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The 5 Best Free Calling Apps for Unlimited Calls Over Wi-Fi in 2023

Are you fed up with skyrocketing cell phone bills just to stay connected to friends and family? You‘re not alone. The average monthly cell phone bill in the US now tops $127 for a single user, according to recent research. Ouch.

What if there was a way to make unlimited calls and texts for free using just your phone‘s Wi-Fi connection? Good news – there is! A new crop of free calling apps lets you do just that.

In this in-depth guide, we‘ll explore the top free calling apps for iOS and Android in 2023. Whether your goal is to cut costs on domestic calls or connect with friends abroad, these apps offer a compelling alternative to pricey traditional phone service. We‘ll dive into how the apps work, their standout features, and help you pick the perfect app for your needs.

By the end of this guide, you‘ll have everything you need to start making calls over Wi-Fi and slash your monthly phone bill. Let‘s get started!

How Free Calling Apps Work

Before we jump into our top picks, let‘s take a quick look at the technology that powers free calling apps behind the scenes.

Unlike traditional phone calls that travel over a cellular network, free calling apps transmit your voice as data over the internet (VoIP). Here‘s a basic overview of how a free app-to-app call works:

  1. You open your free calling app and dial the number you want to call
  2. The app converts your voice into a digital audio signal
  3. That audio signal is transmitted as data over Wi-Fi to the app‘s server
  4. The server routes the data to the recipient‘s app on their device
  5. The recipient‘s app converts the digital signal back into audio

This all happens in a split second, allowing you to have a normal voice conversation with the other party. The key difference is that no cellular network is involved – the call travels entirely over your internet connection, bypassing your carrier‘s voice network and the associated fees.

Most free calling apps also allow you to call regular phones (not just other app users), but the process is a bit different. Calls to regular phone numbers either require an in-app purchase of calling credits OR are routed through a VoIP service that connects the call to the normal phone network.

That‘s the basic gist of how these apps function. With those technical details in mind, let‘s dive into our picks for the best free calling apps!

Top 5 Free Calling Apps

1. Google Voice

Best overall free calling app for North America

Google Voice

Google Voice is our top pick for the best all-around free calling app, especially for users in the US and Canada. This feature-packed app offers free, unlimited calling and texting to any phone number in those countries. You can also call internationally at competitive rates.

Key features:

  • Unlimited calling/SMS to US and Canada
  • Voicemail transcripts sent to you via email or SMS
  • Call forwarding to any linked numbers
  • Block spam calls and texts
  • Customizable voicemail greetings
  • No ads (it‘s Google, after all)

Google Voice has a sleek, user-friendly interface that‘s a breeze to navigate. Setting up your free number takes just a few taps, and you can easily link it to ring on any of your existing devices when you get a call. We also love the voicemail transcription feature, which converts your voicemails to text for easy reading.

Pros:

  • Completely free, unlimited calls + texts in US & Canada
  • Best-in-class spam blocking tools
  • Clean, easy-to-use interface
  • Tons of features for customizing your calling experience

Cons:

  • No free international calling (you‘ll need to buy credits)
  • Some users report glitches and dropped calls

2. WhatsApp

Best for unlimited worldwide calling & texting

WhatsApp

With over 2 billion active users across 180 countries, WhatsApp hardly needs an introduction. The wildly popular messaging app (now owned by Facebook) is a go-to for free worldwide texting, but did you know it also offers free voice and video calls?

Key features:

  • Unlimited free calling to other WhatsApp users worldwide
  • High-definition voice calls with noise cancellation
  • Easily switch between messaging, voice, and video
  • See contacts‘ status and when they‘ve read your messages
  • End-to-end encryption for maximum privacy

As long as your contact also has WhatsApp installed, you can make crystal-clear voice or video calls for free, even if they‘re on the other side of the globe. The app uses end-to-end encryption to keep your calls private and offers a host of useful features like seeing if your messages have been read.

Pros:

  • Completely free, unlimited worldwide calling
  • Most of your friends are probably already using it
  • Best-in-class privacy and security
  • No pesky ads!

Cons:

  • Can‘t call non-WhatsApp numbers (landlines, etc.)
  • Call quality can vary on slower data connections

3. TextNow

Honorable mention with free calls + options to earn minutes

TextNow

TextNow is another great option for free calling and texting to numbers in the US and Canada. You get your own dedicated phone number and can use it to make unlimited calls or send texts over Wi-Fi.

Key features:

  • Unlimited free calling and texting to US & Canada
  • Earn free calling credits by completing surveys, watching ads, etc.
  • Affordable international calling rates
  • Turn your TextNow number into your main number
  • Voicemail transcription

One thing that sets TextNow apart is the variety of ways you can earn additional free calling credits, like watching video ads, completing surveys, or signing up for partner offers. It‘s a handy way to rack up some extra free talk time if you need it.

Pros:

  • Completely free US/Canada calling and texting
  • Multiple ways to earn bonus calling minutes
  • Competitive international rates
  • Free voicemail transcription

Cons:

  • Ad-supported (you‘ll see them in the app, but they‘re not too obtrusive)
  • Some users report issues with call quality/connectivity

TextPlus

Best for affordable international calling to 200+ countries

TextPlus

Need to make cheap international calls from your free number? TextPlus has you covered with affordable rates to over 200 countries worldwide starting at just 1¢ per minute.

Key features:

  • Free unlimited calls + texts to other TextPlus numbers
  • Earn free credits towards international calling
  • Cheap international rates from 1¢/min
  • Create your own custom phone number
  • Cute in-app badges and rewards system

On top of free TextPlus-to-TextPlus calling, you can purchase credits for affordable international calls to regular numbers abroad. Rates vary by country but start as low as 1¢ per minute. You can also complete partner offers to earn free credits.

Pros:

  • Low international calling rates to 200+ countries
  • Fun rewards system with badges for using the app
  • Lots of options to earn free call credits
  • Lets you create your own custom phone number

Cons:

  • Calling non-TextPlus numbers requires credits (a con if you mostly make domestic calls)
  • Rates to some countries can be pricier than competitors

Dingtone

Fun free calling & texting app with a focus on earning minutes

Dingtone

Rounding out our top picks is Dingtone, a well-designed calling and texting app with some fun, unique features to help you earn credits for free calls.

Key features:

  • Unlimited free calls + texts to other Dingtone users
  • Earn minutes by playing mini games, completing offers
  • Send texts, picture messages, stickers & more
  • Give your phone a 2nd number for work or privacy
  • Record and send voice messages

We really like Dingtone‘s gamified credit system, which lets you rack up minutes for free calls by playing mini games, watching ads, inviting friends to the app, and more. It gives you more ways to earn than most competitors. The ability to add a 2nd number is also great for freelancers or anyone looking to keep their main number private.

Pros:

  • Fun variety of ways to earn free credits (games, surveys, etc.)
  • Handy 2nd number feature for work or privacy
  • Packed with features like stickers, voice messaging, etc.
  • Easy to use, colorful interface

Cons:

  • Calling non-Dingtone numbers requires credits
  • Some users report issues with adding credits purchased via PayPal

Conclusion

So there you have it – the top 5 free calling apps to help you keep in touch for less!

While each app has its own unique pros and cons, they all share one key benefit: the potential for big savings on your monthly phone bill. By routing your calls over Wi-Fi, these apps let you avoid burning through your cell plan minutes or racking up pricey international charges.

Just how much can you save with a free calling app? Let‘s do the math.

The average US cell phone bill is around $127 per month for a single line. Let‘s say you currently pay about $40 per month just for your voice/minute allowance (not including data).

If you switch to making most of your calls with a free app, you could easily slash that voice portion of your bill by 50-75%, pocketing $20-30 every month. Over the course of a year, that adds up to nearly $250-350 in savings! Not too shabby.

Of course, there are a few trade-offs to be aware of with free calling apps. Potential drawbacks include:

  • Inconsistent call quality (especially on slower connections)
  • No access to emergency services (you still need cell service for 911)
  • Possible privacy concerns (your data is routed through a 3rd party)
  • More limited support options compared to traditional phone service
  • Risk of the app shutting down or changing its free calling terms

But for most users, the huge monthly savings will far outweigh these concerns. And by choosing a reputable app from our list, you can minimize any potential downsides and enjoy a reliable free calling experience.

So what are you waiting for? Pick the app that best fits your needs and start putting more money back in your pocket every month! Your wallet (and your call recipients) will thank you.

Free Calling Apps – Summary

Here‘s a quick recap of the top free calling apps we covered and who they‘re best for:

App Best For Free Calling Intl. Rates Standout Feature
Google Voice Overall value & ease of use Unlimited to US/Canada Competitive Voicemail transcripts
WhatsApp Free worldwide calling Unlimited to other users N/A (no calling to non-users) End-to-end encryption
TextNow Earning extra call credits Unlimited to US/Canada Competitive Multiple ways to earn credits
TextPlus Cheap international rates Free to other TextPlus users As low as 1¢/min Earn rewards in the app
Dingtone Fun ways to earn minutes Free to other Dingtone users Requires credits Play mini games for credits

Whichever app you choose, you‘ll be well on your way to making free or low-cost calls using just your phone‘s Wi-Fi connection.

Just remember, while these apps are a great way to save on your cell phone bill, they‘re not a 100% replacement for traditional phone service. We still recommend keeping a basic cell plan for emergencies, giving out to businesses, and staying connected when you‘re away from Wi-Fi.

Happy free calling!