Grasshopper vs RingCentral

Confused in choosing between Grasshopper and RingCentral? No worries. Below, we will see how the two biggest players in the virtual telephone system industry differ from each other. Despite both being popular solutions on the market for various business applications, they are actually two very different services. Well, they are perhaps designed for a similar purpose, but they reach the goal through different approaches and mechanics. Therefore, deciding whether Grasshopper or RingCentral is better depends on what you need and how you need it. Without further ado, let us first see the overview of both services.


Grasshopper is a virtual phone system that is essentially a call-forwarding solution. Hence, it relies on the personal phones of your team, or maybe on dedicated phones, with various additional supplemental features to aid your business. The calls that come to your main business number are forwarded right up to your employee’s phones. On the other hand, the outbound calls made from your side by you or your employees can appear to originate from the main business number. There are also many other features that may be beneficial, such as automated receptionists, call screening, voicemail, and online faxing.

Meanwhile, RingCentral is best known for its small business VoIP phone service. As a VoIP service, it replaces the local landline service. It also adds a variety of standard calling features to your office’s physical phones, including call queuing, call transfer, directories, extensions, and even third-party app integrations. RingCentral also has a similar virtual phone system, though not as famous as the VoIP service. The virtual phone system is geared to provide an alternative or improvement to the use of personal phones for business.

The Way They Work

Grasshopper and RingCentral work in pretty much the same manner. They are both incoming call management systems. An incoming call management system would involve a few basic steps revolving around the provision of the business number, which is a real phone number supplied or transferred by the service provider. You use this number to promote your business and to hand out to customers, so that everything related to your business can have a centralized single contact point. You no longer have to hand out your personal numbers. Additionally, whenever someone calls your business number, the service provider will answer the call automatically with a pre-configured custom greeting, ensuring that there will be no unanswered calls or lengthy delays. The customized greeting usually offers a menu of extensions so that the caller can make a selection using one of the numeric keys on the telephone; afterward, the operator will forward the call to the selected extension. With such mechanism, there is no need to build a fixed business premise – it is ideal for startups to keep the costs down.

Additionally, in addition to forwarding calls, the service provider can also send voice mails and call transcripts to your email. The service provider, both Grasshopper and RingCentral, has a web-based administration portal where you can configure extensions and call answering rules quickly and easily.

The Difference between Grasshopper and RingCentral

Grasshopper and RingCentral utilize different communication technologies to operate. Grasshopper is based on a PSTN overlay network. It is built on top of the public switched telephone network. In other words, it uses the public telephone system to forward or relay calls. On the other hand, RingCentral is based on the company’s virtual IP PBX (private branch exchange) which switches calls between VoIP users on local lines, between a VoIP user and a traditional phone user, and even between two traditional phone users. The difference is perhaps not very apparent at first, but there can be further effects.

In terms of features, RingCentral can benefit from the IP-based technology, which allows the user to accept incoming fax as well as send outgoing fax. Grasshopper, on the other hand, can only accept inbound fax. Depending on your need and preference, this is either important or trivial.

In terms of reliability, the performance of both services may depend somewhat on the quality of the supporting networks. If your office has poor Internet speeds, you may get a very bad communication experience with RingCentral. If that is the case, Grasshopper is the more feasible option. On the contrary, RingCentral can be a better option than Grasshopper if your office has good Internet speeds.

Pricing Plans

These two services offer pricing plans of different structures, so the comparison can be difficult. Grasshopper comes with four plans which are Pay as You Grow ($12 per month), RAMP ($24 per month), GROW ($49 per month), and MAX ($199 per month). The most popular pricing plan is the GROW, which features free activation and gives 2,000 free minutes for each month. Two toll-free / local numbers with unlimited extensions are provided. Grasshopper provides unlimited extensions and full features on all plans.

On the other hand, RingCentral is available in three pricing plans, which are Pro ($12.99 per month), ProPlus ($19.99 per month), and ProPower ($24.99 per month). The most popular pricing option is the ProPlus, which provides 1,000 free minutes and one toll-free / local number with up to five extensions allowed. The cheapest plan, Pro, does not have full features; but ProPlus and ProPower already come with the full set of features.

Nevertheless, don’t forget that there can be some hidden costs from both Grasshopper and RingCentral. For example, if you run out of the free minutes provided by the pricing plan, you will have to pay the minutely cost.

- Runs on a PSTN overlay- Runs on an IP PBX
- Does not depend on the Internet speed- Depends on the Internet speed
- Only accepts inbound fax- Accepts incoming and outgoing fax
- Four pricing plans, all with unlimited extensions and full features- Three pricing plans with limited extensions


Both Grasshopper and RingCentral are popular virtual phone systems suitable for business users looking for a centralized contact point. Even though they work in pretty much the same way, Grasshopper is a PSTN overlay whereas RingCentral is an IP PBX. Grasshopper works on the public switched telephone network, and can only accept inbound fax. RingCentral makes use of its VoIP technology, thus is affected by quality of the Internet access. It accepts inbound and outbound fax. Grasshopper provides four pricing plans, all of which readily provide unlimited extensions and full features. RingCentral’s three pricing plans are generally more affordable, but with extension limits and different features.

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