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How to choose a fax machine

Ready to upgrade your office fax machine? Today's fax machines are faster than ever, and produce much clearer documents. There are also a wide variety of styles available. Choosing the best fax machine depends on two factors: 

Where will you use the machine?
How often do you send and recieve faxes? 

This guide will help you narrow down your options and choose the best fax machine for your office.

 

Where will you use the fax machine?

There are three types of fax machines, each best suited to different office environments.

Ribbon Transfer Machines
Best for:  occasional individual use

Brother Fax Machine: Ribbon Transfer

- Lowest initial invest
- Lowest print quality
Slowest print speed
Highest cost-per-page

Inkjet Machines
Best for: moderate business use

Brother Fax Machine: Inkjet

Higher initial investment
- Better print quality
Faster print speed
Lower cost-per-page

Laser Machines
Best for: heavy use in large offices

Brother Laser Machine

- Highest initial investment
-Best print quality

- Fastest print speed
- Lowest cost-per-page

How often do you send and receive faxes?

Multifunction Machines

Multifunction Fax Machine

Only send and receive faxes occasionally? All-in-one fax machines print, copy and scan. You can upgrade all your office equipment with one purchase.

Dedicated Fax

Dedicated Fax Machine

Do you send and receive more than a few pages a day? A dedicated fax machine allows  you to fax as much as you need without tying up other office equipment.

Need to send faxes from computers?

You'll need a network-ready fax machine you can connect to your router. Once you've connected your fax machine to the router, you can send faxes from any computer on that network. There are two types of network connections: wireless and Ethernet. Wireless fax machines connect to your router wirelessly, so you can place your machine anywhere you want in you office. However, wireless connections are inherently unstable, so these machines are best for home use. As one Cannon representative points out, "If you're trying to print a picture of your dog, and it doesn't work, that's no big deal." Ethernet networking provide the reliability needed in a professional environment.

Other Fax Machine Features

Modem speed: Don't have a dedicated phone line for your fax machine? The faster the fax modem, the faster you clear the phone line while sending and receiving faxes.

Broadcasting: Fax machines with broadcast capability quickly transmit faxes to multiple recipients. Simply scan the document once, input the list of destination numbers, and the machine will take care of the rest.

Speed Dial: Fax machines with an auto-dialing feature save frequently-dialed numbers into the fax machine’s memory. This reduces the occurrence of mis-dialed numbers and eliminates the need for an external list of numbers.

Memory: The larger a fax machine’s memory, the more information it can store and process at once.  This allows a larger queue for sending and receiving documents, and in general provides better quality faxes, especially ones with fine details.

Paper capacity: One of the basic concerns for your fax machine is how much paper it can hold.  For homes and small offices, a lower capacity may be sufficient, while large departments might wish to look into a machine with multiple paper trays to avoid running out of paper.

Password Protection:  Some fax machines provide a security option, allowing you to specify a password needed before the machine can be used, in order to prevent unauthorized use, or simply to monitor who is using the machine.  As an additional security measure, you might look for a fax machine that will store fax information in the machine’s memory, to prevent data loss in case of a power outage.

Related articles & buying guides:

How to choose a printer
How to choose a printer
How to choose a paper shredder
How to choose a paper shredder
How to choose a telephone headset
How to choose a telephone headset

 

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