VoIP vs. UCaaS

By: Chris Darr
March 17, 2023

These tools are often discussed as if they’re almost identical. They’re not, but because UCaaS includes VoIP calling, it can get confusing if you’re just comparing features. 


Picture this: VoIP is like a deluxe set of crayons. You know, the one with the silver and gold and that built-in sharpener. Nice, right? And the great news is, in this analogy, it costs much less than the measly pack most of us got as kids. It’s definitely an upgrade over a traditional landline. 

However, UCaaS is more like an art set that includes that same deluxe set of crayons, but also has paints and brushes, an easel, plenty of paper and canvas, a palette, and let’s throw in a smock too. Now, you may not need or want all of these things. But if you really want to elevate your collaboration to an art form, this kit has everything you need for less than you’d pay for each individual item. Plus, it all fits into one handy carrying case. 

But let’s back up a second…

What Is VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)?

VoIP is also frequently called cloud voice or managed voice. Instead of a landline, you can place and receive voice calls over the internet. You can use a special VoIP phone for this, get a VoIP adapter for a traditional phone, or use a smart device. 

Depending on your provider, here’s a list of some of the features you can access: 

  • Caller ID
  • Call forwarding
  • Call waiting
  • Conference calling
  • Voicemail
  • Interactive Voice Response
  • Call recording
  • Call blocking
  • Some integration with customer management tools
  • Auto attendant and call routing
  • Call screening
  • Toll-free numbers
  • Voicemail-to-email transcription

What Is UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service)?

Just like the full name indicates, UCaaS includes all the tools your staff need to communicate and collaborate in one amazing platform. The “as a Service” part refers to the setup, security, and ongoing platform management, which you’ll probably want outside help with unless you have a communications expert in-house. 

In addition to VoIP features, here are some popular features you can get with UCaaS: 

  • Video conferencing, with chat capabilities
  • Messaging
  • File sharing and collaboration
  • Polling
  • Integration with third-party tools
  • Robust integration with customer management tools
  • Screen sharing
  • Virtual whiteboards
  • User presence and status updates 
  • Push notifications
  • Project management tools
  • Helpdesk and contact center capabilities
  • Advanced analytics

VoIP vs. UCaaS — Which Is Better for Your Business Communications? 

There’s a myth that small to midsize companies don’t need UCaaS. I find it’s more accurate to talk about how your employees work than how many you have. Generally speaking, if your employees don’t collaborate on projects frequently, you might be quite happy with VoIP…certainly happier than you would be with a traditional landline. 

However, if your employees get frustrated with the number of collaboration tools they’re using, they have frequent video conferencing meetings, and they often need to work on complex projects together, UCaaS would probably be the better choice. 

Still not sure? Check out where your goals are better aligned with VoIP or UCaaS. 

Your Goals



Get the lowest possible cost



Get quick and easy self-management



Access platform from anywhere 



Reduce the number of digital tools



Get quick and easy video and web conferencing tools



Access data from third-party apps without leaving the platform



Improve real-time collaboration  



Looking to Move Beyond Traditional Business Phones?

Many providers offer both services, so one approach you can take is to start with VoIP and see how it goes. If you end up paying for seven separate, overlapping digital tools, and your staff loses precious time inputting data from one platform into another…it’s best to upgrade to UCaaS. 

But it’s a big decision, and you may have additional goals or concerns that didn’t get addressed in this short blog. We’ve also created a more thorough Communication Technology Comparison Guide that’s free to download. 

If you’ve still got any questions on which technology would be the better fit, send them our way!

What Technology is Right For Your Business? Try our flowchart