Email, Messaging, & Video Calls Texting & Messaging 40 40 people found this article helpful Phones You Can Use With VoIP VoIP technology opens the door to different phones, including virtual ones By Nadeem Unuth Freelance Contributor Nadeem Unuth is a former freelance contributor to Lifewire who specializes in information and communication technology with a focus on VoIP. our editorial process LinkedIn Nadeem Unuth Updated January 14, 2020 pauljw11 / GettyImages Texting & Messaging Email Texting & Messaging Video Calls Tweet Share Email Voice-over-IP technology supports phone calls in a different way, with several advantages over copper-wire systems. The networked nature of VoIP means you've got additional options for phones you can use with VoIP: Your Existing Phones If you've invested serious money in the existing phones you use over PSTN/POTS, use them for VoIP by equipping an analog telephone adapter. The adapter translates the signal types to help your phone to work with VoIP technology. When you register for a home or office VoIP service, you are normally provided with an ATA, which they normally call an adapter. In other configurations, you may not need one. IP Phones The best phones for VoIP are IP phones, also called SIP phones. These are specifically designed to be used for VoIP and they have features that other conventional phones don't have. An IP phone acts as both a "phone" and an ATA. Softphones A softphone is software installed on a computer or any device. Its interface contains a keypad, which you can use to dial numbers. It replaces your physical phone and often does not need an adapter to work. Examples of softphones are X-Lite, Bria, and Ekiga. Communication software like Skype also have softphones included in their interface. Softphones also work with SIP accounts. SIP is more technically complex to configure and not as common in home-consumer settings, but it does have its worth. IP Handsets An IP handset is not independent; it connects to a PC with a softphone. An IP handset resembles a portable phone and is equipped with a USB cable for PC connection. It has a keypad for dialing numbers. IP handsets are rather expensive and require some configuration to work. Smartphones and Tablet PCs Nearly all VoIP apps that you install on smartphones and tablet PCs have softphones integrated, with a dial pad to compose numbers. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and many communications platforms incorporate versions of softphones within their apps to support voice calls.