The best conference phone

Office Phones

Not all conference phones work with every telephone system, so it’s important to confirm compatibility prior to your purchase.

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Which conference phones are best?

With varying schedules and multiple locations of clients and employees, setting up in-person meetings can be challenging. It’s infinitely easier to patch everyone into the call with a conference phone.

Conference phones are designed to keep everyone in the loop by improving overall audio quality during calls. With noise-canceling and anti-interference technology, you and your team can enjoy clarity during conversations. Many conference phones also offer advanced features such as caller ID, Bluetooth compatibility, or recording capabilities.

If you’re ready to compare conference phones, take a look at our buying guide to find the best one for your office. Among our recommendations is our top choice, Polycom’s SoundStation 2 Ex, which comes with extension microphones for increased range.

What to know before you buy a conference phone

Built-in microphone

Conference phones with built-in microphones are located in the base. Some models have a single microphone, whereas others can have as many as four. They do well in picking up voices farthest away from the base.

Wired microphone

To extend the range of your conference phone, it’s worth considering a model with wired microphones. These are popular for use in larger conference rooms, though if the wires are on the shorter side, some participants in the room may have difficulty reaching microphones and end up crowding around them.

Wireless microphone

Certain advanced conference phones have wireless microphones. As expected, the portability allows for the most flexibility when it comes to expanding range. They require charging, so it’s imperative to return them to the base once you notice the battery is depleting — otherwise, your next call might be somewhat limited.

What to look for in a quality conference phone

Audio quality

Audio quality is what separates quality conference phones from subpar ones. Better models will feature noise-canceling technology, which minimizes ambient sound and echo. Anti-interference technology is also important, as it reduces buzz and dropped audio caused by smartphones or other devices in the room.

Full-duplex capability

Full-duplex means those in the room, as well as participants patched into the call, can speak and hear one another at the same time. The vast majority of conference phones have this feature, as it makes for the most natural environment for conversation.

Mute function

The vast majority of conference phones have a mute feature. This is used to suspend outgoing sound without dropping or ending the call. It can get a little complicated for in-person participants connected to the call via Bluetooth, though. Depending on the way they’re patched into the call, the muting may affect them as well.

Call recording

Select conference phones have call-recording capabilities. This feature is incredibly valuable if you need to return to the meeting information at a later date or if you need an official record of the call. With these models, recording is typically done through a USB flash drive.

Display

Conference phones are equipped with either basic LCD screens or touch screens. Not only does it display the caller ID or give access to an address book, but it also shows information regarding programmable settings. The date and time are also displayed on the screen.

How much you can expect to spend on a conference phone

Conference phones priced between $150-$200 have basic features and limited participants. Mid-range models, priced between $250-$350, offer better sound quality. Those priced $400 and above have extensive capabilities and accommodate the largest number of participants.

Conference phones FAQ

Q. What are the perks of Bluetooth-compatible conference phones?

A. Many companies choose these conference phones because it makes it easy to expand the participant pool for the call. Individuals can use wireless headsets or microphones to hop on the call, which may be more comfortable and offer better sound quality than relying on the regular microphone setup.

Q. How does noise-canceling technology work in conference phones?

A. It reduces or eliminates background noise based on an intelligent audit of conversation going into the microphone. Noises created by fans, keyboards, or AC units are minimized to boost overall clarity.

What are the best conference phones to buy?

Top conference phone

Polycom’s SoundStation 2 Ex

Polycom’s SoundStation 2 Ex

Our take: Popular option well-liked for its noise-reduction feature and buzz-free sound.

What we like: Easy to use and program advanced functions. Resists interference from other devices and smartphones.

What we dislike: No wireless microphone, and only compatible with certain providers.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Top conference phone for the money

VTechs VCS702

VTech’s VCS702

Our take: Budget-friendly option with decent sound quality and two microphones.

What we like: Has one built-in microphone and two wireless microphones. Full-duplex design for simultaneous speaking.

What we dislike: Audio quality can be inconsistent.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Worth checking out

VTechs VCS704

VTech’s VCS704

Our take: Ideal for conference room use with four wireless microphones.

What we like: Magnetic charging bays for wireless mics, which feature up to 70 hours of battery life.

What we dislike: Expensive, and occasional issues with wireless mics.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

 

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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