6 Best Team Communication Apps for Collaboration
This article is part of a larger series on Unified Communications.
The best team communication apps for collaboration make it easy to connect with team members—combining instant messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, and project management all in one place. These apps are designed to optimize workflows and improve overall productivity, particularly for distributed workforces.
According to our research, the best communication apps for groups include the following:
- Microsoft Teams: Best overall communication app for Microsoft 365 users or businesses wanting robust video conferencing tools
- Slack: Best choice for businesses looking for extensive third-party integrations for company-wide and team-based communications
- Rocket.Chat: Good option for teams wanting an open-sourced and self-managed communication app with full code customizations
- Spike: Best communication app for teams wanting a simplified, collaborative email platform
- Flock: Ideal for cross-functional teams looking for a communication app with a simplified project management tool
- Zoho Cliq: Best free team communication app for teams needing access to various remote work tools
Best Communication Apps at a Glance
Free or $2 per user, per month, billed annually
4.78 out of 5
Free or $6.67 per, user, per month, billed annually
4.14 out of 5
Free or $3 per user, per month, billed annually
4.13 out of 5
Free or $12 per user, per month, billed annually
4.06 out of 5
Free or $4.50 per user, per month, billed annually
4.05 out of 5
Free or $2.70 per user, per month, billed annually
3.63 out of 5
Microsoft Teams: Best Overall Team Communication App for Collaboration
What We Like
- Data encryption offered at entry-level plan
- Feature-rich conferencing tools, such as custom backgrounds and noise suppression
- Syncs with Microsoft apps and hundreds of non-Microsoft solutions
- User interface requires a few learning curves
- Insufficient chat functionality, unlike Slack
- Complicated file management system for recordings
Microsoft Teams Pricing*
- Microsoft Teams (free): 60-minute meetings with 100 participants, unlimited chat, 5G file storage, file sharing, polling, and noise suppression
- Microsoft Teams Essentials: $2 per user, per month for 30-hour meetings with 300 participants, 10GB file storage, and 24/7 phone and web support
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic: $3 per user, per month for meeting recordings and transcripts, breakout rooms, guest access, 1TB file storage per organization, and integrations
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard: $10 per user, per month for webinar hosting, reporting tools, and desktop versions of Office apps
*Pricing is based on annual billing. After the one-month free trial for Microsoft 365 Business Basic and Standard, users will be charged the applicable subscription fee.
Microsoft Teams is a team collaboration app built for remote and hybrid work, so everyone in the team stays informed. It is our best overall team communication app because of its robust video conferencing features, such as screen sharing, noise suppression, and Together Mode. Together Mode is one of its standout video conferencing features, placing everyone in a single conferencing room with a shared virtual background.
Since many offices also use Microsoft 365 for cloud document management, Microsoft Teams makes a perfect communication solution. It also offers various collaboration products, including apps and workflows automation, chat and collaboration, and Teams Phone for modern calling solutions. To learn more about its collaboration features, check out our in-depth discussion about Microsoft Teams Channels.
Despite the noteworthy features of Microsoft Teams, its user interface can get complicated due to complex navigation features, back-end settings, and multiple tabs. These functions may require a few learning curves, especially for new users. If you want a smoother transition to a group communication app, choose Spike. Spike is an easy-to-use team messaging solution with an intuitive conversation display that is very convenient to navigate.
Microsoft Teams Features
- Live captions: Microsoft Teams makes it easy to communicate with your global teams with its live caption feature. Communicate in 35 languages through inline translation both in chat and channels.
- Noise suppression: Whether it’s a barking dog or a slamming door, this feature reduces background noise around you to keep your meeting participants focused. Microsoft Teams offers three levels of noise suppression: auto (default), high, and low.
- Advanced auditing and reporting: The audit log and reporting tool help companies investigate specific activities across the platform. Audited activities include team creation, team deletion, added channel, delete channel, and changed channel settings.
Slack: Best Team Communication App for Businesses Looking for Extensive Integrations
What We Like
- Integrates with over 2,400 third-party applications, including Zoom, Google Drive, and Salesforce
- Limit channels and groups to specific members
- Ability to search every file and conversations
- Information gets buried quickly in the chat channels
- Call quality needs improvement
- Hard to keep track of channel activities
- Free: Unlimited private and public channels, 1:1 voice and video calls, 10,000 searchable messages, file sharing, and personalized integrations
- Pro: $6.67 per user, per month for unlimited message archive, group video calls with screen sharing, and unlimited third-party integrations
- Business: $12.50 per user, per month, 20GB file storage, single-sign-on (SSO), data exports for messages, and custom user groups
- Enterprise Grid: Contact the Sales team for a quote, unlimited workspaces, 1TB file storage, and offline backup providers
*Pricing is based on an annual contract. Monthly contract is available. Slack allows cancellation of plans anytime and will only bill users for what they use.
Slack is a team chat platform that makes collaboration easier by integrating with custom apps and industry-leading software, such as Zapier, Trello, Dropbox, and Salesforce. You will find tools of every type to increase productivity and manage customer interactions. Other features include messaging, channels, and digital HQ.
As the go-to collaboration software for remote and hybrid teams, new users will find its user interface friendly and intuitive to use. Meanwhile, others will appreciate its 2,400-plus third-party integrations, making this collaboration platform even more flexible and powerful.
One thing that Slack is lacking is the inability to have professional-looking conversations through group channels. Messages get easily disorganized, so it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on. The best alternative for Slack is to try Spike. Spike removes all the stiff formalities and confusing threads in a typical email platform.
- Workflow Builder: Automate everyday tasks like onboarding, sharing updates, and gathering feedback. It also allows you to set up standard requests, so you deliver results and get the needed information fast.
- Slack Connect: Collaborate with teams, partners, and vendors outside your company by bringing communication out of your inbox into channels.
- Digital HQ: Connect your teams, customers, partners, and tools in a digital HQ. Bring them together around common projects, goals, and processes. Whether you’re separated by time zones, companies, or geographical spaces, Slack makes it easy to recreate office discussions.
Rocket.Chat: Best Team Communication App With Full Code Customization Features
What We Like
- Cloud-hosted or self-managed
- Unlimited customizations to modify the application
- Best-in-class security features and compliances
- Complicated user interface
- Underdeveloped collaboration features
- No built-in audio/video conferencing
- Self-Managed Community (free): 100-user capacity, unlimited message history, broadcast channels, unlimited integrations, end-to-end encryption
- Self-Managed Pro: $3 per user, per month for a minimum of 10 users, social network login, multilanguage interface, and manual and auto-chat routing
- Self-Managed Enterprise: Contact Sales for tiered pricing and volume discounts, audit logs, unlimited push notifications, engagement dashboard, and smart chat routing
- Cloud Bronze: $2 per user, per month, unlimited message history, 1TB file storage, guest users, and up to five integrations
- Cloud Silver: $4 per user, per month for a custom domain, 100 integrations, multifactor authentication, 5TB storage, and customizable user permission
- Cloud Gold: Talk to sales for tiered pricing, volume discounts, audit logs, 1,000 integrations, 20TB file storage, engagement dashboard, and secured push notifications
- Free trial: 30-day free trial for Gold Edition
*Rates for the Self-Managed Pro, Cloud Bronze, and Cloud Silver plans are billed annually. Monthly billing is available for Cloud Bronze and Silver.
Rocket.Chat is an open-source communication platform with both self-managed and cloud-based options. This provider is a clear winner if you’re looking for a fully customizable communications platform with complete access to the application’s code. This enables developers to apply whatever customizations they need to tailor the solution for their team communication needs.
The problem with Rocket.Chat is that it doesn’t have a built-in audio and video function for conferencing, so users have to resort to a third-party application. If you have online conferencing needs, consider Cliq. Cliq is a group communication app that offers high-quality audio/video meetings with screen sharing capabilities and a broadcasting feature that allows two people to host.
- Discussions: Rocket.Chat prioritizes team collaboration by allowing discussions for short-term tasks and queries that need urgent attention. It also makes collaborations easy with people inside and outside your organization.
- Channels: Create public and private channels for various collaboration needs, whether company-wide or team-based.
- Search history: Rocket.Chat allows every user to get unlimited access to their search histories. This enables users to keep all critical information.
Spike: Best Team Communication App for Businesses That Need a Simplified Email Platform
What We Like
- Shareable calendar with team members
- Customized notification to each of your contacts
- Chat-like layout for email threads
- Folders for draft, spam, and sent messages are hard to find
- Mobile app is not as optimized as the desktop version
- Custom email accounts are not free
- Personal (free): Unlimited emails, unified inbox, conversational email, 5GB file storage, 15,000-message history, 1:1 call limit, and custom rules (snooze, pin)
- Solo: $12 per user, per month for unlimited searchable history, 50GB file storage, 40 group participant capacity, and 10-attendee limit on audio/video conferencing
- Business: $8 per user, per month for 100GB file storage, unlimited groups and participant capacity, and 250 participant limit for audio/video meetings
- Enterprise: Contact Sales for a quote, unlimited file storage, unlimited collaborative notes and tasks, and real-time collaboration
- Free: 14-day trial
*Fees displayed are applicable for annual billing. Monthly subscription plans are available. Business and Enterprise users have a specified minimum number of users.
Spike is an interesting tool for team communication and collaboration that looks like a crossover between Gmail and Slack. Spike is a collaborative email platform that turns email into simple, chat-like messages. This eliminates stiff formalities in a regular email and enables natural, flowing dialogues for an improved workflow.
Spike also helps teams stay connected, whether via email, chat, video calls, or any collaborative tool. Instead of switching between your email, video conferencing platform, and team chat app, Spike allows you to do it in one place. The inboxes are clean and well-organized, keeping your messages and tasks focused and relevant. It also puts all irrelevant mails like newsletters into a separate inbox and sends all priority messages into designated storage.
One thing that Spike lacks is that the mobile app isn’t as good as the desktop version. If you’re looking for a group communication option with a fully optimized mobile app, choose Slack. The Slack mobile app is available for iOS and Android users and allows you to stay connected with the team when you’re away from your desktop.
- Online notes: Create notes and edit documents without leaving your inbox. No need to open a word processing app to draft your ideas. Online notes allow you to input words or codes and attach images or videos.
- Super search: This feature helps prevent time searching your email for files and scrolling through endless threads. Spike uses advanced email search to help you find exactly what you’re looking for right away.
- Voice message: Record and share voice messages directly from your email, notes, and group chat. The voice message feature is integrated within the email app, so it’s easy to relay your ideas.
Flock: Best for Cross-functional Teams Needing a Simplified Project Management Tool
What We Like
- Work with teams outside and inside your company
- Secure, real-time file sharing
- Offers a good set of integrations
- Lacks customization options
- Cluttered and outdated user interface
- Lacks niche features
- Starter (free): Good for one to 20 members with unlimited 1:1 messaging and group messages, 10 public channels, 5GB file storage per team, 1:1 video calls, and unlimited polls
- Pro: $4.50 per user, per month for teams with 20 to 100 members, unlimited searchable messages, 10GB file storage per team member, group video calls, and screen sharing
- Enterprise: Contact Sales for a quote, organizational mapping, unlimited private/public channels, single sign-on (SSO), and unlimited auto-join channels
- Free trial: 30-day free trial for the Pro plan
*Pricing is based on annual subscription plans. Monthly plan is available for the Pro plan.
Flock is a team communications app and an online collaboration platform with team messaging and project management. It has a full stack of features and tools to help cross-functional teams access a wide range of productivity tools to improve workflow. When managing projects, Flock allows users to share to-do lists with the team, distribute real-time updates, create polls for opinions, and set upcoming reminders for team members.
Unfortunately, Flock lacks customization capabilities to modify the platform based on your workflow. If you want access to a full suite of customizable options, check out Rocket.Chat. Rocket.Chat offers a complete code solution and a self-managed plan designed for developers who want full access to the code to apply whatever customizations they need.
- To-dos: Create channels for your team and turn conversations into tasks with shared-to-dos. Flock also enables users to assign tasks to other team members, and a To-dos bot will notify them.
- Polls: Flock polls are available on all channels that enable you to add many options and let the team vote. It is also shareable across channels and syncs automatically.
- Channel messaging: Use channel messaging as a central hub of team communication and access several useful features, such as file sharing, notes, and to-dos.
Zoho Cliq: Best Free Team Communication App for Teams Working Remotely
What We Like
- Shows several chat notifications simultaneously
- Well-ordered broadcasting tool
- Forking feature that redirects channel conversations to private messages
- Feels a bit like Slack but with fewer features
- More options needed for Do Not Disturb and Out of Office modes
- No keyword notifications, unlike Slack
Zoho Cliq Pricing*
- Free: Unlimited users, 100GB file storage per org, 100 maximum participants per channel, threads, read receipts, and remote work
- Unlimited: $2.70 per user, per month unlimited searchable messages, rebranding, custom domain, external channel, multiteam channels, and call recording
*Rates displayed are for annual contracts and are based on up to 500 users. Monthly billing is available.
Zoho Cliq is a team collaboration software built for remote teams that offers automated workflows, audio/video conferencing, and collaborative messaging. Its standout feature, Remote Work, comes with four statuses that enable teams to achieve work-life balance. It allows users to choose whether they’re engaged with work, available for collaboration, having lunch, or taking a break.
Subscribing to the Unlimited plan gives remote teams access to robust collaboration tools, such as file storage, reminders, team management, and project integration. However, if you’re looking for an out-of-office or do not disturb option for user status, check out Slack instead. Slack allows users to customize their status and the complimentary icon or emoji.
Zoho Cliq Features
- Smart Suggest: Zoho Cliq scans the context of your messages to recommend ways to follow up. This means adding reminders or setting meetings directly from the chat window.
- Automated workflows: Command shortcuts, custom message actions, and conversational bots make up Zoho Cliq’s automated workflows. With these features, you get real-time updates from applications and turn messages into work items.
- Image annotations and mark-ups: Make real-time collaboration easier by adding notes and marking up messages when sharing them on the platform.
How We Evaluated the Best Communication App for Team Collaboration
In this age of remote work, modern teams are looking for the flexibility and mobility of a unified communications platform that enables them to socialize and connect with their colleagues. For this guide, we evaluated six communication apps for team collaboration that offer a wide range of tools and features, perfect for teams of all sizes.
Learn how we evaluated the best communication app for team collaboration by clicking on the tabs below:
10% of Overall Score
Cost is a major consideration when choosing the best team communication app for small businesses. We looked at the availability of free trials, free versions, volume-based discounts, and discounts for annual billing. We also examined the tiered-plan pricing both for monthly and annual contracts.
40% of Overall Score
We gave points to team communication providers offering analytics, group calls, and public and private channels. In addition, providers earned additional points for third-party integrations and unlimited messaging.
30% of Overall Score
We explored various niche features for different collaboration requirements, such as to-do lists, calendar management, polls, and screen sharing.
20% of Overall Score
We based our expert score on our personal experience and customer reviews. Using different perspectives, we identified each provider based on popularity, value for money, ease of use, and features.
The best communication apps for collaboration provide a single place to communicate, manage projects, and share updates and files, whether in real time or asynchronously. Microsoft Teams is the best overall team communication app, offering a free version and affordable tiered plans with access to a suite of video conferencing features.
To ensure effective implementation of your communication app, check out our guide on unified communications and collaboration tips to improve team responsiveness.