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Brother Fax Machines - Your guide to choosing the right Inkfilm, Inkjet or Laser Fax Machine!

Consider the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

This can literally save you thousands of pounds! Whilst it's not true to say that 'the less you pay for a fax machine the more it will cost to run', it can actually quite often be the case, as low priced entry-level models aren't designed for high usage.

To evaluate TCO, use figures based on at least 3 years of ownership. First, 'guesstimate' the total number of fax transmissions you expect to receive over the period, factor in the total cost of the number of consumables you would need for that usage (based on the yield per consumable listed by the manufacturer), and finally add in the initial capital purchase cost of the machine.

This will give you the all important TCO. You'll be amazed at the wildly different costs of ownership per model, it's certainly a crucial element in ensuring you purchase the correct model for your usage.

Bear in mind though, that just because a machine is expensive to run it doesn't necessarily mean it's the wrong machine for you. If you only receive one fax transmission a week then a budget model would fit the bill - it's cheap to buy and because you won't use it much the fact that consumables are expensive won't matter. Either way, TCO will give you the answer.

What's best? Inkjet or Laser?

Inkjet models are primarily designed for the 'SOHO' market (small office/home office), and laser machines for more heavy duty applications. As above, evaluating the TCO will lead you in the right direction in any case. It is a misnomer that laser is better quality than inkjet, in fact the two technologies produce very similar results. As well as the big differences in running costs (see above), consider paper handling capabilities i.e. paper tray sizes. You don't want to be replenishing the paper tray/s every few days! Transmission speeds and memory capacity can ALSO be important in heavy duty applications. One feature that is quite popular is 'dual access' which allows the user to continue to send fax transmissions even whilst receiving a transmission at the same time. Usually the machine receives the incoming transmission into memory and prints it out after 'out' transmissions are completed. For an explanation of fax terms go to 'Glossary'.

Some manufacturers offer machines that utilise inkfilm technology. Designed for low usage, these machines use a cartridge that is (for want of a better description) rather like a very big typewriter ribbon! This method gives you a 'fixed cost' of ownership as it uses a whole A4 sheet each time a received transmission is printed, as compared to inkjet/laser which uses varying amounts of ink/toner depending on the image and/or text to be printed. Inkfilm would be expensive to run for medium usage but the low purchase price is ideal for low usage. Once again TCO (see above) will tell you if it's worth it!

Before you decide on which fax machine is for you, consider first the various multifunction models on the market. These are 'all-in-one' machines and offer various combinations of fax/copier/printer & scanner(go to 'multifunction' link), as well as taking up very little room or 'footprint' in your work space.

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