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Best cloud phone systems of 2020: buy a business PBX system in the cloud

TechRadar logo TechRadar 1/30/2020 Nate Drake
a group of people sitting at a table: Best cloud phone systems © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. Best cloud phone systems

Editor's note: Looking for a cloud phone system and PBX for your business? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

Cloud-based phone systems are now increasingly replacing old PBX (Private Branch Exchange) hardware, and can offer a much more versatile performance while including a rich range of features as standard. 

Better still, pricing works out as much more efficient as you are paying for what you use, rather than having to invest in expensive on-premises hardware. This means that even small businesses can now access VoIP services and phone system features normally only enterprise companies could afford to build.

The result is that a small business can have a cloud-based phone system that also provides Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), for keeping all messaging, calls, and video conferencing working from the same platform. 

On top of this, small businesses can even use cloud-based contact centers by utilizing Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) provisions which are sometimes built into existing cloud-based phone systems.

Overall, cloud services have been transforming and revolutionizing the telecoms industry and the range of services that can be provided and made accessible. As we move into 2020, here we'll feature the best in cloud phone systems.

  • Want your company or services to be added to this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to desire.athow@futurenet.com with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line. 

Best cloud business phone systems - at a glance

  1. RingCentral Office
  2. Ooma Office
  3. Dialpad
  4. 8x8 X series
  5. Vonage Business Cloud
a screenshot of a social media post: (Image credit: RingCentral Office) © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. (Image credit: RingCentral Office)

1. RingCentral Office

The powerful cloud phone system

Demo available
Unlimited video & audio meetings
UI learning curve

RingCentral is a provider of cloud-based communications and collaboration solutions. It was founded in 1999.

The solution includes all PBX administration functions, Android and iOS apps and unlimited calling.

There is a comprehensive set of features included as standard, including call logging, monitoring, recording, and online faxing. It also offers HD voice and audioconferencing through mobile devices, as well as team collaboration through screen sharing and HD video for both tasks as well as video conferencing.

RingCentral offer several pricing tiers for small businesses. These range from $19.99 for the ‘Essentials’ package to $49.99 for the ‘Ultimate’ package. All plans include unlimited phone calls, unlimited business SMS and mobile apps. They also offer unlimited video and audio meetings with screen sharing on both the desktop and mobile apps. However, the number of screen-sharing users is limited by the package you choose.

For enterprise business, subscribers can request a demo and a quote by filling out a form on the website.

Read our review of RingCentral Office here.

a screenshot of a cell phone: (Image credit: Ooma Office) © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. (Image credit: Ooma Office)

2. Ooma Office

The accessible cloud phone system

35+ features
Budget pricing
Hardware available

Ooma Office is a cloud-based business VoIP solution aimed at providing enterprise-level features and service for small business customers.

Even better is that Ooma doesn't lock you into a contract, meaning you can set up and stay with them only as long as you want, with no penalties.

There are a number of features available to help ensure your business phone service sounds professional to customers, such as extensions, a multi-level virtual receptionist and call transfers, as well as conferencing features. 

Additionally there is a mobile app for use on smartphones so that you and your staff can use the Ooma phone system while on the go out of the office.

Ooma is compatible with a number of existing VoIP protocols, but new customers can buy a specially-built base station with range extenders. Existing businesses should be able to use their existing VoIP equipment, but additional phones and bundles are available if required.

Another advantage of Ooma is that it has a single flat-rate fee for small businesses of $19.95 per user, which is a lot cheaper than many other providers, making it particularly price-competitive.

Read our review of Ooma Office here.

a screenshot of a cell phone: (Image credit: Dialpad) © Provided by TechRadar (Image credit: Dialpad)

3. Dialpad

The innovative cloud phone system

Full service PBX
Soft phone apps
AI contact center

Dialpad is one of the more recent companies in the cloud PBX market, and as the system has been built from the ground up for this it means you avoid the issues that legacy providers have traditionally suffered from, such as drop outs and poor voice quality.

It provides all the features you'd expect from a business phone system, such as voice, video, and messaging options, from your existing devices using soft phone apps, and there are also options for automation, web conferencing, and an AI-powered call center platform.

Dialpad also advertises its Voice Intelligence feature, which uses AI to support human users through a combination of speech recognition, natural language processing, machine learning, and real-time coaching. This allows transcripts and analytics to be automatically for all calls, making it easier to better learn and understand your business workflows and customer experiences.

Overall, Dialpad offers a full-service cloud PBX platform for business users. Set up takes only five minutes, and there's a fourteen day free trial available.

Read our review of Dialpad here.

a screenshot of a cell phone: (Image credit: 8x8) © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. (Image credit: 8x8)

4. 8x8 X Series

The transformative cloud phone system

Mobile apps
Good customer support
Relatively Expensive 

The 8x8 X Series cloud-powered business phone system offers a feature-packed bundle that means even with the most basic plan, you still have a comprehensive set of services as you'd expect with a ful-blown business PBX system.

There's a comprehensive range of features in the start X Series X 2 plan, including all aspects of call handling, auto-attendant, as well as audio and video conferencing with screen sharing supported.

Team messaging and SMS is also included, as is voicemail services which includes voicemail transcriptions. Integrations include Office 365 and G Suite.

All this comes in at $25 per user per month, which makes for a competitive service that could very much appeal to small and medium businesses.

After that, for $45 per user per month, the X Series X4 plan adds an operator switchboard, analytics, and call quality reporting, as well as extending unlimited calling from 14 to 47 countries.

There are more advanced X6 and X8 plans aimed at enterprises, with pricing starting from $110 per user per month.

Read our review of 8x8 Virtual Office Pro here.

a screenshot of a cell phone: (Image credit: Vonage) © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. (Image credit: Vonage)

5. Vonage Business Cloud

The traditional cloud phone system

Mobile apps
Web-based console
Some connectivity issues

Vonage is an internet telephony service which provides business and residential telecommunication services. They were founded in 2001.

Vonage Business Cloud provides users with video conferencing and online collaboration. The solution offers businesses access to a web-based console. Users can view extension numbers, the number porting tool and setup guide.

Subscribers have access to a variety of plug-ins as well as services. Some plug-ins are free such as integration with Clio, ConnectWise, Google G Suite and Microsoft Dynamics.

The plans are priced depending on the number of lines required. For example, the Mobile Plan covers 1-4 lines and costs $19.99 per line per month, and offers unlimited calls and SMS, mobile and desktop apps, and team messaging.

The Premium plan at $29.99 per month per line adds video conferencing, messaging, and file-sharing for up to 100 people, as well as a a multi-level auto-attendant, and CRM integrations with Salesforce, Office 365, and Zoho.

Vonage offer a 14-day free trial for all packages.

Some users have claimed that calls can disconnect at times.

Read our review of Vonage Business Cloud here.

Other cloud phone systems and PBX options to consider

We've only scratched the surface in terms of cloud-hosted phone and PBX providers with considering for your business. Here's we'll look at some additional options which are well worth a look:

aircall is one of the more innovative cloud-based phone providers for business. Not only is it entirely cloud-based, making it an excellent choice for those with mobile devices, it also comes with a ton of standard features. Even better, it comes not just with analytics, but with a huge number of integrations, such as SalesForce, Zendesk, Zoho, Freshdesk, and Shopify.

Jive by LogMeIn is another company that offers a hosted cloud VoIP system which combines both voice and video, making it ideal for use on mobile devices such as cell phones. It also comes with a lot of standard features, including analytics, and of course video conferencing. Although it starts from $29.95 per user for up to 4 users, the cost-per-user decreases the more users you sign up.

Microsoft Phone System is part of the Microsoft Teams stable, which not only offers cloud-hosting calling, conferencing, and chat, but also promises full integration with the Office 365 office software suite. However, if you don't want to move to the cloud you can use your existing PBX hardware.

MiCloud Connect is the hosted PBX solution by one of the world's biggest specialist VoIP providers. Although it looks geared more to enterprise, it's also accessible to smaller business, with a range of scales available according to need. It also comes with CRM options and a host of other features to improve business operations.

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