Best Free Voice Chat Apps for Games

Voice chat is now standard fare in gaming communities. Gone are the days when you had to share a couch to socialize while gaming. Why bother when you can stay home and chat over the Internet instead?

However, with so many options available, you can get confused as to which one is right for you and your circle of friends. So, here are the best free voice chat apps for gaming, along with their pros and cons.


Discord is a free app that runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and as a web app (which unfortunately doesn’t have as many features as the desktop versions). If you’ve ever used Slack or IRC, you’ll feel at home on Discord. In addition to voice chat, Discord supports text chat and video chat (for up to 10 people).

Discord Pros

Anyone can create a Discord server for free. Users can join up to 100 different servers, and each server is essentially its separate community. Servers can have text and voice channels, and the server’s owner can modify pretty much everything about it. Discord hosts the servers themselves, and here’s how to find the best Discord servers to match your interests.

You and your friends can be up and running in minutes. The servers are private, and people can only join them via invite links (a “public” server is one with a permanent public invite link that anyone can use). Discord has many features beyond the voice chat client, and it’s worth checking out.

The cons of Discord

Since all servers are hosted through Discord, an outage means all Discord servers go down, and you can’t do anything about it except wait.

In addition, Discord servers are hosted in the following locations: Eastern US, Central US, Western US, Southern US, Europe, Russia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Japan, South Africa, and Australia. If you’re outside of those regions, latency can cause delays in voice chat.

Discord can be a bit over the top if you want voice chat. It’s best to use it if you’re already participating on other Discord servers, in which case you’ll already be running the Discord app and have nothing to lose.

Check out our Discord tips and tricks for more help getting started with the app.


Mumble is a free, open-source application that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can use a third-party app on mobile: Plumble for Android and Mumblefy for iOS. It is mainly used for voice chat but also supports primitive text chat.

The Mumble Professionals

Mumble specializes in low-latency communication, which makes it ideal for high-octane games with lots of fast-paced action, especially those that involve team play. He can also do positional audio based on where he is in the game world, but this is only supported by a few games (such as most source engine games and Guild Wars 2).

Everything is under your control. If you want to host a server, download the server version of Mumble and run it on your computer. Then everyone else downloads the client version of Mumble to connect to your IP address. You can create channels to keep everything organized.

If you want 24/7 uptime without leaving your computer on all the time, you can buy Mumble server hosting. Expect to pay around $2.50/month for five slots, though the price per slot drops dramatically as slots increase. And you can get great discounts by paying for several months at a time instead of paying monthly.

Cons of Mumble

You can only connect to one Mumble server at a time.

The clunky interface is probably its worst aspect, followed by the learning curve. While Mumble is extremely easy to use once you get the hang of it, that initial experience can be pretty frustrating, especially when you’re trying to set up the server software on your computer and can’t figure out why your friends can’t connect. Tip: You need port forwarding (what is port forwarding?)


TeamSpeak is a free app that runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS (mobile apps are client apps only). TeamSpeak is very similar to Mumble in design and operation, but it offers some unique features while falling short in certain aspects.

The Pros of TeamSpeak

TeamSpeak has an easy-to-use interface with high-quality audio, albeit with a bit more latency than Mumble. However, the difference is insignificant in most cases.

TeamSpeak also has a flexible and powerful permissions system that allows different users to control other areas of the server based on their “power level.” Permissions are also divided into groups so that you can grant control over a channel to one user and the server to another. This makes community management much more accessible.

Like Mumble, you can self-host TeamSpeak or pay for hosting.

The Cons of TeamSpeak

You can only connect to one TeamSpeak server at a time.

Self-hosted TeamSpeak servers have a maximum capacity of 32 simultaneous users. If you apply for and purchase a non-commercial, non-profit license, you can increase that limit to 512. Otherwise, you will have to pay an annual fee based on maximum capacity. This won’t be a big deal for private groups of friends, but it’s a potential deal-breaker for public communities.

Steam voice chat

Despite being one of the most popular gaming platforms, Steam didn’t have an integrated voice chat option until 2018. The amount of money spent on the platform, 100 million users, and the staggering range of games available is impressive.

The lack of a built-in Steam Voice Chat option has helped some of the alternative options on this list become a better alternatives, building dedicated communities on their own.

The Pros of Steam Voice Chat

If you’re already playing a game on Steam, you don’t have to play with a third-party voice chat app. Everyone you play with is using the same game launcher, playing the same game, so all your friends can chat with the same app.

As you would expect, Steam Voice Chat works well with a Steam product. You can drop different media types, such as a GIF or audio clip, into Steam Voice Chat for easy sharing. In addition, the chat center makes it easy to manage Steam Voice Chat.

Another advantage of Steam Voice Chat is the global coverage of Steam servers. Wherever you are, you’re not far from a Steam server location. That proximity is good for latency, which helps your voice sound clear.

Check out the best gaming routers if you want to boost your connectivity even further.

The Cons of Steam Voice Chat

Using Steam Voice Chat doesn’t have many drawbacks. Voice call quality is sometimes poor, which is often explained by other internet issues.

If you rely on Steam Voice Chat to communicate with specific friends or players, you will not be able to communicate with them if the Steam network goes down. Some users prefer to use an alternative voice chat client because it prevents a company from consolidating the market (further).

In terms of chatting with other people or different players, Steam Voice Chat is limiting. You are more likely to chat with your friends in Steam Voice Chat. With alternatives like Discord, you can join different servers and chat with others.


Tox is slightly different from the other voice chat options on this list. Unlike the alternatives, Tox strongly focuses on user privacy, using end-to-end encryption to protect your data. It also uses a peer-to-peer connection model to increase your privacy while chatting and gaming.

Tox is a protocol with several different implementations, depending on your operating system. Voice chat software that uses the Tox protocol is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, as well as a web-based option.

The Pros of Tox

The Tox protocol offers a secure voice chat option for gamers. Privacy is essential, and many voice chat options overlook this critical issue. Also, because the Tox source code is open, you can ensure that nothing untoward is happening with your data.

You can find a toxicology app for just about any modern operating system, meaning cross-platform chat is possible. Also, because Tox is cross-platform, developers will be innovating around the protocol and adding features to their chat clients wherever possible.

The Cons of Tox

Because Tox is peer-to-peer, voice quality can suffer. The quality is only as good as their connection to each other. By extension, you cannot send messages if the other user is not connected to Tox Messenger. Some applications may display the news as it was sent when, in fact, it is waiting to complete the transmission.

Also, due to the open-source nature of the Tox protocol, developers come and go. There are at least seven abandoned instant messaging services at this time. That number could increase if a service doesn’t attract enough users or the development team loses interest in the project.

Notable Mentions: Google Hangouts and Skype

The above options are some of the best voice chat apps for gaming. Almost all players develop a preference for one of them. If you don’t like any of them for whatever reason, there are two other voice chat solutions you can use: Google Hangouts and Skype. But be careful…they have some glaring flaws.

Google Hangouts allows you to make free voice calls to other Hangouts users and video conferences with up to 10 total participants. It’s okay for lounging with fellow gamers, but it’s not the best to use while gaming because the quality isn’t optimized for it, you don’t have push-to-talk options, and there’s no persistence between calls.

Skype is better suited to gaming because you can have persistent group chats between voice chats, but the Skype software leaves much to be desired. It is buggy and error-prone, with generally poor voice quality and distinctive tinniness.

These Voice Chat Apps Will Keep You Playing

In this article, we have listed a handful of free voice chat apps for gamers. All of which we would gladly recommend. However, if we had to choose just one, we would recommend Discord.

If you want more free gamer apps, check out this list of free PC gamer apps. Or, if getting more juice out of your gaming rig is what you’re interested in, here’s how to optimize your PC for gaming.

Gavin Phillips (795 Articles published)Gavin is the Junior Editor for Windows and Technology Explained, a regular contributor to the Useful Podcast, and was the Editor of MakeUseOf’s crypto-focused sister site, Blocks Decoded. He has a BA in Honors Contemporary Writing with Digital Art Practice plundered from the Devon hills and over a decade of professional writing experience. He enjoys copious amounts of tea, board games, and football.

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