Written by Fernanda Alvarez Piñeiro Reviewed by James Macey Updated on 13 October 2023 On this page What is a small business phone system? The top 8 small business phone systems Vonage Pro 8x8 X2 bOnline Unlimited Calling Nuacom Unlimited GoToConnect Standard RingCentral Premium Google Voice Standard Dialpad Pro How much does a small business phone system cost? How can I switch phone system providers? What are the key features for your small business phone system? Top-rated phone system providers in London How to choose the right phone system for your small business? Verdict How we test telephones FAQs Expand Our site is reader-supported – by clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral. We compared the eight best VoIP systems for UK small businesses and Vonage Pro comes out on top. AI technology is taking the world by storm and has found its way into VoIP systems. The Vonage Pro plan incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) to help your business communications run smoothly, while its metrics give you complete oversight of interactions between your customers and agents. Above all, we think its scalability makes it the perfect choice for small businesses looking to grow.However, Vonage may not be your best match if you’re looking for an ultra-secure telephone system as it does lack some key security features.If you're looking for the perfect system for your UK small business but are short on time, you can use our free quote comparison tool to receive obligation-free quotes from trusted providers.Or, read on for our reviews on the best systems based on our first-hand product testing. We've also summarised the best VoIP providers on the market, comparing them on pricing, features, and limits so you can find the best fit for your unique needs. What are the Top Phone Systems For Small Businesses in the UK? These are the providers we recommend based on our research. Use our comparison tool to find the best service for your business.Vonage Pro – Best phone system for small businesses8×8 X2 – Best phone system for scalabilitybOnline Unlimited Calling – Best phone system for desk phone compatibilityNuacom Unlimited – Best phone system for customer satisfactionGoToConnect Standard – Best phone system for value for moneyRingCentral Premium – Best phone system for external connectionsGoogle Voice Standard – Best phone system for Google usersDialpad Pro – Best phone system for conversational AI The Big Switch-Off All UK landlines will be phased out by the end of 2025. This means it's important to switch to a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) system, which refers to phone systems that work over Wi-Fi as opposed to traditional phone lines. You can also consider a cloud-based phone system, which is a related type of telephone system that implements VoIP technology. Your best bet is to beat the rush and make the switch sooner rather than later. What is a small business phone system?A phone system for a small business is a secure, reliable communications platform involving messaging, video, and phone solutions. The best type of phone system for small businesses is a VoIP system as they're affordable, easily scalable, and flexible.For small businesses, efficiency is key and VoIP phone systems provide a system to streamline internal and external communications. Collaboration is made much easier with VoIP systems and will aid small businesses in developing a more cohesive team.With less upfront costs than traditional phone systems and the ability to scale up or down easily VoIP systems are well-suited to small businesses. As VoIP systems run over the internet, phone lines can be added fairly cheaply and inexpensively compared to traditional phone lines which have to be manually added.What is a VoIP phone system for small businesses? A VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) system is a phone system run over the Internet. This means no traditional phone lines or even hardware are needed. For small businesses, providers typically offer a lower-priced plan with fewer features. These features such as predictive dialing are more suited to larger businesses.Instead, small businesses are just paying for the phone line plus features like voicemail, spam prevention, and a customisable greeting. These features are more suited to the needs of a small business. The top 8 small business phone systems in the UKAs a small business looking for a new phone system, you’re really spoilt for choice. Choosing one also informs your phone pick, as 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. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Best Overall for Small Businesses Vonage Pro Best for Scalability 8×8 X2 Best for Desk Phone Compatibility bOnline Unlimited Calling Best for Customer Satisfaction Nuacom Unlimited Best Value for Money GoToConnect Standard Best for External Connections RingCentral Premium Best for Google Users Google Voice Standard Best for Conversational AI Dialpad Pro 4.7 4.7 4.5 4.2 4.0 4.0 3.7 3.5 Pricing £10 – £25 Pricing £19 Pricing £7 – £15.50 Pricing £19.99 Pricing £10-£21 Pricing £19.99 Pricing from £7.50 Pricing £20 Domestic minutes Unlimited to domestic landlines Domestic minutes Unlimited Domestic minutes Unlimited Domestic minutes Unlimited Domestic minutes Unlimited Domestic minutes 1000 inclusive inbound minutes 2000 outbound minutes per user Domestic minutes Unlimited Domestic minutes Unlimited International minutes N/A International minutes Unlimited to 14 countries International minutes N/A International minutes N/A International minutes Free to 50+ countries International minutes N/A International minutes Free calls to the US from any country International minutes N/A Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Find the ideal telephone system for your small business Get a free quote ** available at additional costPrices correct as of October 2023. Our Research We compared eight of the highest-rated phone systems on the UK market, focusing on the most vital features for small businesses, such as scalability, ready-made integrations, onboarding, and management features. Taking into consideration the customer reviews on Trustpilot and Capterra, we made sure our recommendations reflect the true user experience.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 of 2023. 1. Vonage ProBest phone system for small businesses Vonage Pro 4.7 Pricing £10 - £25 Get free quotes Vonage review 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. Read more + Read less - Strengths Customisable dashboards and wallboards give you real-time visibility of KPI progress Displays a local number when reaching out to customers, improving response rate Solid customer support service Weaknesses Security is not as robust compared to other phone system providers Some useful training and management features not available at Professional Pricing See more See less PlanStarting price (per user, per month) Express £10 Core £18 Pro £20 Max £25 Prices correct as of October 2023.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 FeaturesSoftware 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 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 ComparisonsBacked by our thorough research, which considered software integrations, onboarding support, and the scalability of each small business phone system, we gave Vonage an overall 4.7/5 for small businesses. Although RingCentral races at the same speed, Vonage strides ahead because of its rich offering of features like ring groups and analytics and reporting, at a lower price point. For that reason, we gave Vonage a perfect 5/5 rating for price – the highest pricing score of all the providers on this page.However, we did give Vonage a 3/5 rating for security because it’s missing multi-factor authentication and password rules, which are features provided by competitors like Google Voice, RingCentral, and 8×8. What's new for Vonage? August 2023 Vonage made it possible to build applications that feature two-way voice communication. This means you can now place and receive calls across multiple channels, including app, phone, SIP, and websocket. How much do you want to pay for your VoIP system? Save by comparing prices for the right phone systems for your small business Less than £10 £10 - £20 £20 -£50 £50+ ▶ Larger business?: Read our guide to the best call centre phone systems 2. 8×8 X2Best small business phone system for scalability 8x8 X2 4.7 Pricing £19 Get free quotes 8x8 review 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. Read more + Read less - 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 Pricing See more See less PlanStarting price (per user, per month) X2 £19 X4 £36 X6 £85 X7 £105 X8 £135 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 robust, scalable building blocks. With features like ring groups and call queues offered at its X2 subscription plan, your small business should be able to deal with large volumes of callers easily. What’s more, with web conferencing and internal live chat integrations with a wide range of platforms including Telegram and Slack, your team will be able to work remotely, giving you more flexibility and reduced costs.Since 8×8 is a multi-national, its customer support teams are on hand 24/7 from around the globe and its data centres are spread over 35 countries. While this is great for connectivity and for being able to get help at all hours, it may not be ideal if you're keen to deal with solely UK-based customer service agents. That being said, its European HQ is based in London.Check out our detailed 8×8 review for more information.8×8 X2 FeaturesSoftware integrations – The X2 subscription is integrable with CRM, Helpdesk, Web Conferencing, external and internal live chats, email, and more. This makes 8×8 a powerful tool your team can leverage to personalise customer experience and work quickly by avoiding having to hop back and forth between different 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 allows you to sync your internal communications because it’s compatible with platforms like Slack, Telegram, and Teams, so you and your team can work remotely. It’s also equipped with call queue, ring groups, analytics, customisable call routing, and call recording, all of which allow you to handle large numbers of callers, and gather data to optimise your small business.8×8 X2 ComparisonsWe've awarded 8×8 3.9/5 because we believe it stands out due to its flexibility of choice. Whether your small business needs a comprehensive, savvy system or you just want the essentials, 8×8 can tick the boxes on your small business phone system checklist. Although we’ve given 8×8 a score of 2.5/5 for its pricing, placing it far behind Vonage and bOnline’s perfect 5/5 in this category, you can consider the extra money you’re putting down as a worthy investment, thanks to 8×8’s broad range of features. Nevertheless, we awarded 8×8 a stellar 5/5 for its generous customer support and security, which is unrivalled by all other providers featured here. 8×8's customer support includes 24/7 live support, live chat, and email support. Its security features include several compliance certifications and multi factor authentication. What's new for 8x8? August 2023 Admins can now access audit history to see what changes were made, when, and by whom.You can now use an AI-powered tool to help you automate customer enquiries and requests. 3. bOnline Unlimited CallingBest small business phone system for desk phone compatibility bOnline Unlimited Calling 4.5 Pricing £7 - £15.50 Get free quotes 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 your small business if you’re looking for a provider that’s a master key when it comes to adapting to your existing desk phones. Although it’s not a match for first-party desktop phones –just like all other VoIP providers on this page anyway – bOnline welcomes a wide range of third-party desktop phones. Panasonic, Yealink, Polycom, Aastra, Alcatel, AudioCodes, Htek – they can all become part of your bOnline unified communications phone system, saving you a trip to the hardware shop! Read more + Read less - Strengths Widest offering of third-party desktop phone compatibility Low upfront monthly costs Impressive range of positive customer reviews Weaknesses CRM and Helpdesk integrations cost an extra £5 per month Missing compliance certifications and multi-factor authentication, compromising your operation’s security Pricing See more See less PlanStarting price (per user, per month) Starter £7 Unlimited Calling £13.95 Unlimited Calling (inc. IP Phone) £15.50 Prices correct as of October 2023.As of the latest update in October 2023, bOnline offers a Starter plan rather than its pre-existing Pay-As-You-Go plan.If you are happy with your hardware, bOnline is a great choice as it has the widest offering of third-party desktop phone compatibility to save you from having to replace your existing phones.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 FeaturesSoftware 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.bOnline Unlimited Calling ComparisonsOur meticulous research has brandished bOnline Unlimited Calling with a 4.5/5 for small businesses overall, placing it in the third spot of our top eight telephone systems for small businesses.Although we’ve given it a 3/5 for scalability as it’s missing a few key ingredients like call conferencing, call recording, and reporting, its price is pretty much unrivalled. For only £12.95 per user, per month, we’ve given it a perfect 5/5 for price, making it (alongside Vonage) the most competitive in this category when compared with all of the other providers we spotlight here! 4. Nuacom Unlimited Best small business phone system for customer satisfaction Nuacom Unlimited 4.2 Pricing £19.99 Get free quotes Nuacom review Quick overview Based on our in-depth research, which aggregates scores from customer reviews, Nuacom has the highest customer satisfaction in the VoIP sector, earning an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars from its users from sites like Capterra, Trustpilot, G2, and TrustRadius. Read more + Read less - Strengths Impressive collection of positive customer reviews Unlimited user limit Generous inbound communication features Weaknesses Does not offer analytics or email integration Not transparent about its compliance certification, and does not provide multi-facet authentication or password rules Pricing See more See less Plan Unlimited £19.99 Call Centre £29.99 Enterprise Bespoke As of August 2023, Nuacom's pricing is no longer public so these prices may no longer be accurate. You'll need to contact the provider directly for its actual pricing. Although it offers limited features for small businesses when compared with 8×8 and GoToConnect, Nuacom is trusted by key clients like Credit Union and Volkswagen. If you’re looking for a provider that has a track record of pleasing its users, you should look no further than Nuacom. It blows the other providers out of the water with its 4.9 Trustpilot rating, thanks to its excellent Ireland-based customer support team.Check out our Nuacom review for more.Nuacom Unlimited FeaturesSoftware integrations – When compared with other providers like 8×8, Vonage, bOnline, we found that Nuacom has a limited offering of external connections. Although you can sync your telephone system with CRM, Helpdesk, internal live chat, and email integration, you can only do so with a small number of platforms – only Hubspot, Slack, and Google Workspace. This means Nuacom is not integrable with Web Conferencing, external live chat, analytics, SSO, and does not offer an open API.Onboarding support – This is offered as a 15-minute onboarding support session.Scalability – With a requirement to have at least two users, Nuacom comes equipped with call queue and ring groups, which can help you manage a large number of callers. However, this isn’t necessarily the most scalable solution as you’d be missing out on a number of management features, such as customisable call routing, call monitoring, call-flow designers, and setting up teams. You also won't have access to video conferencing, which can complicate keeping your team connected when working remotely.Nuacom Unlimited ComparisonsWe've given Nuacom an overall score of 4.2/5, which places it in the fourth spot of our best telephone systems for small business comparison, right before GoToConnect. Nuacom’s average customer review score of 4.6/5 places it in the pole position of customer satisfaction, with bOnline racing close behind at 4.4. This places Nuacom in the pole position of customer satisfaction, with bOnline racing close behind at 4.4/5. That said, we scored Nuacom just 2.6/5 for its features, lacking spam prevention, external video calling, and predictive dialling. Its security also lacks compliance certifications, multi-factor authentication, and encryption. So, if you want lots of features and more stringently protected data, we think 8×8 or Dialpad would be a better phone system for your small business. However, based on its customer satisfaction score, not many users have faced insurmountable challenges with Nuacom. 5. GoToConnect StandardBest small business phone system for value for money GoToConnect Standard 4.0 Pricing £10-£21 Get free quotes GoToConnect review Quick overview Promising a seamless onboarding process using which you can get your cloud phone system working within a day, GoToConnect is a safe option if you’re looking to get value for your money. Featuring a streamlined admin portal, you can easily configure call flows with a drag-and-drop dial plan editor, and comb through call analytics to identify which team or agent needs improvement. Read more + Read less - Strengths Access to all the inbound communication features your small business might need Free international calling to 50+ countries and unlimited domestic inbound and outbound minutes Video conferencing and internal live chat included Weaknesses Analytics and workspace integrations unavailable Limited number of compatible external platforms compared to other providers Not the most comprehensive customer support Pricing See more See less PlanStarting price (per user, per month) Basic £10.00 Standard £21.00 Prices correct as of October 2023.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. ▶ Read more: Office Phone System Prices: The Ultimate Guide GoToConnect Standard FeaturesSoftware integrations – GoToConnect is compatible with CRM, helpdesk, web conferencing, internal live chat, email, and SSO platforms, and has an open API. However, the menu of the platforms you can sync GoToConnect with is not as generous as other providers because it misses out on Office 365, Hubspot, and Bullhorn.Onboarding support – This is available on GoToConnect Standard.Scalability – With an unlimited user limit, ring group, call queue, analytics, call recording, and customisable call routing, GoToConnect Standard gives you the features that will help you piece together the bricks needed to scale your small business. What’s more, GoToConnect also gives you access to internal live chat and web conferencing, which can help keep your business working remotely and helping you cut unnecessary costs.Pause and resume recording: From May 2023, agents can pause and resume recording during a live call while using the softphone.GoToConnect Standard ComparisonsAfter combing through all the information available on GoToConnect, we've given it an overall score of 4/5. Although its customer support score of 3.4/5 lags a bit behind that of RingCentral and Vonage, the features you can access such as spam prevention, gives you greater value for your money.GoToConnect also gives you free international calling to 50+ countries, making it a great softphone option for businesses who need this sort of offering. What's new for GoToConnect? September 2023 New conversations will automatically link to an existing contact if the phone number or email address is a perfect match. Get quotes from the best phone systems for your small business Get free quotes Answer a few questions – it only takes a minute 6. RingCentral PremiumBest small business phone system for external connections RingCentral Premium 4.0 Pricing £19.99 Get free quotes RingCentral review 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. Read more + Read less - Strengths Tightly integrated IVR and automatic call distribution (ACD), allowing you to leverage customer data Rich menu of management features Weaknesses Pricier than other providers Needs RingCentral Engage to use power and auto dialer, predictive dialling, and custom call lists Pricing See more See less PlanStarting price (per user, per month) (billed annually) Essentials £12.99 Standard £19.99 Premium £24.99 Ultimate £29.99 Prices correct as of October 2023.If your business values compatibility with its software anatomy, we think RingCentral is a great phone system for you thanks to all the external connections it can adapt to. 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 Premium FeaturesSoftware integrations – At the Premium and Ultimate subscriptions, you can sync your phone system with over 90 CRM platforms, with key helpdesk integrations like Salesforce and Zendesk, analytics, and other platforms like Slack, WhatsApp, and Facebook. This will help strengthen the customer service arm of your business while allowing you to instantly draw on customer-specific data to provide a frustration-free experience.Onboarding support – It is available to RingCentral Premium subscribers.Scalability: RingCentral has an impressive offer for scalability, equipping you with all the right tools, including call queue, ring groups, web conferencing tools, internal live chat, and all the management features you should need as a small business. It also includes multi-factor authentication, password rules, compliance certifications, and encryption, which will help shield your operation as you continue to scale.RingCentral Premium ComparisonsFactoring in price, integrability, features, and customer support, we've awarded RingCentral a great score of 4/5 for its value as a system for small businesses. With access to key features like call queue and ring groups, you can easily take on a large number of callers and glam up your operation. It is because of this that we gave RingCentral a score of 4.1/5 for features – the second highest score in this category against all of the providers we looked at!What’s even more impressive is that when we compared it with its competitors like Vonage and Dialpad, RingCentral races ahead for customer service features in our research, offering 24/7 live support, phone, email, and live chat support. So, you can be confident you’ll have a whole dashboard of nifty features to power your small business.RingCentral Premium New FeaturesAs of March 2023, staff can now gain access to a colleague's voicemail inbox in the app, which is helpful for when a member of staff is away or unavailable. You can also manage multiple shared inboxes in your voicemail tab. What's new for RingCentral? September 2023 Staff can now access a colleague's voicemail inbox in the app, which is helpful when another member of staff is on holiday or unavailable.There is now a purchase option for desk phones with a Device-as-a-Service. 7. Google Voice StandardBest small business phone system for Google Users Google Voice Standard 3.7 Pricing from $10 Get free quotes Google Voice review 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. Read more + Read less - 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 See more See less 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 October 2023.Although our research rated Google Voice rather poorly for external connections and features, which does put it far behind other providers like 8×8 and RingCentral, 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 FeaturesSoftware 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 – Although Google Voice offers the bare minimum when it comes to management features (analytics and customisable call routing), it has the security features needed to ensure your operation is properly protected. It also includes web conferencing and internal live chat – if you’re happy to use Google Meet and Google Chat. Therefore, what it lacks in management features is made up for in terms of security, but keep in mind that this isn’t a golden solution to scale up your business.Google Voice Standard ComparisonsWe've put the key features offered by Google Voice for small businesses to the test and have given it an overall score of 3.7/5. While it’s a great option for Google users, its limited features sees it score 2.6/5 in this category. In terms of features, it matches Nuacom, but lags far behind others like RingCentral and 8×8. However, what it does excel at is security, which is the reason we gave it an excellent 5/5 in this category. It providers several compliance certifications, multi-factor authentication, and encryption. No other provider equals Google Voice in security, except for 8×8. 8. Dialpad ProBest small business phone system for conversational AI Dialpad Pro 3.5 Pricing £20 Get free quotes Dialpad review 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. Read more + Read less - Strengths Great customer support, including a user forum, knowledge base, and live chat Superb customer reputation, with an aggregated review score of 4.4 Offers the best range of features, right after 8x8 Weaknesses Not very easy to scale, scoring 3.3 in our scalability analysis Doesn’t have an uptime guarantee at the Pro subscription level Pricing See more See less PlanStarting price (per user, per month) Standard £12 Pro £20 Enterprise Bespoke Prices correct as of October 2023.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 FeaturesSoftware 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 pretty 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 management features like call recording, analytics, and call transcripts, Dialpad Pro offers a good range of tools to help build your business. You can also use internal live chat and web conferencing to slash costs, as you can keep your operation remote. However, its security measures do miss out on multi-factor authentication and password rules, making it less secure than other providers, like Google Voice and 8×8.Dialpad Pro ComparisonsOur thorough research looked closely at how suitable Dialpad Pro is for small businesses and awarded it an overall score of 3.5/5. This is mostly because it’s pricier than other options, and it could have a larger offering of external connections. It lacks CRM integrations, helpdesk integrations, and email integration.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. Despite its faults, we awarded it a great 4/5 for customer support, ranking above other providers like Nuacom, GoToConnect, and bOnline. What's new for Dialpad? September 2023 Dialpad can integrate with Copper CRM, ServiceNow, and Microsoft Dyanmics 365. This is helpful if you want to ensure all of your software is integrated.AI scorecards have been introduced to make quality assurance quicker and easier. This makes calls and post-call activity much more efficient and ensures callers are receiving high-quality service. 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 its 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 this feature makes it easy to understand trends and patterns, and make informed decisions without needing to use a lot of resource on carrying out research. Top-rated small business phone system providers in LondonWhile we've analysed globally-leading phone system providers, you may be interested in some options that are firmly placed on home soil. Here are some recommendations for top phone systems operating out of London:bOnline: Based in London, bOnline is geared towards small businesses and boasts a 4.5 rating on Trustpilot.Voipfone: Headquartered in London, this is a smaller VoIP provider if you're looking for a local solution.VoIPstudio: Located in North London, VoIPstudio also scores excellently on Trustpilot and Google for its services.Nuacom: Operated out of Ireland, London and Amsterdam, Nuacom is another provider which tops the charts for its customer support. Save by comparing prices for the right phone systems for your small business Do you already have a business phone system? Yes No Just answer a few questions – it only takes a minute 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 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.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 includes 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. Verdict Even though you’re spoilt for choice with eight great VoIP systems for small UK businesses, our top-rated recommendations overall are Vonage Pro 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!Whether you’re feeling ready to make a choice, or you’d still like to ask more questions to providers, fill in our quick and free comparison tool. Simply answer a few questions about your team’s needs, and we’ll match you up with the phone system providers you should know about. They’ll be in touch with tailored, obligation-free quotes.. ▶ Read more: The 7 Best Business VoIP Providers in the UK 2023 How We Test VoIP Phone Systems and Services for BusinessesWe 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 seven main categories of investigation and 16 subcategories – in fact, we covered 78 areas of investigation in total. We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting' to ensure the product's final score perfectly reflects the needs and requirements of Expert Market readers – and that's our product testing algorithm in a nutshell!Our main testing categories for VoIP products and services are:Customer Score: external customer opinion; the feedback and ratings given by customers who have used a particular VoIP product – the market position and reputation a VoIP software holds.Cost: the pricing structure associated with the VoIP service, such as monthly subscription fees, call rates, setup fees, hardware costs, and any additional charges for add-on features or services.Features: the functionalities and capabilities offered by the VoIP service, including basic features such as call forwarding and voicemail, as well as advanced features like auto-attendant and conference calling.External Connections: the VoIP service's ability to connect and integrate with external systems or devices, such as compatibility with existing phone systems or integration with mobile devices.Customer Support: the assistance and resources provided by the VoIP service provider to customers including technical support, online resources, and access to customer support representatives.Security Options: the measures and features implemented by the VoIP service to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and protection of voice communications and data.Scalability: the ability of the VoIP service to accommodate the growth and changing needs of an organization, e.g. capacity to handle a growing number of users or support multiple locations. FAQs What is the best phone system for a small business? Based on our in-depth research, we’ve found that Vonage Pro and 8×8 X2 are the best phone systems for small businesses. They’re relatively affordable, come with unified communications features, and they’re more flexible and easy to use both remotely and in the office! What is the best phone system for an office? We recommend the following phone systems for an office:Vonage Pro – Best overall8×8 – Best for scalabilitybOnline – Best for desk phone compatibilityNuacom – Best for customer satisfactionGoToConnect – Best for value for money How much does a small business phone system cost? A small business phone system doesn’t need to cost you a fortune! Depending on what you’re looking for and the anatomy of your small business, a VoIP phone system can cost anywhere from £6 per user, per month all the way up to £135 per user, per month. The choices we look at closely in this guide, however, range from £12.50 to £20 per user, per month. How do I set up a small business phone system? Setting up a small business phone system isn’t meant to be difficult. There are four typical steps you'll need to follow to have a fully operational VoIP phone system:Choose a provider that works for you and suits your small business needs, and activate your account based on the specific instructions you’re given.Set up IP phones – If you choose to use IP desk phones, you’ll need to set these up. It’s as easy as attaching your handset to the base of your IP phone using the cord provided. Plug your ethernet cable into your phone’s WAN port, and the other end into your router. As a side note, keep in mind you don’t need a desk phone if you are installing a VoIP system – you can still access and use it on devices including smartphones, tablets, and computers.Transfer your existing toll-free number – If you have an existing toll-free phone number, you can port this into your new business phone system.Customise your phone system – Every business is different, so there’ll naturally be features that you’ll prioritise above others. As an administrator, you can change and set up business phone system settings and assign users and extensions based on their job description. Traditional PBX vs. VoIP: what’s the difference? The long and the short of it is this: a traditional PBX system uses the landline to make and receive calls, while a VoIP system uses the internet.Both phone systems allow you to receive multiple calls at the same time, but while a PBX uses a digital on-premise switchboard to branch calls off to different handsets, a VoIP system uses an online server. Let's take a closer look:VoIP phone systemsVoIP phone systems work by transmitting phone audio over the internet. They come in two varieties: on-premise VoIP, and hosted VoIP (also known as cloud-based VoIP).With on-premise VoIP, the system is hosted on your own servers. You'll need all the right hardware for this, and you'll need to pay someone with the right expertise to build and maintain the system.By contrast, a hosted VoIP system lives on your system supplier's servers, and is managed and maintained by your supplier, not you. Over and above all other kinds of phone system, we recommend hosted VoIP to small businesses. This is because it's affordable, it's easy to install, and it tends to come with sophisticated call and UC features for your team to benefit from. That's why most of the systems we review on this page are cloud-based VoIP systems.Another benefit of a VoIP system is that it can be accessed from anywhere. Most come with an app that your team can download onto a device of their choice, and use to make calls and access the system features – meaning you don't even need to buy desk phones if you're on a budget. If you do choose to, though, you should look for IP phones: these are VoIP-compatible desk phones.Traditional phone systemsIf you're not ready to upgrade to VoIP, a traditional landline phone system may be suitable for very small businesses with a handful of employees. All you need is one line in and a couple of phones, so that more than one employee can pick up the phone if it rings.If you tend to receive lots of calls, having one phone line could be holding you back. This is where a PBX system comes in.A PBX phone system turns your traditional phone system into a multi-line system by giving you the option of adding extensions that lead to each phone. Once a call comes in, the PBX auto attendant directs the caller to the right extension number, freeing up the phone line for another call to come in.The features of a landline PBX phone system are basic compared to those available with VoIP – which is one of the reasons why we recommend VoIP instead – but you'll still be able to coordinate incoming and outgoing calls, make call transfers, and manage voicemail.Of course, PBX is flexible in the sense that it can be used with VoIP as well as the landline. In fact, many suppliers give you the option to create an IP PBX system. This uses SIP trunking to connect a traditional phone system to the internet, meaning you can make calls over the internet and benefit from VoIP functionality, in addition to making calls using the traditional landline. How many phone lines do I need for my business? If you opt for a VoIP system, you can run multiple phone lines over one internet connection, which can easily be scaled up or down depending on your needs. What are the disadvantages for VoIP? VoIP is run over the internet, so should something happen to your internet connection, your line will be down. If your connection is patchy, it can cause echoes, noise, or even delays. What is the cheapest business phone line in the UK? While Google Voice is the cheapest provider in our research, at £7.50 per month, it is not based in the UK. bOnline, at £6 – £15.50 per month, is the cheapest UK-based VoIP provider. Is there a free UK VoIP service? Number People is a VoIP service based in Wales with a free plan for making and receiving calls over VoIP. Get quotes from the best phone systems for your small business Get free quotes Answer a few questions – it only takes a minute Written by: Fernanda Alvarez Piñeiro Fernanda is a Mexican-born Expert Market writer, specialising in providing in-depth insights about business software to help businesses of all shapes and sizes thrive. From VoIP systems to project management software, she’s passionate about helping businesses find the tools and methods that will help give them an edge over their competitors. Fernanda has ample journalistic experience, having written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to cryptocurrency. Reviewed by: James Macey Senior Business Software Researcher 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.