Best Video Conferencing Software

Zoom is the best way to connect with clients, customers, or employees

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Video conferencing software enables you to connect and meet with other people worldwide using your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Classic movies like Back to the Future show video conferencing as a far-off idea for the distant future, but anyone with a reliable internet connection can quickly and easily video chat with friends, family, or business colleagues using video conferencing software.

Of course, not all video conferencing software is the same. Some apps are best for one-on-one calls, some are ideal for small groups, and others can handle large meetings or webinars. Regardless, the best video conferencing software has to have two things: reliability and ease of use. Keep reading to learn more about the best video conferencing software and suggestions that may work best for you.

The Best Video Conferencing Software for 2021

Best Video Conferencing Software
Best Video Conferencing Software

Best Overall : Zoom

Zoom

Zoom

Zoom is our best choice overall, thanks to extensive support for all major platforms, ease of use, a long list of integrations, and a free tier that could meet the needs of many personal and business video calls.

Pros
  • Free tier for calls with up to 100 participants

  • Multiple price tiers for longer and larger meetings to fit your needs

  • Wide adoption and easy to use

Cons
  • Free accounts cut meetings off after 40 minutes

  • Some issues around meeting security

  • Download required to join a meeting

The term “Zoom” has become almost synonymous with a video call. It lands our best overall pick because its ease of use, generous free tier, and extensive integrations with calendars and other third-party tools have made it a staple for both business and personal use.

Part of the appeal of Zoom is that it’s fairly easy to use on any device, including almost every major computer and mobile device platform. Meeting participants can join with a hyperlink, phone number, or code. It takes just seconds to create a meeting, invite your guests, and click the link and join.

The biggest downsides are free tier limitations and questions around security. Paid plans start at $150 per year, but they can reach into the thousands with add-ons for additional features. The features that make Zoom easy to use also make it susceptible to some security issues. Notable are the “Zoom bombers” who drop into meetings uninvited to eavesdrop and cause trouble.

Getting the most out of Zoom also requires a download, a turnoff for some users who prefer the web-based platforms offered by competitors. However, the download is free and quick to set up on most devices. And because it’s so widely used, it integrates with a ton of different additional productivity apps.

At the end of the day, Zoom is a workhorse for a lot of people and comes with reasonable pricing for those who want more than the free offering. It has become popular with families, businesses, schools, and other groups for a good reason. While you may run into an occasional technical issue, as with any digital platform, Zoom earns high customer ratings and is a default choice for many modern video calls.

Best for Freelancers and Solopreneurs : Whereby

Whereby

Whereby

Whereby is our favorite platform for freelancers and solopreneurs because it allows you to create meetings with no additional downloads that anyone can join with a click of your personal link. There’s no additional registration or download required for participants.

Pros
  • Launch meetings and invite guests with no download required

  • Free tier for meetings with up to four guests

  • Get your own easy-to-remember link for all meetings you host

Cons
  • Paid plans required for more than four participants

  • Add-ons required for recording and larger rooms with some plans

  • Capacity limited to 50 participants

Whereby is a smaller and lesser-known meeting software, but its low cost, simplicity, customization, and useful meeting features make it ideal for entrepreneurs that work on their own and regularly host meetings with clients or colleagues. The free tier works for up to four participants, while paid plans include additional features and a limit of 50 participants.

The Pro plan is a good fit for solo business owners. It costs $9.99 per month for larger meetings with custom branding in your own meeting room. You get your own dedicated meeting room link, like whereby.com/yourname. You have to pay an additional $5 per month more for recording, and $9.99 per month for larger meeting rooms. Larger businesses may prefer the more expensive business plan at $14.99 per month billed monthly, with support for more users and all included features.

The standout feature of this video conferencing software is its simplicity. You don’t have to download or install anything, and neither do the people you invite. Everyone just uses your link to join the meeting instantly. It works on any computer, smartphone, or tablet with a web browser like Chrome, Sarafi, or Brave.

The host can mute members and control other meeting features, like screen sharing. It’s also customizable with your own logo and company colors, which is a nice little touch. Overall, Whereby is a simple but powerful platform that makes video conferences easy with favorable pricing and features for the smallest businesses.

Best for In-House Meetings : Slack

Slack

 Slack

Slack is a top choice for small businesses because you can launch meetings quickly and easily from a unified communication platform that’s already popular and familiar to many business teams.

Pros
  • Quickly launch calls with team members from a platform they may already use

  • Video calling closely integrated with broader Slack communication and collaboration tools

  • The free tier should meet the needs of many small business teams

Cons
  • Slack software and account required for calls

  • Not ideal for calls outside of your team

For video calls with members of your small business team, Slack is a top choice. While most people think of Slack as a platform for chat and text-based collaboration, it also includes a video calling feature that allows logged-in users to call each other for video chats with no reservation or planning required.

Because Slack is already a popular collaboration tool for small businesses, many businesses already have this video conference platform available and don’t even realize it. The tools are basic and include screen sharing, audio, and video. Outside of video calls, core Slack features focus on chat and message collaborations.

The biggest downside is that it only works for your team members logged into Slack. You can’t easily use it for calls with customers, clients, or other outside parties. Slack is free to use, with paid plans available for teams that want additional features, storage, and all features. These features also make it very secure. You won’t have uninvited outside guests bombing into your meetings on Slack.

The limitations mean you may need another video calling platform to complement Slack for outside calls. Still, fortunately, Slack integrates well with many additional video platforms and other apps for more features. If you already use Slack, or you’ve been looking at a better platform for your team’s collaboration, Slack could double as your ideal video conference platform as well.

Best Value : Skype

Skype Logo

Skype Logo

We picked Skype for best value because it offers free calls to other Skype users with competitive costs for dialing out to landlines and mobile phones worldwide.

Pros
  • Free video calling for users on the same platform

  • The widely used platform works on most devices

  • Use from the Skype platform or on the web with no download

  • Option to add a dedicated phone number to your account

Cons
  • Paid subscription or minutes required for outside calls

  • Video calls limited to 100 participants with regular plans or 250 with Skype for Business

Skype is one of the older and better-known video platforms and is owned by software giant Microsoft. Skype supports free unlimited calls to other Skype users. While it works best using the Skype app for computers or mobile, you can invite other users with no signup or installation required.

It includes screen sharing, mobile screen sharing, and call recording, among other features. With a paid account, you can call phones around the world, including landlines and cell phones. You can also sign up for your own Skype phone number for incoming calls. It could work as a full voice over IP (VOIP) replacement for your phone in addition to video calls.

Regular accounts can host video calls for up to 100 people. With a Skype for Business account, you can have 250 guests and it features strong security, employee account management, and integrations with Microsoft Office. Skype for Business is being phased out, replaced by Microsoft teams, another top platform we look at more below.

But even without the word “business” in the name, Skype is a great platform for personal and professional calls with a low-cost subscription of $2.99 per month, or no cost, depending on your needs.

Best Free Option : Google Meet

Google Meet

Google Meet

We like Google Meet because it gives anyone the ability to create or join a video conference for free with easy-to-use tools.

Pros
  • Free video calls and meetings with no download required

  • Strong integration with Google Calendar and other Google tools

  • Join with a link and host-controlled access

Cons
  • Fewer features than some robust platforms that require a download

Google has a long and overly complicated history with chat and communication apps. But these days, they’ve simplified everything with one platform called Google Meet, which formerly operated as Google Hangouts. Google Meet is completely free to use and integrates well with the free Google personal account or paid Google Workspace account that you may already have.

You can create meetings for up to 100 participants with a sharable link. Users can join with that link or by entering the meeting code on the simple Google Meet website. Once they click, you have control over who joins. That helps you keep uninvited guests out of the meeting.

Google Meet is fairly simple and straightforward. It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as some competitors, but you can’t complain about the price. Additionally, it comes from a reliable brand that many people already feel comfortable using daily.

If you just need to run a video call quickly and don’t want to pay, Google Meet brings a simple and easy platform that should meet your needs.

Best for Calendar Integrations : Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

We choose Microsoft Teams as best for calendar integrations because it works seamlessly with Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365 platforms, notably Outlook, used by many businesses, schools, and other organizations.

Pros
  • Seamless integration with Microsoft Office and Outlook

  • Outlook plugin allows you to create and manage meetings from your calendar easily, on the app or the web

  • Part of a larger collaboration platform for meetings and document sharing

  • Works well with Skype and Skype for Business

Cons
  • The robust platform features more than most simple call systems

  • A paid plan is required for all features

Microsoft Teams is to video conferencing what Microsoft Word and Excel are to word processing and spreadsheets. Teams best for calendar integrations because it’s part of the larger Microsoft ecosystem of apps that includes Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365. That means it works seamlessly with other Microsoft tools, like calendar and schedule apps for Outlook.

In fact, there’s a dedicated plugin that gives Outlook for Windows or Mac additional meeting features. That includes buttons to create meetings, appointments, and join from your calendar. Teams also includes chat and other collaboration features. If you’re working on a doc, spreadsheet, or presentation with a coworker and need to get on a call to iron out some details, you’re just a couple of clicks away.

Joining a meeting works with links, calendar invites, chats, phone calls, and notifications on your laptop, desktop, or mobile device. If you are already entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem, using Microsoft Teams is almost a no-brainer. Microsoft Teams is available for free with a 100 participant capacity and a 60-minute meeting limit. It also offers paid plans that give you more features, like higher participant capacities, longer meeting times, personal file storage, desktop versions of Microsoft Office, and more depending on the tier level.

Final Verdict

There are dozens of video conference apps and platforms to choose from, which can make it hard to find the best for your needs. Whether you want to host a simple video conference that works on the web or prefer a desktop platform’s robust tools, there’s something out there for everyone.

We’re big fans of the ultra-popular platform Zoom as well as the free tools in Google Meet. But depending on your needs, there could be something that provides exactly what you’re looking for.

Compare the Best Video Conferencing Software

Software  Cost Meeting Capacity Time Limit Integrations Feature Highlights
Zoom
Best Overall
Free/paid plans ranging from $150 to $300 per year per user 100 to 1,000 40 min for 30 hours Many/extensive Host large meetings, user-friendly
Whereby
Best for Freelancers and Solopreneurs
Free to $15 per month 50 45 minutes for no limit Limited Simple to join on the web
Slack
Best for In-House Meetings
Free to $12.50 per month per user 15  No limit Many/extensive Works inside of Slack platform
Skype
Best Value
Free to $2.99 per month 100 to 250 4 hours Microsoft / Skype connect Free to use
Google Meet
Best Free Option 
Free to $8 per month per user 100 to 150  24 hours Many / extensive Free and easy to use
Microsoft Teams
Best for Calendar Integrations
Free to $20 per user per month 100 to 10,000 1 hour for 24 hours Microsoft Office / Microsoft 365 Integrates closely with Microsoft Outlook and Office suite

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Most Important Features in Video Conferencing Software? 

When picking the best video conferencing software, the most important features are reliability and ease of use. After many failures and challenges joining calls, most people are happy to have a system that is easy to use and doesn’t take a lot of time to set up or join. Additionally, the cost can be a factor depending on your needs.

Businesses and entrepreneurs may have additional needs for longer meetings, larger meetings, and recordings that are not important to personal users.

What Are the Benefits of Using Video Conferencing Software?

Video conferencing software allows you to see and talk to someone else anywhere else in the world with a fast internet connection. With this type of software, you can hold live video meetings one one one, with small groups, or for a large audience with ease. Whether you’re pitching a potential client or catching up with your grandma, video conferencing software makes communicating with others easier, especially in a post-COVID society. 

How Much Does Video Conferencing Software Cost?

Video conferencing software varies widely by cost. Many are available for free or with a limited free tier. Others often cost around $10 to $20 per user per month with monthly or annual billing options.

Is It Worth Paying for Video Conferencing Software?

Paying for video conferencing software is worth it depending on your needs. Many people can get by with free tiers or free options and never need to pay for video conferencing software. If you care more about branding, security, and a curated experience for your guests, a paid platform could be worth the money. There are many great options out there with a variety of price points, so you may be able to find just what you need at just the right cost.

How We Chose the Best Video Conferencing Software

To pick the best video conferencing software, we looked at 23 different platforms with a focus on cost, features, and ease of use. A high-quality and fully-featured free plan also helped secure a high ranking.

We tested out many of these platforms to ensure they are easy to use and loaded quickly. Security and ease of entering meetings were a factor as well. For certain categories, we considered the number of supported callers and allowed call length.