Which fax machines are best?
It’s been many years since the creation of the fax machine, with multiple generations of technological advancement between then and now, but somehow the need for faxing has yet to find a complete replacement. Most fax-capable machines are bundled together into machines that also print and scan, among other features, but they still exist nonetheless.
The best fax machine is the Epson EcoTank ET-4760. This cartridge-free all-in-one machine is capable of faxing, yes, but also printing and scanning and is all controlled via a 2.4-inch touchscreen. It is also capable of connecting to the internet via both wireless connectivity and by using an Ethernet cable.
What to know before you buy a fax machine
Physical fax machines vs. internet faxing services
There are two main types of faxing accomplished using different technology.
- Physical fax machine: The original and traditional method of faxing. Physical fax machines send data on a one-to-one connection over traditional phone lines. They’re as loud and large as they were when they were originally invented, while still being the most reliable and secure method of sending data.
- Internet faxing service: An internet faxing service sends electronic documents to physical fax machines. They can be more convenient than tracking down a physical fax machine but they charge a per-use fee and are much less secure than a physical fax machine. You also typically need to sign a user agreement that gives the internet faxing service the right to read your documents, a potentially huge dealbreaker.
Why spend the money on just a fax machine when you can spend a little more to get a device which can also print and scan? It might cost more upfront but you’ll save money over the long run.
What to look for in a quality fax machine
Caller ID works with fax machines exactly the same way it works with your phones. It might not seem important, but if you receive a large amount of faxes it can be incredibly helpful for staying organized. It isn’t available on every fax machine so if it’s important to you, make sure you’re checking to see if it’s included before purchasing.
One of the biggest changes to fax machines made over the years is the inclusion of WiFi, which allows you to send any of your documents from a computer, tablet or smartphone to a specific fax number. It’s a great convenience and can make a big difference if you find yourself needing to send a large number of documents regularly.
Speed dial and memory
Considering it can take up to a full minute to send a single page via fax, any feature which can decrease the amount of time you spend faxing should be prioritized when shopping for a new fax machine. That said, this feature does become less useful if you regularly send faxes to different machines instead of the same ones.
How much you can expect to spend on a fax machine
Fax machines can cost anywhere from as low as $30 to as high as nearly $1,000 depending on how many other features are packaged with it. You can find low-quality machines and even machines that are truly only fax-capable for between $30-$100, though you’ll be much happier spending between $100-$400 for a machine that can also print and scan at the very least. The best of both personal and commercial use machines typically start at $400 and occasionally reach costs as high as $700-$1,000.
Fax machine FAQ
Can I send a fax even if I don’t have a landline?
A. Unfortunately not, all fax machines require a connection to a traditional landline to transmit the required data. Some rare fax machines are able to send their data over VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) lines though successful transmission, but these fax machines are spotty at best.
Can I send a fax from my computer directly to a fax machine?
A. Depending on the intended model of fax machine, yes you can. This functionality is generally only reserved for the highest-end models which natively include WiFi compatibility, typically these ones will also include features like printing and scanning. If this ability is important to you, you should know that you’ll likely need to spend a good amount of money for it.
How long does it usually take to send a fax?
A. The speed at which a fax is sent depends on a few factors. The biggest factor is the speed of the connection between the sending and the receiving machine. The length of the fax is of secondary importance as it won’t affect the speed of sending, only the total time it takes to send. Most fax machines can send a single page of data between 30-60 seconds.
What’s the best fax machine to buy?
Top fax machine
What you need to know: A small business-friendly, all-in-one machine designed for high-volume usage.
What you’ll love: A 2.4-inch touchscreen makes this all-in-one machine easy to use and it comes packaged with 2 years worth of ink.
What you should consider: The photo printing feature doesn’t provide the best quality.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top fax machine for the money
What you need to know: An excellent budget option machine that includes all the faxing, printing and scanning features you need.
What you’ll love: This all-in-one machine is capable of scanning and faxing documents right from your smartphone.
What you should consider: The paper tray is restricted to holding only 100 sheets of paper or less.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: A commercial-grade all-in-one machine rated to print up to 22 pages per minute.
What you’ll love: Voice control via Amazon Alexa is available and a handful of security features protect your most sensitive documents.
What you should consider: The setup of this machine is complicated and the operation is equally difficult.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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