You might think you can do without the best online fax services in this day and age, but that thinking goes right out the window the first time you've got to send contracts, signed documents and other material back and forth. Whether you're buying a house or signing a legal agreement, faxing is the only way to go.
And these days, when leaving the house isn't practical, an online fax service lets you take care of business from the comfort of your home — saving you both time and the extra charges an office supply store will levy on you for sending a fax on your behalf.
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So if you need a fax service, what kind should you turn to? If you only send an occasional fax, you can probably get away with one of the free tiers of the best online fax services. But if you need to both send and receive documents or if you have to send a steady stream of faxes, 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.
Fortunately, you've got a lot of options for online fax services, with different pricing tiers to meet a wide variety of needs. We've tested many different faxing options over the years, returning to review services 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?
If you must get a document from Point A to Point B and email just won't cut it, we recommend MetroFax as the best online fax service. Even after a modest price hike to its basic service, MetroFax's combination of fax-management features and easy-to-use software makes it an ideal choice for either individuals or small businesses. It supports a wide variety of file formats, and it's priced more attractively than a better-known online fax service like eFax.
In addition to MetroFax, we've tested more than a dozen other options to find the best online fax services. Of those, SRFax impresses us with its amount of detail and customization. SRFax's rates are cheaper than MetroFax for individual users — even at the 500-page tier now that MetroFax raised its rates. But one of the best services for occasional faxers is Fax.Plus, which lets you send and receive 100 faxes a month for less than $6.
If you work in a field with stringent privacy rules and need your fax service to comply with patient data privacy requirements, turn to Sfax. It's a pricey service, but it meets specific privacy requirements while also offering features to appeal to business users.
When it comes to free options, 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. We found other free services too limited in what they offered at no charge.
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, even after MetroFax raised the rate on its 500-page Essential Plan by $2 to $9.95 a month. (Signing up for an annual service reduces your monthly rate on any of MetroFax's plans lets you save 20% on that cost.) 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.
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.
Read our full SRFax 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. Even with its industry-focused approach, Sfax still delivers a very visually attractive and intuitive interface.
With plans starting at $29 a month, Sfax is one of the more expensive fax services we've tested. (You can lower that cost a little bit by switching to annual billing instead of monthly.) But 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.
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 per month, 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.
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.
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 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.
The good news about GotFreeFax is that the price is right there in the company's name. You can send up to two free faxes per day, provided they're not larger than three pages each. If you need to send more pages, GotFreeFax's pay-per-fax prices are reasonable: $1 for 10 pages, $2 for 20, and $3 for $30. There's also a monthly service aimed at businesses that starts at $10 for 100 pages. Because you can send your fax without having to register, GotFreeFax is a good option if you just need to fire off the occasional fax, though we'd still point to HelloFax or even Biscom 123 as the better free option.
Don't expect to be able to receive faxes, though. File support is limited to several common formats. And while GotFreeFax does have prepaid tiers for people who do a lot of faxing, you'll find more full-service options with better pricing elsewhere.
Read our full GotFreeFax review.
At first glance, FaxZero seems to be more flexible than other free options on our best online fax services list. You're limited to three pages (plus a cover), but FaxZero lets you send up to five faxes per day. HelloFax places a monthly limit on its freee faxing tier.
But there's a catch with FaxZero's service. The cover sheet includes FaxZero branding, and you have to opt for the company's $2 tier to make that branding go away. (There's a 25-page limit on FaxZero's $2 tier.) That won't bother some users who just need to fire off a fax every now and again, but it's not going to appeal to businesses with faxing needs.
When testing FaxZero, we saw a noticeable lag between when we sent our fax and when we got a confirmation. FaxZero also has a two-step process for sending faxes; you have to wait for email with a link to your fax that you click on to finally send. It's more trouble than it's worth.
Read our full FaxZero 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 we've reviewed offer free trial periods or — in the case of HelloFax, GotFreeFax and FaxZero — free service tiers. The one exception is Fax.Plus which limits you to sending 10 pages total before requiring you to sign up for a paid subscription.
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.
Be sure to also look into how your fax service of choice handles security. Gizmodo recently ran a report on faxing apps that found some services store data irresponsibly using unsecured Amazon S3 buckets. While none of the faxing services we've reviewed here were mentioned in that report, it still helps to ask a potential fax provider what steps they take to secure your data.
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.