Multi-Line Phone Systems For Business

By Aimee Bradshaw

Find out the differences between traditional and PBX multi-line phone systems, and discover which solution is best for your business


Whether it’s your customers calling, or your stakeholders, having them fighting over one phone line isn’t efficient business. Luckily, multi-line phone systems are here to help.

These days, multi-line phone systems come in two forms: key phone and PBX. But how do you know which one to use?

In our breakdown of the best multi-line phone systems, we’ve provided you with a selection of key phone systems and PBX hybrid phone systems, and provided you with the information you need to decide on the right solution for your business. 

If you’re unsure on which type of phone system is suitable for your business, check out our multi-line phone system guide at the bottom of this article. Alternatively, take a look at our small business office phone systems article for more options. 

If you’re all set, take a look at the section below to discover the best multi-line phone system for your business.



The best multi-line phone systems

From our research, we’ve discovered that the best multi-line phone systems are:

  • Uniden DECT4096 multi-line Corded & Cordless Phones
  • Orchid Telecom KP416 Key Phone
  • AT&T TL88102 Cordless Phone
  • VTech CM18245 multi-line Corded Deskphone
  • BT Converse 2100 Corded Telephone

Let’s have a look at the top multi-line phone systems, rated.

Phone handsetStar ratingPBX compatible?Number of linesMaximum number of handsets
Uniden DECT4096 multi-line Corded & Cordless PhonesNo210
Orchid Telecom PBX 308+ Starter PackYes38
AT&T TL88102 Cordless PhoneNo212
VTech CM18245 multi-line Corded DeskphoneYes410
BT Versatility 4 line Analogue Telephone System Yes48

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Which multi-line phone system is right for me?

Read up on our choice of the best multi-line phone systems to find out which solution you should be investing in.

1.Uniden DECT4096 multi-line Corded & Cordless Phones

This phone system takes calls from two lines, and comes with an additional deskphone so you can pick up both lines at the same time. It’s expandable up to ten handsets, so it’ll grow as your business blossoms. Lastly, with advanced phonebook features, call transfer, a built in alarm clock, and schedule reminders, any small business will find this phone system a valuable tool in the office.

Overall Rating:

Standout features

  • 2 lines
  • Caller ID display
  • Expandable up to ten handsets
  • Call transfer

2. Orchid Telecom PBX 308+ Starter Pack

A PBX multi-line system is a grade up from the key phone multi-line system. This is because it offers features such as auto attendant, multiple call handling, and auto fax detect. With the ability to take up to three calls at the same time, plus the option to add up to 8 extensions, this is the perfect phone system for expanding offices. And don’t forget – because it’s a PBX system, the auto attendant can root a call to the right department handset!

Overall Rating:

Standout features

  • 3 lines
  • Auto attendant
  • 3 party conferencing
  • Play your own hold music

3.  AT&T TL88102 Cordless Phone

With the option to add up to 12 handsets, this is the ideal cheap multi-line phone system for small to medium sized businesses. There’s a mailbox for each line, and with dual caller ID functionality, you’ll be able to see both caller numbers at the same time. Thanks to call screening and call intercepting functions, you’ll be able to pass on low priority calls. And with a high contrast LCD screen combining with DECT high quality voice and sound, using this phone in a busy office environment should be a breeze.

Overall Rating:

Standout Features

  • 2 lines
  • Long range between deck and handsets
  • Dual Caller ID functionality
  • 4 party conferencing

4. VTech CM18245 multi-line Corded Deskphone

This VTech multi-line phone system has two great features to its name. One: it’s PBX, so think auto attendant, digital answering system, and customizable hold music. Secondly: it can receive up to four phone lines. Combine this with the fact that you can expand this system by ten handsets, and you can see that it’s a great option for small businesses that receive a high volume of phone calls.

Overall Rating:

Standout Features

  • 4 lines
  • Auto attendant
  • 4 party conferencing
  • Start, stop, repeat, and skip recorded messages

5. BT Versatility 4 line Analogue Telephone System

If you have a fast growing business, you’ll need a phone system that can rapidly grow with you. BT’s Versatility multi-line phone system doesn’t just stop at four lines. With the right expansion equipment, you can increase the number of lines to eight, with 16 handsets. While it doesn’t offer the same tech advantages as a VoIP phone system, this is certainly one to look at if you’re not quite ready to make a larger investment.

Overall Rating:

Standout Features

  • Massive extension potential
  • Auto attendant
  • Manager/secretary set up
  • Multitude of divert options

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Multi-line phone system guide

Key phone vs PBX phone – what’s the difference?

As we briefly mentioned at the start of the article, there are two types of multi-line phone system – key phone and PBX.  

A key phone is a bog-standard phone. It doesn’t do anything particularly special feature-wise – it just has the ability to receive calls from more than one phone line. This is fine if you own a small business with a lower volume of calls, but not so great if you own a growing business, and you’re looking to pay more attention to customer experience.

Take a look at the table below to see how features between the two phone systems compare.

Handles more than two linesHandset extension kits VoicemailCall transferAuto attendant Hold music Basic call reporting
Key phone
PBX phone

As you can see, the features that enable you to change the way you interact with your customers are only available on a PBX phone. So, while a multi-line PBX system is more expensive to purchase up front, you should be able to improve your customer interaction. And happy customers equals…?

Should I choose a VoIP phone system instead?

Did You Know?

You can purchase a VoIP phone system for as little as £25/ month?

If you opt for a VoIP system, you could save money. This is because a VoIP system makes calls over the internet, rather than the landline. While a small business may not make use out of all the VoIP phone features available, you can choose to invest in a basic VoIP package to start with, then upgrade your package as your business grows.

VoIP phone systems are capable of receiving hundreds of calls at the same time, so it doesn’t matter how many customers or stakeholders are trying to get in touch, they’ll always come through to your office. And as long as you have the staff on hand to pick that call up, you’ll never lose that person to another company.

▶ Read more: 10 best UK VoIP providers


Expert verdict

Key phones and PBX phones certainly have their place in the business world – especially for small businesses looking to extend their phone system to cope with an increasing number of calls.

While key phones are great for small businesses with a low volume of calls, a PBX phone system is good for small businesses with a higher call volume. This is because it gives you the features you need to cope with a greater influx of calls, whether that’s an auto attendant to direct a caller straight through to the right person, or hold music to keep a caller patient while they’re waiting.

A VoIP system certainly shouldn’t be ruled out, though. While it may not be worth a home office worker investing in an entire VoIP system, companies that consist of a small group of employees should certainly consider it.

That’s because a basic VoIP system includes PBX features as standard, and cuts your call costs by allowing you to make and receive calls over the internet.

If you would like to find out how much a phone system will cost your business, fill in our form with a few details and the suppliers that best match your requirements will be in touch!

Aimee Bradshaw

Aimee is Expert Market’s resident telephone systems, point of sale, and field service software go-to. If she’s not writing about business products, you’ll find her daydreaming about Dorset beaches.

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