fax machine vs email fax

Technology keeps on evolving whether we want it or not, and it is better to stay up to date, because it can mean the difference between failure and success in our businesses. One of the technologies that has experimented a great transformation is faxing.

Despite countless predictions of its death, faxing has changed to accommodate modern times and now it can be managed from a digital platform, cutting not only the time it takes to send and receive faxes, but also cutting the costs involved when faxing through a machine.

Here we will take a look at the differences between faxing with a machine and faxing with an email fax service.  Feel free to add your opinions on the comment section!

Sending Faxes

Fax machines: Learning how to send a fax was an exciting new event back in the day.  It was pretty amazing how a machine could grab a page and send it as a photocopy to a receiver miles away from us.  This was a rather time-consuming process though, which involved  lot of button-pushing.

But the process of sending faxes was not that bad, not like the issues you had when sending a fax, like paper jams or running out of paper/ink in the middle of an important.

Email faxing: Forget about machines, these times it’s all about digital technology.  Fax struggled at first with this change but now provides more sending options than ever – and all without using a fax machine.  Sending a fax now can be as easy as sending an email, using your online fax tool or even a mobile application.

There are many options when sending a fax such as integration with cloud services, the addition of multiple recipients, and scheduling.  In the end this cut your time and costs dramatically.

Receiving Faxes

Fax machines:  To receive a fax with a machine you had to be present at the office.  Not only that, but you needed a machine, a dedicated fax line and lots of supplies if your fax volume was high.  It certainly was extremely useful back in its day, but it was very slow compare to modern digital technology, and it was not free of problems such as paper jams and incomplete transmissions.

Email faxing:  Right from the get go you can forget about all physical things.  All the supplies have now been replaced with a computer and the physical lines with Internet fax lines which are already active at the moment of creating an account with a service.  There is a wider availability of numbers, which include local, toll-free and vanity numbers.

Faxes arrive directly to your email inbox as PDF files, which you can open/manage from a computer or mobile device. You have the freedom of only printing what is needed, greatly reducing your consumption of paper (that’s right, with email faxing you could say you have given the first step to “go green” at the office!).

Document Quality

Faxes machines: As useful as they were, machines were not perfect transmitting documents.  It used a scanning and copying process in black and white that didn’t always work as it used to.  Sometimes it was your machine’s fault, some others it was a faulty machine on the other end of the line.

Black and white documents had an OK quality, but if you wanted to fax images and colors, you were left without options.

Email fax: Digital faxing has made it possible to receive documents with perfect clarity.  You no longer need to scan a document (unless you only have a hard copy of it), all you need to do is fax directly from your computer the document you wish to fax and it is then transmitted retaining perfect clarity, even with the presence of color images.

Received faxes also have an improved quality, but it still depends 50% on the way a person send you faxes.  Email faxing is also compatible with fax machines, but you only get the quality that is transmitted through it. Luckily more and more businesses are switching to online faxing.


Faxes machines: …Zero.  With a fax machine you had to be pretty much “anchored” to the office or have someone at charge of receiving documents while you were away.  When machines first appeared there wasn’t advanced mobile technology at the hands of everyone like today, so it was okay, but today we need portability when working at all times.

Email fax:  This technology introduced the term “portability” to faxing. At first there were services which sent instant notifications to your phone whenever a new fax arrived, but right now, mobile fax apps have evolved to the point that we can use our phones as a virtual fax machine. They are able to send, receive, sign and compose new faxes.  You can find apps for iPhones, Blackberry phones and Android phones.

Faxing from a mobile phone or smartphone is actually pretty easy and free if you have an account with an email fax service.  If you prefer not having a monthly plan, you can find also different apps with in-app purchases, or in other words a price per fax.

There’s still room for improvement in the mobile fax department. So far, only a couple of services offer an integrated mobile solution, but expect more to appear in the next few months.

Are You Still Using a Fax Machine?

As you can see, traditional fax technology was extremely useful years ago and was the fastest way to transmit documents, but today we have to change if we want to keep up with the times.  Fax is not dead, it has only changed, it has improved to the point that it allows more freedom than ever.

There are still thousands of businesses that rely on faxes on a regular basis; they can benefit immensely from this type of technology.  So why not give it a try? Remember that there are different services that allow you to fax free of charge for a determined amount of time, so you can test the power of digital faxing with your own hands. Click here to learn more on our online fax guide.