Our editorial team perused online reviews and used our own experiences to discern which video conferencing apps are worth your while. We selected the applications in this list for their overall quality and value for money for businesses appropriate to their business size.
Price: Free with limited access/From $8.40 per month for Business account features.
Why we chose it
If you have a non-existent video conferencing budget and only need small meetings, Google Hangouts has a lot to offer. While Zoom also offers a popular free option, Zoom has a 40 minute time limit, which severely limits use, making Google Hangouts our top choice.
Google's marketing for Google Hangouts is a little odd, and can be confusing, with a "free" video chat product that supports up to 10 users without you having to pay a cent for usage across its apps and the web, along with Google Hangouts Meet, which is a premium service for GSuite Enterprise customers that expands the feature set markedly. At the time of writing, Google's unlocked Hangouts Meet for regular GSuite customers as well.
Still, even if you're not on the Gsuite train, Hangouts provides simple video-based meetings for smaller groups. While video quality can be sketchy for folks on lesser connections, Hangouts does tend to make the best of even meagre bandwidth in most situations.
Best budget and small team video conferencing software: Zoom
Lots of features are still present in the free tier
Supports multiple devices for connection
Free meetings are limited to 40 minutes
Interface can be slightly confusing for inexperienced users
Price: Free/$20.99/$27.99 (Price per month per host. Business and Enterprise tiers require a minimum of 10 and 50 hosts respectively)
Why we chose it
Zoom's entry-level tier is so good, even mid-sized businesses might be able to get by on it.
Zoom's simple video conferencing package works across multiple apps or in a web browser if you have team members who can't install apps, with a range of pricing tiers. It gets our pick as best budget app, because the basic tier provides most of the essentials for video conferencing, including screen sharing and support for up to 100 participants, although you are limited to meetings of 40 minutes only, and can only record the meeting on your local device.
If you want cloud-based recording or longer meeting times, you'll have to pony up for the subscription tiers, which adds features such as cloud recording and support for up to 1,000 attendees in a meeting, depending on your budget.
Many reviewers mention that Zoom isn't quite so strong in the security space, which could be a consideration depending on your work environment.
Best video conferencing software for enterprises: Cisco WebEx
Price: Free/ $18.95/ $24.95/ $37.95 (price per month per host)
Why we chose it
Cisco's reputation as a provider of high-quality web solutions is shown well in its WebEx video conferencing solution, which scales up well for mid-sized or large enterprises depending on your needs and budget.
A free version supports up to 100 participants, and you can trial the paid features without requiring a credit card. However, the trial is only for 14 days, which might not give you enough time to properly assess its suite of features.
Device support is extensive, including phoning into conferences for audio only and even support for Apple Watch or Android Wear devices.
Our editorial team compared the most popular and widely available video conferencing programs for businesses.
We considered product features, our own real-world experience with each product and user reviews.
We also weighed pricing subscriptions per month per host to assess overall value.
The products on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not selected based on commercial relationships.
Our editorial team poured carefully researched major video conferencing platforms to assess their feature sets and pricing. We then weighed that against real-world user reviews from multiple sites and sources, taking into consideration any noted issues – especially those noticed by multiple reviewers. We also considered our own experience using these platforms over many years.
Author Alex Kidman is a technology journalist with more than 20 years of experience who has used video conferencing software as both a host and participant over many years.
We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But Finder may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.
How to compare video conferencing software
If you're trying to choose between different video conferencing solutions for your business, consider the following questions:
What is your budget?
Pricing for videoconferencing can start as low as free, but that's for either a limited package of features or a time-limited trial that you'll have to pay for, typically after a month. Most packages work on a per-user-per-month basis, and that means you can scale up your budget as your team and needs grow. However, the flipside of that for large teams is that video conferencing costs can ratchet up rapidly.
What level of security do you need?
For many business owners, the prospect of broadcasting your internal meetings over the public internet is a terrifying matter. At one level you should implement proper VPN policies for all attendees, but it's also well worth looking at security features built into each package, including encryption and password protected access.
What hardware do you need to support?
Most laptops have inbuilt webcams, but will you need to allow for participants to connect only via smartphones? What if some need to use actual dial-in numbers? Many packages support these kinds of features, but some will place them behind more enterprise-centric pricing tiers.
What's your bandwidth budget?
Video is highly bandwidth intensive and if you're sitting on a relatively poor business broadband connection, you may quickly find that the folks you're trying to meet with can't properly see or hear you. It's a problem that works in both directions as well. If you're setting up your employees for teleworking purposes, the quality of their connections will also affect the way they present, and in some cases the quality of the entire video stream.
How much package integration do you need?
Pretty much every decent video conferencing solution will work like an old-school classroom. You can present slides, generally annotate them and take questions from your meeting participants. Where they can make a huge difference to your business is in the way they integrate other software packages. The sky's the limit (depending on your budget) but be aware that packages that allow for more complex integrations also invite more overall user interface complexity. If you just want to keep things simple, that might not be the right match for your needs.
What administrative features do you need?
Admin is the hidden side of most video conferencing packages, and it goes beyond how easy the UI is to use or how simple it might be to add new users. Can you set up multi-user meetings, or just presentation style? What about breakout rooms, recorded chat sessions, or the ability to selectively mute or enable participant microphones? There's no point investing in a package that won't do what you want it to.
Compare video conferencing software
If the software packages on this list don't meet your businesses needs, check out some more options below.
Alex Kidman was the tech and telco editor at Finder and is now a freelance technology writer. He's been a technology writer with experience spanning more than 20 years, writing and editing at Gizmodo, CNET, PC Magazine, Kotaku and many more. Alex has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New England and a serious passion for retro gaming.
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