8 Best Fax Machines | March 2017

We spent 31 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. No, they're not obsolete - yet! If you're one of the many people who still rely on hard copies, find the perfect fax machine for your home or office from our list. We've included light duty models good for occasional use and more durable units for high volume work. Skip to the best fax machine on Amazon.
8 Best Fax Machines | March 2017


Overall Rank: 4
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Overall Rank: 7
Best High-End
★★★
Overall Rank: 2
Best Inexpensive
★★★★★
8
The Canon Laser imageCLASS MF4770n is a reliable scanner, copier, and fax machine in one. It features a user-friendly screen with prompts that makes its operation easy, even for the technologically-disinclined.
7
The HP M177FW allows for effortless wireless printing in the home or the office. That makes setup easier and means printing or faxing can be completed from desktops, laptops, tablets, and even smartphones.
6
The Brother IntelliFax-4100E makes your workday simpler with a three second per page fax transmission speed and a programmable auto-dial function. It can store up to 132 numbers, saving you time. Faxes are black and white only.
5
The Panasonic KX-FL421 stands out for its exceptionally crisp print quality. Its decent capacity paper tray holds 250 sheets and the unit can be used as a phone or fax machine, simplifying your daily routines.
  • laser print quality
  • high speed modem connection
  • features caller id function
Brand Panasonic
Model KX-FL421
Weight 20 pounds
4
The Brother FAX-2840 speeds up communication with its quick page transmission rate and fast processing power. It is a highly affordable unit perfect for a home office or for a small business that doesn't do much faxing.
  • adjustable paper tray
  • 16 gigabytes of memory
  • sluggish out of sleep mode
Brand Brother
Model FAX2840
Weight 24.6 pounds
3
The HP M476dw is a wireless multifunction printer perfect for office use. It is able to scan, copy, and fax with the same prowess as many units that are twice its size and four times its price. It can easily connect to a network.
  • excellent wireless range
  • 150-sheet output tray
  • automatic document feeder
Brand HP
Model CF387A#BGJ
Weight 74 pounds
2
The Brother FAX-575 means affordable convenience for any home office or for the workplace that doesn't demand high-end equipment. This is not a fancy machine, but if all you need is black and white copying and faxing, it's just fine.
  • 15 seconds per page faxing
  • compact unit fits anywhere
  • 50-sheet paper capacity
Brand Brother FAX-575
Model pending
Weight pending
1
The HP Officejet 4650 Wireless is a reliable all-in-one machine. It offers easy faxing, high quality scans, and wireless printing. It can easily handle double-sided printing jobs, and can handle most thicker paper and card stocks.
  • sleek and low profile design
  • energy efficient unit
  • high-resolution control screen
Brand HP
Model F1J03A#B1H
Weight 17.5 pounds

A Brief History Of The Fax Machine

As incredible as it might initially sound, the first device approximating a fax machine was in fact invented more than a decade before the telephone. The pantelegraph was invented by an Italian named Giovanni Caselli in the mid 1860s. The device was capable of scanning a page marked with a special solution of potassium ferricyanide that interrupted the transmission of an electrical signal sent via telegraph wire. A stylus attached to a remote device would reproduce the image scanned by the first pantelegraph and dutifully recreate the words or small graphics on a second piece of paper.

The pantelegraph could only copy an area of approximately four by six inches, and transmission of an image or a bit of text took almost two minutes to complete. Still, the device saw practical applications in use verifying signatures for banking and legal purposes, and it certainly amazed and impressed its share of people the world over.

Eventually, this forerunner of the modern fax machine was superseded by ever better technology, just as the fax machine itself nears obsolescence in the 21st Century. Viable uses for the fax machine still remain, however, and the devices still have many devoted users in the commercial, public, military, and private sectors.

The fax machines of today can trace their origins to the 1880s. A scanning phototelegraph invented by British physicist Shelford Tidwell could scan any two dimensional object, transmitting documents, maps, charts, and even photographs via telephone wire. The subsequent decades saw refinements to the technology, including the addition of wireless image transmission capabilities.

In the 1960s, the Xerox Corporation released what may accurately be considered the first modern fax machines. These devices, the LDX (or Long Distance Xerography machine) in 1964 and the *Magnafax Telecopier in 1966, used digital technology to scan and transmit entire pages of data in a few minutes.

Soon page-long faxes (short for facsimile, from the Latin for "make alike," for your reference) were being sent in less than a minute and using ever smaller devices. The phone and fax machine combination was seen in offices around the globe throughout the 1980s and 90s, with email and faster online communication finally beginning to supplant the fax at the end of the latter decade.

While faxing is less common today than it was in years gone by, many transactions are still conducted using hard copies of documents, and thus the fax machine still has a role to play in many aspects of life.

Choosing The Right Fax Machine For The Office

If your shop, small business, or medical practice uses all the latest technology, from wireless printers to Bluetooth headsets, yet you still need to have a fax machine on hand for the occasional reception and transmission of hard copies, then there are multiple affordable devices available that do just that: they send and receive faxes, and that's about it.

More often than not, however, faxing is just one of many capabilities of the multitasking high end printing, copying, and scanning machine an office will consider for all its document handling needs. A decent printing and copying "station" can cost anywhere from two hundred dollars on up to the thousands. And unless your place of business, retail location, or your medical or legal practice requires an exorbitant volume of faxing, most any of these devices will be able to easily handle the job for you.

The one drawback many of these machines have when it comes to sending faxes is that getting to their fax function can be a multiple step hassle. As faxing has become less and less common, so too has the process become more involved. So if you only send the occasional fax but you want the process to be painlessly simple when you do, a basic, affordable, purpose built fax machine may still make sense for your workplace.

Choosing A Fax Machine For Home Use

There are multiple reasons the private residence has a need for using a fax machine. These usually include dealing with medical forms, insurance paperwork, and other sensitive documents that can be important to have in hard copy and that often require hand-written signatures and dates to be considered valid.

If you already have a decent printer and scanner, then an inexpensive, basic fax machine is a fine choice. If you're looking for a new all-in-one printing solution, then by all means consider a higher end unit with the capability to print, scan, copy, fax, and more. The extra cash you spend up front will secure you a machine that lasts for years, putting you ahead of the technology even as it includes a few almost outdated features, like faxing.

Faxes are also a fine way for people not entirely comfortable with the latest technology to stay in touch. Even someone who spends precious little time surfing the web or checking his or her email can easily pull a sheet of paper out of the fax machine and read a letter, so a fax machine can be a fine way to stay in touch with older friends or relatives.

A fax machine can also be a valid method of sending sensitive communications and documents that works even when an internet connection is experiencing issues: as fax machines transmit via phone lines, they are often not affected by complications with other systems, which can be helpful during emergency situations.



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Last updated: 03/22/2017 | Authorship Information

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