After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend Ooma Office as our pick for the 2018 best business phone system for small offices. To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology, as well as a comprehensive list of business phone systems, on our best picks page.
Why Ooma Office?
Ease of Use
What makes Ooma Office an ideal phone system for very small businesses is how simple it is to install and use. It takes just 20 minutes to set up. No additional wires are needed, and Ooma Office works with any type of phone, including standard analog phones.
Equipment: The system itself includes a base unit, which is a full router capable of prioritizing voice data and directing traffic to ensure reliable phone service. Ooma Office also includes Linx devices, which are used to connect analog phones to the system. You can connect up to four Linx devices to the base unit.
Phones: Ooma Office works with both analog and IP phones. Analog phones are connected via the Lynx devices, while IP phones are ready to use after being plugged directly into a Local Area Network port.
Editor's note: Looking for information on business phone systems? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.
Setup: After activating your account via the Ooma online portal, you select a new main local or toll-free business phone number, or a temporary number if you plan on transferring over a current phone number. Once that has been assigned, you set up the system's hardware by connecting the base unit to a high-speed modem. You then plug the AC adapter into a power outlet and either plug an IP phone into your network or plug an analog phone into the base unit. When this base unit turns blue, you can immediately start making and receiving calls.
Configuration: The system is configured via the online portal. The portal is where you assign employees extensions and phone numbers, set up the automated attendant, and create ring groups. The portal requires no extensive training, so anyone can update and maintain it.
Though it doesn't include every feature other providers offer, Ooma Office does have many of the features small offices would find most valuable.
Virtual receptionist: The virtual receptionist answers your incoming calls and makes it easy for callers to reach the employees they need. It uses text-to-speech technology, so you type in what you want it to say, and it automatically converts that into a recording for your callers. You also have the option to record your own greeting and upload it to the system. In addition to directing callers to specific employees, the virtual receptionist can provide information on your business, such as hours and directions. The system can also play one set of greetings when a business is open and another when it's closed.
Virtual extensions: For companies with employees who don't always work in the office, the system can assign virtual extensions. With this feature, anytime someone dials those employees' extensions, the call is forwarded to their home or mobile devices.
Mobile app: All users have access to the Ooma mobile app, which is available on iOS and Android devices. With the app, you can make and receive phone calls from anywhere as if you were in the office.
IP phone features: Businesses using IP phones have access to several other features: three-way conference calling, a do-not-disturb function, and the ability to transfer calls, put calls on hold and dial by extension.
You can see the complete list of features on the Ooma Office website.
The cost of Ooma Office is broken into one-time hardware costs and monthly service fees.
One-time costs: The starter package of a base station and two Linx wireless devices is $250. Each additional Linx device is $50, and each office expansion unit is $100. However, Ooma runs promotions regularly that often lower the costs to between $150 and $200.
Monthly fees: The second half of the cost equation is the monthly service fee, which is $19.95 per user. With this, each employee gets their own dedicated phone number, and the ability to set up and participate in conference calls and send and receive online faxes.
Trial period: Ooma Office includes a 30-day risk-free trial.
Customer service: To gauge the type of support customers can expect, we called the company numerous times, posing as a small business owner interested in phone systems. During our calls, the Ooma representatives were helpful and friendly. They answered all of our questions clearly and thoroughly. Each representative we spoke with followed up several times via email, asking if we had additional questions, providing videos that showed how the system operates and informing us of several promotions.
Customer support hours: Support is available by phone Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT and on the weekends between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT. You can also contact support via email and live chat 24/7.
Online knowledgebase: For users of the system, Ooma offers a variety of support options on its website, including video tutorials, FAQs and troubleshooting.
The biggest drawback of Ooma Office is the upfront hardware costs. Few other cloud-based systems require you to purchase the type of hardware that Ooma does. Depending on how many employees you have and the type of phones you are using, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $1,250 in initial costs. However, most of the other systems make you use special IP phones, which cost at least $75 each.
Another possible downside of Ooma is that it lacks some of the bells and whistles many of its larger competitors offer. If you want every feature that's out there – such as call screening, missed-call notifications and video conferencing – Ooma probably isn't for you.
Ready to choose a business phone system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:
- Business Phone System Buyer's Guide
- The Best Business Phone Systems 2018
- Best Business Phone Service
- Best for Small Businesses
- Best Virtual Phone System
- Best for Call Centers
Editor's note: Looking for information on business phone systems? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.