Our independent research and testing shows that RingCentral and 8×8 are the best two cloud-based phone systems. Not only do they offer a number of advanced features and useful third-party integrations, but their customer support and security options are perfectly equipped for growing businesses.
In an age where remote and hybrid working situations are king, cloud phone systems provide businesses with a streamlined way to connect with clients and customers. By relying on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology — instead of traditional routers — to connect calls, the systems can run on any type of device, making them more versatile, and often affordable, than legacy phone systems.
However, even stripped-back VoIP systems offer a heap more features than traditional phone lines. From advanced call management and handling to virtual receptionists, the one-size-fits-all solution does far more than make and receive calls. In this guide we cover cloud phones, their advantages, and the best cloud phone options on the market -but, if you want to whittle down systems a little quicker, use our free comparison tool to receive a quick personalized quote.
Best Cloud-Based Phone System Comparison
We've given you the full lowdown on the most popular cloud-based phone systems below, but this table provides a quick comparison of them:
In this guide:
- The Best Cloud-Based Phone Systems: Comparison Table
- The Best Cloud-Based Phone Systems: Reviews
- What Is a Cloud Phone System?
- How do Cloud-Based Phone Systems Work?
- Benefits of Cloud-Hosted Phone Systems
- Premise-Based VoIP vs. Cloud Phone System
- Cloud-Based Phone System – Case Studies
- About Our Research
- Next Steps to Getting a Cloud Phone System
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
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The Best Cloud Phone Systems: In-Depth Reviews
According to our research, RingCentral is the best cloud phone system currently available. It's not the only provider that performed well on our tests, however, and businesses working in specific industries might be better off with a rival. Read on to find out more.
RingCentral: the best cloud phone system for small businesses
Price from: $20 per user, per month
RingCentral is our top-rated VoIP provider overall with a score of 4.7/5. It's a great fit for small and medium-sized businesses and has management and security features that mean it can grow with your team without a hitch.
- Over 2,000,000 customers
- Very easy to set up and scale as necessary
- Top quality security provisions
- Auto Attendant, Group Calling, Call Queue functions
- 24/7 live support, onboarding assistance, phoneline & email
- Multi-factor authentication + password rules
In comparison to other VoIP providers, it performed well across all our testing categories, including a top score of 5/5 score for help and support. RingCentral also scores 4.4/5 for its overall feature offering, which includes a raft of useful inbound communication features like localized and toll-free numbers and a virtual receptionist.
Its VoIP features are well-equipped for a variety of industries, and with up to 10GB of cloud storage, its system is stronger overall when compared to rivals like 8×8 while offering a cheaper initial starting plan.
Management features like call transcripts are great for training staff, especially if you work in industries like hospitality where a staff member's on-phone manner can make or break the customer experience. Pair these features with a solid 4/5 score for security, and it's easy to see why RingCentral suits small and large businesses alike.
Take a look at RingCentral's pricing plans below. We recommend the Advanced plan, which includes features like call advanced call monitoring (whisper, barge, and monitor).
Unlimited calls in US
20 lines max. (for more, contact sales)
20 lines max. (for more, contact sales)
20 lines max. (for more, contact sales)
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8×8: The most scalable cloud phone system
Price From: $24 per user, per month
For businesses that need a cloud phone system that can grow with them, like RingCentral, 8×8 is an excellent option. It scores 4.9/5 for scalability, thanks to a wide range of security and communication features geared towards businesses that take high volumes of calls.
- 5-star security features
- Unlimited inbound and outbound calls to 48 countries
- Huge number of integrations
- More features than most VoIP providers
- Video and call conferencing on all plans
- Live chat + phoneline support 24/7
- Call-flow designer
- Ring groups
- Call queue
8×8 has a wide range of inbound and outbound call features, such as ring groups and customizable hold music, as well as a range of helpful collaboration features like a team instant messenger and task manager.
Along with a similar set of management features to RingCentral (including call transcripts and call monitoring), this makes 8×8 extremely scalable. Onboarding new staff is a lot easier if you have the training features to teach them the tricks of the trade, and that's exactly what 8×8 provides.
One downside is that 8×8 doesn't offer a spam prevention feature, which competitors like RingCentral and Zoom Phone offer on their plans. What's more, 8×8 recently discontinued its Express plan, which was cheaper than RingCentral's Core plan. Businesses on a budget looking at 8×8 will have to opt for the X2 plan instead, which costs $24 per user, per month.
However, 8×8 has better security features (4/5) than competitors like Ooma (1/5), making it a better choice for businesses operating in industries dealing with sensitive customer information like healthcare providers. The vast range of compliance certifications, as well as multi-factor authentication options. also makes the product significantly more scalable.
8×8 has quite a few pricing plans, as you can see from the table below – but that means you'll probably have a better chance of finding one within your specific budget. If you can't decide which cloud phone system plan will best suit your business, use our comparison tool to find out.
Unlimited calls in US
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Zoom Phone: the best value cloud phone system
Price From: $10 per user, per month
If you're looking for value and you don't have much cash to spend, look no further than Zoom Phone. Despite undercutting the entire market when it comes to pricing, Zoom Phone still offers one of the more comprehensive cloud phone services that we've tested.
- Very low starting price ($10/user/month)
- Highly scalable, with features for growing businesses
- Excellent average customer score
- Unlimited users on all plans
- Salesforce, MS Teams & Zendesk integrations
- Lots of management features like call transcripts
Zoom Phone scores a perfect 5/5 for value, with an impressive 4.2/5 score for features considering the provider is almost twice as cheap as RingCentral and 8×8, price from just $10 per user, per month.
Not only does Zoom have toll-free numbers, hold music, spam prevention, ring groups, call queues, and various other on-phone features, but it'll also grant you access to them regardless of the plan you end up choosing.
There are some great management features too, like the ability to set up teams and departments, which make Zoom Phone more scalable (4.3/5) than cloud phone systems like Ooma. It may not have the collaboration features to compete with RingCentral, but at least there's a team messenger and, of course, video conferencing capabilities.
Zoom offers 3 plans in total, none of which have a user limit:
Vonage: best for training staff
Price From: $19.99 per user, per month
If you operate in retail or are planning to expand your team, Vonage is another great cloud phone with competitive sales and onboarding features.
- 2.4 million worldwide customers
- Unlimited calls in the U.S. and Canada
- Customizable conference groups
- Unlimited team messaging
Vonage is a solid all-rounder that scores 4.3/5 overall, coming fourth overall on our last round of testing. Vonage scores 4.4/5 for features and 4.5/5 for scalability, in part thanks to the excellent training and onboarding features available.
If you're planning to hire staff and want to hammer home your best practices, then Vonage is one of the best cloud phone systems to do so. There's a myriad of training and conversation features, like call whisper and call recording, that will help you supervise and train staff in real-time, while they're answering calls.
However, many of the alternatives to Vonage featured in this article were awarded better scores for security, including RingCentral, Ooma, and Zoom Phone. This may affect your decision if part of day-to-day life for your business is processing sensitive corporate information, as might be the case if you work in professional services.
Like Zoom, Vonage offers 3 plans as well. The first one is quite limited compared to the other two plans, but it still has enough features to get you up and running.
Unlimited calls in US
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GoTo: great for security and customer satisfaction
Price from: $22 per user, per month
If receiving a consistently great customer experience is your top priority, consider GoTo Connect. Our research team awarded both GoTo Connect and Ooma impressive satisfaction scores of 4.4/5, suggesting they'll also be safe bets.
- Enterprise-grade system
- Established private and public sector clients
- Lots of features for the price point
- Integrate with Salesforce, Zoho, Slack & Outlook
- Call conferencing on all plans
- Call queue, ring groups & spam prevention
Although GoTo may have a higher starting price point than some of its closest rivals, it's only got two plans, so a lot of features are made available on the Basic plan. Call queues and ring groups, for example, aren't available on either of RingCentral's cheapest two plans, but GoTo includes these on all of its plans.
One place where GoTo is noticeably lacking is integrations. Unlike 8×8, which integrates with hundreds of other apps, including live chat, email, and helpdesk solutions, GoTo only integrates with MS Teams, Salesforce, Zoho Help Desk, and a couple of additional core integrations. GoTo only scores 2.6/5 for integrations overall, whereas 8×8 scores 4.2/5.
GoTo was another one of our high scorers when it came to security, with a total of 4/5, meaning it'll be a better bet for handling sensitive than other cloud phone providers.
GoTo used to offer 3 plans, but now there are just two to choose from. Considering the provider only offers the 2, they're pretty similarly priced:
Ooma: excellent customer support options and user experience
Price from: $19.95 per user, per month
Ooma scores 4.1/5, and although it's lacking when it comes to security and management features, the excellent customer support options make it easier to rectify problems.
- 24/7 customer support
- Potential to scale down the line
- Affordable packages
- Mobile and desktop app
- Virtual receptionist
- Video conferencing
Among Ooma's customer support options is a phoneline and live chat service open 24/7 – and considering how damaging a long-term outage can be to a company's bottom line, this is a great safety blanket.
Ooma has a solid range of management and communications features, but you'll have to purchase an Ooma Enterprise plan rather than an Ooma Office package, as the latter is slightly more limited and focused on on-phone features that smaller businesses will find useful.
Unfortunately, however, Ooma only scores 1/5 for security. It doesn't display any of its compliance certifications online, and it doesn't offer account-based security tools like password rules or multi-factor authentication.
Listed below are Ooma's Office and Enterprise plan packages. As you can see, there are a fair few to choose from:
Unlimited calls in US
Ooma Office Pro
Ooma Office Pro Plus
Ooma Enterprise Standard
Ooma Enterprise Enhanced
Ooma Enterprise Call Center
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What is a Cloud Phone System?
Cloud phone systems refer to the off-site hosting of a company’s telephone service.
Rather than housing your business’s phone system infrastructure in your office, your provider keeps the equipment at a remote cloud data center. This means your data is securely stored in a server that can be reached over the internet, which for most modern businesses can be additional extensions to their existing data storage.
Also known as virtual or hosted PBX, cloud-based phone systems take advantage of secure data technology to offer businesses the opportunity to completely remove the need for expensive office-based hardware and unnecessary wiring.
Day-to-day phone use is no different than an on-premise service. However, the provider oversees all maintenance and upgrades at the off-site location. This means hosted PBX VoIP providers take care of any technical issues that may arise and deal with any maintenance or upgrades that need to take place. This leaves you with a modern phone system without the inconvenience of the management and tech support that goes with it.
How Do Cloud-Based Systems Work?
The best cloud phone systems, like RingCentral, keep all of the software required by a business to deliver their customer service function on a secure server and accessed through a web browser. Without the need to locate hardware on your premise as well as maintain it, your business can concentrate on what it is good at.
Cloud phone systems are handed completely by the Hosted PBX provider, all you need is a reliable internet connection that can keep your workforce connected whether at their desks or remotely.
Cloud based solutions provide businesses with a range of features that allow them to offer a number of customer service-based functions. We break down these features below:
Virtual PBX features
Upgrading to a cloud-based phone provider means you'll gain additional benefits that a physical PBX just won't be able to offer. And yes, it goes beyond just getting rid of those tangled phone wires. Here are the biggest benefits of a virtual PBX.
- Messaging – Cloud systems enable businesses to easily manage messages and record voicemail which can improve customer service standards
- Call Forwarding – Calls can be easily diverted to any phone in the network, making it ideal for use where businesses have different departments or teams
- Voicemail – Easily record company voicemail messages and offer the ability for your customers to also leave messages when you are unavailable. Multiple voicemail messages can be created and voicemails can be delivered as text to mobiles or laptops
- Business Text Messages – Marketing or customer messages can be distributed to your customers through a text message using a local telephone number
- Versatility – The systems are extremely versatile, either using traditional office phones or using a mobile device
How Much Do Cloud Phones Typically Cost?
The price of a cloud phone will essentially depend on the size of your business and the quantity and quality of the VoIP features you require. However, the typical price for a cloud phone system tends to be anywhere from $15 to $50 per user, per month.
For example, RingCentral, which is one of the best cloud phone systems currently available, offers plans that range from $19.99 to $49.99 per user per month. These prices are fairly standard within the VoIP industry, and they reflect the cost of many similar cloud phone packages.
Some VoIP providers do sell packages that are priced slightly outside of this ballpark though. For example, 8×8 provides six different business plans that range from $15 to a pricey $185 per user, per month. These higher prices are somewhat of an anomaly in the cloud phone market though and plans of these kinds will be reserved for larger, enterprise-level businesses.
What affects the price of cloud phone packages?
Aside from what's included in the package, the price of each plan could also depend on how many users you need it for. For instance, if you include a large number of users in the plan, the cloud phone system will work out cheaper per employee. This means that while larger enterprises will have to invest more into VoIP systems than smaller firms overall, they'll often end up paying slightly less per user.
Your chosen billing method is likely to impact the price of your phone package too. VoIP providers often try to incentivize longer-term contracts, so if you're able to pay for your telephony service annually instead of monthly, this could bring down the cost of your cloud phone.
Benefits of Cloud-Based Phone Systems
In 2023, the best cloud phone systems have a myriad of advantages over traditional phone networks. This includes:
- Resource Savings – Cloud phone systems are much more affordable than a traditional landline network, not only in terms of initial installation and ongoing costs
- Setup – As there are no telephone lines to install, a cloud-based system can be installed and set up quickly and easily
- Remote connectivity – Cloud systems can facilitate operations when teams are geographically dispersed with remote staff being able to connect and take calls regardless of their location
- Advanced Functionality – Cloud systems have a range of advanced features that can be added such as extensions, management of messages, call forwarding and business messaging.
- Flexibility – Cloud VoIP systems allow companies to add an unlimited number of new users, no matter where they’re located.
- This way, you never have to stress about exceeding your phone system’s capacity, and with many providers, you only pay for what you need. By contrast, expanding legacy and other on-site systems is complicated and costly.
- Frees up resources – By hosting your phone system in the cloud, you can eliminate common IT headaches that arise from on-premises system glitches.
- Instead of spending time and money fixing phone problems, your team is free to focus on more important tasks.
- New features are easily added – If you host your phone system on-site, you’re limited to the features that the system comes with out of the box. Upgrading is a painful and expensive experience.
- Cloud systems use a single, centralized software platform. New features can be seamlessly added to all users at the same time without disrupting service or requiring the use of additional hardware.
- Disaster recovery – Some on-premises phone systems do offer redundancy and back-up features, but they require additional installation.
- Many cloud system providers, however, offer disaster recovery services as part of their initial implementation.
- In the event of a power outage, natural disaster, or in the unlikely event that the cloud center’s wires are cut, calls are saved and re-routed to alternate lines.
Premise-Based VoIP vs. Cloud Phone System
It’s important to understand the differences between a cloud phone system and VoIP.
The two terms are often used interchangeably, and while using the internet to make calls is the foundation for both systems, they don’t necessarily mean the same thing.
A VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone system is any which uses the internet to connect calls. It might be cloud-based and hosted, and frequently is, but could also be run on-premise.
When comparing on-premise VoIP services with cloud-based VoIP systems the easiest way to find the right fit for your businesses is to highlight the differences. This should allow you to identify which system is the most ideal solution for your needs.
Cloud-based phone systems are typically cheaper upfront, but businesses pay providers a monthly fee per user, which can anywhere from $15 to $50 per user, per month.
On the other hand, premise-based VoIP systems are more expensive to set up but don’t include a monthly fee. For example, Nextiva will set businesses back $18.95 per user, per month, whereas Net2Phone shoots up to $24.95 per user, per month — it just depends on your business's needs.
After a certain point, it becomes more affordable for a company to own its equipment rather than pay ongoing fees. However, cloud systems have advantages for small and large businesses alike.
A major distinction between premises-based and cloud systems is infrastructure.
With on-site VoIP, a company’s hardware and equipment is kept in a dedicated IT space, much like traditional phone systems. With the cloud, the gear is stored at a separate location.
If you prefer to keep your legacy phone system and its existing equipment, some providers can connect your analog phone lines with digital voice services through additional hardware.
If you want an on-premises solution and anticipate growth in your business in the near future, you’ll need to buy a larger appliance.
But with cloud services, you can easily add or subtract extra lines and features, often at no additional cost.
For more information on the choices available to your business visit our review of the best VoIP business phone providers, who offer cloud and on-premise options.
Cloud-Based Phone System: Case Studies
To help you decide whether cloud-based phone systems are the right choice for your organization we have put together two case studies below of businesses that have made the switched the cloud and thrived. As already outlined in this guide there are a number of benefits associated with hosted phone system solutions and why they’re the right choice for any modern business.
As one of the largest BMW dealerships on the west coast, Pacific BMW needed an advanced phone system to support its team of 150 employees. Previously, the Glendale, CA-based dealership had used an expensive, on-premises PBX system to handle its calls.
It answered basic communications needs but failed to deliver the kind of efficient performance required by its diverse staff of sales associates and technicians. Given BMW’s reputation for technological sophistication, Pacific BMW switched over to RingCentral’s cloud-based phone service.
Previously, its system provider had to send out a technician to perform maintenance and upgrades, which was costly and cumbersome. However, since the switch, the company leaves oversight to RingCentral.
Plus, rather than giving out separate office and mobile numbers, the sales team now offers one phone number that rings on different devices.
Natural Running Store
Natural Running Store is an online outlet catering to runners who want shoes and products that support their body’s natural running technique. Patton Gleason, the store’s president, wanted to stand out from the competition, but was frequently on the go, attending meetings with vendors and customers, as well as giving presentations.
By implementing Grasshopper’s cloud-based phone system, Gleason established one central phone number. Customers and vendors can now reach him, regardless of location or time.
As a result, he’s improved existing business relationships and created new ones.
About Our Research: How We Chose the Best Cloud Phone Systems
We don't pick providers out of a hat at Tech.co. All of our verdicts are informed by extensive research conducted by our in-house team of experts.
First, we collect extensive information about each cloud phone through the vendor’s website and product manuals. Then, after we’ve compiled and logged the research, we review each provider against the following key metrics:
- Price – How much is a product's starting, and average monthly price?
- Features – How many features do a cloud phone have and are they good quality?
- External connections – Is the system compatible with different types of software? How useful are these integrations?
- Customer support- How robust are the provider's support options? Is help on hand 24/7?
- Security – Does the platform offer robust security options? Do the providers guarantee VoIP security?
- Scalability – How capable is the cloud phone of scaling with the needs of your business?
- Customer satisfaction – Do customers have a positive overall experience with the software?
Once we’ve answered these questions, we give each of them a category-based, and overall star rating out of 5. This helps us to rank providers in order of their overall value and determine which may be best for specific types of businesses.
In this guide we focus on the top VoIP cloud solutions, but if you’re after a more detailed breakdown of VoIP software you can check out our guide to the best VoIP providers.
Next Steps for Getting a Cloud Phone System
From allowing your team to work remotely to helping you trim down on resources, there are a number of key reasons it makes economic and practical sense to opt for a wireless telephone system. However, cloud-based systems are dependent on a sturdy internet connection, if you decide to move on from legacy phone systems, you'll need to ensure your broadband speed is up to scratch.
If you're interested in pursuing a new cloud telephone system, we would recommend using RingCentral. Not only is the system highly scalable and feature-rich, but it's also more affordable than lots of other leading VoIP systems. For smaller teams or retail businesses, our research suggests that 8×8 and Vonage will be great options too.
These aren't the only top-notch cloud phones on the market though. So, to discover one that's right for your business, use our free tool to receive tailored VoIP quotes today.
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