The 8 Best Phone Systems for Small Businesses

Entrepreneur speaking on the phone and smiling

Our meticulous research has put the best phone systems for small businesses to the test, and has revealed that Vonage Professional is the top system that you can currently get your hands on. However, in a market ripe with choice, choosing a telephone system that suits your small business like a glove can be a tough shout to make.

When you’re setting up the building blocks of your small business, avoiding hidden and hefty costs is vital, as well as investing in a system that integrates seamlessly into your software infrastructure. The golden solution to all these hurdles? Investing in a high-quality cloud-based phone system.

To help you navigate through all the options, we've reviewed the eight best phone systems, comparing them on pricing, features, and limits so you can be confident you’re investing in the solution for you. For even more personalised help, why not try our free quote-finding tool to get tailored quotes from the top phone systems for small businesses?


The top 8 small business phone systems

As a small business looking for a new office phone system, you’re really spoilt for choice. Here are our top picks for the small business phone systems on the market today.

The 8 best small business phone systems are:

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0

Vonage Professional

8×8 X2

bOnline Unlimited Calling

Nuacom Unlimited

GoToConnect Standard

RingCentral Premium

Google Voice Standard

Dialpad Pro

4.7
4.7
4.5
4.2
4.0
4.0
3.7
3.5
Best For

Small businesses

Best For

Scalability

Best For

Desk phone compatibility

Best For

Customer satisaction

Best For

Value for money

Best For

External connections

Best For

Google users

Best For

Conversational AI

Pricing

£12.50

Pricing

£19

Pricing

£12.95

Pricing

£14.99

Pricing

£18.95

Pricing

£19.99

Pricing

$16

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

Key Features
  • Onboarding support
  • Call queue
  • Ring groups
  • Call recording
  • Call monitoring
  • Analytics
  • Web conferencing*
Key Features
  • Onboarding support
  • Call queue
  • Ring groups
  • Analytics
  • Customisable call routing
  • Call recording
Key Features
  • Onboarding support
  • CRM and Helpdesk integration*
  • Call queue
  • Ring groups
Key Features
  • 15 minutes onboarding support session
  • CRM, Helpdesk, Internal live chat, and email integration
  • Call queue
  • Ring groups
Key Features
  • Onboarding support
  • Ring group
  • Call queue
  • Analytics
  • Call recording
  • Customisable call routing
  • Wide range of integrations on limited platforms
Key Features
  • Onboarding support
  • 90+ platforms to integrate with
  • Call queue
  • Ring groups
  • Web conferencing
  • Internal live chat
Key Features
  • Analytics
  • Customisable call routing
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • User permissions
  • Password rules
Key Features
  • Onboarding support
  • Call queue
  • Ring groups
  • Call recording
  • Analytics
  • Call transcripts
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial

** available at additional cost

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.


Vonage – Professional

Best phone system for small businesses

Vonage logo
Vonage Professional
4.7
Pricing £12.50
Quick overview

Boasting a set of shiny features like dynamic call routing and post-call analysis, Vonage’s embrace of AI in its Professional 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.

Vonage Professional offers a wide range of customer support features and low monthly costs are a recipe for scaling up your operation. Although these come at an additional cost, Vonage also lets you tap into its wide set of ready-made integrations, as it’s compatible with systems like Hubspot, Salesforce, Zendesk, Slack, and Office 365. This allows you to unify all your business communications in one spot, giving your agents all the necessary tools to provide the best customer service possible.

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

How much does Vonage Professional cost?

 

Plan

Starting price (per user, per month)

Select

£9

Professional

£12.50 

Ultimate

£16.50 

What kind of small business features does Vonage Professional offer?

  • Software integrations: although it comes at an additional cost, you can integrate Vonage’s phone system with a wide range of software platforms, including Hubspot, Slack, Office 365, Salesforce, and Zendesk.However, if you want to access web conferencing, you’ll need to use Unytalk, which costs extra.
  • Onboarding support: only available at an additional cost
  • Scalability: through access to call queue, ring groups, an unlimited number of users, call recording, call monitoring, and analytics, Vonage Professional gives you the right foundations to scale up your business. It also integrates seamlessly with Slack, which allows you to set up a remote operation that slashes costs.

How does Vonage Professional compare to other VoIP providers for small businesses?

Backed by our thorough research, which considered software integrations, onboarding support, and the scalability of each small business phone system, we gave Vonage a 4.7 star rating for small businesses. Although RingCentral races at the same speed, Vonage strides ahead because of its rich offering of features at a lower price point. For that reason, we gave Vonage a 5-star rating for price – the highest pricing score of all the providers on this page! However, we did give Vonage a 3-star rating for security, as it’s missing multi-factor authentication and password rules, features provided by competitors like Google Voice, RingCentral, and 8×8.


8×8– X2

Best small business phone system for scalability

8x8 logo
8x8 X2
4.7
Pricing £19
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.

The scalable building blocks that 8x8 offers are robust and diverse. With features like ring groups and call queue offered at its X2 subscription plan, your small business will easily be able to deal with large volumes of callers. What’s more, with web conferencing and internal live chat integrations with a wide range of platforms including Telegram and Slack, your team will be able to work remotely, giving you more flexibility and reduced costs.

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

How much does 8×8 X2 cost?

Plan

Starting price (per user, per month)
Express

£10

X2

£19 

X4

£36 

X6

£85

X7

£105

X8

£135

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

  • Software integrations: integrable with CRM, Helpdesk, Web Conferencing, external and internal live chats, email, and more, starting at the X2 subscription. 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: provided through 8×8’s Customer Success Managers, although it’s unclear whether this comes at an additional cost.
  • Scalability: 8×8 X2 allows you to sync your internal communications, as 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 allows you to handle large numbers of callers, and gather data to optimise your small business mojo.

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

Awarded a 3.9 star rating by our independent researchers, who’ve put 8×8 X2’s features, pricing, and customer support to the test, 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 off the boxes on your small business phone system checklist. 

Although we’ve given 8×8 a 2.5-star rating for its pricing, placing it far behind Vonage and bOnline’s 5-star rating in this category, you can consider the extra couple of quid you’re putting down on the table a worthy investment, thanks to 8×8’s broad range of features. Nevertheless, we have awarded 8×8 a stellar 5-star rating for its generous customer support and security, which is unrivalled by all other providers featured here.


bOnline– Unlimited Calling

Best small business phone system for desk phone compatibility

bOnline logo
bOnline Unlimited Calling
4.5
Pricing £12.95
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!

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

How much does bOnline Unlimited Calling cost?

PlanStarting price (per user, per month)
Pay As You Go

£6

Unlimited Calling

£12.95

Unlimited & Video

£14.95

What kind of small business features does bOnline Unlimited Calling offer?

  • Software integrations: bOline’s offering is quite thin compared to other providers like 8×8, as you’ll need to put down an extra £5 per month to access helpdesk and CRM integrations. Although you can sync bOnline Unlimited Calling with email and workspace platforms, it’s missing integrations with web conferencing, external and internal live chat, analytics, and SSO, and doesn’t have an open API. This might force your team to jump back and forth between different systems, slowing down your customer service speed.
  • Onboarding support: available for Unlimited Calling subscribers.
  • Scalability: although bOnline Unlimited Calling doesn’t limit your user numbers, and prepares you to deal with large numbers of callers thanks to call queue and ring groups, it’s not the easiest system to scale. It lacks internal live chat and web conferencing, which could complicate remote working. It also has a thin security barrier as it doesn’t have compliance certifications, multi-factor authentication, or user permissions.

How does bOnline Unlimited Calling compare to other VoIP providers for small businesses?

Our meticulous research has brandished bOnline Unlimited Calling with a 4.5 star rating for small businesses overall, placing it in the third spot of our top eight telephone systems for small businesses, bested only by 8×8 and Vonage. Although we’ve given it a 3-star rating for scalability as it’s missing a few key ingredients to help your business grow seamlessly, its price is pretty much unrivalled. For only £12.95 per user, per month, we’ve given it a 5-star rating for price, making it (alongside Vonage) the most competitive in this category compared to all the other providers we spotlight here!


Nuacom– Unlimited

Best small business phone system for customer satisfaction

Nuacom logo
Nuacom Unlimited
4.2
Pricing £14.99
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. Although more limited in its features for small businesses compared to providers like 8x8 and GoToConnect, Nuacom has been 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.

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

How much does Nuacom Unlimited cost?

PlanStarting price (per user, per month)
Unlimited

£14.99 

Call Centre

£29.99 

Enterprise

Bespoke

What kind of small business features does Nuacom Unlimited offer?

  • Software integrations: compared to other providers like 8×8, Vonage, bOnline, 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: offered as a 15 minute onboarding support session
  • Scalability: with a requirement to have at least 2 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 like customisable call routing, call monitoring, call-flow designers, and setting up teams. You also wouldn’t have access to video conferencing which can complicate keeping your team connected when working remotely

How does Nuacom Unlimited compare to other VoIP providers for small businesses?

Our research has given Nuacom a 4.2-star rating, 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 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. That said, Nuacom scored just 2.6 for its features and 2 for security, so if you want lots of features and more stringently protected data, 8×8 or Dialpad would be a better phone system for your small business. However, you can know from its customer satisfaction score that not many users have faced insurmountable sticking points with Nuacom! 


GoToConnected – Standard

Best small business phone system for value for money

GoTo logo
GoToConnect Standard
4.0
Pricing £18.95
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.

On top of this, for just £38.95 per user, per month, you’ll be able to wield all the inbound communication features you might need as a small business, including call queue and ring groups – an offer that no other provider offers at a more competitive price point.

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

How much does GoToConnect Standard cost?

PlanStarting price (per user, per month)
Basic

£8.95 

Standard

£18.95 

Premium

£39.95

What kind of small business features does GoToConnect Standard offer?

  • Software integrations: GoToConnect is compatible with CRM, helpdesk, web conferencing, internal live chat, email, and SSO platforms, and has an open API. But the menu of the platforms you can sync GoToConnect with is less generous than other providers, missing Office 365, Hubspot, and Bullhorn.
  • Onboarding support: 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 of your scaling 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 cost-effectively.

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

After combing through all the information available on GoToConnect, our researchers have given it a 4-star rating. Although its customer support score of 3.4 lags a bit behind that of RingCentral and Vonage, the features you can access for what you pay for your Standard subscription gives you greater value for your money than those systems would. GoToConnect also gives you free international calling to 50+ countries, making it a great softphone option for businesses who need this sort of offering.

Get quotes from the best phone systems for your small business

RingCentral – Premium

Best small business phone system for external connections

RingCentral logo
RingCentral Premium
4.0
Pricing £19.99
Quick overview

If you’re a business that values compatibility with your software anatomy above all else, RingCentral is a great option thanks to all the external connections it can adapt to. 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.

With personalised, data-backed routing, you’ll be able to deepen relationships with your customers. What’s more, with RingCentral’s reports and intuitive dashboards, you’ll gain valuable insights that will guide business-critical decisions.

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

How much does RingCentral Premium cost?

PlanStarting price (per user, per month)
Essentials

£7.99 

Standard

£14.99 

Premium

£19.99 

Ultimate

£24.99 

What kind of small business features does RingCentral Premium offer?

  • Software 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 makes your customer service muscle stronger, and allows you to instantly draw on customer-specific data to provide a frustration-free experience.
  • Onboarding support: available to RingCentral Premium subscribers
  • Scalability: RingCentral has an impressive offer for scalability, equipping you with all the right tools – call queue, ring groups, web conferencing tools, internal live chat, and pretty much all the management features you could ever need as a small business! It also includes multi-factor authentication, password rules, compliance certifications and encryption, which will help shield your operation as you continue to scale up.

How does RingCentral Premium compare to other VoIP providers for small businesses?

Factoring in price, integrability, features, and customer support, our in-depth research has awarded RingCentral a great 4-star rating 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. Because of this, we’ve awarded RingCentral a 4.1-star rating for features – the second highest score in this category out of all the providers we’ve looked at!

What’s even more impressive is that, compared to competitors like Vonage and Dialpad, RingCentral races ahead for customer service features in our research, scoring a 5-star rating in this category. So, you can be confident you’ll have a whole dashboard of nifty features to power your small business.


Google Voice – Standard

Best small business phone system for Google Users

google voice
Google Voice Standard
3.7
Pricing $16
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.

Although our research has given Google Voice a 2.8 rating for external connections and 2.6 for features, which does put it far behind other providers like 8x8 and RingCentral, if you’re already happy with all the Google products that businesses use, the setup will be fairly straightforward and painless.

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

How much does Google Voice Standard cost?

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.

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

  • Software integrations: although you can sync Google Voice with CRM and helpdesk platforms like Zoho, Copper, Pipedrive, Salesforce, and Hubspot, you’ll have to use flagship Google products for email, web conferencing, and workspace capabilities.
  • Onboarding support: not available to Google Voice Standard subscribers.
  • Scalability: although Google Voice offers the bare minimum of management features — just analytics and customisable call routing — it does have pretty much every single security feature you’d need to feel confident 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.

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

Our researchers have put the key features offered by Google Voice for small business to the test and have given it a 3.7-star rating. Whilst it’s a great option for Google users, its limited offer of features gives it a 2.6-star rating 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-star rating in this category. No other provider equals Google Voice in security, except for 8×8.


Dialpad – Pro

Best small business phone system for conversational AI

Dialpad logo
Dialpad Pro
3.5
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

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

How much does Dialpad Pro cost?

PlanStarting price (per user, per month)
Standard

£12

Pro

£20

Enterprise

Bespoke

What kind of small business features does Dialpad Pro offer?

  • 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, it does have a pretty limited offer of syncable platforms, particularly on the CRM front, as your menu only includes three possible CRM platforms.
  • Onboarding support: 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 you can rely on to build up your business. You can also use internal live chat and web conferencing to slash costs, as you can keep your operation remote. However, its security measures do miss out on multi-factor authentication and password rules, making it less secure than other providers like Google Voice and 8×8.

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

Our thorough research has looked closely at how suitable Dialpad Pro is for small businesses, and has awarded it a 3.5-star rating. This is mostly because it’s pricier than other options, and because it could have a more lush offering of external connections. 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 and focus your attention on other tasks as you work on making your small business succeed. Despite its faults, we awarded it a great 4-star rating for its customer support, ranking above other providers like Nuacom, GoToConnect, and bOnline in this category.

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How did we compare the best phone systems for small businesses?

Our team of independent researchers has conducted an in-depth dive into eight of the most used and best rated phone system suppliers on the market. Prioritising all the possible features that small businesses might need from a VoIP phone system, we’ve narrowed it down to the top eight providers and their best subscription models for small businesses. They shine through because of their onboarding and management features, and their ready-made integrations that can help you strengthen your operation.

We’ve also aggregated customer reviews from platforms like Trustpilot and Capterra to assure you that our knowledge is not only robust on paper, but also in practice. Regardless of which choice you make to meet the demands of your small business, our research-backed recommendations will match you with the most suitable players in the VoIP market.

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

When making the crucial choice of which VoIP phone system to bring into your small business, there are a couple of key features that can help you make your decision less stressful and complicated. 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 a potential phone downtime.
  • Compatibility with your software infrastructure: when you’re entering the VoIP-verse, the last thing you want to do is spending aeons switching back and forth between all the software platforms you use to run your business. Therefore, choosing a provider that’s like a Swiss army knife when it comes to integrations is key. Look out for ready-made integrations for things 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 can. Key indicators for this will be providers that let you onboard an unlimited number of users, and come with call queues, ring groups, a good array of management features, and things 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 providers out there, our top-rated recommendations are Vonage Professional and 8×8 X2. Whether they’re the right choice for your small business is, of course, up to you. But we believe they offer affordable packages and come with modern unified communications features, and they’re more flexible and easy to use both remotely and in the office – all points to consider if you’re a small business!

Do know, however, that you’re not alone in decrypting all the options and jargon in the VoIP-verse. That’s why we want to help you cut through the noise, and find the right small business phone system for you easily and quickly.

Whether you’re feeling ready to make a choice or you’d still like to ask more questions to providers, you can fill in our quick and free comparison tool to fast-forward you into adopting your new small business phone system. 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 free, tailored, no-obligation quotes and answers to your questions.

FAQs

What is the best phone system for a small business?
Based on our in-depth research, we’ve found that the best options out there for small businesses are Vonage Professional and 8×8 X2. They’re relatively affordable, come with unified communications features, and they’re more flexible and easy to use both remotely and in the office – all points to consider if you’re a small business! If you want to learn more, scroll up and read our reviews of Vonage and 8×8.
What is the best phone system for an office?
When choosing what type of phone system to adopt, you have a bunch of different providers to explore – but the first hurdle you need to clear is whether your phone system will be VoIP or PBX. We recommend hopping onboard a VoIP phone as it allows you to easily keep your operation remote, flexible, and adaptable, and most importantly, cheap. In fact, if you want to think about it in another way, VoIP systems provide your business with the key functionality offered by PBX systems anyway, so you wouldn’t be missing out on anything by making a transition to VoIP. Then, which provider you choose should depend on the size of your business and what your specific needs are! You can read our review above for specific recommendations for small business.
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 review, however, range from £12.50 to £20 per user, per month. If you want to browse more cloud phone systems, you can take a look here.
How do I set up a small business phone system?
Setting up a small business phone system isn’t meant to be hard. Overall, there are four steps that you need to follow to have a fully operational VoIP phone system:

  1. 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.
  2. Set up IP phones: if you choose to use IP desk phones, you’ll next need to set these up. It’s as easy as attaching your handset to the base of your IP phone using the cord provided. Plug your ethernet cable into your phone’s WAN port, and the other end into your router. 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 on devices including smartphones, tablets, and computers.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 systemsVoIP phone systems

VoIP 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 PBX systemsTraditional phone systems

If 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.

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Written by:

Fernanda is a Mexican-born Expert Market writer, specialising in providing in-depth insights about business software to help businesses of all shapes and sizes thrive. From VoIP systems to project management software, she’s passionate about helping businesses find the tools and methods that will help give them an edge over their competitors. Fernanda has ample journalistic experience, having written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to cryptocurrency.