Five Best Email Clients

Email as a technology has been around for decades, and thanks to wide spread adoption and popularity, it isn't in danger of disappearing. Check out the five most popular email clients to help you wrangle your email.

Outlook (Windows, around $300 for Office Standard Suite)

Outlook has been around since the 1990s, and by virtue of being part of the Microsoft Office suite and having been entrenched in the business environment, it enjoys an enormous popularity. Even if many people use Outlook because it's the email client provided—and often required!—by their place of employment, that doesn't mean it can't stand on its own merits. Integration with Windows Desktop Search gives you the ability to quickly search through your entire Outlook workflow, and Outlook can handle everything from your email to your calendar and easily transfer tasks, contacts and more between the two.

Apple Mail (Mac, Free)

Apple's Mail application, also known as Mail.app or simpy Mail, unsurprisingly continues the tradition of Apple applications following the "it just works" method of design. Mail allows you to collect all your email from across the web and various email servers in one place, and it actively engages your email as you read it. For example, if you get an email with an invitation to a meeting next Thursday, Mail will detect it and make it simple to kick that appointment right over to iCal. Like the integration between Windows Desktop Search and Outlook, Mail is integrated with Spotlight to make deep massaging your messages easy.

Thunderbird (Windows/Mac/Linux, Free)

Thunderbird is an open-source offering from Mozilla—the company behind the beloved open-source browser Firefox. Thunderbird is a solid email application that sports the same extensibility of its code-sibling Firefox. Many readers voted for not just Thunderbird but Thunderbird with the addition of Lightning, a Thunderbird extension that adds scheduling and task management functionality to Thunderbird. If you're interested in using Thunderbird you'll definitely want to check out our guide to making Thunderbird your ultimate online/offline messaging hub, and you may also want to consider packing Thunderbird Portable away on your thumb drive for anywhere-access to your email.

Gmail (Web-based, Free)

Google has had quite a hit on their hands with Gmail, their extremely popular web-based email client. Not only do you get a feature-packed email account when you sign up for Gmail—you also get an email client that's is very adept at pulling in email from other services and organizing it with a robust system of filters and tags. You can check out how to manage multiple inboxes here if you'd like to use Gmail as a central hub for managing all your email. Many of the features in Gmail aren't necessarily revolutionary—like the ability to filter messages, flag, or label them—but the featurs are implemented in such a way that makes them effortless to use. And, surprising as it may seem, its much-loved threaded conversations are still relatively unique to Gmail.

Postbox (Windows/Mac, $US39.95)

Postbox is a stand-alone email client for Windows and Mac operating systems. Postbox is based on Mozilla-code, so the Postbox team has been able to tweak quite a few Thunderbird extensions, including Lightning, to work with Postbox. In addition to its extensibility, Postbox's default interface is powerful. The app includes features like the ability to search and compose simultaneously. You can look up an email address, search for a previous attachment, and check an old email for information all in the sidebar while working on your current email. Postbox also provides email summaries as you read through and search your email, showing you not just the sender and subject line but the attachments and any important information inside the email like addresses, appointments, and URLs.

Have a tip or trick for your favourite email client? Can't believe your favourite didn't make the cut? Let's hear about it in the comments.


Comments

    Opera that comes with M2.

    I agree, opera mail is so convenient, it deserves to be more popular.

    Surprised you ignored mention of Yahoo Mail and MS Live Mail (the old Hotmail). I don't use either, but between the two of them, they account for approx 2/3 of all non-business email users.

    I myself use Google Apps and supplement that with Thunderbird IMAP for my GA email.

    And of course Outlook at work... goes without saying really :-)

      @Tim

      I'd say Yahoo and Hotmail aren't mentioned as its a 'five best email clients' list. I have accounts for both, but never use them, and get them shunted to my Google Apps account anyway.

      Their market share though I'd say is to do with their early penetration of the market, and the popularity of Yahoo and MSN IMs. Most people I've introduced to gmail have been more than happy to migrate, once they discover it (discover being the key word).

        I've enjoyed RLIT's 'The Bat' some time ago, it was clunky looking but it's one of the best ways (similar to Thunderbird) to link in multiple accounts into the one client. I think the options for BCC and CC and the choice of which SMTP server (I think I got that right) are better for 'The Bat' than with Outlook, Thunderbird or Outlook Express.

    GMX

    fastmail is missing here,
    and trash-mail, even if thats not really a client

    I came from a regular ISP e-mail service with which I was was quite happy to gmail on reccommendation but I have found it very confusing and unpredictable and so much more time consuming. Does anyone else have negative experiences with gmail? For the time being I'm sticking with gmail to see if I can work it out. In the end I may have to go back to my old comfortable ISP.

    I have used The Bat! for about 8 years. It's had it's glitches but is extremely powerful and although I've tested out some other clients nothing has persuaded me to move... except I'm now a Linux Mint fan and The Bat is not availabee for Linux.

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