It’s hard to get behind the recent price hikes in phone bills. Even if you get a plan with all the bells and whistles, there’s basically no way around the $100 every month you need to spend to have the privilege of calling your family. Luckily, there are several apps you can use to reach people for free. They’ll give you a phone number and everything you can use, free of charge, using Wi-Fi.
We’ve collected all the best options for free calling apps that will let you call any number. Some even allow you to send and receive text messages!
What is a Free Calling App?
Calling apps allow users to make phone calls, typically to other cellphones or landlines, without using a mobile network. Calling apps use Wi-Fi calling, a system that calls another phone line using Wi-Fi rather than a cellphone network, to let users call out of network phone numbers.
There are many free options for users looking to make calls to phone numbers without using a phone network. These options provide excellent coverage for anyone who doesn’t use the phone often and doesn’t need to make calls.
Many people use free call apps with a Data Only phone plan that allows them to get all the benefits of a phone without paying for an exorbitant service fee that encompasses features they have no intention of using.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet of our rankings for free calling apps!
- Best Overall: Google Voice
- Best Budget Option: Dingtone
- Best for International Calling: TextPlus
- Best Option for Calling Other Users: LINE
Best Overall: Google Voice
Google Voice takes the top spot for the best free calling app. It’s available for both iOS and Android, so all users will be able to get something out of this app. The app assigns a phone number to you and allows you to call, text, and receive calls, even if the other user doesn’t have Google Voice installed.
The biggest downside to Google Voice is its lack of international calling options. However, American and Canadian users will find this to be the most comprehensive option for free calling and texting. Additionally, you can pay a fee to make an international call if you need to. So, you aren’t entirely out of luck if you need to make international calls.
Finally, the app functionality is just so perfect. It’s terrific for anyone who isn’t used to phone applications as it’s simple, clean, and sleek. However, people outside of the U.S. and Canada won’t be able to use this app as its service doesn’t extend outside of those locations.
Best Budget Option: Dingtone
Dingtone is an excellent option to game-ify your calling experience, as the app allows you to farm call credits by playing in-app games. It’s perfect for people who love simple minigames and don’t need to make too many calls.
After you complete the sign-up for Dingtone, they’ll award you with 15 call credits you can use within 48 hours of signup. Once those credits are used, you can play games within the app to earn more call credits, making the service accessible for anyone willing to complete small tasks.
Additionally, Dingtone offers free SMS and MMS. You can even make and join group chats from within the application, something that would typically be behind a paywall. You can pay to remove the ads from the app, but they’re not particularly intrusive. So, casual users likely won’t have any trouble with them.
Best For International Calling: TextPlus
TextPlus is another free service that will allow users to send and receive calls and text messages. Unlike the above options, this app has a lot of ads, and paying to remove them is probably one of the better options.
TextPlus is excellent if you need to make an important call or send an important text, but it might be a bit unwieldy for users who want to use the app often. TextPlus also offers highly competitive rates on international calling, making it an attractive option for users who need to make regular worldwide calls.
You’ll be assigned a phone number, and TextPlus offers thousands of numbers from hundreds of regions that can help you fit in with your peers with your phone number. Still, the ads are intrusive sometimes, and you’ll probably be tempted to pay to remove them if you use this app often.
Best Option for Calling Other Users: LINE
If you and your friends are looking for a way to get in touch without paying for it—especially if you have friends in other countries—LINE is one of the best options for calling other users of the same app. It’s important to note that LINE can’t be used to receive calls from landlines, only other users of the LINE app.
LINE features end-to-end encryption, protecting your messages from any prying eyes. It can also call landlines using the LINE Out application. LINE will assign you a phone number if you’re using LINE Out to call phone numbers. However, the caller must be calling using the LINE app to receive calls.
Still, LINE has many features not available to free calling apps that typically use Wi-Fi calling to produce the same results as a typical cellphone. Namely, the app’s versatility is a little more comprehensive since it’s primarily used to contact other users of the LINE app.
This is probably the best app out there for people who don’t make many regular phone calls. LINE also allows users to make five minutes’ worth of free calls a day, with the option to extend that time by watching ads or purchasing credits.
The biggest downside to LINE is that the app can’t make calls to emergency personnel. However, since an active cellphone plan isn’t required—just an available phone and tower—to call emergency services, you won’t be out of luck if you need to call them. You’ll need to dial the number on your phone as usual, and, as long as you are close enough to civilization to connect to a cellphone tower, you’ll be able to call emergency services.
Best Free Calling App: How to Pick the Best App For You
The first thing you’ll want to consider when choosing a free calling app is what kind of calls you plan to make. For instance, if you’re looking to make a lot of international calls, it’s probably most effective for your group to switch to a specific calling app that will allow you to contact other users through the app. However, for people making domestic calls, you’ll need an app that assigns a phone number to you and allows you to make domestic calls via Wi-Fi.
So, you’ll want to start by first assessing who you need to call, when, for how long, and where they live. If you only need to make a short call, TextPlus is probably your best option. But, if you need to make frequent, long, international calls, you’ll probably want to get your friends using LINE, Whatsapp, or another free user-to-user calling app like Viber.
Once you’ve assessed who you intend to call, you’ll want to consider whether you’d prefer a line that allows you to purchase credits or if you’d instead work for your credits. TextPlus is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to work for call credits by watching ads, while Dingtone allows you to get credits for playing games.
But it’s also totally reasonable not to want to watch ads just to call your friends. For these people, something like Google Voice is an excellent choice if you need a phone number, while LINE, Whatsapp, and Viber are good options for users who need to make phone calls to people who are open to trying out a new app to reduce their phone bill.
Free Calling Apps: What to Know Before Downloading
Before you download a free calling app, ensure that you know what the app offers so you don’t end up in a situation where you need the app to do something it’s incapable of doing. Go over the features listed and check version compatibility to ensure that your app will provide you with the features you’re looking for and is compatible with your device.
Using a Free Calling App: What It’s Like
Free calling apps are generally pretty similar to your phone’s regular phone application. You’ll typically have to make the call out of the app, so you’ll need to open the app to make the call. However, that’s no different from the regular phone app; it’s just a different app.
Apps that can call other users of the app for free will usually have little user profiles where you can upload pictures. Some, like LINE, even have a built-in social media function that allows you to use the app as a social media device.
Most mobile voice apps require credits that can be purchased or earned by watching ads or playing games. You’ll need to obtain credits in order to make calls. Typically the credits represent the number of minutes that you can be on the phone, with a minimum of one. So, if you have 15 credits most apps will allow you to be on the phone for 15 minutes before they cut you off.
A free calling app is an excellent way to cut down on costs relating to your phone bill. It’s also an excellent way to keep in touch with friends and family abroad! There are lots of free calling apps out there besides the ones we chose as our favorites. So, don’t lose hope if none of these were what you were looking for. Keep searching and you’ll find the perfect free calling app for you!