See All VoIP

Ooma

Est. $150 for hardware
Reviewed
July 2013
by ConsumerSearch
Ooma

Best hardware VoIP

Pros
  • No monthly charges (except taxes/fees)
  • Good call quality
  • Free long distance in U.S.
Cons
  • Steep hardware cost
  • Advanced features incur monthly fee
  • International calls not the cheapest
Where to Buy
 

Bottom line

Ooma (Est. $150 for hardware) differs from other VoIP services in that it charges only for the initial hardware. You start with the Ooma Telo hub (Est. $150), which promises great call quality and works with your regular home phone. If you want more extensions, you have to buy Ooma Telo handsets (Est. $60). There are no monthly fees for the basic service, except for applicable taxes and fees.

Performance

Good call quality. Reviewers at The New York Times and SpotCoolStuff.com both praise the call quality of the Ooma, saying that it's on par with that of Vonage. In agreement is Rick Broida at CNET, who reports better call quality with Ooma Telo than with Vonage, and he and the San Francisco Chronicle's David Einstein both recommend Ooma over Vonage. Ooma Telo also receives good marks for call reliability, but technical support gets mixed reviews. Live customer service chat is available through the Ooma website.

Plans and costs

Fee for hardware only. The only fee for basic Ooma VoIP service is the cost of the Ooma hardware, but you will have to pay government taxes and fees every month. You'll need to buy special Ooma handsets (Est. $60) if you want any extensions. Domestic calls are free and international calls start at 1.4 cents per minute, or you can subscribe to an international plan for $10 per month for 1000 minutes to 61 countries.

However, calling another Ooma customer anywhere in the world is free. The Ooma Premier Services package (Est. $10 per month), includes three-way calling and voice mail forwarding; a 60-day free trial is available.

Features

Some features are extra. The free Ooma service has all the basic features including voice mail, caller ID and 911 services, plus a virtual second line, so two people can make calls at the same time. Voice mail, call waiting and caller ID are also included.

Even without the Premier plan, you get email notifications of new voice mail messages, but you'll need to buy a Premier subscription (Est. $10 per month) if you want some of the features that come standard with Vonage, such as three-way calling and voice mail forwarding. Transferring your existing phone number -- free with some VoIP providers -- is a $40 option with the basic Ooma plan. Ooma also has a mobile app for Android and Apple.

Where To Buy
Ooma Telo Free Home Phone Service

 (4,451 reviews)
Buy new: $179.99 $140.99   47 Used & new from $110.99

In Stock. Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping

 

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Ooma is one of the over 20 phone service providers ranked in this ConsumerReports.org chart, based on a survey of 69,000 reader experiences. Each provider gets ratings for reliability, call quality, support and value.

Review: Phone Service Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, May 2011

2. CNET

The editors at CNET highlight the new wireless capability of the Ooma Telo VoIP system. The Wi-Fi adapter is reasonably priced and can act as a wireless bridge.

Review: Ooma Telo Phone System Base, Editors of CNET, Sept. 14, 2011

3. CNET

Rick Broida, who writes The Cheapskate blog for CNET, takes a look at Ooma Telo, comparing it to his current VoIP service, Vonage. He's impressed with Telo's call quality and likes the idea of shedding the monthly bill.

Review: Replace Your Landline With $199 Ooma Telo, Rick Broida, July 12, 2010

4. PCMag.com

The Ooma Telo earns a rating of three out of five stars from Jill Duffy. She likes that you can use a regular handset to make calls and says that the sound quality is "serviceable" and "sometimes choppy, but clear enough." The service's high rates and charges for calls between the United States and Canada draw criticism.

Review: Ooma Telo, Jill Duffy, June 29, 2011

5. PC World

Calling the Ooma Telo an "affordable and versatile landline replacement," PCWorld's Rick Broida gives it 4 out of 5 stars. He highlights several features that are not matched by Vonage or any other VoIP service -- in particular, the optional Bluetooth adapter that links your cell phone to the Telo, allowing you to take incoming mobile calls on your home phone.

Review: Ooma Telo: The Single Best Landline Replacement You Can Buy, Rick Broida, Sept. 20, 2010

6. DSLReports.com

Ooma earns good feedback here, based on about 65 mostly enthusiastic user-written reviews. Users praise it for call quality and ease of use. Recent reviews also report improvements in technical support.

Review: Ooma, Contributors to DSLReports.com, As of July 2013

7. Small Net Builder.com

Receiving full marks for features and reliability in this review, Ooma Telo is praised for its service and call quality in urban areas. With the "highest upfront buy-in cost, but lowest monthly fees" for its basic unit, Deleeuw says that Ooma is nearly identical to Skype in costs.

Review: Ooma Telo, Linx and HD2 Handset Reviewed, Scott Deleeuw, Dec. 10, 2012

8. MaximumPC.com

Gordon Mah Ung recommends the Ooma Telo as an alternative to having a landline at home. Like other reviewers, he had problems with the Telo's installation, and he bemoans the lack of a corded headset jack with the Ooma handset. He states that Telo is definitely cheaper than Vonage if you want just the basic features.

Review: Ooma Telo and Handset Review, Gordon Mah Ung, July 21, 2011

9. Amazon.com

More than 3,000 owners review Ooma here, resulting in an overall rating of 4.4 stars (out of 5). Most of the complaints relate to inaccessible or poor technical support.

Review: Ooma Review- Free Phone Calls, No Monthly Bills, Nadeem Unuth, Not dated

10. About.com

About.com's guide to VoIP awards the Ooma 4 out of 5 stars, citing its cost advantages and clean design as the primary reasons for this rating. Ooma supports 911 calls, something that some VoIP services do not.

Review: Ooma Review- Free Phone Calls, No Monthly Bills, Nadeem Unuth, Not dated

11. Amazon.com

With over 150 reviews from customers, Ooma scores highly for its product but earns complaints for its customer service. The newest reviews are polarized between those who love Ooma and those who award only one or two stars.

Review: Ooma Hub - VoIP Phone Device with No Monthly Phone Service Bills, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2013

12. Costco.com

Over 440 customers of Costco who purchased Ooma Telo Air VoIP award an impressive average of 4.75 stars out of five. Recent reviews are generally very positive, citing saving money, ease of setup and customer service as the main plus points. What negative reviews there are complain of poor sound quality and unresolved problems getting the Ooma Telo to work.

Review: Ooma Telo Air VoIP Telephone Bundle, Contributors to Costco.com, As of July 2013

13. TechnoBuffalo.com

Sean Aune recommends the Ooma Telo for people who want to replace their traditional landlines to save money. He praises the Telo's call quality but complains that the best service features have a fee associated with them.

Review: Ooma Telo Review – So Long, Landlines, Sean P. Aune, Sept. 14, 2011

14. BestBuy.com

With over 200 reviews, customers award the Ooma Telo an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars, giving high marks for performance and value for price. However, the lowest scoring reviews complain that the Ooma fails to work after a short time.

Review: Ooma - Telo VoIP Home Phone Service - Black, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of July 2013

15. The New York Times

This review compares Ooma with Vonage, Skype and magicJack, concluding that Ooma and Vonage have the best call quality plus easy installation and use.

Review: Talk Is Cheap, if You Ask, Eric A. Taub, April 29, 2009

16. SpotCoolStuff.com

This detailed review of the original Ooma compares it with Vonage, magicJack and Skype -- concluding that for U.S. users who make mostly domestic calls, Ooma is the best choice. Call quality rivals that of Vonage, and Ooma costs the least in the long run -- but international calls are cheaper with Vonage, and Vonage customer service is better.

Review: Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?, Editors of SpotCoolStuff.com, March 19, 2009

17. San Francisco Chronicle

In this short article, David Einstein compares Ooma and Vonage, ultimately recommending the former. He says that while Vonage offers free international calls, Ooma's rates are very low, plus there's no monthly fee.

Review: After Up-Front Cost, Ooma Has Edge Over Vonage, David Einstein, Jan. 25, 2010

VoIP Runners Up:

Vonage Est. $12 per month and up

2 picks including: About.com, The New York Times…

Skype Free

1 pick including: Laptop Magazine, Macworld…

Back to top