Top 15 Best Email Clients Comparison 2020 (Free & Paid)

Monday, November 2, 2020
Michael Zunenshine
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Introduction

We’ve all heard of Gmail. Some of the older ones probably remember Hotmail too. But chances are you don’t use those in a professional setting.

Microsoft Outlook had dominated the scene of business email providers. But no more. Now there are loads of good email clients. To get the skinny on the best email clients, both paid and free, check out this super roundup.  

 

 

Best email clients comparison chart (top 10 highest rated)

 

Product

Best for

Pricing (starts at*)

Site

Microsoft Outlook

Best email client for Windows 10

$5 per user per month billed annually with Office 365

Visit

Mozilla Thunderbird

Best alternative to Gmail

Free

Visit

eM Client

Best email client for Windows & Mac

$49.95 per device

Visit

Mailbird

Top email client for multiple accounts

$1.63 per month

Visit

Airmail

Top email client for iPhone

$2.99 per month

Visit

Spike

Good desktop email client

$4 per account per month billed annually

Visit

Hiri

Good email client for Mac

$39 per year

Visit

Mailspring

Good free email client

$8 per month

Visit

INKY

Top email app to block phishing 

Contact vendor

Visit

Spark

Good email app for team collaboration

$6.39 per user per month billed annually

Visit

*Not including free versions

 

What is an email client?

An email client is a more robust email app than your average Gmail or Hotmail.

Firstly, an email client lets you host your email data on your own computer, as well as on the cloud sometimes. This is opposed to webmail which hosts everything on a server. That’s why client-based emails are better for business purposes: You have better access and protection over your work emails.

Secondly, email clients let you sync multiple email accounts into one UX. You can bring in your Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo accounts and use them all in one unified inbox. 

There are a lot of great features when it comes to the functionality of email clients. These go beyond showing which emails have been read, and which are still unread.

The best email client solutions do the following:

  • Send later lets you write an email and schedule it to be sent at another time

  • Smart inboxes in email clients can identify important emails

  • Read receipts show you when someone has opened your email

  • Email templates let you save and reuse emails

  • Attachment management lets you store and retrieve attachments

  • Snooze buttons help you avoid email distractions for a period of time

  • Encryption is often more robust with special email clients, using tech like PGP

  • Phishing or other suspicious emails get flagged by email clients 

  • Calendar tools let you create events directly from an email invitation

  • Contact tools let you create or edit a contact directly from an email

  • Collaboration tools let you share emails with colleagues and work as a team

These are just some of the great features you can expect with the best email apps.

 

What are the best email clients? Here’s our top 15 list:

Now that you’ve learned a thing or two about email solutions, it’s time to explore your options. This list of the best email clients covers both paid and free versions. We highlight their strong suits and list off their best features. Read on to find your perfect email client fit.

 

Microsoft Outlook (Best email client for Windows 10)

Forget Gmail. When it comes to email servers at the office, Microsoft Outlook is probably the best known name in email services. It first came out with Microsoft Office 97.

Microsoft Outlook combines email and calendar tools in one place. It identifies emails that are “focused.” These are important emails. You can easily create calendar events or tasks directly from the email dashboard. Outlook has good enterprise-end encryption. There’s also ransomware detection. Microsoft Outlook integrates mainly with other Microsoft products like Office and cloud storage app OneDrive. Outlook comes with mobile apps for iOS and Android.

There is a free version of Outlook. Premium versions come with Office 365. Personal plans go for $69.99 for one user, $99.99 for up to 6 users, both per year. Business plans are $5, $12.50 and $20 per user per month billed annually.

Microsoft Outlook is best for:

  • SMBs

  • Large businesses

  • Enterprise

  • Calendar

  • Microsoft 365 integrations

  • Windows users

Visit Microsoft Outlook 

 

Mozilla Thunderbird (Best alternative to Gmail)

Thunderbird is the email product of Mozilla. Like all of Mozilla’s apps, Thunderbird is free and open source. Its latest version came out in September 2020.

Mozilla Thunderbird is a free and easy to use email app. Anyone can set it up and use it like a pro in minutes. There are many customization options for the Thunderbird dashboard with add-ons. These include extensions, plugins for more features, and themes for different looks. For security, it offers do-not-track and phishing protection. There’s also an add-on for PGP encryption. You also get calendar and to-do tools. One-click address book makes it easy to add new contacts. Attachment reminders make sure you don’t forget to add mentioned files. Finally if you have multiple email accounts, Thunderbird helps keep them organized with smart folders.   

Thunderbird is totally free. So are the many add-ons by Mozilla and other companies.

Thunderbird is best for:

  • Free users

  • Startups

  • SMBs

  • Customization

  • Multiple email accounts

  • Ease of use

Visit Thunderbird 

 

eM Client (Best email client for Windows & Mac)

eM Client Inc. is a software company out of the Czech Republic. It got off the ground in 2017. It’s flagship app is the email client of the same name.

eM Client works in over 20 languages. It runs on the operating systems of Microsoft Windows and macOS.  It supports the major email technologies. These include POP3, SMTP, IMAP, and more. You can encrypt your messages with PGP for added security. eM Client lets you watch for replies and gets you read receipts. You get access to email templates. There is an attachment manager. You can schedule emails to send later. eM Client includes modules for calendars, task management and contact management. You can also do messaging through eM Client.

There’s a free version of eM Client for 2 email accounts. The pro versions start $49.95 per device. 

eM Client is best for:

  • Startups

  • SMBs

  • Templates

  • Messaging

  • End encryption

  • Translation

Visit eM Client 

 

Mailbird (Top email client for multiple accounts)

The folks behind Mailbird call themselves a “A Brilliant Team of Email Innovation Nerds.” That should inspire confidence that they are serious about great email.

Mailbird operates on Windows. It specializes in handling multiple email accounts. You can sync from other email accounts into a unified inbox. The dashboard is clean and pleasing to the eye. Figuring out Mailbird’s features is intuitive. You can customize the look with color themes and layouts.  Other Mailbird features include speed reader, snooze buttons, and attachment searching. Mailbird excels at integrating with other useful tools. These include Twitter, Whatsapp, Facebook, Evernote, and more. It also works with Google Drive and Calendar, Dropbox and Slack.

Mailbird Personal is only $1.63 per month, $19.50 per year, or a one-time payment of $39.50. Mailbird Business is $2.88 per month or $34.50 per year.

Mailbird is best for:

  • One person business

  • Startups 

  • SMBs

  • Unified inbox

  • Multiple accounts

  • Integrations

  • Windows users

Visit Mailbird 

 

Airmail (Top email client for iPhone)

Airmail is the email client by the Italian software development Bloop SRL. They design apps for macOS and iOS. Airmail is Bloop’s main product.

Airmail works exclusively within the Apple ecosystem. It runs on iPhone, iPad and Mac computers. The design is native to each device. Apple has often praised Airmail’s cool look. The platform can respond to Siri. It syncs multiple accounts from the likes of Gmail, iCloud Mail, Office 365, Microsoft Outlook, IMAP and POP3. It lets you manage them all in one unified inbox. A smart inbox sorts out the important emails for you. You get snooze tools and send later tools. Airmail lets you set up workflow rules to automate your email management. There is a privacy mode to work offline. It also prevents pixel tracking. The iOS versions use FaceID and TouchID for extra security. Airmail even works on Apple Watches.    

You can download Airmail and use many features for free. Airmail Pro is $2.99 per month or $9.99 per year. Airmail Business is a single purchase of $49.99  

Airmail is best for:

  • Single users

  • One person business

  • Small teams

  • iOS devices

  • iPhone users

  • Unified inbox

Visit Airmail

 

Spike (Good desktop email client)

Spike is an Israeli company. It got off the ground in 2017. 

You can best use Spike on your desktop with a web browser. It also works on other devices. They have apps for iOS, Android, Windows and macOS. The Spike approach is called conversational email. It removes things like subject lines and signatures to make the email thread easier to follow. The inbox highlights important emails. Spike also has a note app that’s good for collaboration. You can also chat in a sidebar in real-time. Group chats with team members work too. There are scheduler and to-do tools. Spike uses email encryption to keep your stuff safe.

Spike offers a free version. The pro plan is $4 and the Business plan is $6, both per account per month billed annually. Contact them for Enterprise prices. 

Product name is best for:

  • Freelancers

  • Startups

  • SMBs

  • Group chat

  • To-dos

Visit Spike

 

Hiri (Good email client for Mac)

Hiri is an Irish email client. It was first released in 2012.

Hiri is an email app for Mac. It puts simplicity first. Aside from email it does calendars, to-do lists and contacts. Hiri also puts a lot of attention to its design details. This includes features to remove clutter. Hiri syncs all calendar events from Office 365 and Exchange. You can share your calendars too. Hiri has an offline mode for added privacy. You also get reminders and snooze tools. 

Hiri costs $39 per year or $119 for life.  

Hiri is best for:

  • Startups

  • SMBs

  • Large businesses

  • Shared calendars

  • Mac users

  • Design

Visit Hiri

 

Mailspring (Good free email client)

Mailspring forked off from the mail client Nylas Mail. It’s open-source and built with a native C++ sync engine.

Mailspring works with macOS, Windows and Linux. It lets you use multiple IMAP & Office 365 accounts. It’s got a lot of the basic email features. These include undo send and read receipts. There’s also snooze and reminders. The dashboard is customizable with layouts and themes. Mailspring does real-time translation with English, Spanish, Russian, simplified Chinese, French, and German. There’s an RSVP feature that lets you instantly respond to email invites. Your contact list in Mailspring has profiles with Linkedin bios, social media links and company information.  

Mailspring has a free version. The pro version is $8 per month.  

Mailspring is best for:

  • Freelancers

  • Startups 

  • SMBs

  • Translation

  • Contacts

Visit Mailspring 

 

INKY (Top email app to block phishing)

INKY is an email app that is foremost about protection from phishing and other fraud. It uses AI and machine learning to do this.

INKY blocks malware, spam and phishing. Its detection is more robust than average email clients. Warnings on emails range from safe, unusual and malicious. You get visibility and email tracking into the blocked emails. It also guides you if you want to examine the suspicious email closer. You can report any suspicious email with one click. INKY’s platform is hosted in the cloud. It supports Office365, Exchange and G Suite. This email security app scales up to companies of any size.  

You can request a demo from INKY’s website. For prices contact them as well.

INKY is best for:

  • Small businesses

  • Large businesses

  • Enterprise

  • Email security

  • Phishing detection

  • Spam and malware detection

Visit INKY 

 

Spark (Good email app for team collaboration)

Spark was made by Ukranian app development company Readdle. They launched Spark back in 2015.

Spark has mobile apps for iPhones and Androids. There’s a desktop version for macOS and one for Windows is on its way. It syncs email accounts from Outlook, iCloud, Google, Yahoo, Exchange and IMAP. The intelligent inbox sorts out important emails. You can also pin important emails. There is a batch email action feature. You can also get notifications when emails come from people you know. You can work with team members with Spark. It lets you write drafts together or add private notes. Team leaders can delegate emails tasks from the email inbox. It lets you set deadlines and track progress. There’s the usual send later, follow-up reminders, snooze and customizable signatures. 

Spark has a free version. The best team collaboration tools are in the Premium plan at $6.39 per user per month billed annually. Contact Spark for enterprise plans. 

Spark is best for:

  • Startups 

  • SMBs

  • Large businesses

  • Managers

  • Team collaboration

  • Task management

Visit Spark 

 

Postbox

Postbox was first released in 2007. The brains behind this desktop email client came out of the Mozilla team. It was originally based on Thunderbird.

Postbox positions itself as a professional email app. The UX is very straightforward and familiar. It syncs accounts from Yahoo, Gmail, iCloud, Office 365, Outlook, and more. The dashboard lets you see your emails in tabs. Email tools let you group your accounts. You can create favorite folders. There is advanced searching and filtering. Postbox also offers file and image management. Pre-canned responses, professional-looking signatures and pre-formatted clips are also available. There’s also an HTML code editor. Postbox uses PGP encryption.

Postbox offers one-year licenses for $29. A lifetime license is $49 (though subject to change).

Postbox is best for:

  • Freelancers

  • Startups 

  • SMBs

  • Desktop email client

  • Tabbed browsing

Visit Postbox 

 

Superhuman

The reviews are very mixed about Superhuman Email. Some love it, others are underwhelmed. Still this email app is worth mentioning.

Superhuman tries to reinvent a lot of email UX. The design is very streamlined and sleek. Superhuman also puts speed as the top selling point. They claim every action takes less than 100 milliseconds. It uses powerful AI in the email tirage stage. This sorts the important emails from the lesser ones. You get an undo send option. There’s also follow-ups, reminders and send later tools. Read statuses and read receipts are also part of the toolset. Superhuman gathers insights on your contacts from LinkedIn and other social media. 

While there is no pricing listed on the website, other reviewers have noted that Superhuman costs $30 per month.

Superhuman is best for:

  • SMBs

  • Large businesses

  • Fast emailing

  • AI triage

Visit Superhuman 

 

ProtonMail

ProtonMail is the creation of Swiss scientists who met while working at CERN. That’s some big brains behind this email client.

ProtonMail is an email platform with full end-to-end encryption email. Security is a big deal with ProtonMail, Swiss-style. New accounts are made without needing to use personal information. It doesn’t store any IP logs. You can use ProtonMail with a web browser, or on iOS and Android devices. ProtonMail is open-source and simple to use. The interface has the look and feel as any normal email app. 

ProtonMail offers a free version. The Plus version is good for one person at $5 per month. The Pro version is $8 per user per month, and the Visionary version is $30 per month for 6 users.

ProtonMail is best for:

  • Individuals

  • Freelancers

  • Startups 

  • SMBs

  • End to end encryption

  • Email privacy

Visit ProtonMail 

 

Zimbra

Zimbra was developed by Synacor. That’s a technology company out of Buffalo, NY. Synacor launched Zimbra in 2005.

Zimbra is collaboration software. A big part of it is the email server. The idea is to combine email with other teamwork tools. These include live chatting, 1:1 messaging and group chats. There’s also video conferencing, file sharing and screen sharing. There are tools for real-time collaboration on documents. For emailing, you can sync up Gmail, Yahoo, IMAP and POP. The platform works on Windows, macOS and Linux. You can create tags for emails. Email threads are displayed on multiple tabs. You also get undo send, restore email and scheduled delivery. Calendar and contact management are also available.

For prices contact Zimbra through their website.

Zimbra is best for:

  • Teams

  • Startups 

  • SMBs

  • Collaboration

  • File sharing

Visit Zimbra 

 

Shift

Shift hails from Victoria, Canada. The people behind Shift have a goal to make work both more productive and more fun. 

The Shift approach is to help you manage multiple workflows. You can create custom workspaces inside Shift and invite people to collaborate. Shift is a desktop email client that lets you sync up many email accounts into a unified inbox. It integrates G Suite apps, as well as Slack and Facebook Messenger. You can add extensions to Shift. These include things like Grammarly, Dropbox, HubSpot and Zoom. The overall idea is to create Shift Workspaces and add all your web apps to the UX. It can replace basic web browsing.

The basic Shift plan is free. The Advanced and Team plans are $99.99 per year.

Shift is best for:

  • Individuals

  • Freelancers

  • Startups

  • SMBs

  • Extensions

Visit Shift 

 

Key takeaways

To sum it all up, you’ve got no more excuses to stick with basic Gmail or Hotmail. Sure Outlook is a decent choice for Windows users. But we hope you’ve discovered some other good email client solutions. 

 

FAQs

What is the difference between webmail and email client?

An email client runs off your own computer, and you can also back up your emails in the cloud. This is opposed to webmail which hosts everything on a server. Email clients are more common for business purposes, while webmail is more for personal use.

What is client-based email?

Client-based email is email software downloaded to your computer. It also stores your email archives on your own computer. You can back up your emails in cloud storage. Client-based emails have more features than simple webmail, and are often premium products.

 
 
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