The best online fax services may not seem that essential to some — people are still sending faxes in this digital age? — but for many of us, faxing is alive and well. Whether it's signing contracts, buying property or working with documents where a PDF won't suffice, faxing often remains the best option for transferring paperwork from point A to point B.
Turning to an online fax service lets you send and receive documents from your PC — and in most cases, your mobile phone — without the need for a dedicated fax machine, saving you money on upkeep for hardware.
Our guide to the best online fax services considers paid services with monthly service plans, and a couple of free fax services for those times when you just need to send a couple of documents. Many of the paid services we've looked at here offer both free and paid options, though the free options are sometimes very limited in scope.
Even with a recent price hike, MetroFax remains the best online fax service, offering a combination of fax-management features and easy-to-use software that appeals to frequent faxers. Occasional faxers will appreciate Fax.Plus, which still lets you send and receive 100 faxes a month for less than $6. 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, interface niceties and support. But if you're absolutely determined not to spend a dime, HelloFax's offers the best online fax service for free.
Here’s more on the best online fax services — both free and paid — that we've found after extensive testing.
The best online fax services
The best online fax service
Monthly Rate/Pages: $11.95/550, $14.95/1,050, $37.95/3,000 | Free Trial: None | Cloud Storage: Yes | Mobile App: Yes
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 remain low, even after a $2 hike. On the bright side, MetroFax also raised the number of pages you can send and receive by 50 for its two cheapest tiers. That means an $11.95 monthly subscription now covers 550 pages. And that 550-page tier gives you access to the same features found in more expensive plans.
If you want to save a little money on your plan and you anticipate being a regular customer, an annual subscriptions brings your cost down by 17%, with the monthly fee on the 550-page tier dropping to $9.96/month.
Read our full MetroFax review.
The best online fax service for occasional faxing
Monthly Rate/Pages: $5.99/100, $11.99/300, $19.99/800, $59.99, 3,000 | Free Trial: 10 pages | Cloud Storage: Yes | Mobile App: Yes
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.
Best online fax service value
Monthly Rate/Pages: $9.95/200, $12.95/500, $18.95/800, $32.95/1,500 | Free Trial: 30 days | Cloud Storage: Yes | Mobile App: No
SRFax had been an alternative for MetroFax, though the service seems to have consolidated plans while also bumping up some of its prices. For instance, we can no longer find the 25-page tier, which was appealing to occasional faxers, and SRFax's 500-page tier now costs $1 more than it does at MetroFax.
Still, SRFax remains an appealing option, as 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.
SRFax also 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 $10.95 a month for 200 pages.
Read our full SRFax review.
Best online fax service for free faxing
Monthly Rate/Pages: Free/5, $9.99/300, $19.99/500, $39.99/1,000 | Free Trial: 30 days (on $9.99 and higher plans) | Cloud Storage: Yes | Mobile App: No
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; you can reduce costs by opting for annual billing instead.
Read our full HelloFax review.
Best online fax service for businesses
Monthly Rate/Pages: $29/350, $49/700, $99/1500 | Free Trial: 14 days | Cloud Storage: Yes | Mobile App: Yes
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.
Popular fax service is pretty pricey
Monthly Rate/Pages: $18.99/170, $29.85/475 | Free Trial: None | Cloud Storage: Yes | Mobile App: Yes
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). 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, especially after a price hike. (Like MetroFax, at least eFax also increased the number of pages in each tier.) 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 17%: the eFax Plus tier drops from $18.99/month to $15.83/month on an annual plan.
Read our full eFax review.
A business focus for occasional faxers
Monthly Rate/Pages: $7.99/30, $14.99/300 | Free Trial: 30 days | Cloud Storage: No | Mobile App: Yes
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.
Extensive faxing features get lost in the shuffle
Monthly Rate/Pages: $23/1,500 | Free Trial: 7 days | Cloud Storage: Yes | Mobile App: Yes
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.
The lone faxing tier costs $23 per month per user for a 1,500-page plan; if you sign up on an annual basis, you can knock that down by $5 to $18 a month. There's also an unlimited faxing plan included in a $41 package, but you get a PBX business phone system and video conferencing support with that offering.
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.
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 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?
- Do you need only one number, or multiple numbers linked under a single account?
- 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, or a toll-free number?
- Do you want to send faxes to international fax numbers?
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 since that costs extra.
Online fax providers typically offer multiple tiers of service that put limits on the number of pages you can send and receive each month. Most providers combine your send/receive page allotment into a single bucket, useful if you tend to send more than you receive, for example. However, Efax and MyFax — both owned by Consensus Cloud Solutions — continue to count pages sent and received separately.
Service tiers are generally set up for payment on a monthly basis, or an annual basis with a discount. (We list monthly pricing in our reviews.) Monthly prices on the entry-level tiers range between $3 and $29.
One change: Free trials are less common nowadays. 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.
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Melissa Perenson is a freelance writer. She has reviewed the best tax software for Tom's Guide for several years, and has also tested out fax software, among other things. She spent more than a decade at PC World and TechHive, and she has freelanced for numerous publications including Computer Shopper, TechRadar and Consumers Digest.