Communicating on your phone has gone far beyond simple SMS messages and voice calls. We have social messengers, secret messengers, professional messengers and power-packed messengers, so it can be difficult to settle on which services are worth your time. If you need a little help deciding what to use to ask your friends if they're free for coffee or ranting with gifs about the latest episode and what morons you favorite characters are being, here are our favorites.

Adaptable and data-light: WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messengers in the world, with encrypted multimedia chat, VoIP voice and video calls, and a drop dead setup. We liked WhatsApp more before it got bought by Facebook, but the service itself is still decent, widely-used, and in many places is more reliable than SMS, so it's still well worth its spot as our top recommendation.

Free at Google Play

Simplified security: Signal Private Messenger

Signal has been one of the most well-trusted secure messaging systems on the block for years. It's absolutely free and uses end-to-end encryption protocol to ensure your privacy with every message you send. It uses your already existing phone number, so there are no extra hoops to jump through like a new password or username.

Free at Google Play

For professionals and pro-memers: Slack

We've used Slack for our in-company chatting for as long as I've worked at Android Central, and I was shocked to learn that Slack was available for regular users alongside its corporate use, but whether you just want to Slack your classmates with some choice gifs or need to talk to your boss about your schedule, Slack is awesome and I love it.

Free at Google Play

Get your game chat on: Discord

Discord is part IRC chat, part message board, and all awesome. It's aimed more at group chatting than individual chats, but it's available on just about any platform you can think of, it's easy to manage, share, and moderate, and its gamer-centric focus has made it a very, very responsive service that's quick to update and expand.

Free at Google Play

A favorite from Asia: LINE: Free Calls & Messages

LINE might not be as popular in the West (yet), but this Japan-based service is one of the most popular in Asia, with over 600 million users and a whole suite of communication, payment, and gaming apps under the LINE name. LINE is well-made and easy to use, but it's been slow to spread in America, even with its nine adorable mascots.

Free at Google Play

I'm not dying: Hangouts

Reports of Hangouts impending "death" are highly exaggerated, and while the classic Hangouts app might be sunset in a few years, the Hangouts service will continue with Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet, the latter of which we've been enjoying for our team meetings for months. Hangouts is still one of the easiest to adopt, since it uses your Google account.

Free at Google Play

Because everyone has Facebook: Facebook Messenger

Facebook has done some pretty despicable things in the last few years, but Facebook Messenger continues to be one of the more-used messenger apps around by the simple value of everyone and their grandmother having a Facebook account. It has some nice features, but it also has some annoying and invasive ones, too.

Free at Google Play

Snap it: Snapchat

Snapchat may be better classified as a social media network, but Snapchat is based around messaging and millions fell in love with its self-deleting photos and ease of use as a way to trash talk frenemies, send pictures/videos that you don't want spreading around school, and of course its many selfie filters.

Free at Google Play

Security is paramount

Even if all you're intending to do on your messaging service is talk to some buddies and maybe plan some jewel heists— I mean surprise parties — you should care about your messaging service being secure and trustworthy. Of the 8 services listed here, all but LINE support two-factor authentication, and several of them support encryption for messages, including Whatsapp, Signal, and Snapchat.

Self-deleting messages and notifications of when messages are screenshotted or reshared gives Snapchat some extra appearance of security, but there are ways around those protocols and Snapchat's had issues of self-deleting photos not getting deleted from their servers before. On the other hand, the ability to delete specific messages permanently from a group chat is nice feature on Signal that I wish would come to more services, but at least services like Whatsapp having the ability to unsend a message a few minutes after an accidental send is nice.

How many friends can you convince to switch?

The problem with picking a messenger app is that usually you can't just use one. Some friends will be on Facebook, some will be on Whatsapp, and there's that one weirdo that still uses Hangouts — my family still uses Hangouts just about every day for our group chats. You can try and guide your friends towards one platform or another, but remember that you may need to compromise and pick a platform your friends already use.