Traditional multi line phone systems are operated using a physical switchboard that directs callers to the right phone line; or simply through the placement of multiple phone sockets around an office space.
However the technologies that support multi line phone systems today, offer greater flexibility, improved call quality and have no need for vast amounts of equipment. This can be a huge advantage for your business if you're looking to compete with larger competitors with the use of a multi line system.
In this guide, we will examine the best options for traditional multi phone line systems, including 2 line and 4 line phones, before examining virtual multi line phone systems that use IP-PBXs.
Want to understand the likely costs of a phone system for your business? An easy way to do this is to use our simple Phone Systems Price Comparison Tool. It only takes a minute to fill in, and helps you to get free, zero obligation quotes that are tailored to your business needs.
Keep reading to discover some of the best multi line phones that are available to buy right now, their top features, and how to choose the right one for your business.
In this guide:
Traditional Multi Line Phone Systems vs Cloud-Based VoIP Multi Line Phone Systems
There is no single best office phone system for everyone. Different types of organizations have different priorities and budgets, and even two nearly identical organizations might face vastly different challenges and opportunities. However, 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.
“PSTN” (Landline) Systems
These are the ‘standard’ setups that most of us grew up with. Only fairly recently have other types been commercially available, so these are what many think of as ‘normal’ phones. PSTN stands for the Publicly Switched Telephone Network, which uses multiple physical phone lines.
- These are a very mature technology, so they are reliable.
- Most users already understand the system.
- In order to use these for any but the smallest offices, you will need to have PBX or VoIP-type extension hardware installed on-site.
- Many providers are getting out of the ‘landline’ business, so these systems could soon become difficult to purchase and service.
- Long distance calls are particularly expensive over most PSTN systems.
VoIP Multi Line Phone Systems
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. These systems route your voice traffic over your existing internet connection. They do not require Traditional PBX (Private Branch Exchange) hardware, but the features and details can vary significantly between providers and systems.
- VoIP is by now also a well-established system for small businesses with excellent reliability.
- These systems offer a wide variety of standard features that are added extras on PSTN systems.
- They are inexpensive, especially as most do not apply any long-distance surcharge.
- It is particularly easy to route calls to remote employees, or those who are traveling.
- These systems rely totally on your internet connection, so if that ever goes down (which still happens to the best networks) your office phones could be completely cut off*.
*Saying this, while your office phones may be cut off, your network and communications would not be. All good providers offer automatic re-routing to mobile numbers, for when your main phone cannot be reached.
As we mentioned, there's no one system to rule them all, but if you're looking to future-proof your communications we recommend you choose VoIP to benefit from multi line calling as well as other top features such as email and website chat integration, when you choose a Unified Communications service, using VoIP.
Visit our VoIP vs Landline guide for a more in-depth comparison of IP phones and traditional PSTN systems.
- AT&T TL88102 Cordless Phone
- AT&T TL86103 Multi Line Corded & Cordless Phones
- AT&T 1080 4 Line Phone
- VTech CM18245 Multi Line Phone
- RCA 25423RE1 4-Line Phone
- VTech CM18445 Multi Line Phone
- VTech DS6151 Multi Line Phone
- Panasonic KX-TG958 Multi Line Corded & Cordless Phones
- Uniden DECT4096 Multi Line Corded & Cordless Phones
- AT&T ML17939 2-Line Phone
Below you'll find full reviews for all of these multi-line solutions that can help take your business communications to the next level:
1. AT&T TL88102 Multi Line Cordless Deskphone
This multi line phone system includes the DECT 6.0 technology offering businesses clarity in terms of communication and long range coverage. Supports a 2 line answer system and features a caller identification and can store up to 14 minutes of digital recording on each line. With a convenient and practical tilt base it has an easy viewing angle to clearly see who is calling and who has called.
- Answer phone
- 2-line system
- Call Waiting
- Battery life could be better
- Headset attaches to handset, not base
2. AT&T TL86103 Multi Line Corded & Cordless Desk Phones
A sophisticated multi line phone, this model can be easily paired with your smartphone, enabling calls to me made on your cellular plan, whilst speaking from the comfort of the landline. Not only that, but 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.
- Can pair with smartphone
- Compatible with Android devices
- Call waiting
- Pricer than other models
- Range could be better
3. AT&T 1080 4 Line Corded Deskphone
This phone supports four lines, meaning that juggling calls for your business is a breeze. It also allows for conference calls with up to three people- useful for companies who don’t need a full blown conference phone system but would like the option from time to time.
- 3 party conferencing
- Expandable to 16 bases
- No caller display
4. VTech CM18245 Multi Line Corded Deskphone
You can feel confident that you’re getting crystal clear quality from this multi line phone, thanks to its DECT 6.0 technology, and the noise reduction feature means that your customers won’t have any trouble hearing you. The ability to extend the system with up to six handsets gives smaller businesses some scope to grow and the full duplex speakerphone enables hands free chatting.
- Noise reduction
- Expandable to 9 handsets
- Caller display doesn't display number
- Earpiece feels a little cheap
5. RCA 25423RE1 4-Line Deskphone
Expandable up to 16 handsets the RCA 4-line phone system model offers businesses a feature rich handset as well as added flexibility and enhanced sound quality. An intercom function allows for convenient 2-way conversations between users in the office, without using the phone line.
- Two way conferencing
- Expandable to 16 handsets
- No caller ID
Adopting DECT 6.0 technology, calls will sound clear and interference-free, and the auto-attendant for each of the four lines means that your clients calls will be answered even if you’re not available. The system can provide callers with a company directory, forward on calls to an extension number, and lets callers leave voice messages, with a capacity for up to 180 minutes in total.
- 180 minute answer recording
- Four-line system
- Expandable to 10 stations
- No caller alert on handset
- Ringer sounds before auto-attendant picks up
Businesses and callers can enjoy the advanced call quality of DECT 6.0 technology, and it won’t suffer from any interference with wireless networks or other devices. It includes all of the latest security features too – not bad at all for a budget model with a tempting price tag. With caller ID features, call waiting and a host of other useful functions, this phone is an ideal choice for any business.
- 180 minute answer recording
- Two-line system
- Expandable to 12 handsets
- No Bluetooth function
- Battery life not great
8. Panasonic KX-TG958 Multi Line Corded & Cordless Desk Phones
A battery back up means that you won’t miss a call even when the lights go out. The KX-TG958 offers 75 minutes of power, allowing you to continue making and receiving calls during a power outage. Compatible with Microsoft Outlook, simply connect this phone to your PC to make calls with just a click. It is also compatible with up to four smartphones, meaning you can make and receive mobile calls from the handset.
- Battery back up for power failures
- Microsoft Outlook compatible
- Compatible with 4 smartphones
- No hold button on handset
9. Uniden DECT4096 Multi Line Corded & Cordless Desk Phones
A 2-line corded phone, this model is expandable to up to 10 handsets, making it perfect for businesses who may expand in the future. The three way conference feature allows you to have important meetings without the need or expense of face to face meetings, and the large blue screen makes it easy to see who’s calling you, thanks to caller display.
- 100 phone book memory
- Expandable to 10 handsets
- Three way conferencing
- Display not easy to read
- Buttons are small
10. AT&T ML17939 2-Line Corded Deskphone
The AT&T ML17939 2-line phone is designed for new businesses, providing a range of features that improve productivity and the overall communications process of operations. These 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.
- 100 phone book memory
- Three way conferencing
- 2-line system
- User interface not intuitive
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