Low cost phones for experimenting

I’m new to this - I just heard about FreePBX this morning - and would like to set up a system to learn on, using a spare Raspberry Pi. (I’ve already seen someone on the forums say that the Pi is not suitable for a real system, but I’m just using it to learn with.)

All I need now are some phones. I’ve seen some very expensive phones on the forums. Amazon has some cheap ones, but most say that they require that company’s own PBX. One that apparently doesn’t is the Grandstream Simple IP Phone - has anyone tried it? Are there any other low cost IP phones that are recommended? Any that I should stay away from?


Basically any SIP compliant (as per various RFC) IP Terminal should be good enough to start and let you doing some practice with Asterisk.

Costs depend on many things: first of all you must ask yourself what’s your starting budget and what set of features you need to test/explore with your IP PBX system.

Sometime, cheap (expensive) doesn’t mean poor (fantastic) performance (take as example some very OLD GrandStream GXP2000…they’re reliable and if you make a balance considering their actual costs a used GXP2000 should suffice).

It’s up to you and the challenges you want to take.

If you just want to experiment, there are numerous soft phones out there that run on a PC and in some cases a tablet or Smartphone.

If you want an inexpensive phone, I agree with the GXP2000. I still have a number of of them running for nearly seven years in a production system.

One thing I’ve found is that many of my users prefer the phones with the Button and LED displays as apposed to an LCD display. The Button and LED is just easier to use.


Thanks for the replies. It didn’t occur to me to look for a software IP phone; this will be the fastest way to start while I look around for a hardware phone. (I’m in South Africa, so it takes a while to get something from Amazon.)

I did a search for SIP compliant soft phones and found a quite a few. I will try MicroSIP, since I have 3 Windows PC’s that I can use for testing.

Check out Zopier. Nice free soft phone that works on several platforms. Windows, Android. . zopier.com

I use it on both Win and Android and can vouch they work well.

Thanks! I’ll try Zopier. It will be great if I can add an Android phone to my clients.

Just an update: I downloaded and installed FreePBX on my Raspberry Pi, ran the update, and everything seems to be working fine. After the update, it says “Installed version is now 16”

I then logged into the admin site, raspbx, from my laptop and that seems fine, but now I’m hitting a brick wall. The instructions say things like “Click Admin, and then System Admin on the left hand side of the screen”. The first menu is Admin, but there is no System Admin: just Administrators, Backup & Restore, Custom Destination, Custom Extensions, Feature Codes, FreePBX Support, Module Admin, and System Recordings. I tried all the menus and sub menus. Are there different instructions for the RaspBerry Pi? Or for version 16 of FreePBX?

My next question will be how to setup the clients. I have microSIP and Zoiper, and both want user names and passwords, which I don’t see in FreePBX. How do I get a client to be a phone on a FreePBX system?

I will carry on muddling alone - I might work these out eventually…

There will not be a System Admin on your system it is closed source and relies on third-party binaries that are not available for arm devices.

The user name will be the extension you set up in FreePBX, I will leave it to you to guess what should be in the password :slight_smile: