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The Windows Email Apps That Truly Deliver

It's time to send a message with the best email clients around.

Apps in this Guide

In a world where Gmail seems to dominate on home computers and mobile devices, and Outlook is the default for business, how much room is there for competitive email clients? Well, if you don't wantmore

In a world where Gmail seems to dominate on home computers and mobile devices, and Outlook is the default for business, how much room is there for competitive email clients? Well, if you don't want to pay $70 a year to get the version of Microsoft Office that includes Outlook (or buy Outlook 2016 separately for $110), you can find several very respectable alternatives for much less, or even for free. Let's show you what they are.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use an email client instead of Gmail or other webmail?
Unless you're accessing IMAP mail, an email client will download all of your messages to your computer. This allows you to read and compose messages offline, make easy backups, and use encryption for extra privacy and security. And Gmail or Outlook may lack something that you need, such as email templates or integration with other apps, that a dedicated email client may provide.
Doesn't Windows have a decent built-in email app already?
Microsoft does not offer a pre-installed email client in Windows 7 or 8. The separately downloadable "Windows Essentials" app package that includes an email client has been discontinued. Windows 10 users get a built-in Mail app, but it's pretty basic and doesn't get updated very often.

Recommended Windows email apps

Best webmail integration: eM Client

Best webmail integration: eM Client

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eM Client has a streamlined look and integrates very easily with popular webmail services like Gmail and Outlook.com. And underneath that streamlining is a comprehensive set of features similar to Thunderbird's. The free version of eM supports up to two email accounts. For more, you'll need to get the Pro version for $49.95 (buy once, no subscription). You have a 30-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind.

Best free email software: Mozilla Thunderbird

Best free email software: Mozilla Thunderbird

Mozilla's Firefox web browser gets most of the attention, but its email client is actually one of the best around, and it's also free. The packed feature list includes integrated Facebook Chat, an RSS reader, built-in web searches, a tabbed interface, an Activity Manager to help figure out email transmission issues, add-on support, optional encrypted mail, and a high quality spam/junk mail filter.

Best integrated RSS reader: Opera Mail

Best integrated RSS reader: Opera Mail

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a way to receive an article on a webpage as though it were an email message. RSS readers provide an inbox with subject lines, authors, and chronological ordering. RSS also doesn't display ads, though you usually have to click through to the website to get the rest of the content. Of the integrated RSS readers that we tried, we liked Opera's the most; you can pin RSS messages, quickly change how they are displayed, and view them full-screen with a double-click. The rest of the free Opera email client is also very good, enough to give Thunderbird a run for its money.