Cloud phones are the modern solution for business communications.
Using VOIP technology, cloud-based phone systems eliminate outdated and expensive hardware while still allowing users to make and receive calls from anywhere. This is particularly useful in a world where so many people work remotely. Instead of being tied to a desk with a physical landline, cloud-based phone systems can be used anywhere with internet access.
Scalability is another top reason why cloud phone systems have become so popular over the years. It’s easy to onboard new users without having to ship any equipment. Remote call centers and customer service reps working from anywhere can be onboarded in mere minutes.
Many cloud-based phone systems come with additional communication tools, like video conferencing. All of this is extremely useful for businesses of all sizes.
Which cloud-based phone system is the best for your needs? Find out below.
The Top 6 Best Cloud-Based Phone Systems
- Nextiva — Best Business Phone System Features
- RingCentral — Best All-in-One Business Communication Suite
- Grasshopper — Best Cloud Phone System For Microbusinesses
- Freshcaller — Best For Customer Support Teams
- Dialpad — Best AI-Powered Cloud Phone Platform
- 8×8 Express — Best Cloud Phone System For Small Business
After extensive research and testing, I’ve narrowed down the top six cloud-based phone systems on the market today. The following reviews contain information about the features, benefits, pricing, and recommended use cases for each system on the list.
#1 – Nextiva — Best Business Phone System Features
Nextiva is a popular solution in the cloud phone system industry.
The software powers 1+ billion calls from 100,000+ businesses, including Panasonic, Amazon, and Cisco.
Nextiva is extremely versatile. They have a wide range of communication products, including cloud phone systems for small businesses, all-in-one communication suites, sales tools, and more.
But the cloud PBX phone system from Nextiva is the best option for businesses that want a robust and feature-rich phone solution.
Available features include:
- Unlimited calling in the US and Canada
- Free local and toll-free numbers
- Team collaboration tools
- Unlimited business SMS
- Audio and video meetings
- Call recording
- Real-time voice analytics
- Screen sharing
- Voicemail to email
Nextiva offers 24/7 customer service and exceptional call quality. The data centers are protected with military-grade security.
There are two cloud PBX plans to choose from—Professional and Enterprise. These monthly rates start at $21.95 and $31.95 per user, respectively. If you want advanced features like voice analytics, call recording, and CRM integrations, you’ll need the Enterprise plan. Otherwise, the Professional package will be just fine.
Create an account to try Nextiva free for seven days. Certain businesses might be eligible for more extended trial periods, so reach out to a Nextiva sales rep for a custom quote.
#2 – RingCentral Office — Best All-in-One Business Communication Suite
- Global leader in the field
- Easily expand to UCaaS
- Unlimited domestic calls
- Integrates with 100s of apps
RingCentral has quickly become a global leader in the business communications and collaboration industry. Over 400,000 companies worldwide rely on RingCentral’s cloud solutions.
RingCentral Office is perfect for organizations that want cloud-based phone, video, and messaging software from a single platform.
The cloud phone system makes it easy for businesses to manage and route calls using carrier-grade performance and reliability. RingCentral is easy to use, and you can deploy it in a matter of minutes. Whether you’re adding a single user or onboarding an entire department, RingCentral Office can accommodate your needs.
Cloud voice, video, and messaging can all be managed from the RingCentral mobile app or desktop app.
Here are some of the other reasons why RingCentral Office ranks so high on my list:
- Unlimited calls in the US and Canada
- SLA and enterprise-grade security
- 24/7 support
- Keep your existing number
- Switch live calls between devices
- Extensions and shared lines
RingCentral integrates with hundreds of business apps, like G Suite, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Zendesk, and more.
Here’s a quick glance at the plans and prices for RingCentral Office:
- Essentials — Starting at $19.99 per user per month
- Standard — Starting at $27.99 per user per month
- Premium — Starting at $34.99 per user per month
- Ultimate — Starting at $49.99 per user per month
Whether you have a small team of ten or an enterprise organization with 10,000 users, RingCentral Office should be a top consideration. Try it for free with a 15-day trial.
#3 – Grasshopper — Best Cloud Phone System For Microbusinesses
- Easy to set up & use
- Great for solopreneurs
- Desktop calling feature
- Supports multiple extensions
If you’re seeking a cloud phone system for just one or a few phone numbers, look no further than Grasshopper.
It’s a popular choice for entrepreneurs or sole proprietors that want a phone number separate from their personal line. Grasshopper is also suitable for people running a small side-hustle.
Don’t let Grasshopper’s simplicity fool you. It’s still a complete virtual phone solution with features like call handling, extensions, and custom greetings. No additional devices are required, as Grasshopper works seamlessly with your existing phone.
All plans include features like:
- Mobile and desktop apps
- Call transfers
- Incoming call control
- Instant response
- Business texting
- Virtual fax
- Call forwarding
It’s easy to set up, and Grasshoppers offers 24/7 US-based customer support. So, you’re in good hands if you ever run into a problem or have any questions.
There are three different packages to choose from:
- Solo — Starts at $26 per month
- Partner — Starts at $44 per month
- Small Business — Starts at $80 per month
The Solo plan supports a single phone number and three extensions. The Partner package supports three phone numbers and six extensions. If you need up to five numbers and unlimited extensions, go with the Small Business plan. But with that said, most Grasshopper users choose between the Solo and Partner packages. For those of you in need of more than five phone numbers, you likely find a better deal elsewhere.
#4 – Freshcaller — Best For Customer Support Teams
- Great for call centers
- Customer histories and notes
- Enable custom greetings
- Allows for #s in 90+ countries
Freshcaller is a cloud-based phone solution and call center software. It can accommodate remote teams and on-premise call centers alike.
More than 40,000 businesses rely on Freshcaller’s cloud PBX phone system.
While the software can theoretically be used for any business purpose, it’s definitely geared toward customer support teams. Freshcaller has a robust call routing engine that includes interactive voice response and smart escalations.
Agents can transfer calls, add notes, and collaborate with other members of the team directly from the Freshcaller platform.
Other top features and benefits of Freshcaller include:
- Simple number management with phone numbers available in 90+ countries
- Pre-built and customizable reporting tools
- Shared lines
- Spam blocking
- Custom greetings
- Wait queues
- Real-time call monitoring
- Call recording
- Caller ID
Freshcaller also provides agents with a complete interaction history from each customer. This helps those customer service reps resolve issues faster.
Here’s an overview of the Freshcaller plans and pricing:
- Sprout — $0
- Blossom — Starts at $15 per agent per month
- Garden — Starts at $29 per agent per month
- Estate — Starts at $45 per agent per month
- Forest — Starts at $69 per agent per month
Each package comes with a certain number of free incoming minutes per month, starting at 1,000 with the Blossom package. All outgoing calls are charged by the minute. Rates vary by device and country, but outbound calls in the US start as low as $0.022 per minute.
This pricing structure is perfect for businesses that only want to pay for what they use. Try Freshcaller for free with a 21-day trial.
#5 – Dialpad — Best AI-Powered Cloud Phone Platform
Dialpad is a bit unique compared to some of the other solutions on the market today. It’s branded as a cloud communication platform powered by artificial intelligence.
The software is trusted by 70,000+ businesses worldwide, including innovative leaders like HubSpot, Uber, WeWork, and Stripe.
The AI-powered voice intelligence automatically takes notes, captures action items, and provides sentiment analysis in real-time. All of this helps improve the quality and productivity of calls.
Dialpad is easy to use and deploy. This makes it a top choice for remote teams, as the software works from anywhere. Whether teams are communicating with each other or with customers, all Dialpad conversations can be managed within a single platform. The software even has built-in messaging.
Other top features include:
- Unlimited calling
- Unlimited SMS and MMS
- Custom greeting
- Voicemail transcription
- Call recording
- Multi-level auto attendant
- Ability to switch calls between devices
- Call transcriptions
- Three-way calling
Some packages even integrate with other business tools, like Zapier, Slack, HubSpot, G Suite, and more. You can add a faxing package to the plans as well.
There are two Dialpad business phone plans to choose from—Standard and Pro. These start at $15 and $25 per user per month, respectively. For organizations seeking 100+ licenses, contact Dialpad for a custom enterprise solution.
To get started, sign up and try Dialpad for free with a 14-day trial.
#6 – 8×8 Express — Best Cloud Phone System For Small Business
- Simple, quick setup
- Easily add & remove users
- Intelligent call routing
- SMB-friendly pricing
8×8 is another business communication solution with a wide range of products for different needs. They offer tools for contact centers, team chat, video conferencing, and more.
But the business phone solutions from 8×8 is arguably the provider’s most popular service.
I like 8×8 because they have solutions for businesses across every possible industry. They work with retailers, legal businesses, accountants, architects, engineers, and more. 8×8 Express is the cloud phone system designed for small businesses.
Getting started is easy. Whether you’re running a home-based business or a small office, the entire setup can be completed in just a few minutes. 8×8 offers a free phone number or allows you to use your existing one.
You’ll have the ability to add new users at any time, and all of your settings can be managed from the intuitive web-based dashboard.
Let’s take a closer look at the top features and benefits of 8×8 Express:
- Unlimited calling in the US and Canada
- Call forwarding
- Hold music
- HD voice and video
- Separate business and personal calls
- Intelligent call routing
- Voice, video, and messaging from a single app
I like 8×8 Express because it’s so powerful but doesn’t come with an overwhelming amount of features that small businesses won’t need.
The 8×8 Express package starts at $12 per user per month. Try it free for one month and request a quote to get started.
How to Find the Best Cloud-Based Phone System For You
Certain factors must be evaluated as you’re comparing different cloud-based phone systems. There is no “best for everyone” cloud phone solution— what works for me and my business might not be the best for you and yours.
Use the following methodology to weigh the most important factors according to your personal needs.
Additional Communication Tools
In today’s day and age, the term “phone system” often implies more than just a voice solution. This is especially true in the business space.
Most of the best cloud phone systems offer solutions for video, messaging, conference calling, and more. Some of these communication tools are bundled into an all-in-one product suite. Other times they’re offered as a separate add-on.
Evaluate your company’s needs. These all-in-one product suites are certainly useful, especially for larger organizations. But small teams may not be taking full advantage of those added features. So you could probably save some money by going with a standalone voice solution, without extras you’ll never use.
Call Quality and Uptime
One potential downside of using a cloud-based phone system compared to a traditional landline is the call quality. Calls are facilitated through VOIP technology from web apps, mobile apps, and internet browsers.
If the system you’re using has an unstable connection, it can lead to problems. It’s frustrating, inefficient, and unprofessional if calls are dropped or callers can’t hear what your agents are saying.
Some cloud phone systems are undoubtedly better than others. All of the solutions on my list have an outstanding reputation in terms of quality and performance. Certain providers offer uptime guarantees and SLAs to put your mind at ease. The best way to see if you’re happy with the quality of a solution is by taking advantage of free trials.
Setup and New User Onboarding
Cloud phone systems don’t require any additional hardware like physical phones, headsets, or wiring. The setup for most providers should be straightforward. Some have longer setup processes and times than others, depending on how complex or customized your solution is.
Once you’re up and running, you should be able to manage new users with ease. What about when you hire a new employee? Adding users should be as simple as making a few clicks online.
Make sure you check those features out ahead of time because the day will eventually come when you’re going to add lines and onboard new users.
Most of the best cloud phone systems offer unlimited calling. But that’s not the case with every provider.
Some solutions offer pay-as-you-go pricing. In many cases, you might get a certain amount of minutes included with a plan, and then you’ll pay per minute for usage that goes beyond your plan limits.
On the plus side, paying by usage is great for low volume calling. You’ll only pay for what you use. But for businesses with higher call volumes, an unlimited plan with no restrictions will likely be a better option.
What’s the best cloud phone system? It depends on what you’re looking for.
RingCentral Office is the best option for businesses seeking an all-in-one solution for voice, video, and messaging. Nextiva has the best business phone features. Freshcaller is my top recommendation for remote support teams. Try Dialpad if you want an advanced cloud phone system powered by artificial intelligence.
Regardless of your business size, industry, or needs, you can find what you’re looking for by using the recommendations reviewed in this guide.