Why stick with a webmail service or the basic Windows Mail app when you could upgrade your inbox to use quick, free email software? We download and test six of the best free email clients.
Mailspring is everything that email software should be: clean. clutter-free and super-fast. Think of this as an evolution of traditional email software, rather than a revolution. The software’s Windows Mail- and Thunderbird-inspired heritage is nakedly apparent – along the left is a sidebar that lets you jump to folders and options, while the center pane displays your & nails and the right-hand side features a reading pane.
However, in comparison to its older rivals. the look and feel of Mailspring is impressively modern. There’s even a handful of different themes to choose from, including (but not limited to) Dark Mode.
With the free version, you’re able to add up to four email accounts. Unlike other email software, this isn’t Gmail-or-bust territory because there’s support for a wide range of platforms including iCloud, GMX, Outlook, and Yandex.
Mailspring also lets you search your inboxes using Google-style search terms. including ‘in: [folder name]’. ‘from: [email address]’ and ‘before: [date]’. Don’t worry about remembering all the combinations because the options appear in a drop-down menu every time you click the search bar.
One of the best features is the Activity section. found at the foot of the sidebar. Here. you can monitor busy periods. which is particularly useful if you’re trying to limit email usage. You may also get a kick out of monitoring the performance of your &nails. based on the most-opened subject lines, read receipts and tracking links.
Thunderbird has, for a long time, been considered the premiere email client – and with good reason. Mozilla’s open-source software powers up your inbox in a way Windows Mail never could, although it takes a lot of design cues from the original Outlook, which makes it immediately familiar to navigate.
Double-click an email and, rather than opening in a new window, it pops out in a tab, which works in the same way as a browser. This keeps your desktop free when you want to focus on email management. You can expand the Thunderbird experience by installing new themes and add-ons, which bring additional functionality to the software, such as Tabbed Folders, Send Later, and Grammar Checker.
Beyond the basic inbox, Thunderbird also features a calendar and a chat app for more immediate communication. With one click. you can download your email for offline viewing, so you’re not chained to an internet connection.
3. eM Client
In time, it’s possible that eM Client could topple Thunderbird in the email software stakes. One glance at the program and you’ll note the similarities in design and features. including calendar and chat support.
It’s well laid out, too. The clean three-panel window offers plenty of space between messages, so you never feel overwhelmed, even if your inbox is brimming. Below the folder list, there are buttons for Calendar, Tasks and Contacts.
This is a great way to utilize unused space without cluttering up the ribbon or tucking options out of sight behind drop-down menus. To the far right of the screen are tabs showing Contact Details for your current email, Agenda, and Chat.
The ability to connect Gmail. Outlook. Microsoft Exchange and iCloud accounts aren’t as extensive as our award winners. but it’s better than many other offerings. There’s also extensive server support.
Spike is an email client fit for the Facebook age. The inbox itself is spacious and inviting, while navigation is performed via helpfully large icons at the bottom of the screen, including a collaborative Groups setting.
All other actions are performed by clicking the three-dot button in individual emails. which keeps the design uncluttered? Overall, the app reminds us more of an instant messaging app than an email client, but that’s no bad thing.
5. Windows Mail
Windows 10’s default client, Mail, remains a fine choice for basic email services – there’s nothing special about it, nor is there anything that should put you off. Connecting multiple email accounts to the app is easy but it’s a bit old-fashioned. particularly when writing your own emails. You can’t even add a proper HTML signature, which is bizarre.
We wanted to like Twobird a lot more than we did, but it has one fatal flaw: you can only connect to Gmail (for now, at least). Worse still, it wasn’t easy to get the full version running on our PC, although the app (available on Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS) worked perfectly. Like Spike, the tool’s ample space and clean design make it pleasant to use and navigate.