Email is, in many ways, the hub of modern life. Finding the best email app for your needs is key to a having a more manageable and productive digital experience, whether you’re communicating with friends or restoring forgotten passwords. With Google’s recent announcement that it will pull the plug on Inbox by Gmail in March 2019, and both Newton and Astro meeting their makers even sooner, you may be in the market for a replacement.
The best email apps help you manage the most important aspects of your digital life without making them more complicated. Some let you turn your inbox into a to-do list. Others are deeply customizable, giving you greater control. What makes the best email apps different from one another, and which one is right for you?
What Makes a Great Email App?
For this list of the best email apps, we only considered email clients, leaving out email services and email assistant apps. An email client is a piece of software you install on your computer or mobile device to access email, even if that email is hosted by another service. An example is the Mail app that comes pre-installed on iOS devices. By way of the Mail app, you can access a Gmail account and a Yahoo Mail account. Gmail and Yahoo Mail in this case would be email services, which we did not consider for this list of the best email apps. Client apps almost always let you access multiple email accounts, giving you the option to see all your messages in one consolidate view.
We also homed in on email apps for personal use, which nixed from consideration a few apps that tend to be more prominent in the business world, such as Microsoft Outlook (desktop app) and IBM Notes. They both have their place among email aficionados but tend to be more well suited for organizations than individuals.
As mentioned, we did not consider email assistant apps, or services that work within your existing email to make it better in some targeted way. An example is SaneBox, a service that works inside your existing email service to automatically sorts incoming messages (among other things). Another example is Boomerang, which adds new features and tools to Gmail and Outlook that help improve your writing and help you remember when to follow-up on messages. Both these apps are highly capable, but they aren’t clients and so they weren’t considered for this list.
There can be some confusion about email clients and services, however, because some apps cover both ground. Gmail, for instance, is not just an email service but also has a mobile email client app by the same name. The Gmail mobile app lets you read and reply to messages from not only your Gmail account, but also your Yahoo Mail address, Microsoft Office 365 account, and others.
In addition to being email clients, the apps in this list meet other criteria, such as being in a state of full release. In other words, no beta products allowed. (Don’t worry. We have an eye on some of the more interesting email apps in the works, such as Pigeon and Superhuman. But we can’t accurately assess them until they’re fully released.) Ease of use played a major role in our decision-making, as did stability. We also looked for apps that had at least one standout feature or reason for choosing it, which is listed in the “best for” line in each app’s description below. Finally, if you’re in search of an app with a specific feature in mind, see the comparison table at the end of this article.
When it comes to email apps, there’s no reason you can’t choose several to use for different purposes. You might have one app you adore installed on your personal computer, something else for work email, and yet another on your phone. Which ones you choose will depend on how you like to interact with your email and what you do with it. Whatever the case, the best email apps have you covered.
The 15 Best Email Apps
Airmail (iOS, macOS)
Best email app for customizing your inbox
Airmail started out as a simple email app, but over time, it grew with features, and today it’s one of the most powerful email client apps available. Customizable notifications make sure you only get alerts when you receive emails from your most important contacts. Swipe gestures are also customizable. Airmail can help you write faster, with built-in templates for your most-used responses. And, it works with your favorite productivity apps, including Fantastical, Evernote, OmniFocus, Dropbox, and others.
Price: $4.99, $9.99
Edison Mail (Android, iOS)
Best email app for categorizing messages automatically
Edison Mail is a mobile email client app designed to give you assistance with sorting and organizing your email. It can automatically sort incoming messages into appropriate groups, such as messages that contain tracking numbers for shipping, those pertaining to subscriptions, and receipts. An undo-send button gives the app universal appeal, and option to turn off read receipts make Edison even more valuable to people to like to be in control of their email. Don’t confuse this app with the Edison Assistant (formerly called EasilyDo or Smart Assistant by EasilyDo), as the latter is does more to help you organize your life beyond email alone.
eM Client (Windows)
Best email app for merging email, calendar, contacts, tasks
If you’re looking for a powerhouse of an email app for Windows, eM Client is a great option. It not only combines email, calendar, contacts, and tasks in one place, but also supports touch interfaces. While the price for a Pro account may sound a little steep, eM Client offers some functionality that’s rarely found in other email apps, such as language translation. That’s reason enough to choose eM Client if you frequently send and receive messages in multiple languages and aren’t fluent in all of them.
Price: free; $49.95 for Pro
Best email app for team collaboration
Front app lets teams manage a single inbox collaboratively. With Front, you connect shared inboxes, such as catchall addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org, and then anyone with access can answer or assign messages for other people on the team to answer. Front also lets you connect social media accounts, which teams may also tend to collaboratively.
Price: from $15/month per person, minimum 2 people
Gmail Mobile (Android, iOS)
Best email app for searching and organizing messages
While Gmail is the gold standard among webmail services, its mobile app is surprisingly light on features. But that’s not the deciding factor on whether to choose the Gmail app for your phone. The real selling point of this app is how fast and capable it is at searching even the most bloated inboxes. When you use it with a Gmail account (or two; it supports multiple Gmail addresses), you get the same great options for automatically sorting mail into tabs that the service creates for you: Primary, Social, and Updates. With limitless ways to sort mail with filters and labels and exceptional spam filtering, Gmail makes it a breeze to see your most important messages quickly.
Mail and Calendar by Microsoft (Windows; mobile equivalent is Outlook Mobile)
Best email app for keeping email simple
Mail and Calendar by Microsoft is a Windows desktop app that keeps email simple. Formerly called Outlook Express, this app covers the basics of email without adding excessive features. It offers threaded email conversations, notifications, and flags to mark your most important messages, along with Outlook-style calendar integration. It’s also touch-enabled. If you’re a Windows users who prefers to not be distracted by added features, it’s a good option.
Mail by Apple (iOS, macOS)
Best email app for annotating images, signing documents
The Mail app that comes preinstalled on iOS devices and most Macs may seem like a basic email client, but its simplicity belies the powerful tools under the hood. With its Markup tools, you can add annotations to images and sign documents right from your inbox. You can also use Apple’s Mail Drop feature (the same one that works with iCloud) to send extremely large attachments without it eating into your allotted email storage space.
Price: included with Mac and iOS devices
Best email app for increasing productivity with integrations
Mailbird is a Windows email app with a contemporary design. You can personalize your inbox with custom layouts and sidebar themes. It also includes integration options with popular productivity apps, such as Asana, Todoist, Slack, and others. While rich with features, such as the ability to snooze messages until later and automated scrolling for speed readers, some advanced capabilities are restricted to higher tiers of service. For example, an undo send option is only available to Mailbird Business subscribers.
Price: free limited version, $12/year for Pro, $59 for lifetime Pro, $20/month per person for Business
Best email app for composing in markdown
Well suited for those who love plain text and keyboard shortcuts, MailMate lets you jump through your inbox without lifting your fingers from the keyboard. It also supports Markdown formatting and unique views, such as the ability to surface all messages that are similar to the message you’re currently viewing. MailMate is perhaps the best Mac email app for power users who value plain text over features such as snooze and undo send.
Outlook Mobile (Android, iOS)
Best email app for viewing a focused inbox
While the Outlook desktop app is as powerful as it is bloated with features, the Outlook Mobile app offers quite a different experience. When you use it with a Microsoft email account, you can take advantage of its Focused Inbox view, which automatically finds emails that are likely to be important to you and filters out other distracting messages, keeping them in a tab called Other. The Outlook mobile app also has customizable swipe gestures for deleting, archiving, marking as read, flagging, moving, and snoozing messages (the snooze function is actually called “schedule,” but it would be snooze in any other app).
Polymail (iOS, macOS, web)
Best email app for collaborating with a sales team
Polymail’s strong suit is that you can use it collaboratively, especially among sales teams. Create email templates, for example, and you can share them with everyone on a team. For groups that use Salesforce, you can connect the two apps and get information you need from Salesforce while writing messages. Teams can also track email stats together to see how much time everyone spends in their inboxes, or how likely each person is to get a reply. Another great feature is Polymail’s ability to watch and report back when recipients open your messages, and who among them downloads attachments you send. You’ll also notice in the chart below that Polymail is packed with features, everything from the ability to snooze a message until later to an undo send button.
Price: free; paid plans from $13/month
Postbox (macOS, Windows)
Best email app for organizing multiple inboxes
Since its inception as a spin-off of Mozilla’s Thunderbird, Postbox has grown into a powerful app, rich with options for keeping your mail organized. A tabbed interface lets you keep multiple messages open at once. Tags and folders help you categorize and sort mail. Another stellar capability is how Postbox can display a contact info sidebar, letting you dig into the detail about the sender. There’s a lot to explore in this powerful and well designed app.
Spark (iOS, macOS)
Best email app for cutting down time spent in email
Every email doesn’t need a lengthy reply. Sometimes a thumbs-up or crying face is all you need. With Spark, that’s all you have to send, and in the end, that saves you time. After you read an email, tap Quick Reply to send an instant emoji response and archive the message in one step. Spark also saves you time in how it handles calendar invitations. Instead of a standard invite email, Spark shows you a preview of the event in your calendar with Accept and Reject options. This app has a wealth of other features, too, such as undo send, snooze, reminders, and more.
Spike (Android, iOS)
Best email app for making email more like messaging
If you prefer text messaging or team chat to email, Spike (formerly Hop) is worth a try. This email client for Android and iOS devices turns message threads into chat-like conversations, so your emails look less like a verbose expanse of text and more like what you see in iMessage or WhatsApp, with GIFs, voice memos, one-tap image sharing, and everything else you’d expect in a chat app. And similar to team chat apps, Spike lets you create channels for organizing conversations around a certain topic. Spike works best when you use it to message with other people who are also using it, too.
Thunderbird (Linux, macOS, Windows)
Best email app for working in tabs
From the makers of Firefox comes an email application that copies one of the best features of web browsers: tabs. Thunderbird isn’t the only email client to use a tabbed interface, but it is one of the best. When you quit the app, Thunderbird saves your open tabs and reloads them the next time you launch it. An extensive collection of add-ons let you expand what Thunderbird can do.
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