Desktop phones have improved over the years. They now have features such as echo cancellation, and the sound quality is better than it used to be. This makes them perfectly acceptable tools for impromptu communications with your family and friends, or even more casual business meetings.
But for having a more serious meeting in a professional setting, a regular desktop speakerphone simply won’t cut it. Beyond the inconvenience caused by not having a real conference phone, you’re sending a message of mediocrity.
If you can’t even invest in the right equipment to ensure the best communications with your business partners and clients, they will have no reason to trust the quality of your work.
A conference phone is an indispensable tool for any self-respecting professional. It’ll provide you with higher sound quality and added features to make your calls a much better experience in every respect.
But to choose your conference phone, there are several key features to look for.
How to Choose a Conference Phone
Picking the ideal conference phone for your needs will depend on the context and conditions in which you’re going to use it. Conference phones may seem like they’re all the same, but the slight differences could be game-changers for your specific situation.
To get the perfect fit, there are a few essential factors to take into consideration. Let’s review them.
Conference phones generally use AC adapters or Power over Ethernet (PoE), but some of them can also be powered by USB or rechargeable batteries.
Depending on the power source you use, there are different connection types. Modern conference phones can connect via DECT, USB, cell phone, or wirelessly. You’ll want to pick the most convenient option for your needs.
You may have to have meetings while you’re out and about. In that case, you’ll need a portable conference phone. You’ll need the right connection type, as some conference phones are wireless, battery operated, and can connect to PCs via USB or mobile networks such as 4G.
Microphone pickup range and speaker quality can vary depending on conference phones. The larger the room, the more powerful and robust your device will need to be.
There are also expansion microphone kits you can use to widen the audio range of your phone if you find yourself in larger rooms.
You may need to record meetings for various purposes, such as sharing them with coworkers, reviewing them later, or for training purposes.
If that feature is important to you, you might want to go for a newer model. They often have a built-in recording function with an SD Memory Card that makes recording your meetings as easy as ever.
The 5 Best Conference Phones
Now that we’ve seen what to look for in a conference phone, let’s review the best picks:
Best Budget Pick
The eMeet M1 Black Conference Speakerphone
The eMeet M1 Conference Speakerphone boasts quite an affordable price. It’s very compact and easy to use. It works best in smaller- or medium-sized rooms, with meetings not exceeding 5 people.
- Good battery life, you can easily have calls that last a few hours
- Good control of the volume thanks to the color ring
- Useful MUTE button in the middle
- Allows you to charge your phones
- Small size and good build quality
- Different units will show up under the same name on smartphones
- The volume of phone calls is low
- Music playback may be too loud
Best High End Pick
The Avaya B189 IP HD Conference Phone Station
The Avaya B189 IP HD Conference Phone is another great pick for those who seek a high-end option. While the Avaya B189 IP isn’t for the tight purse, it will satisfy the most demanding customers. This modern conference phone has a sleek design, incredible HD-quality sound, a 5-inch color touchscreen display, and a host of useful features.
- The best speakerphone for H323 when it comes to Avaya systems
- Will easily pick up on everyone’s voice in a large room
- Great range without the need for any expansion kit
- Very clear sound for everyone in the room
- No wireless microphones
- The touchscreen can be slow to respond
The Polycom SoundStation 2 Non-Expandable Analog Conference Phone
The Polycom SoundStation is a corded phone with an LCD display, and is meant to be used with analog telephone lines. It has an excellent range with 360° microphone coverage and dynamic noise reduction.
- Good range from far away, even when speaking at normal volume
- Great volume on the speaker
- Easy and intuitive set up
- Ideal for home offices
- Great longevity
- The cable required to use this phone with a computer isn’t included
- Does not support the expansion microphone
- There can be a lack of high-end frequencies
- Does not have Call Waiting Caller-ID
AT&T SB3014 DECT 6.0 Conference Phone with Four Wireless Mics
The AT&T SB3014 DECT 6.0 Conference Phone features 6 microphones, including 4 wireless and 2 fixed to optimize room coverage. With an autonomy of 8 hours of talk time, this conference phone has more than enough to ensure smooth meetings. Also, the charging bays are there to make sure the wireless microphones don’t lose their charge.
- The wireless microphones make it easy for everyone to hear
- Easy to set up and to use
- Clear sound quality
- The conference phone isn’t cordless
- Does not work on a digital system
The Yamaha UC YVC-200 Wireless Mobile Conference Phone
The Yamaha UC YVC-200 is an affordable pick. It has a 10 hour battery life and is meant for portability. It features echo cancellation and supports USB, Bluetooth, and NFC connectivity.
- Works well with videoconferencing applications
- Portable design for travel
- Good sound quality
- Affordable price
- Limited range (you must be within 5 feet to hear clearly)
- May not work as well if you connect the phone to 2 devices
As you can see, adding a conference phone to your home office can serve you in a number of ways. Make sure you find one that has a wide enough range for your needs. Hopefully, our list included a good fit for you.