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How to choose the right Fax machine - Brother International How to Choose | The Brother Advantage
  How to Choose the Right Fax for Your Needs
Fax communication is a critical and reliable application for everyday business communication. Shopping for a fax machine can be a daunting experience, given the number of machines on the market. Brother's wide variety of standalone fax machines each offer unique features designed to meet different customer needs.

Brother makes fax machines based on two different print technologies: ribbon transfer and laser.

Ribbon Transfer Technology

  • Lowest acquisition cost
  • Convenience and ease of use
  • Easy to change ribbon cartridges
  • Ideal for light volume faxing or copying
  • Space saving designs

Laser Technology

  • Excellent quality text and photos (black & white)
  • Best combination of fast modem and printing speeds for incoming faxes
  • Suitable for mid-high volume use
  • Lower cost per page than other technologies, particularly when using high-yield toner and drum combos

Choose monochrome (B&W) laser if:
  • Sharp, laser quality output is important
  • The lowest cost per page is required
  • You are looking for the best overall value considering both hardware and consumable costs
  • High speed and performance are needed
  • Large paper capacity and high volume use is needed

Modem Speed

Fax modems are available supporting communication speeds of:
  • 9600 bps (approx. 15 sec/page)*
  • 14.4K bps (approx. 6-9 sec/page)*
  • 33.6K bps (approx. 2-3 sec/page)*
Modem speed is an important consideration if your fax volume is high and it is important to you to free up the phone line as quickly as possible. However, a key point to remember about fax communication is that it can only take place at the highest speed supported by both the sending and receiving machines. If one is faster than the other, transmission will slow down to the highest speed available on the slower unit. Speed may also slow down when line conditions are poor. Therefore, you can't always be sure that buying a faster machine will increase throughput consistently.

Buying a machine with a faster modem may also reduce phone costs if you typically transmit lengthy fax documents, particularly overseas. Since most phone companies charge by the minute, and not the second, it costs about the same to transmit documents that are only a few pages long.

Answer Modes

All Brother fax machines have the ability to distinguish between incoming fax and voice calls so you can use all of our faxes with a single phone line. You can choose the answer mode best suited to handle your incoming calls.

Paper Capacity

If you need a fax machine for personal use only, and don't expect to do daily faxing or copying, you don't need a large paper capacity. However, if your fax volume increases, you will have to reload paper more often. If you are in a commercial work environment that receives thousands of pages each month, or prints and copies at an equally high volume, consider our commercial fax models with built-in second paper tray (or the option to add one later). Dual tray models are also ideal when you need to print incoming faxes true to size on both letter and legal size paper.

What should I consider regarding paper capacity?
  • A small office with low incoming fax volume doesn't require a large paper capacity.
  • If the fax is left unattended for an extended period of time, or if the fax volume increases, a larger paper capacity is the right choice.

Paper Size

The paper trays on all Brother models adjust to hold either letter or legal size paper. Dual tray models are recommended for high volume environments or when both paper sizes need to be loaded simultaneously.

Fax Memory

Memory enables a fax machine to store incoming or outgoing fax pages. The amount of memory required to hold a page depends on the density of the image. Consider a model with a large memory capacity and dual access capability for departmental or multi-user environments.

Memory applications include:

Out-of-paper reception: This is one of the most useful memory features because it saves incoming faxes in available memory if the machine runs out of paper or a supply item.

Quick Scan: With this feature you can quickly scan a lengthy fax into available memory before beginning a transmission. You don't have to wait at the machine until it finishes sending the original.

Dual Access: This capability allows you to scan a document into memory while the machine is busy sending or receiving another fax. For example, you can scan an outgoing fax into memory while a fax is being received. The stored fax is sent directly from memory when the phone line becomes free.

Auto Dialing and Broadcasting

All Brother fax machines include a number of "one-touch" dialing keys, plus additional "speed dialing" capacity to automate the dialing process further. Not only do these features enable you to dial more quickly, they also help eliminate misdialed numbers. When selecting a fax machine, consider how many people you fax to on a regular basis, and choose a model with an auto dial capacity that meets your needs.

All Brother models also support fax broadcasting, which enables you to scan a fax into memory just once, and then send it to multiple locations. The number of locations will vary by model, so consider the broadcasting capacity when selecting a model if this is an application you'll make use of.

Transmission Verification Reports

All Brother fax machines can generate Transmission Verification Reports that confirm the details of fax transmissions. These reports provide a printed record of the date and time of transmission, fax number of the receiving machine, total number of pages transmitted, and confirmation that the transmission was made successfully.

In addition to this basic information, Brother laser fax models can also include a partial image of the first page of the transmitted document on the report printout. This is an essential feature for businesses requiring accurate records of fax transmissions, and makes it easier to match up the report with the original fax on any high volume fax machine.

PC Connectivity

Several of our standalone fax machines also include a built-in PC interface (USB, parallel or Ethernet†). This gives you flexibility should your needs change over time. With PC connectivity you gain the benefit of monochrome laser printer functionality without having to purchase another machine.

Fax Security

If you use your fax in an environment where you receive highly confidential faxes and don't want unauthorized people to view them, you should consider a model with Secure Fax functionality.

If you want to eliminate after-hours usage of the fax machine, you should investigate models with Transmission Lock. If you want to make sure that programming selections you've made to the machine aren't changed, look for the Setting Lock feature.

Cost of Ownership

You can control total cost of ownership by selecting the right fax model up front:
  • Buying a low cost model designed for low volume usage can cause you delays and lost productivity if your fax volume increases.
  • Buying a higher-end fax machine with the anticipation of high volume faxing and copying might be initially more expensive, but could result in significant savings over time.

Warranty and Service

Every fax machine in the Brother line, at every price or performance level, is backed by a one-year limited warranty. In the home, home/office and small business categories this represents a substantial competitive advantage.

In addition, Brother also offers warranty extensions and an on-site warranty for extra protection.

*Based on Brother #1 Chart with highest available coding method and standard resolution
** Requires additional purchase.
† Free printer drivers available on Brother Web site. Cables not included

All brand and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Printed in the U.S.A. All specifications subject to change without notice.