5 Best Virtual Phone Number Companies (2024 Review)

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Whether you want to build trust in different locations without a physical presence, keep your personal number private, or project national trustworthiness with a toll-free number, you can get a full virtual phone system for less than $20 per month.

The Top Virtual Phone Number Providers in < 5 Minutes

RingCentral is our favorite virtual phone system–it’s comprehensive and infinitely scalable, yet still accessible for small businesses or even solo users. You’ll never have to worry about outgrowing it.

If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, Ooma’s a great alternative.

Looking for an easy way to add a business line to your smart phone but don’t need much else? Grasshopper is the easiest option. It’s what we use and we love how refreshingly straightforward it is. If you like how Grasshopper works but need a bit more, OpenPhone is worth a closer look. It has a few more features, including call recording, group messaging, integrations, AI summaries, and phone menus.

Google Voice is great if all you need is a phone number. It works well for personal use, solopreneurs, and freelancers, but we find it too limiting for most businesses.

What Is a Virtual Phone Number/System?

Virtual phone numbers make it possible to establish a local presence in different locations, even if you don’t have a physical office or person working there. You can buy local phone numbers all over the US and even in other countries, too. Alternatively, you can purchase a toll-free number to give that big-business appearance, even if you’re not a big business.

They’re also a smart way to protect your personal phone number if you’re a small business owner, solopreneur, or freelancer.

A virtual phone system, on the other hand, is how you actually use the number you have. The system is what enables you to make and receive calls or texts. Cloud-based services that don’t require the use of a physical phone are virtual phone systems.

They let you manage calls on any device with an internet connection.

Whether you’re starting a new business, hiring employees who need their own numbers, or wanting to keep your personal and business life separate, virtual phone systems are the way to go for modern communications.

RingCentral – The Best Virtual Phone System

RingCentral logo

RingCentral has it all, making it the perfect option for business users who want more than just a basic virtual phone number. Beyond unlimited inbound and outbound calling capabilities, RingCentral supports two-way texting, faxing, video conferencing, team messaging, and file sharing—all from the same app. 

As a cloud phone system, you can easily use it on all of your devices. It works just as well on your desktop as it does on a smartphone.

RingCentral’s interface across the apps is extremely easy to use, too.

Every plan includes a free local or toll-free number and you can add as many additional numbers as you’d like after you sign up. When you’re ready to make a call, you’ll be able to choose which number you use.

The platform comes with everything you’d expect in a complete phone solution. Voicemail, call log reports, visual voicemail, and voice-to-text are all included. Most plans also support advanced features, like call recording, a multi-level auto attendant, IVR, call queues, and AI transcriptions.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive virtual phone system, RingCentral’s as robust as it gets with an affordable price point. You’ll get all of this for just $20 per user per month.

Whether you have a team of one, five, 50, or 500, RingCentral is versatile enough to support you.

Get a free 14-day trial to see it in action or check out our in-depth RingCentral review for more details.

Ooma – A Simple and Straightforward Phone System

Ooma logo

If RingCentral sounds too advanced, Ooma’s a very simple alternative. You won’t find yourself getting distracted with a bunch of automations, rules, or advanced features you don’t need.

Instead, you’ll get a streamlined, beginner-friendly platform that doesn’t require any IT resources to implement or manage. Should you decide to use desk phones, purchasing them from Ooma means all you have to do is plug them in and they’re ready to go.

You can use your virtual phone number from Ooma’s mobile app, desktop app, or a desk phone if you prefer that.

Just because you CAN make and take calls on any device doesn’t mean you have to.

The best part about Ooma is that it typically takes less than 15 minutes to get started, even if you have no technical experience.

Despite it’s simplicity, you’ll still get everything you need in a basic phone system, including a virtual receptionist, ring groups, call parking, overhead paging, intercoms, voicemail, call forwarding, extensions, call logs, hold music, and transfers.

Everything you’d expect to be able to do… you can do no problem.

On higher tiers, you’ll also get video conferencing, call recording, texting, team chat, CRM integrations, hot desking, and an auto dialer if you need it.

Choose your plan to get started or head to our Ooma review to learn more.

Grasshopper – Best for Adding a Business Number to Your Smartphone

Grasshopper logo

Grasshopper is great for solopreneurs and small business owners who need a separate business number but don’t need a separate phone system.

We personally use Grasshopper and appreciate the simplicity of taking calls on our smartphones.

In less than five minutes, we purchased three numbers and set up call forwarding. Any time someone needs a new number, we can easily add it from our dashboard. We personally don’t use the mobile app, but installing it gives you all the same desktop capabilities on your phone.

With it, you can text, make calls from your new number, create contact lists, assign numbers, and more.

If you only set up forwarding to your cell phone, incoming calls appear as coming from your new number so it’s easy to tell which calls are personal and which are for business.

Despite being the second simplest option on our list (only second to Google Voice), it has features that are actually helpful for solopreneurs, local businesses, and small businesses. For example, you can record a custom greeting that plays when someone calls and set up automated text responses if you’re unable to answer.

Both make it easy to appear larger, even if it’s just you running the ship.

The cheapest plan is great for one person–at just $14 per month, it’s a steal. The middle tier lets you have unlimited users share one phone number and three extensions. However, you can purchase additional phone numbers and extensions if you need to.

The top plan includes four phone numbers (with the option to buy more) and unlimited extensions, so there’s plenty of room to grow.

Try it free for seven days to see if it’s right for you or head to our Grasshopper review for more details.

OpenPhone – Similar to Grasshopper with a Few Extra Features

OpenPhone logo

If you like the idea of a dead simple virtual phone system but need a bit more than Grasshopper offers, OpenPhone is a great choice.

It uses a similar “shared number” approach, which makes your system highly collaborative. Although you do have to pay per user (unlike Grasshopper), users can share numbers. Have three sales agents? They can all make and take calls using the same number as long as they’re not concurrent.

You can even set it up to ring all three agents at the same time or one after another in a specified order until someone answers.

Users can share contacts, notes, threads, transcripts, texts, and call histories with each other, too.

And just like with Grasshopper, you can define business hours, set up automatic text responses if nobody answers, and record custom greetings. Beyond that, OpenPhone includes call recording, call groups, and phone menus, plus integrations with select CRMs, Slack, and Zapier.

On the surface, OpenPhone and Grasshopper are in the same ballpark. But OpenPhone will end up being more expensive as you grow.

However, OpenPhone only charges $5 per phone number and Grasshopper charges $9, so there’s potential to save if you need dozens of numbers and only a handful of users.

Try it for free or check out our complete OpenPhone review for more info.

Google Voice – Best for Freelancers and Personal Use

Google Voice logo

If you’ve made it this far and you’re thinking “I literally just need a phone number”, Google Voice may work well for you.

For personal use, it’s entirely free. You’ll get a single phone number you can use to make and take calls on your computer or cell phone without having to give out your personal number. As long as you already have a US-based phone number and a Google account, that’s all you need.

It’s a great option for freelancers or solopreneurs, too, looking for a way to keep their personal number private and don’t need a ton of business features.

On the personal plan, you can text, get voicemail transcriptions, create your own voicemail greetings, set up a list of blocked numbers, and access basic call screening functionality.

As a business, pricing starts at $10 per user per month on top of your Google Workspace subscription.

While it IS affordable, it’s extremely limited compared to the other options on our list. There are no integrations outside of Google products, you won’t be able to have more than 10 users, and you can’t use the auto attendant or on-demand recording capabilities.

To resolve the latter three issues, you’ll need to upgrade to the middle tier, which costs the same as RingCentral and Ooma. Both of which… come with way more functionality for the price.

No matter the plan you’re on, integrations are non existent, which can be a dealbreaker.

But if you already use Google Workspace, it makes managing all of your users and billing a breeze as it’s integrated right into your suite.

Get started now or see our guide on how Google Voice works to learn more.

Methodology for Choosing the Best Virtual Phone Number Companies

There are some key factors to consider when picking the right virtual phone number company. If you understand the importance of these, choosing the right one will be a breeze. If any or all of these considerations ring true with your situation, make sure to keep them top-of-mind during your purchasing decision.

Setup Time

A quick onboarding process is especially important for established businesses. Virtual phone number companies must have helpful onboarding for teams to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Most businesses can’t afford to have their phone lines down for an extended period. This will cause them to miss sales, lose opportunities, and damage relationships with existing clients.

If you hear of a virtual phone number company with a grueling onboarding process, stay away.

Setup time is less critical for solopreneurs getting their first business line. They have ample time to continue taking calls on their cell number during setup.

Hardware Obligations

Virtual phone number companies serve their customers through hardware, software, or a combination of both.

Hardware includes office phones, conference call phones, and headsets. Software usually means downloading an app to turn your mobile phone or computer into a softphone.

Business owners just starting out will lean toward a software-only service. New entrepreneurs don’t typically need all the extra hardware, and this will make onboarding simpler.

Larger businesses with many employees and a physical location will lean toward hardware or a hybrid service. If you’re conducting regular conference calls, it would be inefficient to have only mobile phones for employees. Virtual phone number hardware is also more professional within an office setting.

Team Size

Perhaps the most critical factor to consider is your team’s size. Virtual phone number companies can specialize in different sizes and their pricing often scales based on the number of users.

If you have a larger team, pick a provider that has large team features included. You will also want to choose one with user-based pricing. User-based pricing plans get cheaper the more users sign up, which is beneficial to teams with dozens of users.

Smaller businesses should look at virtual phone number companies that help smaller audiences. These teams will typically want to choose usage-based pricing plans. If you have lower call volumes, this will save your team money.

It’s also worth noting that some entry-level plans restrict the number of users you can add. So while a certain plan or provider might work ok for you now, you should evaluate how your needs could change over time. For example, adding an additional five or ten users to your plan could force you into a new plan tier.

Type of Virtual Phone Number

Not every virtual phone number service offers the same types of numbers. So if you need something specific, like a local or toll-free 800 number, then you’ll need to go with a provider who offers this.

Some of you may even want to get a vanity number. Many providers can get you this for an additional fee, but some don’t offer it all.

Do you need additional lines? Does the provider offer extensions?

Most people seeking a virtual phone number want a new number. But some of you may want to keep your existing number and just switch service providers. If that’s the case, make sure you choose a company that can handle number porting for you.

Number porting should be a quick and seamless experience with minimal downtime to ensure you don’t miss any calls.

Billing Structure

Most virtual phone number plans offer unlimited calling within the US and Canada. But make sure you truly understand how you’re being charged.

You may have to pay extra for things like toll-free calls or SMS messaging. Some providers do offer free toll-free minutes included with your plan, and others are better options for businesses with high-volume messaging needs.

Furthermore, some providers charge per user, while others charge per line. For example, Nextiva and RingCentral both structure contracts per user per month. But Grasshopper has plans that support unlimited users—and packages are based on how many lines and extensions you need.

Regardless of the billing structure, you’ll almost always be able to save some money if you sign up for annual billing cycles instead of paying month-to-month.

Virtual Phone Number FAQs

Cait is a banjo player, snowboarder, climber, cat mom, and (former) engineer who lives in Olympia, WA. She's been a professional writer for more than five years, specializing in B2B software with a technical yet empathetic approach that puts data and hands-on experience at the heart of every review.

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