Email clients come in all shapes and sizes, but when it comes to the options available on the Mac, we feel that Airmail is the best email client for most people. It’s easy to use, supports a number of different email providers, has a solid search function, and more.
- Supports Gmail, Google Apps, iCloud, Exchange, IMAP, POP3, and local accounts
- Unlimited email accounts with a unified inbox
- Gmail keyboard shortcuts, global shortcuts, and custom shortcuts
- Adjustable interface with multiple themes, modes, and layout options
- Global search, filters, advanced token search, and a preview mode
- Integration with Omnifocus, Fantastical, Trello, Asana, Evernote, Reminders, Calendar, BusyCal, Things, 2To, Wunderlist, and Todoist
- Large contact photos for most contacts
- Support for Gmail Primary Inbox
- Support for folders, colors, Gmail labels, flags, and more
- Attachment support for integration with Dropbox, Google Drive, Droplr, and CloudApp
- Customizable notifications
- VIP support with sender-specific notifications
- Quick replies
- Send later options
- Customizable menus, gestures, and shortcuts
- Today extension and handoff support
- iCloud syncing with iPhone app
- Folders and labels for organization
- Search filters, flags, and message sorting
- AppleScript support
- Muting and blocking features
- Task-based sorting with options to send emails to memos, done, or to-dos
- Support for Markdown, rich text, HTML, and plain text
Where It Excels
Airmail’s biggest strength is the variety of ways you can customize it. Part of that comes from the fact that Airmail is updated pretty frequently, which means that not only does it regularly get new features, it’s also always up to date with the most modern iterations of macOS. Over the course of its life, those updates have added in features like snoozing, VIP mailbox, and plenty of other modern email features.
The ways that you can customize Airmail are pretty in-depth. You can alter what’s on your sidebar, what emails you’re notified about, how emails are displayed, how long a “snooze” is, how gestures work, where you save files, and tons more. Airmail also integrates with a bunch of third-party services, so if you use one of the supported to-do apps or notes apps as part of your email workflow then it’s pretty easy to integrate that into Airmail.
Airmail is basically a power-user email app for people who don’t want to go “full power-user” with something like Outlook. It’s great for the niche of people who need an advanced email client on their Mac and who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty customizing it.
Where It Falls Short
At $10, Airmail is a bit of an investment and while it’s well worth the cost if you use all is features, not everyone needs a ton of features to begin with. While Airmail is very customizable, it’s not great out of the box, which means you’ll want to spend a 10-15 minutes playing around with various settings, options, and other things to tweak it to suit your needs. If you use email a lot for work, this isn’t a huge deal, but if you’re a casual user who just want to send and receive some mail then Airmail is overkill.
Apple Mail is probably the most obvious competition here. The packed-in email client is… fine. It works on a fundamental level, but since it’s only updated when Apple updates its entire operating system, it’s pretty devoid of modern features. If you just check and reply to emails, it does the job though.
Spark(Free) is easily the best alternative to Airmail for people who don’t need as many of the advanced features that come packed into it. Spark has a lot of the modern razzle-dazzle of Airmail without the clutter. It has smart inbox sorting, iCloud syncing with the free mobile app, email snoozing, and quick replies. The free part might seem like its main strength, but it gives me pause because it’s unclear what the business model is, and therefore hard to tell what will happen to the app in the future. We’ve seen far too many abandoned email apps over the years to trust any free app moving forward, even if it is run by a company with a whole productivity suite. Still, it’s a great alternative to Airmail and free to check out if you’re curious.
Postbox ($40) is another great competitor. Like Airmail, Postbox excels in search options and additional powerful features you won’t find in most other mail clients. For example, you get message summary mode, sorting by type/subject of email (called the Focus Pane), add-ons, easy archiving of messages, and more. It’s a little clunky to actually use though, and Postbox doesn’t feel as at home in macOS as Airmail does. While you can check out a trial of Postbox for free, it’s a tough sell at $40 unless you really enjoy it.
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