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Business Phone

There are five phones that you'll use in conducting business:

  • Conference phones
  • Desktop phones
  • Wireless phones
  • Softphones
  • Cell Phones

We explain a little bit about each business phone below the table, which compares some of the most common business phones on price and customer rating. Read more about business phones.

Types of Business Phones

Business Phones Don't Work On Their Own

You'll need a business VoIP provider in order to use your brand-new business phone. Use our business VoIP comparison to compare providers and pick the best one for you.

Compare Business VoIP Providers

You'll also need a high speed internet connection in order to use VoIP. Check your connection speed with our VoIP speed test.

VoIP Speed Test

Any phone that works with VoIP is known as an IP phone. However, beyond that, there are those five other classifications that work for describing business phones.

In alphabetical order:

  • Conference phones
  • Desktop phones
  • Wireless phones
  • Softphones
  • Cell Phones

Business Conference Phone

Business conference phones are the most expensive business phones. As you may have guessed, business conference phones are used for conference calls.

However, business conference phones provide the best sound quality, best microphone range, and a custom set of features to make conference calls easier.

For instance, some Polycom business conference phones offer a specialized pickup algorithm, which ensures that the person speaking 'has the floor' and isn't interrupted by background noise.

Business conference phones can be expanded for larger conference rooms with additional microphones and speakers.

Conference Call Service

You may need one more thing in order to make a conference call with your business phone: a conference call provider. Check out our list of conference call providers here.

Business Desktop Phone

Desktop business phones are the most common business phone on the market. Typically, desktop business phones have a corded handset attached to a larger phone body.

Desktop business phones range heavily in price: standard models can cost less than $100 while executive phones that can take 4 calls at the same time can cost more than $400.

Desktop phones have the most built-in business phone features: usually, they are headset-compatible, have built-in voicemail, hold, call waiting, directory functions, and multi-line capabilities.

Most desktop phones can also be used for impromptu conferences and three-way calling. However, the speaker on desktop business phones isn't intended for large conferences and the sound quality in these conferences isn't always the best (this is from experience – please trust me on this).

Desktop business phones are most commonly offered as promotional items by VoIP companies. Desktop business phones are also the easiest of the hardware phones to set up; usually you can just plug them in and start talking.

Business Wireless Phone

A business wireless phone is a desktop phone that has a remote handset. As long as you are in range of the base, you can make calls wirelessly.

Wireless business phones sometimes work in conjunction with Bluetooth technology. They're also excellent for integration with call forwarding.

Wireless phones don't always have all the built-in features of desktop business phone, nor are they as easy to set up. However, they make up for this limitation by being mobile.

Sometimes, you can attach a wireless headset to a desktop phone to use it wirelessly.

Business Softphone

A business softphone is software installed on a computer or smart phone that allows you to make VoIP calls. Skype is probably the most famous example of a softphone.

Softphones are usually free and available for download from the VoIP providers that … provide them. However, softphones do need a headset in order to work (or a computer equipped with a microphone and speakers).

Business Cell Phone

A business cell phone … is a cell phone you use to conduct business. Smartphones allow you to consolidate phone calls, email, and Internet on the go; with softphones, you can use VoIP on the go, too.

Many VoIP providers offer apps for the iPhone or other smart phones that allow you to use the VoIP provider instead of your cellular carrier. Our mobile VoIP article has more information on how you can use a cell phone/softphone combination to enhance your VoIP experience.

Business Phone Brands

The big brands that offer business phones are Cisco, Polycom, Talkswitch, Panasonic, Nortel, and AT&T.

Some VoIP providers, like RingCentral and 8x8, offer proprietary phone systems: you must purchase a phone from the VoIP provider in order to use their VoIP service.

Most VoIP providers, like Apptix, Nextiva, or Vocalocity, offer SIP-based VoIP service, which means that you can use any business phone with their service. Check with your service provider before you purchase a business phone to make sure that the business phone can work with their VoIP system.

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