Thanks to online fax services, you can send and receive faxes without the hassle of finding and using an actual fax machine. One such service is Nextiva vFAX, which is affordable and offers lots of customization options. However, Nextiva vFAX does not offer mobile apps, digital signature tools, or international faxing capabilities. It also had some trouble with our graphics-heavy sample PDF in testing. Fax.Plus and HelloFax are our Editors’ Choice winners for online fax services.
Nextiva vFAX offers three pricing tiers, billed either annually or monthly. The entry-level account, which we tested, provides a pool of 500 pages of sent or received faxes for $8.95 per month. This plan offers excellent value. Nextiva vFAX is also extremely forgiving if you go over your monthly allotment, charging you just three cents per page for overages. MyFax charges 10 cents per page once you burn through your page budget.
(Editors’ Note: eFax, MetroFax, MyFax, and SRFax are owned by j2 Global, the parent company of PCMag’s publisher, Ziff Davis.)
If you’re likely to send or receive significantly more than 500 pages worth of faxes, you may need to opt for Nextiva vFAX’s $17.95-per-month Professional plan, which gets you 1,000 pages. Nextiva vFAX does offer a free 30-day trial, but it requires you to provide a payment method.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to cancel your Nextiva vFAX account directly via the web interface. You either need to call or email the company to do so.
For comparison, HelloFax costs $9.99 per month at the entry tier and provides 300 pages of faxes. For the heavy faxers out there, we recommend RingCentral Fax, which gives you 1500 pages for $22.99 per month. That’s a lot of money, but it’s also a very low per-page cost. SRFax is the cheapest paid fax service we reviewed; for $3.29 per month you can send or receive up to 25 pages.
If you want to send faxes for free, you should consider FaxZero. That service allows you to send up to five faxes per day, each of up to three pages (plus a cover page for each). Other services, such as HelloFax and Fax.Plus offer a free send-only version of their services, albeit with finite page allocations that don’t reset every month. In other words, you need to start paying for those services once you surpass your allocation of pages.
Signing up for Nextiva vFAX is simple. You pick a number by choosing a US state and then selecting from a list of area codes. You need to add payment and contact details to complete the account creation process.
Nextiva vFAX does not offer toll-free numbers, vanity numbers, or international numbers. MyFax and eFax offer far more international faxing capabilities. RingCentral Fax lets you set up a vanity or toll-free number. Nextiva vFAX cannot be used to send a fax to an international number, either.
During the account-creation process, you set up a username but not a password. Instead, vFAX sends you an email with your passcode in plaintext. We thoroughly dislike this practice, which some other fax services also use. We would much prefer to let a password manager create a complex, unique password for the service. Nextiva vFAX does not integrate any two-factor authentication options, which is something HelloFax and Fax.Plus do.
Nextiva vFAX has neither a dedicated Android app nor an iPhone app. Biscom 1-2-3, eFax, Fax.Plus, iFax, MyFax, MetroFax, RIngCentral Fax all have dedicated apps, which makes it easier to send faxes on the go. The site does not use modern responsive design either, so we don’t recommend trying to use it on a mobile browser. eFax, iFax, and RingCentral Fax also maintain dedicated desktop apps.
Nextiva vFAX’s web interface looks fine, but we occasionally experienced some slow-loading pages. HelloFax and mFax offer better-designed and more functional interfaces. On the other hand, eFax, MetroFax, and myFax feel decades behind.
You navigate vFAX’s interface via left-hand menu items: Dashboard, Search, Send, View, and Settings. The Dashboard shows an overview of your account info and your activity. It also unnecessarily duplicates much of the menu functionality. However, we do like the prominently displayed Support section.
Nextiva vFAX’s Search function simply displays a complete list of faxes that you can reorder by date, sender, or user. We expected to be able to actually search the content of our faxes, but there’s not even a Search bar here. The View tab allows you to preview any attachments you’ve received. The service’s settings are spread across several sections, but you get lots of customization options. One comparatively rare feature is the ability to receive confirmations for your faxes via SMS.
Nextiva vFAX makes sending a fax more tedious than do other services. Other fax services pack their fax-sending tools into a single window, but vFAX made us navigate through five screens before we could send out our test fax. That said, we do like how vFAX lets you add up to five additional email or fax recipients. vFAX also includes a tool for scheduling fax delivery up to 90 days in the future, a feature it shares with RingCentral Fax. Nextiva vFAX lets you attach up to 10 documents or 5MB per fax—whichever comes first. That’s a significantly lower threshold than the competition offers. HelloFax, for example, has a 40MB limit. vFAX supports a variety of file types, including GIF, JPEG, Microsoft Office, PDF, RTF, TIFF, TXT, XML, and more.
Alternatively, you can use vFAX with your existing email client. To send a fax, simply type out the complete fax number (including country code) followed by @nextivafax.com. Last time we tested Nextiva vFAX’s email-to-fax integration, our test fax arrived without the attachment we added. This time around, this capability worked fine.
Faxes you receive with vFAX generate an email alert, but you have to follow a link to view the content of the fax on Nextiva vFAX’s site. That’s unusual, because there is a specific setting in vFAX for your preferred email attachment format.
PCMag no longer has a fax machine in our office, so now we test fax services with another online fax service in place of a physical machine. To evaluate how well fax services handle attachments, we send two test documents (a graphics-heavy one and one that is mostly text).
Nextiva vFAX took only a few minutes to send out our test fax PDF, which is an improvement over our experience with the service the last time around. Nextiva vFAX’s handling of the graphics-heavy document was not impressive. The service totally obscured a complete line of text and added artifacts to just about every solid graphics block. That said, when we sent the same test document a second time from the mobile app, the processed version did not exhibit any of the same problems. Nextiva vFAX performed much better with the simpler text document. The text was clear and it didn’t obscure the few graphical elements on the page.
Nextiva vFAX’s interface looks more modern than some of its competitors and we like that its pricing is friendly to consumers. Among its biggest drawbacks are that it lacks mobile apps and cannot be used to fax international numbers. In addition, you cannot choose a vanity, international, or toll-free number during setup. The web interface and faxing quality are not overly impressive, either. We recommend Editors’ Choice winners HelloFax and Fax.Plus. HelloFax offers an excellent web interface and better capabilities, while the low-cost Fax.Plus impresses with a top-notch mobile app.Source