Group chat apps today go far beyond simple texting.
Apps ranked here are mostly team chat apps for work with incredible amounts of functionality, but you can use them casually as well. You can chat with multiple rotating teams, get notified by specific words or announcements, have bots maintain users and chats, make video and voice calls with hundreds of participants, and much more.
Here are the top picks of the best group chat apps for this year:
|App name (ranked)||Best for:|
|1. Slack||IT Developers and SMB|
|2. Microsoft Teams||Service teams and core business|
|3. Discord||Casual communication|
|4. Zoom||Video conferencing|
|5. Signal||Privacy & Security|
|6. Matrix + Element||Privacy, Security, one client for all|
|7. Telegram||Some Privacy + Convenience|
|10. Google Chat||Google ecosystem|
|11. Mattermost||IT Developers|
|12. Webex||Video conferencing|
|13. Revolt.Chat||Discord alternative|
|14. GroupMe||Schools & UNIs|
|15. Google Messages||RCS|
|16. WhatsApp||Casual chats|
|17. Textra||Android chats|
Every single software here supports voice and video chats, except for Textra. Some offer better quality and more functionality than others, but they’re all amazing products!
Some of these apps are incredible. For example, Slack is such a great team chat software that you can even tell the local time of others to send a message at the right time, or schedule your messages to be sent at a future time. Add group chat announcement and tagging, and this can tremendously improve communication across the organization, community, or just between two people.
In this list, we have the best communication apps available on the market, based on functionality, usability, and security. Let’s take a look.
What Are the Best Group Chat Apps in 2022?
Best group chat app for developers and SMB
Slack is by far the best group chat app you can use right now for team communication, especially for developers. What sets Slack apart from the rest of the apps is its excellent core chat function, with threads, tagging, status, bots, and other functions.
Branching a discussion into a different thread from a single comment, and having a very clear structure in communication is incredibly productive for collaboration. By far, it’s the #1 chatting app for most businesses out there, and it keeps improving every day.
- Custom web hooks, APIs, and bots to manage chats
- Integration with Trello, Jira, Google Calendar and more
- Designed for productivity, very clean and easy to read
- Great for shadowing and training people
- Intuitive, enjoyable and easy to use
- Doesn’t fit well with 365 ecosytem
- Supported platforms: iOs, Android, Windows, MacOS, Linux, Web
Pro tip: Nail down the etiquette when starting to use Slack. Encourage others to use Threads to a branch of discussions from single comments, turn on thread notifications, and if you’re done with a channel, archive it.
Pro tip #2: Create a channel to share updates with your team, and call it simply “announcements”. This is incredibly useful to notify everyone of anything important.
2. Microsoft Teams
Best for service teams and core business
Microsoft Teams is a great collaboration tool that offers a lot of convenience and efficiency. It’s a team chat app for companies looking for a mix of both Slack and Zoom, with a full-blown document management system. Teams comes as a part of Office 365 licensing, which means that if you have Office 365, then you own a Teams app license as well.
- Easy to learn for non-technical staff
- Integrates well with Ooutlook, OneDrive, OneNote, SharePoint
- Chats are saved in teams after meetings
- Easy to distribute information across rotating crews
- Cheap and easy to monitor remote employees
- Outlook meetings can automatically create teams channels
- Mediocre Chat and notification systems, and UI is a bit laggy
- Supported platforms: Windows, MacOs, Android, iOS, Linux, Web
Pro tip: If using the web version of Teams, go for the Edge browser.
Pro tip #2: If you wanted to chat with everyone in Teams, you can tag the message as ‘Important’ by using the “priority feature”. This sends notification alerts to everyone in the chat group.
Best for casual communication
Discord is a friendly-looking app aimed for casual communication but can be used for business as well. Discord is easy to use and is far more intuitive than many other similar apps. It has a casual look about itself, and its channels are neatly organized and highly customizable. It’s probably the best team messaging software you can get for free, but may not be for all businesses.
- Customizable chat system, with voice/video chat built in
- Good organization of channels and threads
- Responsive UI, with snappy jumping between channels
- Simulate “office desk” environment with dedicated voice channels
- Bots to help manage, monitor and maintain users
- Could be a bit more professional, plus some privacy concerns
- Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Web
Pro tip: Hire a discord specialist to set up the channels for you, which saves you time and hassle.
Best group app for video conferencing
Zoom is both a conferencing tool and a chat app that’s simple to use and easy to get into. It’s one of the safest apps to use when dealing with externals. The UI is much simpler compared to other apps and has less functionality, but it’s a good choice if you’re not in the Office 365 ecosystem.
- Easy to use conferencing tool to set up quick meetings
- Low system requirements, with good video quality
- A very safe app when dealing with externals
- In-meeting chats are saved automatically
- Needs more functionality to support a B2B collaboration
- Supported platforms: macOS, Windows, iOs, Android, Linux, Web
Pro tip: Get a dynamic microphone for a lot less background noise. Takes a little practice to get used to, but it’s well worth it.
Best anonymous chat app
If safety and privacy are of your utmost concern, then this is the app for you. Signal is probably the safest video chat app and a great app to chat with strangers. It uses “sealed token” to facilitate anonymous delivery of messages with minimum information disclosed. It doesn’t access your contacts, helps prevent spoofing, and uses double encryption to prevent any kind of third party from seeing your messages.
- Collects minimum of your information
- Double encryption for better anonymity
- Uses confidential computing on Azure to protect data
- Notification system could use some improvement
- Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android
6. Matrix + Element
Matrix is a chat protocol that has many front-ends your users can choose from. The most popular is Element. With its incredible bridging feature, Matrix allows you to use other apps through it, such as Slack, Discord, Facebook, Signal, and others. You can use Slack to talk to your customers, or any of the other bridges to talk to other companies.
- Bridge to many other platforms (Slack, Discord, etc)
- Supports threads through Slack as Matrix
- End-to-end encryption, and very safe if self-hosted
- All your communication in one place, with one client
- Takes a bit of work to set it up
- Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Web
Pro tip: Use an ansible script to automate everything while setting up Matrix using Docker.
Telegram is an open and feature-rich messaging app that provides a lot of convenience for larger groups and communities. It focuses on speed and security but is only encrypted when you use the secret chat, which doesn’t work for groups.
- Good at keeping conversations private 1-on-1
- Easy to set up and multi-platform friendly
- Large file size limit of up to 2GB files
- Can use self-destruct timers to remove messages
- Supported platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, Web
RocketChat is an office chat software, which comes as a text chat app out of the box, but you can have video and audio chats with Jitsi. It has most of the features that Slack has, and installs easily with Docker.
- Supports video and audio chats via WebRTC
- Supports a lot of customization
- Slack import and bridge options
- Can be clunky and unstable, with slow mobile apps
- Supported platforms: Mac, Windows, Linux, iOs, Android, Web
Mattermost is an open-source Slack alternative for developer collaboration, with a lot of great features and integration options, making it one of the best team communication apps available. Super-versatile as a chat app, plus it’s federated so you can talk between a self-hosted instance.
- Easy to install even without docker
- Slack-compatible webhooks
- Sensible threads, with a lot of functionality
- Video and audio conferencing through Jitsi
- Mobile app could be faster
- Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Web
Pro tip: There’s a Mattermost Omnibus install, that can install everything you need.
Another Slack alternative, Chanty offers a lot for a team chat app, and you can even do some light project management as well. It fits well as a communication software with marketing agencies, educational organizations, and IT specialists.
- Text chat, audio and video calls
- Integrate with Google Drive, Dropbox, Trello, etc.
- Threaded messaging and unlimited history for free
- Task management, roles and permissions
- Supported platforms: Windows, iOS, Mac OS, Android, Linux
11. Google Chat
As a part of Google Workspace, Google Chat offers the ability to collaborate with hundreds of colleagues in your organization. It replaced Hangouts and is a decent alternative communication app to Teams and Slack or any of the other team chat tools.
- Automatically integrates with other Google Software
- Easy to set up a meeting through Google Meet
- Blur or replace your background during a meeting
- Uses predictive text to automate replies in chat
- Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Linux, Android, iOS
Webex has improved a lot over the last few years and is now a pretty good app for collab adoption and video conferencing. Webex is a great product from Cisco, comparable to Zoom.
- Easy to use and user friendly
- Preferable if you’re not in the O365 ecosystem
- You can preload and stream movie files
- Chat could use some improvements
- Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
13. Revolt Chat
An easily self-hostable app, Revolt Chat is a decent open-source Discord alternative, with a backend written in Rust. What this means is that this software combines speed, with low resource usage, while offering the safety of a standard server language. Revolt Chat is one of the most mature FOSS substitutes for Discord, but it doesn’t federate as Matrix does (not yet anyway).
- Isn’t as hard to implement
- Lots of chat features, similar to Discord
- UX is pretty good, UI is nice with docker
- Doesn’t federate, creating fragmentation
- Supported platforms: Linux, Windows, iOS and Android (through clients)
Pro tip: Check their information on Github to learn how to run it.
GroupMe is a decent chat software for schools and classes and even small businesses. GroupMe seems very basic compared to apps such as Discord but still fulfills its purpose as a decent group chat app.
- Useful to small businesses
- Allows simple file sharing and unlimited conversations
- Has Campus Connect for UNIs
- Needs more functionality and better security
- Supported platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 10
15. Google Messages
Google’s Messages are the company’s official app for texting and RCS messages that supports group chat texts, GIFs, videos, and everything else you’d need from a texting app. It’s the best RCS messaging app for Android and is now Samsung’s default messaging app in the US.
- Great chat reactions and overall design
- Messages for the Web on your desktop browser
- Send large video/picture files to other Messages users
- Could be a bit more reliable and cross platform
- Supported platforms: Android, Web (Windows or Mac), Wear OS
WhatsApp may be on the bad voice regarding privacy, but it’s still an app that uses the E2EE protocol and has a decent amount of features. It’s a free messaging app to chat over wifi, offers group voice and video chats, and is fairly light as well. There’s also Whatsapp Business with 1000 calls for free each month.
- Decent group messaging experience
- Free chats over wifi, from a free app
- Easily create large group chats
- Some privacy concerns, but still uses the same protocol that Signal uses
- Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Web
Textra is a text chat Android app offering a lot of freedom in customization from changing the colors of the text bubbles, to per thread notification sounds and vibrations.
- Light, optimized and highly customizable
- Group chat names and custom text vibrations
- Per thread notification sounds
- Robust search function
- Supported platforms: Android, WearOS
There you go, these 17 office chat apps are the best on the market right now, and which one will fit you depends on your needs and priority. Slack is the best chat app, Signal is the safest, Teams is all-in-one for the O365 ecosystem, while Zoom is best if you only need video conferencing. One thing is for sure, these are all amazing messaging apps used by thousands of organizations and individuals worldwide. So try out some of them!