Fax Machine Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong Fax Machine

Fax machines continue to be a necessary piece of equipment for many businesses and individuals. When determining how to buy a fax machine, consider the type of fax machine, transmission speed and memory buffer, to help you decide which fax machine to buy for your particular needs.

>> Consider your space

With many different types of fax machines available, the first factor to consider when learning how to buy a fax machine is the amount of space you have available for the machine. If you work out of a larger commercial office, you can consider a larger, full-featured machine. For a smaller office with limited space, such as next to a computer desk, stick to a basic model.

>> Types of fax machines

If you are working out of a modest-sized home office, an inkjet fax machine offers many features of larger machines in a compact design and at an economical price. An inkjet works well for a smaller number of daily faxes that require only a moderate printing speed. Most inkjet cartridges have a life cycle (or duty cycle) of around 400 pages.

If you spend most of your day in a formal office, consider buying a laser fax machine. A laser fax machine uses dry toner, much like a laser printer, to create higher-quality printouts. The duty cycle of a laser fax machine print cartridge is around 5,000 pages.

For durability, a thermal fax machine makes a great addition to any size office space. These machines tend to last a long time, because there are fewer moving parts inside. There is also no need to change any ink cartridge, as the only refill needed is the thermal paper itself.

>> Consider memory buffer

A fax machine's memory buffer is another consideration when learning how to buy a fax machine. A fax machine will store incoming fax information in its memory buffer before sending a fax and printing incoming faxes. So, when you shop fax machines, keep in mind that the larger the memory buffer, more quickly the fax machine will send and print faxes.

>> How important to you is transmission speed?

Transmission speed is a measure of how long it takes to send a fax. As you shop fax machines, keep in mind that these speeds vary widely between basic and advanced models. Basic machines transmit 3-4 pages per minute (ppm). Higher-end laser fax machines feature speeds of 20 ppm or more. High-speed fax machines have the potential to transmit faxes as fast as 2 pages/second.

>> Consider paper size

It is always necessary to consider paper size and type. Nearly all fax machines handle standard (8.5 inch x 11 inch) sheets of paper. However, you may have other types of documents that you need to fax. Certain types of fax machines are able to handle legal (8.5 inch x 14 inch) documents or tabloid (17 inch x 11 inch) pieces of paper. While inkjet and laser fax machines use standard printer paper, thermal fax machines require thermal paper that changes color when heated.

If you are looking at types of fax machines that handle legal documents, look at those with two paper drawers. This allows for you to receive both legal and non-legal faxes without the need to switch trays. As you are looking at the paper handling features of a fax machine, check how incoming faxes are sorted. Many fax machines sort with the last page being first.

When considering the type of paper you will be using, keep in mind that you need to look for paper capacity while comparing each machine's specifications. Paper capacity is important if you are printing hundreds of pages on a daily basis. High-end fax machines are capable of carrying over 1,000 sheets of paper. The amount of paper often has the ability to be expanded upon with a second paper tray.

>> Do you need high print resolution?

Varieties of fax machines differ in terms of maximum print resolution. This specification refers to the highest DPI (dots per inch). A fax machine with a higher DPI produces documents that are much clearer to read. However, it is important to make note that higher DPI often means a slower printing process. For a quicker process when receiving faxes, go with a fax machine that offers a lower DPI.

>> Consider additional features

While performing a fax machine comparison of different types of fax machines, extra features should be considered before purchase. Popular features of a fax machine include an automatic document feeder, multiple trays, scanning beds and caller ID. Wi-Fi fax machines allow you to connect to your wireless network and fax documents straight from your computer. With multifunction fax machines, you can copy or scan your documents. Certain fax machines even allow for printing via smart phone. If you are looking for the best fax machine to buy for your office, always remember to look for the features of a fax machine that are important to you.

>> Fax machine comparison chart
To help you figure out how to buy a fax machine, this fax machine comparison chart showcases some of the most important features between different types of fax machines. Type of Fax Machine Pages Per Cartridge Print Quality Transmission Speed Usage Example Inkjet fax machine Roughly 400 pages Clear text with a lower DPI Faxes between 3 and 4 pages per minute A home business environment with minimal need for multiple faxes per day Laser fax machine Roughly 5,000 pages Higher quality text with a higher DPI Capable of faxing more than 20 pages per minute A commercial business environment with a need for high volume faxing or high quality prints Determining which is the best fax machine to buy depends on the type of environment it will operate in as well as the features that are important for your daily tasks. Be sure to read up on all specifications while weighing out your options before you shop for a fax machine. By understanding how to buy a fax machine, you are better able to find the perfect machine to fit your needs.

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