Today’s small businesses need communication tools that account for the drastic increase in remote work, allow for an unprecedented level of team communication, and help to keep operating costs down.

Especially now that 1 in 4 Americans works remotely, web conferencing services like Zoom have exploded in popularity — due in large part to the Coronavirus pandemic. Recent video communications studies show these tools can save small businesses up to $11,000 a year per employee, increase team participation in meetings by as much as 67%, and, according to close to 90% of employees, speed up the overall decision-making process.

The downside?

89% of SMBs still use multiple video conferencing platforms — and that could be because the majority of them are using Zoom.

While Zoom certainly has its benefits, it doesn’t always have the features, security protocols, and available plans your small business and startup needs.

Read on to discover the top Zoom alternatives for small business video calls and remote meetings.

 

Table of Contents

 

 

An Overview Of The Top Zoom Alternatives

 

Platform RingCentral Office Microsoft Teams Cisco WebEx Google Meet 8×8 Meet UberConference by Dialpad Join.Me Fuze Meetings GoToMeeting BlueJeans Jitsti Meet Lifesize
Price Range 4 plans from $19.99/user per month to $49.99/user per month One free plan, 3 paid plans from $5.00-user per month to $20.00/user per month One free plan, 3 paid plans from $13.50/host per month-$26.95+/host per month One free plan, 2 paid plans from $8.00/active user per month and up $9.99/user per month One free plan, one paid plan for $15.00/organizer per month 3 paid plans from $10.0/user per month to $30.00/user per month 5 paid plans from $15.00/user per month to $65.00/user per month 3 paid plans from $12.00/user per month to $16.00+/user per month 3 paid plans from $9.99/host per month to $13.99+/host per month Free One free plan, three paid plans from $12.50/host per month-$14.95+/host per month
Top Feature Real-time task management and in-portal task updates Activity Feed for summary of conversations/actions in chat channels, “Together Mode” view  AI Meeting Assistant  Unlimited Google Drive storage and integrated Google Doc real-time collaborative editing   Personal Meeting Space  Voice Intelligence  Advanced host controls Meeting Types Live Note-Taking and sharing  Safe driving mode Advanced encryption, privacy, and security settings Up to 10,000 meeting attendees 
Best For  Small remote or in-house teams (10 members and under) that collaborate and tasks/files at least once per day Teams that work within the Microsoft Office 365 universe, and companies with a high daily chat message volume  Small businesses that need to host frequent breakout sessions and that need reliable summaries/follow-up actions for meetings SMBs that need a user-friendly, “no frills” free video communication tool Remote small businesses that collaborate with international clients/teams  Small teams that meet with less than 100 people and need fairly basic features  SMBs that need a highly customizable video conferencing tool Businesses looking for affordable plans that offer excellent user training  Small businesses that rely heavily on slide presentations during presentations that need to share these presentations with all attendees  Small businesses with either a temporary remote workforce or a partial remote workforce  Teams that meet regarding highly sensitive information, and need a place to discuss these topics securely without much collaboration Small businesses that sell webinars or want to expand their webinar audience 

 

 

Why Look for Alternatives to Zoom?

In addition to the general reasons mentioned earlier in this post, there are several more specific reasons why so many small businesses are looking for Zoom alternatives.

First, there is the issue of Zoombombing — where trolls sneak their way into public and even password-protected Zoom meetings to post inappropriate or simply off-topic messages with the intent of derailing the meeting.

Zoombombing has lead to not only lawsuits against Zoom, but Zoom data privacy concerns have also caused numerous businesses (particularly in the healthcare/education fields) to ban employees from using Zoom in the first place.

Additionally, though Zoom provides many in-meeting collaboration tools, today’s businesses often need more than what it has to offer.

For example, Zoom doesn’t offer native basic task management features, makes it difficult to co-edit and synch documents in real-time during a meeting, and doesn’t let multiple people collaborate on a whiteboard.

Though additional team collaboration capabilities are possible with third-party integration, many companies crave native features.

Other common reasons for seeking Zoom alternatives include:

 

  • Inability to integrate with preferred third-party software and CRM systems
  • Wanting a browser-based, not application-based, solution
  • Insufficient free plan but lack of ideal paid plan
  • Poor video quality/frustration with video lagging
  • Concerns over Zoom sending user data to Facebook
  • Lack of ideal customer support channels/availability

 

Note that Zoom is by no means “all bad.” To learn more about Zoom, check out our Zoom review page.

 

Top Zoom Alternatives

Below, we’ll outline the top Zoom alternatives, discuss their features, explore available pricing and plans, and discover what users like best about each tool.

 

RingCentral Office RingCentral Office

 

RingCentral Office is a no-download, browser-based video calling platform for up to 200 simultaneous users. It combines video meetings, chat messaging, and basic business phone system capabilities into a single platform

Included features like desktop and application screen sharing, whiteboarding, and real-time file sharing and editing make it an excellent tool for primarily remote teams with projects that require daily team collaboration.

The breakout room feature lets admins divide up larger meetings into several small groups of users, allowing them to share ideas, brainstorm, or discuss a predetermined topic in a more intimate setting. These groups can be pre-assigned or assigned at random. After a certain amount of time, these breakout rooms then rejoin the initial larger meeting and share their ideas, facilitating a stronger cross-department conversation.

Join pre-scheduled conferences on any device through dial-in access, by receiving a call, through the Android or Apple iOS smartphone app, or by clicking an invitation link. Immediately transition any chat or email message conversation into a video call, with a single click.

Additional features include:

  • 24-hour meeting duration
  • Unlimited calling in US/Canada
  • Unlimited SMS
  • Real-time task assignment
  • Public/private team chat app with message threads
  • Background noise suppression
  • Meeting recording with cloud storage for 1 year
  • In-meeting device switching
  • Historical and real-time meeting analytics
  • Single Sign-on
  • Third-party app integrations with tools like Slack, Outlook, G Suite, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more
  • Message search
  • Drag-and-drop file sharing
  • Dark mode
  • 99.999% SLA uptime
  • HIPAA compliance

 

RingCentral Office has four available plans, but no free version. The plans range in price from $19.99/user per month for up to 10 users to $49.99/user per month for unlimited users. User reviews consistently mention the consistent excellent video and audio quality, but say that customer support could be improved.

Check out our post on all available RingCentral plans and pricing to learn more.

 

Microsoft TeamsMicrosoft Teams

 

Microsoft Teams is a web conferencing and team collaboration platform that’s best for teams using video conferencing platforms as their primary means of internal communication.

Besides live meetings, users can also collaborate on files in real-time, transition immediately from chat messaging to video, and make/receive audio group and individual audio calls within the same dashboard.

In short, it most accurately replicates the in-office experience online.

Participant lists, live captions, and sharable meeting recordings make it easy for team members to follow the latest office communication whether or not they were present on the video call. Since anyone can access a Teams meeting without creating an account, it is also the ideal platform for communicating with anyone outside of your network.

Additional features include:

  • Screen sharing
  • Custom backgrounds
  • Scheduled and one-click meetings
  • Hosting online events for up to 10,000 people
  • File sharing and editing
  • Searchable chat messaging
  • Over 250 app integrations

Teams has seen its greatest success in the healthcare and education industries, though it also works well for any fully remote workforce.  Users say that the best thing about Teams is its advanced file collaboration feature, but that it needs improvement when it comes to alerts and notifications, as employees sometimes miss important announcements.

Teams has one free plan and three paid plans: The Business Basic plan for $5.00/user per month, the Business Standard plan for $12.50/user per month, and the Office 365 plan for $20.00/user per month.

Note that current Skype for Business users will soon be automatically migrated to Microsoft Teams. Read our hands-on review of Microsoft Teams for more information.

 

Cisco WebExWebEx video

 

Cisco WebEx stands out from the competition thanks to its free plan, which can host 100 participants per meeting for a maximum of 50 minutes.

Another top feature is the AI Meeting Assistant, which can be programmed to pick up on certain “trigger” words during a meeting to create automatic notes, action items, and summaries that can be sent to participants after the meeting ends. The Assistant also automatically transcribes meetings in real-time and can be activated by voice commands.

Additionally, users can access the WebEx Meeting platform even when they’re not on a video call to update/monitor task progress, send notes/files to team members, collaborate on files, and more. WebEx also offers two-way whiteboard for an even  more collaborative meeting experience.

And to ensure users don’t forget upcoming meetings, WebEx sends out automatic reminders, including an in-portal reminder 15 minutes before the meeting start time.

All WebEx Meet plans, including the Free Plan, offer:

  • Desktop and mobile screen sharing
  • iPhone and Android mobile apps
  • Unlimited chat messaging, hand raising, polling
  • Meeting recording and ability to save recordings to a computer
  • Breakout sessions
  • Alternate hosts
  • Attendee profile/People Insights
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Notes
  • 4 video stream layouts
  • Meeting locks and password-protected rooms
  • Virtual backgrounds
  • Online support
  • Whiteboarding

WebEx Meet has one free plan and 3 paid plans from $13.50/host per month to $26.95+host per month. Users say the best part of WebEx is how easy it is to collaborate within live meetings, but say that the recordings need to be available for longer than five days before they’re automatically deleted.

To learn more about available features and pricing, read our complete guide to Cisco WebEx.

 

Google MeetGoogle Meet

 

Google Meet, an upgraded take on one of the earliest forms of video communication, Google Hangouts Meet, is a beginner-friendly video calling tool for businesses that only need occasional video communication.

Users simply click the “New Meeting” link on the Google Meet homepage to instantly start a meeting, schedule an upcoming one in Google Calendar, or create a meeting link to share. Users can also enter an existing code or link to join a scheduled meeting or one in progress.

Though primarily used on desktop computers, it can also be accessed via the Android and iOS mobile apps. Users will need to create a free Google account in order to join or host a meeting.

Additional features include:

  • In-meeting chat messaging
  • Noise cancellation
  • Whiteboard tools
  • Q&A and live pooling tools
  • Outlook integration
  • Live closed captioning
  • Screen sharing and pass presenter tool
  • Custom background images
  • Two-step authentication
  • Unlimited Google Drive storage
  • File sharing through Google Drive

As of this writing, basic Google Meet is currently free for up to 100 users to meet for a maximum of one hour. Features like breakout rooms, 300-hour meeting length and 250 attendee maximums, and advanced security settings are available only by paid subscription.

There are two available paid Google Meet subscriptions, Google Workspace Essentials for $8.00/user per month and Google Workspace Enterprise, priced by individual quote.

Users say the familiar Google interface and security features like searchable data, data loss prevention, and live alerts for suspicious activity are the best things about Meet. But while the basic features are ideal for newer companies, the lack of advanced features and available integrations means it’s not a good fit for mid-sized to larger businesses.

 

8×8 Meet8x8 meet

 

8×8 Meet offers unlimited meetings for up to 100 active participants on desktop and mobile devices.

Users can create personal meeting rooms with a dedicated link for more consistent conferences, or join temporary ones through an emailed invitation, via the “Meet Now” one-click feature, or by receiving a phone call. 8×8 allows users from over 50 countries to dial into meetings and includes 11 toll-free numbers.

There’s no need to download an application, as attendees can join directly from their browsers. Integration with calendar tools from Outlook and G Suite makes it easy to both schedule future meetings and invite attendees within your preferred app.

Cloud recording and transcription features offer HD meeting recordings that can easily be sent to those who weren’t able to make the live meeting. Users can also brand and customize their meeting spaces and backgrounds, replicating the face-to-face experience even more.

Additional features and functionality include:

  • Ability to share files
  • Team chat messaging
  • Remote desktop control
  • Screen sharing
  • Chrome extension
  • Live stream meetings on social media
  • Real-time audio subtitles
  • Meeting analytics
  • Whiteboard tool
  • Third-party app integrations

8×8 Meet can be purchased as a standalone video calling tool or as a part of an all-in-one solution including phone, video, and chat.

As of this writing, the standalone option is available for a limited time at $0.99/user per month, making it a cheap tool that still includes features that most free video conferencing plans don’t. Usually, 8×8 costs $9.99/user per month.

Users say the best thing about 8×8 Meet is its overall ease of use, but that there are consistent issues with sharing screens.

Read our detailed review of 8×8 vs. RingCentral to see how these top two providers compare to one another.

 

UberConference by DialpadUber Conference

 

UberConference by Dialpad offers no-download video chat capabilities for up to 100 participants.

Dialpad is a popular business VoIP phone and contact center communications platform that has recently added UberConference as a standalone video meeting tool or as a video communication channel to your existing Dialpad UC account.

It offers PIN-free conference calls, meaning that meetings can be publicly accessible by default. (A password option is also available.) UberConference provides advanced analytics on average meeting duration, number of participants, screen shares, user participation, and more.

Additional features include:

  • Post-call snapshots
  • HD video
  • Custom hold music
  • Dial-in and dial-out meeting access
  • Audio-only access
  • Integration with Salesforce, Slack, HubSpot, Outlook, Google Calendar, and more
  • Screen sharing
  • Call recording
  • International dial-in access
  • Toll-free conference calls

Dialpad UberConference has one free plan for up to 15 participants, and one paid Business plan for $15.00/user per month for up to 100 participants.

The best part of Dialpad UberConference is its Voice Intelligence feature, which transcribes meetings and automates tasks during a live conference call. Based on phrases picked up during the video meeting, UberConference can create an itemized list of upcoming action items.

However, its low meeting attendee maximum and the fact that video calls have a five-hour time limit mean it’s likely not ideal for larger companies or those that host long-term training and meetings on a web conferencing platform.

 

Join.MeJoin me

 

Join.Me is a video communications platform also owned by LogMeIn, best known for its interface that shows user video feeds as floating “bubbles” instead of the default gallery view (though multiple views are available.)

Though its included features are on the basic side of things, the incredible number of integrations it offers make it the ideal solution for teams that are happy with their other team communication tools, but need a tool offering standard video chat capabilities.

It allows for up to 250 simultaneous participants, has dial-in or link-click access, and includes collaboration tools like file sharing and a whiteboard tool with an infinite canvas.

Additional features include:

  • Audio conference calling
  • Sharing screens
  • Outlook, Office 365, GSuite, Gmail, Salesforce, Zapier, HubSpot, and more integrations
  • Advanced data reporting including IP addresses, meeting participants and start time, and list of all features used during the meeting
  • Meeting recording and cloud storage
  • Chat messaging
  • Up to 10 simultaneous webcam streams

Users say that superior new user training, a lower bandwidth requirement, and the overall user-friendly interface are the strongest aspects of Join.Me. Noted drawbacks, however, include poor audio quality, the limited features included with the most affordable plan, and lag times during high volume meetings.

Though Join.Me does not currently offer a free plan, it has three paid options: the Lite Plan for 10.00/user per month, the Pro plan for $20.00/user per month, and the Business Plan for $30/ user per month.

Our complete breakdown of Join.Me pricing and plans provides additional information.

 

Fuze MeetingsFuze Meeting

 

Fuze Meetings is a cloud-based video collaboration software for up to 1,000 global participants.

Accessible on desktop and mobile devices, Fuze Meetings offers global dial-in access that optimizes video and audio call quality based on each participant’s specific location. One unique feature is the ability to select from multiple meeting types, including check-ins, one-on-one meetings, company-wide town halls, training sessions, and smaller team meetings.

This way, attendees know exactly what to expect out of the meeting before they log on.

Team collaboration tools include whiteboarding, file sharing and editing from Box or Dropbox, meeting notes, and third-party app integrations.

Additional features include:

  • Audio outbound calls
  • iOS and Android apps
  • Desktop screen and individual application sharing
  • Meeting recording
  • Calendar integrations
  • Salesforce integration
  • Call recordings

One of the things that Fuze users enjoy the most is its customizability. It offers a variety of meeting types, add-ons, and allows users to mix and match certain features across multiple plans.

However, the downside to Fuze is its price and somewhat limited features. It has five available paid plans ranging in price from $15.00/user per month to $65.00/user per month, but does not have any kind of a free plan.

Learn more about the tool on our Fuze review page.

 

GoToMeetingGo to meeting

 

GoToMeeting by LogMeIn is an HD video communication platform that can host up to 3,000 participants.

Though it offers scalable solutions for companies of all sizes, it’s best for corporations that have online meetings with high attendance levels.

Standout features like Note Taking, which allows users to take live in-meeting notes and then share them with attendees afterwards, and Slide to PDF for faster sharing of presentation slides, make it an excellent choice for large-scale video conferences.

Hosts and attendees can also draw directly on their screens, and share their mouse and keyboards to better illustrate points to teammates. Co-hosting capabilities make planning large-scale meetings much easier, and the active speaker feature makes having multiple panel speakers a breeze.

Additional features include:

  • Screen sharing
  • Dial-in, dial-out access (toll-free numbers available)
  • One-click meeting access
  • Unlimited meeting length
  • Chat messaging
  • Personal meeting rooms
  • Meeting recording and transcription
  • Siri Voice commands
  • SSL Encryption
  • Slack, Office 365, G Suite, and more integrations
  • Conference Room hardware add-on

GoToMeeting offers a free 14-day trial along with three paid plans: The Professional Plan for $12.00/user per month, the Business Plan for $16.00/user per month, and the quote-based Enterprise plan.

Users say that new features like the Smart Assistant tool, which uses machine learning to collect meeting insights and create action items post-meeting, are the best things about the platform. However, they also say that the tool lacks high-quality audio, particularly with issues like cross-talk and frequent voice call drops, could be improved.

To learn more, read our GoToMeeting review.

 

BlueJeansBlue Jeans

 

BlueJeans by Verizon is a video conferencing solution for the digital workplace.

Though there are other video calling tools that have more robust team collaboration features, BlueJeans is an ideal solution for companies that plan to keep working remotely for only a temporary amount of time. It provides the essential communication and collaboration features that remote workforces need but does not replicate the in-office experience as well as other platforms on this list.

Additional features include:

  • Personal Meeting ID
  • Dolby voice audio
  • Action item voice intelligence analytics
  • Meeting recordings
  • Unlimited meeting lengths
  • Up to 100 participants
  • Active speaker and gallery views
  • One-click and scheduled meetings
  • Safe driving mode for mobile apps

Users say that the high level of app integrations, along with the excellent screen sharing capabilities, are the top features of the app. However, video lag and the fact that BlueJeans isn’t compatible with touch-screen Windows devices are two areas in need of improvement.

Bluejeans has three available paid plans: The Standard plan for $9.99/host per month, the Pro plan for $13.99/host per month, and the quote-based Enterprise plan.

For more information, read our complete Bluejeans video conferencing review.

 

Jitsi MeetJitsi Meet

 

Jitsi Meet is a fully encrypted browser-based open-source video communication tool.

It’s completely free, there’s no need to create an account, and it offers privacy features that will make those that stopped using Zoom due to security issues breathe a sigh of relief. Start a meeting with a randomly-generated name or create your own on the homepage of the Jitsi website.

See a list of recent past meetings, or connect your calendar to schedule upcoming ones. Control which devices Jitsi can access or create a user profile for more consistent meetings.

Though a bare-bones video communication tool on its own, the active developer community means it’s easy to completely customize your own Jitsi platform.

Additional features include:

  • Integrated group chats and one-on-one chat messaging
  • A Google Chrome extension
  • Office 365 and Slack integration
  • Android and iPhone mobile apps
  • WebRTC compatibility
  • Pass presenter and screen sharing
  • File editing through Etherpad

Jitsi is best known for its security, making it a popular meeting tool for government agencies and high-level corporate executives who need to discuss especially sensitive information.

Those with little development experience who still need advanced features would be better served to go with a video conferencing software that has these features already built into specific plans.

 

LifesizeLife Size

 

Lifesize video meeting solution is an enterprise-grade, cloud-based video conferencing platform complete with 4K high-definition screen sharing.

No download or account is needed to join a video meeting, and up to 10,000 guests can view a video call from any device. It integrates with third-party tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and even Amazon’s Alexa for Business. Schedule meetings directly from your Outlook or Gmail calendar, or attend instant one-click meetings.

It also has an excellent free plan that allows up to 10 participants to meet for an unlimited amount of time.

Additional features include:

  • Whiteboard tool
  • Branding meeting dashboards/backgrounds
  • Unlimited meeting recording
  • Mac and Android mobile app
  • Unlimited audio conferencing
  • Personal meeting IDs
  • Chat messaging

 

Given its guest capacity, Lifesize is an excellent fit for large companies that frequently host webinars or that have a high number of meeting attendees. Since it connects with most video equipment, it will also work well for companies that have conference rooms they use explicitly for video broadcasts and online conferences.

Note, however, that smaller businesses that host primarily short-term meetings likely won’t need all of Lifesize’s features — the same ones that make it a more expensive tool.

Lifesize has one free plan and three paid plans: the Standard Plan for $12.50/host per month, the Plus Plan for $14.95/host per month, and the quote-based Enterprise plan.

 

What Is The Best Alternative To Zoom?

It’s always tough to declare a firm “winner” when it comes to business communication tools, but if we had to pick the top three, we’d go with the below options.

 

Best Free Zoom Alternative Plan: Cisco WebEx

WebEx’s free plan lets up to 100 participants meet for 50 minutes and includes features like screen sharing, meeting notes, chat messaging, interactive whiteboard, HIPAA/BAA compliance, meeting locks, and meeting recording.

 

Best Paid Zoom Alternative: RingCentral Office

Though RingCentral doesn’t have a free plan, the robust features of its paid video conferencing, messaging, and phone platform make it will worth it. The streamlined solution and tools like industry-specific integrations, real-time analytics, and unlimited recording storage make it an ideal solution for a variety of companies — especially SMBs looking to expand.

 

Best Overall Zoom Alternative: Microsoft Teams 

Microsoft Teams has it all: secure file sharing and co-authoring, video meetings for up to 10,000 people, and a downloadable participant list before the meeting even starts, you’re sure to love this solution. With features this good, it’s no wonder that Teams was chosen as the official replacement for Skype for Business.

 

Learn More About The Leading Zoom Alternatives

Want to learn more about some of the alternatives to Zoom we’ve mentioned in this piece?

Our interactive table of popular web conferencing software provides more detailed information on available pricing and plans, user experience, and tips on what to look for when evaluating specific providers.

Though Zoom’s lead within the video conferencing app space likely won’t change drastically anytime soon, the alternatives presented here can help you to find tools with features that will allow your team to communicate more seamlessly — and get ahead of your competitors as a result.

 

Web Conferencing FAQs

Below, we’ve provided answers to some frequently asked questions about web conferencing.

 


Frequently asked questions

Video calling software can be purchased in monthly or annual installments (generally, you’ll see about a 10-15% cost savings with the annual price.) 

Many platforms include a free version and/or a free trial of paid versions lasting anywhere from 7 days to a month.

The exact amount you pay will depend on the vendor, number of users/seats, and features. Generally speaking, video conferencing tools cost an average of between $28.00-$58.00/user per month.

Aside from a desktop/laptop computer or mobile phone, any additional equipment for your video conferencing system is mostly optional (though you may find you need to upgrade your Internet connection for a higher, more consistent video quality.) 

Common video meeting equipment includes: 

  • Headsets
  • Speakers
  • Microphones
  • Compatible desk phones 
  • Touch-screen displays 

This post on popular conference room hardware provides additional input. 

Basic security standards and features to look for in web conferencing solutions include:

  • End-to-end encryption
  • Password-protected meetings 
  • Meeting locks
  • Meeting waiting rooms
  • Two-factor authentication
  • SSL
  • HIPAA Compliance 
  • Ability to mute/unmute, kick attendees out of meetings, or permanently block users 

Webinars are generally less collaborative in nature than video meetings, and often include one speaker or a few panelists presenting a lecture/findings to attendees. There may be a Q&A session or polls in the webinar, but generally, attendees are there to mainly listen and learn, not directly participate. 

Webinars also allow for a higher number of attendees, include registration templates/forms, and even have virtual practice rooms. Webinars may include in-session promotions/offers and can accept online payments from attendees. 

Lastly, virtual meetings are mainly geared towards either small businesses or internal office communication. Webinars are usually used in nationwide, enterprise-level meetings and include a higher amount of external attendees than online meetings do.