Best 7 Affordable Video Conferencing Software Platforms

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Choosing the right video conferencing software for your specific needs is critical if you work from home or run a small business remotely, even if you come into an office on some days. Some providers offer tools that are designed for larger teams that share many files and hold virtual meetings with tens of participants, while others are more suitable for small teams that communicate mostly in 1-on-1 video sessions. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, as each organization has its own particular needs and budget.

We reviewed and tested many of the providers that might be considered the best video conferencing platforms today. Below we listed our top affordable picks to help you better understand your options before you make your choice.

Best Free and Cheap Video Conferencing Platforms

ProviderMonthly Price RangeFree Plan
Google Meet$0 to $18Up to 100 Participants (60-minute call limit)
Zoom$0 to $25Up to 100 Participants (40-minute call limit)
Microsoft Teams$0 to $12.50Up to 100 Participants (60-minute call limit)
Webex$0 to $12Up to 100 Participants (50-minute call limit)
GoToMeeting$12 to $16Not Available
SkypeSubject to usageUp to 50 Participants
Zoho Meeting$0 to $16Up to 100 Participants (60-minute call limit)

1. Google Meet

Previously known as Google Hangouts Meet, Google Meet is part of the Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) suite of collaboration and productivity tools. Google Meet provides enterprise-class conferencing services for organizations of all sizes. Users can integrate this video platform with a full range of Google products, including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar and more.

As with all Google products, the ease-of-use is top notch; even the least tech savvy team members will quickly learn to master most of the features, especially if they’ve used Gmail in the past. In addition, it’s worth noting that the call quality with Google Meet was easily the clearest and most reliable among all the providers we tested.

Meet automatically displays the speaker’s video feed, but you can also view it in gallery mode. Google has improved the sound and video quality of its platform and reduced the amount of noise within it to remain competitive. You can host a meeting for up to 60 minutes with a free Google Account. Premium features are available to businesses, schools, and other organizations, including live streaming to up to 100,000 viewers. If you want to enjoy any of the premium Google Meet features, you’ll need to sign up for Google Workspace, which comes with email hosting, file storage and other business tools.

PlanPriceMeeting Participants
Google Meet (free)FreeUp to 100 (60-minute call limit)
Business Starter$6/user/monthUp to 100
Business Standard$12/user/ monthUp to 150
Business Plus$18/user/ monthUp to 500
EnterpriseCustom quoteUp to 500

Each plan offers:

  • Ability to join via desktop, PC, tablet, or mobile device
  • No downloading required to join the meeting
  • Waiting rooms
  • Scheduling
  • Virtual whiteboard for collaboration
  • Data encryption
  • Digital whiteboard

Best For: Teams of all sizes that communicate frequently about documents they work on together and need reliable, easy-to-use features for managing their day-to-day workflow.

Learn more about Google Meet >>

2. Zoom

Zoom is often the first name that comes to mind for most companies when exploring options for cloud-based video communication. Users can host and record virtual meetings, conferences, office hours, family and friend chats using this free video-conferencing tool.

The platform once had major vulnerabilities that have since been resolved, such as Zoombombing. Meeting locks, waiting rooms, passcodes, and removal of participants have now been made available to users to prevent unwanted guests from entering conference calls. Meeting organizers can also restrict attendees’ access to some meeting features.

You can also pin important contacts and messages at the top of your screen by staring at them and start meetings by right-clicking on any contact’s name. If you sign up for a free account, your meetings will be limited to 40 minutes for, but up to 100 participants can attend and take advantage of features such as sharing their screens, breakout rooms, and local recording.

Furthermore, it has a “meet now” button, allowing users to start their meetings immediately. With the new “filter” feature, users can customize their screens with stickers and colors during meetings.

Zoom offers 4 plans – 1 free plan and 3 paid options that are billable on both a monthly and annual basis.

PlanPriceMeeting Participants
BasicFreeUp to 100 (40-minute call limit)
Pro$14.99/user/monthUp to 100
Business$19.99/user/monthUp to 300
Business Plus$25/user/monthUp to 300
EnterpriseCustom quoteUp to 1000

Each plan offers:

  • Unlimited number of group and one-on-one meetings
  • Local meeting recording
  • Personal meeting ID
  • Outlook and Google Calendar integration
  • Virtual backgrounds
  • Online support
  • Breakout rooms
  • Spotlight up to 9 simultaneous screens
  • Private and group-in meeting chat messages
  • Ability to share screens
  • Remote control
  • Waiting room
  • Streaming to social media

Best For: Small teams in need of a free robust video conference tool, those who require breakout rooms to collaborate with smaller teams, teams with a high level of team collaboration via video calls, and remote workers primarily communicating via mobile devices.

Learn more about Zoom >>

3. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams combines video calling, audio conferencing, instant messaging, and team collaboration tools into a single workspace. You can make and receive video calls on both Mac and Windows desktop and mobile devices. You can integrate Teams with popular CRM applications, schedule meetings instantly, use breakout conference rooms, and more.

A real-time team collaboration tool with in-app file sharing and co-authoring, translations into over 35 languages, and whiteboards make it a smart choice for international teams. The ‘Together Mode’ is designed to help eliminate meeting fatigue and foster teamwork among geographically diverse remote employees. This mode uses AI segmentation that creates a virtual auditorium where every meeting participant is visible at all times. Users can now customize their meeting views even further by viewing shared content together and viewing participants side-by-side. A chat bubble that appears when participants type can keep viewers interested.

Microsoft Teams offers 1 free plan and 3 paid plans, billable on either a monthly or annual basis. It’s critical to note that all 3 paid plans require a year-long commitment whereas the free plan does not. Also, it’s worth noting that the 2 more expensive, Microsoft 365 plans come with email hosting and Microsoft Office for your team to use.

PlanPriceMeeting Participants
Microsoft Teams (free)FreeUp to 100 (60-minute call limit)
Microsoft Teams Essentials$4/user/monthUp to 300
Microsoft 365 Business Basic$6/user/ monthUp to 300
Microsoft 365 Business Standard$12.50/user/ monthUp to 300

 Each plan offers:

  • Custom backgrounds
  • Noise Suppression
  • Pre-scheduled meetings
  • Unlimited searchable chat messages
  • Screen sharing capabilities
  • Real-time collaboration with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Two-way data encryption
  • Personal file storage and sharing with OneDrive

Best For: Teams that communicate primarily through video chats and need access to more advanced team collaboration and communication features. It’s also a good choice if you’re looking for a free option and will upgrade to a paid plan once you get more comfortable with it.

Learn more about Microsoft Teams >>

4. Webex

Webex is an all-in-one virtual meeting platform that combines team chat, video communication, calling, and team collaboration tools. 

Webex breakout rooms are not only ideal for holding brainstorming sessions in small groups at meetings but are also used for employee training. For every conference session, administrators can create up to 100 breakout sessions with 100 participants each, and broadcast messages to these rooms when necessary. During these smaller sessions, participants can utilize app and desktop shared screens, whiteboard tools, and the “Ask for Help” button.

One of its features is the Webex Meeting Assistant, a voice-activated AI bot that takes notes during meetings, identifies meeting highlights, transcribes in real-time and provides closed-captioning, automates recap emails, and schedules follow-up meetings.

Webex offers several different product categories, each with different plans from which to choose. For meetings it offers 3 different plans.

PlanPriceMeeting Participants
BasicFreeUp to 100 (50-minute call limit)
Meet$12/user/monthUp to 200
EnterpriseCustom quoteUp to 1000

Each plan offers:

  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Noise removal
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Virtual backgrounds
  • Public and private chat
  • Breakout rooms
  • Screen sharing

Best For: Growing companies with large teams that require many interactive features during conference calls.

Learn more about Webex >>

5. GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting has many enhanced features that make it a much more competitive web conferencing tool than in the past. Among these features is risk-based authentication, which automatically detects and alerts users to potentially problematic behavior like new logins from new devices. With the new note-taking feature, meeting attendees can take notes directly within the GoToMeeting interface, where they are automatically saved and can be shared with others.

The Smart Meeting Assistant leverages machine learning to identify meeting actions and highlights, so essential information can be conveyed to people who weren’t there. It is especially beneficial to smaller businesses since team members will be less available for meetings than they would be at a larger corporation with many employees who could easily fill in during meetings. Although meeting analytics are limited, individual user performance information is available and admin reports can be downloaded. 

Three plans are available, 2 of which are at similar price points, none of which are free. Companies that need to sign up many employees can opt for an Enterprise plan which comes with training for their teams and volume discounts.

PlanPriceMeeting Participants
Professional$12/user/monthUp to 150
Business$16/user/monthUp to 250
EnterpriseCustom quoteUp to 250

Each plan offers:

  • Dial-in access
  • Conference calling
  • Screen sharing
  • Unlimited meetings
  • No time restrictions on meetings
  • Apple and Android mobile app
  • Personal meeting room link
  • SSL and AES-256-bit encryption
  • Custom background
  • Single sign-on
  • Integration with Slack, Office 365, Salesforce, and more
  • 24/7 customer support

Best For: Small-to-midsize teams that have a high volume of lengthy meetings. Additionally, it’s great for teams that use third-party tools like Slack for more advanced team collaboration, and therefore don’t need a native team chat platform.

Learn more about GoToMeeting >>

6. Skype

Skype is an IP telephony service that offers free calling between subscribers and low-cost calling to non-subscribers. Aside from telephone calls, Skype also offers file transfers, texting, video chat, and videoconferencing. It is available for desktop computers, notebook computers, tablets, mobile phones, and other mobile devices. Skype also produces its own line of phones.

This service comes with a softphone application that can be downloaded to any Windows, Apple, Linux, or Windows Mobile computer. Calls to regular phones can be made through SkypeOut, which is a feature that charges a flat fee per year or a lets you sign up for a prepaid account.

Skype offers free and low-cost calls as well as easy setup and fairly reliable audio quality. When using Skype on a desktop computer, you just need to plug in a headset, a specialized VoIP phone, or an analog phone adapter. To make a call, simply click the icon next to the contact, just as you do for instant messaging.

Skype’s most popular features are free to use. Creating an account and downloading the program are free of charge. There are, however, some Skype features that cost money, although they won’t be relevant in most cases. Skype also uses advertisements to generate revenues. Generally, Skype’s paid features involve using it to communicate with landlines or mobile phones (or the other way around), especially across borders. The fees are usually not an issue if everyone in the conversation is using Skype.

Each plan offers:

  • Free video chats with up to 50 participants and no time limit
  • Recording functions for meetings
  • Enterprise-grade security
  • Comprehensive online help
  • Integrated VoIP service
  • Available on multiple platforms and devices

Best For: Small organizations that make frequent international phone calls. Ideal for small sales teams.

Learn more about Skype >>

7. Zoho Meeting

Zoho is a web browser based online meeting platform that specializes in secure communication. It doesn’t require third-party applications to function, nor does it offer meeting administrators advanced controls for accessing attendees’ personal information. Additionally, only the host is able to record meetings and share those recordings with other attendees. Data encryption and two-factor authentication are also included.

Whenever anyone joins a meeting, users will receive a notification, as well as the option to mute or remove participants. You can invite, follow up with, and collect RSVPs from attendees using automated emails. Meeting links can be easily incorporated into invitations.

A Zoho Bookings integration is ideal for organizations that require clients to book appointments or meetings online. In contrast, Zoho Projects integration is ideal for companies that need project management features on communication tools.

Zoho Meeting offers a free version, and each of its paid plans offers a free 14-day trial.

PlanPriceMeeting Participants
FreeFreeUp to 100 (60-minute call limit)
Meeting$3/user/monthUp to 250
Webinar$16/user/monthUp to 3000

Each plan offers:

  • 3 simultaneous video feeds
  • Add meetings to the calendar
  • Screen and application sharing
  • Meeting polls
  • Instant and pre-scheduled meetings
  • Meeting RSVPs
  • Meeting reminder notifications
  • Google Chrome extension
  • Android smartphone and iOS app
  • Mute and remove meeting participants

Best For: Companies with under 100 employees that are concerned with privacy and strict industry regulations. Zoho is also a great choice for those that are looking for an all-in-one video conferencing solution and are therefore less concerned with extensive third-party software integrations. Small businesses relying mostly on pre-scheduled meetings will benefit the most from Zoho Meeting.

Learn more about Zoho Meeting >>

Summary

There are many great options to choose from when deciding on a video conferencing software platform for your business or organization. The right one for you really depends on the exact features you need and your budget. Any of the providers listed above are fine options, though some are likely better suited for your needs. If you’ve read our recommendations above and are still not sure where to start, you’re probably best of just starting with a free version of Zoom before committing to any paid plans. Once you gain some experience as a free user, you’ll get a much better idea of exactly which features you need to have and what kind of provider you should choose when the time comes to upgrade to a paid plan.

Frequently Asked Questions When Choosing a Video Conferencing Platform

What are the benefits of signing up with a video conferencing platform?

When it comes to communicating with coworkers operating at different locations, video conferencing is the best solution. Aside from reducing travel expenses and making remote work more effective, video conferencing also eliminates back-and-forth email communication hassles. A professional service will offer features for making meetings more productive such as screen sharing, hand raising, whiteboarding and more.

For those using video conferencing to communicate with customers and vendors, video conferencing can help build trust in way that phone calls cannot. In addition to saving money on business travel, it’s much more scalable, as it allows you to have many more face-to-face meetings each day than if you were to schedule physical meetings.

How much does video conferencing cost?

There are several options for free video conferencing that are quite reliable, including plans offered by Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Skype. However, if you have several people on your team, or if you need to project a more professional appearance, you’ll likely need to upgrade to a paid plan. You can expect to pay between $10 to $20 per user per month, thought there are some cheaper options out there. But keep in mind that many providers come with lots of additional productivity tools that you may find helpful as well, such as file storage space and document sharing.

Are there free video conferencing platforms?

Yes. We recommend Zoho, Google Meet, Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams. They all offer paid plans as well, though you may not need them, especially if you’re not a heavy user.

What equipment do I need to have when having a video conference call?

All of the leading providers allow you to hold video calls via smartphone or computer with a camera. Should you want to hold a call with a large group people in a meeting room, then a web cam and speaker set will make it easer to see and hear everyone more clearly. These are usually sold in sets.

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