A cloud phone system goes beyond traditional telephony by providing advanced features to enhance the flow of business communication. It uses voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) technology to enable businesses to manage and route calls over the internet. Among many competitors on the market, the best cloud phone systems provide scalable plans, an intuitive interface, robust call management, and collaboration tools like chat and video meetings. Pricing varies across providers, but monthly plans typically start at about $10 per user, per month. 

Below, we listed the six best cloud phone systems and evaluated them based on cost, features, usability, and customer support. 

  • Vonage: Best for customizable phone system
  • Zoom Phone: Best for unpredictable call volumes
  • RingCentral: Best for advanced phone system
  • Nextiva: Best for unified employee and customer communications (UCaaS)
  • Google Voice: Best for Google Workspace users
  • Grasshopper: Best for entry-level phone service
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Expert score

Best for

Key Features

vonage logo

Vonage

4.79

Best for customizable phone system

  • A la carte phone features
  • Call flip
  • Business Inbox
Zoom Phone logo.

Zoom Phone

4.73

Best for unpredictable call volumes

  • Elevate to meeting
  • Shared call recordings
  • Outbound caller ID
RingCentral logo.

RingCentral

4.58

Best for advanced phone system

  • Call highlights
  • Robocall mitigation
  • 300-plus pre-built integrations
Nextiva logo.

Nextiva

4.52

Best for unified employee and customer communications (UCaaS)

  • Custom group ringback
  • Call forward selective
  • Alternate numbers
Google Voice logo.

Google Phone

3.81

Best for Google Workspace users

  • Usage and activity reporting
  • Free local phone number
  • Google Workspace integrations
Grasshopper reviews

Grasshopper

3.6

Best for entry-level phone service

  • Incoming call control
  • Virtual receptionist
  • Instant response

Vonage: Best for customizable phone system


Pros

  • Sleek, user-friendly interface
  • Basic plan includes 43 pre-built VoIP features
  • Rich mobile app functionality
  • Call continuity service during power outages

Cons

  • Many VoIP features require add-on fees
  • Visual voicemail locked at most expensive plan
  • Limits call recording to 15 hours each month
Vonage logo.

Our Rating: 4.79/5

Business inbox: Capture messages sent via SMS, MMS, and Facebook Messenger from a centralized business inbox. 

Call announce: When a call comes in, you will hear a custom tag announcing who’s calling and their purpose. This gives you the option whether to answer it, send it to voicemail, or transfer it to someone else.

Call flip: Transfer an ongoing call across multiple devices (mobile, desk phone, or desktop) without interrupting the conversation.

Call rerouting: In a power or internet outage, Vonage will automatically reroute your incoming calls to your backup phone number.

Follow Me: Customize which phone numbers and devices to ring while away from your desk. Vonage will continue to ring these devices until the call reaches you.

The pricing below is for monthly billing. Get a 30% discount if you pay annually. 

Mobile: $19.99/user for unlimited local calling, SMS/MMS, and voicemail

Premium: $29.99/user for desk phone support, 200 video participants, team messaging, single sign-on, and App Center

Advanced: $39.99/user for 15 hours of on-demand call recording, visual voicemail, and call groups

All plans include call blocking, conference call, call flip, call screening, call forwarding, click-to-dial, hold music, and simultaneous ring.

Vonage ranked the highest in our evaluation due to its comprehensive phone capabilities while also being customizable. It’s a great solution for scaling companies with seasonal phone requirements. Upon purchase of a monthly plan, Vonage offers 18 premium add-ons, in addition to its 43 pre-built phone features. Available add-ons include AI virtual assistant, business inbox, paging system, and SMS automation.

If you need additional integrations, the Vonage App Center is a self-service platform where you can purchase third-party apps to enable more efficient work streams. Smart numbers is another custom feature that enables a Vonage number to be programmatically routed to various APIs, allowing businesses to customize voice and messaging workflows.

Unfortunately, Vonage doesn’t support as many integrations compared to a fully integrated, cloud-based phone system like RingCentral. Between RingCentral and Vonage, RingCentral offers more than 300 pre-built apps that readily integrate with its business phone system.

Vonage is a hosted private branch exchange (PBX) service integrating voice, video, and messaging. It has an intuitive mobile app that allows you to use your work number to send calls and messages. A secure video conferencing solution is built into its platform with collaborative features like whiteboard, screen share, and team chat. For richer customer experiences, Vonage tightly integrates with popular customer relationship management (CRM) systems like Salesforce and Zendesk.

Zoom Phone: Best for unpredictable call volumes


Pros

  • Mix and match metered and unlimited plans
  • Cheap monthly per-user fees
  • All plans have the same VoIP features
  • Multiple device use

Cons

  • CRM integrations are very few
  • Unlimited calls
  • Charges extra for call queue analytics
Zoom Phone logo.

Our Rating: 4.73/5

Elevate to meeting: Turn an ongoing phone call into a Zoom meeting and have the other user join the session using phone audio, whether from their external phone service or the Zoom softphone app.

Outbound caller ID: Set a specific phone number to display on your recipient’s phone screen when making outgoing calls. 

Desk phone call control: Use the Zoom desktop client to control all incoming calls on your desk phone remotely. A call can be answered, muted, transferred, or placed on hold. 

Video greeting: Create a video greeting or video mail that is played whenever you miss a call from other Zoom Phone users within the same account. 

Shared call recordings: Access all call recordings that belong to another user, and control whether a user can delete or download the recordings.

The pricing below is charged every month. 

US and Canada Metered: $10/user for metered calls to US/CA

US and Canada Unlimited: $15/user for unlimited calls to US/CA

Global Select: $20/user for unlimited calls in one of the 48 countries supported

All plans include SMS/MMS, voicemail transcription, unlimited auto-attendants and interactive voice response (IVR), automatic call distribution, business hours routing, call recording, team messaging, and hot desking.

Zoom Phone is a web-based phone system that allows users to choose from metered and unmetered call plans based on their inbound and outbound call volume. Traditionally, VoIP providers offer unlimited calling across all its plans, which can be pricey and less flexible for users with varying call needs.

Monthly packages in Zoom Phone share the same feature set consisting of over 20 VoIP features. The three service tiers offer the following call plans: metered calls in the U.S. and Canada, unlimited domestic calls, and unlimited calls in one of the 48 countries. You can mix and match any of the three plans to suit your specific needs.

Despite Zoom Phone’s competitively priced plans, its pricing structure can confuse users new to VoIP calling. If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly phone system, consider Grasshopper. This provider is best for teams with simplified phone requirements and doesn’t require customization.

Zoom offers a cloud phone system that integrates seamlessly with its popular video meeting software. Users have two options to avail of its VoIP service: Zoom Workplace or Zoom Phone. The Zoom Workplace plan provides an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform for phone, chat, meetings, and collaboration, creating an integrated communication experience. With Zoom Phone, you get a scalable cloud phone service with flexible call plans and all-inclusive VoIP features.

RingCentral: Best for advanced phone system


Pros

  • Complete business phone features
  • Entry-level plan includes team chat and video meetings
  • Uses AI for real-time call notes
  • Up to 300 pre-built integrations

Cons

  • Pricier than other alternatives
  • Overwhelming number of features for small teams
  • Limited SMS credits per plan
RingCentral logo.

Our Rating: 4.58/5

Out-of-office for phone: Schedule the date and time when incoming calls should be forwarded to an announcement, voicemail, call queue, shared line, or coworker.

Interactive voice response (IVR) editor: Generate IVR menus using a drag-and-drop graphical interface and edit menu extensions, prompts, and key presses.

Enhanced SMS deliverability: RingCentral enables users to meet carrier and regulatory requirements and uses AI to reduce the risk of getting fined or having an outbound SMS campaign blocked. 

Call highlights: Produces an AI-generated summary of a phone call, including action items, key phrases, and shortened highlights.

Robocall mitigation: If a call is present in RingCentral’s blacklist, the call will be labeled as “suspected robocall,” including additional information on whether to answer the call or not.

The pricing below is charged monthly. Save up to 33% by paying yearly.  

Core: $30/user for one phone number, 100 toll-free minutes, unlimited local calling, 25 SMS, visual voicemail, multi-level IVR, on-demand call recording, team chat, 100 video attendees, and call management features

Advanced: $35/user for auto call recording, 1,000 toll-free minutes, advanced call monitoring, third-party integrations, 100 SMS, advanced call queues, and business analytics 

Ultra: $45/user for 10,000 toll-free minutes, 200 SMS, 200 video attendees, and device analytics

RingCentral is an all-in-one cloud communications system with complete calling functionalities. The entry-level plan offers everything you need in a phone system, including multi-level IVR, call recording, and call queues—features that most competitors unlock in more expensive tiers. 

Similar to RingCentral’s competitor Dialpad, this provider goes beyond its advanced call management capabilities by leveraging real-time AI. All RingCentral users have access to real-time note-taking for calls, post-call highlights, sentiment analysis, and AI noise cancellation. This enables businesses to experience more efficient and personalized conversations, enhancing team communication and customer satisfaction.    

On the downside, small teams may find RingCentral’s pricing a bit expensive when compared to more budget-friendly cloud phone services like Zoom Phone and Google Voice. These low-cost providers have a monthly starting price of $10 per user, making them more accessible to cash-strapped businesses.

RingCentral is a popular name in the business phone service industry with its rich feature set and admin controls for voice, video, and messaging. This provider recently reinvented itself as an AI-powered communications platform, introducing smart features like virtual assistant, conversation intelligence, and AI writer. On top of its intuitive app, RingCentral boasts robust call management features and collaboration capabilities.

Nextiva: Best for unified employee and customer communications


Pros

  • Generous toll-free minute bundles
  • Clean and modern interface
  • Supports a wide range of VoIP hardware and accessories
  • Free telephone number
    porting

Cons

  • Discounts are reserved for long-term contracts and volume subscriptions
  • Voicemail transcription is locked at Enterprise
  • Requires third-party software installation to unlock more integrations
Nextiva logo.

Our Rating: 4.52/5

Alternate numbers: Assign phone numbers or extensions to a call flow, call group, or a user’s main number. The alternate number has the same function, greeting, and menu as the primary number.

Call forward selective: Forward certain calls based on a predefined schedule, events, or holidays to a selected voicemail box, phone number, or extension. 

Call notify: Receive an email notification when an incoming call meets predetermined criteria or comes from a specified phone number.

Custom group ringback: Customize the music, recording, or message your callers will hear while waiting for a call group to pick up the phone. 

Priority alert: Set a different phone ring sound when a specific phone number calls you.

The pricing below is charged monthly. Discounts are available for over five users and annual billing.

Essential: $25.95/user for unlimited calls to the U.S./Canada, free local/toll-free number, voicemail, 45-minute video calls, 1,500 toll-free minutes, unlimited efax, auto-attendant, and hold music

Professional: $30.95/user for 3,000 toll-free minutes, multi-level auto-attendant, 1,000 sent and received SMS/MMS, unlimited conference calls, and CRM integrations

Enterprise: $40.95/user for 12,500 toll-free minutes, unlimited conference participants, call recording, and voicemail transcription 

Nextiva offers an AI conversation suite with a unified view of previous interactions, including phone, email, chat, video meetings, and social media. Within a single interface, you get a complete conversation history from different channels without switching tabs. To work better with customers, Nextiva offers easy access to productivity tools like team messaging, contact management, and file sharing.

Despite its impressive customer engagement tools, Nextiva is not geared toward businesses with basic phone system requirements and small teams with low call volumes. Google Voice offers a more affordable and straightforward alternative for these types of needs.

Nextiva is a hosted VoIP service that bundles phone, video, chat, and collaboration tools. As a VoIP service, this provider offers high-quality voice calls and an uptime guarantee of 99.999%. Remote management allows companies to configure call flows, users, and access permissions. While monthly pricing is slightly higher than the competition, Nextiva ensures a full-featured cloud phone system equipped with CRM integrations and over 45 VoIP features.

Google Voice: Best for Google Workspace users


Pros

  • Free phone service for personal use
  • Budget-friendly monthly business plans
  • Unlimited calls and texts within the
    U.S.
  • Simple to use

Cons

  • Integrates only with Google apps
  • A paid Workspace subscription is required to unlock Google Voice services
  • Limited business phone features
Google Voice logo.

Our Rating: 3.81/5

eDiscovery: Search Google Voice data on all users, such as text messages, voicemails, call transcriptions, call log entries, and the type of action done on the call. 

Usage and activity reporting: Review details of calls and texts, including the date, destination, cost, and duration.

SIP link: The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) link lets you use Google Voice services while maintaining your existing carrier.

Desk phone support: Google Voice supports various Poly desk phone models to make and receive calls over the internet. Add multiple phones individually or at once. 

Google Meet integration: This feature enables a Google Meet participant to invite a Google Voice user into the meeting by calling their phone number.

The pricing below is for monthly billing. 

Personal: Free of charge for one user, one U.S. phone number, call forwarding, and voicemail transcripts

Business Phone Plans:

  • Starter: $10/user for up to 10 users, unlimited local calls, unlimited SMS, voicemail transcripts, Google Workspace integration, call forwarding, and usage and activity reporting
  • Standard: $20/user for multi-level auto-attendant, ring groups, desk phone support, and call recording
  • Premier: $30/user for advanced reporting and automatic call recording

Google Voice is an add-on service offered to Google Workspace users looking for a VoIP phone service that provides a dedicated business phone number. A Google Workspace admin can purchase the Google Voice add-on and choose from any of the three business plans. With Google Voice, you can make calls directly from your Gmail inbox and use your Google Voice number to dial into your meetings in Google Meet.

Enterprise-level companies dealing with high call volumes may look elsewhere as Google Voice has limited call management capabilities. A flexible phone system like Vonage comes with 43 pre-built VoIP features and rich customization features to meet your unique communication needs.

Google Voice is a cloud telephony solution offered for free to Google account users and as a paid add-on for Google Workspace subscribers. The personal plan is designed for individual users needing a free local number and a mobile VoIP app with call forwarding and voicemail transcripts. Availing of the business plan grants companies professional features like desk phone support, auto-attendant, ring groups, and unlimited calls within the U.S. and Canada.

Grasshopper: Best for entry-level phone service


Pros

  • Fixed monthly fee for unlimited users
  • All plans have the same number of VoIP features
  • No extra charge for toll-free and vanity numbers
  • Offers live answering services and professional greetings

Cons

  • No team chat or video meetings
  • Lacks international numbers
  • No third-party integrations
Grasshopper logo.

Our Rating: 3.6/5

Incoming call control: Customize how you receive calls during and outside business hours, including the option to screen, block, and forward incoming calls.

Virtual receptionist: Grasshopper allows users to add the Ruby live answering service to their phone system and have professional receptionists handle customer calls.

VoIP and WiFi calling: Make outbound calls and texts over the internet when cell reception is poor or you want to save cellular data and minutes.

Instant response: Send an automatic text message when you miss a call from any new caller. You can customize the message by adding images or a link to your company website.

Voice Studio: For a one-time fee of $75, a professional voice talent will record your phone greetings.

The pricing below is for monthly billing. Pay annually and save up to 20%.

True Solo: $18 for one user, one phone number, and one extension

Solo Plus: $32 for unlimited users, one phone number, and three extensions

Small Business: $70 for unlimited users, four phone numbers, and unlimited extensions

All plans include unlimited business texting, call forwarding, inbound virtual fax, voicemail, custom greetings, simultaneous call handling, incoming call control, and reporting.

Grasshopper’s phone system capabilities are limited to calls, texts, and voicemail, perfect for small teams that need a basic communication solution. Like Zoom Phone, this provider has the same feature inclusions across plans but differs in the number of phone numbers and extensions offered. For higher service tiers, Grasshopper charges a flat monthly fee regardless of the number of users you have. It has a clean and user-friendly interface, allowing you to get set up and start making calls instantly. 

While Grasshopper covers essential phone features, it lacks more advanced functionalities like call recording, call parking, and call monitoring. If these are important for your call handling needs, switch to RingCentral, a complete phone system provider with robust app integrations.

Grasshopper is a virtual phone system offering all-inclusive VoIP features across its service plans. The entry-level tiers cater to solopreneurs with basic phone needs, while higher plans are dedicated to small teams that want unlimited user access while paying a fixed monthly fee. Besides its straightforward phone features, Grasshopper offers additional services like live receptionist and professionally recorded greetings.

Cloud phone system features

A cloud phone system consists of key components that contribute to its overall functionality and performance. These components are essential to what makes a cloud phone service flexible, cost-effective, and reliable. Below, we list the key elements we typically find in most cloud phone providers.  

Virtual phone numbers: Cloud phone services offer a phone number upon subscription. Since it is independent of a location, a virtual phone number allows you to pick your desired area code. Most providers offer toll-free, vanity, and international number options for a small monthly fee.  

Call management: Call features vary across cloud phone providers, but they typically include capabilities that facilitate routing, forwarding, and scheduling of incoming calls. Call management in a cloud phone system commonly consists of an auto-attendant, ring groups, conference calling, voicemail, and business hours.  

Third-party integrations: Integrations streamline processes by allowing users to connect their third-party application to their business phone system. This makes it easy to pull up information without switching between different platforms. For example, CRM integration lets you quickly access customer data directly from the phone interface. 

Softphone: Compared to traditional desk phones, cloud phone systems enable users to use their preferred devices and take calls from anywhere. A VoIP provider offers a softphone that you can install on your desktop, tablet, or smartphone. Regardless of the device used, logging in on your softphone lets you access the same set of phone features and communication history.  

Benefits of cloud phone systems

Cloud phone systems are a worthwhile investment, regardless of your business size. When implemented effectively, they offer a significant impact on team communication, customer experience, and the company’s bottom line. Let’s take a look at these advantages.

  • Cost-effective: A cloud-based telephone system eliminates the costs associated with installing and maintaining on-premise phone systems. Instead, you’ll only pay a minimal monthly subscription fee to access your business phone service, while the provider will handle the upgrades, configuration, and security measures. 
  • Mobility: With cloud-based telephone systems, all you need is an internet-connected device to send and receive calls. This benefits remote teams wanting to stay connected while working from home. You can also apply changes to your call flow directly from your browser and keep the same phone number regardless of your location. 
  • Better customer service: Professional phone features like auto-attendant and call queues ensure a smooth caller experience by reducing wait times and routing calls to the right department. Call analytics generate valuable insights into the customer journey, while integrations provide in-call access to customer data. 
  • Efficient team communication: Most cloud phone services integrate voice with other communication channels like chat and video conferencing. They also offer collaboration tools, such as file attachments, calendar sharing, and whiteboard. This creates a unified workspace, where teams can access the same files and communication tools on one platform.  

Choosing the best cloud phone system

Cloud phone systems are critical communication tools for any size business, as they provide a range of features that enable efficient communication, collaboration, and customer experience. While choosing the right provider can be a tough call, knowing your specific needs and budget can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your business objectives.

Vonage is our overall best cloud phone system due to its customizable phone features, making it a great fit for businesses with unique communication needs. Teams with unpredictable call volumes all throughout the year should consider Zoom Phone, as it allows mixing and matching of metered and unlimited call plans. 

RingCentral works best for enterprise-level businesses with sophisticated communication needs like advanced analytics, robust integrations, and extensive call routing capabilities. Its close competitor, Nextiva, integrates its phone system with customer experience tools, helping sales and support teams streamline customer interactions. 

Cash-strapped teams with an existing Google Workspace subscription are better off with Google Voice’s budget-friendly phone system. However, if you’re new to VoIP and value simplicity, we strongly recommend Grasshopper’s virtual phone system. 

If you’re looking for more options, check out our guide for the best PBX phone system for small businesses.

TechnologyAdvice is able to offer our services for free because some vendors may pay us for web traffic or other sales opportunities. Our mission is to help technology buyers make better purchasing decisions, so we provide you with information for all vendors — even those that don’t pay us.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Cloud phone systems have monthly subscription plans ranging from $10 to $45 per user. Most providers offer up to a 30% discount if you opt for an annual pre-payment. Bigger price deductions are reserved for bulk subscriptions with a minimum team size of 50.

VoIP and cloud phones are often used interchangeably in cloud-based voice communications, but there is a distinction between the two. VoIP refers to the technology used to make phone calls over the internet, while cloud phones are a phone service hosted by a third-party service provider.