Google Voice vs RingCentral–How Do They Compare?

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If you need one or two numbers to add to your existing phone, Google Voice is an affordable choice for personal and lightweight business use.

Need more than that? You’ll find it far too simple.

RingCentral is a more robust, scalable, and comprehensive phone system–but it’s also a lot more expensive, harder to use, and more challenging to implement. Most businesses will still be better off with RingCentral. However, brand new businesses, freelancers, and solopreneurs may be able to save some money and get what they need from Google Voice.

Google Voice and RingCentral Compared to Their Closest Competitors

Nextiva is our favorite business communications platform. It hits the sweet spot between cost, features, ease of use, and overall reliability. If you were originally considering Google Workspace for your business, it’s worth paying just a little more for Nextiva—it’s significantly better because it’s more scalable. It’s also cheaper and easier to use than RingCentral. It essentially combines the ease of use of Google Voice and the comprehensiveness of RingCentral into one product.

RingCentral is a good choice if you have unique needs, like push-to-talk or eight-digit extensions. It delivers high-quality audio and video calling capabilities from the same platform that includes texting, team chat, and internal collaboration features. It works best for midsize and larger organizations seeking more advanced features.

Google Voice offers bare-bones calling capabilities for free. Individuals can sign up, claim a number, and start making and receiving calls without paying anything. Google Voice also has lightweight business plans for solopreneurs and freelancers. Aside from having some expanded calling features integrated into your Google Workspace apps, it doesn’t do much in comparison to Nextiva or RingCentral.

Check out our reviews of the best virtual phone number companies and best business phone systems to learn more about our top picks in this space. 

Google Voice and RingCentral Similarities

Unlimited calling: Google Voice and RingCentral both offer unlimited calling to the US and Canada with every plan. So with either option, you won’t have to worry about running out of minutes or keeping track of metered rates for domestic calls. Your entire team can make as many calls as they need without it impacting your base subscription price. 

Voicemail transcriptions: Every RingCentral and Google Voice plan comes with built-in voicemail transcriptions. This happens automatically, and it’s a great way to quickly screen a caller or check your voicemail in situations when listening to the audio version isn’t an option. Let’s say you’re in a meeting or on another call, you can still access your voicemail without disturbing anyone else. 

Google Voice's simple interface showing voicemail transcriptions

No hardware requirements: Both platforms leverage softphone technology to power the system. This means you can make and receive calls from your existing smartphones and computers without having to purchase any additional hardware. It’s a great way to keep costs down, and both tools work great across all platforms—including iOS, Android, desktop, and even web apps. 

24/7 support: RingCentral and Google Voice both offer 24/7 support to business customers. With RingCentral, 24/7 support is available via phone and live chat. For Google Voice and Google Workspace, there are a variety of support options to choose from, including phone, email, and live chat. Although the availability of each support channel varies depending on your subscription type, you can still get help 24/7. 

Good for remote and hybrid work: As cloud-based VoIP phone systems, RingCentral and Google Voice work really well for any remote, mobile, or hybrid work environments. Users can access their phone systems from anywhere—at home using their laptops, on the go from their smartphones, and in the office through a desktop computer. Nobody is tied to a physical desk or location, making both of these a great choice for the modern workforce. 

RingCentral makes managing remote work easier than ever

Call forwarding: You can set up custom call forwarding options from Google Voice and RingCentral. This feature lets you forward calls to another line or extension within your business phone system and even forward calls to a personal number. You can use it in situations where you’re out of the office, out sick, or just want to make sure you’ll never miss an important call. 

Where Google Voice Shines

Unlimited texting: Google Voice offers unlimited texting throughout the US, which is something you can no longer get from RingCentral. This feature is a pretty good value for plans starting so low, and you’re able to make and receive texts from any device. 

Texting is included with RingCentral plans, but it’s not unlimited. Instead, there are different carrier-compliant allotments depending on your plan tier, and you’ll pay based on usage when you surpass those limits. So for lots of texting, Google Voice has the edge. 

Free calls for personal use: For non-business calling, Google Voice is 100% free. You can go to Google Voice, sign in with your personal Gmail account, claim a phone number, and start making calls without paying a dime. This is one of the only phone systems on the market that offers free calling, which is great for situations where you don’t want to use your personal phone number.

RingCentral doesn’t offer anything like this. The closest thing you can get there is a 14-day free trial, but that’s obviously not sustainable or a long-term solution. 

Easy to use and deploy: You can get up and running with Google Voice in minutes. It’s one of the most straightforward options available, and it’s even easier if your company is already using Google Workspace. The only thing that takes a bit longer is if you’re porting an existing number to Google Voice, but this isn’t something we typically recommend. 

Searching for a local phone number with Google Voice

It will take you longer to set up RingCentral—potentially a few days. Some larger companies may take several weeks to fully roll out the platform. And since RingCentral comes with significantly more capabilities, you’ll spend quite a bit of time on the admin side configuring settings on the backend. 

Highly functional web app: We love that Google Voice works just as well from the web as it does from the desktop and mobile apps. Some people don’t like having to install software on their devices, especially for infrequent usage. But with Google Voice, call quality is just as good and reliable if you’re going through the web-based version.

RingCentral has a web app as well. But it just doesn’t deliver the same way as the app version. So to get the most out of RingCentral, you’ll definitely want to install the app across all your devices. 

Budget-friendly: Google Voice starts at just $10 per user per month, which is affordable for anyone. RingCentral starts at $20 per user per month if you sign up for an annual contract and jumps to $30 if you pay month-to-month. 

Google Voice doesn’t require an annual contract. Even though you are required to pay for Google Workspace, those plans start at just $6 per month. So all in with both of these tools, you’re still paying less than RingCentral. 

Where Google Voice Falls Short

Too basic for most businesses: Google Voice is one of the most basic phone systems on the market. Even if you’re paying for a business plan, you’re not going to do too much beyond make and receive calls using Google Voice. Compared side-by-side with RingCentral, the feature list from Google Voice is extremely thin. Even super basic features, like ring groups and auto-attendant, aren’t available on Google Voice’s entry-level Starter plan. 

Requires Google Workspace plan for business features: If you want anything beyond basic calling for personal use, you’ll need to have a Google Workspace subscription and a Google Voice subscription to access business features. Workspace plans start at just $6 per month but require an annual commitment. Alternatively, you can just get RingCentral on its own without being forced to buy other products from the provider. 

No internet fax: Internet faxing is not available with any Google Voice or Google Workspace plan. RingCentral doesn’t offer faxing on its entry-level communication plan, but it’s available on all the other tiers. This is normally something we hold against RingCentral, but it has the edge against Google Voice, which doesn’t offer faxing at all. 

See our full list of Google Voice alternatives and learn more about how Google Voice works here

Where RingCentral Shines

Advanced features: RingCentral is one of the most feature-packed business systems on the market, and it looks really advanced compared to such a basic platform like Google Voice. In a feature battle, it can go toe-to-toe with virtually any provider, and it blows Google Voice out of its capabilities.

You’re getting manual call recording on all plans, AI meeting insights with live transcriptions, unlimited video recording, developer APIs, call queues, advanced call handling—and that’s just with the entry-level subscription. On higher plan tiers, you’ll unlock automatic call recording, internet fax, hot desking, custom roles and permissions, advanced analytics, and industry-specific integrations. Google Voice doesn’t offer half of these features. 

Team collaboration: RingCentral’s internal collaboration features are just as powerful as its inbound and outbound calling capabilities. It comes with team chat, video calling with up to 100 participants, unlimited audio conferencing, whiteboarding, collaborative notes, and breakout rooms—all from the same user-friendly interface. You’re even getting filing sharing and built-in project management features. 

RingCentral's collaboration features including task management

Technically, you get some similar features through Google Workspace. But these aren’t standard options with Google Voice. 

Third-party integrations: Even RingCentral’s entry-level plan integrates seamlessly with tools like Office 365, Google Workspace, and Slack. It also supports integrated telephony within Microsoft Teams and grants you access to the API for custom integrations. At the next tier, you unlock over 300 pre-built integrations, including access to Salesforce, Zendesk, and other CRMs. 

Google Voice integrates well with other Google Workspace products. But it doesn’t come close to what you can do with RingCentral. 

Multi-level auto attendant and IVR: Every RingCentral plan comes with a multi-level auto attendant and IVR. This is typically a contact center feature, so it’s great that you can get it with just a regular business phone system. It enables you to route callers more effectively by giving them a menu with different keypad options to direct the call—eliminating the need for a receptionist and helping you answer inbound calls 24/7.

Google Voice does have a basic auto attendant, but it’s not nearly as advanced as RingCentral. Plus, the auto attendant from Google Voice is not available with every plan. If you’re going to pay $20 per month for Google Voice’s mid-tier plan, you might as well put that toward RingCentral’s entry-level plan that comes with dozens of more capabilities.

Toll-free calling: When you sign up for RingCentral, every user can get a free local or toll-free number included with the subscription. Additionally, RingCentral offers toll-free minutes included with every plan—starting at 100 for the Core package, 1,000 for Advanced, and 10,000 at the Ultra tier. If you need more toll-free numbers and minutes, you can purchase them with just a couple of clicks. 

Signing up for a RingCentral phone plan

In addition to toll-free and 800 numbers, you can also get a vanity number (like 1-800-CONTACTS) from RingCentral. Google Voice doesn’t offer any toll-free calling capabilities or 800 numbers. 

Highly scalable: RingCentral is built to scale, and we recommend it for businesses with up to 1,000 users. Most of you will never come close to outgrowing it, making it a top choice for rapidly growing midsize organizations. It works well whether you have traditional offices in multiple locations, remote employees, hybrid workers, or some combination of all three. 

You can also get volume discounts with 50 or more users, and RingCentral has dedicated contact center plans to support high-volume inbound or outbound calling needs. Google Voice’s entry-level plan is capped at just ten users, and there aren’t any call center features.

Where RingCentral Falls Short

Complex setup: RingCentral’s advanced features and capabilities come at a minor tradeoff—it’s not the easiest VoIP system to set up and deploy. On the other hand, Google Voice can be set up in a matter of minutes. So while RingCentral definitely isn’t the most complicated system on the market, Google Voice’s simplicity makes it seem slightly more daunting. 

Value for small business: Compared to Google Voice and other business phone systems, RingCentral is a bit more expensive. Its prices aren’t crazy or astronomically high by any stretch, but small businesses may end up overpaying for advanced features that they’ll never actually use. If you just need calling capabilities, Google Voice is a simpler and more cost-effective option. 

Lots of upgrades and add-ons: To really get the most out of RingCentral, you’ll likely need to start at the mid-tier Advanced package. This comes with automatic call recording, internet fax, advanced analytics, more integrations, advanced routing rules, advanced user permissions, and more. There are also more than a dozen different add-ons that you can purchase to further expand the platform’s capabilities. Google Voice is much more straightforward—with nearly no add-ons aside from the AI-powered assistant, Gemini, across all of your Workspace products. 

Read our complete RingCentral review for a more in-depth breakdown of its pros, cons, features, and pricing. 

Google Voice vs RingCentral: The Final Verdict

RingCentral is the clear winner. While more expensive, it’s much more advanced than Google Voice and just an overall better communication platform. 

Google Voice’s VoIP calling is far too basic and you’ll eventually have to upgrade to another platform if you decide to get Google Voice for business use. To save yourself the trouble down the road, you’re better off going straight for RingCentral now—even if you don’t need all of its advanced capabilities just yet. 

That said, Google Voice is fine for personal use. You can easily make and receive calls for free without giving people your existing cell or home number. 

If neither of these platforms sound ideal for your needs, there are plenty of other options to consider. Check out our in-depth reviews of the best virtual phone number companies and the best business phone systems to see the top alternatives to RingCentral and Google Voice

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