The 8 Best Free Skype Alternatives of 2020

Try these free video chat and phone call apps

Skype is one of the most well known VoIP services out there, but does that mean it's the best? Not entirely. Nowadays, there are many other ways you can enjoy free video chat or take a free phone call online. Numerous desktop and smartphone apps make it easy to enjoy free chat however you want to. 

Here's a look at the best free Skype alternatives, including the best group chat app, video call app, and more. 

01
of 08

Most Popular Alternative: Zoom

Zoom app on MacOS
What We Like
  • Simple to use.

  • Perfect for many scenarios.

  • Reliable service. 

What We Don't Like
  • Advanced features aren't free.

  • Some privacy concerns.

Zoom is one of the fastest growing Skype alternatives out there. That's because it's very flexible. It works just as well for audio calls as it does video chats, plus you can use it one-on-one or for group calls. Simple to use, it works via every platform possible, including your desktop. Just be a little wary about how easy it is to be Zoom-bombed and other security concerns. 

Download for:

02
of 08

Best for Flexibility: Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts app on iOS
What We Like
  • Only need an email address to call.

  • HD video calls.

  • Can use it for text messaging.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited number of video call participants. 

  • Not as frequently used as other services.

Everyone has a Google account, right? You can use it for more than email, with Google Hangouts making it easy to make voice and video calls, as well as send texts to real phones. It works on multiple different devices, as well as your web browser, so it's easy to get started. You can use it to chat with up to 25 people in one video call, too, which isn't the highest of numbers, but good enough for most people. The only downside is it's not quite as popular as the likes of Zoom or Facebook Messenger, but it's worth using. 

Download for:

03
of 08

Best for Ease of Use: WhatsApp

WhatsApp app on iOS
What We Like
  • Huge user base.

  • Text group chats of up to 256 people.

  • Very easy to use.

What We Don't Like
  • Only 4 people in a video chat.

  • Some privacy concerns due to being owned by Facebook.

WhatsApp is one of the biggest instant messaging services in the world. It connects billions of users together, and it offers far more than just instant messaging. You can also use it to make voice and video calls, as well as group chat. Video chats are limited to only four people, which makes it a more intimate affair than most video chat apps, but it's hugely popular so if you're trying to arrange a chat with a relative who's not very tech savvy, they probably still know how to use WhatsApp. 

Download for:

04
of 08

Best for a Quick Call: Slack

Slack app on MacOS
What We Like
  • Screen annotation features. 

  • Works in a web browser.

  • Ideal for business team collaborations.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited features for free users.

Slack is often thought of as predominantly a business tool for collaborating via texts and instant messaging, but you can also make audio and video calls through the service. On the free plan, you can only video chat with one other person but if you just need to jump on a quick call, it's a great alternative as you probably already have Slack open and ready. It's also ideal for quick screen collaborations and annotations which are super useful in a business context. Just expect to need to subscribe if you want more powerful features. 

Download for:

05
of 08

Best for Chatting With Friends: Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger app on iOS
What We Like
  • Quick to access.

  • Nearly everyone has an account.

  • Extra features like being able to send money.

What We Don't Like
  • Facebook related security issues.

  • Not much use for businesses.

Just want to chat to a friend, either via audio or video call? Facebook Messenger is a great way of doing this within seconds. Nearly everyone has an account so you won't have to worry about complex setups as it simply works through the user's browser. You can easily arrange an audio call with up to 50 accounts via the service. The only real downside is that there's no encryption involved which means Facebook Messenger isn't a good idea for businesses to use, due to privacy concerns. 

Download for:

06
of 08

Best for One-On-One Calls: Viber

Viber app on iOS
What We Like
  • End-to-end encryption.

  • Very similar to Skype.

  • Can delete messages.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited free features.

Viber works a lot like Skype with free text, voice, and video calls, and the option to pay to call phone numbers around the world. Crucially here, there's group audio calling which is quick to set up. There are some banner ads, but they're not intrusive and the fact it's free means it's worth putting up with. The added benefit of being able to delete text messages once seen is great for added privacy. Expect to pay if you want more than a one-on-one video call, though.

Download for:

07
of 08

Best for Apple Users: FaceTime

FaceTime app on iOS
What We Like
  • Built into all Apple products.

  • Very simple to use.

  • Entirely free.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited to one-on-one video calls.

  • Apple users only.

If you own an iPhone, iPad, or Mac then FaceTime is a very easy solution to use, provided the person you want to talk to also owns an Apple device. It's as easy as making any other call and still offers end-to-end encryption. You don't even need to install it as it's all built into Apple products, making it perfect for novices. The main downside here is that there's no additional functionality built into FaceTime (although other built-in apps may be able to help) and you both need to possess an Apple device to be able to use it.

Download for:

08
of 08

Best for Open Source fans: Jami

Jami app on MacOS
What We Like
  • Completely peer-to-peer.

  • End-to-end encryption.

  • No adverts.

What We Don't Like
  • Not very well known. 

  • Relatively few users.

  • Little basic looking.

Keen to embrace a Skype alternative that isn't owned by a massive company? Jami is an open-source solution that works on a peer-to-peer basis. That means there's no risk of any company spying on your activities or keeping logs. It's ad-free and entirely free to use, while still offering key features like audio and video calls, screen sharing, and conference calls.

The only issue here is the need to get other people on board, as Jami is far from a well known brand. That can be to its benefit, though, as it should be more secure from hacks. And while it looks very basic and lacks the cool presentation that more established apps use, it does the job.

Download for: