Best VoIP Providers and Phones Systems

Searching for the best VoIP providers can be complex business - we've simplified it for you with this guide

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VoIP phone systems take analogue audio signals and convert them into digital ones, enabling voice and video communication through the internet. As well as replacing the need for traditional phone lines, VoIP offers clearer call quality, and much cheaper (or even free) phone calls – even over a long distance or internationally.

VoIP phone systems are made up of computer software, smartphone apps, and – depending on the VoIP provider – dedicated VoIP phones. VoIP phones can be included as part of a software package or require their own lease contract. Find out everything you need to know about VoIP on our ‘what is VoIP page'.

This makes VoIP phones an ideal choice for business owners who are looking to cut call costs, make international calls more easily, or reduce the space and time needed to install landlines.

There are lots of VoIP phone systems and providers out there, so finding the right VoIP service for your needs can be a long-winded process. While we've provided you with a selection of some of the best VoIP providers below, our comparison tool is a more reliable way of finding the right one. It's connected thousands of businesses to reliable telecoms specialists, so why not give it a go?

Now let's see what kind of VoIP phones are out there, and which UK VoIP phone service providers you choose for your business.

The VoIP providers UK businesses should check out

According to our research, the top VoIP service providers in the UK are: 4Com, Gradwell, Lily Communications, 8×8, and Skype for Business.

Whether you’re searching for the best support, pricing, scalability, or more, we’ve profiled these top VoIP providers to help you choose.

We'll take a look at their different offerings, highlighting the features, prices, and pros and cons of each. If you'd like more of an idea of how much a VoIP phone system could cost your business, check out our dedicated VoIP costs page.

VoIP providerBest forPrice range
4ComFlexibilityAvailable on request
Wave by GradwellAffordability£10+ per user, per month
Lily CommunicationsOn-premise VoIPAvailable on request
8x8 SolutionsScalability£8 per user, per month
Skype for BusinessFree softwareFree

The best VoIP providers: a deep dive

1. 4Com

Best for flexibility

4Com offers its own VoIP product called the HiHi. The HiHi is a tablet phone that slots into a docking station. It offers businesses flexibility by giving employees the option to take their HiHi phone home or move desks, simply by taking the tablet out of its docking station.

Businesses can use the HiHi VoIP phone for calling, video calling, instant messaging, call recording, and reporting. Businesses can also upload social media and customer relationship management (CRM) apps onto their HiHi device – although it's worth bearing in mind that the device doesn't have the same level of processing power as a Samsung or Apple tablet, for instance.

4Com designs its VoIP package to the unique needs of your business, which is why it doesn't have any prices advertised. It also doesn't provide fixed pricing, making it ideal for companies that may experience fluctuating or lower call volumes. 24 hour fault reporting is included, but 24 hour support is an extra cost.

Pros:

  • 24/7 support and repairs available
  • Pricing in line with needs and usage
  • Product that can be used as phone and tablet

Cons:

  • Unfixed pricing not so good for lots of calls
  • 24 hour support not included
  • Tablets aren't designed to support heavy-duty software


2. Wave by Gradwell

Best for affordability

With cloud PBX (VoIP) packages starting from just £10 per user/per month, Wave by Gradwell is the ideal affordable package for small businesses. All of its packages include landline and mobile minutes, call management features, and softphone and browser calling.

The intuitive admin portal means you can set up things like hunt groups (an answering priority journey), call routing (to ensure the right person picks up the right call), and multiple voicemail inboxes. The software platform automatically scales with your usage, meaning your phone system should be able to handle heavy call influxes without sacrificing call quality.

Gradwell's system is compatible with a range of VoIP handsets. It also works as a software app, so employees can sign into the phone system on their phone or computer browser. Gradwell can work with in-house IT departments to get everything set up, and they can also send you pre-configured handsets so it's literally a case of plugging the system in straight out of the box.

Pros:

  • Transparent pricing
  • Free on-boarding service
  • Out-of-the-box solution

Cons: 

  • Features are fairly basic
  • No 24 hour or weekend support
  • 24 month contracts


3. Lily Communications

Best for on-premise VoIP

On premise VoIP solutions are more expensive than cloud-based VoIP solutions, and usually require an in-house IT team or out-sourced IT team to maintain them. The upside of on-premise VoIP providers is that they can design you a phone system that fits your exacting requirements – meaning they're great for niche communication setups. And because you have your own dedicated server, on-premise solutions are even more secure than cloud-based shared server solutions.

Lily Communications supplies over 2,500 businesses across the UK with its award-winning VoIP communications system. Its on premise solution enables businesses to adopt a hybrid phone system, meaning they can use their analogue phone system alongside an internet-based cloud phone system – giving them the best of both worlds.

With solid five start TrustPilot rating, Lily Communications is a reliable provider that puts a focus on its relationships with its customers. It's also up there for customer support too, promising a four hour response time for any major fault. The VoIP provider also supplies pure cloud-based phone systems.

Pros:

  • On premise and complete cloud-based solutions offered
  • Designed for small businesses
  • Great customer relationship management

Cons:

  • Pricing only available on request
  • Customers say they can be a little slow setting the system up
  • Up to 16 hour wait time for minor faults

Whether you have an existing telephone system or not, it's important that you find the best VoIP service provider for your needs. That's where startups.co.uk can help.

Our team of telecommunications experts has developed a comparison tool that enables businesses to shop around for free and with zero obligation. The tool works by pairing you with VoIP phone systems based on your answers to a number of simple questions.

Go to our comparison tool to get started.

4. 8×8

Best for Scalability 

Thanks to its highly flexible X Series, 8×8 offers UK small businesses scalability when it comes to their phone system. At just £8 per user per month, 8×8 Express is one of the cheapest phone system packages out there. Businesses can take advantage of things like an auto-attendant, voicemail to email, and unlimited video conferencing, so it's great value for money.

Once you outgrow the Express package, you can easily upgrade to 8×8's X2 and X4 packages. These are particularly ideal for businesses that have international clients, with package prices including unlimited calling to 14 and 47 countries respectively. Those who are looking for a unified communications platform are well serviced by the X2 package, while businesses that rely heavily on performance analytics may want to look into the X4 package.

8×8 is expert in creating VoIP phone systems for a huge array of industries. The VoIP provider also has a variety of hardware leasing options, making it easy to create a phone system that keeps up with your demands in terms of both physical and virtual technology.

Pros: 

  • Dedicated offerings for small businesses
  • Easily scalable
  • One month free on sign up

Cons:

  • Problems can sometimes take a while to be ironed out
  • Hardware not included in monthly price


5. Skype for Business

Best for free VoIP

The unpaid version of Skype for Business is designed for startups and small businesses that require a virtual phone system without all the features of a paid plan. It works particularly well for businesses that already use the Microsoft 365 package, and allows you to register a virtual phone number to the platform. You can purchase credits to use this number for inbound and outbound calls.

Free features include instant messaging, voice calls, and video calls. You can share your screen in meetings, and even live stream your meeting to a large audience.  Skype for Business is great for in-house collaboration and communication, but falls short of the other VoIP service providers in the list in terms of call features, such as auto-attendants and hunt groups, meaning it's not a long-term solution.

Pros: 

  • Facilitates internal collaboration
  • Share your screen and live stream for free
  • Most features completely free

Cons:

  • Pay to use a phone number
  • Doesn't integrate with hardware
  • Features are very limited

Choosing a VoIP provider: Our top tips

Our five top tips will help you find the best VoIP provider in the UK that matches your business’ needs:

  • Support – what type of support is available, and how can you access it? For example, is assistance available 24/7? Is there any time difference to take into account?
  • Range – how many products and services does the provider offer? Can it accommodate your business’ needs, both now and how you imagine your business to develop over time?
  • Knowledge – how easy are the providers’ products to use? What level of technical know-how is required for setup, training and use?
  • Price – does the provider offer products that suit your budget? At what level do they market their offering, e.g. budget, standard or premium?
  • Reputation – is the provider reputable? Is it an established brand in the industry? Does it have a good TrustPilot rating?

VoIP phones comparison

With such an array of VoIP phones in the UK, how do you choose the right handsets for your business? Well, it's best to research your chosen VoIP software provider first, as often you'll find the software is only compatible with certain brands or certain VoIP phone models. Once you've chosen the right software, you'll be able to work with your provider to find compatible VoIP phones that match the needs of your business.

Most VoIP providers offer you the option to lease your handsets (great for upgrading) or purchase them outright (more cost-effective in the long run). While there are lots of VoIP handset providers out there, common names are Yealink, Cisco, and Avaya. We've given you a breakdown of a few handset examples below.

PhoneBest forPrice range
Yealink T46SHigh call volumesFrom £109.99
Avaya 1608Budget conscious£75
Grandstream DECT DP720Cordless callsfrom £40

For more information, complete our quick and easy form to compare quotes for telephone systems.


The best VoIP phones: A deep dive

Yealink T46S IP Phone

 

Yealink T4 IP phone

Features

The Yealink T4 is the fourth generation in the Yealink T IP range. Sitting comfortably in the middle of the range, the phone has all the features required for a busy office environment, with HD voice technology, headset compatibility, and sound clarity technology ensuring conversations are as clear over the phone as they are face to face.

Who is the Yealink T46S best for?

The Yealink T46S is best for busy office environments experiencing high call volumes.

Pricing: Prices for the Yealink T46S start from £109.99 excluding VAT


Avaya 1608

Avaya 1608 IP Phone

Features

Avaya’s 1608 deskphone combines the traditional features of VoIP phone systems with some additional functionality. It's part of Avaya’s 1600 series, which is aimed at the budget-conscious buyer.

It features easy-to-use and familiar functions, such as fixed keys for transferring, holding, or muting calls. Plus, the Avaya 1608 offers eight manageable feature buttons and an integrated headset jack, allowing hands-free calling and communication.

 

Who is the Avaya 1608 best for?

The phone is best for business users wanting a simple VoIP phone with some manageable elements.

Pricing: Prices for the Avaya 1608 start from around £70 excluding VAT


Grandstream DP720 DECT IP Phone

Grandstream DP720 DECT Phone

Features

Designed to be used away from desks, up to five of these affordable cordless phones can be linked to a single DECT hub (the DP 750).

Each handset can support up to 10 SIP accounts (user logins). The Grandstream DP720 DECT phone has a 300-metre outdoor range, and a 50-metre indoor range, making it a great choice for any modern business in need of a quality communications system.

Who are Grandstream DECT IP Phones best for?

These phones are best for businesses wanting cordless VoIP phones.

Pricing: Pricing for the Grandstream DP720 DECT IP Phone starts from around £40.

Tips for choosing the best VoIP phone for you

Your phones play a key part in your business’ communications on a daily basis, so it’s worth considering which features are most important for you when choosing a device. For example:

  • Call management – will your phone handset allow you to put multiple lines on hold, transfer calls with the touch of a button, set up call diverts, and programme short keys to regularly used internal and external numbers
  • Flexibility – does your business require only set standard features, or are you looking for phones that can provide custom functions?
  • Phone types – will you need physical phones or is a softphone application more suitable to your business’ operations? Will touch screen phones work better for your business or some team functions, or will basic handsets do?
  • Movement – if you plan to use the phones on-the-go, such as with a headset on a sales floor, consider the merits of a cordless phone versus a corded one

Compare VoIP providers and phones

At this stage, you’ve learned more about VoIP phone systems, and gained insight into the different products and providers available.

We’ve profiled the pros and cons, features, and prices that you can expect from a range of phones and providers, including the best products and VoIP UK providers. Plus, we’ve offered tips on how to choose the ones that are most suited to your business’ needs, and what the potential benefits could be.

For more guidance on VoIP phone providers related specifically to your business' needs, the question at the top of the page takes you to a comparison tool that'll enable you to compare quotes for telephone systems from a range of providers. Once you've filled in the short quiz, you'll be matched with the right providers for your requirements. It's quick, easy, and saves hassle!

Aimee Bradshaw Senior Writer

Aimee is Startups' resident expert in business tech, products, and services. She loves a great story and enjoys chatting to the startups and small business community. Starting her own egg delivery business from the age of 12, she has a healthy respect for self-starters and local services.

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