Advantages & Disadvantages of Using a Fax

By Alan Kirk

At one time, fax machines were a very common way to send documents from one location to another. Fax machines are still used today but are not considered as reliable as other options that are available. To send a fax, both the sender and the receiver must have access to fax machines. If access is not available, there are stores--such as Kinko's, Office Depot and Staples--that allow you to fax documents from the store for a fee.

Convenience

Sometimes it is important to receive a document as quickly as possible. Fax machines are a great option if it is a paper that can not easily be sent through email.

Speed

Using a fax machine is much faster than sending an item through the U.S. Postal Service. This can be important if you are working on a deadline and need to ship a document somewhere quickly. Instead of paying the additional cost for express shipping, you can fax it to the recipient.

Efax Services

If you do not have a physical fax machine, you can turn your computer into a fax machine by signing up for an Internet faxing company such as efax. With efax, you receive software on your computer that allows you to use it as a fax machine.

Phone Connection Reliability

Using a fax machine puts you at the mercy of the reliability of phone lines, or Internet connections in the case of using efax software. If there is a network outage for either of these, shipping it via express mail would be more reliable.

Requires a Human Recipient

You don't have to worry about just your own fax machine when you are faxing a document. You must be concerned about the availability of the fax machine of the person to whom you are faxing a document. To avoid possible problems with paper jams or a lack of ink in the fax machine, another person must be able to confirm receipt of the fax and that it printed correctly.