Windows Fax Application or Service
"What is the best Windows fax application?"
The best Windows fax application really depends on how many faxes you send and how often you receive a fax. It also might depend on other software on your computer. If you only need to send a fax occasionally, I recommend using the free fax site FaxZero. It allows you to enter the phone number you want to send a fax to and upload a file to fax. If you want to receive a fax on your computer, you will need a different solution because FaxZero is only designed for sending faxes.
Receiving Faxes on your PC
Microsoft includes a fax application with each version of Windows. In Windows Vista, for example, it's called Windows Fax and Scan. In some cases you need to add this component to Windows. The downside to this solution is you need to connect a phone line to your computer in order to receive a fax. There are better solutions that allow you to send or receive a fax over your network connection.
Here are a few of the better services for receiving faxes on a PC.
MetroFax gives you a dedicated fax phone number, so you can have people who use traditional fax machines send you messages. For $2.00 per month extra, this can be a toll free number. Faxes can be recevied either as PDF or TIFF files. Either can be opened easily on your PC. For $12.95 a month, you can send and receive up to a combined 1000 pages. After hitting the 1000 mark, each additional page is $0.03. MetroFax offers a solid combination of price and value compared to other offerings listed here.
MyFax may be your best option if you only occasionally receive faxes. They also allow you to send and receive faxes via email, but pricing is more expensive as your volume increases. If you need to receive 200 pages or less per month, or send under 100, the $10/month fee is your best value. To send an additional 100 pages the price jumps another $10/month. MyFax currently lists 42 countries falling within their "free fax zone", which means you can fax to any of those countries as part of your monthly fee. I am currently using MyFax as my solution.
RapidFax has many similarities to MyFax. Pricing is $9.95/month for 300 combined send and receive pages, which matches up with the 200 received and 100 sent of MyFax. Additional pages are $0.08 each. Like other services listed here, you get a dedicated phone number which allows people to send you faxes from traditional fax machines. RapidFax allows you to have a toll-free number for no additional charge, although unlike MetroFax, you can't get both a local and toll-free number for the same account.
eFax was the fax service I used for years. If you are more comfortable with using separate software for faxing from your PC, eFax might be your best bet. In addition to supporting fax via email, eFax also includes a software app you can install on your PC. The convenience of a fax app will cost you, because eFax is the most expensive service of the bunch. For a $16.95 monthly fee you can receive 130 pages per and send 30, with received pages adding an extra $0.15 each over 130 and sent pages tacking on an additional $0.10. If you pay for a full year, the price drops to $14.13 per month, but eFax remains the most expesive solution in the field of choices.
Choosing a Fax Service
In reviewing the choices above, if you receive many fax pages monthly, MetroFax is your best price per page option. For the occasional fax, MyFax or RapidFax are better suited from a price standpoint. For desktop software, eFaxis the best option, although more expensive. If you merely need to send a fax, use FaxZero.com.