As our world has become increasingly digital during the Covid-19 pandemic, virtual trivia games have soared in popularity. Many of these online games take place via Zoom, where a host can share their screen and players can read the questions from there. But is there a way that participants can buzz in on Zoom?
There’s no completely foolproof way to buzz in on Zoom itself. Fortunately, many buzzer websites have been developed to help Zoom trivia games run more smoothly. With an online buzzer, there’s no worry about a Zoom video or audio lag preventing a player from answering. Instead, the host can easily tell whose turn it should be to give their answer.
We’ve compiled a list of the nine best online buzzers for virtual trivia games, plus a couple of alternatives that can improve your experience. Read on and find your new virtual buzzer of choice to use during your next online Zoom quiz.
Our favorite online buzzer to use for Zoom trivia games is Buzz In Live. Buzz In Live (stylized as BuzzIn.live) is a super simple online buzzer system without a lot of bells and whistles. A leader begins a game and generates a unique access code, and players can join the game with that code. From there, they can buzz in during the game as questions are asked on Zoom.
Buzz In Live offers a lock out buzzer system, meaning after one player has buzzed in, all others will be “locked out” (i.e. prevented from buzzing in) until that player has given their answer. Alternatively, the website also has a buzz ordering capability, meaning the leader can allow all players to buzz in and see the order in which they did so. The leader can also set a timer on the website that will signify how much time there is left to answer, and this timer is visible to all players.
Buzz In Live’s more basic “Free Tier” allows you to play with up to eight players. However, if you purchase a virtual key (from 99 cents to $19.99, depending on how long you’d like the key to let you in), you can include up to 200 players per game. This pay-only “Premium Tier” has other cool upgrades, too, like team capabilities, penalties for buzzing in early, and awarding points via the website. If you can spare a dollar for a day-long key, it’ll expand the possibilities for your trivia game significantly.
Cosmo Buzz is another simple buzzer website that allows hosts and players to convene remotely via a generated code. The host must share the code with all players to allow them to join. Then, everyone can meet on Zoom or another video chatting app to begin the game.
Cosmo Buzz may be streamlined, but it still has some handy features that will serve to help your game run smoothly. For one thing, the host has the ability to lock out the buzzers until the question has been fully read aloud. This means that players who jump the gun and buzz in too early won’t be rewarded for their too-eager reflexes. Another feature is the “only first buzz” button, which only allows the first player who has buzzed in to show up. This can help the host focus by eliminating the detritus of extra buzzing sound effects. And after a question has been answered correctly, the host can reset all the buzzers to prepare for the next one.
An upside to Cosmo Buzz? Their buzz in services are totally free, so you don’t need to worry about any hidden charges or forgotten subscriptions.
Another excellent virtual buzzer site is Multibuzzer. Multibuzzer follows the model outlined in the previous two website descriptions: a host creates a virtual room to start a game, players type in a code to join said game. And that’s it! It’s incredibly easy to get your virtual buzzers ready via Multibuzzer.
Multibuzzer allows up to 200 players to join any game with no added fees. Players can join on any device that supports a browser, where they can open multibuzz.app and get buzzing. So long as everyone has the joint Zoom meeting open in another window, your game can’t go wrong with Multibuzz.
The best part about Multibuzzer is that it’s a completely free online buzzer system, no matter what. It may only have simple features, but that’s a large part of its allure—it’ll simplify your game since you won’t have to waste time figuring out how to use it!
Just Buzz In is another virtual lockout buzzer system that’ll work to minimize confusion during your Zoom trivia game. It’s completely free, and there’s no limit on the number of participants who can join a single game.
Just like the previous three online buzzers, Just Buzz In (stylized as JustBuzz.in) relies on unique access codes to keep players attending the correct games. To join a game, simply paste the code given to you by the host, perhaps via Zoom chat during your video call.
One fun feature of Just Buzz In is its answer field. If players can’t make it to the Zoom call or would prefer to type their answers instead of delivering them verbally, they can do so via a text field on the website. From there, the host can read through the submitted answers to figure out which player (or players) are correct.
Just Buzz In allows players to buzz in just by pressing the spacebar, so you don’t need to worry about cursor placement messing up your timing. There’s also a loud buzz in sound so the host knows exactly when someone’s ready to give an answer.
With Crowd Buzzer from Crowd Control Games, you can incorporate team gameplay into your Zoom trivia game. To do this, players can simply write in a team name alongside their own name when they enter the access code to join the game.
Side note: you can also use Crowd Buzzer for single player buzz ins if you prefer not to play with teams. However, team gameplay is a feature that’s seldom found in buzzer websites, so it’s an important one to highlight.
Using Crowd Buzzer, you can give your game its own individual title. That way, it’ll be easily identifiable by all participants. Additionally, you can toggle an on and off switch for the buzzers so that players can’t buzz in between questions.
Factile was created with classrooms in mind, but it’s also suitable for your average casual Zoom trivia night. It’s a little different from some of the previous buzzers we’ve listed because it’s not just a buzzer—it also allows the host to write their questions out for all players to see.
The quiz’s creator—also the host, we’re assuming—can choose from a wide variety of quiz format options, including flashcards, multiple choice, Jeopardy! board style, and quiz bowl mode. Any of these could make for great fun during a virtual trivia night, but our personal favorite is definitely the Jeopardy! board—what other site allows you to make a Jeopardy! board and have players buzz in right there, just like on the show?
Factile created their buzzer mode in light of the pandemic to make remote learning a little easier. With their buzzer mode, participants are able to buzz in using their own mobile devices. So long as you’ve got Factile running alongside a Zoom call or other video chatting platform, your trivia competition is destined for success.
Similar to Factile, Slido lets a host create an interactive quiz for its players to complete. In other words, the host doesn’t have to read each and every question out loud via Zoom, depending on what their preferences are. Made with corporate and educational settings in mind, it’s less of a buzzer-specific website and is instead more of a general quiz frontier. Nonetheless, Slido makes for an excellent platform to use alongside Zoom trivia.
On Slido, the quiz’s creator can set a timer for each question so that the players will have a limited amount of time to answer—this can totally raise the stakes of the game!
If you’d like a buzzer app modeled after a traditional bar or pub trivia format, try out Speed Quizzing. Speed Quizzing markets itself as a pub quiz you can play from your smartphone, but, really, you can use any mobile device to play. The host conducts the quiz from a computer, most likely the same one that their Zoom or video meeting is running on.
There are a few different ways hosts and players can use Speed Quizzing as a buzzer. First, there’s the simple “buzz in” method, in which players’ smartphones act as buzzers only. Once the buzzers are pressed, the host can see the order in which players buzzed in clearly on their computer screen.
Another way to play is using the multiple-choice method. For this, the host must use questions generated by Speed Quizzing ahead of the game (Speed Quizzing assures that no two games will have the exact same set of questions, so you don’t need to worry that multiple games will be repetitive). While the Zoom is running, players read the questions and click their answer as quickly as possible. The host can see which people answered correctly, as well as the person who answered first. From there, they can distribute points as they see fit.
Speed Quizzing costs one credit per game. You can either buy a single credit for less than $10 or purchase a bundle to get more game options for cheaper. Speed Quizzing also has a “Pro” mode, which you can use if you’re running your own pub quiz in person. Pretty cool, huh?
If you’d like to use an app, Buzz In! by Cactus Biceps is an excellent option for you. Unlike many other buzzer apps, Buzz In! doesn’t require all players to be on the same WiFi network to buzz in, so it can easily be employed during a remote game of trivia on Zoom.
On Buzz In!, users first choose whether they’re a player or a host. The players will be able to buzz in, while the host will be able to start new rounds. Obviously, these roles will already be designated ahead of opening the app, but it’s nice that Buzz In! offers multiple modes for gameplay. From there, you can commence your Zoom trivia game, and players can buzz in using the app. No matter how far away the host may be, they’ll receive a buzz and be able to call on the appropriate player to answer the next question.
A caveat regarding Buzz In! is that it’s only available via the Google Play Store. Therefore, if you don’t have a device that’s compatible with Google Play, you won’t be able to reap its rewards. However, if you happen to be playing with a group of entirely Android users, the Buzz In! app may be perfect for your game.
If your Zoom trivia quiz isn’t a single answer game (i.e. not just one player answers each question), why not give all participants a chance to answer every question via a Google Form? A Google Form most certainly isn’t a buzzer, but it can help you organize answer submissions during an otherwise potentially chaotic game of Zoom trivia.
This requires some prep ahead of time: you’re going to need to compose a survey with multiple choice answers for every question. If you want to go all out, you can make a different Google Form for every single question, though asking players to open all those links may end up taking away valuable game time.
Is There a Way to Buzz in on Zoom?
There’s no feature on Zoom explicitly intended to work as a game buzzer. However, there are a couple of basic Zoom functions that you can use to your advantage during a virtual trivia quiz.
The first of these functions is the chat, where members of the Zoom meeting can message each other. To use this to buzz in, players can send a message as soon as they are ready to answer. These messages will show up in the order that they were sent, which will clear up any confusion as to whose turn it is and allow the host to easily designate the player who should answer the next question.
What kind of messages can be sent to buzz in? The ideal buzz in word is something that can either be typed with ease or quickly pasted into the text box. Think “ready,” “answer,” “buzz,” or something of the like. You could also opt for a single designated letter. To add some trickiness (and an added speed typing bonus), the host can ask players to type in a longer phrase. That way, the fastest typist can be awarded with a turn. However, whether or not the phrase was copied and pasted or not is on the honors system, so only do this if you really trust all the players involved.
Using this method, the participants can either send messages to the entire group at once (the “reply all” of Zoom, kind of) or message just a single member of the meeting, perhaps the host. Either of these methods could be appropriate for a trivia game—just check with your group regarding their preferences and decide ahead of beginning gameplay.
Another Zoom function that can be used as a buzzer is the “raise hand” feature. If you’ve ever used Zoom (at this point, we envy you if you haven’t had to), you’ve surely noticed the option for emoji reactions, which allows you to use an icon to express your feelings nonverbally. The “raise hand” button can be found under the “Reactions” tab, and clicking it makes a flexed hand emoji show up in your personal video square. By raising your virtual hand, you can notify the host that you’re ready to answer the question.
However, this method isn’t foolproof. It’s very possible that many players could click “raise hand” simultaneously, which could incite some confusion for the host. Additionally, even if you opt to record the meeting, there’s no instant rewind option. To figure out whose virtual hand really went up first, you’d have to end the recording and go back to watch in slow motion to find out whose turn it rightfully was supposed to be. If the host as an especially sharp eye and can watch all those little video squares like a hawk for the hand emoji, then this can be an option, but otherwise, we think it might be best to stick with the chat method.
Thanks for reading through our list of awesome virtual buzzers that you can use for Zoom trivia. We hope you find one or two that work for you and your trivia fanatic friends and family during your next virtual trivia night.
Do you have a favorite virtual Zoom buzzer for online games with friends? Or any tips and tricks that will help a Zoom trivia night run more smoothly? Want the real thing but without the hassle of cords and plugs? We’ve got a list for that! Let us know in the comments below.