Email Spam Checkers - What are They and When Should you use Them?

Spike Team
By Spike Team, Updated on June 10, 2024, 8 min read
Spam email


Spam is the bane of modern existence – it can clog up inboxes, cause companies to lose business, and waste time. From a recipient’s perspective, it can range from annoying to a serious productivity killer. For senders, however, the consequences can be much more severe.
This is where you bring in the mighty email spam checker, which can be used to screen outgoing messages to avoid spam filters, which will keep your business from wasting time and money.

But before you run out and start using any old email spam test, we’ve compiled a list of the best email spam checkers, what you should be looking for in a spam checker, and a little bonus tool for keeping your own inbox clutter-free.



How to Make Sure Your Email Doesn’t End Up in Spam

  1. Use a double opt-in process for subscribing to your email list.

  2. Keep the number of bounced and unsubscribed emails low.

  3. Use a professional email address and domain name.

  4. Avoid using spam trigger words and phrases.

  5. Use a reputable email service provider.

  6. Set up SPF and DKIM authentication for your domain.

  7. Use a consistent “From” name and address.

  8. Include a clear and prominent unsubscribe link.

  9. Avoid sending emails with large attachments or too many images.

  10. Keep your email list clean by regularly removing inactive or invalid addresses.


What is Email Spam?

Everyone has come across spam at some point in their online lives. In the early days, most people weren’t prepared for such attacks, and success rates for spammers was most likely quite a bit higher. However, today’s savvy email users are well versed in even the most sophisticated spam messages, and despite new threats popping up on a regular basis, the internet’s speed and reach are able to keep everyone informed as to the latest scams.

The definition of spam, according to Merriam-Webster is:

“Unsolicited usually commercial messages (such as e-mails, text messages, or Internet postings) sent to a large number of recipients or posted in a large number of places.”


However, there’s also a clear distinction between spam and junk mail, despite the two being closely related. Put simply, junk mail are those harmless yet annoying newsletters or (genuine) marketing emails that clog up your inbox. Spam, on the other hand, usually has more insidious motives, generally setting a trap either through catfishing, impersonation of a company or organization, or by luring users with offers that are too good to be true.

It’s also useful to split spam into two separate categories: spam email that attempts to steal your data through phishing, and spam email that infects your computer with malware or ransomware. Both can be devastating to individuals and companies alike, and through a combination of lost productivity, technical expenses in protecting against the threat, and the damages caused by any successful spam attack, costs can run into the millions. Studies show that 83% of all emails are spam.



The Problem – Email Spam

Email remains one of the most dominant forms of communication between businesses and their customers, and if, as a business, your emails are being filtered out as spam, you’re throwing money down the drain. What’s more, if it keeps happening, your mail provider can penalize your accounts or even ban you from sending emails altogether.


This could result in small businesses losing access to one of the most lucrative forms of online marketing out there, which means fewer sales and bad business.


However, we can’t blame the spam filters, as they’re doing an essential job. Spam that gets delivered significantly impacts worker productivity, resulting in wasted time and shifted focus. Therefore, we want inbox spam filters to be as robust as possible and our business emails to reach our intended audience without issue.


How can you do this? Use an email spam checker!



The Solution – Email Spam Checker

Email spam checkers are online tools that allow businesses to analyze and assess an email before it is sent to customers. They are generally used for mass emails, such as marketing emails to mailing lists.


Spam checkers flag technical issues as well as content, then show you how your email would be dealt with by email providers and ways to improve it, often with a score.


Generally speaking, they will look at four main areas: 

  1. IP/ Domain

    If your email server has been flagged for spam multiple times, then it might be blocked. This is why services such as Mailchimp are so cautious about spam reports, as they don’t want their shared server’s IPs marked as spam.

  2. Authentication

    Checkers will look for three main tools that are used to prevent email phishing and spoofing (where a spam email pretends to be from another domain). These are domain keys identified mails (DKIM); Sender Policy Framework (SPF); and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC).

  3. Checks Against Spam Assassin

    Apache SpamAssassin is a powerful open-source anti-spam platform that gives a good indication of whether your email will be filtered out.

  4. Content

    Good email spam checkers will also look at content for things like spammy words, too many hyperlinks, odd attachments, file sizes, and more.

The Benefits of Using a Spam Checker for Emails

The main benefit of using a spam checker for emails is having the information and advice to ensure your email gets where you want it to go. Rather than spending time, energy, and money on an email campaign with no chance of generating ROI, you can make your emails work for you.


Knowing what you’ve done wrong, as well as what’s going right, allows you to adjust and edit emails to increase deliveries, opens, and clicks, enabling you to get your businesses in front of the right people.



How to Choose the Best Spam Checker for You

The best email spam checker for you depends on your individual needs, but there are a few general qualities to consider when selecting an email spam checker.

  • Price

    One of the most important things to look for when evaluating spam checkers is the price/performance ratio. More expensive doesn’t always mean better, as there are plenty of options out there that offer free versions and affordable plans.

  • Features

    The four features mentioned above should be sought out in any email checker you look into, but some will come with additional features such as bulk sending or more comprehensive feedback.

  • Effectiveness

    Last but not least is the scanner’s effectiveness. Check out what other businesses of your size have said online to see if the tool could be the right fit for you. Shop around until you find one that suits your needs.


The Best Email Spam Checkers

To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of three popular options to test your email for spam:



1. Mail Tester



Mail Tester is incredibly powerful and super simple to use. It verifies your authentication details (DKIM, SPF, and DMARC), ensures your domain and IP address aren’t flagged, runs everything through SpamAssassin, and then delivers a simple score from 1 to 10 (as well as a pretty picture).


They offer a simple and free-to-use web version if you only occasionally need to check emails. Still, to integrate Mail Tester into your application or to process many tests, they offer a credit service starting at 50€ (about $57 at the time of writing).



2. Litmus



Unlike Mail Tester, Litmus is a complete email marketing package that provides tools for each step of the email marketing cycle. Litmus Spam Testing offers authentication checks, IP and Domain blocklist filters, tests against popular spam filters (such as Microsoft Exchange and Spam Assassin), and more.


Litmus then provides advice to troubleshoot problems and suggests improvements you can apply to email campaigns to avoid spam filters in the future. However, these tools do come at a cost, with pre-send spam testing only included in LITMUS PLUS and above, which starts at $127 per month paid annually.



3. ISnotSPAM



ISnotSPAM will look very familiar if you’ve already explored Mail Tester and offers free email spam checks. It completes the following checks:

  • SPF Check

  • Sender-ID Check

  • DomainKeys Check

  • DKIM Check

  • SpamAssassin Check

It will then deliver your results with a surprising amount of actionable advice. ISnotSPAM is rather clunky, however, and in need of an update and overhaul.



But What About Your Spam?



We’ve talked about how to avoid your company’s emails ending up in spam, but what can you do about all the useless junk that’s slipping through the cracks and landing in your inbox’s filter, and clogging up your day?


Well, get a better inbox! Spike offers the powerful Priority Email Inbox, which prioritizes your most important mail and sends everything else to the “Other” inbox for when you have time to deal with it.


This means messages such as receipts from online shopping, social media notifications, and promotional offers – basically, everything that isn’t really spam but still clutters up your inbox – get separated out so you can focus on what’s important.

Dealing with Spam Email

Delete. Delete. Delete. And definitely do not open any attachments or follow any links! Those are the very simple rules when it comes to stopping spam email from either damaging your computer or stealing your data. However, recognizing unwanted emails and spam is the first step of the process, and alongside a decent spam filter, you should stay on your toes whenever you’re dealing with unsolicited messages. To put you on the right track, here are a few sensible tips for identifying spam mail:

  • Always be wary of any email you receive from someone you don’t know.

  • Check the subject line and message for typos, bad syntax, strange formatting and characters

  • Double-check URLs and email addresses, sophisticated spammers can appropriate familiar company names.

  • Be suspicious of emails asking for login details or personal information.

  • Check online for the latest spam email scams.

Today, savvy internet users are more likely to see spam as an inconvenient nuisance rather than a real danger, however, the huge expenses that are associated with the problem, alongside the growing sophistication of spam email also ensure that a threat remains. Staying alert to those threats is the best way to stop spam mail, however, ensuring your email client is up to the task is also important.

Email Spam Checker – Conclusion

If you’re regularly sending out email campaigns to customers, an email spam checker is a must-have to ensure your messages are getting where they need to go. However, even if you’re only occasionally sending email campaigns and focusing more on individual messages, it can be valuable to run random checks on a free spam checker to ensure you’re authenticated.


Spike’s modern approach to email ensures you’re always secure, and Priority Inbox helps you easily identify spam email by sending everything suspicious to your “Other” inbox. Here, you can scan subject lines and message previews and instantly delete suspicious emails without ever opening them. You can also use the “Block” feature and stop receiving messages from certain emails entirely.
Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.

Spike Team
Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.

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