Microsoft Outlook is the undisputed king of email clients. It has a great reputation and it has a ton of excellent features for the home and business users. Most people will never use all of the features of Outlook and you would need to invest a great deal of time learning about everything that is on offer.
One of the reasons that Outlook is so popular is because it is part of the infamous Microsoft Office suite. Due to the popularity of Microsoft Office, Outlook has become the standard email client for many. But what if you don’t have Microsoft Office and don’t fancy paying around $110 for Outlook?
A lot of people believe that email clients are a waste of time and that everyone should use web-based email. I disagree with this and believe that email clients can do a lot more than web apps and can help you with your overall organization.
So I set myself the task of finding out what other email clients were available as good Outlook alternatives. I knew about a few of them but it was interesting to find and use others that I’d never heard of before. So I am delighted to bring you these 8 great Outlook alternatives.
1. Mailbird – Free version and Pro version for $45
Mailbird is a fairly new Outlook alternative. I found some very good features in Mailbird and one of the best things about it is that it integrates easily with other apps for productivity such as Evernote, Google Docs and Google Calendar.
Another good feature of Mailbird is that you can message your contacts on Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook or send them an email from within the email client. I really liked the clean interface with Mailbird and found it a pleasure to use.
Mailbird is one of the easiest email clients to use of those that I tested. You can customize it and it will work with POP3 and IMAP accounts. There are some very good features in the paid version which has a reasonable price tag of $45.
2. Mozilla Thunderbird – Free
If you want a free and stable Outlook alternative then look no further than Thunderbird. The security of Thunderbird is very good and as a business user this will be important for you. I discovered some great features when playing around with Thunderbird and there were some that even Outlook doesn’t have!
If I am honest it is not the best-looking email client that I’ve used and configuring it was a bit of a challenge. On the plus side, there are a lot of different themes and add ons for Thunderbird that you can take a look at. It is easy to customize Thunderbird as you want it.
I was able to import from several different email clients and I liked the number of features that Thunderbird offers. This is a great free email client that will do most of the things that users are looking for.
3. eM Client – Free version and $19.95 per user for commercial use
A lot of people consider eM Client to be a really good Outlook alternative so I was excited to give it a try. My first impression was good as I liked the modern design of the interface. It is a customizable email client and I downloaded different themes to make it look even better.
eM Client can be used on Mac and Windows computers and it supports all of the major email clients such as Outlook and Gmail. The contacts manager and calendar are just as good as those featured in Outlook and I liked using them.
The free version of eM Client has most of the features that email client users want. If you want to use eM Client for your business then you will need to pay $19.95 for each user license. You do get more features and support for this.
4. Opera Mail – Free
Initially, Opera Mail was always included in the Opera browser but now it is available as a separate email client application for Windows and Mac so it is another Outlook alternative. After playing around with Opera Mail for a while I concluded that it was a simpler email client than some of the others and the interface was basic but intuitive.
It was fairly easy to set up both POP3 and IMAP accounts on Opera Mail. If you are looking for an email client that you can highly customize then Opera Mail isn’t it. I was disappointed with the few personalization options available.
The structure of Opera Mail is nice and clear and it is easy to use. It doesn’t support Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption for emails and having used the web-based version of Opera Mail in the past I found this client version less intuitive.
5. Inky – Pricing plans not published
If you are looking for greater security with an email client then Inky is a viable Outlook alternative. It uses cutting edge computer vision algorithms and machine learning to counter phishing attacks which can be very costly for a business.
I used the demo of Inky and found that it was pretty easy to use and it was certainly good to know that the technology behind it was able to scan all emails for attempts at phishing. If Inky finds a phishing email it will quarantine it and disable any links. Inky is best for businesses that want full email protection.
One of the things that I really didn’t like was that there was no pricing information available on their website. What I was able to find out is that the company charges on a subscription basis for every mailbox and that there are discounts to be had for larger volumes.
6. Touch Mail – $29.99 (discounts are often available)
Touch Mail is an email client from Microsoft that is only available for Windows 10 users. Despite this, I see it as another possible Outlook alternative. The main aim of Touch Mail is to simplify emails and I found that it does this pretty well with its color-coded emails feature.
One of the best features of Touch Mail is that you can add multiple email accounts to it easily. I found the interface to be very user-friendly and it looked pretty good as well. You can see all of your daily emails in one place and they are color-coded based on the sender. I was able to specify who my top senders were so that they would display prominently.
Touch Mail is “touch-friendly” but you cannot use it on Android or iOS devices. I had a good experience using Touch Mail and I liked a lot of the features it offered. But if you don’t use Windows 10 then it isn’t an option.
7. Evolution – Free
A lot of Linux users favor Evolution and it is also available for Mac and Windows so it is certainly an Outlook alternative. It is not just an email client but a fully-fledged groupware program too. When I tried Evolution I found that it offered most of the essential features that Outlook does and it performs pretty well overall.
With Evolution, I was able to set up both POP3 and IMAP accounts without too much hassle. It has some good features such as task management, contacts, meeting scheduler and memo taker. It supports PGP encryption which is better than some of the other email clients.
Another good feature of Evolution is its adaptive filter for junk email. It is smarter than most junk email filters that toss anything and everything into the folder. There are no message templates and I found that searching for messages was a pretty slow process.
8. Sea Monkey – Free
There is a good email client in the Sea Monkey suite which I consider to be a useful Outlook alternative. Sea Monkey is a lot more than just an email client. There is a web browser and an HTML editor among other things. Sea Monkey will work on Windows, Mac and Linux computers although it can be tough to find versions for Mac and Linux.
The email client in Sea Monkey has a useful feature where you add your instructions to organize the emails that you receive. There are other cool features such as visual highlighting and flexible sorting which I liked. The user interface was OK but I felt that it looked a bit outdated.
I was able to add several different email accounts and I could also customize the spam filter to work the way I wanted it. The receipt confirmation feature is useful and I would say that the Sea Monkey email client does a pretty good job for free.
Which Outlook Alternative should you go for?
I have to say that I really enjoyed testing these Outlook alternative email clients. Of the free options, I would recommend Thunderbird as it has a lot of great features and I found it to be really stable and reliable.
If you want a business solution and are concerned about security then the cloud supported Inky email client could be a good option to prevent phishing. I certainly didn’t like the fact that they were not upfront about their pricing though.
The free version of Mailbird offers a lot and I like the fact that it’s so easy to use and there are lots of customization options. My least favorite of these Outlook alternatives was Opera Mail. It just didn’t feel intuitive to use and it lacked the features of some of the others.