Fax Machine Buyer's Guide
Commercial fax machine features
Table of Contents
Memory enables commercial fax machines to store incoming or outgoing pages internally. The amount of memory required to hold a page depends on the density of the image, but in general, you can expect 512 kilobytes to hold 20 to 25 pages. If the standard memory isn't sufficient, most commercial fax machine models accept additional memory cards that can run anywhere from $50 to $100 for one megabyte, depending upon the make of the commercial fax machine.
There are three common types of memory features.
Out-of-paper reception. This is one of the most useful memory features because it saves incoming faxes in memory if the machine runs out of paper.
Quick scan. With this feature, you can scan a page into memory before beginning a transmission. That means you don't have to wait at the machine until it finishes sending the original.
Dual scan. This capability uses memory to let you send and receive faxes at the same time. For example, you can scan an outgoing fax into memory while a fax is being received. The scanned fax is then sent directly from memory when the phone line becomes free.
Color faxing is possible but fairly rare. While a standard for color faxing has been adopted, many manufacturers don't use it yet. The only reliable way to fax in color right now is to fax between two color fax machines from the same manufacturer. In coming years, the standards should settle down and both laser and inkjet color fax machines should be available, but it's not worth waiting for that to be the case.
If you routinely send the same fax to multiple recipients, look for a machine with good support for "broadcasting." This feature will let you scan the fax once, then send it out to all the recipients you enter.
Another important consideration is what size pages you fax most often. The vast majority of fax machines are built to handle standard 8.5" x 11" paper - if you need to send and receive legal size or 11" x 17" documents, make that fact is high in your list of requirements