Best VoIP Phones for Small Business (Updated 2020)
February 13, 2020
February 10, 2015
June 30, 2021
June 30, 2021
Switching your business phone system to VoIP means that you’ll need to purchase IP phones to work with your new phone service. When shopping for IP phones you’ll want to look for the minimum standard features – PoE, multiple lines, programmable buttons, etc. Beyond the necessary functionality, also important is design, sound quality, reliability, and last but not least - cost. In this article, we’ll break down our choices for the 3 best VoIP phones for small business users.
Our approach for finding the best phones is based on a small business owner’s perspective.
What phone will enable my teams to be most productive? What phone will last the longest? What phone offers the best value?
We’ve tried and tested hundreds of IP phones from a variety of manufacturers, made anywhere from China to France. Needless to say, there are endless options on the market. But, in our view, there is currently one go-to brand when you’re a small business. From there, the choice boils down to what model fits your needs and budget.
Comparing the Top VoIP Phone Brands
There’s no need to look at any other brands than the top four makers of IP phones - Cisco, Polycom, Grandstream, and Yealink. While there are other brands, none of them stack up to these four in terms of features and reliability.
Cisco released their first VoIP product in 1997, and is the oldest and most well-known brand. Polycom is another older brand, known particularly for its conference phones. It’s first VoIP conference phone, the SoundStation IP 4000, was released in 2001, the same year Yealink came to be. One year later in 2002, Grandstream was founded.
Cisco makes very stable phones. One drawback is that they are not as easy to mass provision as Yealink and Grandstream. They also lack some of the basic features that Yealink and Grandstream have, such as monitored call parking. These are important considerations/limitations for a growing business.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with a Cisco phone. They are solid, reliable phones.
Polycom phones are notorious for being difficult to configure. Programming line keys to perform different functions on Polycom phones is challenging and limited. For example, you can’t assign BLF keys to do paging/intercom, transfer calls to a specific extension/number, or do monitored call parking. Although Polycom released a new, more modern-looking series of IP Phones, they come with the same Polycom software that is not easy to work with in comparison.
Because it’s not an easy phone to set up and lacks features, Polycom is downgraded on our list.
Grandstream is the newcomer of the group. A few years back, Grandstream was close to taking the #1 spot on our list. However, its firmware updates would sometimes cause phones to stop working, which was a shame. The phones have a nice feel to them, and a modern design and interface. If not for the buggy software, Grandstream would be in contention for having the best VoIP phones for a small business on a budget. But, low prices don’t make up for phones that don’t work.
Because of its poor software, Grandstream fell off our list.
Yealink is a brand that is getting more mentions and respect throughout the VoIP community. It’s a brand that we’ve been testing extensively over the past couple of years, and has become our choice for the best IP phones for small business. The bottom line is, they just work. All the functionality is there. They’re easy to provision, reliable, have great call quality, and are very budget-friendly.
Because they have no issues, Yealink has the best VoIP phones for small businesses on our list.
Now that you know our favorite brand, let’s get down to specific phones. Ultimately, we recommend any series within the Yealink family. But to be more encompassing for purposes of this article, we chose a different brand for each spot on the list.
Before we go any further, we should note that we have zero ties to any of the IP phone companies. We don’t receive more compensation or perks for recommending one phone over another. Our only motivation is giving good recommendations to ensure our customers are happy with the hardware they’re using with our VoIP service.
Best IP Phones for Small Business
Here are our picks for the best VoIP phones. All of them have HD audio, multiple lines, color screens, and PoE. Keep in mind that with all three of these phones, you can purchase a separate sidecar to add more line keys.
Polycom VVX 450
1. Yealink T46S
The Yealink T46S is an excellent desktop phone for any size business. It has a color screen that is fast and easy to navigate. The phone can hold up to 16 SIP accounts and 27 line keys, along with the capability to add up to 6 expansion modules, making it robust enough for receptionists and customer support agents. You can also use this phone over Wi-Fi with an additional Wi-Fi Dongle.
The T46S is second most high-end in a series of business phones from Yealink. The highest model in the series is the T48S, and the main difference is that the T48S has a touch screen. Under the T46S is the T42S and T41S, which do not have color screens and hold up to 12 and 6 SIP accounts.
If you’re looking for a cordless phone, Yealink has a great option for that too - the Yealink W60P.
2. Cisco 8851
From Cisco’s 8800 series of IP phones released in 2014, the Cisco 8851 has a new, modernized look. The 8851 can be programmed with up to 12 feature keys, and can hold up to 2 expansion modules (purchased separately) to add up to 72 more line keys.
The 8851 is very similar to the Cisco 8841, which costs slightly less at $132. The main difference is that with the 8851 you can add key expansion modules (KEM), whereas with the 8841 you cannot.
If you plan to go with Cisco, the 8851 is a good option for front desk / customer service agents, and the 8841 may be sufficient for basic users. This mixture makes it easy for administrators while keeping the budget tight.
In the same series, you have the 8811, which is the lowest model. The Cisco 8811 costs less at $105, does not have a color screen, but has the same number of SIP accounts and line keys. On the higher end of that, you have the 8861. The Cisco 8861 is priced at $217, and can hold up to 3 expansion modules. At the top of the series you have the Cisco 8865, which has a camera for video calling plus the ability to add an expansion module.
3. Polycom VVX 450
The Polycom VVX 450 is in a series of new IP phones from Polycom. The VVX series has a newer, more modern-looking hardware design, but the software is the same. If you have experience working with Polycom phones and your organization has already implemented Polycom phones throughout, then this phone should be taken into consideration. However, if you’re new to this, Yealink would be the much wiser decision.
Grandstream GXP2160 (removed from the list)
The Grandstream GXP2160 was an up and coming IP phone for small businesses back in 2015.
With a price range between $35 to $140, Grandstream’s products were becoming popular IP phones for small businesses. But, when the phones suddenly stopped working, users were asking why.
Grandstream’s biggest issue is with their firmware updates. Without a reliable software behind the phones, we had to drop them from our list.
Priced at $132, the GXP2160 has an LCD color display, 6 lines and 24 busy lamp fields (BLF). This means that you can handle up to 6 calls simultaneously on the phone and also see who in your company is available, aka presence.
Grandstream GXP1100 features up to 2 calls with 1 SIP account and 4 programmable keys.
The GXP2200 features its Android 2.3 operating system and a variety of Android apps that can be installed. It supports up to 6 lines with 6 SIP accounts and 5-way conference. Priced at $140, GXP2200 is significantly less expensive than comparable phones from other brands.
Telzio includes a full suite of professional calling features to use with your IP phones. These features are included with your Telzio VoIP Phone System, at no extra cost.
- Call Recording
- Hold Music
- Mobile App
- Phone Menus
- Voicemail Transcription
- Virtual Fax
Configuring VoIP Phones
One of the reasons we choose Yealink as our top pick is because they are extremely easy to configure. In addition, Telzio enables auto provisioning of IP phones, which provides:
- Bulk provisioning of phones
- Automatic registration of SIP settings
- Remote management capabilities
- Ability to quickly apply universal settings to groups
With our auto provisioning feature, we automatically configure the rest of the settings, and you can manage all your devices via the Telzio Dashboard online. We support auto provisioning for Yealink, Cisco, Polycom, and Grandstream phones at this time.