How much does a fax line cost?

A fax line can cost anywhere from US$3-35 a month depending on how it is set up.

There are three ways of installing a fax line:

  1. With an online fax service. This is a virtual fax machine that is accessed over the internet. Costs start at US$5-15/month for 100 pages/month of fax transmissions.
  2. As an extra phone line. These typically cost $US25-35/month for a residential installation, more for a business installation.
  3. As an extra phone number on an existing phone line using DRPD (dual ring pattern detection). These typically cost an extra US$3-10/month on top of the cost of an existing phone line. A fax machine connected to a dual ring line will need to have the ability to understand DRPD.

Option 1 – online fax service

An online fax service acts as a virtual fax machine that is accessed over the internet.

Compared with an extra phone line, an online fax service costs less to operate, especially for low monthly fax volumes. There is also no fax machine and phone line to maintain.

Option 2 – extra phone line

An extra phone line is installed and activated by the local phone company.

The monthly cost to have an extra phone line in a home is $25-35/month and may have extra installation charges (especially if adding phone jacks and phone wiring within the house).

Compared with an online fax service, an extra phone line is more per month for the line. With larger fax volumes (especially if faxing is mostly in a local area), a fax line can be more cost-effective than other options.

Compared with an extra phone number on an existing phone line, a separate phone line has the benefits of being a separate resource. If the phone line is being used, the fax line is still available. If the fax line is being used, the phone line is still available.

Option 3 – extra phone number on an existing phone line

Some phone companies have the option to have more than one phone number assigned to a phone line. Each assigned phone number has a different ring.

The monthly cost to have an extra phone number on the same phone line is $3-10/month and may have extra setup charges.

Compared with an online fax service, an extra phone number can be less if you are already operating a landline phone line. The main difference is with convenience and availability – for some people a traditional fax machine or computer with fax software is more convenient, for others an online fax service accessed over the internet is more convenient.

Compared with an extra phone line, an extra phone number costs less but comes with some service limitations. With an extra phone number, the phone and fax cannot both be used at the same time. When either the fax or the phone line dial out, caller id will show the call coming from the phone line. As well, the fax machine will need DRPD (dual ring pattern detection) to be able to tell the difference between the two phone rings.