Best video conferencing apps for small businesses
We delve into the best video conferencing apps on the market – both paid and free!
The working world isn’t the same as it once was. The coronavirus pandemic has kick-started a remote working movement, and businesses are turning to video calling apps to conduct meetings from wherever in the world its employees happen to be located.
An alternative to video conferencing software and equipment, video conferencing apps are either available on a chargeable contract, or for free. However, we find that free video calling apps may not offer businesses enough when it comes to things like meeting hours, or video call features.
For each of our favourite video conferencing apps, we’ll give you the lowdown on the features you can expect to take advantage of, and the fees you can expect to pay.
We’ll then give you a quick run through of the best free video conferencing apps, so you have the full picture when you come to decide on the one that’ll suit your small business needs.
Best video conferencing apps: an overview
Video calling apps can be basic, or have every bell and whistle going. But if you do want these bells and whistles, you’ll have to pay for them. Thankfully, even the best video conferencing apps aren’t expensive, with paid plans from the likes of Zoom and GoToMeeting offering small businesses all the features they need for a small monthly fee.
But it’s not all about the paid plans – all of our video conferencing apps offer free options, with trusty Skype and the popular Google Meet video conferencing app making the list for those looking for a more basic offering.
|Best for||Pricing||High quality video/audio||Screen sharing||Conference recording|
|Zoom||Best for ease of use||Free|
|GoToMeeting||Best for advanced features||£9.50/organiser/month|
|Google Meet||Best for free web conferencing||Free as part of Google G-Suite||Yes||Yes||No|
|Microsoft Teams||Best for Microsoft 365 users||Free|
|Yes||Yes||Yes, with paid plan|
|RingCentral Office||Best for VoIP integration||Free|
|Skype||Best for very small businesses||Free||Yes||Yes||Skype to Skype calls only|
Best for ease of use
|Zoom is as popular in the office as it is the household, thanks to its trusted high quality calls and ease of use. Its free package is great for smaller businesses, allowing for calls with up to 100 participants for 40 minutes. Businesses can make use of screen sharing features, and you can integrate Zoom with Google Calendar for no additional cost.|
For businesses that require a bit extra, Zoom offers paid plans for a reasonable price. Starting at £11.99/month/license, businesses can host unlimited group meetings for up to 24 hours, and record meetings to the cloud. For small to medium businesses, the next plan up offers sophisticated extras, including business branding and a language interpretation channel.
With businesses of all sizes singing Zoom’s praises, and with an average rating of 4.5 stars across the web, we’re sure the video conferencing app will remain one of the market leaders long after everyday business starts resuming as normal.
|Available on Android and iOS||Free version available||Plans start from £11.99/month/license|
Best for advanced features
|GoToMeeting is the best web conferencing app alternative to Zoom. It doesn’t offer a free service, but its professional paid plan is cheaper than Zoom’s cheapest paid option. You can have up to 150 participants in a GoToMeeting conference call, and HD video comes as standard.|
For those looking for a bit extra from their web conferencing app, GoToMeeting offers nifty features such as commuter mode for taking calls on the go, and plug-ins for Office 365, Google Calendar, and Salesforce. And if you’re worried about how secure your business calls are, GoToMeeting goes to town when it comes to protecting call privacy.
With users commending its ease of use and call recording quality, GoToMeeting is a solid alternative to our number one video conferencing app. Just bear in mind that in order to achieve the super high call quality it’s renowned for, GoToMeeting sucks up a fair bit of bandwidth, meaning a high quality internet connection is required.
|Available on Android and iOS||No free version available||Plans start from £9.50/month/license|
3. Google Meet
Best for free web conferencing
|If you’re looking for a simple way to stay connected with your close-knit team, you can’t go too wrong with Google Meet. Google Meet comes free with G Suite, although the features you have access to will depend on the G Suite package you’ve opted for.|
There are three G Suite packages – Basic, Business, and Enterprise. The basic package enables you to make calls with up to 100 participants, while the Enterprise edition takes you up to 250. It’s also worth pointing out that you’ll need the Enterprise edition of G Suite if you want to record meetings or live stream them.
When it comes to customer reviews, Google Meet has some of the most impressive going, owing to its ease of use and seamless integration with the Google Suite. However, with a high quality internet connection required for HD video – and reports of call quality being hit and miss – businesses may be better off going for a specialist video conferencing app.
|Available on Android and iOS||Free version available||Free with G Suite|
|Google Meet pros||Google Meet cons|
|Free with G Suite||Call quality can be a bit hit and miss|
|Seamless integration with Google Calendar ||Features depend on your G Suite package|
|Comes with Google Hangouts instant messaging|
4. Microsoft Teams
Best for Microsoft 365 users
|Shortly after Microsoft acquired Skype, Microsoft Teams was born – a free alternative communications tool optimised for the Microsoft Office suite of products. Its free version is more of a collaboration tool than a web conferencing app, with document sharing and instant messaging just some of the features small businesses can take advantage of.|
The free version of Microsoft Teams is pretty basic, so if you’re looking for features like meeting recording or access for those outside of your Microsoft network, you’ll need to invest in Microsoft 365. Packages start from just £3.80 user/month.
Similarly to Google Meet, Microsoft Team’s customers commend how well the product integrates with its hosting package – in this case, Microsoft 365. That said, to be able to take advantage of its best features, businesses have to pay extra on top of their Microsoft 365 license, making it a fairly expensive option for small businesses.
|Available on Android and iOS||Free with Microsoft 365||Plans start from £3.80/user/month|
5. RingCentral Meetings
Best for VoIP integration
|Specialists in the VoIP field, RingCentral has pulled together its collective expertise to create a video conferencing app that’s packed full of advanced features – if you’re prepared to pay for them.|
The free version offers businesses a package similar to that of the basic versions of Zoom and Google Meet, including screen sharing, whiteboard, call recording, and decent security.
But if you do end up paying for its (somewhat pricey) advanced packages, you’ll get to take advantage of some really cool features.
You’ll be able to integrate full webinar packages, host remote cloud conferences, and experience super high audio quality. And there are some nifty additions too, like safe driving mode and the option to conduct polls during a meeting.
The general consensus from RingCentral customers is that the interface isn’t as easy to use as other video conferencing apps. Hosting video meetings with people outside of the business will also require them to download the software, rather than use a browser plugin.
|Available on Android and iOS||Free version available||Plans start from £14.99/user/month|
Best for very small businesses
|The fact that Skype is still a popular choice after all these years goes to show just how much of a great tool it is. With HD video calling, instant messaging, and free meeting recording and subtitle features, small businesses can’t really go wrong.|
While businesses commend the features on offer – especially for a free piece of software – there are some concerns about its tendency to lag, both during calls and when loading up the software at the start of the day.
However, for one to one meetings and small group calls, its free features – and of course, the option to call toll numbers (at an additional cost) – still make it worthy of a place in our list of the best video conferencing apps for small businesses.
|Available on Android and iOS||Free version available||Skype credit available to purchase|
The best free video conferencing apps for small businesses
The great thing about video conferencing apps is that you don’t always have to pay for them to be able to do everything your business needs to do.
All of the video calling apps featured in our list offer businesses a free plan, but if we were to choose our top three, the best free video conferencing apps for small businesses would be:
- Google Meet
So how do you work out which one is best for you?
Well, when it comes to deciding on which provider offers the best free plan, working out the differences is like trying to split hairs – there aren’t any, really.
Inevitably, as your business grows, your needs change. So when choosing the best video conferencing app for your small business, consider which one offers you the best future option.
For example, while you may be tempted to pick Zoom on the basis that its free plan offers your business everything it needs, you could be better off choosing GoToMeeting, because it offers one of the cheapest paid plans when it comes to upgrading.
Google Meet, on the other hand, would require you to upgrade your entire G Suite package, which may or may not be necessary as your small business matures.
Best video conferencing apps for small businesses: the verdict
In summary, our pick of the best video calling apps for small businesses are:
- Google Meet
- Microsoft Teams
- RingCentral Meetings
Zoom and GoToMeeting are our favourites, offering businesses a great free option and reasonably priced paid plans that are rammed full of clever features.
Google Meet and Microsoft Teams make the middle. While free, they are optimised for G Suite and Microsoft 365 products respectively, meaning that when it comes to upgrading, you’ll need to upgrade your entire package, not just your video conferencing app.
Lastly, we have RingCentral Meetings and Skype, which are great options but come with a greater set of limitations.
RingCentral is more suited to those interested in having an all-in-one VoIP and video conferencing solution. This is because its paid plans are expensive, and are designed for businesses looking for the best in communications technology.
Skype is the most basic out of all the video conferencing options we've included, and while offering a feature-set worthy of appearing in our list, its shaky audio and video quality means it’s better suited to very small businesses that don’t rely too much on video conferencing in day to day operations.