Online Fax Service Comparison
The chart below is provides and apples-to-apples comparison of the top online fax services on the market today. We define the "top" services as a combination of the most popular, reliable and inexpensive available. We have tested each of these services ourselves by actually signing up for free trials, sending faxes and calling customer support. If you want more information about these or the other 25 services we've tested, you can scroll through our Internet fax review summaries page here.
Online Fax Services
|Reviewed Plan||Essential||Fax 500||Best Value||Single user||Plus||Individual|
|Annual Prepayment Discount||$6.63 / month||$7.99 / month||$9.17 / month||$4.95 / month||$14.13 / month||None|
|Start Up Fee||None||None||None||None||None||None|
|"Receive" Pages Included||500||500||400||1000||150||1000|
|"Send" Pages Included||Combined||Combined||400||Combined||150||Combined|
|Free Trial Period|
|Online Fax Storage||1 Year||Unlimited||Unlimited||6 Months||Unlimited||1 Months|
|Send & Receive Faxes by Email||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Phone Customer Support||M-F 8am-9pm||No Phone Support||24/7||M-F 8a-8p S-S 11a-3p||24/7||No Phone Support|
|Number of States Available||42||49||50||48||50||24|
Online fax uses your Internet connection and your email client to send and receive faxes digitally. It is a great solution for any small business owner who doesn’t want to buy an expensive fax machine but needs to send and receive faxes regularly.
When you sign up for an online fax service, you receive an assigned fax number that automatically converts incoming faxes into email attachments sent directly to your email address. Most online fax services let you send attachments, such as Word documents, PDFs, or JPEGs, that are received as typical faxed documents on traditional fax machines. Because your faxes are sent as email attachments, you can also transmit other file formats, like TIF or PDF files.
While online fax services are gaining in popularity, they aren’t right for everyone. If your company is fairly large and you send a lot of faxes on a regular basis, traditional faxing may still be your best option. However, if you fit into any of the following categories, you should really think about ditching the fax machine.
- Mobile Users: Thanks to smartphones, employees are able to take their businesses mobile and make decisions more quickly than before. Online fax gives you the convenience of receiving every fax via email and accessing documents on your mobile phone with the click of a button, making your job easier to do while on the go.
- Infrequent Faxers: If your company faxes every day, then having a traditional machine might be best for your needs. However, not every business faxes regularly. If you fax only occasionally, it’s not cost-effective to have a fax machine, a physical fax line, and an assortment of ink and toner for something you hardly use. But because many business documents need to be faxed rather than mailed, faxing is still relevant to many businesses. Online fax is a great option for infrequent faxers.
- Businesses with Security Concerns: Using a traditional fax machine forces everyone in the office to sift through piles of received faxes that contain confidential documents waiting to be picked up. Conversely, online fax services increase security. A specific number of email addresses can be added to the service, allowing only intended recipients to view important faxes.
- Virtual Offices: Many freelancers and other small business owners work from home. With this office setup, you may not have room for a fax machine. In home or virtual office, being able to fax easily over the Internet could make your life simpler and cut the costs of having a dedicated fax line.
- Eco-Conscious Businesses: Traditional faxing can take a toll on the environment. Fax machines create a lot of waste in the forms of paper waste, consumed energy, and empty ink cartridges in constant need of replacement. Online faxing is a great option for those who want an alternative to producing waste and a greener workplace.
If you have very specific needs for your online fax service, our partner site, FindAFax, offers custom comparisons based on features like HIPAA compliance, low price, mobile apps, etc.
What to Look For in an Online Fax Service
Based on our online fax research, we created the ChooseWhat Market Standard, to which we compare features, pricing and options of all the online fax services we review. Below is a good list of standards you should look for when choosing your online fax provider.
ChooseWhat Market Standard
- No hidden fees
- No start-up fee
- $9.95 monthly fee
- Offers a prepayment discount
- 300 send and receive pages included
- 30-day free trial period
- Can attach up to five documents to fax at one time
- Online fax storage for 30 days
- Send and receive faxes from five email addresses
- $0.10 overage pages
- Knowledgeable customer support
More popular online fax carriers may charge more for the same service than smaller, cheaper carriers, but there are plenty of affordable email fax providers with reliable customer service that meet our "Market Standard" criteria. Check out the online fax comparison grid above for full pricing and special features of each vendor.
Pages v. Minutes: Note that some online fax providers’ rates are based on minutes, while others’ are based on pages. While actual transmission times will vary, the services that quote rates in minutes assume it takes one minute or less to fax a single page.
There are several reasons why you should consider using an online fax service:
- Inexpensive: The number one reason users switch from traditional faxing to online fax is the cost. The monthly fee for an online fax service is usually less expensive than the cost of a physical phone line, and you won’t have any long distance charges to worry about. And without a physical fax machine, you don’t have the additional costs of paper or toner.
- Fast: Another reason why online fax is so attractive is that you can set up several email addresses and automatically send faxes to the appropriate person, instead of to a pile of paper sitting on the fax machine. With online fax, you can also browse faxes on your smartphone, enabling you to quickly take action on-the-go if you’re waiting for an important fax.
- Effective: Gone are the days of busy signals and paper jams. Online fax is as reliable as your Internet connection and doesn’t require hardware or maintenance.
- Secure: Because online fax services use secure encryption technologies, you don’t have to worry about the protection of your sent or received faxes.
- Green: Since you probably won’t be printing every single fax or using energy-consuming fax machines, you’ll have a positive impact on the environment.
The ChooseWhat Check is a badge given out to select providers based on the following criteria:
- $10 or less monthly fee
- 500+ combined pages included or 300 in/300 out pages included
- 30-day free trial
- Customer support
- Phone customer support available M-F during 9-5 and answered the phone
- Answered 5/5 questions correct and was responsive through email
- Ease of use
- Sending a fax using online interface was easy
- No outages in the last six months
- Regularity of product/service updates
- Features/updates to service have occurred in the past year
The following providers are the only online fax services we reviewed that receive the ChooseWhat Check.