In a busy work environment, face-to-face meetings aren’t always possible or the best use of colleagues and employees time. With a conference phone set up, many meetings can be conducted as audio conferences instead, providing a time-saving and cost-effective alternative to traditional meetings.
Our team of experts have compiled a list of ten of the most popular and highly-regarded conference phones available. Whatever size or style of business you operate, and whatever your conference phone budget, Telephone Systems Guide has got the low-down on the best conferencing equipment for you.
Ways to increase productivity and improve efficiency are even more important for smaller teams, and our comprehensive guide on the subject should help to improve the communications process of any small business or startup.
As well as conference phones we also have specialist guides looking at the best office phones for your business, as well as industry specific reviews looking at hotel phone systems and multi line phone systems depending on the type of telecoms set up you require.
Best Conference Room Phone Reviews
|Conference Phone||Price From||Microphone Range||Key Feature|
Avaya B100 Series
|$440||20 foot||Bridge up to five locations|
Polycom RealPresence Trio
|$1,359.00||20 foot||5" LCD color display|
|$425||12 foot||Compact footprint|
Yealink CP860 Conference Phone
|$359||10 foot||Mobile and PC integration|
|$180||10 foot||Up to 25 entry phone book|
Finding the right conference room phone for your business will depend on a number of factors. These include the budget you have at hand, the size of your conference rooms and number of models needed.
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What Benefits Are You Looking For In Conferencing Software
Using the navigation below you can directly review the model of conference phone most suitable for your needs:
- Avaya B100 Series
- Polycom RealPresence Trio
- Grandstream GAC2500
- Yealink CP860
- Polycom SoundStation 2
- VTech VCS704
- Cisco 7937G
- Snom MeetingPoint IP
- Yamaha PJP-2OUR
- Polycom SoundStation IP 6000
This section gives a comprehensive breakdown of the best conference phones available, taking into consideration price as well as the reach of each model, meaning you can find the perfect conference room phone however large or small your office and meeting rooms are.
1. Avaya B100 Series
Editor Rating: Price: $440 – $850
The Avaya B100 series of conference phones incorporate many features that make it easy to set up and administer conference calls via web-based applications or a corporate directory.
The Avaya B189 is an executive conference phone with touchscreen display and HD quality audio. Avaya B179 is a SIP-based conference phone for large meetings and features Avaya’s patented wideband audio technology. The Avaya B159 and B149 offer useful features for recording calls, setting up multi-party calls and saving call groups.
Intuitive keypads to make accessing features easier
Built-in conference guide
360-degree surround sound
Wideband audio technology
Full duplex operation
Bridge up to five people or locations
360-degree Unidirectional microphones cover up to 750 square feet
Expand to a Bluetooth headset or PA system
The Avaya B100 series offers a choice of conference phones for different size meeting rooms or executive suites. High-quality audio and practical conferencing guides feature across the range.
2. Polycom RealPresence Trio
Editor Rating: Price From: $1,359.00
The Polycom RealPresence conference phone is by the most stylish piece of technology in this comparison list and the feature rich system will also exceed expectations with its high quality audio as well. With a 20 foot pick up range the RealPresence Trio is suitable for even the largest of boardrooms and can aid collaboration between whole teams easily.
5 inch LCD color display
Polycom’s HD Voice & Noise Block
Integrated Bluetooth technology
360 ° microphone coverage
20-foot (6-meters) microphone pickup
One-step-to-join meeting integration
The Polycom RealPresence Trio offers exceptional voice quality and it’s slick design means it will look at home in any modern meeting room. The price is slightly higher than other conference phones on this list but the features more than make up for it.
3. Grandstream GAC2500
Editor Rating: Price: $425
The Grandstream GAC2500 is a modern VoIP conference phone featuring up to 6 SIP lines. The stylish speakerphone will not look out of place in the most modern of office spaces while the 4 inch touch screen makes it incredibly easy to dial out and take calls. The latest model from Grandstream, the GAC2500 offers HD voice quality making it ideal for conference calls which incorporate a number of team members or different departments collaborating on a single project.
Built in Bluetooth
Compact footprint is designed for executive offices and smaller conference rooms
HD voice technology for clear lifelike conference calls
Advanced call handing, security, and provisioning features
An advanced VoIP conference phone at an affordable price for small conference rooms and executive offices with up to six participants.
4. Yealink CP860 IP Conference Phone
Editor Rating: Price: $359
The Yealink CP860 IP conference phone is designed for small and medium-sized conference rooms. It can support meetings of up to 16 people with optional expansion microphones. The unit provides optima HD technology, a built-in 3 microphone array, full-duplex technology and acoustic echo cancelling to enable clear, life-like conference calls. It also supports call recording and linkages to mobile phones or PCs.
Connect to a mobile phone or PC for conference calls
Optima HD voice, full duplex technology
10-feet and 360 degree voice pickup
Optional expansion microphones for wider reception
5-way conferencing support
USB call recording support
The Yealink CP860 IP is a useful conference phone for meetings of up to 16 people in small or medium conference rooms. Call recording and linkage to mobiles adds to its versatility.
5. Polycom SoundStation 2
Editor Rating: Price: $180 – $289
The Polycom SoundStation2 delivers full duplex audio to suit small to medium meeting rooms. New features include easy-to-read LCD display and a 50% increase in microphone sensitivity over the previous Soundstation model. Participants can be heard from up to ten feet away. The unit connects to a standard analogue line or analogue extension from a PABX.
50% increase in microphone sensitivity over previous model
Password-protected configuration settings
Phone book/speed dial list – up to 25 entries
Excellent sound quality
Full 360-degree coverage
Full duplex operation
This is an ideal solution for small to medium sized meeting rooms with good sound coverage and simple operation.
6. VTech VCS704 ErisStation
Editor Rating: Price: $364
The VTech VCS704 is an analog conference complete with PBX & PSTN compatibility that can be used with up to 2 lines. The VCS705 ErisStation is a wireless conference phone that includes an accompanying magnetic charging bay within the phones base to ensure each microphone is fully charged and ready for meetings at any time. The modern design also mean the model will not look out out of place in any office, while still offering a crystal clear voice quality at all times.
Acoustic beamforming technology focuses on speaker
Up to 8 hours talk time
70 hours of standy time
Superior voice quality
Acoustic echo cancellation technology
A versatile conferencing system for larger meeting rooms using acoustic beam forming technology to achieve clear natural sound from all participants.
7. Cisco 7937G IP Conference Phone
Editor Rating: Price: $760 – $949
The Cisco Unified IP Conference Station 7937G combines wideband speakerphone conferencing technologies with Cisco voice communication technologies, simplified wiring and administrative cost benefits. It is a full-featured, IP-based, hands-free conference station designed for use on desktops, in conference rooms and in executive suites.
Full duplex wideband audio
Full-featured conference system
Automatic gain control, echo suppression and dynamic noise reduction
Expanded room coverage up to 30 feet by 40 feet with optional external microphone kit
Support for IEEE Power over Ethernet (PoE)
Support for a third-party lapel microphone kit
Large backlit high-resolution liquid crystal display
Wideband acoustics with the support of the G.722 wideband codec
The Cisco Unified IP Conference Station 7937G is part of Cisco’s Unified Communications solution, offering good audio quality for desktop or meeting room conferences.
8. Snom MeetingPoint IP
Editor Rating: Price: $585 – $620
The Snom Meeting Point is an executive-level business VoIP SIP conferencing phone designed for mid to large conference rooms and up to 10 participants. It offers excellent sound quality with three speakers providing full duplex broadband audio. It is the only current SIP conference phone that works in unison with Microsoft Office Communication Server. Two models are available – G.729 for 3-way conferencing and G.711 for 4-way conferencing
Call recording feature in development
Works with any SIP-based IP PBX.
Integrates with Microsoft Office Communication Server
OmniSound full duplex broadband sound technology
Backlit graphical LCD display
Supports 3 or 4 way conferencing
Supports power over Ethernet
Range up to 3 metres- suitable for 10 people
Connection for add on microphones to extend range
The Snom Meeting Point is the company’s first conference phone and incorporates useful features and good sound quality for mid to large conference rooms.
9. Yamaha PJP-2OUR
Editor Rating: Price: $339
The Yamaha PJP-20UR is a Web conference microphone speaker with a built-in echo canceller. It connects to a PC or laptop via USB to support web conferencing. This is a small portable device that can be used in any small space in the office. For larger meetings, the units can be daisy-chained. The unit features a high-fidelity microphone speaker that supports softphone conferencing without headsets
Lightweight, portable unit
Supports web or audio conferencing
Built-in noise reduction
Smooth full-duplex performance
Daisy-chain up to 4 units via a USB hub
Adaptive echo canceller
The Yamaha PJP-20UR is a versatile conferencing unit for small meetings or participants on the move.
10. Polycom Soundstation IP 6000
Editor Rating: Price: $329 – $419
The Polycom SoundStation IP 6000 conference phone is designed for midsize conference rooms. It offers broad interoperability with SIP environments, HD voice quality and full-duplex technology to eliminate distracting drop-outs. Automatic Gain Control intelligently adjusts the microphone sensitivity to accommodate up to 12 participants at different distances up to 12 feet (3.5 metres) away. This phone is the conference model specified by RingCentral for their phone system customers.
Full duplex technology
Compatible with a broad array of SIP call platforms
Optional expansion microphones and support for lapel microphones
Polycom HD Voice technology, for high-fidelity calls
Patented Polycom Acoustic Clarity technology
Automatic microphone gain control
Advanced call handing, security, and provisioning features
Integrated Power over Ethernet
A premium IP conference phone designed for midsize rooms with up to 12 participants.
The Importance of High Quality Conference Phones
Conference phones face a unique set of challenges that are different from mainstream phone technology. Regular phones are not designed for people talking several feet away from the microphone in rooms with an echo. The technologies used in advanced conference call systems have developed well ahead of the audio technology used in the mainstream mobile and telecom industry. The best conference phones today provide HD voice and use specialized high quality microphones. They can handle echo cancellation, noise reduction, and full duplex.
A well-designed conference phone system will improve productivity and the quality of decision making. Participants can focus on the meeting and will not be distracted by struggling to hear what is said. This will minimize the risk of misunderstandings. During important meetings with customers, it is easier to detect subtle cues or changes in tone of voice if the audio quality is excellent.
A hundred conference calls lasting an hour each with four of your staff will cost more than $10¬k (if they make $60k/year). The cost of good conference phones is minor compared to the salary costs of time spent in meetings.
Different types of Conference Phones
There are three types of conference room phones: regular speakerphones, standalone conference phones, and installed systems throughout the room. The units can either use traditional analog voice or be VoIP conference phones.
Traditional speakerphones are basically desktop telephones with an incorporated speaker. They usually have no echo cancellation and only one microphone. They are designed for a single user sitting directly in front of the phone who sometimes uses it for hands-free calls. Speakerphones are not built for group discussions, and if several people sit around a speakerphone, the sound quality is often very poor.
A conference phone is a single unit designed to operate in an open-air environment. It is a standalone device but can be supported by extension microphones. They are as easy to use as regular phones and are built to cover an entire room and all the people in it. Conference phones incorporate echo cancellation and noise reduction together with other advanced signal processing technologies for reproducing clear sound. Wireless conference phones are easier to move around but must be recharged. The market has developed enormously in the last 15 years and there are many models which are suited to different needs.
An installed conference system is built in to the room. There are a number of microphones and speakers throughout the room and some of them can be moved to accommodate different situations. Each component is controlled by a very sophisticated system that adjusts speaker outputs, the microphone gain levels, as well as the other variables required to maximize audio quality.
The installed system’s advanced signal processing can eliminate problems that often occur in a larger room. For example, loudspeaker zones, feedback, multiple echo, and other difficult noise problems. These systems are often integrated with video conferencing equipment and the installation is usually done by a system integrator or A/V consultant.
Finding the Perfect System for your Conference Room
The optimal type of conference system will depend on the size and layout of the conference room. When selecting a conference phone, a lot can be achieved by improving the acoustics in the room before installation. Large windows or glass walls generate more echo while carpeting, acoustical ceilings, curtains or wall hangings will improve the acoustics.
Small Conference Room
In a small room, which seats up to four people, the size forces the participants to sit close to the conference unit. This provides an optimal conferencing experience. If a regular office is used, furniture and clutter will often improve the acoustics in the room. Conference phones designed for small rooms usually provide 5-7 feet coverage.
Traditional Conference Room
A mid-size conference room which seats between 6 and 12 people is more challenging than a small room. Participants are further away from the microphones, which makes echo and noise more problematic.
Conference phones for mid-sized rooms are equipped with microphones that have 10-12 feet of coverage. For larger conference rooms, one or more expansion microphones should be added. More advanced conferencing systems are required for rooms that are larger than 20 x 30 feet. If that is the case, each unit will need independent echo cancellation and gain management capability.
A boardroom is often designed more for looks than for acoustics. These very large conference rooms can span 25 x 45 feet or more. They often have large open spaces, hard surfaces, chairs along a side wall, as well as one or two worktables in the corners. The sound quality must be great in the entire room, not just around the main conference table.
Tabletop systems are not up to this challenge. What is required is an installed system that can accommodate all the microphones and speakers. In an installed system, each microphone and loudspeaker can be tuned to the room’s acoustics during installation and cables can be built-in and concealed. This will provide the best sound possible for C-level executives.
Benefits Of Conference Phones For Business
Sound Quality It’s of primary importance that your meetings can be conducted efficiently and without confusion caused by poor sound quality. All the models we have selected below are from manufacturers renowned for quality design and the integrity of their sound reproduction, and for each one satellite speakers can be connected as necessary to extend the listening range for larger meeting rooms.
Minimize wasted time and travel costs With phone conferences you can quickly gather colleagues together for the meeting regardless of where they are geographically, and then you can all jump straight back into other tasks directly afterwards. No more unnecessary travel costs, missed flights or traffic jams to contend with!
Be spontaneous and agile With audio conferencing you can quickly pull people together for ad hoc meetings with minimal prior scheduling. Respond and collaborate efficiently as business developments unfold.
Conference Phone Features
Here are key features to look for when selecting a conference system. The quality and pickup range of the microphones is particularly important. Directional microphones will discard noise and echo coming from behind them while cheaper omnidirectional microphones will pick up noise from every direction. Advanced signal processing for suppressing pickup of unwanted sounds is crucial.
Full-duplex is another important feature. It will enable the participants to speak at the same time without cutting off one another. This ensures that the conversation can flow naturally without interruptions.
Wireless & VoIP Conference Phone Functionality
As is the trend across the telecoms industry, many modern conference phones now come with wireless and VoIP capabilities as standard. When this is the case with the conference phones reviewed below we will make you aware which individual models have both wireless and VoIP functions so you can choose the perfect model depending on your business needs.
There are many reasons to make the switch to an IP conference phone including the cost savings available and the crystal clear sound quality that can be achieved via your internet connection. Wireless speakerphones also offer advantages to businesses both large and small, offering a modern look for any conference room.