It seems everyone in this industry these days is selling Cloud/VoIP phone systems.  They are very attractive at first with low upfront costs, but in the long run they’ll end up costing you much more than the time-trusted traditional server-installed-in-your-closet phone system solution.  With 20 years of experience, we are your trusted partner for preparing a phone system for your business that is not a cloud-hosted service charging you per month for every phone you have connected and limiting your actual ownership.

Whether you’re opening a new office and need phones or you’re planning to update your existing phone system, we have done the research and tested over 35 business phone systems to prepare the list of our Top 5 most recommended business telephone systems.

Our criteria we believe the best business phone systems must meet:

  1. Must be reliable. The manufacturer must have a strong history of reliability.
  2. Must be affordable for a small business to purchase and maintain.
  3. Must provide voicemail-to-email, automated attendant menus, and message/music on hold.
  4. Must support the choice of using traditional analog/digital telephone lines “in-your-closet” from your local provider or using VoIP “cloud-hosted on the Internet” phone service.
  5. Should support interconnection of multiple business locations (franchises, branch offices, home offices, etc.).
  6. Would like to have a solution for CRM software (Customer relationship management).
  7. Would like to support call queuing (“Please hold for the next available agent…”).
  8. Would like call reporting and analysis, real-time call monitoring/listening, and call recording.
  9. Would like to improve customer experience with custom IVR database decision-based call flows.
  10. Would like to offer some employees mobility or work-from-home options by making and receiving calls on a smartphone App.

For organizations who require inbound/outbound call center solution planning, Virtualization private cloud solutions, ERP or a nationwide installation rollout, please give us a call at 1 (877) 877-9473 to discuss with our enterprise project team.

at-t-sb35031


#5. AT&T Synapse Phone System

Easy of Use: 4 out of 5
Sound Quality: 2 out of 5
Features: 1 out of 5
Call queuing/sequencing: Yes
App for Smartphone/4G Users: No
Call Reporting/Analysis: No
Monitoring & Call Recording: No
Database Decision-Based Call Flows: No
CRM Integration: No
Installation type: Cat6/Ethernet
Cost: $ out of $$$

Our favorite small business phone system, hands down! The AT&T Synapse is the most simple phone system available — no headaches, hassles or hidden costs. Large backlit displays, web-based system administration, familiar call handling and features, scheduled-based auto attendant, built-in voicemail, dial-by-name (first or last) functionality, and inbound call routing rules, the Synapse has the most features in its class.

With support for traditional POTS and digital phone lines, as well as support for our SIP Trunking VoIP service, you can have the best of both worlds — ownership of a traditional phone system installed in your equipment closet and the ability to take advantage of the reduced monthly costs of sending your calls through your high speed Internet connection.

On the bottom of each model desk phone (see models here) are two Ethernet ports, so you simply connect your computer to the phone and the phone to your network switch — no new wiring needed. System’s searchable-by-name speed dial directory is shared across all phones automatically — no other phone systems in this price class offers that feature! Visual Voicemail is built-in on the larger display Synapse phone (pictured above), allowing you to navigate and manage voicemails like you scroll through your e-mail on your smartphone. Reliability and build quality are absolutely exceptional. It also offers the ability to connect multiple locations together for calling from store-to-store, for example. The included warranty is 2 years with an option to extend to 5 years.  You cannot go wrong with this versatile AT&T solution!


#4. GREAT VALUE! VTech Eristerminal

Easy of Use: 3 out of 5
Sound Quality: 4 out of 5
Features: 4 out of 5
Call queuing/sequencing: Optional
App for Smartphone/4G Users: Yes
Call Reporting/Analysis: Optional
Monitoring & Call Recording: Optional
Database Decision-Based Call Flows: Optional
CRM Integration: Yes
Installation type: Cat6/Ethernet, Wi-Fi, DECT
Cost: $$ out of $$$

Introduced in 2016, the ErisTerminal is a small compact communication solution when paired with the newest server from the S-Series product line. Designed to support the small business marketplace, a web-based system administration provides easy to understand processes to add new people and make phone system changes. The new platform offers users flexible access to their communications system and includes initial support for 2 analog phone lines that are easily grown up to 48 lines and up to 300 cordless and desk phones. And it’s your choice to have your phone services hosted in the cloud or installed to traditional landline phone lines in your closet — whatever makes the best financial sense for your organization right now.

Each ErisTerminal phone includes built-in support for a DECT wireless earpiece headset and a DECT cordless handheld add-on, making this system great for installations where easy and inexpensive cordless mobility is important such as retail and daycare centers.  VTech includes a standard 3-year warranty with the option for up to 5 years of coverage.

With Phonewire, it’s your choice — have your new phone system hosted “in the cloud”, or installed with traditional landline phone lines “in your closet” — whatever makes the best sense for your organization right now.

#3. BEST VALUE! Yealink Optima

Easy of Use: 4 out of 5
Sound Quality: 3 out of 5
Features: 4 out of 5
Call queuing/sequencing: Optional
App for Smartphone/4G Users: Yes
Call Reporting/Analysis: Optional
Monitoring & Call Recording: Optional
Database Decision-Based Call Flows: Optional
CRM Integration: Yes
Installation type: Cat6/Ethernet, Wi-Fi, DECT
Cost: $$ out of $$$

Yealink is once again at its innovative best, with the release of the T4x Series IP Phones. These phones are designed specifically for users who expect integrated communication to come with excellent functionality, great value, and ultra-smart design.

With the ability to grow to huge potential capacities, the Yealink is a great all-around solution for small businesses, churches, retail, manufacturing, and schools that desire an affordable but highly expandable solution.  It offers the ability to connect multiple locations together for calling from store-to-store, for example.

For locations where a desk phone is required but no Ethernet cable is nearby, Yealink offers an option to use it’s reliable and secure DECT wireless extender, or use your existing Wi-Fi signal if you prefer, for quick and easy desk phone placement in places with no easy Ethernet cable access — an ideal solution for installations that simply cannot run new Cat5/Cat6 cabling everywhere.

#2. BEST RELIABILITY! Panasonic

Easy of Use: 4 out of 5
Sound Quality: 4 out of 5
Features: 3 out of 5
Call queuing/sequencing: Optional
App for Smartphone/4G Users: Yes
Call Reporting/Analysis: Optional
Monitoring & Call Recording: Optional
Database Decision-Based Call Flows: Optional
CRM Integration: Yes
Installation type: Cat6/Ethernet, DECT Handheld
Cost: $$ out of $$$

Panasonic’s business telephones offer a complete solution for businesses large and small — from the small compact hybrid communication appliance solution and the newest enterprise servers from their product line. Designed specifically to support the small business marketplace with simple web-based system administration, the new platform offers users flexible access to their communications system and includes initial support for 2 analog phone lines and 2 phones; that easily grows to support up to 2,000 cordless and desk phones as your business grows. And it’s your choice to have your phone services hosted in the cloud or installed to traditional landline phone lines in your closet — whatever makes the best financial sense for your organization right now. Because of its exceptional DECT cordless handheld telephone capabilities, this system is also ideal for installations where mobility is the essential such as retail, manufacturing, and warehouses.

With the ability to grow without the need for replacement hardware, Panasonic is an ideal solution for small businesses that desire an easily expandable solution.  Easily connect multiple locations together for calling from store-to-store, corporate-to-retail, or country-to-country for example. Panasonic’s cordless telephone capabilities include your choice from a standard cordless model, a compact model with Bluetooth headset support, or a ruggedized dust, shock, and splash resistant IP54-complaint cordless model, And Panasonic includes a standard 1-year warranty with an option for up to 5 years of optional extended warranty coverage.

#1. THE BEST! Digium Switchvox

Easy of Use: 5 out of 5
Sound Quality: 5 out of 5
Features: 5 out of 5
Call queuing/sequencing: Yes
App for Smartphone/4G Users: Yes
Call Reporting/Analysis: Yes
Monitoring & Call Recording: Yes
Database Decision-Based Call Flows: Yes
CRM Integration: Yes
Installation type: Cat6/Ethernet
Cost: $$$ out of $$$

From the manufacturer who created the revolution of telephone systems for the past two decades, Digium Switchvox is the most capable and most affordable phone system for small and medium-sized businesses.  You have the option to have your phone services hosted in the cloud or traditional phone system installed in your closet, connected to traditional telephone lines.

When making an investment in a new phone system, the Digium Switchvox system makes the most economical sense.  Regardless of how your business changes and grows, your initial investment is always protected.  For a small business, start out simply with five phones and a phone system installed in your closet connected to traditional phone lines.  As you add new locations, peer that new phone system to the original system to allow call transferring, intercom, paging, and line sharing between sites.  Or create your new phone system hosted in our cloud and your desk phones can be placed anywhere in the world — imagine, office employees, telecommuters, and home office employees all interconnected on one phone system as simply as unboxing your new phone and plugging it in!

The Switchvox system has too many features to list and with its IVR scripting you can easily create steps to take your caller almost any direction you can dream.  For example, a school might offer a parents a custom absentee line to quickly report student absences or a company may route new callers to sales people but existing clients are routed directly to a customer success team automatically based only on the Caller ID.  And its built in mobility allows calls to be made and received on your smartphone exactly like you were sitting in front of your desk phone — even hand off an active call from one phone to the other without placing the caller on hold!  With Switchvox, the possibilities are endless, the investment is long term, and the price is surprisingly affordable.

Phonewire can also oversee and take the lead in the complete phone system upgrade process — from start to finish — so you don’t have to lift a finger.  Request a quote now from our project management team!