Ready to choose an online fax service? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:
- Choosing an Online Fax Service: A Buyer's Guide
- Best Online Fax Services for Small Business
- SRFax Review: Best HIPAA-Compliant Online Fax Service
- GotFreeFax Review: Best Pay-Per-Use Online Fax Service
- Nextiva Review: Best Online Fax Service for Small Businesses
Faxing documents isn't as common as it used to be, but nevertheless, businesses can still run into situations where faxing is necessary. For those moments, free online fax services are available. Naturally, free services are far more limited than competing paid services, but they get the job done without requiring you to pay a monthly subscription fee that might not suit your needs.
We chose two online fax services in this category because we could not find a company that offered both incoming and outgoing fax services for free: Most paid online fax services allow you to send and receive, but that's not so with the free services. If you have only occasional faxing needs and don't want to end up paying for a service that includes hundreds of faxes each month, then using two free services will be worth it to you. GotFreeFax offers free outgoing faxes, while eFax offers free incoming faxes.
The eFax free option for incoming faxes is not well-known. The company is best-known for its somewhat pricey subscription service, which starts at $16.95 (for 150 pages total) per month. While the price for eFax's subscription service is relatively high, the company offers essentially every feature imaginable, including e-signatures, large file sharing and picture-to-fax ability. In addition, eFax offers 24/7 tech support and fast transmission speeds, which is why many businesses opt to utilize the paid subscription service.
Still, eFax Free, the incoming-only version, is a valuable tool for smaller businesses that do not expect to receive faxes more than a few times a month. With eFax Free, users are given a nonlocal telephone number. (The free version of eFax doesn't offer a toll-free number.) Once the number is set up, users can receive up to 10 incoming faxes per month. In addition, eFax Free allows you to store incoming faxes for up to 30 days.
It's worth noting that eFax's paid service received mixed reviews, including complaints of poor customer support, difficulty canceling and the inability of customers to port fax numbers when they leave the company. These issues seem to be limited to the subscription service, however, and don't appear to affect eFax Free.
Unlike eFax's paid services, the free edition is extremely limited. You won't have access to attractive features like unlimited storage, shared accounts, 24/7 customer support, digital signatures, large file sharing and PDF formatting. It's also important to note that eFax may cancel or suspend your account if you exceed the monthly limit of 10 incoming faxes. You can expect that your account won't be deleted for inactivity, however — which is common among other free, online fax services. Other companies will terminate your account if you fail to regularly send faxes, in some cases as often as once a week. With eFax Free, you just have to focus on staying below the 10-fax minimum each month.
GotFreeFax offers a free service that allows you to send up to two faxes of three pages or less each day.
We chose GotFreeFax's free option for our send-only pick because it is simple to use and offers some features that other free services don't. For example, GotFreeFax allows its free users to employ rich text to adjust the font and format of their documents. The end product is a more aesthetically pleasing fax that appears more professional than a simple plain-text document. GotFreeFax also allows you to upload and send PDFs and JPEGs in addition to regular Word documents. You can even add your own cover page or opt to use the service's standard, basic cover page.
GotFreeFax's service is also incredibly easy to use. The form required to send a fax is located right on the company's home page. Just fill out your own information and the receiver's information, paste in the content or upload the files you want to fax, and send. The entire process takes just a few minutes and works reliably well.
Besides ease of use, we also liked that GetFreeFax does not include ads on its free faxes, as many competitors do. The advertisements serve to generate revenue for the company that is offering the free service, but as a consequence, your faxes will look unprofessional. Instead of plastering unsightly ads all over your faxes, GotFreeFax makes its money by selling advertisements on its website.
We also chose GotFreeFax as the best pay-per-use online fax service; you can read more about that service here. In a nutshell, GotFreeFax offered better features than its free competitors.
Remember, this is a free service, so customer support is lacking. There is no phone support for GotFreeFax's free sending service; there is only an email address, and the response time is not quick. Luckily, the service is simple and straightforward to use, and there is seldom a problem with sending a fax. The only time you would need customer support is if a fax failed to send.
By using a free service, you also forgo the more robust features. Don't expect services like document storage, mobile apps, customizable templates, contact integration or online account management, for example. None of the free services offers these more advanced features; for those, you would need to subscribe to a paid service. If you don't send a lot of faxes, however, these features aren't that valuable, anyway. In that case, you might just be best off utilizing one of the free services.
FaxZero is another send-only, free service. It allows you to send more faxes per day than GotFreeFax: up to five faxes per day that are three pages each, plus a cover page. FaxZero also allows for rich text. However, FaxZero includes its branding as a header on the cover page, diminishing the professional look of your document, and it does not allow you to embed JPEG files. Still, if you need to send more than two free faxes in one day, FaxZero is another comparable service that does the job, and does it well.
We chose GotFreeFax and eFax from a pool of the dozens of online fax services. To learn more about our full methodology and for a more comprehensive list of online fax services, view our best picks page here.
Ashley Smith also contributed to the reporting within this review.