The new normal has brought about a new way to work and connect with employees at remote locations through online meeting tools. With the emergence of countless new tools, how do you know the one that's best for you and your team?
Online meetings have been the new normal for all businesses since the Covid 19 pandemic, and companies have had to adjust and learn how to run better virtual meetings with the aid of online meeting tools and beat burnout while working from home.
But first, what are the essential features to run meetings virtually?
6 must-have features for an online meeting tool
1Screen sharing and Slide show
3HD video and audio
5Easy to use
6Adequate participation slots
From that, we have selected 15 of the best free online meeting tools to run online meetings smoothly and highlighted their respective pros and cons below.
Zoom is one of the top options for video conferencing. Its features include HD videos, audio, and real-time messaging. Zoom's basic plan is free for holding virtual meetings with up to 100 people, however, it is limited to just 40 minutes. The Pro Plan for Zoom costs $14,99 monthly per host.
- Allow multiple attendees to share their screens at the same time, thereby making collaboration easier.
- Allow splitting into as many as 50 rooms for dedicated discussion.
- Offer HD videos and an audio range of call options.
- Allow screen sharing simultaneously between members.
- Provide group messaging feature.
- Support PDF, DOC, and PPT file upload.
- The free plan has a 40-minute limit.
- The cloud storage for the free plan is low.
- Sometimes hard to join a meeting through a browser.
2. Google Meet
Google Meet is one of the most popular and easiest-to-use tools for online meetings. Though it comes with the G suite at $6 monthly, it is also available to free Google users.
Google Meet supports up to 250 participants in a meeting and 100,000 viewers on a live stream.
- Offer video, audio and messenger conversations simultaneously.
- Can join a meeting via Google Calendar.
- Support screen sharing with your team members during a meeting/webinar.
- Consume battery and activates the system's fan on long calls.
- No option to record.
Skype is easily one of the most prominent free online meeting tools available. It offers real-time translation— its voice translator supports 10 languages, while the text translator supports over 60 languages. Skype's integration with Alexa makes it multi-functional.
The business tool version of Skype is also free, and it supports up to 250 participants in a meeting.
- Offer video calling in HD.
- Allow screen sharing & location sharing.
- Can record meetings and webinars.
- The free version supports up to 25 participants at a time.
- The setup for the user profile takes too long to customize.
- Support very few people on video calls compared to other video meeting tools.
Dialpad Meeting makes conference calling easy. Its free version allows you up to 10 participants in your meeting, supports screen sharing, and provides you with the option to record every session in HD videos. The call time is limited to 45 minutes on the free plan.
The paid plan costs $15 per month, and it allows 11-100 participants in a meeting.
- Browser-based but offers the app option to those interested in using the tool on their smartphone or tablet.
- Provide HD videos and audio.
- Allow conference recording and playback.
- 10-participant limitation on the free plan.
- Require a PIN to enter a meeting.
- 45-minute limitation on the free plan.
TeamViewer is an effective online meeting tool that runs on all desktop and mobile platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and even Chrome OS and BlackBerry OS. Its free plan is geared towards non-commercial use, and its paid plan costs $199 per month.
- Offer multilevel security.
- Boast of an impressive user interface.
- Support multi-monitor.
- Merged remote control & online meetings into one app.
- Slightly complex UX.
- Some of the options on the software are difficult to locate.
6. Cisco WebEx
Cisco WebEx is another popular online meeting tool. The number of participants you can include in a meeting depends on your package level. The free level allows 50 participants, while the premium level allows up to 3,000 participants.
The Meet Plan is priced at $13.5 monthly per user, the Meet + Call plan is $20 monthly per user. For the enterprise plan, you'll need to contact their sales team.
- The free plan offers 50 participants in a meeting and 1 GB of cloud storage.
- Include extra tools, including pulling and an interactive whiteboard.
- Can detect background noise to reduce distractions.
- Support third-party recording tools.
- The Call Me feature allows you to call a participant who cannot join the meeting.
- Excellent security and encryption.
- The free plan doesn't support content sharing.
- 40-minute time limitation on the free plan.
ProfiConf offers a free plan for meetings with up to 2 participants, and its Pro plan is priced at $12 per month while the Premium plan costs $25 per month.
It offers cutting edge security to keep data safe and allows you to share screens and record the meeting or webinar.
- Web-based and so there's no need to download anything.
- Easy to use for team meetings.
- Allow screen sharing and you can also share your interactive whiteboard.
- Impossible to stream to YouTube.
- The file-hosting capacity for the free plan is 500MB.
ezTalks stands out for its flexible engagement plans that start at $10 per month for 2GB storage and cloud recording.
On the free plan, you can host one on one meetings and up to 100 group meetings.
- Provides auto-generated meeting transcription.
- Provides recording option.
- Can host 100 group meetings.
- Only 2GB of storage is available.
11. Meet Butter
Meet Butter is a new and all-in-one online meeting software for planning and running virtual meetings.
The platform allows the collaboration between room members on an integrated platform like Miro mind map, Google doc, and its whiteboard. The best thing is that it is totally free for the time being.
- Offer a higher level of collaboration.
- Engaging UI.
- The ability to plan the agenda of the meeting in advance.
- Can divide the members into groups.
- Not lightweight.
- 100 members limitation.
Make a decision
Choosing the right tool to run virtual meetings shouldn't just be based on what tool will give you the most benefits, but instead on the tool that will satisfy your business requirements and be within the set budget.
Each tool listed above has its own perks and shortcomings. If you have a team of 20 employees, then you shouldn't go for any tool that offers less than 20 participants in a meeting. Select the tool that will satisfy your business requirements.