Landline phones are quickly becoming like the dinosaurs — extinct.
It makes sense. People are not stationary beings. We cannot, nor do we wish to be handcuffed to a landline phone, waiting for it to ring just in case someone calls. People are mobile. We need the ability to stay connected with others even when we’re away from our desks. It’s why the majority of people pivoted toward the widespread use of mobile phones.
What’s not to love about them? These gadgets allow us to surf the internet, play games, record photos and videos, but most importantly — our mobile phones enable better relationships with our friends, families, co-workers, and businesses. Everyone is just a phone call away. Yes, phones still make phone calls (but don’t tell that to anyone under 20 years old).
Make no doubt about it. The advancements in phone technology continue to enhance the lives of billions of people — mostly consumers. But what about for businesses?
Are there any innovative solutions that can improve the way a company operates, simply by adopting a new phone technology?
Yes, with softphones.
Similar to how mobile phones empower consumers with new functionalities, conveniences, and capabilities, the same applies to softphones for businesses. In a nutshell, a softphone does many wonderful things for businesses, such as:
Softphones truly are the next big thing as several thousands of businesses have already changed from regular phones to using softphones.
If you want to learn about the differences between a regular hard phone and softphones; what is SIP and VoIP; and have a greater understanding of the technologies that power softphones, please continue reading after you check out our list of the top softphones of 2019.
Please note: When making the switch to VoIP softphones, it’s important to select the one that is most compatible with your company’s budget and goals. A few other things to consider are integration, requirements, features and add-ons, customer support, and whether or not a free trial is offered.
Below is a quick snapshot of the best softphones featured in this article:
Ready to discover a softphone solution that’s the perfect fit for your company? To save you some time, the team at TelephoneLists.biz thoroughly researched and compiled a list of the top softphones available.
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Integration and Ease of Use: The Cricket Click Dialer is tremendously simple to use. You can click to call any phone number in online CRMs, spreadsheets, and emails. You may also click to voicemail drop 1 of 5 pre-recorded messages whenever you reach an answering machine — and you can even personalize them to increase the likelihood of receiving call backs. This click dialer softphone integrates with Zoho, SAP, Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, Act!, Maximizer, Sugar, and virtually all other Cloud CRMs.
Requirements: Windows 7, 8, or 10, an internet connection, and USB headset. Works in Google Chrome, Firefox, and other internet browsers.
Free Trial: Yes, you can try for free up to 7 days or 200 connected calls, whichever comes first. This is one of the only softphones that offers a free trial with access to all of its features. What you see is what you get, so you truly know what product you’re buying.
General features include: Voice calls, click to call, voicemail automation (voicemail drops), VoIP phone service with truly unlimited calls, your own inbound phone number and Caller ID control, call logs, call recording, transfer calls, and conference calls.
Add-on features: Coaching and monitoring tool
Video Tutorials and Live Customer Support – Cricket has a small amount of video tutorials online via EVS7’s website or you can find them on YouTube. There is also friendly technical support you can call for live help when you need it.
Important Notes: The Cricket softphone was designed with sales reps and call centers in mind or for anyone using an online CRM.
Cricket’s click to dial feature works like a charm. You click any phone number once, and it automatically dials it for you. This is a great tool for calling people quickly and cheaply, too, because Cricket comes with its own VoIP phone service. This means you (1) don’t have to find or pay a separate VoIP service provider, and (2) Cricket works immediately after download — no waiting.
Cricket also provisions users with an inbound phone number with your choice of either a local area code or toll free number, so your leads can call you back. This feature gives you the ability to take advantage of local presence dialing, too!
Speaking of “free of charge,” because Cricket comes with its own VoIP service, you can truly make and receive unlimited calls from anywhere in the world to USA and Canada. No hidden charges; no charges for excessive use either.
As mentioned, an important feature of Cricket is voicemail automation. Cricket Click Dialer has one of the coolest sales call hacks. Whenever you reach an answering machine, you can greet the person by name (or remain silent if you want) and simply click whichever pre-recorded voicemail message you want them to hear. (You pre-record the message in your own voice and assign it to a clickable button before your campaign). While your message plays on that person’s answering machine, your softphone instantly becomes free to make another phone call. This means you can truly avoid talking during some of your sales calls with Cricket Click Dialer, yet still have your message heard.
The only downside to Cricket is it isn’t available on Mac computers. For Windows users though, it works like magic — it’s amazing.
Bottom line: If you are using any kind of CRM software, then this is the best softphone to use. Clicking to dial from your CRM contact list will truly make your sales and follow up calls a total breeze. And…here’s really why this is such an invaluable tool you must have for your call center: If you’re good at selling on the phone, this software guarantees that you reach and talk with more prospects in less time, which of course means higher monthly sales and ROI. Exactly what you want, right? You can try it now 100% free.
Integration and Ease of Use: Integrates with Microsoft Outlook, Slack, Salesforce CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and many other programs.
Requirements: It requires Windows, Mac, or Linux, an internet connection, and USB headset.
Free Trial: No free trial necessary since Skype is free. Please note: it’s only free for Skype-to-Skype calls. Skype will charge you money for calling residential, business, and international phone numbers.
General features include: Free voice and video calls to other Skype users, click to call (Windows only), your own inbound Skype number, instant messaging, video messaging, send files, and screen sharing.
Add-on features: Many free and paid add-ons are available.
Video Tutorials and Live Customer Support – A huge library of video tutorials and 24/7 customer support.
Important Notes: One of Skype’s best features is Skype Translator which removes language barriers so you can finally communicate with anyone in the world no matter their mother tongue. Skype doesn’t have many drawbacks. However, Skype throws advertisements in your face which covers a good chunk of real estate on your computer and mobile screen — but they do help keep Skype free.
Many of the add-ons are great but many are unnecessary for business purposes. Also, with so many add-ons, they become Skype’s bane and can become difficult to manage.
One of Skype’s pitfalls is that good call quality isn’t consistent because it has too many people using it for non-business purposes which tends to overload and clog user bandwidth. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about this. If your business needs to make voice calls, perhaps Skype isn’t the best choice.
Overall, this is a good softphone because it includes its own VoIP service so you can make free voice and video calls — but only to other Skype users. As previously mentioned, a huge downside to Skype’s softphone is that if you want to call a non-Skype phone number, then you’ll have to pay extra money for it.
Integration and Ease of Use: Bria is easy to use and integrates with some third party software such as Salesforce CRM, Microsoft Outlook, or Mac Address Book for synchronization of contacts. However, integration with Salesforce CRM will cost you an extra $25/month per user.
Requirements: It requires Windows 7, 8, or 10; or Mac OSX 10.10 or 10.11; an internet connection; and USB headset.
Free Trial: No free trial.
General features include: Voice and video calling, instant messaging, chat rooms, presence, contact management including groups, and a clean interface.
Add-on features: With an additional purchase, you can add a “Screen Share” feature which let’s desktop users share their screen with up to 100 participants while using voice and messaging capabilities. (This sounds great, but there are actually plenty of other screen share applications that can be found on the Internet absolutely free).
Video Tutorials and Live Customer Support – Extremely limited on video tutorials so if you run into any trouble, good luck with resolving your issue quickly — it won’t happen. There is no live customer support either. Instead, if you have questions, you must rely on other Bria users to help you or wait for an official response from a Bria representative via forums. This is definitely a major downside for technical and especially non-technical users.
Important Notes: Bria has a very sleek look and feel to it. Voicemails, missed calls, audio device selection and volume adjustment are easily accessible.
One of the better features of Bria is it’s call history interface that let’s you filter calls that were missed, received, and dialed. Bria also gives you the option of having a detachable window for contacts in case you need to call a long list of people while still being able to view the dial keypad.
Incoming call pop ups are simple and easy to use, however the accompanying sound notifications might be unpleasant to hear to some people.
Users should be warned that Bria does not save some important user settings so you will have to manually renew settings like “Auto Answer,” “Hide Your Number,” and “Call Using My Deskphone,” each and every time you close out of Bria.
Furthermore, Bria’s “Hide Your Number” setting probably isn’t a smart option to have turned on for at least two reasons: If you hide your number then people won’t have a way to call you back, and potential leads are unlikely to answer the phone since they can’t see who is calling them.
Lastly, VoIP service is not included with Bria softphone so you must find and pay extra for a VoIP service subscription with a local service provider to use Bria. So, although Bria’s price tag is $49.99, you’ll have to pay an additional $25/month to integrate it with Salesforce and pay additional money to a VoIP service provider to actually use Bria softphone.
Integration and Ease of Use: 3CXPhone is difficult to set up unless you’re an IT manager. The softphone mirrors the display of a mobile smartphone and is easy to navigate. It also integrates with third-party software such as Microsoft Outlook and CRMs like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Sage ACT.
Requirements: It requires Windows 7, 8, or 10; internet connection; and USB headset.
Free Trial: Yes, however the free trial is very limited on features. You need to purchase the Standard or Pro Edition in order to try the complete softphone.
General features include: Voice and video calling, instant messaging, presence, voicemail, contact management, call history, call forwarding, voicemail greetings based on agent status, and a decent looking interface.
Add-on features: At an extra cost, you can integrate this softphone with a few choice CRMs, and you can access features useful for call and contact centers.
Video Tutorials and Live Customer Support – Video tutorials are in short supply. Limited customer support is provided by email or phone. Should you require extra help, C3X will charge you by the hour.
Important Notes: The large and detachable window for presence is one of 3CXPhone’s better features. It’s easy to view who your colleagues are on the phone with. Should you need to place a person on hold, you can transfer them to a separate “hold line” so you can be free to use another phone in the office. The voicemail greeting feature is not the best since it’s totally based on the agent’s presence, but it’s still nice to have. Sending instant messages and conference calls is simple to do. Call forwarding is customizable.
One downside is that in order to use more advanced features for call centers, you are required to upgrade from Standard to Pro Edition at an additional cost. If you want to integrate it with any CRM, again, you must pay to upgrade to the Pro edition.
Finally, another major drawback is that in order to actually use the 3CXPhone, you must pay extra money to a VoIP service provider. It’s a nifty but expensive softphone, and to reap the full benefits, you should be prepared to spend more than what’s probably necessary.
Integration and Ease of Use: Integrates with Microsoft Outlook, Windows, and Mac address book, and smartphone contacts.
Requirements: It requires Windows, Mac, or Linux, an internet connection, and USB headset.
Free Trial: Yes. However, features are limited.
General features include: Voice calls, contact management, conversation encryption, fax, click to dial, call history.
Add-on features: None.
Video Tutorials and Live Customer Support – Almost non-existent on video tutorials. No live customer support; only by email. Requests are usually served within one to two business days.
Important Notes: One of the nice contact management features Zoiper has is the ability to import and export contacts from CSV files. It’s also one of the smaller softphones, so it doesn’t use as much hard disk space on your computer as other softphones might.
Some of the negatives are that it does not integrate with any CRMs. The interface is plain looking. You must also upgrade to use features such as instant messaging, presence, and video calls.
Unfortunately, after paying to download the softphone — to actually use Zoiper, you must additionally pay for VoIP service.
Integration and Ease of Use: X-lite is fairly simple to use because of its extremely limited features, hence why it’s called “lite” . Unfortunately, it offers no integration.
Requirements: It requires Windows 7, 8, or 10; or Mac OSX 10.10 or 10.11; internet connection; and USB headset for voice and video calls.
Free Trial: No free trial necessary because X-lite is “free.”
General features include: Voice and video calling, instant messaging, conference calls, and presence.
Add-on features: None.
Video Tutorials and Live Customer Support – Video tutorials almost nonexistent. No customer support whatsoever.
Important Notes: Although X-lite is free to download, you cannot use it without additionally paying a VoIP service provider. So, this softphone isn’t really all that “free.”
And there you have it, the top 6 softphones. Now that you’ve learned more about softphones and what these VoIP technologies can offer, we hope that by comparison you can discover which is the best fit for your business.
Overall, Cricket is definitely the best bang for your buck and has seen tremendous success with startups, small businesses, and large enterprises.
We recommend Cricket Click Dialer Softphone for a variety of reasons:
Get the answers in simple terms to questions like:
After exploring the answers to these questions, you’ll be more than well equipped with the knowledge to make an informed decision on which is the best softphone for your business.
A “hard phone” is hardware that serves as a phone. You may not realize it, but the term comprises the physical, regular landline and mobile phones you’re already accustomed to using. In fact, every desk phone at your workplace is a hard phone, too.
However, we don’t typically refer to regular phones as hard phones simply because its future counterpart, the softphone and the technology for it, wasn’t created until recent years. So, hard phones are regular phones. They connect with other hard phones via a network of public telephone lines, also known as the Public Switch Telephone Network or Plain Old Telephone Service.
A softphone is a software application on your computer or mobile device that you can use to make phone calls over the Internet. Rather than relying on a traditional telephone line network, softphones use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to send and receive calls. VoIP is simply the technology that converts your voice into data so it can be carried through a data network, like the Internet. Please note the terms “softphone,” “VoIP softphone,” and “SIP softphone” are generally the same thing. More on this is covered in the next section.
It may come as a surprise, but no telephone line is necessary to use a softphone. All you need is a computer or smartphone, microphone or headset, and an internet connection.
What’s great about softphones is that they are virtual phones. They work like a regular telephone with a display that features a dial keypad; buttons to transfer, hold, and make conference calls; and a call termination button to “hang up” the phone when the conversation ends. Other than voice chat, standard features typically include video chat, instant messaging, and call recording. Ultimately, whatever you can do with a regular phone you can do with a softphone, and more.
A softphone’s familiar look and functionality makes for an easy transition from a desk phone to using one on your computer. Plus, with so many business applications already stored on computers, it makes perfect sense for companies to digitize their phones, too. It clears office clutter and conveniently keeps your phone with you in the same place where you work — on your computer!
So, what exactly powers a softphone?
Two things! SIP and VoIP.
SIP and VoIP are languages that computers use to communicate with each other. When computers can communicate with one another, you and the person you’re calling can communicate with one another using a softphone. For example, SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) is needed so a computer can establish a type of communication with another computer. The type of communication could be voice, video, instant messaging, etc. If you’re using a softphone to make a voice call to someone, your computer essentially tells the other person’s computer “Hey, I want to communicate with you using voice.”
Then, once the computers agree to “speak” to each other using SIP language, SIP enables the computers to send each other voice data using another language called VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Therefore whenever you speak, your voice becomes an “analog voice signal” that converts into data. Next, this data travels across the Internet and then turns back into an analog voice signal at the receiving computer so the person can hear what you’re saying to them.
SIP enables VoIP. And remember, SIP softphones and VoIP softphones are again, the same thing.
*If you’re confused by what the “session” in Session Initiation Protocol means, a session is just an instance of computers speaking to each other, similar to a therapy session where two people meet to talk (without the awkwardness).
Now You Are Ready
Now that you know plenty of information about the best softphones, it’s time to try one for yourself 100% free and begin reaping all the benefits! Check out Top Virtual Receptionist Software for Telephone Answering Services and Top Predictive Dialers, Cloud Call Centers, Power Dialers, Auto Dialers.
Disclaimer: TelephoneLists.biz is owned by Electronic Voice Services, creators of Cricket Click Dialer Softphone. Are we a little bit biased? Of course, but we did our best to present the facts and help provide customers a way to do their own research as well and find the solution that best suits their needs.