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Best email client on Windows 2021

Windows 10 main screen with start menu and settings folder
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Although the digital world is changing rapidly, email remains one of the primary communication methods for businesses across the planet. Email apps are available for virtually any operating system, and many programs also have versatile web interfaces. 

But selecting the best email provider for your business can be very difficult, especially if you don’t have experience or comprehensive knowledge in the field. Every single program comes with its own feature list and target audience, and in many cases, there are various subscription tiers and options available. 

It’s worth noting that many email clients are 100% free, forever. However, these also tend to be quite simple, lacking advanced features and the functionality of higher-end paid alternatives. Some clients focus on security, others prioritize ease of use, and still others aim to provide a rich feature list for a customizable experience. 

In our search for the best email client on Windows, we’ve tested countless programs, focusing on those with a downloadable app. In this guide, we analyze our top 10 choices, looking at security, prices, subscription levels, ease of use, and any other standout features that you might find useful. 

Microsoft Outlook's homepage

Outlook is our top all-around Windows email client (Image credit: Microsoft)

1. Microsoft Outlook

Best overall email client for Windows

Free plan: No | Web app: Yes | Desktop app: Yes

Integrated calendar, contacts, and other features
Excellent desktop and web apps
User-friendly Windows interface
No free plan available
Resource intensive at times

Microsoft Outlook has been a leader in the world of email since its inception in the 1990s, and it continues to provide exceptional service to this day. Notable features include integrations with a powerful calendar, advanced search functionality, and a neat task manager to help you organize your life. 

Unfortunately, the Windows version of Outlook is only available with a paid Microsoft 365 subscription. Business plans start from $8.25 per user a month with an annual subscription, and there’s also a one-month free trial available. Along with Outlook, these provide access to various other Microsoft apps and services. Note, though, that you can access the Outlook web app for free at any time. 

One thing that stands out about Microsoft Outlook is its versatility. It’s extremely easy to customize the appearance of your inbox, and powerful mail filtering options are available. 

On top of this, Outlook comes with one of the most impressive feature lists we’ve seen. Recent additions include an AI-based sorting algorithm, automatic payment tools, and the MyAnalytics data analysis add-on. 

There are also apps available for Android and iOS mobile devices, enabling you to access and manage your emails on the go. 

MailBird's homepage

Mailbird is a great option for those who work with numerous third-party apps (Image credit: Mailbird)

2. Mailbird

Powerful app integrations with numerous platforms

Free plan: No | Web app: No | Desktop app: Yes

Impressive app integrations
In-app web browser
Highly customizable user interface
Limited email filtering options
Search options are quite poor

If you’re looking for a high-quality, reliable email client that’s designed to work with third-party apps, Mailbird could be the right choice. Featuring integrations with various calendar, task, messaging, and other apps including WhatsApp, Google Docs, Slack, and Dropbox, this platform is designed to help you streamline everyday workflows. 

On top of this, Mailbird is designed to work with virtually any email account provider. It also supports unlimited accounts, which means you will be able to have all of your emails in one place. 

Unfortunately, there’s no free-forever version, although there is a limited free trial, so you can test the platform. Prices start from $3.25 per month for a Personal plan, or $4.92 per month for a Business subscription. Alternatively, sign up for a lifetime Personal license for a one-time fee of just $79. 

eM Client's homepage

eM Client boasts a suite of advanced features (Image credit: eM Client)

3. eM Client

An excellent choice for advanced features

Free plan: Yes | Web app: No | Desktop app: Yes

Excellent free-forever plan
Impressive suite of advanced features
Fast, straightforward setup
Free version is limited to two accounts
Doesn’t always update automatically

eM Client is a versatile Windows email client that’s designed to boost productivity through a suite of advanced features. There is a free version, which supports email, task-management, and calendar tools. However, this is constrained by the two-account connection limit and the inability to access many features. 

Upgrading to a Pro account unlocks unlimited email connections and an array of additional tools. One-time license fees start from $49.95 for a single user, with volume discounts available for those who need multiple licenses. 

With the Pro version, you can also migrate data from another email client with the click of a button, and all data will be automatically backed up at regular intervals. 

Additionally, eM Client features a suite of customization tools so that you can personalize your inbox. Change the layout, color scheme, and more to ensure you have a workspace that you’re comfortable with. 

Hiri's homepage

Hiri is designed specifically for Microsoft-based email accounts (Image credit: Hiri)

4. Hiri

An excellent option for Microsoft email services

Free plan: No | Web app: No | Desktop app: Yes

Excellent productivity tools
Various subscription options available
Designed to help you save time
Won’t work with all email accounts
No mobile apps available

If you use a Microsoft email service, such as Hotmail or Outlook, Hiri could be the perfect option for your needs. It focuses on making ongoing email management fast and straightforward, with a suite of time-saving tools designed to put you back in control of your inbox. 

For example, the smart dashboard presents information about your account in one simple place. Discover how many unread messages you have, whether any of them need a priority reply, and whether there are any other actions you need to take. 

You will also benefit from the cleverly designed Compose window, which only includes the base options you will need to write a new message. With this, you won’t get bogged down by unnecessary formatting or editing tools. 

Lifetime licenses are available for just $119 per user, or you can pay annually for $39 per year. There is also a neat seven-day free trial available, so that you can test the platform before paying for full access.

Inky's homepage

Inky is designed to improve email security via various anti-phishing integrations (Image credit: Inky)

5. Inky

A focus on anti-phishing features

Free plan: No | Web app: N/A | Desktop app: N/A

Excellent anti-phishing technology
Designed to secure your organization
Powerful machine learning technology
No native email client
Lack of pricing information

Inky isn’t a Windows email client as such, but it’s gained a place on this list due to its excellent security features and industry-leading anti-phishing tools. Basically, this tool can be integrated with any other client you use, such as Outlook or Mailbird. 

When you receive a new email, Inky will analyze it to ensure it doesn’t contain potentially dangerous phishing links. It’s extremely powerful, with the ability to identify links that would look genuine to the majority of users. The software is based on a powerful machine learning algorithm, which means that it will continue to adapt to new threats over time.

If a suspicious email is detected, you will receive an immediate notification in the form of a banner across the top of the message in question. You will still be able to click the “suspicious” link if you want to, but we’d highly recommend not doing so. 

Unfortunately, pricing information isn’t available on the company website. However, a free demo is available, and prices are developed on a case-by-case basis. 

Claws Mail's homepage

Claws Mail is an open-source email client designed for a streamlined email experience (Image credit: Claws Mail)

6. Claws Mail

Powerful open-source email software

Free plan: Yes | Web app: No | Desktop app: Yes

Free, open-source mail client
Numerous free plugins available
Excellent mail filtering tools
Setup can be difficult for some providers
Can be a little confusing for beginners

Claws Mail is an advanced open-source email client designed for Linux users, but it also comes with a Windows port that enables it to be used with Windows devices. It’s an excellent option for those who are looking for a streamlined, responsive email client, although it can be a little difficult to set up and confusing for new users.  

One thing that stands out about Claws Mail is the fact that it’s 100% free, forever. As an open-source project, anyone can access the client and all of its features without paying a cent. 

On top of this, countless extra features can be added via the array of available plugins. For example, you could integrate an antivirus plugin for extra security, a calendar to manage your work, or even add a custom theme from the numerous designs available via the platform website. 

The main downside is that automatic setup isn’t available for some email accounts, but this shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you’re willing to spend a little time to familiarize yourself with the platform. 

Spike's homepage

Spike is a unique, social-centric email client for Windows (Image credit: Spike)

7. Spike

The social email client

Free plan: Yes | Web app: Yes | Desktop app: Yes

Fully functional free plan
Excellent team-management tools
Very user-friendly platform
Storage and file upload limits
Few self-help resources

Spike combines the power of more traditional Windows email clients with the ease of use of social apps such as WhatsApp. Rather than using a traditional email layout, it turns emails into attractive chat conversations, streamlining workflows and making communication easier than ever. 

Basically, the platform is designed to remove any unimportant information from your email thread. Things such as repeated headers, threads, signatures, and other non-essential info are hidden, enabling you to focus on the important parts of your email messages. 

On top of this, there’s an attractive free plan that includes virtually everything you need for basic email communication. Business plans start at $6 per month per account, and Enterprise options are available for those who need a large number of accounts. 

All paid accounts come with unlimited message history and priority support - and you will have access to note, task, and calendar tools to streamline other aspects of your daily life. Note, though, that you will be constrained by file upload size and storage limits. 

Thunderbird's homepage

Thunderbird is a free email client from Mozilla (Image credit: Thunderbird)

8. Thunderbird

A free Windows email client from Mozilla

Free plan: Yes | Web app: No | Desktop app: Yes

Excellent customization options available
Plugins can be installed for extra security
100% free, forever
Have to install extensions for some features
Easy to misconfigure your account

Thunderbird is a free Windows email client from Mozilla. With a great range of impressive features and inbox customization tools, there’s a lot to like here. 

For one, Thunderbird stores a copy of your emails on your computer, which means that you can restore accidentally deleted or lost files. On top of this, it’s possible to connect various calendar apps, along with an RSS reader and various other extensions. 

Downloading and installing Thunderbird is very straightforward. You will have a fully functional email client from the beginning, but it’s also possible to personalize your inbox to ensure you have the appearance and tools you need. 

In addition, Thunderbird comes with a suite of security and privacy tools. Benefit from built-in features such as remote content blocking and do not track protocols, and rest assured that your private information is as secure as can be expected. 

TouchMail's app homepage

TouchMail is an excellent choice for touch screen devices (Image credit: TouchMail)

9. TouchMail

An excellent option for touchscreen devices

Free plan: No | Web app: No | Desktop app: Yes

Optimized for touchscreen devices
Very competitively priced
Attractive, intuitive user interface
Only available for Windows
Account limits can be an issue

If you use a Windows touchscreen device, TouchMail could be the perfect option. It has a very neat, block-based layout that’s designed for those using Windows tablets, but it works equally well on normal laptops or desktop computers as well. 

One of the best things about TouchMail is its highly customizable user interface. Personalize the appearance of your email client by changing color schemes, resizing elements, and changing the way your emails are presented. 

On top of this, TouchMail lets you color-code messages by sender or type of email. Delete large numbers of spammy or unwanted emails at the click of a button (or tap of a screen), and ensure you don’t miss important mail with customizable notifications. 

TouchMail is available for purchase through the Microsoft App Store. Usually, it’s priced at a competitive $29.99 for a one-time license - but at the time of writing, a 50% discount was available. 

Postbox's homepage

Postbox is an excellent option for busy professionals (Image credit: Postbox)

10. Postbox

The email client for busy professionals

Free plan: No | Web app: No | Desktop app: Yes

Streamlined integrations with numerous apps
Excellent 30-day free trial
Impressive range of advanced features
No mobile apps available
Customer support could be better

Postbox is an attractive, feature-rich email client available for both Windows and macOS users. It’s designed for those who are looking for a streamlined, time-saving client to help them optimize their daily workflows. In particular, Postbox is targeted at busy professionals across a range of industries, with features to help users organize and stay on top of their mail. 

The sheer number of advanced features available here is truly impressive. For example, Postbox supports integrations with a suite of third-party apps, including Slack, MailChimp, Evernote, Dropbox, and more.

There are also numerous security tools to help you protect your email, including tracking prevention, end-to-end OpenPGP encryption, and Google Safe Browsing to reduce the risk of phishing. In turn, Postbox is compatible with any POP or IMAP email account, including Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and numerous others. 

A 30-day obligation-free trial is available for those who want to test the program before committing to a purchase. Lifetime licenses start from $39 per user, with volume discounts available for those who need numerous licenses.