From time to time you may need to send a fax, such as when communicating with your doctor or dealing with a lawyer. Instead of firing up an old fax machine or going to your local store to use one, consider an online fax service.
FaxZero is a freemium fax service that can take care of most of your fax-sending needs. While it is relatively bare-bones and charges a lot if you exceed your daily faxing limits, it is the only free service we reviewed with replenishing page allocations.
If you are wary about adding yet another monthly subscription and don’t need much from a fax service (including the ability to receive faxes), it’s your best option. Our Editors’ Choice picks for the online fax category are Fax.Plus and HelloFax, because of their excellent features and ease of use.
The Price of Faxing
FaxZero lets you send faxes for free, albeit with a few restrictions. For example, you can send only up to five faxes a day and each fax can be a maximum of three pages (plus a cover page). Note, too, that FaxZero’s paid faxes take precedence over free ones in terms of delivery speeds.
For reference, the confirmation email I got for a free fax claimed a delivery time between 5 and 30 minutes; my test fax reached its destination in five minutes. With this free tier, FaxZero adds its own branding to cover pages.
This resetting daily limit is notable since free tiers of other online fax services offer only a one-time allotment of fax pages. The free options for Fax.Plus and HelloFax, for example, respectively limit you to 10 and 5 total fax pages—ever—before you have to start paying.
However, both of those services allow you to digitally sign documents without upgrading to a paid account, while FaxZero does not include that option at any tier.
FaxZero says it is able to support its free faxing capabilities with advertising. Incidentally, most of the ads I saw on the site were for competing fax services.
If you need additional pages or capabilities, consider FaxZero’s Almost Free Fax tier, which costs $1.99 per fax (via PayPal). With this option, you can send faxes of up to 25 pages, along with a cover page.
These paid faxes are prioritized over the free faxes (in terms of delivery), and there is no FaxZero branding on the cover page. If you absolutely need a fast confirmation time, such as when you’re closing on a house or as part of a job-interview process, it’s probably safest to spring for the paid version.
If you really only need to send multi-page faxes infrequently, FaxZero’s offering is decent, but the Almost Free Fax plan may end up costing more than a monthly subscription in the long run. Fax.Plus, for instance, starts at $5.99 per month and lets you send or receive up to 100 fax pages. SRFax offers an even cheaper option; it’s base tier costs $3.29 per month and includes a pool of 25 pages. RingCentral Fax’s 1,500-page plan for $22.99 a month is the most cost-effective faxing service we tested and is great for people who need to send or receive a high volume of faxes.
Surprisingly, FaxZero supports faxing to recipients in other countries. You can send faxes to recipients in the US and Canada for free, but you need to pay the $1.99-per-fax fee to send one to a contact in any other country. To get started, just select a country from the list on the International Fax page. Of the paid services, we prefer how HelloFax and Fax.Plus handle international faxing. They simply deduct a number of pages from your total, instead of charging an extra per-page fee.
Web Interface and Sending a Fax
FaxZero’s web interface is about as sparse as you can get, but it is easy to use. At the top of the page, you fill out sender (name, company, email, and phone number) and receiver information (name, company, and fax number). For specifying a domestic contact, FaxZero only requires the 10-digit number (without the leading 1). For international faxing, the service handles the leading digits and the country code, so you provide everything after that.
Below the contact details, you add any attachments (up to three), but the combined size of the files cannot exceed 25MB (or 24.7MB, if you choose to include a cover page). FaxZero supports document attachments such as PDFs and office docs; image files such as PNG, JPG, and TIFF; as well as TXT and HTML files. Any attachments you send via fax will appear in grayscale.
US-based users may appreciate that FaxZero maintains links for helping you to send a fax to your representative, senator, or governor. Once you find and click on one of these entries, FaxZero populates the receiver information with the required information. These faxes are free to send and we appreciate how easy FaxZero makes it for US citizens to participate in democracy. Admittedly, that’s not something we typically expect from a fax service.
Once you finish composing your fax message, enter the verification code that FaxZero shows, and then hit the Send Free Fax Now button at the bottom of the page. FaxZero will send an email to whatever address you provided in the sender information field and will not send your fax until you click the link in this email. FaxZero generates a private page on which you can view the status of the fax. You also receive a confirmation email when the delivery succeeds.
FaxZero does not support an email-to-fax feature or offer a mobile app. The lack of email integration is disappointing, since nearly every other fax service we’ve reviewed offers this capability. That said, FaxZero’s website is reasonably responsive in mobile browsers, so you can fax from your phone if you must. Biscom 1-2-3, eFax, Fax.Plus, MyFax, MetroFax, and RingCentral Fax all offer dedicated mobile apps. iFax, eFax, and RIngCentral Fax offer dedicated desktop apps.
(Editors’ Note: eFax, MetroFax, MyFax, and SRFax are owned by j2 Global, the parent company of PCMag’s publisher, Ziff Davis.)
FaxZero’s Fax Quality
PCMag no longer has any fax machines in our office, so we test fax services by sending documents between different services. This time around, I sent two documents (a graphics-heavy one and one that is mostly text) from FaxZero to another service to test its transmission quality.
I had no issues sending a fax with an attachment using FaxZero; the test faxes arrived at their destination quickly. FaxZero did not, however, handle the graphics-heavy document well. It removed almost all of the gradient detail and a complete line of text. The image and text did appear sharp, though. On the text-heavy document, the text looked crisp, but FaxZero totally missed the design lines on the page.
No one should use a fax service to send a document with lots of graphics, but we prefer services that can transmit attachments at close to the quality of the original. In any case, FaxZero should be fine for sending documents that are primarily text.
Send Faxes for Free
It’s a pain to send a fax if you don’t have a fax machine readily available. FaxZero solves that problem by offering an easily accessible web interface for sending faxes to both domestic and international contacts. The best part of FaxZero is that you can send a reasonable number of faxes to recipients in the US and Canada for free on a daily basis. Unfortunately, you can’t receive faxes with FaxZero and its pricing for premium and international faxing is high. Still, if you refuse to pay to send a fax, it’s your best option. For more flexibility and features, check out our Editors’ Choice fax services, Fax.Plus and HelloFax. Fax.Plus is impressive because of its value and top-notch mobile apps, while HelloFax offers excellent features.
|Price Per Month||$0|
|Pages Per Month||15 Pages Sent Per Day|