You may think you don't need one of the best online fax services, but try dealing with contracts, signed documents, real estate purchases and other material where a PDF just won't do. In those cases, faxing is often the only way to go. And if you use a online fax service, you don't have to buy dedicated hardware or schlep all the way out to an office supply store to use their fax machine.
The free tiers of the best online fax services are fine if you only send an occasional fax. But if you need to receive documents as well as send them or if you have to send a steady stream of faxes as part of your weekly to-dos, you're better off with turning to a paid service. Pick one with a pricing tier that best fits your faxing output — the best online fax services offer different prices depending on how many pages you send and receive.
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Fortunately, those different pricing tiers mean you've got options among the best online fax services. We've tested many different companies over the years, returning to review old favorites that we've previously rated just to make sure they're still up to snuff. Here's what we've found.
What are the best online fax services?
We think MetroFax is the best online fax service, offering a combination of fax-management features and easy-to-use software that appeals to frequent faxers. MetroFax also supports a wide variety of file formats, and it's priced more attractively than a better-known online fax service like eFax.
Occasional faxers will appreciate Fax.Plus, which lets you send and receive 100 faxes a month for less than $6. SRFax also offers cheap rates on its plans. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Sfax is pricey, but meets stringent privacy requirements, so it's a good option if you work in the legal or medical professions.
As for free faxing, our testing indicates that you generally get what you pay for, with free services offering little in the way of features and support. But if you're absolutely determined not to spend a dime, HelloFax's offers the best online fax service for free, though you're limited to five pages total. Even if you hit that limit, HelloFax's per-page pricing is pretty low if you need to send a once-in-a-blue-moon fax. Fax.Plus also has a free fax tier that's worth checking out.
The best online fax services
Capable of handling the faxing needs of small businesses up to larger corporations, MetroFax offers the best online fax service based on our testing. The company has an easy-to-navigate web portal, and its mobile apps – available for both Android and iOS — are the best we've seen.
We like that MetroFax supports more than 50 file formats, including commonly used options such as Microsoft Office files, Adobe PDF and JPEG graphics. But you'll also find support for arcane file formats, too.
Monthly prices are low, starting at $9.95 for sending and receiving 500 pages. You can opt for three month and annual plans to reduce prices further, with MetroFax's three-month option lowering your monthly cost to $8.33. You can also take advantage of a free 14-day trial — it used to be 30 — where you can send 500 pages to test out the service.
Read our full MetroFax review.
While you'll find a range of different tiers at Fax.Plus, we think the most attractive option is the one that lets you send and receive 100 faxes for $5.99 a month. (The price drops by a dollar if you sign up for a year of service.) That makes Fax.Plus the best online fax service if you only need to send faxes every now and then, as you'll get a good, reliable service that's easy to use. Fax.Plus is also HIPAA-compliant, so if you need to send confidential information, this service is a good alternative to the higher-priced Sfax.
Fax.Plus also has an attractive free tier that limits you to sending 10 pages for free. Beyond that, Fax.Plus will charge you 20 cents per page — a page limit and price that compares favorably to what HelloFax offers occasional faxers. And it's certainly better than dedicated free services like GotFreeFax and FaxZero.
Outside of MetroFax, Fax.Plus offers one of the most useful mobile apps we've seen for sending faxes on the go, though the real highlight is the company's web-based service. We found the interface clean and easy to navigate, while features like the ability to schedule faxes and search through your archive of faxes are easy to master.
Fax.Plus handles cover pages in an awkward way, and if your faxing needs exceed 100 pages per month, you'll want to explore more aggressively priced services. But for the basics, it's hard to beat Fax.Plus, as you can find out for free if you take advantage of the service's 10-page free trial.
Read our full Fax.Plus review.
SRFax competes well with MetroFax, especially if you don't do a lot faxing each month. If you only need to send and receive 25 pages each monthly, you'll pay $3.29, and the faxing process at SRFax is a lot more polished than what you'll experience with free services.
Now that MetroFax charges $9.95 for its 500-page tier, you'll pay the same amount at SRFax, though we still think MetroFax's overall service is more polished.
Still, you'll find a wide range of file format support at SRFax and a web-based interface that's text-centric and clean. The responsive design works well on mobile devices — which is a good thing, since there's no dedicated mobile app for SRFax. Overall, though, this is a good service that offers just enough features in exchange for a low price. And SRFax now touts its HIPAA compliance if you're sending medically sensitive faxes. HIPAA-compliant plans cost a little more than SRFax's standard pricing, with the cheapest plan starting at $7.95 a month for 200 pages.
Read our full SRFax review.
We haven't been impressed by many of the free fax services we've tested. But HelloFax is easily the best online fax service if you only need to send a few pages every now and then. HelloFax's free tier is limited to just five pages total, and you'll appreciate the clean, simple interface. Note that you're only able to send pages on the free tier; if you want to receive faxes, you've got to go with a paid plan.
If you hit your five-page limit, you don't necessarily need to sign up for a service plan. HelloFax offers per-page rates that should appeal to very occasional faxers, and those rates are pretty reasonable. You'll pay 99 cents per fax for up to 10 pages and 20 cents for each page after that.
The service also supports electronic signatures, which is a welcome addition. We also like HelloFax's integration with cloud services including with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive and Evernote.
We are less impressed by HelloFax's approach to fax tracking and indexing — you don't get a confirmation your fax was transmitted, and searching is limited to email address or document title. High-volume faxers will want to steer clear, especially when better options are available. Paid plans start at $9.99 a month for 300 pages, and add support for multiple users.
Read our full HelloFax review.
If the documents you're sending need to stay secure, look no further than Sfax. The faxing service offers HIPPA-compliant faxing as well as a number of other features geared toward the health care industry. Unlike SRFax, Sfax includes HIPAA-compatibility with every plan, with business associate agreements included with the $49 and higher monthly tiers.
Even with its industry-focused approach, Sfax still delivers a very visually attractive and intuitive interface, but it's one of the more expensive fax services we tested. Sfax plans start at $29 a month, though you can lower that cost a little bit by switching to annual billing instead of monthly.
Still, business users will appreciate the extensive support for different files, the ability to store multiple cover pages for different types of faxes, and multi-user support. We were also impressed by the search tools the Sfax offers, not to mention its extensive support for different kinds of files.
Read our full Sfax review.
Biscom isn't just for enterprise telecommunications. The company also offers one of the best online fax services for individuals and small offices, and if you pay up for its Small Groups plan, you'll get multi-user support, which helps it stand out from the other faxing options featured here. Support for multiple users is ideal for businesses who don't need Sfax's HIPPA certification or other pricier plans.
The multi-user plan supports up to five users and 300 pages. Opt for the lower-cost individual user plan, and you'll be able to fax 30 pages. Go over those amounts and you'll pay 7 cents per page. A free trial lasts for 30 days or 30 pages, and unlike many other faxing services, Biscom 123 doesn't require you to provide a credit card before testing out its product for free.
Should you opt for Biscom 123, expect a friendly and colorful layout. You'll send and receive faxes either via email or a somewhat limited mobile app. Biscom also doesn't store any of the faxes you send, which may not be that much of a problem if you only need this service for an occasional fax.
Read our full Biscom 123 review.
eFax is probably the most recognizable name in online faxing, and there's a lot to like about it, but it doesn't rank at the top of our best online fax services picks.
eFax's interface and mobile apps look a lot like what MetroFax offers (not surprising, since they're owned by the same company), with both services now offering 14-day free trials. eFax throws in some nice features, like the option of sending faxes using a secure SSL-encrypted container. The service lets you tag and search faxes, and supports up to five email address for use with a given fax account.
Our big objection, though, is to the pricing. Other than what Sfax charges, eFax's monthly rate is one of the highest you'll pay of the services we've reviewed, and the page limits aren't that generous. eFax also charges a $10 activation fee, though it sometimes waives that on some of its tiers. Opting for an annual plan takes some of the sting out of eFax's pricing, as you can lower your costs on the eFax Plus tier by nearly $34, essentially getting two months of the service for free over the month-by-month rate.
Read our full eFax review.
There's a lot we like about RingCentral Fax, which offers a flexible set of features, and strong support for both cloud storage and mobile. It's the only online fax service we've tested that lets you schedule sending out your faxes, which will appeal to users who have to send out regular reports.
Pricing starts at $23 per month per user for a 1,500-page plan, though if you sign up on an annual basis, you can knock that down by $5 to $18 a month. An unlimited faxing plan that RingCentral calls Office runs you $50 a month (or $35 per month if you pay annually.) That Office plan includes phone and video conferencing service, too, which may be appealing if you're spending more time at home these days.
Clearly, faxing is just one component of what RingCentral offers, as the company is known for its voice and unified communication services. RingCentral's interface is designed to serve all those customers using all of its services, which can be overwhelming if you just need to fax. The inability to track faxes also limits RingCentral's appeal. The company offers just a 7-day free trial to test out its faxing service.
Read our full RingCentral Fax review.
Nextiva's faxing service — the "v" in vFax stands for "virtual" — supports fax by email or through an existing fax machine. That makes faxing as easy as sending an email with a supporting document attached.
Nextiva's prices are reasonable, especially if you opt for annual pricing instead of monthly pricing. That will knock $4 off the monthly cost of Nextiva's 500-page tier.
Nextiva's web portal gives you a nice overview of faxes you've sent and received, and we appreciated the degree to which we could customize notifications and settings. But the web portal lacks panache, and the grim interface keeps it from ranking higher among the best online fax services. Nextiva's look is certainly functional, but competing services like MetroFax offer a more stylized interface with more compelling features.
Read our full Nextiva vFax review.
How to choose the best online fax service for you
When searching for the best online fax service, ask yourself the following questions to help find a provider that fits your needs:
- Do you need only one number, or multiple numbers that are linked?
- Do you need to support multiple users, so others can access the inbound and outbound faxes for that line?
- Do you need a custom number — also known as a vanity number at some services — for sending your faxes?
- Do you want to customize your fax cover sheet?
- How many pages do you anticipate sending and receiving each month?
- Do you need an easily searchable archive of inbound and outbound faxes?
With so many online fax services to choose from, how you answer these questions will determine which service best fits your needs. If you need a customized cover sheet, for example, the otherwise exceptional MetroFax becomes a lot less appealing. If search functionality appeals to you, then SRFax becomes less compelling, even with its low price.
Online fax providers typically offer multiple tiers of service that put limits on the number of pages you can send and receive each month. You can opt to pay on a monthly basis, though several services will offer a discount if you pay annually. (We list monthly pricing in our reviews.) Monthly prices on the entry-level tiers range between $3 and $29.
Almost of the services listed here offer free trial periods. In the case of HelloFax and Fax.Plus, there are free service tiers, with limits on the number of pages you can send for free; rates for sending additional pages are reasonable at both those services.
Even if you have a physical fax machine, it may make more sense to ditch the machine to go online. An online fax service saves paper, as all your documents are transferred digitally. (For those times you need a physical copy, you can print out a version using one of the best laser printers.) Going with an online fax service can also save you on toner costs and other expenses related to fax machine maintenance.
How we test online fax services
Our fax service ratings come after more than 100 hours of testing a dozen different services (some of which have since been bought out by competitors and thus have been dropped from this guide). In addition to our initial testing, we periodically go back to services we've looked at previously to see if new features are added or pricing has changed; we then update our ratings accordingly.
When evaluating fax services, we consider pricing as well as the number of pages you can send and receive under a given plan. We also pay careful attention to each service's interface, ease of operation, and overall features. We send and receive faxes, observing how long it appeared to take for an outbound fax to send. This is difficult to gauge, since most services simply take a moment to process, then will later deliver a confirmation that the fax was sent.