Hardphones vs. Softphones: What’s the Difference?

Hardphones vs. Softphones

One of the great things about VoIP phones is that they can adapt to your needs. Whether you travel across the country or stay right at your desk, your VoIP phone system will be able to keep up with whatever you throw at it. As such, there are a variety of VoIP phones out on the market, but they can all fall under one of two categories: hardphones and softphones. Here we go through the details and features of each so that you can determine which type is best for your business.


A hardphone is, essentially, what you think of when you imagine a desk phone. It typically has a base with a handheld receiver, as well as a number pad and an integrated display. The difference, though, between hardphones and traditional phones is that hardphones dial out over an IP network rather than a traditional phone line. They’re basically computers that walk and talk (although not literally) like a telephone.


A hardphone is great for people who want a traditional desk phone with a few more bells and whistles. Since a hardphone works over an IP network, you’re able to integrate your phone with your computer and other internet systems in order to send and receive information. Here are just a few of the many features that a VoIP hardphone offers:

Call recording and monitoring

Record calls and store them in the cloud for easy access for all employees. You can also let managers monitor phone calls in real time by listening and taking part in calls.


With conference calling, you can have an unlimited number of people on the same call, as well as a permanent dial-in number and conference code.

Software Integrations

When a customer calls, their CRM information will pop up on your computer screen.

Call reporting & wallboard software

Get real-time data and metrics on the calls going in and out of your office.

Voicemail to email transcription

If you receive a voicemail, it can be transcribed and sent to your email for easy access.

Who should use a hardphone?

While hardphones can be used by anyone, they’re best for people who need to handle and monitor multiple calls. In that respect, supervisors, managers, and receptionists are all people who would most benefit from using a hardphone.


Hardphones can range anywhere from $40 to $400—it all depends on the features it has, your call volume, your office size, and so on. Most businesses, however, can operate from Mitel 5330 IP which runs at $95.


A softphone is a type of software that can be downloaded onto any device with a speaker and microphone. This can range from smartphones to desktops. Since a softphone doesn’t need an actual base or handheld receiver, it’s often much cheaper and easier to implement than hardphones. You can even take it with you if you plan on traveling in the near future. Nevertheless, keep in mind that softphones may have poorer call quality than hardphones since the device you’re using isn’t dedicated to taking or receiving calls.


Softphones act like a normal phone, receiving and placing calls, recording voicemails, and more. They have all of the features available for hardphones (listed above) with the exception of more advanced features such as parking calls, call monitoring, and call presence (a lit extensions indicator next to each extension in use).

Who should use a softphone?

Softphones are excellent choices for people who telecommute or travel often as it ensures you’re always connected even while out of the office. They can also be used in the office by people in supporting roles, such as a salesperson, a telemarketer, a debt collector, among others.


Softphones are extremely affordable. It only costs a user $1/month to their cellphone bill, and $1/month for each softphone license.

Can you use both a hardphone and a softphone?

Yes! Using both a hardphone and a softphone is a smart way to handle scalability and growth. If you have people who are in and out of the office, then having both a hardphone and a softphone would be extremely beneficial to them. A softphone license can also be purchased and added to a phone system within minutes, allowing you to simply and cheaply add phone lines while your business is growing.

Want to learn more about VoIP phones and phone systems? Then give Vaspian a call at 1-855-827-7426 today.

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