In 2020, COVID-19 forced over 100,000 small businesses to permanently close their doors — despite these companies expecting only temporary closures at the start of the pandemic.
The good news is that a recent study by GGV Capital showed over 80% of small business owners report optimism for 2021, due in large part to the transition to a mostly remote workforce and the accessibility and flexibility of video conferencing tools.
Now that working remotely is the new normal, small business owners should re-evaluate the software that, for over 43% of companies, has become the backbone of remote team communication — their video conferencing tools.
In 2021, many smaller businesses scrambled to make the first available video conferencing work for them, even if its features were less than ideal. Now, there are countless options available for video calling — and many that may make you want to switch from your current platform.
In this post, we’ll cover 2021’s best video conferencing apps and outline how they benefit SMBs specifically.
|Video Conferencing Platform||Price Range||Top Features||Best For|
|GoToMeeting||3 Paid Plans from $14.00/month and up||Smart Meeting Assistant, Note Taking||Small teams with lots of weekly meetings|
|Zoom||1 Free Plan, 3 Paid Plans from $14.99/month and up||Breakout rooms, advanced host control options||Teams needing advanced collaboration features|
|Microsoft Teams||1 Free Plan, 3 Paid Plans from $5.00/month and up||Advanced chat messaging, a high number of meeting participants||SMBs looking for the most comprehensive free video calling platform|
|Zoho Meeting||1 Free Plan, 4 Paid Plans from $2.50/month and up||Platform security, meeting registration/RSVP tools||Companies looking for a basic all-in-one video communication solution|
|Intermedia AnyMeeting||1 Free Plan, 3 Paid Plans from $9.99/month||Advanced integrations, lengthy free trial||Businesses that meet via video only a few times per week|
|Jitsi Meet||Free||Completely free and customizable via open-source code, exceptional security||Businesses that prioritize security/privacy and don’t need to store files for future use|
|Cisco WebEx||1 Free Plan, 3 Paid Plans from $13.50/month and up||Breakout rooms, AI Meeting Assistant||Established SMBs that need an all-in-one solution with advanced features|
|Join.me||3 Paid Plans from $10.00/month and up||Meeting analytics, whiteboard tool||Fully remote teams that host meetings with only a few attendees, teams needing advanced analytics|
|Glip by RingCentral||1 Free Plan, 1 Paid Plan from $14.99/month and up||Task management, in-meeting device switching||SMBs that communicate mainly via chat messaging and need a platform with task management capabilities|
|UberConference by Dialpad||1 Free Plan, 1 Paid Plan for $20.00/month||User-friendliness, Voice Intelligence||Companies that use video calling to communicate with clients|
The Best Video Conferencing Tools for Small Business
Video calling tools cut down on unnecessary meetings, make necessary ones much more efficient, allow for remote face-to-face communication, and have advanced team collaboration features like file sharing and whiteboard to cut down on miscommunications.
However, the platform you choose makes a difference.
The top video conferencing tools for smaller companies are:
- Microsoft Teams
- Zoho Meeting
- Intermedia AnyMeeting
- Jitsi Meet
- Cisco WebEx
- Glip by RingCentral
- Uberconference by Dialpad
Read on for a complete breakdown of prices, plans, features, user experience, and more.
GoToMeeting has added many new features for 2021 that make it a much more competitive web conferencing tool than in the past.
These features include risk-based authentication, which automatically detects and alerts users of any potentially problematic behaviors like new logins from a new device or new location. The new note-taking feature lets meeting attendees take notes directly within the GoToMeeting interface, automatically saves them, and allows users to share them with others after the meeting ends.
The Smart Meeting Assistant leverages the power of machine learning to identify meeting actions and highlights, making it much easier to outline essential information with those that did not attend. This feature in particular is beneficial to smaller businesses since team members will likely be less available for meetings than they would at a corporation with lots of employees that could easily fill in for one another during a meeting.
It has limited meeting analytics but does offer information on individual user performance and downloadable admin reports.
There are three available paid plans available with monthly or annual payments. If you’re wondering, going for the yearly price model will save you roughly $64.00 each year.
Each plan includes the following features:
- Sharing screens
- Dial-in and Call Me access
- Unlimited number of meetings
- Conference calling
- No time limit on meetings
- Personal meeting room link
- Meeting locks
- Apple and Android mobile app
- SSL and AES-256 bit encryption
- HIPAA compliance
- Custom backgrounds
- 24/7 customer service
- Single sign-on
- Integration with Slack, Office 365, Salesforce, and more
The below table outlines prices and features available only with more advanced plans. As of this writing, the tool offers a free 14-day trial, but no free option.
|Features||Professional Plan||Business Plan||Enterprise Plan|
|Pricing||$14.00/user per month||$19.00/user per month||Unlisted, contact for a quote|
|Number of Participants||UP to 150||Up to 250||Up to 3,000|
|Meeting Co-Hosts and Pass Presenter Tool||X||✔||✔|
|Unlimited Cloud Recording||X||✔||✔|
|Screen Annotation/Drawing Tools||X||✔||✔|
Looking for more detailed information? Check out our complete review of GoToMeeting.
Best For: GoToMeeting is best for small-to-midsize teams that have a high volume of weekly meetings that can easily last for several hours. It’s also a good fit for teams that rely on third-party tools like Slack for more advanced team collaboration features, and therefore don’t need a platform with native team chat capabilities.
Zoom is often the first name that companies think of when exploring options for cloud-based video communication.
For 2021, the tool has focused on fixing many major issues plaguing its platform in 2020, such as Zoombombing. Now, users can take advantage of features like meeting locks, waiting rooms, passcodes, remove participants. They can also limit which meeting features attendees can use.
Additional 2021 upgrades include both landscape and portrait view options, the ability to star important contacts and messages to pin them at the top of your screen, and easily start meetings by right-clicking on any contact’s name.
Smaller businesses — especially those who either cannot afford or are not ready to commit to a paid plan — will benefit most from Zoom’s free option. Though meetings are limited to 40 minutes, up to 100 participants can attend and access features like local meeting recording, sharing their screens, and breakout rooms.
It also offers a “meet now” button, allowing users to instantly start a meeting without the need to schedule one ahead of time. The new “filter” feature allows users to have more fun in meetings by adding stickers and color filters to their screens.
The app’s major downside is that it requires all meeting participants to download the app, meaning that browser-based calls are not available.
Zoom has four plans — the free one and three paid options billable on a monthly and annual basis.
Each Zoom plan, including the free one, offers:
- An unlimited number of group and one-on-one monthly meetings
- Local meeting recording
- Personal Meeting ID
- Virtual backgrounds
- Outlook and Google Calendar integration
- Spotlight up to 9 simultaneous screens
- Breakout rooms
- Private and group in-meeting chat messages
- Polls and virtual hand raising
- Co-annotation and the ability to share screens
- Remote control
- TLS encryption
- Waiting rooms
The below table breaks down the prices and features of the three paid plans.
|Features||Pro Plan||Business Plan||Enterprise Plan|
|Pricing||$14.99/month per license||$19.99/month per license||From $19.99/month per license|
|Maximum Number of Meeting Participants||100||300||500|
|Maximum Meeting Duration||30 hours||30 hours||30 hours|
|Meeting Recording||Local and 1GB Cloud Storage per license||Local and 1GB Cloud Storage per license||Local and Unlimited Cloud Storage|
|Searchable Recording Transcripts||X||✔||✔|
|Branded Meeting Rooms||X||✔||✔|
|Streaming to Social Media||✔||✔||✔|
|Customer Support||Live Chat and Ticketing||Live Chat, Ticketing, and Phone Support||Live Chat, Ticketing, and Phone Support|
Looking to see how Zoom stacks up against the competition? Our showdown of Zoom vs. RingCentral makes it easy to compare features, prices, and more.
Best For: Zoom is best for small teams needing a robust free video conferencing tool, those needing breakout rooms for smaller team collaboration within meetings, teams with a high amount of team collaboration via video calls, and remote workers that communicate primarily on mobile devices.
Microsoft Teams combines video calling, instant chat messages, audio conferencing, and team collaboration tools within a single workspace.
Users can make and receive video calls from Mac and Windows desktop and mobile devices, integrate Teams with popular third-party CRM applications, meet instantly and pre-schedule meetings, use breakout conference rooms, and more.
It’s an especially strong option for small businesses that rely on real-time team collaboration tools like in-app file sharing and co-authoring, translations to over 35 languages, and whiteboard.
The new Together Mode is designed to help eliminate meeting fatigue and create a sense of teamwork among geographically diverse remote employees.
This mode uses AI segmentation to put each meeting participant in the same background, creating a virtual auditorium where every participant can be seen at all times. Users can now personalize their meeting views even further by viewing shared content together and creating participant side-by-side views. Live reactions and chat bubbles that show when participants are typing help to keep viewers engaged.
Until June 31, 2021, the free version of Teams allows for up to 300 participants to meet for a maximum of 60 minutes. Teams offers 1 free version and 3 paid plans, billable on a yearly or monthly basis. Note, however, that all three of the paid plans require a year-long commitment, while the free version doesn’t require a commitment of any kind.
Each version of Teams, including the free one, comes with:
- Screen share capabilities
- Custom backgrounds
- Pre-scheduled meetings
- Unlimited searchable chat messages
- UP to 2GB of file attachments per user and up to 10GB of storage per team
- Real-time collaboration in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
- Over 250 app integrations
- Two-way data encryption
- User reports
- 24/7 phone and web support
The below table outlines the prices and features of the three paid versions.
|Features||Business Basic||Business Standard||Office 365 E3|
|Pricing||$5.00/user per month||$12.50/user per month||$20.00/user per month|
|Maximum Number of Meeting Participants||300||300||10,000|
|Maximum Meeting Length||24 Hours||24 Hours||24 Hours|
|File Attachments||1TB per user||1TB per user||Unlimited|
|File Storage||Up to 1TB per business, and 10GB per license||Up to 1TB per business, and 10GB per license||Up to 1TB per business, and 10GB per license|
|Customer Support||24/7 phone and web||24/7 phone and web||FastTrack Priority Support|
Best For: Teams is the best choice for teams that primarily communicate via video chat and therefore often need access to more advanced team collaboration and communication features. It’s also a good option for those looking for a free option, but who may be willing to upgrade to a paid plan in the future, once they’ve gotten more comfortable with the platform.
Zoho Meeting is a web browser-based online meeting platform that is especially focused on secure communication.
It doesn’t require third-party applications to function, doesn’t offer advanced host controls that allow meeting administrators to access personal data about meeting attendees, and meeting locks. Additionally, the host is the only user who is able to record meetings and share those recordings with other attendees. Two-factor authentication and data encryption also come standard.
Users will also receive a notification when any user joins a meeting, along with the option to mute or remove participants at any time.
Aside from its excellent security policies, smaller businesses will benefit from Zoho Meeting’s features — particularly functionalities related to scheduling meetings. Automated emails invite, follow-up with, and collect RSVPs for attendees, and meeting links can easily be embedded in email invitations.
Smaller businesses that require clients to book an appointment or online meeting will appreciate the integration with Zoho Bookings, while companies that need project management features on team communication tools will benefit from the integration with Zoho Projects.
As of this writing, there is a free version of Zoho Meetings, and each of the four paid plans comes with a free 14-day trial. The free option is limited, and allows for 2-10 people to meet — however, it lets free users meet for as long as they want.
All Zoho Meetings plans, including the free option, come with:
- Screen and application sharing
- 3 simultaneous video feeds
- Instant and pre-scheduled meetings
- Add meetings to the calendar
- Meeting reminder notifications
- Meeting RSVPs
- Mute, unmute, remove meeting participants
- Custom registration forms
- Pre-meeting and in-meeting polls, virtual hand raising
- Q&A tool
- iOS and Android smartphone app
- Google Chrome Extension
The below table outlines the four paid plans.
|Features||Meeting 10||Meeting 25||Meeting 50||Meeting 100|
|Pricing||$2.50/host per month||$5.00/host per month||$7.50/host per month||$10.00/host per month|
|Maximum Number of Attendees||10||25||50||100|
|Number of Simultaneous Video Feeds||25||25||25||25|
|Instant Chat Messaging||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Meeting Recordings and 10 Meetings /Host of Online Storage Space||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Branded Meeting Rooms||✔||✔||✔||✔|
Best For: Zoho Meetings is ideal for companies with under 100 employees that are concerned with privacy and strict industry regulations, such as those in the healthcare or financial sectors. It’s also a good choice for those that are looking for an all-in-one video conferencing solution, and are therefore less concerned with extensive third-party software integrations. Finally, companies that rely mostly on pre-scheduled meetings as opposed to spontaneous ones will benefit from Zoho Meetings.
Intermedia AnyMeeting is a beginner-friendly web-based video conferencing tool for SMBs.
It offers standard features for desktop and mobile users and integrates with popular team communication and calendar tools like Outlook, GSuite, Slack, and Teams.
Though some basic collaboration features like real-time document editing, version control, and automatic transcription are available, it is best seen as primarily a tool for strictly video calling.
AnyMeeting offers a free 30-day trial of its Pro Plan, and has one completely free option in addition to three paid plans. The free option allows for a maximum of 4 participants to meet for an unlimited amount of time.
Each plan, including the free Starter version, offers:
- Phone conference bridge
- Unlimited and recurring meetings
- Mobile applications
- Custom meeting URL
- Instant and pre-scheduled meetings
- Meeting Lock
- HIPAA Compliance
- Active Speaker view
- Screen annotation
- Screen and application sharing
- In-meeting chat
- Attendance Reports
|Features||Lite Plan||Pro Plan||Enterprise Plan|
|Pricing||$9.99/user per month||$12.99/user per month||$17.99/user per month|
|Maximum Number of Web Meeting Participants||10||100||200|
|Maximum Number of HD Video Participants||10||30||30|
|International Dial-in Numbers||X||✔||✔|
|Unlimited Cloud Recording Storage||X||✔||✔|
|Meeting Transcripts and Insights||X||✔||✔|
|Meeting Remote Control||X||X||✔|
|Custom Meeting Logo||X||✔||✔|
Looking for a VoIP phone plan in addition to a virtual meeting platform? Read our complete review of Intermedia Unite to learn more.
Best For: Intermedia AnyMeeting is best for SMBs looking primarily for a free video calling tool that don’t need extensive team collaboration features. It’s also right for small teams that meet only a few times per week via video, not on a nearly daily basis. Businesses that need to share only a few video screens with a higher number of dial-in only meeting participants will also enjoy AnyMeeting.
Jitsi Meet is a free browser-based, no-download secure video communication platform.
Accessible on both desktop and mobile devices, it offers end-to-end encryption and allows users to build on the open-source platform to create an entirely customized platform completely specific to the needs of your SMB.
Many see Jitsi as a more secure and customizable version of Google Meet.
It’s highly scalable, especially given that its Videobridge passes all audio and video to each participant without any mixing. Users can add Jitsi Bot to mobile and communication desktop apps like Slack, WhatsApp, and Telegram, which lets anyone click the randomly-generated link name to be let into the meeting.
As of this writing, Jitsi Meet is completely free to use and has an excellent community forum full of user-created projects. This is how you can add features like file sharing, recording, simulcasting, and more.
Best For: Jitsi Meet is the ideal solution for SMBs and even solopreneurs that often discuss highly sensitive information via video conference and require a secure platform above all else. Given its ease of use, it’s also an excellent beginner-friendly option for those that don’t need any sort of advanced features like file sharing and editing — but who just want to meet face-to-face with video.
Cisco WebEx is an all-in-one virtual meeting tool that combines team chat, video communication, and team collaboration tools in a single platform.
WebEx breakout rooms are ideal for not only brainstorming in small groups during meetings but also for employee training. Admins can create up to 100 breakout sessions with 100 participants per room in every conference session and can broadcast messages to these rooms when needed. Participants can take advantage of features like app and desktop shared screens, whiteboard tools, and the “Ask for Help” button during these smaller sessions.
The WebEx Meeting Assistant is a voice-activated AI bot that takes meeting notes, identifies meeting highlights, transcribes in real-time and offers closed captions, automates recap emails, and schedules future follow-up meetings.
As of this writing, WebEx has one free option and three paid plans. The free option allows for up to 100 people to meet for a maximum of 50 minutes.
All plans, including the free one, come with features like:
- Screen sharing (mobile and desktop)
- Two-way whiteboarding
- Noise removal/speech enhancement
- Apple and Android mobile apps
- Team chat
- Polling and virtual hand-raising
- Personal meeting rooms
- Pass presenter
- File sharing and editing
- Breakout sessions
- Virtual backgrounds
- Integrations with Asana, Salesforce, Trello, and more
- Meeting recording
- HIPAA/BAA compliance
- Meeting locks
- iOS and Android mobile app
- Custom video layouts
- Events platform for webinars
The below table outlines the features and prices of the 3 paid plans.
|Features||Starter Plan||Business Plan||Enterprise Plan|
|Pricing||$13.50/host per month||$26.95/host per month||Unlisted, contact for a custom quote|
|Number of Meeting Hosts||1-50||1-100||Unlimited hosts|
|Maximum Number of Meeting Participants||150||200||Up to 100,000|
|Cloud Storage Recording||5GB||10GB||Unlimited|
To learn more about the features and functionalities of this solution, check out our complete Cisco WebEx review.
Best For: Cisco WebEx is best for established SMBs or new businesses that plan to grow into larger companies with time and therefore need a tool with advanced features. WebEx has found particular success in the software development, education, and retail sectors. It’s also a good fit for teams that frequently use breakout sessions in larger meetings.
Join.me differentiates itself from other tools by its unique “bubble” layout. Instead of gallery views, users float in circular bubbles while on a video chat.
However, Join.me’s browser-based video calls are good for more than just their looks.
The two standout features for small businesses are its advanced analytics and whiteboard tool.
Available analytics are condensed in a digestible and shareable report in as little as 15 minutes after the meeting’s end. Admins will get updates on data like IP addresses, meeting duration and start time, participants, meeting subject, list of features used during the meeting, and even information on connected devices. This data can be exported via Excel or CSV.
The whiteboard tool doesn’t just let users jot down their thoughts. It provides templates like diagrams, flowcharts, drag-and-drop images, infinite canvas, post-it notes, and other preloaded icons. These whiteboards can be shared immediately after the meeting as PDFs or JPEGs and saved for future use. Whiteboards are accessible on both desktop and mobile devices.
It integrates with tools like Slack, Trello, GSuite, Microsoft 365, Zapier, and Salesforce.
Additional features include:
- One-click meetings
- Customer onboarding training
- No-download meeting access
- Local and international dial-in access
- Random one-time or custom personal meeting room link
- 24/5 customer support
- Screen and file sharing
- Audio conferencing
Though Join.me used to offer a free option, they now only offer three paid options with a free 14-day trial. Note that users are not required to have a paid account in order to attend meetings hosted by paid account holders.
The below table breaks down the available prices and plans.
|Features||Lite Plan||Pro Plan||Business Plan|
|Maximum Number of Meeting Room Participants||5||250||250|
|Screen Sharing and Pass Presenter||Screen Sharing Only||Screen Sharing/Pass Presenter||Screen Sharing/Pass Presenter|
|Cloud Storage||X||50 GB||1 TB|
Looking for additional information on tips about add-on features? If so, then check out our complete review of Join.me.
Best For: Join.me is best for businesses that opt for mobile-first communication, fully remote teams, and those that are willing to pay for a more robust calling tool. It’s also a good fit for companies that need business tools that integrate with lots of third-party software, as well as for those looking for advanced analytics.
Glip, a product of RingCentral, is a no-download HD video communication platform with a free option allowing for unlimited meeting duration for 100 attendees.
Users can create teams out of attendees in a single click once a video meeting starts, allowing for more streamlined group chat.
Another standout feature is the ability to switch devices without having to leave a meeting, meaning it’s easy to transition from desktop to mobile if a conference goes longer than expected. Users can also turn any group chat into a video call with one click.
Glip may not have the more advanced video communication features of platforms like Zoom, but it has some of the best chat message features out of any provider on this list.
The instant chat message tool allows users to:
- Connect Google Calendar and Outlook calendar to schedule meetings
- Drop a pin on a specific part of a file
- Drag-and-drop to share files
- Customize messages with bold, bullet points, and more with rich text editing
Small businesses will especially benefit from the task management features, which make it easy for employees juggling multiple projects to keep track of their work. Users and admins can create and assign tasks, update task status, add notes, files, and comments, and see upcoming, past due, and completed tasks.
Additional features available on all plans include:
- Password protected meetings
- Waiting rooms
- End-to-end encryption
- HIPAA/BAA compliance
- Team chat
- Document and file sharing
- Task management features
- Create teams from meetings
- Closed captioning
- 1 tab desktop to mobile meeting switch
- Lock meeting, mute participants
- Team event creation
- Shared screen co-annotation
- Virtual Background
- Instant and Scheduled Meetings
- Active Speaker View
- Integration with Zapier, Mailchimp, GitHub, and more
Glip offers one free option and one paid plan, outlined in the table below.
|Features||Free Plan||Glip Pro+|
|Pricing||Free||$14.99/user per month|
|Number of Meeting Participants||100||200|
|Maximum Meeting Duration||24 hours||24 hours|
|Cloud Recording||Up to 10 hours||Up to 100 hours|
|Recording Retention Period||7 Days||1 Year|
|Advanced Meeting Analytics||X||✔|
|Business App Integrations||X||✔|
|RingCentral Rooms Compatibility||X||✔|
Best For: Glip by RingCentral is best for SMBs that primarily connect via chat messages throughout the day, but that want the option to switch to a video call instantly when necessary. It’s also a smart choice for teams looking for a free option that allows for long meetings, as well as those who want to integrate task management features into their video conferencing tool.
UberConference by Dialpad is a no-download video conferencing platform trusted by HubSpot, Square, Stripe, and WeWork.
It’s especially known for its user-friendly interface, positive overall user experience, and advanced voice analytics features.
The Voice Intelligence feature can detect customer sentiment by using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to pick up on keywords and phrases. It also automates note-taking during meetings, identifies actionable items, and transcribes conversations in real-time. Machine learning means transcriptions will only become more accurate with time, and voice recognition features make it easy to tell which user is speaking.
Dialpad integrates with essential business communication tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, Slack, Twitter, Teams, Google Calendar, and Outlook. Users can also opt to be called into a meeting rather than dial in themselves, which means far fewer forgotten meetings.
Additional features include:
- Start UberConference calls from Gmail
- Access to recordings, uploaded files, and analytics after every conference
- Group call invitations and one-on-one video calls
- Live chat messaging
- Google Chrome app
- Set recurring conference calls
- Toll-free conference calls
- Instant and scheduled calls
UberConference currently has one free option and one paid plan.
The below table compares the prices and features of each plan.
|Features||Free Plan||Business Plan|
|Pricing||Free||$20.00/organizer per month|
|Maximum Number of Participants||10||100|
|Maximum Meeting Length||45 minutes||5 hours|
|Requires PINs for Phone and VoIP Audio||Yes||No|
|Dial-in Access and International Access||X||✔|
Best For: UberConference is an excellent solution for companies primarily seeking a positive overall user experience with their video calling tool. Businesses looking to avoid a lengthy training process will appreciate its overall ease of use. It’s also a good choice for companies that frequently host not just internal, but also external client meetings via video chat, especially given the customer sentiment detection capabilities.
For additional information, check out our complete UberConference review.
See How The Top Video Conferencing Software Options Stack Up
Before you make your final decision on which video communication solution to use, you’ll likely want to see how they compare to one another.
User reviews, the pros and cons of each platform, and head-to-head feature comparisons can help you to narrow down your list even further and ensure you choose the right tool for your small business. You can also learn about other video conferencing services like ClickMeeting, Google Hangouts, BlueJeans, Skype for Business, and top compatible webcams.