Why Use Fax Software?
The top performers in our fax software review are RingCentral Fax, the Gold Award winner; MetroFax, the Silver Award winner; and Nextiva Fax, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a software to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 software.
As more and more documents are shared electronically instead of as hard copies, it is easy to assume that faxing has become outdated in the modern office. However, there are cases where faxing documents is still required. For example, the banking, health care and legal industries still require faxed documents for signatures and security purposes. With faxing software, you can fax from your computer and do not need a traditional fax machine.
Each fax software on our lineup allows you to send and receive faxes from an online portal, and some provide a designated app for your mobile device or tablet. These services give you the flexibility to send and receive faxes without having to go back to the office or rely on a single machine.
Best Options for Faxing From a Computer
When you add up the cost of ink, paper, a dedicated phone line, and the space and energy a fax machine takes up, it is easy to see that hard copy faxes take up valuable resources in your office. Furthermore, the more faxes you send, the more it costs you, especially if you are using an industrial, multipurpose machine.
Fax Software Monthly Costs
The best fax software on our lineup charge low monthly fees. The average monthly fee is about $10; however, MaxEmail, at $7 a month, has the lowest monthly cost on our lineup. Most fax software on the lineup do not charge setup fees, so there are little to no initial starting costs.
While the software on the lineup have low base costs, many place limits on the amount of faxes you can send each month and charge overage fees for sending and receiving faxes above this limit.
If you regularly are charged overage fees, it is important that a software gives you the option to upgrade to a higher monthly package. Even though these packages cost more, by upgrading a package with more allotted faxes per month, you will save your small business money in the long run by avoiding overage fees.
Designated Number for Fax to Email Software
Many of the email to fax software we evaluated assign you a designated number. While most companies assign you a toll-free number, not every software on our lineup offers this feature as standard. For example, GreenFax has two subscription options. The first does not provide a toll-free line, while the other does. These plans are the same price; however, if you chose the plan that offers a toll-free number, your allotted number of faxes per month is reduced.
If you are looking for further information on email-to-fax software or wondering what option is best, read our supplemental articles on fax software.
Business Fax Software: What We Tested, What We Found
The overall value of fax software is made up of a few things, including the amount of pages you can send and receive, monthly costs and fees, and available features for sending and receiving faxes. While many factors may go into the fax software you choose, we determined these factors to be the most important.
Page Allowance & Usage
Some software gives you one total number for both sending and receiving faxes; for example, Nextiva Fax vFAX allows a total of 500 pages per month to be used for either sending or receiving, whatever your business needs are. Other companies split your total number into specific receiving and sending allotments. For example, MaxEmail allows you to receive 250 faxes and send 100 pages before charging overage fees.
We gave higher credit to software that allows you to use your page allotment for both sending and receiving instead of limiting you to separate amounts since this gives you more options on how you use the fax service.
In our evaluation of fax software, we looked for features that are useful for small business owners but not commonly offered with fax to email software. Many companies limit the length of time you can store received faxes; eFax, however, has no time limit.
Another uncommon feature we evaluated is the ability to block certain senders. This feature helps you limit junk faxes, which use up your allotted page count. This tool is invaluable if you find you are bombarded with spam or unsolicited faxes. Many of the programs do not allow you to block fax numbers without assistance from the technical support team.
The last uncommon feature we evaluated is scheduled delivery. This tool allows you to schedule faxes to be sent at a later time and is especially useful if you are sending faxes to international lines.
Ease of Use
Another important feature of fax software for Windows we tested is how intuitive a software is when using it; these tests included how easy it is to set up an account, log in and use the online portal as well as the mobile platform. Software that made it easy to navigate and send and receive faxes received the highest scores on our lineup. We found that the programs with a clean interface and labeled tools were the easiest to navigate. For example, programs like eFax that offered clear instructions on how to send a fax and where to view them received high usability scores.
When testing the mobile platform for each software, we found that the programs that had an associated app were the easiest to use. The applications clearly labeled the tools so that you could send and receive a fax quickly and with ease. These applications also send notifications to your phone, so you know immediately when a fax has come in. The software that require you to access the program online were not as intuitive. Many of the software, like Nextiva Fax, were difficult to navigate because the online platform was displayed poorly or it was hard to find the tools on such a small screen.
We took into account both the online portal and mobile platform when evaluating the software and developing an ease of use score. Software with a steep learning curve received lower scores. While these software still effectively send and receive faxes, they are harder to run and take longer to set up before you can begin using them.
The final thing we tested when evaluating fax software was the customer service provided by each company. To test customer service, we contacted each company via email and over the phone. We asked support personnel several questions about the service. Many companies provided more detailed support through email than over the phone; some companies even responded within an hour of our sending emails. Nextiva scored exceptionally high in customer support due to support's quick and thorough responses to our inquiries.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We obtained the units in our comparison either on loan from the companies or through retail purchase. The companies had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
When choosing fax software, it is important to select a software with features that are most important to you and your business, while also considering the factors we have outlined above.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
Even though most offices do not have fax machines, there are still plenty of faxes being sent through faxing software. In our evaluation, we found RingCentral Fax, MetroFax and Nextiva Fax to be the best fax software platforms. These services outperformed the competition due to the programs’ ease of use, exceptional customer service and uncommon features offered. Additionally, these services offer the best value with a large allotment of faxes for each month at a low cost.
While not the best fax software, we found that Sfax, in particular, was especially useful, as the software offers more security than the other programs on our lineup. The program is designed for medical facilities with the strict rules and regulations of HIPAA in mind. These features ensure your documents remain protected and your information secure. For these reasons, Sfax is our top choice for the medical industry.
In general, using fax to email software can save your company money and resources, while providing valuable faxing services for your company's needs.