The 8 best free alternatives to Zoom (and most are better than Zoom too!)

30th October 2023



Somehow Zoom have managed to become the 21st century Biro 

As they say, ‘other brands of video conferencing software are available’, so why has ‘to Zoom’ become a verb?  The pandemic has even launched Zoom into the Oxford English Dictionary, becoming one of its words for the year for 2020!  They’ve managed to achieve what very few with the exception of Mr Hoover and Mr Biro have ever managed to do.

Zoom has found itself drowning in revenue.  In 2020 its turnover increase by 326%, its share price rocketed, meetings held on Zoom increased by 2900% and the number of users expanded by thousands of percentage points.  In 2023 Zoom still holds a dominant position with 55% of the video conferencing market, a level at which the US courts start to pay attention to a company’s actions from an anti-trust viewpoint.



How did they do this?

So why did we start using Zoom rather than any of the host of other very capable video conferencing packages.  Is it just so good that the others didn’t even get a look in?  Well, there’s no argument that it’s good and as a company Zoom have always maintained a very customer focused philosophy, however the differences between most video conferencing packages are starting to be little more than nuances.  Video conferencing is becoming a commodity with a tendency growing to build it into other collaboration software.  Take a look at Nailted or Remeet.  They use video conferencing as just another part of their remote work business flow rather than it being a separate entity.

As you’ll see from reading this article, while Zoom is good, it doesn’t have market leading functionality and isn’t a great bargain so it’s not clear why it has been so successful.  It could be their marketing which has been viewed as both good and clever (although I personally haven’t seen too much of it).  It could be the cool sounding name or maybe an element of luck but Zoom seems to have made it to the top with ease. Having established itself early on in the pandemic I suspect inertia will make sure its reign as a leader is assured for a while yet.  Even the story about the company being mostly based in China with the attendant suspicion of surveillance (the UK intelligence agencies banned all use of it for classified government business in April 2020 for this reason) and being happy to conform with Chinese government orders to ban named users seems to have had little effect on its meteoric rise (maybe Huawei should be asking Zoom for tips!).

The free version of Zoom limits you to a 40 minute video call duration, up to 100 participants, no option for telephone dial in and no cloud recording.  Break out rooms, team chat, basic whiteboards and Zoom’s own e-mail client are also included in the free version.  The good news on paid versions is that increasing competition and a slowing market is bringing prices down and Zoom have recently cut their prices.  Paid versions start at $12.49 per month at which price you get all of the features of the free version plus a meeting length of up to 30 hours, telephone dial in and up to 5GB of cloud storage for recordings but with participants still limited to 100.  The next price point at $16.66 allows you up to 300 participants as well as providing analytics, social media streaming and better support.  As you might expect from the market leader, neither the free or paid for versions represent the best deals available.

So let’s have a look at the best free alternatives to Zoom.



Ring Central

RingCentral‘s video conferencing package is one of the best available on the market.  The free version gives you:

  • 50 minutes limit on meeting duration
  • Up to 100 participants
  • Recording of up to 10 hours of meetings (but only retained for 7 days)
  • Join by telephone dial-in
  • Messaging
  • AI powered noise reduction
  • AI powered meeting transcription and optionally captions
  • Live desktop control – for use in remote support
  • Instant join in browser with no app to download, meaning it is genuinely device independent

There is only one paying version at $10.00 per user per month and that gives you up to 200 participants, 100 hours of recordings, SSO, analytics and more admin functionality.  The price of RingCentral has also recently fallen, in line with the added competition in this market. The transcription/captioning and noise reduction functionality is genuinely exciting new functionality and it’s quite difficult to see why anyone would pick Zoom over RingCentral.  Both the free and paid versions are a better deal than Zoom!



Lark - Free alternatives to Zoom

It’s just incredible what you get for free with Lark.   You can just download Lark Meetings if you’re only looking for free alternatives to Zoom, but also on offer is Lark Suite.  Lark Suite is a full collaboration package, with messaging, e-mail, calendar, shared documents and spreadsheets, task management and workflows, AI language translations and a Wiki/knowledge base all for free!

Free version features:

  • 60 minute limit on meeting duration
  • Up to 50 participants
  • Recording of meetings and meeting minutes up to the limit of 100GB of cloud storage
  • Joining by telephone dial in
  • eMail and Messaging with AI translations for over 100 languages
  • Calendar
  • 100GB cloud storage for documents
  • 200GB email storage
  • Task management and customisable workflows

So not just one of the free alternatives to Zoom more an entire free collaboration app.  There are two free paid versions, Pro at $12 per month which allows you to host up to 500 simultaneous participants for unlimited meeting lengths and huge amounts of recording, document and e-mail storage.  The other is an enterprise version which gives you everything the Pro version offers but with additional corporate features like SSO and high priority support.   Lark is a total bargain and I’m starting to tire of saying this, but why would you pick Zoom over Lark?




The interestingly named Butter has to be the coolest video conferencing package on offer.  Butter was devised with workshops and training in mind, so its creators wanted to make sure it was fun to use to reduce the likelihood of boredom in longer meetings.  They’ve definitely succeeded and this works for shorter meetings too.  Butter really is different and fun. You can for instance make your waiting room page as quirky and unique as you want and have your favourite music play there if that’s how the mood takes you.  Been in a meeting where you can’t get a word in edgeways?  Butter fixes that by allowing you to notify the meeting chair that you want to talk and it adds you to a queue.  Lots of other stuff comes for free too like polls, session planners and breakout rooms.  So, if you’re looking for free alternatives to Zoom this package isn’t just better than Zoom, it hits it out of the park!

The free version features:

  • 60 minutes limit on group meeting duration (unlimited for 1:1s)
  • Up to 100 participants
  • No recording but you can access records of every meeting’s participant list, chat, notes and poll results
  • No telephone dial in
  • Break out rooms, polls, session planner, interactive flash cards to spark conversation and engagement emojis.

Paying versions start at $14 per month but unlike the other packages here it allows co-facilitators who can be free users to set up meetings, so one monthly subscription can go a long way.  If you run workshops or training then you should definitely look at the paying versions of Butter.  It’s an innovative and very well thought out piece of software.   If you want to see what its users think about it then join their community or ask for a demo.  We really like Butter and will put together a full review shortly.


Google Meet

Google Meet - Free alternatives to Zoom

Google Meet is a mature video conferencing package that works from a browser and doesn’t need a software download.  It also benefits from a number of free add-ons available from the Google App Store like break-out rooms.  Just go to the App Store and search for Meet.

Free version features:

  • 60 minutes limit on group meeting duration (24 hours for 1:1 meetings)
  • Up to 100 participants
  • No recording
  • No telephone dial in
  • Instant join in browser with no app to download, meaning it is genuinely device independent
  • Break Out Rooms available via a free Chrome Extension

Paying versions start at $6 per user per month for 100 users and unlimited meeting duration, telephone dial in, access to the whole of Google’s Workspace applications and 30Gb of cloud storage per user.  There are price increments at $12 and $18 which add call recording, increased cloud storage, better security and more comprehensive levels of support.  Google Meet also has the positive of very close integrations with the other Google tools like Calendar and Drive.   The paid features start at less than one half of Zoom’s starting prices so once again it’s hard to see why you’d pick Zoom over Google Meet.  If you’re interested in a paying version of Google Suite then e-mail us – we can provide you with discount codes that will give you 10% off.


Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams - Free alternatives to Zoom

Microsoft Teams free is also a good deal and of course gives you a slice of Office365 bundled in with limited online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint together with messaging for up to 500 users.  So I’m going to have to say it again, but it’s a far better deal than Zoom!

The free version features:

  • 60 minutes limit on meeting duration
  • Up to 100 participants
  • 5GB cloud storage
  • No recording
  • No telephone dial in
  • Instant join in browser with no app to download, meaning it is genuinely device independent

Paying versions are at $4, $6 and $12.50 per month and feature meeting recording, break out rooms, whiteboards, transcripts and very few limits on participants and duration of meetings, more functional Office 365, more storage (10Gb for $4, 1Tb for $6 and $12.50 versions) and full support.


Cisco Webex

Cisco Webex - alternative to Zoom

Cisco Webex has been around for a very long time.  In fact Eric Yuan, a former corporate vice president for Cisco Webex left Cisco in 2011 with 40 of their engineers in tow to start Zoom.  So it’s a mature package and it too offers a better free deal than Zoom as well as very capable paid for options.

The free version features:

  • 40 minutes limit on meeting duration
  • Up to 100 participants
  • Recording of meetings to your computer (not to the Cloud)
  • No telephone dial-in
  • Break out rooms
  • Interactive Whiteboarding

Paying options start $11.50 per person per month and include unlimited meeting length, up to 200 participants, 5GB of cloud storage of recordings, captioned translations, live polling and break out sessions.



Whereby - alternative to Zoom

Whereby is perhaps the only Norwegian alternative to Zoom!  Whereby is easy to use, needs no downloaded app and works from a browser.  It really sticks out because of it’s simplicity – you won’t need the help menu, it’s so easy to use.

The free version features:

  • 45 minute limit on group meeting duration (unlimited for 1:1 meetings)
  • Up to 100 participants
  • Noise suppression that they say removes echo – so no need for anyone to wear headphones
  • No recording
  • No telephone dial-in
  • Break out rooms
  • Instant join in browser with no app to download, meaning it is genuinely device independent

So Whereby manages an honourable draw with Zoom on its free versions but once again knocks it out of the park with paid versions which start at around half of Zoom’s pricing at $6.99 per user per month giving you up to 100 participants with no time limit on meeting duration and unlimited recordings.




Jitsi is a totally free, open source package that comes in a few incarnations.  You can download the source code and run it on your own servers or integrate it into a package that you’re writing or you can go to Jitsi Meet or you can use 8×8 which is a fully professional service.   Whichever way you go, Jitsi is a very capable package.

The free version (Jitsi Meet) features:

  • No limit on meeting duration
  • Up to 100 participants
  • No recording
  • No telephone dial-in
  • Join from browser, no need to open an account, you just send out a link

Paying versions of 8×8 start at $15 per user per month and include up to 100 participants with no time limits, toll free telephone dial-in, meeting recording, YouTube streaming and advanced analytics.



It’s hard to justify why anyone would want to use Zoom when there are so many free alternatives that deliver far more.  That also applies to the paying versions of these packages where Zoom looks expensive for what you get compared to most of its competitors.  So why not try one of the others, they’re free, often work from a browser so are genuinely device independent and most deliver more than Zoom.

Enjoyed our review of free alternatives to Zoom ? Look at our other product reviews in our reviews section.

Gren Gale is a consultant in Remote Work and Project Management and has been named as one of the top 19 Key Opinion Leaders globally in remote work in Who’s Who in Remote Working? as an influencer in Who’s Who in The Future of Work? and one of top 50 Project Management Leaders internationally by Leaders Hum. He is author of the Remote Project Manager and Remote Work The New Normal.

Project and Remote Work Management Awards

Articles and reviews on this site are written from an unbiased viewpoint.  We only review products which are relevant to Remote Work or Project Management and ones we believe in.  Once this review of free alternatives to Zoom was written we looked to see if some of the links could generate affiliate income.  It won’t make us rich but it helps pay the rent!

Project Management for SMBs

Want to run your projects better?

For a limited time get Project Management for Small and Medium Business eBook Free


Get this $7.99 eBook for free!!

But hurry, this offer won't last long.

Thanks for subscribing

Share This