VoIP Services Reviews
The Best VoIP Services
It wasn’t an easy task to find the best VoIP services. But when we reviewed 53 of them, it was clear that 16 of them are amongst the top. BroadVoice makes it to the very top as a result of their competitive monthly fee and international calling plans.
BroadVoice BroadVoice surely ranks the highest because of their affordable fees for less than $20 per month. Along with their inexpensive costs, their international calling plans truly make them shine.
BroadVoice offers three different international calling plans, making their service ideal for people with friends or family abroad or for those who do business overseas. Their simple online account management lets you pay your bill, adjust settings, view call history and more with just a couple of clicks. Another great feature is their Phone Power’s mobile apps which allows you to make and receive VoIP calls, perfect for the man or woman on the go. It’s no question to us why BroadVoice is the industry’s leading VoIP Service.
Lingo’s VoIP reasonably priced monthly plans put them on the top of our list for the best affordable VoIP service, starting at $10 per month. You and your wallet will be happy knowing there is no activation fee with Lingo. Another benefit of signing up for this VoIP service is the their plans come with free shipping and a free lease of the VoIP adapter.
Choosing the best VoIP service for you
Individuals looking for a specific type of VoIP plan should start with one of the lists below, which highlight the companies that excel in one particular area and offer a variety of plans tailored to a certain kind of consumer.
How we chose the best VoIP Service
We compiled a list of 53 VoIP providers and chose 16 of the best to review based on 69 of the most important features.
What VoIP service features matter and why
Contract describes the commitment a customer must make when they purchase the VoIP service and the types of fees they can expect to pay. The majority of companies offer month-to-month plans with an option to commit to a one- or two-year contract in exchange for a lower monthly rate. Less common but still available are pay-as-you-go plans, which enable users to purchase a preset amount of minutes and buy more as needed. The best VoIP services come with a money-back guarantee, usually for the first 30 days, enabling customers to cancel their service and receive a full refund. Setup and early termination fees are charged by some companies, so this is also something to be aware of when choosing between VoIP service providers. This is an important category because it contains essential information about the company’s services and will likely play a crucial role in determining the best VoIP service for a given consumer.
Most important contract features
- Money-Back Guarantee – The company will refund your money if you’re not satisfied with the VoIP service.
- No Contract – You can get VoIP service without signing a contract.
- No Early Termination Fees – The company doesn’t charge any early termination fees.
- No Long-Term Contract – You can get VoIP service without signing a contract that is longer than one year.
- No Setup Fees – The company doesn’t charge any setup fees.
- Pay-As-You-Go – The company allows you to purchase minutes as needed rather than paying a monthly fee.
Service Plans discusses the types of plans available from the VoIP provider. In most cases, these plans are broken down into two types: residential and business. Almost all plans come with free calls to others using the same VoIP service and unlimited local and long-distance calling inside the U.S. Some VoIP providers stand out by allowing customers to make calls to Puerto Rico and Canada for the price of a local call rather than imposing international rates. Individuals or businesses who intend to make a lot of international calls would do well to look for a plan that offers unlimited international minutes to the countries they need. These plans are not as common, but they are out there. This is another category worth paying close attention to because it can quickly tell a lot about the company’s services and whether or not they’re a good fit for a specific person or organization.
Most important service plan features
- Business Plans – The company offers service plans designed for small businesses and enterprises.
- Canada – You don’t have to pay international rates when calling Canada.
- Free In-Network Calls – You can call others who have the same VoIP service without using your minutes.
- Puerto Rico – You don’t have to pay international rates when calling Puerto Rico.
- Residential Plans – The company offers service plans designed for individual and home use.
- Unlimited International Minutes – The company offers VoIP service plans with unlimited international minutes to select countries.
- Unlimited Local and Long Distance – The company offers VoIP service plans with unlimited local and long distance minutes.
Available Numbers describes the types of phone numbers available with the VoIP phone service plan. In many cases, it’s possible for a consumer to port their current home phone number over to the VoIP provider. All major companies also enable users to purchase a new phone number in any available area code around the country. Business owners typically have the additional option of choosing a toll-free phone number. The best VoIP service providers also offer vanity numbers, enabling users to spell out a message in numbers. Individuals looking for a specific type of phone number will want to pay close attention to this category.
Most important phone number features
- Keep Your Phone Number – You can keep your old phone number when you switch to the VoIP service.
- Local Number – You can select a local phone number for your VoIP service.
- Toll-Free Number – You can select a toll-free phone number for your VoIP service.
- Vanity Number – You can select a vanity phone number for your VoIP service.
- Virtual Number – You can select a virtual phone number, which enables others to make long distance calls to you for the price of a local call.
Business Services, as the name implies, has to do with the services the VoIP provider offers to business users. Larger companies will appreciate the option to set up automated menus to direct callers to the right people. In most cases, it’s possible to use VoIP service to send and receive faxes, so it’s not necessary to keep a traditional phone line for this purpose. The best VoIP service providers also integrate with popular business software, including Microsoft Outlook, CRM software, and cloud storage services. This category will be critical for business owners, but those looking for residential VoIP service can ignore this one.
Most important business service features
- Auto Attendant – You can set up automated menus to help direct callers to the right place.
- Cloud Storage Integration – The VoIP service integrates with popular cloud storage services, such as Box and Dropbox.
- CRM Software Integration – The VoIP service integrates with popular CRM software, such as Salesforce.
- Fax – You can send and receive faxes using the VoIP service.
- Music on Hold – You can set up music or messages that play for your callers while they’re on hold.
- Outlook Integration – The VoIP service integrates with Microsoft Outlook.
- Unlimited Extensions – You can add extensions with unlimited calling to your VoIP plan for a flat, monthly rate per extension.
- Virtual Extensions – You can add virtual extensions to your VoIP plan.
Call Management encompasses the various tools consumers can use to manage their incoming and outgoing calls. Features like call waiting and caller ID come standard with just about every VoIP service plan. Services like anonymous call rejection and Do Not Disturb, which sends all calls directly to voicemail, are available with the majority of companies. One particularly valuable tool worth paying attention to is the option to add a failsafe number, which is the number all calls get forwarded to in the event of a power or Internet outage. This category contains a lot of the basic features related to making and receiving calls, but many VoIP providers score well in this area, so it shouldn’t have a significant impact on most people’s decisions.
Most important call management features
- Anonymous Call Rejection – You can program your VoIP phone service to reject incoming calls from unknown callers.
- Call Blocking – You can block certain numbers from calling you.
- Caller ID – You can see who is calling you before you answer the phone.
- Caller ID Block – You can make phone calls without your information showing up on Caller ID.
- Call Forwarding – You can forward a call to a different number.
- Call Hold – You can put a caller on hold until you’re ready to answer the phone.
- Call Return – You can see who called you and choose to return the call without redialing.
- Call Waiting – You can see who is calling even if you’re on the other line and either answer the call or let it go to voicemail.
- Do Not Disturb – You can program your VoIP phone service to send calls directly to voicemail.
- Failsafe – Your calls are automatically forwarded to a predetermined number in the event of a loss of power or Internet service.
- Find Me – You can program your VoIP phone service to ring multiple phones, either simultaneously or in sequence.
- Speed Dial – You can call someone by pressing a single preprogrammed button rather than dialing the whole number.
- Three-Way Calling – You can dial a second phone number while already on the line with someone else.
Phones and Devices
Phones and Devices deals with the equipment necessary to use the VoIP service. An adapter is needed to connect the home phones to the Internet. Some companies enable their customers to use adapters they already have, while other companies require a new adapter. Many times, this costs extra, either for a one-time charge when the service is purchased or a monthly rental fee. The best VoIP service providers won’t charge any fees for their adapters and ship them for free. Users also have the option of making phone calls using the company’s mobile apps or a softphone, which enables customers to make calls directly from their computer. The top VoIP providers also offer products like new phones or backup batteries to their customers. These items aren’t essential to a VoIP service, but they are an undeniably nice bonus. This category is definitely worth keeping an eye on, especially for individuals hoping to use a VoIP adapter they already have rather than purchasing a new one.
Most important phone and device features
- Android App – The company offers an Android app you can use to access the VoIP service on the go.
- Backup Battery – The company offers a backup battery to help maintain your VoIP service in the event of a power or Internet outage.
- Bring Your Own Device – You can use your own adapter if it is compatible with the VoIP service.
- Free Adapter – The company provides the VoIP adapter free of charge when you sign up for their service.
- Free Shipping – The company ships your phones and devices to you free of charge.
- iPhone App – The company offers an iPhone app you can use to access the VoIP service on the go.
- Purchase Phones – You can purchase a new phone that’s compatible with the VoIP service.
- Softphone – You can make calls through the VoIP service directly from your computer.
Support describes the ways a customer can contact the VoIP service provider. Live chat and phone support are the most common and enable consumers to get quick answers from a representative. Other means of support include sending an email to the company or reaching out to them through social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. These methods aren’t as quick, but they suffice for less time-sensitive questions. This isn’t the most important consideration when choosing a VoIP phone service, but it’s useful to have customer support standing by if an unexpected issue arises.
Most important support features
- Email – The company has an email or ticket system dedicated to support.
- Live Chat – The company offers live chat support.
- Phone – You can contact the company by phone to get support.
- Social Media – You can contact the company with questions through social media websites.
Voicemail refers to the ways customers are able to access their voicemail messages through the VoIP phone service. As with traditional phone service, VoIP technology enables users to listen to their messages directly from their home phone or answering machine. Messages are also accessible through a customer’s online account on the VoIP provider’s website and through email, if that option is set up. Voicemail is an important part of a phone service, but it’s pretty much the same with every company, so it shouldn’t be a critical category when choosing a VoIP provider.
Most important voicemail features
- Basic Voicemail – Callers can leave a recorded message for you in your voicemail inbox if you don’t answer the phone.
- Remote Voicemail Access – You can access your voicemail from any phone and from your online account.
- Voicemail-to-Email – A copy of every voicemail you receive is sent to an email address you specify.
Extras are bonus services offered by the VoIP provider. Some companies offer a free second line with the purchase of a plan or video call capability for those using the company’s softphone or mobile apps. HD Voice technology is another valuable asset because it improves the quality of the phone call. Then, there’s Enhanced 911 service, now required of all VoIP providers by the FCC. This automatically sends the user’s address to emergency services when they call 911 to ensure they receive the assistance they need as quickly as possible. While all these services are nice to have, they’re not likely to be deciding factors when selecting a VoIP provider.
Most common extras
- Enhanced 911 – Your address and phone number are sent to emergency services when you call 911 to help them identify your location.
- Free Second Line – The company offers a free second line when you purchase VoIP service.
- HD Voice – The VoIP service uses HD voice technology to improve call quality.
- Video Calls – You can make video calls from your computer or mobile phone using the VoIP service.
Best VoIP Services: Summed Up
Learning Materials explains the resources available on the VoIP provider’s website to help customers understand how the service works and answer common questions. An FAQ page is a good place to start. If that doesn’t answer the question, head over to the company’s knowledge base for more details on how to use the VoIP service and troubleshoot issues. Finally, most companies provide some kind of user guide, which walks users through setting up the system and using it to make and receive phone calls. These materials are helpful, especially to those who are new to VoIP phone service, but this isn’t likely to be a make-or-break category for most people.
Most common learning materials
- FAQs – The company provides a list of answers to frequently asked questions.
- Knowledge Base – The company provides a knowledge base of detailed help articles.
- User Guide – A user guide or training manual is provided by the company.
Online Tools are the online resources the company offers for managing the VoIP account. All major VoIP providers offer an online account where customers can view call logs, pay their bills, and adjust their account settings. For those with a slow Internet connection, it may be wise to select a company that offers a bandwidth saver tool, which enables customers to reduce the amount of bandwidth used by the VoIP service. Certain companies also offer Click-to-Call functionality. This integrates with popular web browsers and lets users make phone calls through the company’s softphone by clicking on the phone number on the screen. These tools are undoubtedly useful, but the category as a whole is less important because many companies perform well in this area.
Most important online tools
- Bandwidth Saver – You can reduce the amount of bandwidth the VoIP service uses, if necessary.
- Click to Call – The VoIP service integrates with your Internet browser, enabling you to dial a phone number with one click.
- Online Account – You can manage your VoIP account and pay your bill online.