Video meetings, at this point, should just be called "meetings"—it's the in-person meetings that are the exception now. It's true in remote companies, it's true in hybrid companies, and it's increasingly true in companies that mostly work in physical offices.
So low-quality video calls aren't a niche problem—they're bad for productivity all around. Every dropped call is a major annoyance, and it's also not acceptable to waste time waiting for someone to set up software that's not intuitive.
That's why I did my homework for this article. I considered over 30 video conferencing apps and spent a lot of time testing to see how they stacked up. Here are the five best.
The 5 best video conferencing platforms
Zoom for reliable, large video calls
Google Meet for Google Workspace users
Microsoft Teams for combining team chat and video conferencing
Webex Meetings for video quality
Jitsi for a lightweight option
What makes the best video conferencing app?
How we evaluate and test apps
Our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. Unless explicitly stated, we spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.
The most important thing for video conferencing is video quality. That goes beyond how the picture looks—the best quality in the world doesn't matter if people cut out or calls drop constantly. I tested each online meeting app to see how well it performed when the quality of the internet connection changed.
But that's not the only thing I was thinking of. There are many consumer-facing video chat apps—Apple's FaceTime, for example—that wouldn't work as a video conferencing app. Businesses need more than just a solid video connection to do meetings. In summary, the best video conferencing apps:
Offer high-quality video and audio, reliably. If web conferencing software can only do one thing, this has to be it.
Make it straightforward to start, schedule, and join meetings. Ideally, meetings can be quickly scheduled and added to your calendar, and there should be obvious links to click when it's time to join the call.
Include collaboration features. Screen sharing and chat are the bare minimum. The best online video conferencing apps go beyond this to offer whiteboarding or even direct collaboration features.
Allow for video recording. Not everyone can make every meeting—recordings help bridge that gap. Recording a meeting should be as simple as clicking a button in your online meeting software.
Make it simple to add people outside your organization. Anyone should be able to click a link and join your meeting without much fuss (though there should also be security features to keep out unwanted participants).
I kept all of these features in mind while considering which Zoom alternatives to test (let's face it—that's what they are), and also focused on these features while testing.
The best video conferencing software at a glance
Reliable, large video calls
Collaboration features, video recording, ease of use, whiteboarding, AI assistance
Free for up to 100 participants and 40-minute meetings; Pro plan starts from $15.99/month
Google Workspace users
Integration with Google apps, live captions, large view-only mode, deep Google apps integration
Free for up to 100 participants and 60-minute meetings; part of Google Workspace
Team chat and video conferencing together
Robust video conferencing, whiteboard, meeting notes, AI assistant (Copilot)
From $4/user/month (billed annually); also part of Microsoft 365 subscriptions
Excellent video quality, whiteboard, document annotation, real-time translation
Free for up to 100 participants and 40-minute meetings; Business plan from $14.50/user/month
A lightweight option
Free and open source, no account required, quick meeting setup, integrations available
The best video conferencing app for reliable, large video calls
Zoom (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Web)
Reliable and easy to use
Includes collaboration features and allows for video recording
Makes it simple to add people outside your organization
Not part of a software bundle, which can get expensive in large organizations
You already know about Zoom. People who literally live under rocks know about Zoom. It's the most popular video conferencing app out there, and for good reason: it works.
You can share a link to a Zoom meeting and feel confident that everyone will be able to join it. There are apps for every major platform, and at this point, you can assume everyone already installed the software and configured it to work. Joining a meeting is as simple as clicking the link. It's hard to overstate how valuable that is: nothing drags a meeting down quite like someone not being able to join.
Zoom is also extremely reliable. It will typically keep your video going even through a weak internet connection, just at a reduced quality level. You can record any call as a full-length video, and participants can also use text chat to talk with each other, either as a group or as individual private messages. And you can share your screen, an individual app, or just one section of your screen. You can even share audio from your computer, if you want.
Zoom now offers one the best whiteboards on the market, making it really quick to fill a virtual board with diagrams, images, and sticky notes. There's also support for real-time transcriptions, complete with closed captioning. And Zoom has gone all in on AI: a new feature allows meeting participants to ask a question and get an AI-generated answer based on the transcript. You could, for example, ask for all the action items from the meeting so far, or for a quick summary of the meeting so far. It works well enough, with the usual AI caveats (that is, don't depend on it entirely—it's always a good idea for someone to be taking notes because these systems aren't perfect). Considering some people pay extra for a good AI meeting assistant, it's nice to see a service build this in.
Zoom lets you schedule video conference calls in advance, chat anytime with any of your contacts, or connect to room conferencing hardware. All in all, it's a nearly perfect team video app.
You can do even more with Zoom by connecting it to Zapier, taking the busywork out of meeting prep and follow-up. For example, you can automatically add Zoom calls to your calendar, schedule video conferences when someone books an appointment, or get notifications for upcoming meetings. Learn more about how to automate Zoom, or get started with one of these pre-made workflows.
Zoom price: Free for up to 100 participants for 40-minute meetings; from $15.99/month/host with the Pro plan, which includes the AI features, user management, 30 hour meetings, and reporting.
The best video conferencing app for Google Workspace users
Google Meet (iOS, Android, Web)
Google Meet pros:
Deep integration with Google Workspace apps
Up to 100,000 participants in view-only mode
Comes bundled with Google Workspace
Google Meet cons:
Can be laggy on large video conference calls
Doesn't degrade calls as gracefully as Zoom
Google Meet's best feature, perhaps, is its deep integration with Google's other apps. Whenever you create a meeting in Google Calendar, you'll get a Meet link that you and your meeting attendees can click to instantly join a call. And when you're in the middle of a call, you can find files from Google Drive and share them in chat, without leaving your call. You can even start a call directly from your Gmail inbox. And then there's the integration with Chrome, including a tab-sharing feature that's great for media sharing, with very little lag when used to stream a short video as a group (it doesn't work in other browsers, though).
Other apps, like Zoom, are catching up, but Google Meet still does live captions better than the competition. The captions work fairly well in English, though it can't detect when other languages are spoken on a call.
Meet is a popular Zoom alternative, but it runs in a browser, not an app. This can be seen as a plus, because you don't need to install anything. In my experience, though, browser-based apps tend to struggle on a large video conference call. Meet is no exception—large calls result in loud laptop fans and reduced quality. In my experience, Meet also doesn't degrade calls as gracefully as Zoom when your internet connection is slow. But there is a workaround: you can opt to have up to 100,000 participants join via view-only mode. This mode doesn't display participants' video, so they'll only see and hear whoever is leading the call. Though it's not the same as a true group video conference, since it limits their ability to chime in, it's a decent option if you just need one or two people to present to a large group.
Google also offers an AI meeting assistant, Duet AI, but only in the enterprise version at the moment. Right now, this can do things like translate captions in real time, which is useful. You can also use AI to generate backgrounds, which is less useful. Upcoming features include the ability to ask questions about the meeting transcript, the way Zoom can now.
There's a lot of good to say about Google Meet. The visual effects offered are the funnest of any app I tested, as you can see in the screenshot. Hybrid companies, or companies with multiple locations, can use the Meet conference room devices for full-room video chats and the Jamboard touchscreen device for team collaboration. The biggest pro, though, is that if your company is already paying for Google Workspace—and odds are, it is—Google Meet is essentially free.
With Zapier, you can connect Google Meet to the other apps you use most. For example, you can automatically schedule calls with leads, no matter where they reach you. Learn more about how to automate Google Meet, or check out these pre-made workflows.
Google Meet Price: Free for up to 100 participants and up to 60 minutes; from $6/user/month as part of Google Workspace Business Starter.
See how Zoom and Meet stack up in our showdown: Google Meet vs. Zoom.
The best combination team chat and video conference app
Microsoft Teams (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, Web)
Microsoft Teams pros:
Great video conferencing built into a team chat app
Plenty of collaboration features
Video quality is great and works with large calls
Microsoft Teams cons:
Utterly confusing if you're not using Teams as your team chat app
Most team chat apps struggle with video, or treat it as an afterthought. Not Microsoft Teams, which offers some of the most robust video conferencing features on the market—in addition to its team chat offerings.
The whiteboard is great. You can draw freehand, and the program smooths things out—a crappy circle becomes a perfect one, for example. This makes it easy to take notes and diagram things on the fly. And there are plenty of other collaboration features here. The chat from the meeting, for example, is saved in your team chat app for future reference. There's a built-in feature for meeting notes, which are also shared with the team after the meeting. You can even automatically transcribe meetings and share that.
None of this would matter if the video quality wasn't great. It is. Teams works well even with large calls, and there are all kinds of features for helping the meeting go smoothly. Some, like the together mode seen in the above screenshot, are gimmicks, sure, but even gimmicks can help with team cohesion. And Microsoft is building out a comprehensive AI assistant, called Copilot, that's rolling out to users.
It's not a perfect app. Microsoft has a tendency to keep adding features to its apps, cluttering up the interface. That's very much the case with Teams. And while it's easy to invite people outside your organization to a Teams meeting, it's not as seamless as Zoom. Expect hiccups if someone doesn't already have Teams installed.
As for the cost? You're probably already paying for it because Teams comes bundled with basically every business version of Microsoft Office. If you want a team chat app that also offers high-quality video conferencing, Teams is worth checking out.
And you can do even more with Teams by connecting it to Zapier. For example, you can get notifications in Teams whenever your team has a new lead, a new event registration, or a new deal. Learn more about how to automate Teams, and then try one of these pre-made workflows.
Microsoft Teams price: Microsoft Teams Essentials starts at $4/user/month; also available with Microsoft 365.
Deciding between Zoom and Teams? Read our comparison: Zoom vs. Microsoft Teams.
The best video conferencing app for video quality
Webex Meetings (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Web)
Excellent video quality
Great collaborative features, including whiteboard and document annotation
Real-time translation (for an additional fee)
Can be expensive for large organizations
Some users have reported stability issues
Cisco is a leading manufacturer of video conferencing hardware. Webex Meetings is their video call app. As you might expect, the focus is on video quality, and Webex delivers. I immediately noticed that everyone looks and sounds great on this service—both in terms of image and sound quality and in terms of stability. Zoom has done a lot of work to catch up, though, so this isn't the clear advantage it used to be.
Users can join meetings by downloading and installing the application or by using the web version. The collaborative features are particularly noteworthy. There's an excellent whiteboard, comparable to what's offered by any other app, complete with drawing, text, sticky notes, and even a "magic pen" feature that tidies up your messy rectangles and circles. You can even share a document without sharing your screen—everyone in the meeting can mark up the file in place. It's a great way to think out loud about a project as a group. Webex offers real-time translation as an add-on—that costs $30/person/month but, as far as I know, is unique to Webex.
Webex offers an AI assistant that can turn off the camera when you walk away and summarize what you missed when you get back. This feature is an additional subscription, above that of paid plans, though the exact pricing isn't on the Webex website.
Don't overlook Webex. If you tried it a couple years ago, you might want to try it again—it's been completely overhauled and is now easily one of the best video conferencing apps out there.
By connecting Webex to your other apps with Zapier, it's easy to keep your meetings running smoothly. You can automatically add scheduled Webex meetings to your calendar, for example, or get a reminder in your favorite chat app when a meeting is about to start.
Webex price: There's a free plan for meetings with up to 100 people for 40 minutes, but it lacks some important features like screen sharing and recordings. From $14.50/user/month for the Business plan for meetings with up to 200 people with noise cancellation and closed captioning.
Read more: Webex vs. Zoom: Which should you choose?
The best video conferencing app for a lightweight option
Jitsi (Web, iOS, Android)
Free and open source; no account required
Good video quality
Not as feature-rich as other options
Most video conferencing apps require you to make an account before you can start a meeting. Not Jitsi; this open source application is free to use online without the need to provide an email address, phone number, or any other information. Just head to the site, generate a link, and share the link with everyone you want on the call. You can also schedule a meeting in advance.
The video quality is good, not great, and you can't expect advanced features like transcriptions or AI integrations. What you can expect is the ability to quickly make a meeting without any fuss. There are no accounts, no desktop clients to download, and (hopefully) no friction. And there are a few nice touches: a GIF search feature not only adds the GIF to the chat but also briefly replaces your video feed with the GIF, which makes for some chaotic fun. There's also screen sharing and polling built in. The basics are all well covered.
Jitsi is open source, which means you can install the code on your own server—a big deal for security- and privacy-conscious companies. It also means that there are integrations available for applications. This also means you can do things like embed Jitsi on your own website or any app you're building. Most people won't care about that, granted, but it's nice to know.
Jitsi price: Free
What's the best web conference software?
Video conferencing platforms all claim to do the same thing: allow you to host meetings remotely and still see each other's faces. But each of the video conferencing solutions on this list—and the ones not on the list—has different standout features, different levels of quality, and different limitations. My advice: if you're already paying for Google Workspace or Microsoft 365, try out Google Meet or Microsoft Teams first. If that doesn't work, try the other apps on this list.
Originally published in January 2017 by Matthew Guay, this article has also had contributions from Hannah Herman. The most recent update was in January 2024.