What Are the Disadvantages of Using a Fax Machine?

Updated February 21, 2017

Fax machines can be useful for transmitting hard copies of important documents over the telephone line. Faxing has greatly reduced the time needed to physically get a document from one place to another. But there are several disadvantages.


A fax machine can be expensive. While the initial purchase price is not necessarily high---prices can range from £19 to well over £65 for machines with advanced features---you will need to purchase paper and ink regularly. Sending a fax also costs money. Regular phone charges apply, and a large fax may increase the bill. The costs become even higher if one needs to fax something long distance or internationally. Also, the fax machine needs to be on always in order to receive faxes, so that could result in higher electricity costs.

Bulky Single-Purpose Machines

Another disadvantage of the fax machine is that it is rather bulky and requires its own space, which can add clutter to an office or home. It may make more sense to purchase a multipurpose machine with Internet faxing and storage technology and perhaps a built-in scanner and printer feature.

Technical Issues

Like all machines, the fax machine is subject to technical malfunctions. These include paper jams and poor resolution issues that can make transmitting documents time-consuming and frustrating. Oftentimes a person will send a neat, clear copy, and the recipient will receive an unclear mess.

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About the Author

Alexis Writing has many years of freelance writing experience. She has written for a variety of online destinations, including She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Rochester.