What Are the Best Zoom Alternatives?

Avoid Zoombombing with these alternative video conference apps.

Best Free Zoom Alternative
Skype
Skype
Free
  • Check
    Free video conferencing
  • Check
    Four-hour time limit per call
  • X
    Supported by ads
Best Integration Zoom Alternative
Google Meet
Google Meet
Free–$8.00
/mo
  • Check
    Integrates with Google Drive
  • Check
    250+ meeting participants
  • X
    Designed for Gmail users
Best Bundle Zoom Alternative
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams
Free–$20.00/user
/mo
  • Check
    Comes with Microsoft Office
  • Check
    Lots of features
  • X
    Designed for Microsoft users
Most Accessible Zoom Alternative
Zoho
Zoho
Free–$12.00/host
/mo
  • Check
    Call-in conferencing
  • Check
    Webinar features
  • X
    No recordings on free plan
Most Secure Zoom Alternative
Wire
$5.83–$9.50
/mo
  • Check
    Most security features
  • Check
    End-to-end encryption
  • X
    Low participant capacity
Tyler Abbott
Staff Writer, Mobile & Wireless
Read More
Published on December 31, 2020
9 min read

It feels like as a society, we’ve accepted Zoom to be the best video conferencing software out there. It’s kind of like how we all decided to dress like Avril Lavigne in the early 2000s. Turns out there’s plenty of Zoom alternatives out there that are more secure and offer more features. Kudos to all you people out there who haven’t had to delete your old MySpace pictures with your best Avril looks.

For the sake of transparency, the Reviews.org team uses Zoom for its video conferencing. But since we use Zoom, we know all the reasons why people start to consider alternatives. Thankfully, we haven’t been hacked mid-meeting, but we have had technical issues and have been suddenly kicked off meetings.

The Reviews.org team belongs to the over 25% of people who currently use video conference software for their jobs, it feels safe to assume that number will only increase.1 Let’s take a look at the best Zoom alternatives that might be a better fit for you.



What’s so great about Zoom anyways?

Zoom has captured the moment and everyone (including us) seems to use it for video conferencing. Zoom’s biggest claim to fame is that it allows for up to 500 participants at a time in a video conference with its Zoom Enterprise package. That fact alone is probably why so many big companies use Zoom, and it may have had a trickle-down effect on your book club.

Along with having the largest capacity for meeting participants, Zoom is fairly simple to use (although my oldest brother can’t figure it out), streams reliably, and offers a free plan to boot. Sure, that free plan will end your call automatically after 40 minutes automatically, but you can always just start a new one.

Security issues with Zoom

The biggest problem Zoom currently faces are security issues. There’s a reason why the Pentagon no longer uses Zoom as its conference-call software of choice. With Zoom’s rise to prominence, it’s struggled keeping user identity and private conversations safe from hackers. It’s safe to say that Zoom has the biggest target on its back right now.

In the meantime, there are plenty of other video conferencing apps that don’t have Zoom’s rocky security history and can even offer more value depending on your situation.

Best video conferencing apps compared to Zoom
Provider
Price
Max meeting participants
Recording storage
Learn more

Skype

Free

100

Stored for 30 days

Google Meet

Free–$8.00/mo.

250

15 GB/user–Unlimited

Microsoft Teams

Free–$20.00/user/mo.

10,000

None–Stored for 21 days

Zoho Meeting

Free–$12.00/host/mo.

100

10 meetings

Wire

$5.83–$9.50/mo.

Video: 12
Audio: 25

Local storage

Zoom

Free–$19.99/mo.

500

1 GB–Unlimited

Skype: Best free Zoom alternative

Talk for hours without being interrupted
Skype free plan
Plan
Price
Max meeting participants
Recording storage
Learn more

Skype

Free

100

Stored for 30 days

Pros
  • Free video conferencing
  • Uninterrupted video calls
Cons
  • Ads

When it comes to free Zoom alternatives, Skype is as good as it gets. In fact, Skype even beats out what Zoom offers in its basic package. The advantage Skype has over basic Zoom can be clearly seen at about the 40-minute mark of every conversation. Allow me to demonstrate:

Conversation on Skype around the 40-minute mark

“So, anyways, I actually ended up watching a few Joe Exotic from Tiger King music videos, and they’re terrible.”

Conversation on Zoom around the 40-minute mark

“So, anyways, I actually ended up watching a few Joe Exotic from Tiger King music videos, and …” (*Zoom shuts down the meeting*)

The biggest difference between basic Skype and basic Zoom is your call allowance time. Zoom allows for 40 minutes of video conferencing for free, while Skype will let you talk for up to four hours at a time, giving you plenty of time to explain the nuance of your Joe Exotic music video takes.

I use Skype to have long, usually Lakers-based conversations with my brothers.

The biggest downside with Skype is that it uses ads to keep its services free. So if you're not a fan of even small banner ads sitting around nonchalantly, you may want to look elsewhere.

Does anything cost money on Skype?

The only thing you’ll need to pay for on Skype is credit to make international phone calls. You can call phones and send text messages to folks abroad, like you would with a cell phone plan. Check out the rates for international phone calls here.

How does Skype make money?
Light Bulb

I always wonder how free things make money. What’s the catch? Skype really only makes money on selling Skype credit for calls directly to phones internationally and domestically, and it also sells ad space in the corner of the app (thankfully nothing very intrusive).

Google Meet: Best integration

Google Meet syncs with your Google Drive
Google Meet prices
Plan
Price
Max meeting participants
Recording storage
Learn more

Free

Free

100

None

Workspace Essentials

$8.00/mo.

150

Saved to Google Drive

Workspace Enterprise

Contact Google sales for pricing

250

Saved to Google Drive

Pros
  • Syncs with your Google Drive
  • Tons of recording space
Cons
  • Specific to Gmail users

If your whole internet life revolves around your Gmail account (guilty), then Google Hangouts can make a lot of sense. You can easily start up Hangout sessions with your Google contacts without having to walk anybody through the process of downloading an app or creating an account. Honestly, half the battle of video conferencing is getting everyone set up (SNL captured this perfectly), and Google Hangouts can take that headache out of the equation. Emphasis on the word “can” in the previous sentence because if people don’t use Gmail, then Hangouts won’t work effectively.

Perhaps the coolest thing about the Google integration is that you can save recordings directly in your Google Drive. This gives you plenty of space to save recorded conversations and easily share them out with fellow Gmail users. If you already use Google programs for your daily life, then Google Hangouts makes a lot of sense as a Zoom alternative.

You can click the camera button while chatting with one of your Google contacts and start video conferencing.
Source: Google

What’s the difference between the Google Meet Business version and Enterprise version?

On the surface, it looks like the Business and Enterprise offer up pretty much the same thing, but Enterprise likely costs more every month. (What else can you expect when Google asks you to call for pricing?) Aside from price, the main difference between the Business and Enterprise versions are the security measures.

Below is a screenshot of the security features offered by the Business version (on the left) and the Enterprise version (on the right).

Google Hangouts Security

Source: Google

As you can tell, the Enterprise version has way more security features, like data loss prevention and access controls.

Microsoft Teams: Best bundle Zoom alternative

Get the whole Microsoft Suite along with your video conferencing app
Microsoft Office plans
Plan
Price
Max meeting participants
Recording storage
Learn more

Microsoft Teams

Free

100

None

Microsoft 365 Business Basic

$5.00/user/mo.

300

Stored for 21 days

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

$12.50/user/mo.

300

Stored for 21 days

Office 365 E3

$20.00/user/mo.

10,000

Stored for 21 days

Pros
  • Comes with Microsoft programs
  • Robust features
Cons
  • Comes with Microsoft programs

You might think that repetition of "comes with Microsoft programs" is a mistake, but I assure you, it’s intentional.

Bundling Microsoft Teams with the other Microsoft Suite programs is either an awesome thing, or it’s something that will just go to waste. If you regularly use Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and other Office programs over their Google counterparts, then getting Microsoft Team bundled with everything else is an amazing deal. If you won’t even use the Microsoft Suite of programs, then you could find better value with Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype.

Microsoft Teams Screenshots
Microsoft Teams is Microsoft’s team communication software. It looks similar to Slack. Source: Microsoft
What about the free version of Microsoft Teams?
Light Bulb

You can always get the free, stand-alone version of Microsoft Teams, but it doesn’t offer any recording storage, scheduling features, or security. Skype offers a lot more bang for your (figuratively speaking) buck.

If you decide to go with the paid version of Microsoft Team, you do get a lot of value out of the package. Along with the other Microsoft programs, you get 500 GB of storage space and in-depth scheduling features. All in all, the paid version of Microsoft Team is a robust Zoom alternative.

What’s the difference between the Business Essentials and Business Premium plans?

As of writing this article, there are two different paid plans that include Microsoft Team and its video conferencing software—Office 365 Business Essentials ($5/month) and Office 365 Business Premium ($12.50/month). The main difference is that the Essentials package comes with the Microsoft web app versions of Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, and the Premium comes with the fully-fleshed out, downloadable versions of those programs.

Zoho: Most accessible Zoom alternative

The easiest way to start a conference call or webinar
Zoho Meeting plans
Plan
Price
Max meeting participants
Recording storage
Learn more

Free Plan

Free

3

None

Meeting 10

$3.00/host/mo.

10

10 recordings

Meeting 25

$6.00/host/mo.

25

10 recordings

Meeting 50

$9.00/host/mo.

50

10 recordings

Meeting 100

$12.00/host/mo.

100

10 recordings

Pros
  • Easy call-in features
  • Webinar support
Cons
  • Free plan doesn't offer meeting recordings

If you want to make the most accessible video conference or webinar, then Zoho is your best bet. Most video conferencing apps will expect participants to set up an account or download an app, but with Zoho, your meeting participants can just click a link on their computers or call in using their phones.

Imagine you wanted to organize a family conference call, but you know that grandma and grandpa probably couldn’t figure out how to set up a Zoom conference call. You can set up a Zoho conference call and just tell grandma and grandpa to click the link or enter the phone number you email to them. They can join in the call without having to download anything or create an account.

Zoho Screenshot

Zoho makes joining a conference call super easy. You can just send you a link.
Source: Zoho

Out of all the Zoom alternatives, Zoho is the easiest way to start up a video conference. And now that there's finally a free version, you can enjoy Zoho without forking over some cash. As long as you need to meet with a small group of two teammates plus you, that is.

Webinar features

Speaking of accessibility, Zoho has a built-in program for helping you set up a webinar series. These programs will cost you more than the $8 a month the Zoho Meeting package costs, but in theory, you could earn your money back with a successful webinar series.

The webinar features include registration moderation, international dial-in numbers, and will even give you detailed reports about how people are engaging with your webinar. It basically takes all of the complicated out of hosting a webinar series.

Wire: Best secure Zoom alternative

The safest way to video conference
Wire video call plans
Plan
Price
Max meeting participants
Recording storage
Learn more

Wire Pro

$5.83/mo.

Video: 12Audio: 25

None

Wire Enterprise

$9.50/mo.

Video: 12Audio: 25

None

Pros
  • Advanced security features
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Max capacity

The most secure Zoom alternative that we could find is an up-and-coming software called Wire. Both of its plans are secured by end-to-end encryption, but its Enterprise plan offers a handful more security features.

Here are all the advanced security measures that Wire offers in its Enterprise plan to protect your conversations:

  • SAML 2.0 integration
  • SCIM provisioning integrations
  • Wire API for services integrations
  • Premium Support with SLA

For those of you who have no idea what those things are, rest assured they’re the latest in internet security. That’s why robotics labs, non-profits, and other technology companies like Intel use Wire for their Zoom alternative.

Wire looks similar to other Zoom alternatives, but there’s a lot happening behind the scenes to ensure maximum security.
Source: Medium

Wire has put all its eggs in the security basket so far, which explains the low low maximum video conferencing participants number. But we’ve already got word from one of their representatives that they plan on increasing the number to 12 meeting participants at a time for video conferencing. Hopefully that update will roll out in the next couple of months.

For having so many security features, it’s pretty impressive that Wire only costs $5 or $9 a month. You’d think that it would cost double that for the amount of stuff you get. You just have to live with the small participant capacity.

Other Zoom alternatives

There are tons of other Zoom alternatives out there, beyond the four we recommend here. Let’s go through the honorable mention alternatives to Zoom lightning-round style.

  • Slack: Slack has a built-in video conferencing capability, but it maxes out at 15 participants at a time. If you already use Slack, it’s super easy to make 1-on-1 calls.
  • Discord: This communication software was made with gamers in mind, but it works as a free video conferencing platform as well. You can have 10 video conference participants at a time.
  • FaceTime: This is the built-in video conferencing app on Apple devices. You can only FaceTime with other people with Apple products. On the plus side, FaceTime allows for a whopping 32 video conference participants at a time.
  • WhatsApp: As opposed to FaceTime, WhatsApp will work on both Android and Apple phones. You can have video conferences with up to 16 people at a time.
  • GoToMeeting: GoToMeeting video conferencing has all the features you would expect from a top-of-the-line platform, and especially shines when it comes to hosting meetings from your phone. We just wish it was a few dollars less expensive.
  • FreeConference: FreeConference does offer a free-tiered plan, but you only can get five participants at a time for video conferencing. There are paid plans that include more features, including a huge number of international call-in numbers.

Video conferencing depends on a reliable internet connection

Your video conferencing streaming quality will only be as good as your internet connection. To have a smooth stream with video conferencing, you want somewhere between 25 to 50 Mbps for download speed, with at least 1 Mbps for your upload speed.

But if you share your internet connection or like to watch Netflix while you keep your camera off and listen to your meeting, you'll need to look at 100 Mbps plans or thereabouts instead. (And we won't tell about the Netflix.)

If your well-made points constantly get reduced to static on video conferences, or if your stream tends to freeze you while making unflattering faces, you may want to upgrade your internet connection. We'll help you start your search by checking for internet plans in your zip code.

Look for faster internet plans in your area to support your video calls.

Recap: What are the best Zoom alternatives?

There are tons of Zoom alternatives out there, but we’ve narrowed it down to our five favorites of the bunch. Remember, just because everyone else is using Zoom these days, that doesn’t mean you should too.

Best Zoom alternatives
Provider
Price
Max meeting participants
Recording storage
Learn more

Skype

Free

100

Stored for 30 days

Google Meet

Free–$8.00/user/mo.

250

15 GB/user–Unlimited

Microsoft Teams

Free–$20.00/user/mo.

10,000

None–Stored for 21 days

Zoho Meetings

Free–$12.00/host/mo.

100

10 meetings

Wire

$5.83–$9.50/mo.

Video: 12
Audio: 25

Local storage

  • Best free Zoom alternative: Skype offers the most for the least amount of money. You can have up to 50 people on the same video conference call for free.
  • Best integration Zoom alternative: Google Meet integrates beautifully with a Google account. You can conference with your contacts and save all of your conversations to your Google Drive.
  • Best bundle Zoom alternative: Microsoft Teams. If you are a big fan of Microsoft programs, then bundling your video conferencing software with Microsoft can save you a lot of money.
  • Best accessible Zoom alternative: Zoho is the easiest video conferencing platform for starting up a call. It’s super easy to send out a link or a phone number to invite participants.
  • Best secure Zoom alternative: Wire specializes in end-to-end encryption and high security protocols for video conferencing. For our money, it’s the safest way to host a video conference.

Are we missing any of your favorite Zoom alternatives? Have you had any weird experiences on Zoom that made you want to ditch the platform? Let us know in the comments below.

Sources

Tyler Abbott
Written by
Tyler Abbott
Tyler has been obsessed with watching sports as efficiently as possible since the creation of the DVR. He is always on the lookout for the best tech in TV and wireless so he can watch all the sports and still have enough time to hang out with his baby. He has written about streaming, wireless, and TV for over three years. He hopes the Lakers will eventually get better.

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