Fax machines : making the right choice


Fax machines : making the right choice

Fax machines can be found in just about every office in the country and can be a very useful business tool for quickly transferring hard copy documents to any location throughout the world. They make sending written documents, printed documents, photos, pictures, diagrams - in fact just about anything you can put on paper - easy, quick and convenient.

Buying a new fax machine is easy; the trick is choosing the right one out of the hundreds of different choices on offer. Just one quick search on the Internet would be enough to know that there are a lot of fax machines out there, all with very similar features and functions. Flipping through a catalog or scrolling through websites is certainly one way of going about finding a fax machine but it's not the best place to start.

The following is a quick guide to choosing your new fax machine:

1) Assess the needs of your business. This is possibly the most important step in the decision making process because knowing what you want from a fax machine will narrow your search considerably. Before you even look at fax machines write down what you will be faxing (just word documents or images too) and how often you will be faxing. Ask yourself the following questions: What paper size do you need? How clear do the images need to be? Will the fax calls be local or long distance? What sort of technical support and service do you need?

2) Once you know what you need, decide what you would like. Divide your list into 'must have' and 'nice to have'. On the must have list you need to put all the features you definitely need such as high resolution and redialing options for long distance calls. On the 'nice to have' list put all the features you would like included if your budget will allow for it. Such features could include high speed and memory capabilities, scanning capabilities, an in-built printer or a speaker phone.

3) Even when you know what you are looking for, there will still be too many fax machines to search through so you need to narrow your search further to a particular brand and model. Test them and make notes on the functions, write down the make model of the any that you like.

Go onto manufacturer websites to see what the latest models have to offer and to get a feel for the prices. Then when you have a short list of fax machines that you like, look for them on websites like consumersearch.com to read the reviews. You can also compare prices on the Internet.

Important features to look out for:

Plain paper, thermal, laser and ink jet business faxes..

Plain paper fax machines are generally a better choice because they are cheaper to run than thermal faxes and are more versatile. They also print faster and are usually better printers. Thermal paper faxes are more prone to paper jams and the print has a tendency to fade. Plain paper faxes come as inkjet or laser faxes. Laser faxes give the best quality print but are the most expensive to buy.


Most fax machines send faxes at 15 seconds per page which is sufficient for most purposes. The higher the speed the more expensive the machine, however, if most of the fax calls are not within the local calling zone it could be worth investing in a faster fax machine to save time and money on long distance calls.


Most fax machines store incoming and outgoing pages which makes it quicker to send and allows you to send a page to more than one person or forward an incoming page to someone else. Memory is also useful for situations where the machine runs out of paper, faxes can be stored until the paper tray is refilled.

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