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Written by
Katy Ratican
18 May 2022
5 minutes

Hardphones vs softphones: A comparison

A detailed hardphones vs softphones comparison to help you choose the right option for your business
Hardphones versus softphones

Hardphones and softphones are the two options you’ll hear about if you’re in the market for a VoIP phone. But which one has better features? Which one is more cost-effective? Which one suits remote work? To make it easier for you, here’s a detailed comparison of hardphones vs softphones for small businesses.

Let’s begin the analysis by understanding what we mean by a softphone.

What is a softphone?

A softphone is software that allows you to make and receive calls from any device that is connected to the internet. The electronic device that you already use, whether it’s a laptop, smartphone, laptop or tablet, becomes a softphone when you download and use the software.

The device you use should have a speaker and a microphone. You don’t have to buy a specific phone or hardware to make and receive calls.

Advantages of softphones

No extra device needed

The biggest advantage is that you don’t have to spend money on a new device. The one that you already have is enough if it has a speaker and microphone. You also don’t have to worry about its maintenance, since it is software.

Easier rollout

Download the software and you and your team will have a softphone. There is no need to install hardphones at desks, which can be both expensive and time-consuming. In other words, there is little disruption to work when you get started with a softphone.

Suited for remote work

Installing hardphones at home is cumbersome and time-consuming if you have remote employees. But getting started with a softphone is exceptionally easy. It’s just like downloading any other software and for employees, it will be just like Skype or Zoom.

What is a hardphone?

A hardphone is the traditional desk phone that everyone is familiar with. It comes with a handheld receiver, a display and a number pad. But just because they look like conventional phones doesn’t mean they’re the same.

Hardphones, unlike traditional devices, use the internet to make and receive phone calls. It doesn’t require any IT training to use a hardphone and there is no software to be installed.

Advantages of hardphones

More reliable

A softphone’s performance depends on the build and speed of your device and the other applications running on it. A hardphone is designed specifically for making and receiving calls. This makes it more reliable since its power isn’t being used anywhere else.

Not dependent on a device

If your device were to get stuck or if something else were to happen to it, you won’t be able to use your softphone. A hardphone doesn’t require an external device. Irrespective of your computer or smartphone’s capabilities, you will be able to make and receive calls.

Requires no training

Using new software may create challenges for some. But everyone knows how to operate a traditional phone device and so, everyone should be able to operate a hardphone.

Comparison at a glance: Hardphones vs softphones

Call quality

Hardphones: Since they are an exclusive device, the call quality will be better.

Softphones: Call quality would depend on the network connection and the phone’s hardware.


Hardphones: More reliable because there’s a dedicated device.

Softphones: If other apps are running in the background or if the phone’s running on low battery power, it would be less reliable.


Hardphones: The biggest problem with hardphones is that they’re glued to a desk. You can only make and receive calls from that location.

Softphones: You can use your softphone from anywhere that has an internet connection, which makes it the ideal solution for remote work.

Ease of use

Hardphones: Easy to use since it operates like a traditional landline phone.

Softphones: People are more familiar with using new technology and apps, but occasionally a user might see it as a bit of a learning curve.


Hardphones: Since there is a device involved, it’s more expensive.

Softphones: You don’t need any device, which makes it exceptionally cost-effective.

Softphones: The better choice for small businesses

A hardphones vs softphone comparison tells you that softphones are the right choice for small businesses, freelancers, startups and independent creatives. They’re considerably cheaper, easy to set up, use and maintain and are the perfect solution for remote work.

You don’t have to worry about a new device. You don’t have to be at your desk to make and receive calls. You don’t have to pay high bills. What you do have is a world of advanced features.

Considering these advantages, it’s clear why startups, small businesses and freelancers are getting rid of their legacy phones and migrating to softphones.

Grow your business further with Chalkboard

Chalkboard is a softphone built for the needs of small businesses. You get a virtual number that you can use from anywhere by merely downloading the software. You can organise your contacts and broadcast SMS to entire groups. Unlike a hardphone, Chalkboard also gives you messaging features for conversational marketing.

Download Chalkboard and try it now. It’s a softphone plus a marketing machine for your business. 🤳

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