Best PBX phones and providers

A PBX phone system is a great way for businesses to communicate. Find out which providers could can walk the walk, and help your team talk the talk

A private branch exchange (PBX) phone system helps you to streamline internal and external communications in your business.

There are two types:

  • Hosted PBX – this is where a provider hosts the PBX at their location, offering you access via the cloud
  • IP-PBX – this is hosted at your premises, meaning higher set up costs, but it can be cheaper overall

The best PBX systems come with a range of features – such as  virtual receptionists, call transfer, and conference calling – that can give your business a professional image regardless of its size.

They can also give you greater control over communications, cost less to operate than a traditional phone system, and help make your business look credible to potential customers.

But what is the best PBX system for your business? There are a number of major providers of services and phone systems out there – and no one provider is the outright best.

The PBX provider that’s right for you will depends on your needs and your budget. Below we take a look at some of the top grade gear the PBX world has to offer, and suggest what each phone or provider might be best for.

Startups.co.uk has amalgamated information from credible online sources, and scoured pages and pages of customer feedback so you don’t have to.

In this article you will learn:


The best PBX providers for small businesses

  1. Ring Central – Best for app integrations
  2. 8×8 – Best for speedy deployment
  3. Mitel – Best for growing businesses
  4. Vonage – Best for reliability
  5. Jive Voice – Best for cost

Below we discuss five of the best IP-PBX phone systems for business, and analyse how they stack up against each other.


RingCentral – Best for app integrations

RingCentral is a widely used business phone system, with hundreds of thousands of users around the world.

Its cloud-based PBX system offers vital features such as call management and collaboration at an affordable price.

RingCentral integrates with over 100 popular business apps, helping you save time switching between applications and maximise productivity.

Cost: £7.99 to £24.99 per month

Positives Negatives
1. Intelligent collaboration tools 1. Setting up features can be difficult
2. Hundreds of app integrations 2. Occasionally drops calls
3. Works across your devices
4. Can expand your systems easily

8×8 – Best for speedy deployment

8×8 has more than one million users around the world. Real time analytics enable you to make decisions in the heat of the moment.

You can easily add people and locations into your phone system, as well as integrate with other business applications.

It has over 47,000 customers, including Netsuite and Regus.

Quick to deploy and easy to set up, this is a great option for businesses that need to get their system in place as soon as possible

Contact for pricing

Positives Negatives
1. Available on any device 1. Customer service is lacking
2. Quick to deploy and scale 2. Sound quality is occasionally poor
3. Enterprise app integrations
4. Easy to set up

Mitel – Best for growing businesses

Mitel’s PBX offering encompasses cloud, on-site, and hybrid business phone systems.

It understands that different businesses have different needs, giving you the option to switch between different deployment models at will – “because one size never really fits all”

That’s what makes Mitel the best option for growing businesses.

Cost: £13.59 – £23.99 per month

Positives Negatives
1. Easy to maintain 1. Customer support is poor
2. Broad range of options 2. Could have more features
3. Good quality audio
4. Easy set-up and installation

Vonage – Best for reliability

Vonage is a cloud-based PBX system that gives your business high-quality, reliable voice and data over the internet.

It integrates with a variety of other business apps, and provides access to over 40 business critical features.

Because it’s through the cloud, there’s no on-site equipment or installation necessary.

Managed for you in the cloud, this hosted PBX is a reliable option for growing businesses.

Cost: £15.50 to £31 per month

Positives Negatives
1. Good customer service 1. Relatively expensive
2. Over 40 features available
3. Easy to set up and use
4. System management handled virtually

Jive Voice – Best for cost

Jive Voice offers a suite of features, including unlimited voicemail boxes and an auto attendant.

Jive offers an affordable and transparent pricing structure. You can sign up for a no obligation month-to-month account.

What’s more, there are no extra charges for access to additional features.

Cost: £15.50 – £23 per month. Custom pricing for 100+ users

Positives Negatives
1. Over 80 features included 1. Reporting system could be improved
2. No extra charges for additional features 2. Customer support needs work
3. Simple pricing structure
4. Ability to create unique call flows


The best PBX phones

As well as the software, for a PBX phone system to flourish, you’re going to need some reliable hardware.

The sheer number of PBX phones on the market can make choosing one an overwhelming experience. To help you out, we’ve reviewed five very different models.

And here they are:

  1. Avaya 1616 IP – Best for early-stage start-ups
  2. BT Converse 2300 – Best for practical small businesses
  3. Panasonic KX-TGF320E – Best for busy small businesses
  4. Gigaset DE410 Pro IP – Best for efficient small businesses
  5. Cisco SPA 525G2 – Best for smart small businesses

Avaya 1616 IP – Best for early-stage start-ups

This simple and affordable phone is designed for businesses that spend the majority of the day on the phone.

It features:

  • Support for wired and wireless headsets
  • 2 way speakers
  • Backlit display
  • Support for multiple call appearances

It may be down the lower end of the price spectrum, but this phone doesn’t skimp on features. This makes it a great option for early-stage start-ups.

Cost: £24.98 refurbished

Positives Negatives
1. Minimal set-up required 1. Sold without power supply
2. Simple but effective
3. Headset support
4. Good value

BT Converse 2300 – Best for practical small businesses

The BT Converse 2300 may be light on features, but this corded phone is a good, solid option if you need to be up and running quickly.

It features:

  • A 150 name-and-number directory
  • Hands-free option
  • Redial last 10 numbers
  • Caller ID

If you run a practical small business, the ease of use and efficiency of this phone make it a great option.

Cost: £57.58

Positives Negatives
1. Easy to use 1. No backlight on display
2. One year manufacturer’s warranty 2. Limited features
3. Large name and number storage
4. Hands-free option

Panasonic KX-TGF320E – Best for busy small businesses

This combination phone includes a corded desk phone and cordless handset for maximum flexibility.

It features:

  • 3 one-touch dialing buttons
  • Nuisance call blocker
  • 1.8” monochrome LCD display on cordless
  • 100 number phonebook
  • Speakerphone

With its nuisance call blocker and flexible options, this phone is a great choice for busy businesses

Cost: £63.85

Positives Negatives
1. Blocks nuisance calls 1. Range of cordless phone could be improved
2. Easy to use 2. No headset option
3. Corded and cordless for flexibility
4. Clear display and sound

Gigaset DE410 Pro IP – Best for efficient small businesses

A feature-rich phone with an adjustable 5-line display, this Gigaset phone has high-quality wideband audio.

It features:

  • Headset connection
  • 200 number phonebook
  • Energy saving features
  • Access to public online directory
  • Upgradeable firmware

With energy saving features and a wealth of other perks, this phone is perfect for small businesses that want to work efficiently.
Cost: £93.60

Positives Negatives
1. Energy saving eco features 1. Expensive
2. 200 number phonebook
3. Intuitive user interface
4. Hearing aid compatible

Cisco SPA 525G2 – Best for smart small businesses

It features:

  • Wideband audio
  • Option to view video feeds
  • Headset support
  • Bluetooth-enhanced integration with mobile phones
  • Ability to add additional consoles

With countless features, high-quality audio, and support for additional consoles, this phone is great for growing businesses that need to look smart and professional.

Cost: £175.00

Positives Negatives
1. Excellent voice quality 1. Some have complained of random reboots
2. Video feeds 2. Power supply doesn’t come with phone
3. Noise-cancelling for noisy office
4. Bluetooth support

Next steps

Given the numerous options, it can seem like a mammoth task to settle on a particular PBX provider and phone system.

But it doesn’t have to be…

Use the ‘best for’ guide to decide which is the most applicable PBX phone or provider for your business needs.

PBX can be a complicated subject for the unfamiliar. But don’t worry – satisfy your unanswered questions by reading our additional articles, covering everything from how PBX actually works to detailed cost breakdowns. Simply click the links below.

Alternatively, if you’re ready to start comparing suppliers today, fill in the short form at the top of this page find your perfect match.