Best Phone System for Small Business – 2019 Review

How to get started buying a phone system for your company

Best Phone System for Small Business – 2019 Review

Let’s start by saying that choosing a new phone system for your business isn’t an easy task.

There are many phone system vendors in the world and this can make the task of buying a new phone system a bit of a challenge.

Many global vendors trade in the UK and some do not, therefore this is the first step in narrowing down your search.

It’s probably worth mentioning at this stage what a small business is. Within the phone systems market here’s roughly how they categorise phone systems:

  • Micro Business = 1-10 users
  • SMB (small to medium size business) = 11-250 users
  • Mid-Market = 250 to 1000 users
  • Enterprise = 1000+ users

Most phone systems capabilities nowadays are primarily software controlled and therefore scalability over the years has dramatically increased due to improvements in the hardware they reside on. For example, you can now buy a phone system the size of a shoe box that will easily support 100 users or more.

If you have a virtual server (e.g Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware) a single host can support potentially hundreds if not thousands of users.

Small Business Phone System Reviews

Here’s a list of small business phone system reviews that we have carried as part of our 2017 IP-PBX Technology Track, which was created to help buyers navigate the decision making process.

Bear in mind that all these fall under the banner of Unified Communications which means they offer more than just Voice. Other unified apps include video, messaging and team collaboration which many of these systems offer.

(alphabetical order, the reviews without links are not published yet however will be very soon)

On-Premises hardware based phone systems

These are conventional PBX systems that are typically hosted in your office, hence the term ‘on-premises’.

Virtualised phone systems (on-premise or cloud PBX)

These are software based systems that can be hosted in your office or in the cloud.

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)

Subscription based UC platforms, commonly known as UCaaS.

Cloud Communications APIs

Cloud Communications APIs, also known as Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS)

Full CPaaS Providers list here

Which Phone System for Small Business then?

There is no right or wrong in terms of brand, each vendor endeavours to have feature parity with the other. However, what is important is you choose the ‘best fit’ solution for your small business.

Read our Phone System Buyers Guide to help get up to speed what modern phone systems offer.

Once you have an understanding of which features you’d like, read our PBX comparison chart to view the manufacturers that have the features you require.


Latest comments

Joe 05:10, 09 Oct 2018

With men own nearly 52% of all small businesses in the US whereas women own around 28% in total. 17% of all small businesses are owned by male and female partnerships, and only 3% of businesses are publicly owned. I’m sure there’s a lot to come for small business phone system in the states.

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Braden Martin 05:08, 22 Aug 2018

Informative article, thanks for sharing! There are so many options for business phone services, from which i feel that cloud phone services are the best. It cuts down hardware and call costs, enhancing quality of calls from anywhere to anyone in the world at anytime.

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  • Frank 12:04, 17 Apr 2018

    Grasshopper has stopped serving the UK market since Jan 2018

    Reply to this thread
  • Frank 12:04, 17 Apr 2018

    Grasshopper has stopped serving the UK market since Jan 2018

    Reply to this thread
Joe 04:03, 06 Mar 2018

Hi, surprise Grasshopper is not in the list? Any reason for that or because the technology is different from Ringcentral. I particularly find them better than Ringcentral. Cheers.

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Comparing Small Business Phone Systems - the devil's in the detail beware - Rob's Blog 10:03, 03 Mar 2018

[…] package for your business, I recommend reading online reviews before purchasing. Genuine small business phone system reviews (as opposed to the ones that companies generate just to look good) are often insightful and can […]

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Dave Greggs 11:02, 19 Feb 2018

Thanks for sharing

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Rich Salt 02:11, 24 Nov 2017

never heard of it either, but i’m reasonably sure you can reuse Nortel handsets on the Avaya IPO seeing as how i have a customer doing exactly that.

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Kevin Smith 04:08, 29 Aug 2017

You all left out the Fonality options from Netfortris as well.

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Paul Byrne 12:08, 28 Aug 2017

Hi Rob

Have you ever covered “VoIP Vulnerabilities” and the importance of having an SBC?

My company UC Defence mitigates the threat of Toll Fraud, a crime that’s estimated to be costing the business community in excess of $8bn annually.

Q4-17 will see us launch our ShoreTel “Tech Connect Partner Program Membership” and a Cyber Security as a Service strategy for ShoreTel Connect, would be happy to review further?


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  • Rob Scott 11:08, 14 Aug 2017

    Hi Prasath

    Thanks for your comment.

    This list was created primarily focused at the UK market. The list does contain NEC and Panasonic SMB systems.

    The OXO Connect platform is missing from the list, we haven’t carried out any reviews of this product just yet, but I’ll add it to the list anyway.

    Appreciate your feedback 🙂

    Rob Scott

    Reply to this thread
Jalpa Sharma 08:08, 14 Aug 2017

That’s pretty impressive! Your blog helped me a lot to know more about the best phones. Thank you for sharing this useful information with the readers.

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Prasath Rao 09:08, 13 Aug 2017

I am not sure if this review caters only to US market. Otherwise some leading names such as Alcatel Lucent Enterprise’s OXO Connect, NEC and Panasonic in SMB space are missed out. These brands are very prominent in Europr, Middle East and Africa, APAC regions

Otherwise its a good ‘starter’ analysis to start with.


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The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide To Business Phone Systems — George Tampakas 03:06, 21 Jun 2017

[…] lot of business owners are at a complete loss when it comes to choosing a phone system for their business. While choices were limited in the past, nowadays it can be difficult for […]

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