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Best video conferencing software

Communicate face-to-face — from afar — with these reliable and economically savvy platforms.

Updated

Fact checked
Two men having a video conference call.

When choosing the best video conferencing software for your company, consider the maximum number of users you expect for each call, the average length of your calls and if you need to screen share.

  • Need-to-know: Cisco WebEx is offering a free upgraded tier that includes unlimited meeting times and participants of up to 100 people as of April 20, 2020. It’s a limited-time promotion in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but this makes it a better free option than Google Hangouts right now.

Best free video conferencing software:
Google Hangouts

Google hangouts logo

Pros

  • The free version supports up to 10 video chatters
  • Anyone with an invitation link can join — no gmail needed
  • Unlimited meeting times
  • No software download required

Cons

  • It doesn’t allow for screen sharing
  • Lacks direct file sharing
  • If you have more than 10 video chatters, you’ll have to pay

Price: Free with limited access and from $6 monthly for each user for an upgraded plan.

Where to buy

Get Hangouts with G Suite
Why we chose it

If you don’t have a video conferencing budget and expect less than 10 users per call, Google Hangouts is an excellent option. While Zoom’s lowest tier is also free, it has a 40-minute time limit for each meeting, making Google Hangouts our top choice thanks to its unlimited meeting times.

Upgrading to G suite’s basic plan costs $6 a user monthly, and allows for Google Hangouts meetings with up to 100 people.


Best budget video conferencing software:
Zoom

Zoom logo

Pros

  • Free version supports up to 100 users
  • Screen sharing capabilities
  • Anyone with an invitation link can join
  • Screen recording tool

Cons

  • Free meetings are limited to 40 minutes
  • Interface can be slightly confusing for inexperienced users

Price: Free with limited access, and from $14.99 a host monthly for an upgraded plan.

Why we chose it

Zoom’s entry-level tier is so good, even mid-sized businesses could get by on it — as long as 40-minute meetings will suffice.

It gets our pick for best budget video conferencing software because the basic tier provides most of the essentials for video conferencing, including screen sharing and support for up to 100 participants. To upgrade, Zoom charges you per host — not user. So a small business with less than 100 participants a call could purchase a single $14.99 host account for meetings that last up to 24 hours.


Best video conferencing software for enterprises:
Cisco Webex

Cisco Webex logo

Pros

  • Extensive device support
  • Supports converting audio to writing
  • Cloud storage
  • Screen-sharing capabilities
  • Anyone with an invitation link can join

Cons

  • Free trial is only 14 days
  • Higher tiers can get pricey
  • Interface can feel clunky

Price: Free, and from $13.50 a host monthly for an upgraded plan.

Why we chose it

Cisco Webex has a reputation for high-quality video conferencing and scales up well for mid-sized or large enterprises depending on your needs and budget. Device support is extensive, including phoning into conferences for audio only and even support for Apple Watch or Android Wear devices.

However, it can get pricey for larger teams with multiple hosts, with a Business plan that costs $26.95 monthly a host — and requires a minimum of five host licences a month.

Methodology

Our editorial team researched major video conferencing platforms to assess their membership tiers and pricing, weighing features against real-world user reviews from multiple sites and sources. We compared Google Hangouts, Zoom and Cisco Webex for their overall reputation, and because they deliver the best bang for their buck compared to other services.

How to compare video conferencing software

If you’re trying to choose between different video conferencing solutions for your business, consider:

Your budget

Some video conferencing platforms offer free version, but these typically come with a limited amount of features. However, most upgraded plans offer a free trial to test for a couple of weeks before committing.

Features

Decide which features are must-haves for your business. This might include:

  • Screen sharing
  • Cloud storage or hard drive storage
  • Slideshow presentations
  • Virtual whiteboard
  • Webinar functionality
  • Desktop app
  • Live chat

Pay per user or host

Video conferencing software charges either per user or per host. For example, an upgraded version of Google Hangouts is available for $6 for everyone with access.

With Zoom, you pay for host licences starting at $14.99 per host. That means the host has access to that tier’s full suite of features — and can hold meetings that last longer than 40 minutes — but regular users won’t have those capabilities.

Level of security

While businesses should consider implementing proper VPN policies, it’s also well worth reviewing the security features built into each package, including encryption and password protected access.

Hardware to support the software

Most laptops come with built-in webcams, but do you want users to connect via smartphone? What if some need to use dial-in numbers? Choose your video conferencing software accordingly.

Software integration

If your company uses Microsoft Office, for example, Microsoft Teams could be the best video conferencing solution simply because it’s designed to work seamlessly with the suite of apps. On the other hand, upgrading your company’s Google Hangouts membership might be best if you’re knee-deep in G Suites.

Administrative features

Admins set up multi-user meetings, or use the video to present information. Consider if you need breakout rooms, recorded chat sessions, or the ability to selectively mute or enable participant microphones. Think about the full range of administrative capabilities before making your choice.

Compare video conferencing software

If the software packages on this list don’t meet your businesses needs, check out some more options below.

Name Product Features Price starts at App Integration Tech Support
Microsoft Teams
Direct messaging
Public chat channels
Video
Free, and paid plans start at $6/month
Yes
Phone
Email
Live chat
Invite everyone you work with to chat, meet, call, and collaborate all in one place
G Suite
Direct messaging
Video
Project management
Calendar
Free trial, and paid plans start at $6/month
Yes
Phone
Email
Live chat
An integrated suite of secure, cloud-native collaboration and productivity apps powered by Google AI.
GoToMeeting
Direct messaging
Public chat channels
Video
Project management
Calendar
Free trial, and paid plans start at $14/month
Yes
Phone
Email
Live chat
The trusted online meeting software for millions to communicate and collaborate on any device, anywhere.
ClickMeeting
ClickMeeting
Direct messaging
Public chat channels
Video
Project management
Free trial, and paid plans start at $30/month
Yes
Email
Live chat
A webinar software to to teach, train, coach, onboard and educate your audience.
Slack
Direct messaging
Public chat channels
Video
Project management
Free, and paid plans start at $8/month
Yes
Email
Helps streamline communications across company teams and projects
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