had the only plan to get a 5/5 rating from us, ahead of RingCentral Standard’s 4.4/5 score, and is the most competitive VoIP for small businesses in this category.

What else impressed us about bOnline Unlimited Calling?

  • Call management: bOnline earned 4.7/5 for a comprehensive set of tools from call recording and queuing to custom hold music and voicemail transcription. In joint-third position of our top eight, it only missed out on a five-star score due to a lack of voicemail screening and call flipping, offered by Vonage Pro.
  • Training features: While it only scored 3/5, this was still the joint-second highest score for training tools behind Vonage Pro (5/5). It provides call monitoring and call analytics that VoIPs like RingCentral Standard and 8×8 X2 don’t offer, though forgoes barge and call whisper features exclusive to Vonage Pro.

Could bOnline Unlimited Calling do anything better?

  • Hardware integration: We found bOnline is only expertly compatible with one phone brand: Yealink. This earned it the joint-lowest score of 3.3/5 for this category out of all eight providers on this page. Any businesses that want to stick with their hardware may want to choose an alternative.
  • Security: It lacks multi-factor authentication (MFA), available with five of seven other providers. There are no permission settings to control user access based on roles either. Despite having third-party security certification and password rules, its security measures are less comprehensive than all VoIP options except GoToConnect.

What Business Is bOnline Unlimited Calling Best Suited To?

bOnline Unlimited Calling is ideal for small helpdesk operations and budget-conscious businesses due to its low-cost Starter plan, offering unlimited inbound and outbound minutes for just £13.95 per month.

While it lacks the extensive features of larger providers like 8×8 or RingCentral, it proves its worth across essential tools like voicemail transcription, call routing, and CRM integrations. These features support efficient call management, making bOnline a great choice for a cost-effective yet robust communication solution.

2. GoToConnect Standard

Best small business phone system for unified communications

GoTo logo
GoToConnect Standard
4.6
Pricing Bespoke
Quick overview

Promising a seamless onboarding process using which you can get your cloud phone system working within a day, GoToConnect is an elite option to unify your communication needs in one platform. Whether it's video conferencing, SMS or e-fax, it has you covered across its streamlined admin portal. Here, 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.

Strengths

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

Free international calling to 50+ countries

Video conferencing, SMS and internal live chat included

Weaknesses

Only 1,000 toll-free minutes per business account

Limited number of compatible external platforms compared to other providers

Not the most comprehensive security options or customer support

GoToConnect’s pricing is no longer public, so you’ll need to contact GoToConnect directly for exact pricing.

For just £21 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.

As a US company, GoTo is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts and operates servers all around the world. Servers are assigned based on traffic and availability rather than location and data is stored in the US. GoTo’s preferred support method is via its online knowledge hub and virtual assistant rather than personalised help from a human customer service agent.

If you want to know more, check out our in-depth GoToConnect review.

GoToConnect Standard Features

  • Software integrations GoToConnect is compatible with CRM, helpdesk, video conferencing, live chat, email, and SSO platforms, and has an open API.
  • Onboarding support This is available on GoToConnect Standard.
  • Scalability Unlimited user limits, ring groups, call queues, analytics, call recording, and customisable call routing enable scalable growth for your small business. Internal live chat and web conferencing tools support remote work and reduce unnecessary costs.
  • Pause and resume recording: Agents can pause and resume recording during a live call while using the softphone.

GoToConnect Standard vs Competitors

After combing through all the information available on GoToConnect Standard, we’ve given it an overall score of 4.6/5 – that’s the joint second-highest overall total on this page.

Although its security options score of 2/5 lags a bit behind the competition due to a lack of password rules or user permission changes, GoToConnect’s breadth of call management tools and communication channels, as well as superb hardware integration, make up for it in spades. Decent performance elsewhere, including around training features, makes it a well-rounded option.

Standout Quality: Communication Channels

GoToConnect’s suite of internal communications is wide-reaching. It is the only provider to score perfectly in this section, offering the most channels including team messaging, video conferencing, and screen sharing. This extensive range fosters seamless collaboration, ensuring your team can communicate effectively in any format.

What else impressed us about GoToConnect Standard?

  • Hardware integrations: GoToConnect Standard integrated with more desk phone brand systems than any other VoIP provider we tested, thoroughly impressing us as an adaptable option for most businesses.
  • Training Features: While it scored higher for call management (4.8/5), GoToConnect Standard’s training features (3/5) are among the most extensive we’ve tested. It offers robust call recording, monitoring and user-specific analytics and reporting tools, second only to Vonage Max.

Could GoToConnect Standard do anything better?

  • Security Options: Without any user permissions controls or password rules, GoToConnect’s security earns a lower score than other, more robust VoIP providers like Google Business Standard. However, it does have compliance certification, as well as multi-factor authentication, which you may consider enough protection.
  • Pricing: With only 1,000 toll-free minutes per account and opaque bespoke pricing, GoToConnect Standard scored a low 2/5 for pricing. More transparent and affordable options like bOnline are more appealing, though, GoToConnect does offer free international calls to over 50 countries, making it a valuable softphone.

What Business Is GoToConnect Standard Best Suited To?

GoToConnect Standard is ideal for dispersed teams, such as those in construction. Supporting several desk phone brands, it is adaptable to any user setup across the country and beyond. It also has several call management and training tools to keep operations running smoothly internally and externally.

What's new for GoToConnect?

  • Within GoToConnect’s Customer Engagement platform, you can send SMS messages to your contacts, for example, a welcome message or promotional announcement, based on a range of campaign message templates to strengthen your rapport with customers.
Get quotes from the best phone systems for your small business

3. 8×8 X2

Best small business phone system for software integrations

8x8 logo
8x8 X2
4.6
Pricing Bespoke
Quick overview

Chosen by over 2.5 million users, 8x8 has a proven track record of success – according to Forrester Consulting, clients that opted for 8x8 reported a 158% growth in ROI! Known for its customisable drag-and-drop dashboards and intelligent coaching and collaboration tools, 8x8 offers a wide menu of subscription options that will allow you to gradually – or rapidly – scale up your small business.

Strengths

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

Weaknesses

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

8×8’s pricing is no longer public, so you’ll need to contact 8×8 directly for exact pricing.

We found that 8×8 offers scalable solutions. The X2 plan’s features, like ring groups and call queues, help small businesses manage high call volumes effectively. With software integrations from video conferencing to live chat tools like Slack and Telegram, teams can work remotely with ease, too.

8×8 provides 24/7 global customer support and has data centres in 35 countries, ensuring reliable connectivity. However, if you prefer UK-based support, note that 8×8’s European HQ is in London.

Check out our detailed 8×8 review for more information.

8×8 X2 Features

  • Software integrations The X2 subscription integrates seamlessly with CRM, Helpdesk, Web Conferencing, live chats, and email. This makes 8×8 a powerful tool for personalising customer experiences and enhancing team efficiency by consolidating communication channels.
  • Onboarding support This is provided through 8×8’s Customer Success Managers, but it is unclear whether this comes at an additional cost.
  • Scalability – 8×8 X2 syncs with Slack, Telegram, and Teams for seamless remote work. It features call queue, ring groups, analytics, customisable call routing, and call recording, helping you manage high call volumes and gather data to optimise your small business.

8×8 will let you create your own keyboard shortcuts, so you can ensure nothing gets in the way of your calls running smoothly. Image: Expert Market

8×8 X2 vs Competitors

We’ve awarded 8×8’s X2 plan an average rating of 4.1/5 and we believe it stands out due to its flexibility of choice.

8×8 ticks many boxes for small business phone systems, offering both essential and additional features. Impressing us across most of our eight scoring categories, it is something of an all-rounder with unbeatable security and customer support options, like 24/7 live chat and email.

Standout Quality: Software integrations

Our favourite aspect of 8×8 X2 is its wide range of software integrations, which we found no other competitor could match. That includes a large number of CRM platforms like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Zendesk, alongside several helpdesk platforms for storing all your customer data and interactions.

We also found it could integrate with video conferencing platforms including Microsoft Teams, as well as popular calendar integration like Gmail or Outlook, so it can become a unified system for your small business. Only Dialpad Pro and to a lesser extent bOnline could get anywhere to this level of all-encompassing integration.

What else impressed us about 8×8 X2?

  • Communication Channels: Support for video and call conferencing for up to 500 people, instant team messaging and e-fax sees 8×8 X2 offer one of the most unified communication channel setups we’ve tested. GoToConnect’s additional SMS support sees it take the crown but 8×8 X2 is still a superb option.
  • Security Options: Its security features include several compliance certifications and multi-factor authentication, alongside password rules and differing user permission tools, earning it a perfect score in our testing.

Could 8×8 X2 do anything better?

  • Training features: Tools for training staff are not 8×8 X2’s strong suit. It has basic call recording but managers can’t listen in on calls (monitoring), guide staff through them (call whisper) or join them explicitly (call barging) without an add-on. It also lacks analytics tools, resulting in 8×8 X2 receiving the joint-lowest score in this area of 1/5, alongside RingCentral.
  • Pricing: Despite, offering unlimited minutes per user, we’ve awarded 8×8 X2 a score of 3/5 for its unclear bespoke pricing model, placing it far behind bOnline’s transparently cheap offering. Still, 8×8’s broad range of features may offer solid investment depending on your business needs.

What Business Is 8×8 X2 Best Suited To?

Any organisation that operates with busy customer-service teams or where multiple communication channels are crucial to the ongoing running of the business will find great value from 8×8’s X2 plan. Its number of channels allows business colleagues to talk to one another quickly, without difficulty and across whatever format works best.

Add in its extensive range of software and hardware integration possibilities and it becomes clear that 8×8’s expertise in creating VoIP phone systems for a huge array of industries means it can be applied to almost any small business.

The number of more comprehensive plans besides this base option means it’s a scalable VoIP for fast-growing and ever-changing business needs, too. For instance, the 8×8 X4 plan supports calling to 48 different countries which could be useful if your team ventures into international operations or is expecting to have offices abroad in the future.

What's new for 8x8?

  • 8×8 has enhanced the Supervisor Workspace to include access to call barge, monitor and whisper functionality, improved filtering, and interaction retrieval pages on top of several further features that make the interface better able to support managing a team of agents.

4. Dialpad Pro

Best small business phone system for call management

Dialpad Pro
4.5
Pricing £20
Quick overview

With one foot in the present and another in the future, 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.

Strengths

Largest extent of call management features

Solid integration with most hardware and software

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

Weaknesses

Limited training features to upskill new and existing staff

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

Pricing
PlanStarting price (per user, per month)
Standard £12
Pro £20
Enterprise Bespoke

Prices correct as of June 2024.

Our research process found that Dialpad’s AI function can lighten your load by transcribing calls, flagging positive and negative calls for your reflection, automating summaries following the call, and offering tips throughout the call. If you’re the owner-operator of a small business in its infancy, Dialpad can give you the feeling of having an extra pair of hands without needing to hire more agents.

While it’s headquartered in California, Dialpad has had a London-based office since 2019. With a globally dispersed network of data centres, this is another provider suitable for establishing international connectivity. Dialpad is another provider that relies on online help via submitting a ticket or consulting existing help articles.

Read our detailed Dialpad review for more information.

Dialpad Pro Features

  • Software integrations Dialpad is syncable with CRM, helpdesk, web conferencing, email, workspace, internal live chat, and SSO, giving you access to platforms like Salesforce, Zendesk, Hubspot, G Suite, and Slack. However, it does miss out on external live chat and analytics integrations, and its own API. Overall, we found that it has a limited offer of syncable platforms, particularly on the CRM front, as your menu only includes three possible CRM platforms.
  • Onboarding support – This is available to Dialpad Pro subscribers.
  • Scalability With access to call queue, ring groups, and a variety of call management features like call recording, analytics, and call transcripts, Dialpad Pro offers an excellent range of tools to help build your business. Internal live chat and web conferencing can keep your operation remote and cut costs, too, although a lack of security measures makes it less secure than other providers, like Google Voice and 8×8.

Dialpad Pro vs Competitors

Our thorough research looked closely at how suitable Dialpad Pro is for small businesses and awarded it an overall score of 4.5/5. This is largely because of its strong call management and external integration potential, plus extensive customer support. It is pricier than other options and could have a larger offering of training and communication tools, however.

Despite this, we do know that Dialpad Pro is nifty and futuristic thanks to its conversational AI, which allows you to do a lot of things hands-free. This means you can focus your attention on other tasks as you work on making your small business succeed.

Standout Quality: Call Management

Dialpad Pro outscored all other competitors in this category with a perfect score of 5/5. It does everything we asked of it from virtual receptionist, voicemail and screening features to queuing, re-routing, flipping and forwarding abilities.

Given Dialpad Pro’s unlimited calling minutes allowance, any business dealing with large call volumes will be well-equipped to manage a variety of different calling needs.

What else impressed us about Dialpad Pro?

  • Software integrations: After 8×8 X2, Dialpad Pro performed best for software integrations. It’s one of the only plans to integrate with Microsoft Teams for video conferencing and syncs with Outlook and Gmail for calendar usage. It only integrated with Salesforce on the CRM front, so your mileage may vary depending on your software choice, but it did integrate with several helpdesk platforms outside that major player.
  • Hardware integrations: And it’s good news on the integration front all around, with Dialpad Pro seamlessly integrating with the largest amount of phone brands we tested besides GoToConnect.

Could Dialpad Pro do anything better?

  • Training features: Upskilling staff is crucial for growing small businesses using VoIP and while Dialpad Pro isn’t an outlier in its poor performance here, it’s still a point of weakness. It offers call recording and basic analytics but lacks advanced features like call listening, joining calls, and discreet coaching falling behind the likes of like Vonage Pro and bOnline.
  • Communication channels: Ranking second bottom for this area among the top eight providers, Dialpad Pro can only have ten or fewer participants on video calls. Despite being an area of relative weakness, it still scores a respectable 3.8/5 since it offers team messaging and regular call conferencing included by default, while it is the only provider besides GoToConnect to offer SMS use.

What Business Is Dialpad Pro Best Suited To?

Dialpad Pro is ideal for small businesses needing excellent call management, such as customer service centres, sales teams, and support desks.

Its live call coaching, top-tier software and hardware integrations, and comprehensive call management features make it perfect for businesses handling high call volumes and prioritising team training. Plus, SMS functionality means it could be beneficial for mobile-centric businesses, too.

What's new for Dialpad?

  • Dialpad’s “Ai Agent Assist” is on hand to help answer agents’ questions in real-time, which allows them to provide professional and efficient service when dealing with complex customer queries.

5. Vonage Pro

Best phone system for training features

Vonage logo
Vonage Pro
4.3
Pricing £10 - £25
Quick overview

Boasting a set of shiny features like dynamic call routing and post-call analysis, Vonage’s embrace of AI in its Pro subscription plan gives your small business the flexibility it needs to keep customers happy and scale up your operation. Its provision of tools, metrics and data gives you a 360-degree view of the interactions between your customers and agents, enabling you to turn insights into actionable items that heighten your ROI. These features explain why over 700 customer centre customers have turned to Vonage internationally.

Strengths

Superb range of training features like call whisper and barge

Customisable dashboards and wallboards give you real-time visibility of KPI progress

Displays a local number when reaching out to customers, improving response rate

Weaknesses

Limited software integrations and communication channels

Security is not as robust compared to other phone system providers

Pricing
PlanStarting price (per user, per month)
Express £10
Core £18
Pro £20
Max £25

Prices correct as of June 2024.

Vonage offers a wide range of customer support features and has a globally distributed network of offices including one based in London, that is on hand via email or phone in case of any hiccups with your phone system.

Its data centres are spread over the US, Singapore, Sydney, Frankfurt and Dublin. We think Vonage is a great option for businesses looking to scale due to its low monthly costs. This system also allows you to utilise ready-made integrations, such as Hubspot, Salesforce, Zendesk, Slack, and Office 365, which means you can unify all your business communications in one spot. This will give your company all the necessary tools to develop a great customer experience strategy.

Read our Vonage review for more details.

Vonage Pro Features

  • Software integrations  Although it comes at an additional cost, you can integrate Vonage’s phone system with a wide range of software platforms. However, if you want to access web conferencing, you’ll need to use Unytalk, which costs extra.
  • Onboarding support This is only available at an additional cost.
  • Scalability Vonage Pro gives you the right foundations to scale up your business via call queues, ring groups, an unlimited number of users, call recording, call monitoring, and analytics. It also integrates seamlessly with Slack, which allows you to set up a remote operation that will help slash costs.
  • Conversational AI Vonage Pro comes with a powerful tool for you to use AI in customer service: through its conversational AI feature, you can easily answer calls with a virtual assistant, reducing overall waiting times.

Vonage Pro vs Competitors

After conducting in-depth research across our eight assessment areas, Vonage Pro earned an overall score of 4.3/5 for small businesses. It blew the competition away in certain sectors, namely its rich array of advanced training features to upskill your staff including call barge and call whisper functionality, plus detailed analytics and reporting of user calls.

It was highly commendable for call management features too, and despite leaving us less impressed with its communication channels, software integrations and pricing, still sits comfortably in the middle of the pack from our list of top eight providers. But where did it particularly shine against the other eight office phone systems on this page?

Standout Quality: Training Features

As alluded to, training features are the standout reason to turn to Vonage Pro. Simply put, Vonage Pro can do all the training tools we know small businesses would love to have access to, beyond the basics like call recording.

For businesses that want to use call monitoring, barging and whisper functions, and have analytics and reporting tools built-in, then Voyage Max is the only platform we tested that offers all of them in one place. For these reasons, it earned a perfect score of 5/5 in this category. That’s a whole two points ahead of the nearest competition, bOnline Unlimited Calling and GoTo Connect, both of which scored 3/5 due to not supporting whisper and barge functionality.

What else impressed us about Vonage Pro?

  • Call management: Vonage Pro does almost everything we asked of it around call management. It supports several call screening features like caller ID, recorded and transcribable voicemails and call blocking, alongside a virtual receptionist and queueing, routing, forwarding, flipping and ring groups, too. Earning 4.7/5, it beat all other VoIPs on this page besides Dialpad Pro, which also offers customisable hold music.
  • Hardware integrations: Working with more than three of the phone brands we tested, Vonage Pro is one of the better VoIPs in terms of hardware integrations. This makes it a solid choice to integrate into your existing setup – though do double-check that your current desk phones work with Vonage Pro before purchase.

Could Vonage Pro do anything better?

  • Communication channels: Businesses needing in-built video conferencing will find Vonage Pro lacking this feature, unlike most VoIPs we tested. It supports call conferencing and team messaging but also goes without SMS, e-fax, and other functions, leaving it behind competitors.
  • Software integrationOne of five VoIPs for small businesses to score 0/5 in this assessment area, Vonage Pro isn’t alone in its lack of integration possibilities. However, the company of the crowd doesn’t dismiss the fact that Vonage Pro lacks any CRM, helpdesk, video conferencing, customer-service live chat or calendar integration.
  • Pricing: While Vonage Pro offers unlimited inbound and outbound minutes, we believe the cost of £20 per user is near the maximum amount a small business would like to spend. As a result, it scored the joint-lowest total of 2/5 for this area, alongside NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise and GoTo Connect.

▶ Larger business?: Read our guide to the best call centre phone systems

What Business Is Vonage Pro Best Suited To?

Call centres dealing with high call volumes or growing customer service teams will be well-positioned to take advantage of Vonage Pro’s comprehensive training features.

New staff can be guided with tools like call whisper which lets another user listen in on a call and speak privately to the call hander, potentially coaching them through a live call on how to engage with customers. Call barge can let a user join the call as an active participant, too, should the call require a more experienced hand, while some strong analytics and reporting dashboards mean new staff can also be monitored in the aggregate.

How much do you want to pay for your VoIP system? Save by comparing prices for the right phone systems for your small business

6. RingCentral Standard

Best small business phone system ready to scale

RingCentral logo
RingCentral Premium
4.0
Pricing £24.99
Quick overview

Trusted by industry giants like Waitrose & Partners, Costa Express, and Mobica, RingCentral has carved itself a reputable spot as a leading VoIP provider. With nearly 20 years in the cloud telephone services sector, RingCentral is a robust option for your small business thanks to its rich menu of management features, integrability, and onboarding support.

Strengths

Tightly integrated IVR and automatic call distribution (ACD), allowing you to leverage customer data

Rich menu of management features

Extensive help & support options

Weaknesses

Limited calling minutes compared to other providers

No CRM integrations on Standard plan

Needs RingCentral Engage to use power and auto dialer, predictive dialling, and custom call lists

Pricing
PlanStarting price (per user, per month) (billed annually)
Essentials £12.99
Standard £19.99
Premium £24.99
Ultimate £29.99

Prices correct as of June 2024.

If your business values the ability to scale your operations as you grow, we think RingCentral is a great phone system for you thanks to all the external hardware connections it can adapt to. It has lots of support tools and a breadth of communication channels too. What’s more, with RingCentral’s reports and intuitive dashboards, you’ll gain valuable insights that will guide business decisions.

Another globally distributed provider, RingCentral’s data centres are spread across 24 countries, including the US. While its fleet of global offices includes a West London location, it’s not clear whether this is where the customer service is operated.

Check out our in-depth RingCentral review.

RingCentral Standard Features

  • Software integrations Software integrations are limited to workspaces like Microsoft 365 or communication tools like Slack. CRM and helpdesk platform integration isn’t possible on the Standard plan, though RingCentral Premium offers extensive support if that’s required.
  • Onboarding support This is only available at additional cost via RingCentral Premium.
  • Scalability – RingCentral is highly scalable, offering call queues, ring groups, web conferencing, internal live chat, and comprehensive management features (albeit, some are exclusive to its Premium plan). It also includes multi-factor authentication, password rules, compliance certifications, and encryption, ensuring robust security as your business grows.

RingCentral Standard vs Competitors

Factoring in price, integrability, features, and security, we’ve awarded RingCentral a great score of 4.1/5 for its value as a system for small businesses.

With access to key and more advanced call management features like voicemail screening, you can easily take on a large number of callers and glam up your operation. And while the extent of those features isn’t as wide as some other providers, you can easily take things to the next level when you need it through RingCentral’s more advanced plans – and we found that to be the case across all our testing areas.

Businesses growing fast can check out our full list of our favourite VoIPs in the UK, where RingCentral’s Premium plan is currently our top pick.

Standout Quality: Communication Channels

RingCentral Standard has a wealth of options for communication, allowing you to video call with up to 100 participants with on-demand recording and unlimited audio conferencing, all for up to 24 hours at a time.

What’s more, while RingCentral’s Standard plan cannot integrate a business CRM, it can incorporate popular communications and workspace tools like Slack, Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. From our research, the only communication method not covered was SMS – look to Vonage Pro or GoToConnect for that feature – and sits in joint second place for the extent of features offered.

What else impressed us about RingCentral Standard?

  • Customer support: Equally impressive is that when we compared it with competitors like Vonage and bOnline, RingCentral raced ahead for customer service features. Offering 24/7 live support, phone, email, and live chat support, you can be confident you’ll have a whole dashboard of nifty features to power your small business.
  • Hardware integrations: Compared to bOnline, NBC and Google Voice, RingCentral Standard is an excellent option to integrate with your existing phone hardware. We found it could work perfectly with more phone brands than any other provider besides GoToConnect, while offering iOS and Android app support, too.

Could RingCentral Standard do anything better?

  • Software integrations: Its Standard plan lacks CRM, helpdesk or calendar software integration and scored 0/5 here as a result. Still, when your business needs it, you can upgrade to a Premium or Ultimate subscription and sync with over 90 CRM platforms, key helpdesk integrations like Salesforce and Zendesk, analytics, and much more.
  • Training features: When it comes to training features, RingCentral Standard only offers call recording. Beyond that, if you need more advanced tools like call barge or whisper, you’ll have to look elsewhere or be prepared to wait until your business is ready to upgrade since RingCentral Premium offers all those tools and more.

What Business Is RingCentral Standard Best Suited To?

RingCentral Standard is ideal for small businesses ready to scale, whether that’s consultancy firms or marketing agencies. Advanced communication tools like video calling with up to 100 participants, solid customer support options and wide-ranging hardware compatibility mean remote teams may particularly benefit from RingCentral’s suite.

Given it lacks CRM and helpdesk software integration on its Standard plan, customer support centres, tech support services, and sales-driven organisations will want to steer clear or upgrade to the Premium package.

What's new for RingCentral?

In March 2024, RingCentral announced the launch of  RingEX™ with RingSense AI, which is a personal AI assistant to supercharge productivity and transform everyday conversations into actionable insights.

7. NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise

Best small business phone system for secure and streamlined communication

National Business Communications NBC Cloud VoIP solutions logo
NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise
4.0
Pricing £21
Quick overview

Based on our in-depth research, NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise has strong call management and communication tools well worth the attention of small businesses. It's earned an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars from its users via Trustpilot. Equally impressively, it claims to answer all customer calls within three seconds on average via its UK-based customer service teams.

Strengths

Unlimited calling minutes per user

Wide-range of call management tools

Generous communication features

Weaknesses

Lack of software integrations, including CRM platforms

Less extensive training features compared to other providers

Although it offers limited integrations for small businesses when compared with 8×8 and GoToConnect, NBC’s Cloud Voice Enterprise plan performs admirably in the core functionalities required of a VoIP system: communications and call management.

If you’re looking for a provider that has a track record of pleasing its users, you should look no further than NBC. It has a Excellent rating of 4.7 via Trustpilot, thanks to its excellent British-based customer support team. They specifically choose to work with small businesses too, meaning its team should understand your needs down to the ground.

NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise Features

  • Software integrations Compared with providers like 8×8, Vonage and bOnline, we found that NBC has a limited offering of external connections. You can integrate your telephone system with some external software such as Microsoft and Google Workspaces, but you can’t sync many CRM, Helpdesk and external video conferencing platforms at all.
  • Onboarding support This is offered as a 1-1 onboarding support.
  • Scalability With unlimited calling minutes, plenty of call management features such as customisable call routing and call monitoring, and decent communication tools and training features, there’s the potential to upskill new or existing staff fairly swiftly with NBC.

NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise vs Competitors

We’ve given NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise an overall score of 4/5, which places it in the seventh spot of our best telephone systems for small business comparison.

Standout Quality: Call Management

While it didn’t outshine the competition in any particular area, NBC’s standout quality is its call management features which earned 4.7/5.

That’s the same score as our top overall VoIP provider plan, bOnline Unlimited Calling, and reflects NBC’s ability to do most of the call management features we tested including call forwarding, flipping and voicemail transcription. It only fell short of Dialpad Pro’s perfect score through a lack of caller ID and voicemail screening functionality.

What else impressed us about NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise?

  • Communication Channels: Supporting team messaging, video conferencing for more than 10 users at once and audio calling, NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise has all the main communication methods required of most modern VoIP-related small businesses covered.
  • Security Options: NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise is a highly secure provider. Certified for third-party data security standards, requiring MFA for all users and supporting user permission levels, it ranks third among our top eight in this category – although its password rules could be stronger.

Could NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise do anything better?

  • Software Integrations: Not supporting integration with any CRM, helpdesk, external video conferencing, customer live chat or calendar services, NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise is far behind the likes of 8×8 X2, bOnline Unlimited Calling and Dialpad Pro here.
  • Training Features: An important method of upskilling staff, NBC’s lack of call whisper, barge and monitoring leaves it a little bare in terms of training tools. You can record calls and access some data on user calling, however.

What Business Is NBC Cloud Voice Enterprise Best Suited To?

NBC’s Cloud Voice Enterprise plan is perfect for small businesses that prioritise excellent call management and robust security. As explained above, these features make it a reliable choice for businesses needing secure and efficient call handling, with unlimited minutes, at an easy-to-digest price point of around £21 per month.

Any businesses heavily reliant on CRM, helpdesk, or extensive software integrations are likely to want a more equipped alternative in this regard.

8. Google Voice Business Standard

Best small business phone system for Google Users

google voice
Google Voice Business Standard
3.8
Pricing from $10
Quick overview

Chosen by companies like Dow Jones and ZPG, 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.

Strengths

Fantastic for Google users

Top-rated security features

Weaknesses

Difficult to integrate with other non-Google systems

Customer support is quite restricted compared to other providers

Limited range of available features

Pricing
PlanStarting price (per user, per month)
Starter $10
Standard $16
Premier $24

Google Voice prices are only listed in USD, but you can purchase your subscription in the UK.

Prices correct as of June 2024.

Although our research rated Google Voice rather poorly for external integrations and call management features – which does put it far behind other providers like bOnline and 8×8 – if you’re already happy with all the Google products that businesses use, the setup will be fairly straightforward. You can also benefit from seamless integration with the other Google products.

If you’re looking for a UK-centric provider, Google Voice may not be the best choice since it predominantly operates out of the US, with offices based in California. Similar to GoTo, Google’s support style rests on its online help centre and user forum. If you’re looking to get in touch with a human for personalised support, this may not be the provider for you.

For more information, read our Google Voice review.

Google Voice Standard Features

  • Software integrations While you can sync Google Voice with CRM and helpdesk platforms like Zoho, Copper, Pipedrive, Salesforce, and Hubspot, you will have to use flagship Google products for email, web conferencing, and workspace capabilities.
  • Onboarding support This is not available to Google Voice Standard subscribers.
  • Scalability – Google Voice offers the bare minimum in call management features and not many training features, as we detail below. While it is secure for your business data with excellent security features, this leaves it as far from ideal for business scaling.

Google Voice Standard vs Competitors

We’ve put the key features offered by Google Voice for small businesses to the test and have given it an overall score of 3.8/5.

While it’s a great option for Google users, its limited compatibility with external software and hardware sees it score the joint-l0west score of 0/5 and 3.3/5 in these respective categories. It also lacks the variety of call management features found on all other providers and only matches the second-lowest score for training features too.

However, what it does excel at is security, which is the reason we gave it an excellent 5/5 in this category.

Standout Quality: Security Options

Google Voice Business Standard provides several compliance certifications, multi-factor authentication, and encryption. No other provider equals Google Voice in security measures, except for 8×8.

What else impressed us about Google Voice Business Standard?

  • Communication Channels: Google Voice offers the equal second-best communication channel selection of VoIP providers we’ve tested, supporting chat messaging and video meetings of up to 150 participants (with features like hand raising, breakout rooms, audience polling and Q&A abilities). All meetings are recorded to Google Drive too, with 2TB of pooled storage per user. It does lack e-fax and SMS functionality, however.
  • Pricing: Another boon is that Google Voice Business Standard is relatively cheap, with prices starting from just $12 per month per user. You don’t get as extensive features compared to other VoIPs, leaving the exact value for money in question, but it’s still affordable for most small businesses.

Could Google Voice Business Standard do anything better?

  • Call Management: Google Voice has plentiful communication channels but lacks features for external call management, such as call queuing and routing almost all other providers offer. It also misses call flipping and the use of customisable hold music. It does provide a virtual receptionist, voicemail transcription, caller screening, caller ID and ring groups. However, these features aren’t enough to lift it from the lowest ranking in this category.
  • Training Features: Offering just call recording and basic analytics, Google Voice isn’t ideal for employee training. It lags behind bOnline, GoToConnect, and Vonage Pro due to missing call monitoring, whisper, and barge features. Still, it outperforms RingCentral Standard and 8×8 X2, whose extensive training features are reserved for pricier plans.

What Business Is Google Voice Business Standard Best Suited To?

Naturally, any small businesses already using Google products will find Google Voice Business Standard very appealing. It seamlessly integrates with Google Workspace, providing easy setup and unified communication tools, extensive storage and unbeatable security protection for your valuable data.

On the other hand, a lack of robust call management tools and personalised support makes it less ideal for e-commerce companies needing extensive external integrations or human customer support teams.


How much does a small business phone system cost?

A small VoIP system for businesses typically costs between £6 per user, per month and £28.99 per user, per month. The average price per user, per month is £17.

Most providers offer a cheaper monthly price when billed annually, but if you choose to pay monthly, while costing you a little extra, will give you more flexibility.

Pricing can change based on the number of employees you have. Typically, the more employees you have, the lower the per-user cost.

Although VoIP providers can easily add phone lines as these are virtual, you’ll have to pay per line. RingCentral, for example, charges £2 per month for additional phone numbers and £3.99 per month for an international virtual number. If you plan on a large number of phone lines, it is best to check how much the provider charges per phone line.

VoIP providers tend to charge in tiers, with lower tiers having a lower cost. For small businesses, these lower tiers include the main features of a VoIP system like business phone lines, messaging features, and a virtual receptionist. However, as your business scales and you want to access advanced features, you can choose a higher tier that’s in line with your affordability.

How can I switch phone system providers?

Once you’ve chosen your new provider using our free quote comparison tool, the reviews on this page, or our best business VoIP provider guide, you’re ready to start the process.

If you’re switching from a traditional landline system to a VoIP system, you may need to invest in some new hardware. VoIP systems can run on a laptop, desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. If you’re switching from another VoIP system, you may not need new hardware but it’s best to check this with your new provider.

If you’re investing in new hardware, this may be fairly expensive but a worthy investment as you’ll continue to use the same hardware even if you switch VoIP systems in the future.

If you want to keep your number, you can do this via number porting which is offered by all of the providers we recommend. This is carried out by your new provider so you’ll need to let them know.

There can be a downtime of around 1 working day, so try and arrange to carry this out on a day that will be the least disruptive to your business.

What are the key features for your small business phone system?

When searching for the right phone system for your small business, you might be wondering what the key features you should look for are. We’ve put together a list for you so you know what your phone system should provide:

  • Virtual receptionist – this is an automated function that will help direct callers. This feature helps streamline calls and uses up less manpower.
  • Call queue – this places callers into a virtual queue so they aren’t left calling for ages. Once an agent is available, the caller will be put through.
  • Call conferencing – your team can dial in from anywhere with call conferencing, streamlining external and internal communications.
  • Call recording – ensure you comply with regulations and prevent any misunderstandings. Plus, these can be used to assess agent performance and training.
  • Software integrations – your system should be able to integrate with software such as a CRM system. This makes it much easier to collect customer data and provide better customer service.
  • Analytics and reporting – for small businesses, having these features make it easy to understand trends and patterns and make informed decisions without needing to use a lot of resource on cafrrying out research.

How to choose the right phone system for your small business?

When choosing a VoIP phone system for your small business, there are a couple of key features that can help you make your decision less complex. You can consider:

  • Money As is the case for a lot of things in business, money can be an inevitable pain point. 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 potential phone downtime.
  • Compatibility with your hardware and software infrastructure When you’re entering the VoIP-verse, choosing a provider with integrations is key. Look out for ready-made integrations for features like CRM, workspace, email, web conferencing, internal messaging, and external messaging platforms. Similarly, if you don’t need to purchase new desk phones then it will be easier to get to business right away.
  • Scalability As a business, you can be burdened by extra costs in the long term if you outgrow an important software system, forcing you to upgrade to a different provider. Therefore, you’ll need a VoIP system that can grow as fast as your business. Key indicators for this include providers that let you onboard an unlimited number of users; come with call queues; ring groups; a good array of management features; and features that allow you to run your operation remotely, like internal messaging and video conferencing. Security will also be key here as this shields your business from risks as you expand.

For more small business phone providers, check out our review of XLN.

Verdict

Even though you’re spoilt for choice with eight great VoIP systems for small UK businesses, our top-rated recommendations overall are bOnline Unlimited Calling, GoToConnect Standard and 8×8 X2. Whether they’re the right choice for your small business is, of course, up to you. We believe they offer affordable packages and come with modern, unified communications features, and they’re more flexible and easy to use remotely and in the office – all points to consider if you’re a small business!

How We Rate 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 UK businesses.

Our rigorous testing process means these products have been scored and rated in eight main categories of investigation and more than 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.

Our main research categories for VoIP products and services are:

Call Management (25%): an analysis of a given platform's call management features, including call routing functionality and the presence of a virtual receptionist.

Communication Channels (20%): assessment of the tools available within a VoIP platform for internal communication, including team messaging, video conferencing, and SMS capabilities.

Training Features (20%): the ability of the VoIP service to support the training of employees, from call review features like call recording and call data reporting, to live call coaching features like call barge or call whisper tools.

Pricing (10%): the pricing structure associated with the VoIP service, such as monthly subscription fees, call rates, setup fees, and any additional charges for add-on features or services.

Software Integrations (10%): the VoIP service's ability to connect and integrate with external software systems, such as integration varying CRM, helpdesk, and external video conferencing platforms.

Hardware Integrations (5%): the ability of a VoIP service to integrate with different phone brands.

Customer Support (5%): the extent of assistance and resources provided by the VoIP service provider to customers including technical support, online resources, and access to customer support representatives.

Security Options (5%): the measures and features implemented by the VoIP service to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and protection of voice communications and data.

FAQs

How long does it take to switch phone systems?

The time it takes to switch phone systems varies, but generally, it shouldn’t take too long.

You may have to wait for any new phones, adapters and routers to arrive, typically taking a few days. The set-up itself, shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. If you want to keep your existing phone numbers, you’ll need to port them to the new system, which can take 7-10 days.

So in total, for a small business with minimal hardware, the total timeline could be as little as 1-3 weeks from order to being up and running on a completely new VoIP phone system. Larger, more complex systems might take longer, but generally, VoIP allows for quick setup since it works with your existing internet connectivity.

Are VoIP phone calls free?

VoIP calls are not exactly free. In some cases, however, they may appear “free” or very low-cost compared to traditional phone services since they work with Wi-Fi signals.

VoIP providers charge a monthly fee for using their phone service over the Internet. Many providers include unlimited domestic minutes on the plan, so any calls made within the UK are essentially free. On a business plan, this can save you tons in calling charges.

When it comes to international calling, the rates tend to be much lower than traditional phone services, due to the calls being made over WiFi connection. That said, per-minute international charges do still apply and will vary depending on the country.

Can I use my smartphone as a VoIP phone?
Many VoIP providers offer a softphone app that can be used on your smartphone, provided it is compatible with the software. This is great news for smaller businesses and solo entrepreneurs as they can make and receive business calls while on the go and avoid investing in new hardware.
Written by:
Matt Reed is a Senior Writer at Expert Market. Adept at evaluating products, he focuses mainly on assessing fleet management and business communication software. Matt began his career in technology publishing with Expert Reviews, where he spent several years putting the latest audio-related products and releases through their paces, revealing his findings in transparent, in-depth articles and guides. Holding a Master’s degree in Journalism from City, University of London, Matt is no stranger to diving into challenging topics and summarising them into practical, helpful information.
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.