Video, voice, messaging and more: upgrade your work comms with one of the best VoIP providers from less than £6/mth
It might not be glamorous, but investing in one of the best VoIP providers will save you and your business time and money. Once upon a time, setting up a new phone line was a chore, and an expensive one at that. Not any longer. Whether you’re working from home or kitting out a city centre HQ, opting for VoIP means you’ll get the job done quicker, often at a far lower price.
There’s no need to run cables from the nearest junction box, so you won’t need to wait in for an engineer. And, because VoIP services are hosted and managed in the cloud, they’re as flexible as email: calls can be routed to handsets anywhere in the world, picked up using smartphone apps, and often placed and answered through the browser. That’s a perfect fit for the post-covid workforce that no longer comes in to the office every day.
Best VoIP: At a glance
- Best VoIP overall: Localphone | Compare prices
- Best VoIP for small businesses: RingCentral | Compare prices
- Best simple VoIP: Sipgate | Compare prices
- Best budget VoIP: Yay.com | Compare prices
Below, you’ll find our pick of the best VoIP providers for your business, whether it’s a small outfit or a large organisation. All of our recommendations are backed by hundreds of hours of testing and research. If you’re not sure where to begin, have a read of our detailed buying guide first – or, if you’d like to know how much a VoIP provider could cost, use our quick and free quote finder tool.
How to choose the best VoIP provider for you
Should I focus on voice?
While voice communications are a core feature of any VoIP setup, they are increasingly just one component in a broader unified communications suite that may also include video, team messaging, internet fax, SMS and more.
Recognising that not every business will require the full set of features, providers frequently offer tiered pricing, with more advanced tools such as whisper and barge, call centre wall panels and video streaming to YouTube reserved for organisations signing up to more expensive plans.
While you may be able to save a few pounds by taking a mix-and-match approach, sourcing voice from one provider, video from a second and messaging from a third, you’ll usually have a less frustrating experience if you opt for a platform that can satisfy all of your needs in one. The time your staff save switching between them may well offset any additional cost, too.
READ NEXT: What is VoIP?
What additional costs do I need to consider?
Each of the services we’ve reviewed is sold on a subscription basis; as long as you carry on paying, they will keep providing the services you rely on. Don’t overlook less obvious ongoing costs, though, such as the price of cloud storage for call recording (where charged), supplementary charges for calls in excess of any bundled allowance or extra lines on packages that only supply a single number for use across your business.
If possible, talk to each of your shortlisted providers before signing up, as they will often be best placed to estimate ongoing costs based on your anticipated use.
READ NEXT: The best business telephone systems
Can VoIP work alongside our existing workflow?
If your business is built on the back of a particular CRM platform such as Zoho or Salesforce, your team is wedded to Slack or you’ve signed a multi-year deal with a cloud provider for document and asset storage, consider what changes you might need to make when implementing a VoIP solution.
Can your chosen VoIP provider interface with Slack, and does its own integrated messaging service let you reference documents in your existing cloud store to avoid creating data silos in individual chatrooms, for example? Again, it’s well worth discussing your requirements with your shortlisted providers before signing up and, if possible, take advantage of any free trial to thoroughly test a product alongside your existing infrastructure.
How we test VoIP
VoIP should be as easy to use as a regular phone service, and that’s why one of our prime considerations when testing VoIP phone systems is whether we can pick up a handset, dial, and carry on a call without having to think about the technology behind it.
In order to test each service, we set it up with a desk-based VoIP phone and, wherever possible, using an app on a smartphone. Doing so allows us to replicate the non-VoIP experience against which we can benchmark performance. We’re looking for a clear signal, free from jitter and drop-outs, over a consumer broadband connection. If the service also offers an in-browser dialler, we test that too. If possible, we ask suppliers to set up two accounts so that we can also test the VoIP-to-VoIP experience.
As a cloud-based service, VoIP is configured through a browser – which is also where you’ll monitor your use and billing, assign numbers, and so on – so we examine the back-end, gauging how easy it is to navigate the system and whether it has the tools and options you need to properly administer your account.
Finally, we pay close attention to both call and line costs to judge whether a service offers good value – we understand having to pay a little more on a monthly subscription to receive a wider range of features, but would still expect to see fair prices when placing calls to common destinations.
Get a free VoIP quote today
If you’d like to know how much VoIP could cost you, simply take our quick survey below and we’ll provide a free quote for a provider that suits you.
The best VoIP providers for businesses in 2023
1. Localphone: Best VoIP provider overall
Price when reviewed: From 75p/mth | Check price at Localphone
If low-cost international calls and cheap line rental are your primary considerations, you won’t go wrong here. Localphone can set you up with an incoming number for any area code in mainland Britain, and many countries beyond. Prices vary according to territory, but a UK geographic number will cost you 75p to set up and 75p/mth to maintain the line. US numbers cost £2 and 75p respectively, and Australian lines are £3.25 both to set up and to rent month-on-month.
Calling rates are reasonable, with calls to landlines in the UK or Germany costing 6p/min, in France or Australia costing 1.1p/min and India 1.8p. If you make a lot of calls every month, you may be able to save by buying a subscription calling package.
You can forward calls to an existing number, in which case you’ll be charged for every minute an incoming call lasts, or pick them up using a hardware SIP-based desk phone or a SIP app on your smartphone. In either of those cases you’ll only pay for your outgoing calls.
Localphone doesn’t provide group chat, video or presence: it’s a focused service that majors on providing voice comms at reasonable prices. It does this well, and with no need to sign up for more than a month at a time, there’s no need to commit for a year up front to get the best prices.
Read our full Localphone review for details
Key specs – Services offered: Incoming numbers, voice calls; Indicative costs: UK landline 75p/mth, UK landline calls 0.6p/min
2. RingCentral: Best VoIP provider for small businesses (or startups)
Price when reviewed: From £7.99/mth | Check price at RingCentral
You get a lot of features for less than £8 per user per month here, including mobile, desktop and web apps, team messaging, document sharing and call logging. There’s even 100 minutes of domestic and EMEA calls – per user – thrown in for good measure. Upgrade to the Standard or Premium tiers at £15 and £20 per user per month respectively, and the bundled calls rise to 750 and 2,000 minutes per user, you can integrate with common business tools such as Microsoft 365, Google Workspace and Slack, and you can send and receive faxes, too.
Onboarding is easy and configuring the system is just as simple: you can set your business hours and dictate what should happen when you’re closed, such as sending calls to voicemail or redirecting them to a mobile. You can also build extensive button-press menus that callers can navigate on their handsets using a clever visual editor, in which every branch is laid out like a family tree.
We were particularly impressed by the quality of the standard settings throughout the system, the inclusion of built-in hold music, and professional spoken announcements already set up. As we said in our full review, it has the potential to make a very good first impression, and make small businesses look like larger, better-resourced operations than they really are.
Read our full RingCentral review for details
Key specs – Services offered: Incoming numbers, voice calls, fax, video calls; Indicative costs: Essentials tier: £7.99 per user per month, Domestic and EMEA landline or mobile calls outside of bundled allowance 4p/min on Essentials and Standard tier; 3p/min on Premium and Ultimate tier.
3. Sipgate: Best simple VoIP provider
Price when reviewed: From £16/mth | Check price at Sipgate
Like Localphone, Sipgate focuses on voice (and fax), rather than competing with the multi-platform vendors that also roll in video and messaging services. It’s a business phone provider that simplifies the process (and reduces the cost) of setting up multiple lines for new or growing organisations.
It has three packages, starting at £16 per user per month for a minimum of two users. That gets you a free local number, visual- and time-based routing, call groups and fax. If you need more than one number, you can add them for a fee, and port any numbers you already use if you’re migrating from an alternative provider.
Upgrade to the business L or business XL plans at £22 and £28 per user per month respectively, and you can send and receive faxes for free, rather than the 47p they will cost you to send on the entry-level business S plan. You’ll also get access to interactive voice response, call queueing and busy lamps, the latter of which allows team members to spot when their colleagues’ calls are going unanswered and pick them up.
Setup is quick and easy, and there’s plenty of online help tailored to specific hardware and apps. If you want to try before you buy, take advantage of the free month-long trial.
Read our full Sipgate review for details
Key specs – Services offered: Incoming numbers, voice calls, fax; Indicative costs: Business S tier: £16 per user including one number, UK landline calls 1.2p/min, UK mobile calls 11.88p/min
4. Yay.com: Best budget VoIP provider
Price: From £5.39/mth | Check price at Yay.com
Starting at less than £6 per user per month, Yay.com is one of the cheapest business-ready VoIP offerings going. Despite this, it’s a fully fledged service with features to rival many of its more expensive competitors.
Opt for the entry-level Starting Out plan and you get a single phone number to share between all users, plus 100 minutes of bundled calls per user. Once you pass that point, you’ll be paying 1p/min to UK landlines and 9p/min to UK mobiles. Calls to much of Europe cost 2p/min to landlines and 11p/min to mobiles, and when calling India, Canada or the US, it’s 2p/min regardless or whether you’re ringing a landline or mobile. You can also send SMS messages at 5p a pop to the UK and US, and 12p each when sent to the rest of the world.
Upgrading to more expensive plans naturally increases the range of bundled features, calls and numbers. Flying High, which costs £17 per user per month, ups the bundled minutes to 750 per user and doubles the free incoming numbers, includes voicemail transcription and lets you integrate with Office 365, Google Contacts and a range of CRM platforms. Beyond this, Enterprise, at £28 per user per month, introduces call centre features and unlimited calls to the UK and 54 other countries.
Read our full Yay.com review for details
Key specs – Services offered: Incoming numbers, voice calls, fax, SMS, video calls; Indicative costs: Starting Out tier: £5.39 per user per month based on two users, including one number, UK landline calls 1p/min, UK mobile calls 9p/min.