You’ve got a ton of video conferencing tools to choose from. And, while we’d love to be the perfect video conferencing software for every small business out there, we know our platform isn’t perfect for everyone in the world. Actually, no tool is perfect for everyone—including Skype, for instance.
That’s why comparing different video conferencing tools is important if you want to pick the right one for your business.
Here’s the bottom line, in our view:
- RingCentral is the best video conferencing option for businesses that have more diverse needs, including making phone calls, screen sharing, sending real-time messages, and more
- Skype is better for consumers—and businesses that need only the basics
Below, we break down the features, integrations, and more that led us to those assessments.
Note: Would you rather see for yourself than read this comparison? You can book a quick product tour to see how RingCentral works in just 15 to 20 minutes.
In this post, we’ll look at:
First, let’s look at a few things to look out for when choosing an alternative to Skype.
How to choose a Skype alternative that’s right for you
Obviously, a good alternative should, at the bare minimum, have the same key features as Skype so you’re not missing out on any important functions. The best alternatives to Skype should have all of this—and then some. Here are some other factors you might consider:
- Affordability: What’s the overall cost of the service?
- Ease-of-use: Is the tool simple and easy to pick up—even for someone who’s not a tech whiz?
- Call controls: Does it have options for muting, screen sharing, and ending calls?
- Meeting limits: How many participants can you have on a call at one time?
- Software integrations: Can you connect contacts, invites, and other data with other project management tools and business apps like Trello, Zendesk, Salesforce, or GitHub?
- Call quality and reliability: Is the video and audio quality clear and crisp?
- Customer support: How quickly can you get help or answers to your questions?
Based on the above criteria, we rounded up six different platforms that are similar to Skype—but also offer a lot in terms of functionality and overall effectiveness for businesses.
The 6 best Skype alternatives for business
Team chat, video conferencing, and task management are just a few of the features you’ll find in RingCentral’s collaboration hub. It also has phone calling, texting, and instant-messaging capabilities, all on one platform. (In fact, this company even started a podcast using RingCentral.)
You’d be hard-pressed to find a desktop and mobile app that has so many communication options. Unlike Skype, which was built as a voice app first and a video app second, RingCentral was built specifically to give teams a unified workspace online to communicate, collaborate, and get work done—which is particularly useful when your team’s members are in different locations.
RingCentral doesn’t have a user limit either, so everyone on your team can have an account. It also has built-in integrations with tools like Salesforce and Zendesk, free live support, and more. It’s also one of the most affordable options on this list.
RingCentral’s unique features
Not only can you start a video call, phone call, or team chat all in the same app, you can also create and assign tasks to yourself (and your team)! Instead of long email threads that get lost in your inbox, your tasks are easily visible in your team chat:
Need to share and collaborate on a document or presentation with your teammates? You can share those files with each other…
… And annotate docs on calls
Yep, when you’re on a video call with someone, you can live-annotate a document together so that you can all see exactly what everyone’s making changes to:
RingCentral offers a free version that includes online meetings with unlimited chat, 500 total video calling minutes, and software integrations. The Standard edition costs $5 per user per month and adds more video calling minutes per month, as well as 24/7 customer support.
Webex is an enterprise solution for video conferencing, online meetings, screen sharing, and webinars. It lets employees from all over the world to work together and collaborate on projects. Many companies rely on Webex for training and customer support.
With Webex, you get two services in one: Webex Meetings and Webex Teams. Webex Meetings is a full-service video conferencing solution that can host meetings with up to 200 participants at a time. Everyone in the meeting can be on camera at once, and Webex Meetings offers standard video conference features like screen sharing and meeting recording.
Webex Teams is a separate platform that all Webex Meetings users can access. Using the Teams app, teams can work together in one digital location. Staff can message each other, make video calls, and bounce ideas off of each other via the app’s whiteboard tools.
Google Hangouts is another popular alternative to Skype that offers a lot of the same features, including HD video calling and instant messaging. If you use Gmail, or your company uses G Suite, then you’re probably pretty familiar with this product.
Google Hangouts is one of the most intuitive options on this list. You can also share your screen, which makes it useful for collaboration and showing presentations. Of course, the biggest upside to Google Hangouts is its integration with other Google services, which can help you stay connected with your friends or colleagues. For instance, you can start a Hangouts chat or call right from your Gmail inbox.
Google Hangouts has a limit on the number of people who can join a video call at a time, which can be annoying if you have a large company. It also isn’t designed for text communication and lacks many useful chat features like pinning, forwarding messages, and message search. Some other important points to note: its notification system leaves much to be desired, file sharing is limited to images, and there’s no desktop app.
Zoom is a video conferencing system that offers many of the same features as Skype for Business, including web chat, video meetings, and conference scheduling.
This app is probably most known for its clear video quality, making it a good choice for remote workers who want to feel like they’re as close to the action as possible. It also offers a lot of flexibility in terms of its native mobile apps, and it supports Blackberry, Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows operating systems.
Slack is a Skype substitute that started out as a chat tool that lets teams have group and one-on-one chats. Now, it’s evolved to also offer file sharing and video calling.
Slack is a good fit for businesses that want to collaborate over different channels. It’s easy to access on the go, letting people take video calls on both mobile or desktop.
One of the most common complaints about Slack is that it turns into a never-ending time-suck of conversations and pings. With the main mode of communication being instant messages, you don’t really get the option of having more in-depth or organized project-based discussions.
Microsoft Teams is a chat and collaboration platform that’s designed to simplify group work for Microsoft Office 365 customers.
Teams sorts information into channels and each channel only contains conversations, meetings, and documents related to the topic of that specific channel. The result? Instead of getting side-tracked with random email or getting stuck trying to clean up your inbox, you can focus your time and attention on the channels where you actually do your work.
And like all of the other tools on this list, Teams has a video calling feature as well. If you’re used to the Microsoft Suite, this would be a natural alternative to try if you need something a little more robust than Skype.
Microsoft has been working hard to include the Skype for Business meeting functionality into Teams, but it isn’t quite there yet. The meeting experience isn’t very intuitive, and it doesn’t promote some of the great capabilities available in Teams for meetings (such as note-taking in OneNote). Also, according to PC Mag, “the more teams you create, the harder it becomes to navigate the app.”
What customers say
RingCentral’s got some really happy small business customers, and we’re sure Skype does, too. It’s always helpful to see what other business customers are saying, so let’s hear from them.
“RingCentral has great features. There are apps for iPhone and Mac in addition to the web-based module. It provides a great way for everyone to have individualized office numbers without using their personal cell phone numbers. There is also a great meetings app that allows our team to meet via the Internet weekly. The quality of the video chat is great!” – G2 Review
What Skype’s customers say
So, what is the best alternative to Skype?
While we’re (naturally) quite proud of RingCentral, there are so many apps similar to Skype on the market that it all comes down to what matters most to your team.
If you’re looking for all-in-one functionality at an affordable price point, we suggest you check out RingCentral by booking a product tour to get a feel for how it works.
After all, at the end of the day, what matters most is keeping your team connected and engaged, whether they’re working from home—or Rome.