As a business owner, one of your top priorities is communication. You absolutely have to make sure that you and your employees have a clear, solid and secure telephony system. Luckily for you, today I am reviewing the top business phones on the market and picking the top 8 that you should have your eye on in 2017.
As you read through this article and check out a few of the phones I’ve chosen, you will probably notice that a lot of them have actually been out for a few years. No this wasn’t a mistake.
If a telephone model has been able to withstand the test of time that is something to really consider and is noteworthy. I took the time to compare some of the older business phone solutions to some of the newer ones and they really held up well against the newcomers.
Also, not every phone here is listed as a series. This is also for good reason. If the entire series of devices just happened to be that awesome, they have been listed here as a whole.
Ready to dive in?
Best Small Office Phone System: A Few Items You May Need First
Before rushing out to buy your brand new, shiny business phone solution, you may want to consider picking up a few extra items.
The extra add-on hardware that you buy for your business equipment can be a game changer. It’s no different when it comes to all the useful bells and whistles you can purchase for your office phones.
I recommend you at least look into adding some, if not all, of these items to your business phone purchase.
- Additional Docking Stations – If your phone systems happen to have wireless handsets, having multiple docking stations around the office is definitely something I recommend you look into. If your handsets are constantly dead from being passed around from one worker to the next, multiple docking stations spread throughout the building may just be what you need.
- Signal Repeaters – If you have workers in your place of business who are a large distance away from a strong wireless signal, you should invest in a signal repeater. If your office building is large or has a lot of walls or wiring, it can be hard for a wireless signal to find its way to your employees as it has to cross all these obstacles first. This is a real problem for many businesses and can severely affect your employee’s ability to do their job efficiently. What signal repeaters do is take the wireless signal and boost or amplify it to help strengthen the signal that your employees are receiving.
- Headsets – There is nothing quite like the luxury of going hands-free. Especially if your telephone system doesn’t support that feature by default. Headsets can give your employees the ability to multitask better by allowing them to go hands-free…. Or rather, put their hands to good use while staying on the phone with that one really important client you are trying to land for the business.
Top 8 Business Phones For 2017
1) Polycom VVX Series – $74.99 -$410.00
The Polycom VVX 500 Series of business phones come complete with all the functionality and features you will ever need. The VVX Series is prized for being expandable, intuitive, business-class phones. Also equipped with HD quality audio and video to make sure every call or conference is as clear as possible and to bring lifelike conversations to your users.
The VVX Series is ready and equipped to handle your unified communications strategy.
VVX Series Models:
- VVX 1500 – Unites VoIP, videoconferencing and other business applications into one seamless platform
- VVX 201 – Two-line SIP designed for small to mid-range businesses
- VVX 101 – One-line SIP phone for home office use that delivers enterprise-grade sound quality
- VVX 600 Series – Premium business phone aimed geared for productivity with corporate executives and managers in mind
- VVX 500 Series – Designed for busy managers and knowledge workers. Great for multitasking and juggling many schedules
- VVX 400 Series – A 12-line mid-range phone designed for office workers and call attendants who rely on crystal clear communication
- VVX 300 Series – A 6-line entry-level phone for low to moderate call volumes
- Simple, intuitive interface
- HD audio, video and content sharing
- Customizable with APIs for third-party applications
- Expandable capabilities
- Unified Communication ready
- Broad inoperability with IP PBX and SIP or H.323 video systems
The Avaya 1600 Series line of IP desk business phones deliver basic yet reliable communication. In addition, they come equipped with several convenient digital features at a reasonable price. A lot of the features that these business phones pack are often only found in higher-priced phone systems.
With the Avaya 1600 Series, you can give your employees the ease of use they are used to from more traditional IP-phones. And with that ease of use comes things like easy to read backlit displays, high-quality full-duplex speakerphones, and bright LED buttons.
If you are looking for a line of business phones that are dependable and familiar, you can’t go wrong with the Avaya 1600 Series.
Avaya 1600 Series Models:
- 1603 SW
- Backlit display
- Bright LED buttons
- 2-Way speakerphone
- Expansions available to provide more functionality
- Conference, transfer and hold buttons
- Can display up to four lines
3) Mitel MiVoice 5360 IP Phone – $299.95
The Mitel MiVoice 5360 IP business phone is the ideal choice for just about any executive, manager or customer service supervisor. It comes equipped with large color backlit touch display to make life at the office just a little bit easier. With this phone, you get all the bells and whistles you could ever hope for. It not only has 48 programmable self-labeling keys but it also provides high-quality audio, six soft keys and even a built-in HTML toolkit for a variety of desktop applications development if that is something you need for your phone.
And if that still isn’t enough, the Mitel MiVoice 5360 also integrates with the Mitel Live Content Suite. This suite of tools allows you to create and publish dynamic or even personalized information right to your other users.
- Seven-inch, backlit, high-resolution (800 pixels × 480 pixels), color, touch-screen display with brightness controls
- Touch-screen access to features and applications
- 48 programmable, multi-function, self-labeling keys
- Embedded Gigabit support
- Gadget Sidebar provides one-touch access to embedded applications
- Supports Mitel Unified Communicator Express (UCX), Mitel MiCollab Client (formerly Mitel Unified Communicator Advanced) and Mitel Live Content Suite
- Extensive support for peripherals and modules: Cordless (DECT) and Bluetooth Accessories, Line Interface Module, and MiVoice 5610 DECT Stand
- HTML Desktop Toolkit support for applications development
- Handsfree speakerphone operation (full duplex)
- Supported on the MiVoice Business (formerly Mitel Communications Director) and MiVoice Office (formerly Mitel 5000 Communications Platform)
The selling point of the Cisco SPA500 Series of IP business phones is the entry-level price. But don’t let the low cost fool you because with the SPA500 series you get features that are useful to probably just about any workers in your office building. Whether they are working in a cubicle or out on a showroom floor, just about everyone can find some great beneficial use for or from this phone.
Equipped with wideband audio, encryption, and the ability to expand upon it with expansion modules makes this phone a no-brainer for anyone needing quality without spending a fortune.
- Wideband audio
- Monochrome backlit display for user-friendly navigation
- Support for Bluetooth enabled devices
- Support for two SPA 500S or SPA500DS expansion modules for added functionality
- Support for SIP as well as for Cisco SPA9000 Voice System and other open source telephony solutions
- The SPA 525G model features a color display, support for Wi-Fi and the ability to vie and play back MP3 files and photos
5) Panasonic KX-UTG300 – $245.56
This business phone comes chock full of features while still remaining moderately priced. The KX-UTG300 is an enterprise grade 6 line VoIP phone that boasts a 5-inch color touchscreen display for easy user management. Keeping up with modern technology, you will also find built-in Bluetooth and dual Gigabit RJ45 Ethernet ports.
The Panasonic KX-UTG300 is suitable for just about any business that requires a reliable telephony solution but can’t, or simply doesn’t want to, spend a lot of money.
- Support for HD audio
- Built-in Bluetooth
- 5-inch color touchscreen
- Built-in auto sensing IEEE 802.3 power over Ethernet
- 6 line appearances on touchscreen display
6) Grandstream GXP1610/15 – $42.00
Grandstream has been on a roll for a few years now with their IP business phones. And their GXP1610 telephone is no different. This system is really geared toward those who really do value the affordability factor. And coming in at only $42.00, it is by far the most affordable on this list. With a price tag like that, you get a single line, 2 call appearances and a 132×48 LCD lit screen.
In addition to all of this, you will also find that every phone that Grandstream releases comes with the latest encryption support so all of your communications are secure.
- Up to 500 contacts
- Up to 200 call history records
- Dual-switched 10/100 Mbps ports
- 1 SIP account, 2 line keys, 3-way conferencing, 3 XML programmable soft keys
- Integrated PoE (available on the GXP1615 only)
7) Cisco SPA303 – $80.00
The Cisco SPA303 is a small step down from the SPA500 series of business phones, which also made it on this list. If you are a small business owner who needs reliability but doesn’t want to spend over $100 on a phone unit, the Cisco SPA303 is the phone you want.
This telephone comes with 3 lines, a 2-port switch and a bright monochrome LCD display. You can use SIP or SPCP with this device and is supported on the Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series.
What’s really neat is that with the SPA303, users can access their Cisco Unity Express voicemail box right from the phones LCD display.
Oh, and security is a feature that this phone takes seriously. With this telephone, you can rest assured that all of your communications are secure as it boasts up to 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standards (AES)
- Supports 3 lines
- Can connect to an IP private branch exchange (PBX)
- Dual-switch Ethernet ports
- Caller ID, call hold, mute, drop and conferencing
- Support for both SIP and SPCP with the Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series
- 1-year hardware warranty
The Yealink SIP-T41P business phone is a feature rich, 6-line telephone unit that prides itself on ease of use right down to the tiniest details. It delivers clear, crisp HD audio and a rich visual interface making it a pleasure to use.
And it is easy on the eyes as the screen on this phone is a 2.7” 192-64 pixel graphical LCD backlit display that is intuitive yet full of nice menu options. This display is navigated by using the soft-keys lining the edges of the display.
If security is your thing, (which it should be), you’ll be happy with your purchase of the SIP-T41P as it comes with AES encryption, digest authentication using MD5 and Transport Layer Security (TLS).
- Yealink Optima HD voice
- 7” backlit LCD display
- Up to 6 SIP accounts
- PoE support
- Headset, EHS support
- Wall mountable
- AES encryption
Best Office Phone Systems Choose Wisely
No matter what business phone you choose to go with, make sure that it is the right one for you and your employees. Not every phone on this list will suit every single person’s need but they all do offer what I believe to be 3 of the absolute most important things you need to have on any good business phone.
These three things are:
- Clear audio – If the person on the other end cannot hear you clearly or you can’t hear them clearly, then you need a different device. Clear, understandable communication is the entire game here.
- Durability – Yes, the phone unit(s) will probably remain on a desk in an office. But hey, things do get knocked off desks all the time. And what about if you mount it on the wall? Do you really want to have to worry about a clumsy employee or maybe even yourself accidently breaking that $400 investment? Whichever phone you choose, it needs to be able to take some “wear and tear”.
- …and most importantly, Security. We live in the 21st century now and cyber criminals run amok. Settle for nothing less than industry standard protection. Choose a phone with at least AES encryption.
All of the business phones that we have looked at in this article come with, at the very least, those 3 main features. Anything that you choose to add on to your telephony solution outside of that really will depend on your specific needs.
I hope this shines some light on the often times confusing task of choosing the right business equipment and that you can take these comparisons and make the right choice for your business telephony solution.