VoIP providers come in all sizes. For this review, we have selected traditional VoIP providers and cloud-based providers like Skype. Before digging into the top 10 providers, let's throw some light on VoIP itself.
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol and it's a method of making calls via the IP on your internet. It is also known as IP telephony, broadband telephony or internet telephony. At the most basic level, a VOIP involves encoding the voice signals into digital signals which are then transmitted over the internet.
Over the course of time, the way in which voice signals are transmitted has evolved. It all started with a simple point-to-point connection between devices. Then, the concept of switching was introduced that enabled routing of calls to multiple devices by using an operator to switch to a user's phone and connect the call to an incoming line. Later on, digital circuits were introduced to automate the switching function, hence making it simple for the user to make or receive calls. When VoIP was introduced, it simply changed the way voice was transmitted over long distances. Voice was encoded into digital signals and transmitted via the internet. The encoded signal was decoded at the receiving end to let the recipient hear the voice of the sender.
VoIP for home is less expensive than having a landline. It does not matter if you are living in a 3-story house or a small apartment, you can save money on a VoIP. Landline services haven't yet been able to compete with residential VoIP providers in terms of price and features. The landline companies charge you tax, service charges, and hidden fee. Residential VoIP plans can reduce your phone home bill by 50 percent each month. You can save even more with coupons, sign-up bonuses, and monthly specials. It is like a dream come true for bargain hunters. Also, landline phone systems are stuck with copper wire and exchange infrastructure. This is a legacy system that most phone companies are not willing to upgrade. Digital communications, on the other hand, are committed to adopting new standards as they come.
Features offered by Residential VoIP service providers differ from one provider to another. But all of them offer a common set of features which homeowners are looking for in the service. Given below is the list of these features:
Getting a VoIP provider is way different from subscribing to iTunes or Netflix. Picking the right one can be hard since there are so many to choose from. Below are a few things you must consider before choosing a residential VoIP provider:
The right VoIP provider will present you a plan that fits your needs. It's great to get additional services but if you have to pay a higher price for the features that you won't even use, then it's not worth it. Look for such a residential VoIP that will save you money and give you the features that fit your needs.
The whole idea of switching to VoIP is that you are getting features that your traditional landline is not offering. So, make sure you are getting all the right features such as call forwarding, conference calling, call recording, voicemail, and Music on Hold, etc.
Voice quality is important because it impacts your communication. Go for such a VoIP service that gives the opportunity to use their personal network instead of the internet or features such as prioritization of voice packets.
Look for a service provider that offers the best dependability. Make sure they have a zero downtime. Test their customer service yourself before subscribing. Try to get in touch with their representative and ask questions about their services or packages. This will help you verify their client support availability.
Have a look at the list of top 10 residential VoIP providers:
AXvoice is a digital VoIP provider offering users more flexibility in their monthly use. It is offering Unlimited VoIP calling plans and its VoIP services are best in class. It's also one of the cheapest residential VoIP calling services in the USA and Canada. Each of its residential calling plans includes over 30 standard features, and you also have the option to pay slightly extra for a virtual or toll-free number.
As you sign up with AXvoice, you are asked about your Internet provider and network so that you get the right device. The equipment, along with an instruction manual, will be sent to your home. You can also read the thorough installation guide on their website.
AXvoice call quality is solid. The person at the receiving end gets a clear sound without any unusual echoes. AXvoice offers customer support through email only which is probably the only downside to using this VoIP.
Call waiting, do not disturb, blacklist, distinctive ring, call filter, simultaneous ring, Caller ID, anonymous call rejection.
Find me follow me, failover, call forwarding
Call logs, free in-network calling, BYOD support, enhanced voicemail, and Softphone support
Axvoice's residential plan has three packages:
1. USA/Canada Unlimited: It costs $8.25 a month with unlimited outgoing minutes to anywhere in the USA and Canada. You will get 30+ features with this package and free equipment.
2. USA/Canada 200: It's their best value package and costs only $5.99 a month. You will get 200 outgoing minutes to anywhere in the USA and Canada. Incoming calls and equipment are free.
3. Pay as you Go: This plan costs $4.99 a month. You can call at 1.5c per minute to anywhere in the USA or Canada. Incoming calls are free. The package also includes free equipment.
VoIPo is yet another recognized company in the VoIP industry. You can replace your landline and use a regular phone to make and receive calls at a low price. It was created by a well-known web hosting platform, HostGator. Their VoIP services are only meant for people in the United States; it's not available to the Canadian residents yet. VoIPo is offering over 40 features to its users.
When you subscribe to their services, you get a phone adapter for free and it readily works with regular phones. You don't need an additional software or computer to use the services. VoIPo provides a 30-day money-back guarantee. The residential VoIP package lets you make unlimited calls to the USA and you get 60 minutes free international calls per month. You will get a VoIP adapter and a free rollover line too.
The Home VoIPo package is available in a 2-year plan only. The deal costs $149 since you will be paying $6.21 per month and getting unlimited minutes in exchange.
PhonePower's home phone services let you make unlimited calls to landlines and cell phone numbers in the USA and Canada. It may not be a well-known residential VoIP provider, but its phone services are less costly than its better-known competitors. It lets you make phone calls from your PC by using the softphone app and there no extra charges for that. They let you keep your existing number for free. They claim to offer phone plans that are capable of meeting your financial needs.
Along with unlimited calling, you get access to more than 20 features, free equipment lease, and free activation as you sign up. Their customer support is based in the USA and they are available 7 days a week on email and live chat.
You get a free second line with every package for free. They offer a 30-day money back guarantee in case you are not happy with the services.
PhonePower has 3 pricing plans for you to choose from:
1. Monthly Average: It costs $8.33 a month. You can make unlimited calls in the USA, Canada, and Puerto Rica. You will also get 60 international minutes free every month.
2. 12-Month Terms: This plan costs $9.95 a month and it will be a one-year contract. You can make unlimited calls to USA, Canada, and Puerto Rica numbers. You will also get 60 international minutes free every month.
3. No contract: This plan costs $19.95 a month. As the name suggests, you are not bounded by any contract. You can make unlimited calls to USA, Canada, and Puerto Rica numbers. You will also get 60 international minutes free every month with this package.
ViaTalk provides a cost-effective complete internet phone service package to its customers in the USA. Over 25 features are provided in ViaTalk's residential VoIP calling plan. You are provided with an online control panel to manage your account and use features such as call forwarding, call recording, call hunting and more. You have to pay a security deposit for getting the device but if you can supply your own device, this expense can be saved. ViaTalk's customer service is active 24/7. You can call them whenever you have a query.
Enhanced Voicemail, Toll-Free Remote Voicemail Access, Custom Voicemail Group, Call Log Passwords.
Anonymous Call Routing, Do Not Disturb, Incoming/Outgoing Call Routing.
Custom Incoming Caller ID, Incoming Caller ID with Name, Outgoing Caller ID with Name, Caller-ID with Name on Call Waiting, Network Unavailable Forward,
Call Record, Second Phone Line, On-The-Go, Softphone Access, Operator Services, Traditional operator services are available simply dial '0', 7,10, & 11 Digit Dialing.
ViaTalk offers the following residential calling plans:
1. VT Unlimited: This plan is for USA/Canada and it costs $15.75 a month. You can also opt for the annual plan that costs $189 a year. You will be given unlimited minutes, voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, free international calls, and equipment.
2. VT BYOD: As the name suggests, you have to Bring Your Own Device, it also costs $15.75 a month. You will get unlimited minutes to USA and Canada, voicemail, caller ID, call waiting and free international calls.
1-VoIP is one of the richest forms of VoIP services. It's a cloud-based Voice Over IP service that is easy to use. It offers a host of innovative features but if you want a router, adapter or a combo device, you will have to pay a little extra. International calling is limited and you get unlimited outgoing minutes to more than 30 countries. It's a month-to-month service.
It does not support mobile, video calling or softphone capabilities, which is one of the reasons why it's 5th on our list. However, it covers all the basic features that any homeowner would need from a residential VoIP. If you are unhappy with the services, you can cancel the subscription anytime without incurring any cancellation fee. Its customer support is pretty good. They offer email and chat support.
Residential 1-VoIP is available in 3 plans:
1. Value: It costs $8.79 a month. You get unlimited incoming minutes, 500 minutes to North America, hardware, and premium features.
2. US & Canada Unlimited: It costs $17.97 a month. You get unlimited incoming minutes, unlimited calls to North America, hardware with free shipping and premium features.
3. World Unlimited: It costs $23.97 a month. You get unlimited minutes, unlimited to 30 countries, hardware with free shipping and premium features.
There is no term commitment on any of the above plans.
Ooma Telo sells its services differently from most VoIPs. Along with offering VoIP services, it also sells Telo devices and a number of other solutions. You have to pay a one-time fee for the device and hook it up with your broadband internet. As long as you are using it to make calls to USA, there is no monthly fee. You can make unlimited calls. Sounds great, but there are some hidden monthly fees involved.
You have a choice to either port your existing phone number over Ooma or get a new one from the company. It's known for HD calling for improved sound quality. It's easy to set up and has a user-friendly web interface.
It doesn't offer a softphone desktop app to make calls from your PC; however, it has the OomaMobileapp for Android and iOS. When it comes to customer support, it's not that helpful. They have a 24/7 live chat support though. They also have a toll-free number for additional support.
Ooma Basic: You just have to pay a one-time fee of $39.99.
Ooma Premier: It costs $9.99 a month and $119.99 per year.
eVoice may primarily be a business VoIP provider but it offers features that are exactly suitable for homeowners. They offer 3 basic plans that are more or less similar except for the minutes and extensions. You will get all standard VoIP features that you are looking for from any residential VoIP except for its minutes are limited and that's a turn off for most potential consumers.
An attractive thing about eVoice is it offers mobile apps for Android, iPhone, and Blackberry devices. That means you will have the liberty to manage calls and voice messages no matter what your location is.
eVoice's customer support is based in California and Indiana and they are available 24/7. They are offering a 30-day free trial for anyone who is interested in testing their service.
As mentioned above, eVoice offers 3 pricing plans:
1. Startup: The plan costs $12.69 a month. It includes 350 minutes per month. You can purchase additional minutes that cost 3.62c per minute. 2 extensions are included in the package along with a 30-day free trial.
2. Startup +: This is the most popular plan. It costs $22.32 a month. It includes 750 minutes per month and 4 extensions. Additional minutes can be purchased at 3.62c per minute. It also includes a 30-day free trial.
3. Scaleup: It costs $31.83 a month. It includes 1600 minutes per month and 6 extensions. Additional minutes can be purchased at 3.62c per minute. It also includes a 30-day free trial.
Lingo is one of the basic VOIPs that offers home plans for national and international calling. You will get free 1500 long-distance calling minutes per line. A user can pool the minutes among all other lines that they may have. Call hunting and local toll calls are absolutely free. You can call other Lingo subscribers for free and keep your existing number too. A user will be making calls using their internet connection.
Lingo's home phone is available in 3 plans:
1. Home Essentials: It includes all premium features and costs $39.95 a month. You will get 1500 minutes for long distance calling.
2. Home Basic: It comes with standard phone features and costs $35.95 per month.
3. Home Value: It costs $33.95 per month.
Google Hangouts also offers VoIP services that can come in very handy for homeowners. To let users use its VoIP, Google has integrated Google Voice and Hangouts. Now it may not have extensive features but if you want only basic VoIP at an affordable price, this is exactly what you need. The best part is it is integrated with mobile. Although hangouts app has been primarily designed for chats, it can also be used for text messages, video calls and voice calls to landlines. Another great thing is that calls to most numbers in the USA are free. Rates for different countries can vary from one penny per minute to a dollar.
You will have to fill your credit to talk. Hangouts is already a built-in application in most Android phones. All you have to do is install the Hangouts Dialer and you can make conventional calls. Its desktop version is available too.
Calls from USA and Canada are free. You will be charged 1c or above if you are calling from anywhere else. Credit must be purchased before calling.
We all already use Skype for communicating with our loved ones abroad and even in workplaces. Its audio and video calls are free on one Skype account to another no matter where you are located as long as you have the internet connection. In case you didn't know, Skype can act like a residential VoIP too. You can make a phone to call on conventional phone numbers and receive calls on your number too. For that, you will have to pay for a Skype credit fill up or subscribe to the pool of minutes.
It's pretty simple to use. Just buy Skype credits or get a subscription, sign into Skype, dial a number and start chatting.
Just search for the region or country you want to call and Skype will show you the pricing. If you purchase the United States subscription, you will be charged $2.99 a month. You can pay on a monthly, 3-months or 12-months basis. The 3-months plan lets you save 5% and 12-months plan lets you save 15%.
The residential VoIP provider that we recommended is AXvoice. None of the above providers can beat it when it comes to price. You just have to pay $8.25 a month for unlimited calls to USA/Canada and get more than 30 premium calling features along with it. If you don't think you will need to make unlimited calls, then you can choose their value pack that costs $5.99 a month which gives you 200 minutes to anywhere in the USA and Canada. Sure we have a free unlimited calling option from Ooma Telo or cheaper alternatives like Skype and Google Hangouts, but they are not offering a promising set of features as AXvoice for residential use. Ooma Telo has lots of strings attached to its no monthly fee policy. Whether you like it or not, you will have to pay for the additional and hidden charges and that's something no customer wants to deal with. When it comes to Skype and Google Hangouts, there is no emergency 911 dialing option and their customer support is almost non-existent.
VoIPo has a nice set of features and price but it doesn't support unlimited calls to Canada. When it comes to features and price, PhonePower is not a bad choice since you just have to pay $8.33 a month, almost as close to AxVoice. The problem is, you have to pre-pay for either a year or two and if you don't, you end up bearing a heavy monthly price. If you can't afford to pre-pay, then PhonePower is not meant for you.
1-VoIP's US and Canada Unlimited plan is an affordable one but you still have to pay $17.97 a month. The price compared to its features is a bit high. Similar providers like Lingo and eVoice offer all standard VoIP features but their pricing is high. ViaTalk has a reasonable price and its offering basic to advanced features but since there have been a lot of complaints regarding call quality, we wouldn't recommend choosing it.
AXvoice, on the other hand, is offering all advanced VoIP features at the cheapest rate. There are extensive resources and guides on the website regarding the use of service and features. If you need the best value for money, AxVoice will not disappoint you. There's also a 15-day money back guarantee policy too so if you come across any problem with the quality of service, you can immediately request for a refund.