Updated Dec 2020
Just months ago, a world where video conferences replace in-person meetings may have felt far-off.
Fast-forward to the present day and it’s clear that video meetings are the norm.
And between the rise of remote work and new video apps, don’t expect virtual conferences to go anywhere.
In fact, 55% of employers predict that their companies will increase their remote presence even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Video conferencing is key to having face-to-face interactions and emulating in-person meetings for the long term.
Chances are you sort of “fell” into a video conferencing solution in the midst of the pandemic.
The problem? If you haven’t really had the chance to explore what modern conferencing apps have to offer, you’re probably missing out on key features for more productive meetings.
Thankfully, there are plenty of free video conference tools out there to meet your needs without breaking the bank:
🛒 In the market for a free video conferencing app? 🛒
Our checklist includes all the essential features to look for…and even some that might surprise you!
What is the best free video conferencing tool, though?
When we say “plenty” of tools, we’re not joking. It’s downright daunting how many video apps are out there.
And at first glance, a lot of them look the same.
(Spoiler: They’re not)
That’s exactly why we put together this list of free video conferencing solutions. By the end of our breakdown, you’ll know exactly which app is best for your team.
1. Glip by RingCentral: Free video conferencing that integrates seamlessly with the rest of your business’s favorite tools
Offered by RingCentral, the leading all-in-one communication platform, Glip Pro is a free option that’s small-business (and budget) friendly.
We consider ourselves the best video conferencing app on the block, but don’t just take our word for it. Just see what some of our satisfied customers have to say about our solution below:
According to Glip’s customers, the solution is a time-saver that encourages better collaboration, quicker meeting setup, and the feeling of being right there next to your coworkers:
Glip Pro’s free plan offers group meetings lasting up to 24 hours for up to 100 participants, alongside unlimited one-on-one meetings.
The platform goes beyond crisp quality and meetings that you can set up in a matter of seconds, too. For flawless video conferences, these helpful features are included as part of the free plan:
- Desktop and screen sharing, allowing you to share spreadsheets, reports, and any other type of media necessary for your next presentation:
- Annotations, encouraging participant interaction and collaboration for more immersive meetings:
- Local recordings, letting you go back and re-watch or redistribute meeting sessions as needed
Oh, and did we mention that the platform is accessible via both desktop and mobile, and has full team messaging features?
Glip is an awesome solution for client conferences, but really shines as a team communication tool. For example, its team messaging features makes internal meetings quick and painless. Need to ping someone for a check-in on a project? Want to clarify a comment? You can start a meeting in no time flat.
Last but not least, Glip’s integrations allow you to start scheduling video conferencing alongside the email and CRM tools you already rely on, like Gmail and Outlook.
- Glip’s video conferencing and team messaging features are ideal for businesses looking to communicate both internally and externally.
- Integrations with email, CRM, and other popular apps make video meetings from Glip quick and seamless.
- Accessible from desktop or mobile, Glip supports the needs of remote workers anywhere and everywhere.
And if you’re looking for more advanced features like single-sign-on, analytics, and a business phone service, you can upgrade from Glip Pro (free) to Glip Pro+.
Google has recently stepped up its video conferencing game with the latest incarnation of Google Meet.
As of now, Google Meet offers up to an hour of meeting time to up to 100 participants. The fact that Meet automatically syncs with the likes of Gmail and the rest of G Suite makes it a go-to option for teams that already rely on such tools. For example, you can initiate a meeting right out of your inbox.
The platform’s features include screen sharing from Chrome tabs and a tile view that makes anyone and everyone on screen easier to see. Low-light mode and noise cancellation features are a nice touch, too.
Beyond that, Google Meet is fairly standard in terms of its conferencing with a sort of simple, minimalist interface that we’ve come to expect from Google. This likewise makes Meet easier for teams to adopt given Google’s endless array of resources for new users.
So, what is Google Meet lacking? Well, keep in mind that you and your attendees need to be working from a Google account to take advantage of all of the platform’s features (this includes the likes of Docs, Drive, Gmail, and so on). If your attendees are bouncing between personal and professional Google accounts, this can be somewhat of a headache.
Also, sometimes the default video quality leaves a lot to be desired upon entering a meeting (although you can scale it up to 720p manually).
- The fact that Meet is a Google tool means that it’s reliable and friendly to beginners.
- Getting on board with Google Meet is a cinch if your team is already using G Suite.
- Up to 100 participants can join a meeting for up to 60 minutes, although a Google account is required.
Offering 50 minutes of free meeting time to up to 100 attendees, Webex offers plenty of time and virtual “space” for users to conduct a conference. Features such as whiteboarding, screen sharing, and file sharing are built into the platform.
What makes Webex unique, though? Features such as ”Personal Rooms” are handy, serving as a place for fellow users to drop-in and initiate meetings based on your availability. This serves as a sort of virtual office space that makes the process of setting up a meeting a bit less formal.
Webex can admittedly feel somewhat old-school and awkward at times. For example, the default method of scheduling meetings is via email (although quick-share links are accessible with some digging). If you’re already familiar with Cisco’s Webex, though, transitioning to the platform’s free suite of video conferencing tools should be easy enough.
- Webex’s name recognition and track record make it easier for colleagues to buy-in.
- Depending on your business’s setup, Webex might be bandwidth-intensive (especially given its comparable features to other apps).
- The platform can be clunky and requires users to jump through hoops (for example, there are no cloud video downloads, recorded meetings are in a proprietary file format, and a Webex hosting account is required to host a meeting).
4. UberConference: No-frills video conferencing for teams that want to keep their meetings short and sweet
Okay. Maybe you don’t want a ton of features. Perhaps you just want to hop on a quick video conference with a colleague or client and call it a day.
If so, UberConference can do the trick. The platform’s free video teleconferencing for up to 10 users is simple enough given the platform’s intuitive interface. With thousands of satisfied users across the web, UberConference is clearly reliable.
Unfortunately, some of the platform’s coolest features (including custom hold music, analytics, and voice intelligence) are reserved for its paid suite of tools.
- Although its free features may be limited compared to other tools, UberConference is a proven option for teams that want simple video conferencing and only video conferencing.
- Features such as screen sharing and call recording are built into the free platform.
- UberConference’s mobile app is sleek and boasts features such as screen sharing, contact sharing, and CRM integration(s).
Looking for something other than a “big,” corporate-style solution? Jitsi is an open source platform that meets the needs of tech-savvy teams and developers looking to customize their own video conferencing tools.
Jitsi’s features are par for the course (screen sharing, dial-in, recording, simulcasting) but the fact that the platform is both lightweight and browser-based means that participants can hop on a conference call ASAP. Perhaps a user review puts it best: Jitsi is “free, fast, and no-nonsense” and “perfect for start-ups and companies who do not need a… clunky software like [redacted].”
- Jitsi is a solid video conferencing tool if having an open-source solution is a must.
- The platform is lightweight and stable versus clunkier tools.
- Beyond these two points, none of Jitsi’s features really stand out against other video conferencing tools.
Lifesize might seem like just another free video conference app, but it’s the only tool on our list that offers an impressive 24-hour duration for video meetings.
Unlike other apps that put a time limit on video calls, Lifesize users can go back-and-forth all day if they choose to. Doing so may not seem practical, but is definitely worthwhile for companies looking to conduct hours-long brainstorming sessions or emulate the feeling of being “together” in a workspace.
In addition to a longer meeting duration, the platform also broadcasts video and screen sharing in crisp 1080p (as opposed to Zoom’s or Google Meet’s 720p, for example).
- Lifesize’s unlimited meetings and 24-hour duration are perfect for teams who don’t want to worry about being timed out.
- Beyond Lifesize’s generous meeting duration, however, its features are relatively standard versus other free conferencing tools.
- Free integrations are limited to the likes of Outlook and G Suite.
LiveStorm is a free online teleconference tool that’s arguably most noteworthy for its webinar features. Users can go back-and-forth with viewers via live chat and reactions, all the while saving recordings for future use.
Considering that most webinar tools are pricey, LiveStorm is an awesome free alternative for companies looking to test the waters. While webinars are limited to 20 minutes, such presentations could get the job done for shorter training sessions and tutorials:
Given that the free version of LiveStorm is limited to four participants per meeting, it’s perhaps best suited for smaller meetings or one-on-ones with clients. It’s also worth noting that LiveStorm is based in Europe and is adamantly GDPR-compliant, which is great if you have customers in Europe.
- LiveStorm is somewhat standard as a meeting solution, but its webinar features are surprisingly robust for a free tool.
- Meetings include screen sharing and “locked rooms” for only four participants.
- Although webinars are restricted to 20 minutes and 10 registrants, unlimited storage is provided.
Some business owners are rightfully concerned about privacy. In a day and age where we hear about so many hacks and data breaches, it’s understandable.
Signal is unique among our list of video conferencing tools in the sense that it’s not really for conferences, per se.
Rather, it’s a mobile video app that encrypts your video calls so that not even Signal themselves can listen in on them. The concept behind Signal is simple: conduct your video calls without worrying about being “spied on.”
Although Signal definitely serves a niche audience (including Edward Snowden and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey), the platform’s encryption features and ethics might appeal to a certain sect of entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for a video-based one-on-one or group chat among your team, you can make it happen via Signal without worrying about privacy.
- As a (primarily) mobile app, Signal isn’t exactly suited for traditional “conference” calls.
- For one-on-one video calls or group chats that you need to keep under lock and key, the app might be better used as a supplement to other free video conferencing tools.
- Signal users are more than likely concerned with ethics and privacy versus functionality (if this is you, you know who you are).
Zoom saw a spike to the tune of hundreds of millions of users during COVID-19, making it one of the most-downloaded consumer apps in recent memory.
However, the keyword here is consumer. Although many businesses understandably defaulted to Zoom, perhaps the app is better suited for casual chats versus video conferences.
Issues with privacy and “Zoom-bombing” are also problematic for businesses who don’t want their company’s sensitive information out in the open.
Navigating Zoom might also be awkward for first-timers, as many of the other apps on our list are more straightforward and business-focused. That said, features such as breakout rooms, whiteboarding, and screen sharing are great for presentation purposes.
If you’re curious about what else the platform might be lacking for your business, make sure to check out our list of Zoom alternatives where we dig deeper.
- Zoom might be a household name, but it’s fair to say that it’s a consumer tool first and a business tool second.
- Features such as breakout rooms are nice for team collaboration, but lack of features such as a telephone dial-in option (for the free plan) is notable.
- Despite its popularity, Zoom isn’t exactly the most intuitive solution; even so, your colleagues may already be familiar with it (which will lower the learning curve).
Whereby is a meeting solution that’s tailor-made for smaller teams versus bigger businesses. Although the free version only offers meetings for up to four participants, the platform does have some notable quirks and benefits that appeal to the startup crowd.
For starters, the stylish, simple interface definitely doesn’t feel “corporate” at all. Another cool, creative benefit of Whereby is the ability to customize the branding of your meeting rooms (ex: “whereby.com/yourname). Custom links are obviously a preferred alternative to a jumbled stream of numbers and letters.
Whereby’s integrations with the likes of Trello and Miro likewise signal that the tool is intended for teams laser-focused on productive collaboration. For example, you can swiftly move from your Kanban board or editing project to Whereby in just a couple of clicks. The platform also stresses its dedication to security, yet another priority for startups discussing potentially sensitive customer information.
But getting the most out of Whereby means upgrading to a paid plan, which is still limited to only twelve meeting participants. Other paid features like custom branding and saved meetings likewise require an upgrade.
That said, individual teams and tiny departments could make use of Whereby if they’re not jazzed about the more “business-y” conferencing tools out there.
- With only four participants allowed per meeting, many businesses are likely too “big” for the platform by default.
- A stylish interface and branding features like custom links set Whereby apart from competing conferencing tools.
- Despite its limitations, features like screen sharing, integrations with collaboration tools, and calendar access are available with Whereby’s free plan
Can free video conferencing get the job done for your business?
Despite being “free,” the conferencing tools that made our list are surprisingly powerful.
And while some of them might seem similar at a glance, comparing these apps is apples and oranges when you see the features under the hood.
Of course, we’re pretty confident that Glip reigns supreme when it comes to free video conferencing.
Between our high-quality video and seamless integrations with your favorite apps, you can get started with our solution and boost your meeting productivity sooner rather than later. By all means, give it a test drive for yourself!
Originally published Dec 15, 2020, updated Jan 15, 2021