Thanks to the lower cost and unique features made possible by internet-based phone service, voice over IP (VoIP) can be a great solution for homes. For as little as $5/month, you can setup a VoIP phone with unlimited nationwide calling. You also get cool features like a mobile app that can make/receive calls from your home phone number, call waiting, call forwarding, voicemails delivered to your email and more.
Best Home VoIP Service for 2015: Ooma
If you’re interested in a home VoIP solution, we recommend Ooma. Although Vonage has slightly higher reviews, Ooma gives you quality service, a good set of features and phone-based customer support for a much lower price.
Price for 1 year
(1 phone, unlimited
includes taxes & fees*)
Cost of Hardware?
Price for the next
year after that
for 1 year
(1 phone, includes
taxes & fees*)
to 61 countries,
Israel (see all)
to 60 countries,
Israel (see all)
+ $0.02 - $0.65
per minute, depending
(see rates here)
No, but free
60 day trial
of Ooma Premier
if you sign up
for regular service
Yes, 30 days
Quality of Service
(based on user
Live Chat: 24/7
8am - 11pm EST
Mon-Sat 9am-10pm EST,
As a home VoIP phone solution, Ooma strikes a good balance between features and price. There’s a one-time fee of $129.99 for the Ooma Telo base station (pictured below), then you only have to pay for taxes and fees each month. This is anywhere from $3-$10, depending on your zip code.
Ooma includes all the main home phone features: caller ID, call waiting, voicemail (which you can play directly from the Ooma Telo box, or play online from your Ooma dashboard) and 911 emergency services. Their “premier” service, which adds call forwarding, anonymous call blocking, 3-way conferencing, voicemails delivered to your email inbox and more, is an additional $9.99/month.
You can hook up your corded or cordless home phone, use the optional Ooma HD2 Handset which includes full-image caller ID. You can also use your smartphone to make/receive calls using your home phone number.
What’s it Missing? The only feature I couldn’t find was call transfering, which is the ability to transfer a call to another phone mid-conversation. Also, Ooma requires a one-time fee of $39.99 if you want to keep your old number. This fee is waived, however, for Ooma premier customers ($9.99/month).
Ooma has mostly positive reviews from customers. The few complaints I came came across were about defective hardware or poor sound quality. One user noted that the sound quality was excellent coming into the phone, but their voice sounded awful to the caller. Another had a unit that was randomly disconnecting. In both cases, it’s tough to tell if the issue is with the Ooma Telo, the physical phone they’re speaking into, or their internet/WiFi connections. A few noted poor experiences with customer service, although the fact that Ooma has phone support 7 days a week and live chat support 24/7 puts them well above the competition.
Vonage.com is the “premier” home VoIP phone service. You get all the features offered by Ooma premier (call forwarding, call blocking, 3-way conferencing) as well as call transferring. Their “SimulRing” feature can ring up to 5 different devices (including cell phones, smartphones or landlines) whenever you get a call to your vonage number.
They also have some of the best customer reviews. The few complaints I found were about mostly about unexpected fees or pricing issues. Even some of the customers who complained, however, still praised their phone’s sound quality.
What’s It Missing? The main downside to vonage is the price, which can be an incredible 10x higher than the other services. This is largely due to their taxes/fees, which amounted to $25.70/month for my test order in Manhattan (zip code 10002). These fees were actually higher than the cost of service itself ($24.99), making the total price over $50/month. In non-urban areas the fees are much lower, but still $5 to $15/month.
Magic Jack is by far the least expensive service. For the first year, you can get a VoIP home phone for as little as $53.85. After that it’s $37.73/year, or $107.79 for 5 years of service. This could mean you pay as little as $1.80/month for phone service, which is incredible when you consider the same plan from Vonage would cost $50.69/month.
What’s It Missing? As you might expect, the low cost compromises features and quality. Not only is it a little more stripped down, with no call transferring or 3-way conferencing, but Magic Jack does not include 911 emergency services by default. You have to turn it on under settings and pay the additional $6 to $60/year, as billed by local authorities.
Magic Jack also had considerably lower customer reviews. Many complained about the customer service, which is available through live chat only (no phone support) and can have long wait times for technical solutions. Some users also complained about sound quality, although most noted that it was still manageable.
Purchase Magic Jack
The Bottom Line
For a good balance of price and features, we recommend Ooma. You’ll pay considerably less than Vonage, yet get a high quality phone service and top-notch customer support.