The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Polycom VVX 250
Best overall multi-line phone
Best for flexibility
Best for ease of use
Best for clear audio
The best multi-line phone system for a small or medium sized business is the $299 4 line Motorola ML1002D system. You'll get a base station and two additional wireless stations, all with a lot of features, functionality, and clear audio.
If you're looking for something more simple, try the $70 2 line VTech DS6151, which also offers a great range of features, for a much lower cost.
Just looking for the best price? Modern multi line phone system providers can rent phones to you, or even help you operate without physical equipment at all, using IP-PBXs and software for minimum costs and maximum flexibility. Use our Phone Systems Price Comparison Tool to compare all your available multi line options and get free, zero-obligation quotes tailored to your business needs.
Or keep reading: There's a multi-line phone for everyone.
In this guide:
- Best 4 line phone systems:
- Best 2 line phone systems:
Best Multi Line Phone System for Small Business
In this article, we'll review the best multi-line phone options for small businesses with team sizes of around 10 to 50 people. To find the top performing options, we combed through online search volumes and customer reviews to rank the pros and cons of every popular phone system, separating them out into the top 4 line systems (these allow users to place four simultaneous calls), followed by the best 2 line phone systems for business, which are limited to two simultaneous calls.
Don't forget you may not need multiple physical phone lines for expanding your communications: The best option for your business growth could be through softphones, the term for virtual multi-line software solutions that allow users to place and receive calls from their own computers or mobile devices.
Whatever the case, you can always compare your options side by side with tailored price quotes for your business needs. Just take one minute to try out our free phone systems comparison tool.
- 6-way conferencing
- High-quality wireless audio
- Can be expanded up to 10 phones
The high price is due to the amount of hardware included in this 4-line system: You'll get a corded base station, plus two additional wireless desk sets for a total of three stations, each of which offers full functionality across all features and lines. Those features include voicemail, a digital receptionist and hold music, for a professional customer-facing experience. The digital answering system supports up to 200 minutes total recording time.
6-way conference calls are supported (double the capacity of many other phone systems), making this an optimal device for catching up with other business branches or with remotely working colleages. It uses DECT 6.0, which stands for “digital enhanced cordless telecommunications,” and is essentially the high-water mark for quality wireless audio.
As with any good multi-line system, extensions have status indicators so you'll know when your coworkers are already on a call, and calls can also be transferred easily. Up to ten additional phones can be connected to the system by purchasing either the ML1100 deskphones or ML1200 cordless Handsets, so the entire phone system can be expanded as your operation expands.
Starts at: $101
- Expandable to 16 stations
- 32-Number Speed Dial
- Auto redial
The corded 4-line system can be expanded to a whopping 16 stations if needed, making it one of the most flexible options for a fast-moving business. Speed-dialing can be programmed for up to 32 numbers, so if you enjoy customizing your phone to quickly dial a wide range of contacts, this is the phone for you.
Other features include an auto redial, caller ID/call waiting, three-party conferencing, a menu that works in English, Spanish, and French, and the ability to page, intercom, or transfer calls between all stations. Some reviewers have criticized the confusing setup process, but once it's up and running, it's easy to use and highly customizable, making this a particularly functional business phone system to pick out of your many options.
The system is flexible when it comes to pricing, too, with just-slightly different models bringing different functionality at different prices: The $82 1040 model is the bare-bones one, dropping the Caller ID functionality of the 1070 model.
- 6-party conferencing
- 32-Number Speed Dial
- Phonebook holds 100 contacts
The VTech CM18445's display and buttons are large, making them easy to use, and the initial configuration needed to get the system up and running is also simple. Other ease-of-use features include a 32-number speed dial and a 100-contact phonebook directory, so you'll be able to find the contact you need at a moment's notice.
The base console will record up to 180 minutes of messages, and each line's auto attendant can gives callers the company directory or route their calls to the right extension. 6-party conferencing is supported, and the system is wall-mountable for those organizations with a staff who are constantly on their feet, from pizza places to pastry shops.
If you're a growing operation, you can hook up more stations for a total of ten, with each station able to page, intercom, or call-transfer with the others. You can also add your own music to the hold music options, making this a great pick for any professional musicians out there! There's one catch – if you use this handset for a multi line VoIP system, you'll need to check with your VoIP provider to ensure it works with this phone's auto attendant.
- Echo cancellation
- Background noise suppression
- 2.8-inch color display
The Polycom VVX 250's speakerphone comes with echo cancellation, helping keep the HD audio clean, and Polycom's own “Poly Acoustic Clarity” is an additional feature that tackles background noise suppression even when you're using the handset instead of the speakerphone. Clear audio is a common complaint for multi-line phone users, but this model should be more than enough to keep them quiet.
Adding to the “easy for your senses” theme, the LCD display is in color, so it's easier on the eyes than the computer-green you'll get with most phone displays. You'll be charged extra if you want Polycom to give you customer support, though you may be able to get the same headset sold through another provider, which can offer its own customer service to compensate.
Skype is one of the finickier video meeting services, and it doesn't work with every phone system, so it's great to see the Polycom VVX 250 works smoothly with it. If Skype is your top video service and you need an integrated phone system, this is a great choice.
This model is available at even lower prices for those willing to buy or rent it in a bundle with our top VoIP provider, RingCentral: It'll cost just $159 to buy or $5.99 per month to rent.
Benefits of a 4 Line Phone System for Business
4 line phone systems can handle simultaneous calls with up to four callers on four different phone numbers at the same time.
They're best for businesses with five to 15 phone-using employees, and are useful for fielding calls with a surprisingly large number of clients and customers — if you think about it, most customers will only call up most businesses for a few minutes to make a simple request, like making an appointment. Those businesses can easily handle hundreds or thousands of customers without ever using all four lines at the same time.
The benefits are both external, as customers can easily find the right department or agent, and with the right system can also get an auto attendant to walk them through the options, and internal, as your employees can quickly transfer calls among themselves.
A 4 line system can easily be upgraded to handle even more lines, so you'll be able to suit your business needs no matter how fast your operation grows.
Best 2 Line Phone System
A 2 line phone system incorporates up to two phone numbers into the same device. On the receiver end, multiple handsets can be used to pick up calls. Callers to either of the two numbers will reach the first available representative with a handset.
2 line systems are best for home offices with two to five frequent users. Any more than that, and you're better off considering the next step up, the 4 line phone system — you can examine your options for both with our comparison tool.
Here are our top four picks for the best 2 line options currently in service from their manufacturers.
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Best 2 line phone overall
Best for new businesses
Best value for cost
Best for Microsoft users
- Answering system with dedicated mailboxes
- Phonebook holds 50 contacts
- Expandable up to 12 handsets
It's a wireless system, using DECT 6.0 tech to ensure clear audio and no interference with any other wireless networks or electronic devices in the building. A digital answering system comes with a different mailbox for each of the two lines, making it easy to keep track of which messages are for which department.
All calls are digitally encrypted for security. Other features include Caller ID/Call Waiting (stores a max of 50 calls) and a phonebook directory that holds 50 contacts. One downside: There's no option for a “silent mode,” so you'll have to remember to turn off the phone at the end of the day to avoid any 3 a.m. calls.
The VTech DS6151 is expandable up to an impressive 12 handsets: You'll just need to buy the DS6101 accessory handsets for $30 each. This phone is great for companies with two or more work stations, like multiple sales departments, thanks to the separate mailboxes and easy expansion.
- Digital answering system
- Virtual phonebook with 100 contacts
- Intuitive interface
This 2-line corded system comes with an answering system, caller ID, and call waiting functionalities, all core features when it comes to fielding calls from customers and clients. It doesn't stop there, though: The phone's range of features include three party conferencing for carrying out meetings or catch-ups over the phone, a virtual phonebook with capacity for 100 contacts, and backup so you won’t lose important data in a power outage.
The dial-in-base speakerphone includes LED lights to indicate when messages are available, though recording capabilities are capped at 12 minutes of digital recording time for each line. Only two lines are supported, but that's perfect for a small business that doesn't have many employees to pick up calls in the first place.
Thanks to the answering system's message-taking ability, excess calls are easy to track and follow up on — although some reviewers have dinged the menu structure on the handset's display for being overly complex and taking too many button pushes to access all features.
Ultimately, though, it all adds up to a capable device for helping a young and growing business improve its productivity and overall communications, though it's not the only option.
- 2 cordless lines
- Works with Android
- Pairs with smartphones
A sophisticated multi-line phone, this model can be easily paired with your smartphone, enabling calls to be made on your cellular plan while you speak from the comfort of the landline — a boon for those who need a single solution to centralize their work and personal numbers. Android users can be updated when they receive a message or call via the handset, which will beep and display the type of communication received.
Features include Voice command, Caller ID/Call waiting (up to 50 contacts, with number caller ID history), a backlit LCD display, lighted keypad, DECT 6.0 for audio quality, and Bluetooth-powered automatic connection with your paired mobile device. One issue to work around is that there's no headset jack on the main unit, although there is one for the wireless handset — if you'd prefer more cordless handsets options, we've listed some in another article.
You'll be able to connect up to two cellular lines and two landlines. The $94 price tag has dropped in recent years, making this an even more attractive deal for one of the most popular multi-line systems around.
- Links calls to smartphones
- Connects to Microsoft Outlook
- Battery back up
Panasonic's 2 line system comes with one corded base station and one additional wireless handset. It packs an answering machine, DECT 6.0 wireless audio, call blocking, Panasonic's “Link2Cell” Bluetooth capability, and support for 3-way conferencing.
Thanks to the Bluetooth ability, you'll be able to link up to four smartphones to make and receive calls (though only two simultaneous calls, since two lines are supported). It's similarly compatible with Microsoft Outlook, so you can simply connect this phone to your PC to make calls with just a click. There's one catch to the Bluetooth ability, though: The 3-way conferencing only works between the two landline units, and won't work across a connected mobile device.
A battery back up means that you won’t miss a call even when the lights go out: The system offers 75 minutes of power, allowing you to continue making and receiving calls during a power outage. Add in the system's ability to pair with smartphones and your PC, and you have a dependable, flexible phone system that works with you across whatever business devices you use.
Benefits of 2 Line Phone Systems
An inexpensive 2 line phone system is ideal for a small company or a home-based business owner. These systems will have two separate lines, voicemail inboxes and telephone numbers, all connected to the same device or group of devices. Popular with startups or companies who are in the early stages of growth, two phone lines can prove crucial to enhancing customer service, giving customers a smooth transfer from one agent to the other when needed.
Granted, a small business can likely field the customers it receives well enough by itself. But multitasking is a lot easier once you've gotten used to a 2 line system, and it makes a big difference when handling your day to day operations. Home-based businesses might like them for another reason: They allow business and home life to be kept fully separate.
Larger businesses might also opt for a 2 line system rather than a 4 line system, depending on their customer support needs. Some operations use one line for general customer inquiries and the other for technical support. However within a larger businesses it is not unheard of for there to be a 4, 6 or even twelve line phone system which has been installed to serve more complex communication requirements.
Does My Business Need a Multi-Line Phone System?
Multi-line phone systems allow a business to handle more than one phone call at a time. If you're a small business, those calls are likely external — customers reaching your business for a sales discussion or customer service attention. In either case, you don't want to keep them waiting long.
If your workforce has more than a handful of people, a multi-line phone system will help you give customers a professional experience. To be more specific, you'll want to invest in a multi line phone system if you:
- Would like to provide customers with dedicated numbers to reach certain departments or employees
- Would like multiple employees from the same team/office to have the ability to make an external call at any time
- Require each employee to have their own phone extension or a direct dial number
When considering how many lines or users you'll need, remember that the best multi line phone system for your business will be the one that best fits your needs. A system that offers more than you require or doesn’t support your business as you need it to, will not only cost you money but will waste resources as well. We've built our free phone systems comparison tool to help you compare tailored recommendations and prices for your exact needs, and find the best option for you.
Another consideration to keep in mind, is whether you need physical lines. Many businesses today instead use a VoIP phone, an internet-based solution that has all the benefits of a traditional multi-line phone system, but with more features and much lower running costs. VoIP can even remove the need for physical phones altogether, letting users replicate the experience on computer, tablet or mobile device.
Some top VoIP options, like RingCentral or Ooma, will allow you to rent your handset as part of your service bundle, which may be a cost-effective solution that allows your business to use hardware without breaking the bank.
Benefits of a Multi Line Phone System for Business
Whether you settle on traditional or virtual phones, a growing business will see five main benefits from adapting a multi-line phone system:
- Money saved – Using a multi line phone system is far more cost efficient. This is particularly true with VoIP multi line systems, where the cost of calls are much lower than a standard phone line, too. What's more, with VoIP-based multi line phone systems, telephone numbers are also hosted in the cloud, so you won't have to pay costly line rentals, and all the system hardware maintenance is handled by the provider, saving you from dealing with complex technical glitches.
- Productivity increased – Faster call routing through multi-line systems frees up employee time, allowing them to focus on the rest of their workload.
- A professional environment – A single dedicated phone number through which customers always can contact a live representative conveys more professionalism than a series of numbers or an answering machine, and can make your business appear bigger than it is.
- Better functionality – Common multi line phone system features include the ability to easily add or remove numbers, integrate voicemail, and set up call-forwarding to ensure no calls are dropped.
- Improved flexibility – As your business grows in the future, more lines can be added to the system without having to install a whole new phone network. This is another benefit that's amplified by VoIP multi line systems.
You won't want to invest in a multi line phone system if you won't use it. But if you need one, you likely know already. Have you been missing calls or losing time playing phone tag with important clients? A multi-line phone system could save you time, money and (the most valuable resource) your reputation. Compare tailored price quotes to find the best deal for your business, today.
Traditional Multi Line Phone Systems vs Cloud-Based VoIP Multi Line Phone Systems
There's no single best office phone system for everyone. Different organizations have different priorities and budgets, and even two nearly identical organizations might face different challenges and opportunities. That said, cloud-based VoIP systems offer a number of modern advantages over traditional multi line systems, making them the better choice for most. Let’s look at the differences.
Traditional phone systems, called landlines, fixed lines, or PSTN (for Publicly Switched Telephone Network), were once the only phone system available. They use physical lines dedicated to nothing but carrying analog telephone signals. These lines are copper, buried underground, and carry a current.
VoIP telephone systems use the internet to transfer the previously analog signal as digital packets. They can be wireless, turning any desktop, laptop, mobile phone, or VoIP handset into your phone. Because it's over the internet, some features are easier, like call routing, while upfront costs are lower, as you won't need to install physical lines.
- Reliable, mature technology
- Familar to many users
- Installed on-site, so your IT handles all bugs
- Large upfront cost
- Fast-growing userbase
- Works on desktop and mobile
- Support needs are handled by VoIP provider
- No upfront cost
- Low monthly cost
- Lots of features
- Reliant on internet
Audio quality was once worse with VoIP systems, but tech advancements have erased that downside.
There's just one core disadvantage to adapting VoIP: Even the best internet networks will go down occasionally. All the top VoIP providers will offer automatic re-routing to mobile numbers, for when your main phone cannot be reached, and you should check to make sure a VoIP provider has that failsafe for those times when your internet cuts out.
Verdict: Best Multi-Line Phone
But if you're looking for a simple 2 line system, we recommend the $70 VTech DS6151 for its features, ease of use, and expandability of up to 12 stations.
Whatever model you settle on, you'll more than make up the cost in savings by avoiding hours of phone tag and hunting for the right client number, particularly if you opt for a cloud-based VoIP option. Compare prices today to find the right deal.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can also opt for a VoIP system, which uses the internet to replicate the same process, typically at a lower price.
Additional wired or wireless phone stations can be added to the base station as well, typically costing $30-$50 for a 2 line system and $50-$100 for a 4 line system, though you'll need to get in touch with vendors to get a custom quote.
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