What Is an Email Client and Why Should I Use One?
If you’re like most people, you probably check your email at least once every day. And if you’re someone whose work involves communication with customers, clients, and coworkers, the chances are that you deal with emails all the time.
Even though we spend so much time writing, forwarding, and managing emails, we hardly ever pause for a moment and think about how we could improve our emailing experience. We use clunky web interfaces that are not meant for professional use, we accept outdated applications as if alternatives didn’t exist, and we settle for the default email apps on our mobile devices even though app stores are full of excellent third-party email apps.
Broadly speaking, an email client is a computer program used to access and manage a user’s email. But when we use the term email client in this article, we only mean those email clients that can be installed on a desktop computer or a mobile device—not web-based email clients that are hosted remotely and are accessible only from a web browser.
Desktop email clients have several major advantages over their web-based counterparts. They tend to be much better integrated with the operating system(s) they are designed for, and their superior responsiveness makes them much more suited for handling heavy email loads on a regular basis.
Many email clients make it possible to manage all your emails and contacts from multiple accounts easily in one unified Inbox, and some can even be extended with third-party extensions or integrated with other applications.
7 Best Free Email Clients
These days, there’s no shortage of powerful free email client software applications for all operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Below are seven of our favorite email clients, each offering its own unique set of features and capabilities.
1. Mailbird (Windows)
With its attractive freemium pricing model, elegant design, and support for Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com, iCloud, and other IMAP/POP3 secure email providers, Mailbird has established itself as one of the most praised email clients for Windows. Its features include a unified inbox, app integrations, custom sounds, shortcuts, multi-language support, LinkedIn lookup, email snooze, and much more.
Mailbird recognizes that all email users have different wants and needs by including multiple unique layouts to match your style and the way you work. If you receive just a few emails every day, you can configure Mailbird to show a reading pane in the same window so that you can simply click on an email and see its content right next to it. On the other hand, if you receive a lot of emails—some more important than others—you may appreciate the option to switch off the reading pane so that you can see more unread messages at the same time (learn more about how Mailbird filters work).
You can get Mailbird Pro for a fraction of its full price if you catch one of many deals that are periodically published on Mailbird’s website throughout the year. But even at its full price of €39, Mailbird is well worth it, and we highly recommend it to all Windows users who want more than the Mail app has to offer.
- Modern design
- Many third-party integrations
- Lifetime subscription available
- Isn't available in Microsoft Store
2. Thunderbird (Windows, macOS, Linux, and FreeBSD)
Thunderbird is a free and open-source cross-platform email client developed by the Mozilla Foundation, the people who are behind the Firefox web browser. It was first released in 2004 and nearly killed off in 2015, when Mozilla Executive Chair Mitchell Baker announced in a company-wide memo that Thunderbird development needs to be uncoupled from Firefox. But Thunderbird is still here, loaded with great features and available in 59 languages.
Thunderbird is one of only a few email clients that support addons and themes alike, making it very easy to customize it whichever way you’d like. For example, the Lighting addon allows you to organize your schedule and life's important events in a calendar that's fully integrated with your Thunderbird email, and the Enigmail addon adds support for OpenPGP message encryption and authentication. Thunderbird is available on all major operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and macOS.
- Free and open source
- Lets you add an unlimited number of email accounts
- Works on many different operating systems
- Bloated and slow
3. Postbox (Windows and macOS)
Even though Postbox is a commercial email client for Windows and Mac email client, we’ve decided to include it on this list anyway because you can download a free trial version from its website to see how it works without paying a single dollar. “Clean” is the word that perhaps best describes Postbox and its approach to email management. The application is clearly laid out and logically divided into several sections.
Postbox allows you to filter messages in real time, organize by tags or contacts, or send large files as links to Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and various other cloud storage services. This modern email client even comes with a large selection of pre-canned snippets of text, images, and blocks of HTML, all of which you can insert into your emails with just a few keystrokes and customize them as you see fit.
- Modern user interface
- Quick filtering
- Good management of attachments
- Poor customer support
4. eM Client (Windows and macOS)
Intended for power users who receive a lot of email messages on a daily basis, eM Client is a feature-packed email client for Windows and macOS. It works with all major email services and can be deployed from the cloud with server settings pre-configured thanks to its support for the MSI package format, which is one reason why so many businesses swear by it. If you're already using a different email client, such as Microsoft Outlook or Thunderbird, you can import most data with a few clicks instead of having to manually set everything up from the ground up.
By default, eM Client is divided into four sections, but you can customize it however you want. Especially worth mentioning is the right sidebar, which brings you quick contextual information to boost your productivity and save you time. It can display everything from contact details to email history to your agenda, making the information available at a glance.
eM Client has been developed to effortlessly handle large inboxes, and the superfast search feature makes it clearly evident. Whereas many other email client software applications make you wait a long time before displaying search results, eM Client is nearly instantaneous.
- Simple setup
- Powerful features
- Automated deployment
- The free version lets you manage only two email accounts
5. Mailspring (Windows, macOS, and Linux)
If you're looking for an easy-to-use free email client that runs on all major operating systems, Mailspring is a fantastic option because it has everything you need to efficiently manage your email messages across multiple inboxes.
Mailspring's features include touch and gesture support, advanced shortcuts, fast search functionality, unified inbox, themes and layouts, built-in spellcheck, and translations into dozens of languages. Despite offering so many features, it runs great even on slower computers thanks to its C++ sync engine, which has been designed to perform as efficiently as possible.
Heavy email users should consider paying for Mailspring Pro because it comes with multiple useful features that are not included in the free version. For example, Mailspring Pro can automatically retrieve information from social media and the web about unknown contacts, and it can track how your contacts engage with the emails you send them. Just know that Mailspring Pro is relatively expensive compared with other best email clients, costing $8 a month.
- Runs on all major operating systems
- Packed with useful features
- Elegantly designed unified inbox
- Expensive subscription
6. Airmail (macOS and iOS)
The users of Apple products have a thing for beautiful apps that make powerful features accessible to anyone. In our opinion, Airmail is the best email client for macOS and iOS because it looks and feels like it were developed by Apple. That’s also one reason why it was awarded the prestigious Apple Design Award for outstanding design and innovation.
Just like all other email client software applications featured in this article, Airmail lets its users add as many email accounts as they like, and it supports both IMAP and POP3. Regardless of how many email accounts you have, you can see all your email messages at once with the unified inbox feature. Airmail can even automatically filter out newsletters and other distractions, so you quickly process important emails instead of first having to go through dozens and dozens of junk messages.
Not too long ago, Airmail received a lot of criticism from its users for suddenly switching to a subscription-based model. One Airmail developers said that the change was made due to “increasing backend service expenses,” and he explained that the base app still has all core features. Fortunately, the two available subscription options are affordable ($2.99 monthly or $9.99 yearly), which means that Airmail remains the best Mac email client available.
- Works on both macOS and iOS
- Looks and feels like a true Apple app
- Polished user experience
- Seamless multi-account support
- Suddenly switched to a subscription model
- Sometimes places design over function
7. Microsoft Outlook (Windows and macOS)
Microsoft Outlook isn't technically free (Microsoft offers a 1-month free trial for home and business users), but many users can use it without paying for it because it's included in Office 365, a line of subscription services offered by Microsoft as part of the Microsoft Office product line. If you're a student, your school most likely has a partnership with Microsoft thanks to which you can sign up for Office 365 Education for free.
It's true that Microsoft Outlook doesn't have the most modern design, but it lets you work efficiently with email, calendar, contacts, tasks, and more from one place, and that's the most important thing. Its enterprise-grade security features make it suitable even for enterprise users who have to meet strict compliance requirements and protect confidential information from hackers and other malicious third parties. You can use Microsoft Outlook on both Windows and macOS, and there's also a version for mobile devices and the web.
- Polished mobile and web apps
- Comprehensive features
- Great integration with other Microsoft products
- Not as intuitive and modern as other email clients
- Can feel sluggish even on a modern computer
How Clean Email Can Add Value to Email Management?
As useful as email clients are when it comes to day-to-day email management, using them to organize a bloated inbox full of spam emails is a painful experience. Regardless of which email client and service you use, you can make your life much easier by allowing Clean Email to automatically organize your inbox for you and achieve Zero Inbox.
While Clean Email isn't an email client, it is a sleek and easy to use email management tool with powerful filters and clever algorithms that can group emails together based on set parameters without opening them.
Clean Email also boasts Auto Clean feature that makes it possible to apply various actions to incoming emails automatically, so you’re left only with the most important emails.
The Unsubscriber feature makes sure that newsletters and unwanted subscriptions will not show up in your inbox.
Getting started with Clean Email could hardly be any easier. You simply sign in with your email account and let the app take care of the rest for you. It is available on Mac, iOS, Android, and web. The app uses a very simple pricing structure, and its cost is negligible considering how much time it can save you.
We hope that this article has helped you find an email client that suits your needs and allows you to be more productive. With a great email client and a capable inbox cleaner such as Clean Email, email can once again be the useful communication tool it was before spam made it difficult to use.
- Gmail: Best Free Email Service overall. (Image credit: Google) ...
- Outlook: Best for Windows and Office users. (Image credit: Microsoft) ...
- Proton: Best for anonymity. (Image credit: Proton Technologies) ...
- 4. Yahoo Mail: Great for spam filter options. ...
- iCloud: Best for Apple users. ...
- Mail.com: The best for personalized addresses.
Here are the best Gmail alternative email services: ProtonMail. Outlook. Yahoo! Mail.Which email client will work with Gmail after 30th May 2022? ›
It looks like you can still use Outlook etc. but you have to create an "app password" through your Google account for it. You'd then put this app password in your Outlook settings instead, and it will keep working past 30 May 2022.
- Zoho Mail.
- ProtonMail. ProtonMail was founded in 2014 at the CERN research facility by Andy Yen, Jason Stockman, and Wei Sun. ...
- Hushmail. ...
- Tutanota. ...
- CounterMail. ...
- Mailfence. ...
- Librem Mail.
Depending on your needs, both Gmail and Google Workspace can be appropriate Outlook alternatives. While Gmail is usually used as an email service, you can also use it as an email client for multiple email accounts, including non-Google addresses.What can I use in place of Outlook? ›
- Apple Mail. Apple Mail — more commonly referred to as just “Mail” — is Apple's native email client. ...
- eM Client. ...
- Evolution. ...
- Gmail. ...
- Mailbird. ...
- Postbox. ...
- Spark. ...
Reviewers felt that Microsoft Outlook meets the needs of their business better than Mailbird. When comparing quality of ongoing product support, reviewers felt that Microsoft Outlook is the preferred option. For feature updates and roadmaps, our reviewers preferred the direction of Mailbird over Microsoft Outlook.Will Thunderbird work with Gmail after May 2022? ›
Google has announced that after May 30, 2022 third-party apps that log into google with account name and password (which I assume includes Thunderbird) will no longer be able to do so, as they will enable 2-step verification.
Because MS Outlook 2003 has some security issues, Google has for years required the “Access to less secure apps” option to be turned on in order to use Outlook 2003 with a Gmail account. However, Google has announced that this option will be removed at the end of May, 2022.
Google advises that gmail will not work in Outlook 2016 after 30 May 2022.
- Zoho Mail.
- Proton Mail.
Today, Outlook.com is arguably the best email alternative to Gmail for people who want virtually unlimited storage space, seamless integrations with other accounts, and all the productivity tools one might need to stay organized and on top of all tasks.What is the most secure free email provider 2022? ›
ProtonMail is the most well-known secure email provider. It's open source, based in Switzerland, and provides end-to-end asymmetric encryption. You can use ProtonMail for free if you're sending fewer than 150 messages per day and don't need a lot of storage.
- Read our full SecureMyEmail review. (Image credit: ProtonMail) ...
- Read our full ProtonMail review. (Image credit: Mailbox.org) ...
- Read our full Mailbox.org review. (Image credit: Zoho) ...
- Read our full Zoho Mail review. (Image credit: Posteo) ...
- Read our full Posteo review.
Generally speaking, ProtonMail is more secure, while Gmail is more flexible. As we'll see in our quick comparison, Gmail's flexibility makes it a great choice for using other Google services (such as Docs). Similarly, ProtonMail's security is invaluable when sending sensitive data.
Proton Mail is a service provided by Proton AG, an employee-owned company based in Switzerland. Proton was founded in 2014 by a team of scientists who met at CERN (the European Center for Nuclear Research).Can ProtonMail be traced? ›
What can be traced. As part of their service, ProtonMail does temporarily log some metadata such as IP addresses. This could potentially be used to identify you, or at least where you live. Subject lines of emails, as well as the recipient and sender addresses, are not encrypted during transmission.
ProtonMail - Secure email provider with the best price and privacy ratio. Startmail – Best email for desktop-only users. Tutanota - Best secure email for any device. Zoho Mail - Part of the best B2B security product suite.
Gmail and Outlook are the two heavyweights of the email world. Worldwide, Gmail has 1.5 billion users and Outlook has 400 million users. The next most popular email service, Yahoo Mail has over 200 million users.
Microsoft is working on a new unified Outlook client for Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems. The new client will replace the existing Outlook client with a new and updated user-interface. Microsoft is working on a new unified Outlook client for Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems.Does Google have an email client? ›
A Gmail client is an email client specifically for Gmail users. You likely already use at least one Gmail client — if you use IMAP to read your Gmail messages via the email app on your Android, iPhone, or other mobile device, you're already using a Gmail client.
Outlook.com is a free email service for your personal email.Is Thunderbird better than Outlook? ›
Outlook is better for retrieving email from a POP3, IMAP, or Exchange server. Thunderbird is better for spam filters and firewalls. Outlook is part of the Microsoft Office suite and is more popular than Thunderbird. It has more features, including support for contact management and calendars.
Is Mailbird free? Unfortunately, no. You can download and use a free version of Mailbird, but it has some feature-related restrictions. You can also access a 3-day trial of the business version of Mailbird.Is Thunderbird better than Mailbird? ›
Mailbird has a clean, modern interface with minimal distractions. Thunderbird has a more dated, busy interface with easy access to advanced features. Both apps allow you to customize their appearance using themes and offer a dark mode. Thunderbird includes more customization options than Mailbird.
The first version of the Mailbird email software was created in January 2012 by Danish co-founders and serial entrepreneurs Michael Olsen and Michael Bodekaer, inspired by the lightweight Sparrow email client for OS X as an alternative to other existing email clients.Which is better Mailbird or eM client? ›
Winner: Tie. eM Client offers good integration with Google, iCloud and generic CalDAV calendars, but is limited on the Tasks front. Mailbird doesn't support CalDAV or iCloud, but offers a wide range of task management options through the add-on feature.
- ProtonMail. ProtonMail is the most well-known secure email provider. ...
- Mailbox.org. Mailbox.org is a secure email service aimed at business users looking for an alternative to Google or Microsoft tools. ...
- HubSpot. ...
- Zoho Mail. ...
- Tutanota. ...
- Posteo. ...
- Thexyz. ...
The best free email accounts, like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook, offer users reliable and easy-to-use features. You can also go with more niche free email account services, like ProtonMail.
- #1 Informational Emails. Informational emails are not very long and generally, they do not require any action by the subscriber. ...
- #2 Educational Emails. ...
- #3 Lead Nurturing Emails. ...
- #4 Promotional Emails.
- Gmail: Best for Offline Accessibility.
- AOL: Best for Interface Organization.
- Outlook: Best for Multiple App Integrations.
- Yahoo! Mail: Best for Lots of Storage.
- iCloud Mail: Best for IMAP.
- Mozilla Thunderbird: Best for Managing Multiple Accounts.
Generally speaking, ProtonMail is more secure, while Gmail is more flexible. As we'll see in our quick comparison, Gmail's flexibility makes it a great choice for using other Google services (such as Docs). Similarly, ProtonMail's security is invaluable when sending sensitive data.Which mail account is best? ›
- Gmail. Gmail is the most used and popular email service provider with over 1.2 billion users all around the world. ...
- Outlook. Outlook was initially founded as Hotmail by Microsoft. ...
- AOL Mail. ...
- 4. Yahoo Mail. ...
- iCloud Mail. ...
- ProtonMail. ...
- Zoho Mail. ...
- Yandex Mail.
If you are wondering whether your Gmail account is secure from hackers, then the answer is yes, but only to a certain extent. Gmail is encrypted with TLS, Transport Layer Security, while transferring your data and it protects your emails at rest with industry-standard 128-bit encryption.Who is ProtonMail owned by? ›
Proton Mail is a service provided by Proton AG, an employee-owned company based in Switzerland. Proton was founded in 2014 by a team of scientists who met at CERN (the European Center for Nuclear Research).
“Even though access is limited, an important thing to note is that our core end-to-end encryption holds strong and is 100% untouched. All user data is fine and safe.”Is ProtonMail free? ›
You might well imagine that storing your emails in a heavily guarded bunker under 1,000 meters of granite rock would cost you quite a bit of money. But ProtonMail actually offers a free plan that gives you all these security benefits. The free plan does limit the number of emails you can receive per day.
AOL is ending support for our love.com email addresses. Find out when this will happen and what your options are! AOL is ending support for love.com email addresses. Starting on April 30, 2022, you won't be able to send or receive emails using your love.com email address.
- Newsletter emails.
- Lead nurturing emails.
- Promotional emails.
- Milestone emails.
- Survey emails.
In this lesson, I'll teach you about the three types of emails you should be sending out regularly to your subscribers-- transactional, broadcast and triggered emails. Transactional emails are sent during checkout or any other purchasing action.How many emails should I have? ›
Therefore, for every user, we recommend having at least four different email addresses for all of the resources they access on the internet.
By the start of 2019, there were an estimated 3.8 billion email accounts around the world, a 100 million increase from 2018. Half of the global population uses email.