Softphone vs Hardphone: Which is the Best Option?

With the global VoIP softphone market expected to grow by 143.14% from 2022 to 2030, it begs the question: are softphones better than hardphones? Discover the differences and choose your perfect fit.



Differences between Softphone and Hardphone





Typically fixed features that can only be modified by altering the physical device.

Can often be easily updated or upgraded through software or configuration changes.


Fixed in one location, such as an office desk. Cannot be easily moved around.

Offers high mobility, can be installed and used on smartphones, laptops, and other portable devices.


More expensive due to physical hardware installation.

Cost-efficient, only covers licensing and service fees, no new hardware installation required.


Requires physical installation, involving connecting cables and configuring hardware.

Simple setup, minimal technical know-how required, usually just downloading an app or software.


Limited scalability, requires purchasing and installing hardware when adding new lines.

Highly scalable, users can add phone lines and more phone numbers just by requesting them through the app.

User Interface

Physical buttons, some may have touchscreens.

Software-based GUI with virtual buttons and controls.


Requires physical maintenance and updates.

Requires less maintenance as they can be updated remotely.

Best suited for

Businesses where employees work in the office.

Businesses with remote employees and with fluctuating agent volumes.

What Is a Softphone?

A softphone app lets you make and receive calls on any Internet-connected device, including smartphones and laptops.

​​Unlike a traditional hardphone, it doesn’t need special equipment like a dedicated phone or a SIM card. Instead, it relies on Internet connectivity and VoIP technology.

How Does a Softphone Work?

VoIP technology allows you to make phone calls via the Internet instead of traditional phone lines.

It works like this:

– The device picks up your voice and divides it into small parts.

– It transforms it into binary codes using codec software.

– Then, it sends the packaged data across the Internet to the recipient’s device.

– Finally, it unpacks it and transforms it into audible sound again.

What is a Hardphone?

Hardphones look like old-fashioned desk phones, but instead of regular telephone lines, they use the Internet to make calls.

How Does a Hardphone Work?

Hardphones work similarly to softphones, as they both convert voice into digital data and transmit it to the recipient.

The key difference is that hardphones require a physical telephone, while softphones are connected through an application installed on a device such as a laptop, smartphone, or tablet.


Expand business,
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Premium features



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Customer support



Countries available



Security and data monitoring

Softphone vs Hardphone: Pros & Cons


Save Money

You can install softphones on devices such as laptops, smartphones, or tablets, making them more cost-effective than hardphones. Switching to softphones can save companies up to 50% on expenses, as hardphones require hardware and maintenance.

Work with Flexibility

Softphones can be installed on any internet-connected device, enabling calls from anywhere and supporting remote and mobile communication. They can easily incorporate new features through software updates, adapting to evolving business requirements.

Grow Faster

Softphones let you add and remove users easily. Plus, they’re cost-efficient, helping you save money to invest in business growth.

You’d Depend on Internet

Softphones require a good internet connection for optimal performance. Poor connectivity can lead to dropouts, delays, and audio issues during calls.

Keep Security in Mind

Softphones can be vulnerable to security risks like call interception and eavesdropping. Using encryption, regular updates, and strong authentication is essential to mitigate these risks, typically offered by VoIP providers.

There’s a Steeper Learning Curve

f you’re new to softphones, there’s a learning curve. Unlike traditional phones with simple functions and physical buttons, softphones offer diverse tools and settings. However, they are intuitive, similar to mobile phones.


Ensure High-call Quality

Hardphones provide good call quality as they are directly connected to a dedicated IP network for VoIP calls, ensuring more consistent performance compared to softphones, which depend on internet connections susceptible to bandwidth and other factors.

Guarantee Stability

Hardphones require a good internet connection, which can be achieved through cables. Wired connections are less prone to interference and signal problems than wireless ones, ensuring stable communication, especially in crowded or interference-prone environments.

Learn to Use Hardphone Quickly

Since hardphones have fewer features and functions than softphones, you will find them easier to understand and use.

You’ll Need to Invest More Money

Installing hardphones can be expensive as it requires hardware installation. Additionally, the physical infrastructure needs maintenance over time.

There’s Less Work Flexibility

Hardphones are physically connected to a specific location, limiting your mobility. This can be a disadvantage in modern work environments that value mobility and remote work.

It’s More Difficult to Scale

Hardphones are less scalable due to the need to buy, install, and configure new hardware for additional phones or lines. This process is time-consuming and costly, hindering quick and efficient system expansion.


How to switch to a softphone software from other systems?

Switching to a softphone system involves these key steps:
1. Choose a compatible VoIP provider.
2. Equip users with quality headsets and microphones.
3. Consider transferring your number seamlessly.
4. Check compatibility with preferred operating systems.
5. Ensure integration with CRM systems and adequate support.
6. Provide thorough training and onboarding for your team.
7. Configure the software with the provided credentials and preferences.

Is softphone a VoIP feature?

No, a softphone is a software application that allows users to make phone calls over the internet using a computer or a mobile device, rather than traditional telephone lines.

How do I get a softphone number?

To get a softphone number, you need to follow these steps:
1. Determine your business’s needs, such as a local, toll-free, or international number.
2. Research and compare different VoIP companies, considering features such as call quality, customer support, and pricing.
3. Choose a plan that fits your business’s needs and budget, considering the number of simultaneous calls and minutes you’ll need.
4. Choose and buy a VoIP number that is available and meets your requirements.
5. Follow the instructions provided by your provider to set up and configure your VoIP program.

How much does a softphone cost?

The cost of a softphone can vary depending on the provider and the specific features included. At Cloudtalk, we have 4 plans, starting at $25 per user/month billed annually. The price of a Custom plan is available upon request.

CloudTalk is a data-driven solution for exceptional customer experience and intelligence is a key part of it.

Schedule a demo today and find out for yourself.