Microsoft Teams Essential vs Microsoft 365 

How do I know which Microsoft product is right for my organization?  

With different, yet similar products like Microsoft Teams (free), Microsoft Teams Essential, Microsoft 365 Business, and Microsoft 365 Enterprise, it’s no wonder we can get lost in deciding which product is right for us. But do not worry, Creospark is here to clarify all of that!  

Microsoft Teams is a communication platform that allows a company to stay organized and have conversations, all in one place. With the introduction of Microsoft Teams Essential, small businesses and enterprises now have three versions of Microsoft Teams standalone paid subscriptions. In addition, we will discuss Microsoft Teams Essentials and Microsoft 365 subscriptions and the benefits of each.  

What features do both Microsoft Teams Essential and Microsoft 365 have?

Unfamiliar with Microsoft Teams? Let’s break it all down. Microsoft Teams Essential and Microsoft 365 have the same features included in the free version of Microsoft Teams and much more. Before we dive into the specific features of the applications, let’s look at some of the features that are offered through the free Microsoft Teams platform. 

Teams and channels 

Microsoft Teams are made up of different channels that you can create. You can separate different aspects of your company into their own teams (Ex: Marketing team, Sales team) that help organize and create clear lines of communication. 

Discussions in Teams and channels 

Do you want to share important announcements with all members of your organization? With the discussions option integrated into Microsoft Teams, all members of a team can add and view different conversations in the General channel.  

SharePoint storage 

Every team within Microsoft Teams will have a dedicated site in SharePoint Online. Each team will have a document library folder that houses all your stored documents for that specific team. There is up to 5GB of cloud storage per user, and plenty of space for large files! 

Video calling and screen sharing 

There is a video call feature where members can call other employees. Sharing screen features are available at any time during calls. Integration between Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Teams can assist in meeting scheduling and member attendance. These tools allow real-time collaboration and are the main product of Teams.  

Online meetings

Additionally, users can set up meetings in Microsoft Teams by using the scheduling feature. This allows you to schedule meetings with your employees to ensure that there are no meeting overlaps. Meetings can host up to 100 participants per meeting. Meetings are also available for people within your organization and outside members of the business. 

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Unique features of Microsoft Teams Essential 

 Now that we have talked about the features that come with the free version of Microsoft Teams, let’s talk about what Microsoft Teams Essential includes.  

The features explained below also include the features of the free version of Microsoft Teams. Here are some of the upgrades that come with Microsoft Teams Essential. Microsoft Teams Essential allows for unlimited group meetings for up to 30 hours and 300 participants per meeting. This is an upgrade from the previous offer of only a 60-minute meeting time with only 100 participants. It’s also crucial for larger organizations that need extra participants for all-team meetings. Furthermore, each user now has 10GB of cloud storage, allowing them to save even more important documents. Users also have real-time phone and web support, to help with certain features or errors that may occur. This is great for organizations who need extra features that are not provided by the free Microsoft Teams version.  

Microsoft Teams Essential vs. Microsoft 365 Teams plans 

Microsoft Teams Essential is an upgraded version of the free Microsoft Teams version but doesn’t include everything that Microsoft 365 has to offer. Two Microsoft 365 Teams plans are specifically designed for businesses’ needs, offering more features to improve work capabilities. They are Microsoft Business Basic and Microsoft Business Standard.  

Microsoft Business basic 

For $7.70 CAD/user/month, Microsoft Business Basic includes everything in Microsoft Teams Essential with more features on top that differ from Microsoft Teams Essential. With Microsoft Business Basic, Team meetings will now have recordings with their own transcripts. Additionally, users will also have web and mobile versions of Microsoft Office Applications (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) and have an extended 1TB of cloud storage, offering much-needed space for businesses to store important documents. Users also get a business-class email ( and standard security features.  

Microsoft Business standard 

For $16.00 CAD/user/month, Microsoft Business Standard includes everything in Microsoft Business Basic with even more advanced features that are sure to help your business thrive with productivity and overall ease of use. Desktop versions of Office apps are also included, increasing employee productivity as you can access your documents without an internet connection. Furthermore, users are given webinar hosting features with attendee registration and reporting tools, making company information much easier to spread to potential clients.  

Microsoft Teams Essential or Microsoft 365? 

 That’s the golden question! Now you know the difference between Microsoft Teams Essentials and Microsoft 365, here are a few things to consider when deciding which product is right for your organization.  

Ask yourself the following. Are you looking for a way to work remotely and maintain connections with employees? Microsoft Teams Essential is the way to go! Do you want more applications and features in Microsoft Teams that help tackle most office tasks for a small premium? Microsoft 365 is the right option for you! 

Moreover, As more organizations have transitioned into the hybrid workplace, choosing the right Microsoft plan will ensure that you can thrive as an organization. If you have more questions about what plan would work best for your organization, contact us directly! 

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Visual comparison of Microsoft options  

    Microsoft Teams (Free)  Microsoft Teams Essentials  Microsoft 365 Business Basic  Microsoft 365 Business Standard 
  Base price (/user/ per month) $CAD  FREE (No Commitment)  $5.10  $7.70  $16.00 
Main Features 
   Inclusions in Package    Everything in the free version  Everything in Microsoft Teams Essentials  Everything in Microsoft Business Basic 
Microsoft Teams Meetings 
   Group Meeting Time  Unlimited Up to 60 Minutes  Unlimited Up to 30 Hours  Unlimited Up to 30 Hours  Unlimited Up to 30 Hours 
   Participants per Meeting  Up to 100 Participants per meeting  Up to 300 Participants per meeting  Up to 300 Participants per meeting  Up to 300 Participants per meeting 
   Chat with coworkers and customers          
   File Sharing, Tasks and Polling  


   Data encryption for meetings, chats, calls, and files         
   Teams Meetings Recording with Transcripts         
   Web and Mobile Versions of Office Apps         
   Webinar Hosting         
   Attendee Registration and Reporting Tools         
   Manage Customer Appointments         
Office Apps and Services 
   Microsoft Teams           
   Microsoft Exchange          
   Microsoft OneDrive          
   Microsoft SharePoint           
   Microsoft Outlook           
   Microsoft Word          
   Microsoft Excel           
   Microsoft PowerPoint         

(PC Only) 


(PC Only) 

Other Features 
   Cloud Storage   5GB Per User   10GB Per User   1TB Per User  1TB Per User 
   Anytime Phone and Web Support      ✓   ✓   
   Business Class Email         
   Standard Security          
   Desktop Versions of Office Apps          


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