Using VoIP is a blessing for businesses, thanks not only to the fact that they provide countless features that most traditional phone systems couldn’t ever do but also for being cheap and easy to use. Thankfully, the same rules apply to residential users, meaning that anybody who wants to make the big move to the cloud can also enjoy cost-friendly prices and business-grade features. All you need to know is where to find the right VoIP providers and the market’s best offers.
If it’s unlimited domestic calls without contractual obligation you want then Ooma is the choice for you, since this amazing value proposition is available anywhere in the U.S. once a one-time installation fee has been paid. Or perhaps you might prefer relying on a more traditional subscription-based solution? Then the decision is Vonage, with a service that provides free minutes to dozens of countries around the world.
But before casting your vote, remember that the price tag is just one aspect. For making the right decision, you’ll need to delve deeper…
Although Ooma Office, the company’s business service, has plenty of enterprise-grade features, residential users also enjoy almost everything that business users can. This includes call forwarding, holding the call, putting an incoming call in queue, easy call returning, blocking unwanted callers, and advanced voicemail management.
Speaking of voicemails, Ooma always sends a copy of the new message in an email, while the original message can be easily accessed from the online account manager or from the app, which alerts users via push notifications. This app also provides free minutes to users, and is capable of automatically forwarding the call to your smartphone, so you’ll never miss a call again.
However, this is just the beginning: calls placed from an Ooma account cost absolutely nothing when placed to a U.S. phone number. And to make things better, there is the option to have a secondary line, meaning that even if the main phone line is in there is an alternative line so users can still place and receive calls without disturbing the other caller.
Unlike many similar phone service providers, Ooma’s basic residential service only charges a $99 installation fee, but paying an additional $9.99 per month for Ooma Premier unlocks extras like free calls to more countries, advanced voicemails, caller ID management and mobile features. It is also how you gain access to the second phone line, three-way conferencing, and integration with Google Voice, Amazon Echo and Nest Alerts. Note, however, that regardless of the chosen service, Ooma customers always enjoy a 30-day risk-free trial.
|Free Trial||Free Trial|
|Analog Phone Support|
|Phone Number/Additional Fees||
|Toll-Free Number||$4.99/100 min|
|Local, 800 Transfer Fee||Free|
|Vanity 800 Number Fee||n/a|
|True 800 Number Fee||n/a|
|International Virtual Number||$4.99/mo-$9.99/mo|
|Flat-Rate Pricing Plans||
|Additional Lines||$9.99/mo (first 3 months)|
|Free Trial||30 days|
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days|
|Available Payment Methods||
|Headquarters||New Jersey, U.S.|
Vonage is another prime example of a residential VoIP provider that caters to the everyday user with business-grade features, some of which are quite innovative compared to competing services. The most interesting of these features is terms ‘call hunt’, an advanced version of call forwarding that calls up to five numbers in a sequential order.
The company has also been considerate of those that might be calling a Vonage user, especially if that call is from a foreign country. In this regard an available access number allows such a caller to reach your Vonage number for the price of a local call, while the ingenious boomerang feature immediately returns their call, allowing them to connect to you without having to pay anything. However, regardless of how and where the call was placed, the system provides crystal clear audio thanks to the clever bandwidth saver that comes with every Vonage adapter.
This adapter can be managed from a straightforward online account manager, where its settings can be changed or any stored voicemails – both in their original and transcribed format – can be found. The system manager is also the place for purchasing additional features, such as the softphone and a dedicated fax line, or to turn two different mobile phones into a virtual extension.
A huge advantage of Vonage plans is that each and every one of them provide all these features without any limits alongside a 30-day risk-free trial. However, while the cheapest plans, North America and World, are both $9.99 per month, the former locks in reduced prices for the first year, while Vonage World does so for only six months – albeit also providing unlimited calls to 60 countries.
No matter whether you prefer Ooma or Vonage, both are fantastic services and will perfectly serve your needs with their business-grade features.
Ooma is the optimal choice for placing free, unlimited calls to U.S. numbers. In fact, Ooma definitely saves you a lot of money since the basic service only requires the purchase of the adapter and has no contractual obligation at all. However, Ooma Premier, which is $9.99 per month, is even better. It provides all useful extras like advanced voicemail management, a free second phone line and integration with Google Voice and Amazon Echo.
Vonage, on the other hand, is a more traditional VoIP service that requires a subscription plan. However, these provide all available features without limitations and a simplistic online account manager for cost-friendly prices that are reduced further by contractual obligation. Not only that, but the company’s service is beneficial for your callers too thanks to features that either lower their call rates or waive fees completely.
Best VoIP Systems of 2019