Efax is the granddaddy of fax services, and arguably the flagship service of the plethora of J2 Global-powered fax services. Along with our top-rated pick MetroFax, Efax is one of two J2-owned services we looked at in our guide. The Efax Plus service adds some features above and beyond rival faxing services, including file-sharing and a custom email address. But for what Efax Plus gains with these enhancements, it loses for unattractive pricing.
Like its competitors, Efax offers a free 30-day trial. The service still carries a $10 activation fee. (At the time we tested the service, Efax was waiving that fee for customers.)
The Efax Plus monthly charge is $16.95. That includes 150 free pages each for incoming and outgoing faxes. Each additional page is 10 cents apiece. International rates vary; choose the fax destination and currency from a drop-down, and Efax shows you the send rates. Some random examples of the dramatic range I found: 10 cents a page for Switzerland versus $1.06 a page for Panama.
If you anticipate needing up to 200 pages of incoming and outgoing faxes, you'll need to step up to the Efax Pro monthly plan, at $19.95. This plan also has a $19.95 activation fee.
Efax is the only service among those in our roundup to have an activation fee. Its monthly fees are also higher than most of its competitors, especially considering the comparatively low incoming and outgoing page allowances.
To sign up, you'll pick your country; choose to search for a number by area code, state, ZIP code, or toll free; and then enter the parameter you chose to receive a fax number. I selected San Francisco's 415 area code, then picked a number from the options presented.
Efax is the only service in our roundup to have an activation fee, and its monthly fees are also higher than most of its competitors.
You can choose a local, toll-free, or international fax number. In fact, Efax is the only service we tested to let you pick an international number. Efax generates a four-digit numeric password for you.
You'll enter your name and email address, followed by address and billing info, and that's it — you're ready to fax.
Efax lists support for 37 files types, including all the usual suspects and a few we wouldn't expect, such as Quattro Pro or Amiga Interchange File Format. My guess is, those are holdovers from when Efax launched back in 1993.
Efax's web interface supports sending up to 10 documents, or up to 18MB total, and the look is fairly simple and pleasing. In fact, it's identical to that of MetroFax — not surprising given that they have the same owner in J2 Global. The one difference: Efax sports a big link at bottom for sending large files via another J2-owned service, FuseMail. (FuseMail used to be known as 123mail.net, which Efax's online documentation still refers to — just one of many highly outdated legacy references in the service's documentation.)
When you send a large file, your Efax account logs into FuseMail's service, providing you with a free FuseMail email address. You can use FuseMail directly if you prefer, but I expect most users will just tap the link, add email recipients, upload a file of up to 3GB (available for 90 days) and choose to be notified when the file is downloaded. Ultimately, this FuseMail integration is just another example of the hodge-podge nature of J2’s services.
Efax supports adding a signature to a fax document, but the methodology is not the legally-binding modern variant found in services such as HelloFax's HelloSign or Sfax, but rather a crude throwback method of manually cropping a signature out of a scan, storing it with your profile, and then adding it to the fax.
Like MetroFax, Efax lets you tag and search faxes.
Also like MetroFax, Efax has a mobile app for iOS and Android. The Efax version has options for signing faxes (which I couldn't get to work) and looking up any contacts you’ve added to Efax, but that's about it. The MetroFax and Efax mobile offerings are practically twins.
Efax has good functionality in its web browser-based interface, but the service is overpriced for what you get. MetroFax costs half the price, and delivers much of the same experience in an identical way.