The Best Virtual Phone Number in 2020

By Sonja November 3, 2020

Running a customer care or technical support center is no easy task. It becomes an organizational nightmare if you don’t have a receptionist or system for offloading calls. Luckily there’s an app for that.

More than one app, actually. It’s called a virtual phone and there is a whole market of platforms designed especially for handling customer calls. These apps are able to quickly connect the caller to the exact person who will be able to resolve their issue. Nowadays, these systems have actually outgrown their original purpose and are used as complex organizational tools. So what is the best virtual phone number right now, and how can you get one?

We’ve gathered all the information on these companies, scoured their sites for the best deals, and compared prices. Here’s what we found.

  • Affordable plans and add-ons
  • Free trial available
  • Lots of features
  • Not good for big teams
Price $29/mo
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  • Perfect for big teams
  • Call monitoring and recording
  • Team-oriented features
  • Charges activation fee
Price $12/mo
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  • Team-oriented solution
  • Numbers in 100+ countries
  • Integrates into many apps
  • Some unnecessary features in the most expensive plans
Price $19.99/mo
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  • Free toll-free number
  • Phone rental
  • Free trial available
  • Expensive for small teams
  • No international numbers
Price $19.95/mo
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  • Affordable
  • HD voice
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Very limited plans
  • Call recording only available as paid add-on
Price $9.99/mo
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1. Grasshopper

" Best Affordable Virtual Phone Number "

  • Starts at:
    $26/month
  • Phone numbers:
    1-5
  • Types of numbers:
    Local, international, vanity, toll-free
  • Platform:
    Desktop and mobile
  • Reporting:
    Yes
  • Call transfer:
    Yes
  • Key features:
    Port existing number, virtual fax, voicemail transcription, virtual receptionist, instant response, call blasting

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Affordable plans and add-ons
  • Free trial available
  • Lots of features
  • Not good for big teams

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Affordable plans and add-ons
  • Free trial available
  • Lots of features
  • Not good for big teams
  • Starts at:
    $26/month
  • Phone numbers:
    1-5
  • Types of numbers:
    Local, international, vanity, toll-free
  • Platform:
    Desktop and mobile
  • Reporting:
    Yes
  • Call transfer:
    Yes
  • Key features:
    Port existing number, virtual fax, voicemail transcription, virtual receptionist, instant response, call blasting

Grasshopper, unlike those in the old kung fu movies, has already learned a lot about this industry. For many small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, this hosting service has become an inseparable companion. Many cannot imagine an office without running their phone systems throughGrasshopper. It’s a perfect solution for business VoIP as long as you don’t have more than 15 people on your team.

With that downside out of the way, there’s a lot to like about the service that many consider the best virtual phone number for both landline and VoIP. First of all, you can transfer your existing number, but you can also choose from local, international, and vanity numbers.

Feature-wise, it’s a well-rounded product, with a great set of management tools available. This includes voicemail recording and transcribing, instant replies to callers, and business contacts that keep your whole conversations in a handy timeline view. Of course, the basics like call forwarding and transferring are included. The app is available for both desktop and mobile with seamless transitions between the two work environments, making it perfect for solopreneurs on the go.

Grasshopper is also a very affordable virtual phone number provider, with pricing plans that won’t break the bank. Starting with the Solo plan, you can expect monthly costs of $29, with the Partner plan being the best buy option at $49 a month.

For bigger teams, the best choice is the Small business plan at $89 a month, which also grants you five numbers and an unlimited number of extensions. If you end up liking the service, we suggest signing up for the annual plan and saving 10% off all the listed prices. As for the add-ons, they’re reasonably priced. For example, extra numbers cost $10 each and there’s a 35% discount if you apply for the Ruby virtual receptionist system.

We don’t consider Grasshopper the best virtual phone number company just because of its fair pricing and feature-rich app – its customer experience is also impeccable. With 24/7 phone and email support and a deep knowledge base available on the website, it really is top-notch. Finally, there’s a seven-day free trial, so you can test the system and see for yourself why everyone’s praising it.

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2. 8x8

" Best Professional Virtual Phone Number "

  • Starts at:
    $12/month
  • Phone numbers:
    1
  • Types of numbers:
    Local, international, vanity, toll-free
  • Platform:
    Desktop and mobile
  • Reporting:
    Yes
  • Call transfer:
    Yes
  • Key features:
    Audio and video calls, reporting tools, automatic attendant, free texting, operator switchboard, conference calls, screen sharing

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Perfect for big teams
  • Call monitoring and recording
  • Team-oriented features
  • Charges activation fee

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Perfect for big teams
  • Call monitoring and recording
  • Team-oriented features
  • Charges activation fee
  • Starts at:
    $12/month
  • Phone numbers:
    1
  • Types of numbers:
    Local, international, vanity, toll-free
  • Platform:
    Desktop and mobile
  • Reporting:
    Yes
  • Call transfer:
    Yes
  • Key features:
    Audio and video calls, reporting tools, automatic attendant, free texting, operator switchboard, conference calls, screen sharing

When it comes to the enterprise phone system category, no other platform is as beloved as 8×8. It has become almost synonymous with call center management, providing professional call waiting, transferring, and monitoring services. The company has three decades of experience, after all.

The reason we consider this platform to be the best virtual phone number for a small business is its sheer quantity of features. Just listing all of them could take up this whole page, so we’ll stick to the highlights.

The 8×8 system offers plenty of automation, which is why so many call centers use it. Whether it’s automated call attendance or the receptionist system for guiding callers to the right department, you can rest assured that 8×8 can handle it. There’s also an operator switchboard allowing for manual transfers, but also a set of monitoring tools. The app can both record calls and create detailed reports on them, helping call center managers analyze the productivity of their teams.

Granted, this is not a cheap virtual phone number, especially if you’ve got a big team dedicated to answering phone calls. The monthly fee for this call center solution is priced at $12 per user, although there’s no minimum number of licenses you have to purchase. With this plan, you’ll get unlimited calls across the United States and Canada, as well as video conference features with screen sharing tools.

Need even more features and international calls? Sign up for the X Series X2 plan at $25 per user per month and you’ll also get voicemail transcription service. A $45-per-user plan – the X4 plan – is the top virtual phone number option for call centers, as it includes the aforementioned analytics and switchboard tools. Finally, there’s the super-premium X6 plan that includes unlimited calls to 47 countries and a lot of additional tools for a hefty price of $110 per user per month. It may seem expensive, but could be a life-saver for dedicated customer care centers.

This leads us to the customer experience, one area where 8×8 surprisingly lacks options. Live chat is the preferred point of contact here, with a lot of hoops needed to get to the ticketing system. Fortunately, there’s a knowledge base on the website, with answers to pretty much all common issues you may run into with this system.

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3. RingCentral

" Best Virtual Phone Number for International Calls "

  • Starts at:
    $19.99/month
  • Phone numbers:
    1
  • Types of numbers:
    Local, international, vanity, toll-free
  • Platform:
    Desktop and mobile
  • Reporting:
    Yes
  • Call transfer:
    Yes
  • Key features:
    Voicemail transcription, team messaging, file sharing, video meetings, integrations with Office and G Suite, real-time analytics, CRM integration

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Team-oriented solution
  • Numbers in 100+ countries
  • Integrates into many apps
  • Some unnecessary features in the most expensive plans

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Team-oriented solution
  • Numbers in 100+ countries
  • Integrates into many apps
  • Some unnecessary features in the most expensive plans
  • Starts at:
    $19.99/month
  • Phone numbers:
    1
  • Types of numbers:
    Local, international, vanity, toll-free
  • Platform:
    Desktop and mobile
  • Reporting:
    Yes
  • Call transfer:
    Yes
  • Key features:
    Voicemail transcription, team messaging, file sharing, video meetings, integrations with Office and G Suite, real-time analytics, CRM integration

RingCentral is a company that has been giving other VoIP providers a run for their money for more than 20 years. It’s the top virtual phone number provider for both entrepreneurs and their teams, providing a lot of team-oriented features as well as business and toll-free numbers. This is a VoIP solution, first and foremost, with very high-quality audio and video calls.

Right off the bat, RingCentral offers a lot of useful tools for small businesses. The basic plan is great for companies with up to 20 employees since it includes unlimited calls and texts in the North America region. It’s a great landline alternative, especially when we take team messaging into account, along with document sharing and integrations with popular apps like G Suite, Office, and Slack. In fact, it’s one of the best virtual phone number apps on the market thanks to its easy integration. Customer support platforms like Zendesk and Salesforce don’t require any special setup to work with RingCentral.

Conferencing is another strong point of this platform. Up to 200 participants can join in on a video call, while audio conferences don’t even have a limit to the number of participants. At the higher price points, the service becomes even more valuable to call centers, as it adds automatic call recording, some advanced features for handling business calls, and even real-time analytics.

You pay for this service per user per month, but it becomes a very affordable virtual phone number in its higher tiers. Plans start at $19.99 per month and all include unlimited SMS and phone calls, although the Essentials plan is strictly limited to 20 users. A direct upgrade of the most basic plan is the Standard plan, which costs just $5 more but adds so many features, especially for conferencing and integration.

The most popular plan costs $34.99 a month and is the best option for call centers, since it includes a lot of management and compliance tools. We didn’t see the appeal of the Ultimate plan for many users, except for companies that get a lot of toll-free calls.

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4. Nextiva

" Best Virtual Phone Number for Toll-Free Calls "

  • Starts at:
    $19.95/month
  • Phone numbers:
    1
  • Types of numbers:
    Local, vanity, toll-free
  • Platform:
    Desktop and mobile
  • Reporting:
    Yes
  • Call transfer:
    Yes
  • Key features:
    Caller AI, voicemail to email, various app integrations, conferencing tools, screen sharing, customizable hold music

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Free toll-free number
  • Phone rental
  • Free trial available
  • Expensive for small teams
  • No international numbers

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Free toll-free number
  • Phone rental
  • Free trial available
  • Expensive for small teams
  • No international numbers
  • Starts at:
    $19.95/month
  • Phone numbers:
    1
  • Types of numbers:
    Local, vanity, toll-free
  • Platform:
    Desktop and mobile
  • Reporting:
    Yes
  • Call transfer:
    Yes
  • Key features:
    Caller AI, voicemail to email, various app integrations, conferencing tools, screen sharing, customizable hold music

Nextiva is a very popular virtual phone number provider when it comes to businesses. This is another platform with a heavy focus on team organization and internal communication. It’s not just an answering service, it’s a fully fledged solution for running a company.

There are quite a lot of features in Nextiva’s toolset. Like many similar services, it supports BYOP (bring your own phone), so there’s no need to change your number when signing up. Both video and phone calls are supported even in the basic package, as well as different call management tools that will speed up the workflow of any call center.

Although it doesn’t offer international numbers, Nextiva has proved to be the best virtual phone number app for companies that rely on toll-free phone calls. It’s actually one of the most affordable ways to get thousands of toll-free minutes compared to its competition.

Among other features, what stood out to us were its integrations with numerous apps and online services. From G Suite to Slack, Outlook to Salesforce, you can connect Nextiva to pretty much any platform you’re currently using for office tasks. There are also productivity features like screen sharing, as well as call analytics and recording – something every customer care center will appreciate.

Nextiva’s virtual phone number pricing is pretty fair and on par with other companies we’ve featured on this page. Plans start at $19.95 per user per month. It might seem pricer than 8×8, for example, but the prices don’t skyrocket. The most expensive plan is just $31.95 per user per month, and the price drops even lower if you choose to pay on an annual basis instead of monthly.

Granted, this pricing system isn’t ideal for smaller businesses, especially if they need some of the more premium tools available only in the higher tiers. Still, it’s worth noting that each plan at Nextiva comes with unlimited 24/7 customer support.

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5. Phone.com

" Best Virtual Phone Number for Small Teams "

  • Starts at:
    $9.99/month
  • Phone numbers:
    1
  • Types of numbers:
    Local, vanity, toll-free
  • Platform:
    Desktop and mobile
  • Reporting:
    Yes
  • Call transfer:
    Yes
  • Key features:
    Custom greetings and hold music, analog phone support, voicemail to email, scheduling, CRM integration

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Affordable
  • HD voice
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Very limited plans
  • Call recording only available as paid add-on

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Affordable
  • HD voice
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Very limited plans
  • Call recording only available as paid add-on
  • Starts at:
    $9.99/month
  • Phone numbers:
    1
  • Types of numbers:
    Local, vanity, toll-free
  • Platform:
    Desktop and mobile
  • Reporting:
    Yes
  • Call transfer:
    Yes
  • Key features:
    Custom greetings and hold music, analog phone support, voicemail to email, scheduling, CRM integration

You may not be able to get a free virtual phone number, but that doesn’t mean you should dish out a fortune. The numbers and services Phone.com provides are some of the most affordable we’ve found and, best of all, the features aren’t locked to specific pricing tiers. That means that each customer gets 40+ amazing call management features right off the bat.

Whether you need local, international, or even vanity numbers, you can get them all with this service. As for the aforementioned feature list, the highlights include an automated attendant, an address book with call-by-name directory, scheduling, and custom hold music. There’s even a fax to email feature. 

The virtual phone numbers that this company offers can be global, too. You get a selection of more than 40 countries – mostly European – with rather competitive prices. An international number won’t cost you more than $12.99 per user per month. 

From the organizational side of things, audio conferencing supports up to 500 participants. Video conferencing – as well as analytic and monitoring tools – cost extra, unfortunately. In fact, there are a lot of optional add-ons, including more text messages and minutes, but we’ll get to that later. One of the better extra features is live reception. It’s a bit pricey, but it will surely give your company a more professional look (and sound).

We mentioned that getting a virtual business phone number at Phone.com doesn’t cost a lot. The starting price is just $12.99 per month, or $9.99 if you choose to pay annually, but there’s a catch. Both the basic and the $19.99 Plus account are limited by the number of minutes and text messages you can use each month. Only if you choose the $29.99 plan will you get the unlimited number of calls and texts. We’d go as far as to say that this should be the only plan you should consider from this provider.

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Our Methodology for Identifying the Best Virtual Phone Number Providers

Call Management

Cloud computing has impacted businesses like nothing before in history. All of a sudden you can automate pretty much any part of the working process or move it online where it’s safer. After VPS hosting and press release distribution services, the time has come for phone customer support to get automated.

The main reason for getting a virtual phone line is offloading the traffic from one phone to your whole support team. Redirecting the caller to a specific department or person not only streamlines your support service, but it makes your customers happy and more likely to continue using your products or services for many years to come. Cutting down on those wait times and number of transfers is what many customers consider good service, thus what we look for first in these apps.

Once your business picks up, the number of callers will increase. A good virtual business phone number app should offer call queueing, keeping the customers waiting in line and the system ready to transfer the call once there’s a free line.

Automation is another significant feature we look for. It’s fine if a service only features manual call transfers, but that’s not enough anymore to stand out from the crowd. These systems can become your new virtual reception, routing customers much faster than any human can.

Lastly, there’s the matter of monitoring business phone calls. This has become an integral part of many virtual phone services and it’s a highly requested feature by call centers, so we’ve included it in our requirements. Both monitoring and recording are a must, but if the service also offers reporting tools and other metrics, it’s a big plus in our book.

Phone Number Selection

Since we’re potentially getting several phone numbers, it’s important to not be limited to just local numbers. Instead, we’re looking for both variety and quantity. The number and type of phone numbers you can get is often a deal breaker with these services. The best virtual phone number service should offer both local and international phone numbers, but also vanity and toll-free numbers. The latter can really make your company look more professional and are often requested by business owners.

Call Quality

It should go without saying that the quality of phone calls is important if you don’t want to lose customers. A bad connection could lead to mishearing crucial information on both ends, which can lead to even more problems for both customers and your company. We take into account how stable the connection is when assessing this criterion.
Price

The importance of saving a few pennies here and there shouldn’t be overlooked. Therefore, we try to find the most affordable virtual phone number service that provides good value. We compare the plans – if there are more than one on offer – look at how well the pricing is scaled from the basic to the most premium plan, and find which is the best choice. We also take a look at any extra fees and optional add-ons, of course comparing them to the competition.

Additionally, we evaluate any discounts that the company offers, whether they’re for purchasing annual licenses or combo deals. Free trials are highly appreciated, too, as are generous refund policies. In short, we look for the best virtual phone number service provider in terms of value and consumer-friendliness.

Customer Support

When you’re just starting to learn how to manage your calls online, you’re bound to have some questions about the brand new service you’ve just subscribed to. Maybe some part of the UI isn’t 100% clear to your coworkers, or you’re having an issue setting up a particular feature. Whatever the case, you’ll need an expert’s help, and it’s even better if that help comes directly from the company whose product you’re using.

That’s why the top virtual phone number providers need to have solid customer support platforms. This includes knowledgeable, friendly staff, different avenues of contact, short waiting times, and a good knowledge base where the user can browse for solutions on their own.

Our Picks: The Best Virtual Phone Number Services

  • Grasshopper
  • 8×8
  • RingCentral
  • Nextiva
  • Phone.com

Benefits of Using a Virtual Business Phone System

You might still be wondering why you would even use a virtual instead of an analogue phone. Isn’t it simpler, faster, and even cheaper? That may have been the case in the past, but in recent years, a serious company should switch to an online phone if they plan to include a phone number as one point of contact with their customers. Here are some of the reasons virtual US numbers are such a hot commodity right now.

Convenience

The phone rings, you answer it. End of story, right? True, but if you get a hold of the best virtual phone number, you can do that and much more. These services have evolved way beyond what a landline can offer. Yes, you can still make and receive phone calls, but you also get a whole set of management tools that help spread the workload and direct the customer to the exact department they need.

These systems work like a receptionist, automating the process of transferring a caller to a specific department or person so they can solve their problems faster. You can have a waiting queue, hundreds of operators answering the same phone number, automatic responses, and more. The best virtual phone number provider can provide you with dozens of productivity tools. Some of them may even be able to integrate into the systems you might already be using.

There’s also the matter of leaving a better impression on your clients and customers. Getting a few easy-to-remember 1-800 numbers and offering customers the chance to call you for free when they have issues with the product – it all adds up to a better company image.

Call Recording

You know the line “this phone call might be recorded” when you call customer support? Call centers record calls through virtual phones for several reasons, but most often as a legal precaution. They pick the best virtual phone system based on whether it can monitor and record the calls or not.

This is mostly for legal reasons. Whether for their own safety or if requested by law, call centers record their calls. That way, any issue that may arise will be documented, hence why you’ll always see this feature listed in virtual phone companies’ offers.

Another reason these services record calls is simply for employee training. A manager of a call center can evaluate the productivity of their employees by listening to either live or recorded calls.

Saving Money

When we talk about the best virtual phone number, we always mention the pricing. Today, a small business that deals with a lot of phone calls is better off getting an internet phone than a landline. These services can easily save you hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars a month, since many offer unlimited calls and texts. Compared to cell phone plans, these services are usually a steal and you can even use them on your mobile phone, so it’s a win-win situation.

FAQ

How do I get a virtual phone number?

Getting the best virtual phone number for small business requires just a quick signup with one of the companies that offer these kinds of services. In most cases, your virtual phone will be ready to go in a matter of minutes and you can carry your existing phone number, so you’re not cutting off the service to your customers.

Are virtual phone numbers safe?

Yes, Wi-Fi calling and managing phone calls through a virtual phone is very safe. Most modern platforms that offer this service employ strong encryption, protecting all the data stored in the system, including your address books.

Why would someone use a VoIP number?

Compared to a regular landline, the best virtual business phone is not limited to just one device, or even a single location. When you get a virtual phone, you can use it anywhere in the world as long as you have internet access. There’s pretty much nothing more convenient than that when it comes to making business calls.

What is the best 1-800 number service?

Many companies today offer a 1-800 number or 800 number when you sign up for their virtual phone services. As we’ve mentioned in our article, there are five companies that provide the best virtual phone number today. These are Grasshopper, 8×8, RingCentral, Nextiva, and Phone.com.