Microsoft Outlook is a versatile email application that’s exploited by both individual users and businesses starting from small offices and finishing by international corporations. The only drawback of this top-rated program is a pretty high price. But that doesn’t mean there are no options anymore: depending on your requirements, you can find a worthy substitute: we’ve prepared the list of top free alternatives to Microsoft Outlook.
What users love about this platform is that it can be easily customized: users can rearrange panes and fields and choose one of a number of various themes from minimalistic and clean look to Outlook-like appearance. If none of the inbuilt themes pleases you, you can download some of the third-party themes.
While looking good, eM client has one important email feature: it supports all popular email services (Exchange, Gmail, iCloud, and Outlook). Data and contact import are very quick and problem-free, and there’s also a handy search function: you can easily find necessary messages if your email box is full.
All that goes with calendar and contacts managers, so eM client can fully replace Outlook. While its free version already includes many essential features, you can order a £29.95 Pro edition for commercial use. It allows registering multiple email accounts and uses professional technical support – there’s also community support for free users, so you won’t stay without pieces of advice.
- the free version has a pretty wide functionality;
- fast and convenient search;
- customizable interface.
- Pro edition must be bough to get technical support;
- a large number of advanced features may be confusing for some users;
- when there’s trouble connecting to services, shows many notifications;
Generally, it’s a fully-fledged email app that’s easy in use and can be easily integrated with any email account.
Mailbird is a top-rated email client that’s highly recommended by many users and experts due to its excellent speed and convenient interface. Just like Thunderbird, it can be customized with the help of numerous apps that can be found in the online store. But the platform is already great by default: until recently, Mailbird didn’t support POP-based email providers, but now this problem is fixed in the latest versions. The free version comes with ads, but they are displayed in the menu bars only – it’s not attached to your outgoing emails, so it’s not a big deal.
- fast and responsive;
- slick and convenient interface;
- can be customized with the help of the app store.
- advertisements in the free version;
- keyboard shortcuts cannot be disabled or changed;
- some bugs should be fixed.
Windows Live Mail
Windows Live Mail allows managing most email accounts and is easily integrated with all other components of Windows Live set (Photo gallery, Calendar, etc.). Unfortunately, WLM doesn’t possess some of the Outlook functions like tagging and smart folders, which is why it’s slightly inferior in terms of efficiency. Besides, there are no templates, and exporting messaged from other programs is challenging because WLM uses its own file format. Therefore, if you’re exporting from one instance of WLM to another, it’s easy, but not so convenient when you’re moving to another email client. Anyway, if you need a simple and quick email manager, this program is ideal.
- Simple navigation and convenient interface;
- Compatible with all Live accounts;
- well-organized quick search.
- doesn’t have smart folders;
- doesn’t support labels or tags;
- has its own file extension.
Its functionality depends on the version of Windows you run, but all of the patches are compatible with Windows’ Calendars and People applications, which allows for a quick access to your appointments and contacts. The interface is intuitive and simple on all versions, and creating an account is a two-click affair: you need to select the type of account and sign in using your email address and password.
There’s one drawback, though: older versions of mail cannot work with POP-based email accounts. However, this is a pretty rarely used format (if you don’t know which type of account you possess, feel free to contact your email provider). Yet, it’s a good reason to upgrade to Windows 10.
- intuitive navigation;
- comprehensible interface;
- after the release of Windows 8, Microsoft provides Mail in the operating system for free.
- relatively poor functionality;
- compatible with Windows, though latest versions still have some bugs;
- doesn’t support POP email accounts in older versions.
This is one of the most well-known alternatives to Outlook – the program that was specifically created to replace Microsoft’s solution. Thunderbird is different from the above-mentioned applications because it has advanced security and privacy options and can be perfect for businesses that need the top-notch protection of corporate data and individuals concerned about their sensitive information. Thunderbird’s functionality is also enhanced with numerous add-ons and customization options: there’s an online store with a wide scope of free themes and extensions that allow tailoring the program to your requirements and preferences.
- a bunch of advanced features;
- numerous themes and add-ons for fully-fledged customization;
- emails from other clients can be imported without problems.
- configuring can be a bit challenging;
- too many options for average users;
- the default interface isn’t appealing.
Although Inky is a newcomer, it has been received very well. Besides, unlike many other similar programs, it is very attractive. Besides, users love its functionality: it supports both IMAP and POP email clients, compatible with other email providers, and can even synchronize your settings and data from one PC to another with the help of Inky username and password.
More advanced users can deploy various filters for organizing emails (some of them are very specific, like Maps, that separates emails with a postal address with them) – that allows getting rid of junk and email you don’t need. What business users may not like is the fact that Inky doesn’t support Exchange email accounts. Probably, this issue will be solved soon.
Another disadvantage that should be mentioned is that after a 14-day free trial, Inky doesn’t charge users of three most popular email providers (Outlook, iCloud, Gmail), while users of all other services will need to pay $5 per month. Therefore, it’s not a totally free alternative to Outlook.
- work with both POP and IMAP;
- comes with an auto-setup;
- attractive interface.
- doesn’t feature Exchange support;
- fewer features than Outlook has;
- some filters are too complicated.
Webmail is not an application – it’s a website that allows you accessing your emails, no matter what you use (a free service like Gmail, or a privately hosted account). What makes this service superb is that it doesn’t require any specific software: you just need to select the correct website and sign in with your email address and password. Therefore, you can get access to your email from any computer in the world and enjoy exactly the same service as you’d when logging in from home. Webmail is the fastest way to access your email, so you should definitely give it a try before experimenting with such platforms as Outlook and so on.
- easy navigation;
- allows for access from any PC or smartphone;
- most providers are free
- you have to log in every time;
- features differ from provider to provider;
- some functions like contact manager and calendars aren’t always as good as in desktop software.
Apparently, the choice of email programs is wide! Not all users need advanced apps: basic users can easily go with a simple client like Inky and Windows Live Mail. Advanced users and business developers can opt for eM Client, Mailbird, and Thunderbird. No matter what you select, these programs are free – isn’t it a reason to give them a try?