PBX Vs. Key System: How to Choose The Right One

December 4th, 2018



One of the more important aspects of any business or organization is their telephone system. This is because the telephone system is how the company can connect to their customers, connect their business, and also connect with their employees.

So, how do you find the right system for your business? There are a few things you should consider when choosing the right phone system including how many people will be using the system and what kind of features you feel you have to have.

Key Systems

One of the two major phone systems is a key system. Key systems are often used by organizations that have fewer than fifty employees working for them. These phones are equipped with multiple buttons, or keys, as well as lights,  to indicate which phone lines are currently in use.

To place a call with a key system, you just have to press a button to directly select the phone line you will be using. With a key system, you will also find that there is one box or unit that acts as the controller for the lines and extensions being used.

This type of system is ideal for smaller organizations because they have far fewer features but still provide more of the convenient features you want to have such as being able to place a call on hold, lights to show which lines are being used, intercom and paging system, speakerphone, on hold music, long-distance restrictions, timers, and even memory dialing.

PBX System

A PBX (Private Branch Exchanges) system actually connects the phone company’s lines with individual user lines and is essentially just a much smaller version of the phone company’s central switching office.

With a PBX system, you have fewer outside lines but can still have several different extensions. They also come with the added benefit of automated features and a lot more in the way of flexibility than key systems.

PBX systems are ideal for larger companies, and each individual line can have its own features and functions. The system box that controls the entire system is essentially a computer and all the features you want for your phone system are added to the PBX software that is being used, and then any line that is connected can then use any of those added features.

Choosing the Right System

So, how do you choose which phone system is right for your business? First, consider how large or small your organization is and how many employees you have. Again, smaller businesses with under fifty employees can greatly benefit from a key system rather than a larger PBX system.

You should also consider the different behaviors of each phone system such as the push button behavior for outside calls with a key system and routed extension calls with a PBX system. Also, if you have an IP based telephone system already, then you have the chance to choose either a PBX or key system. Maybe you want to try both and see how each behaves.