The 8 Best Phone Systems for Small Businesses

Entrepreneur speaking on the phone and smiling

By Julia Watts | Content Manager | Updated: 29 June 2021

Find the best phone system to help your business communicate in an era of mixed office and remote working


The best phone systems for small businesses include 8×8’s X Series, RingCentral Office, and 4Com’s HiHi. But it’s not as simple as choosing a top-rated system at random: you’ll also need to consider features, pricing, and other important factors to find the right option for your team.

On this page, we review the eight best phone systems for the office and your home, comparing them on the factors that matter most to small businesses, so you can find out which is best for your needs. And for even more personalised help, try our free quote-finding tool to get tailored quotes from the top phone system suppliers for your small business.


The top 8 small business phone systems

As a small business looking for a new office phone system, you’re really spoilt for choice. Here are our top picks for the small business phone systems on the market today.

The 8 best small business phone systems are:

Want to find out what makes them so great? Read on for our reviews of each of these small business office phone systems, including prices, features, and more.


8×8 X Series

Award-winning communications company 8×8 brings us the X Series, a unified communications solution that's been designed specifically for small and medium business offices. Boasting HD audio quality, the X Series is a cloud-based VoIP system that's especially well-designed for remote businesses and employees who are on the move – with intuitive desktop and mobile apps that easily turn any device into a business phone.

Pros:

  • The more advanced plans enable you to contact a variety of countries outside the UK, which is great for international businesses
  • Offers a lengthy 30-day free trial
  • Boasts one of the cheapest starting price on this list...

X Cons:

  • ...But the most advanced packages will prove very expensive for small businesses

8×8 X Series: key information for small businesses

Type of business phone systemCloud-based VoIP
Inclusive minutes per userUnlimited
Number of countries covered1 – 47 (depending on price plan)
Free trial available?Yes: 30 days
Price range£8 – £169 per user, per month

Pricing correct as of 10/05/2021

8×8 X Series: features for small businesses

As with anything, the more you pay, the more advanced features you'll get – but all X Series plans come with:

  • Voicemail
  • Auto-attendant
  • Click-to-dial
  • Mobile and desktop apps
  • Instant messaging (for speedy internal comms)
  • HD video conferencing
  • The ability to integrate with G Suite and Office 365

A step up to the X Series X2 plan – which is still within the realms of a small business budget at £19 per user, per month – means you'll add call analytics, call recording, call queues, hold music, voicemail transcripts, and integration with Outlook, NetSuite, Salesforce, and Zendesk into the mix.


RingCentral Office

The number one cloud communications provider worldwide, RingCentral offers flexible, cost-effective business phone system packages. RingCentral Office is its flagship, cloud-based VoIP office phone system for small businesses. With free implementation and training, plus 24/7 customer service lines, RingCentral makes it easy to set up and expand Office when needed.

Pros:

  • Able to integrate with a long list of business software programs, for more streamlined processes
  • Boasts THE cheapest starting price on this list, and the more expensive plans still sit within a small business budget

X Cons:

  • Caps your minutes, while many other suppliers offer unlimited minutes

RingCentral Office: key information for small businesses

Type of business phone systemCloud-based VoIP
Inclusive minutes per user100 – 4,000 (depending on price plan)
Free trial available?Yes: 14 days
Price range£7.99 – £24.99 per user, per month

Pricing correct as of 10/05/2021

RingCentral Office: features for small businesses

All of the RingCentral Office price plans come with:

  • RingCentral Phone app for desktop and mobile
  • Glip collaboration tool (for instant messaging, chat rooms, and file sharing)
  • Call recording
  • Integration with Microsoft, Google, Box, and Dropbox
  • Voicemail-to-email
  • Call logs

However, paying for a more expensive RingCentral Office plan – the most expensive of which costs £24.99 per user, per month (when billed annually) – will give you additional features like call monitoring, call analytics, video conferencing, IVR, internet fax, the ability to integrate with Salesforce, Zendesk, and Desk.com, and more.


4Com HiHi

Described as “the most intuitive desk phone in the world”, the HiHi device is something to behold – with a large touchscreen-cum-detachable tablet that your employees can take on the go, customise with a choice of apps, and use to store files.

Now, your small business owner's eye may be telling you how expensive this looks – but 4Com makes it affordable by assessing your current office phone system costs (if you already have a system), cutting them down where possible, and repurposing those excess funds to cover your HiHi devices – so you may not end up paying any more than you do now.

Pros:

  • Looks stunning, with a colourful tablet interface that makes using the system nice and easy
  • It's easy to report a fault at any time, 24/7

X Cons:

  • Pricing and minute allowance are not very transparent – you'll need to contact the company to find out

4Com HiHi: key information for small businesses

Type of business phone systemCloud-based VoIP
Inclusive minutes per userUnclear
Free trial available?Unclear
Price rangeBespoke – you'll need to request a quote

4Com HiHi: features for small businesses

HiHi business phone systems come with:

  • HiHi Connect and HiHi There mobile apps
  • Video conferencing
  • Call reporting
  • Call recording
  • On-hold marketing
  • Plug-and-play scaling for easy expansion
  • OTA software updates

Did You Know?

Our free quote-finding service makes it easy to gather bespoke quotes from a range of business phone system suppliers, all at once – so you can easily find and compare the right options for you.

All you need to do is answer a few quick questions about what your business needs. We'll then match you up with suppliers that can provide a suitable phone system solution for you. Soon enough, they'll be in touch directly with no-obligation, tailored quotes and info for you to compare. It's fast, easy, and – best of all – free!


Enreach Contact

Enreach is all about helping small businesses to achieve flexibility, with phone systems that enable users to work from anywhere, while effortlessly switching between devices. Undeniably a useful feature in the wake of the COVID-19 era, when many businesses are choosing to continue to communicate and serve remotely.

Enreach Contact is the company's flexible hosted phone system. With built-in softphone functionality and an intuitive admin portal that enables you to manage the system's users and settings with ease,  Enreach Contact gives users access to their phone system from any device or browser, and even allows your employees to switch between devices – i.e., from desk phone to mobile – mid-call.

Pros:

  • Configurable and can be customised to meet your needs
  • Makes flexible, remote working easy
  • Highly scalable, so ideal for growing businesses
  • Its touchscreen handsets are sleek and modern

X Cons:

  • Pricing isn't transparent; you'll need to request a quote

Enreach Contact: key information for small businesses

Type of business phone systemCloud-based VoIP
Inclusive minutes per userUnclear
Free trial available?Unclear
Price rangeBespoke – you'll need to request a quote

Enreach Contact: features for small businesses

The Contact system's features include:

  • HD Touch: plug and play wifi touchscreen handsets
  • Built-in softphone and a mobile and browser app
  • The ability to flip live calls between devices
  • Instant messaging
  • Video conferencing
  • An easy to use admin portal
  • Call recording
  • Presence checking
  • Voicemail
  • On-hold marketing
  • Virtual receptionist

BT One Phone

Choosing BT's top office phone system is a difficult feat. The communications behemoth offers a handful of excellent – but different – systems for small businesses, from cloud-based VoIP to on-premises PBX (and on-premises VoIP, for the best of both worlds). Today, though, we're talking about BT One Phone. Using SIM cards, a mobile app, and an online portal, BT One Phone turns your team's mobile phones into a business phone system – perfect for ensuring that employees who are often on the move never miss a call.

Pros:

  • Perfect for effectively working from home or on the go
  • No need to purchase handsets (though you can add BT deskphones to your system if you wish)
  • BT is a trusted, leading name in telecoms

X Cons:

  • More expensive than some of the other systems on this list

BT One Phone: key information for small businesses

Type of business phone systemMobile network
Inclusive minutes per userUnlimited
Free trial available?Unclear
Price rangeBespoke (but average monthly spend is £35 per user, excluding VAT)

Pricing correct as of 10/05/2021

BT One Phone: features for small businesses

According to BT, the One Phone system boasts over 250 features(!) for small business offices. Notable among those, though, are:

  • One Phone online portal, using which you can route calls
  • Real-time reporting on call and data usage
  • Add international roaming
  • Dedicated indoor mobile network for your office
  • Access to 5 million BT wifi hotspots
  • Wifi calling and 4G calling, for when there's no mobile signal

Berry Technologies Cloud Phone System

With over over 16,000 phone system users, the award-winning Berry Technologies prides itself on its personalised customer service – complete with dedicated account managers, super speedy tech support, and (unlike a lot of other telecom companies) a 24/7 phone support line. Plus, Berry is ultra-flexible, and can craft you a custom office phone system. Given Berry's unerring focus on its customers, its cloud-based office phone system is certainly an excellent choice for small businesses.

Pros:

  • Very customisable – you can choose the features that best suit your business
  • Berry has a focus on supporting you, with a dedicated account manager, 24/7 over-the-phone support, and quick tech help

X Cons:

  • Pricing and minute allowance are not very transparent – you'll need to contact the company to find out

Berry Technologies Cloud Phone System: key information for small businesses

Type of business phone systemCloud-based VoIP
Inclusive minutes per userUnclear
Free trial available?Unclear
Price rangeBespoke – you'll need to request a quote

Berry Technologies Cloud Phone System: features for small businesses

Uniquely, Berry offers a dazzling variety of different phone system features, and enables you to create a bespoke system that combines the functions that your small business needs.

Those features include:

  • Auto-attendant
  • Hunt groups, pick up groups, and paging groups
  • Call recording and live monitoring
  • Voicemail to email
  • Hold music
  • Instant messaging
  • Conferencing, including screen sharing and video
  • Integration with Lync and Skype for Business
  • Hot desking
  • Mobile phone pairing
  • Call reporting and analytics
  • Call centre capabilities
  • IP DECT

Answer a few quick questions to get matched up with the phone system suppliers that are right for your small business Get free quotes

Mitel MiCloud Connect

Mitel's MiCloud Connect system comes recommended for small business offices – with budget-friendly prices and a lot of flexibility. MiCloud Connect offers three packages – but what's unique here is that these plans are ‘mix and match'. For example, if the majority of your employees require the basic Essentials plan, but a handful need the more advanced Elite plan, Mitel will enable you to pay for those different packages in the numbers you need them. That's a level of customisation that's sure to be valued by dynamic small businesses.

Pros:

  • Very customisable – you can mix and match plans to give the right features to the right people
  • Prices sit within a small business budget

X Cons:

  • The cheapest plan only enables up to eight people to join video and audio conferencing, and up to 4 for web conferencing

Mitel MiCloud Connect: key information for small businesses

Type of business phone systemCloud-based VoIP
Inclusive minutes per userUnlimited
Free trial available?Unclear
Price range£20.99 – £38.49+ per user, per month

Pricing correct as of 10/05/2021

Mitel MiCloud Connect: features for small businesses

One exciting thing about Mitel is that it enables you to add different users to different price plans, ensuring each member of your team gets the features that he or she needs.

Mitel's cheapest plan, Essentials (which starts at £20.99 per user, per month), comes with:

  • Audio, video, and web conferencing
  • Instant messaging
  • Softphone capabilities
  • Mobile apps
  • Integration with Outlook, G Suite, and Connect Telephony for Microsoft
  • Mitel Teamwork and business SMS
  • An admin portal

Bumping up to Premier (starting at £26.59 per user, per month) will add Salesforce CRM integration, voicemail transcription, and on-demand call recording to the list. Meanwhile, Elite (starting at £38.49 per user, per month) includes all of this, plus always-on recording, archiving, and an operator function.

It's also worth being aware that, the more expensive the package, the more employees will be able to join your audio, video and web conferencing.


Lily Cloud

Supplied by award-winning communications company Lily Comms, Lily Cloud is an office phone system that's designed to scale. With on-demand features and same-day provisioning, the system enables you to add or remove users quickly and easily (which is encouraging for small businesses, whose futures are typically unpredictable). Reassuringly, Lily Comms offers some stellar support, too, giving you a dedicated account manager and providing options for 24/7 support.

Pros:

  • Lily has a focus on supporting you, with a dedicated account manager and 24/7 service
  • Lily Comms claims that 86% of its customers have saved money since joining

X Cons:

  • You'll need to pay extra for team collaboration features (via the Collaborate platform)
  • Pricing and minute allowance are not very transparent – you'll need to contact the company

Lily Cloud: key information for small businesses

Type of business phone systemCloud-based VoIP
Inclusive minutes per userUnclear
Free trial available?Unclear
Price rangeBespoke – you'll need to request a quote

Lily Cloud: features for small businesses

Lily Cloud comes with a variety of office phone system features, including:

  • Auto-attendant
  • Call recording
  • Personalised messages
  • Custom hold music
  • Softphone capabilities
  • Access over the web and via a mobile app

You can also choose to integrate Collaborate, Lily's unified communications platform, with your Lily Cloud system. This enables features that are designed to facilitate teamwork, including:

  • Audio and video conferencing
  • Web collaboration
  • Instant messaging
  • Integration with Outlook
  • Presence

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Next steps

Finding the right phone system for a small office is vital. A lack of space means small businesses often can’t afford to house large, loud and costly on-premises hardware.

Instead, the hosted systems covered in this guide provide an excellent alternative. By hosting your business phone system externally – in this case, in the cloud – you can instead keep initial investments to a minimum, while affording monthly payments for custom plans and solutions tailored exactly to meet your needs.

Still, with so much choice available, and with so much jargon surrounding the topic of office phones, it can be hard to know where to start. That's why we want to help you cut through the noise, and find the right business phone system for you easily and quickly.

Our free quote-finding service is designed to do just that. To get started, you'll simply answer a few quick questions about what you need. Behind the scenes, we'll match you up with business phone system suppliers that can cater to your needs. They'll then be in touch directly with no-obligation quotes – it's a quick and easy way to find and compare the best options for you.


FAQs

1. What are the best home business phones?

All of the systems we talk about in this article are suitable for home business phones. After all, many of them come with UC capabilities – such as video conferencing and team messaging – that make it easy to keep in touch with your team remotely. Plus, they're all cloud-based, which means you can access them from any device with an internet connection, no matter where you are.

If you're looking for home business phone models, rather than software systems, check out our list of the best cordless phones for businesses. These will work well in a home office because they can double up as both home and business phones – and they leave you free to take calls throughout the house.


2. How much should an office phone system cost?

This is very difficult to answer definitively, as the costs you'll face will depend on a number of factors, including the system supplier you choose, the size of your business, the type of phone system you want, the features you plump for, and more.

To get a more detailed idea of the exact figures involved, head over to our ultimate guide to phone system prices.


3. Traditional PBX vs. VoIP: what’s the difference?

The long and the short of it is this: a traditional PBX system uses the landline to make and receive calls, while a VoIP system uses the internet.

Both phone systems allow you to receive multiple calls at the same time, but while a PBX uses a digital on-premise switchboard to branch calls off to different handsets, a VoIP system uses an online server. Let's take a closer look:

VoIP systems

VoIP phone systems

VoIP phone systems work by transmitting phone audio over the internet. They come in two varieties: on-premise VoIP, and hosted VoIP (also known as cloud-based VoIP).

With on-premise VoIP, the system is hosted on your own servers. You'll need all the right hardware for this, and you'll need to pay someone with the right expertise to build and maintain the system.

By contrast, a hosted VoIP system lives on your system supplier's servers, and is managed and maintained by your supplier, not you. Over and above all other kinds of phone system, we recommend hosted VoIP to small businesses. This is because it's affordable, it's easy to install, and it tends to come with sophisticated call and UC features for your team to benefit from. That's why most of the systems we review on this page are cloud-based VoIP systems.

Another benefit of a VoIP system is that it can be accessed from anywhere. Most come with an app that your team can download onto a device of their choice, and use to make calls and access the system features – meaning you don't even need to buy desk phones if you're on a budget. If you do choose to, though, you should look for IP phones: these are VoIP-compatible desk phones.

Traditional PBX systems

Traditional phone systems

If you're not ready to upgrade to VoIP, a traditional landline phone system may be suitable for very small businesses with a handful of employees. All you need is one line in and a couple of phones, so that more than one employee can pick up the phone if it rings.

If you tend to receive lots of calls, having one phone line could be holding you back. This is where a PBX system comes in.

A PBX phone system turns your traditional phone system into a multi-line system by giving you the option of adding extensions that lead to each phone. Once a call comes in, the PBX auto attendant directs the caller to the right extension number, freeing up the phone line for another call to come in.

The features of a landline PBX phone system are basic compared to those available with VoIP – which is one of the reasons why we recommend VoIP instead – but you'll still be able to coordinate incoming and outgoing calls, make call transfers, and manage voicemail.

Of course, PBX is flexible in the sense that it can be used with VoIP as well as the landline. In fact, many suppliers give you the option to create an IP PBX system. This uses SIP trunking to connect a traditional phone system to the internet, meaning you can make calls over the internet and benefit from VoIP functionality, in addition to making calls using the traditional landline.


4. How do I choose the right phone system for my business?

When looking for a business phone system, start by asking yourself these 10 questions to help narrow down your options:

  1. How many lines do you need? This depends on how many people will use the system at the same time. For example, a two-person organisation will likely only need two lines. A 10-person organisation will generally need five to seven lines, and a 100-person organisation could only need 20.
  2. How many extensions do you need?
  3. What features would you like on your system?
  4. How many line provider sockets do you need?
  5. Can your phone system expand with growth?
  6. Will you require call forwarding to mobile devices, and their integration into your system?
  7. Will you require call redirection to staff members who work from home?
  8. Do you wish to have a high-speed data network installed, which is able to use wireless technology?
  9. Is there a need for your business to be able to integrate the phone system with the IT used?
  10. Will you need to be able to identify customer details and dial numbers from a computer? This is called Computer Telephony Integration (CTI).
  11. How much are you looking to pay for line rental?

Remember, we can help you to find the right phone system for your business quickly with our free quote-finding tool. Simply answer a few questions about your business' needs, and we'll match you up with the best system suppliers for you. They'll then be in touch directly with no-obligation, tailored quotes, so you can compare your options easily.


Answer a few quick questions to get matched up with the phone system suppliers that are right for your small business Get free quotes
Julia Watts Content Manager

Specializing in the complex realms of telephone systems, business energy, vehicle tracking, asset tracking, and fuel cards, Julia writes content that cuts through the noise to help you find the right solutions and technologies for your business. Having spent five years working across the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, she loves helping exciting ventures – big or small – to flourish.

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