Email remains the go-to method of communication for individuals and businesses around the world. It’s easy to set up, reliable and secure, and it’s readily available to anyone, anywhere. Today, despite rumors to the contrary, email is more popular than ever, and its open source foundation means you can use it in a variety of ways depending on your needs. In short, email is democratic in a way that other forms of communication rarely are.
However, efficient and intuitive email management is where things get complicated. In fact, with so many ways to manage email, finding the right approach for your needs can mean the difference between an efficient workday and a wasted one. The bottom line is, email is an ideal tool for managing communication when it’s done right, however, it can also be a drain on your resources if your management system is not up to scratch.
Email is evolving! And 2021 has proven how crucial everyone’s favorite method of digital communications is. Sure, there’s plenty of people who now rely on team chat apps and instant messengers for both work and leisure, but with an estimated 347 billion daily emails predicted for 2023, email communication is only getting MORE popular.
From the early days of basic Windows 1.0 email clients that were just rows of pixelated text to today’s slick and streamlined interfaces that provide a comprehensive suite of productivity tools, it seems that way we manage email on a day-to-day basis is changing fundamentally—the doors to the mailbox have been blown wide open.
Today, of course, there’s still plenty of old favorites in the list of the best email apps of 2021. Those tried and tested workhorses of the email world, the big hitters of the tech scene, and the tiny email apps still plugging away with their dedicated fanbases. However, you might just see a few new kids on the block too. So, if you’re a long-time email lover looking for the best email app of 2021, you don’t need to look any further. We’ve got all the information you need to make an informed choice right here!
What Makes a Great Email App?
Today, your email client can be as simple as a web-browser based app or as complex as a standalone piece of software designed to manage everything from your calendar to your to-dos. However, not all email apps are created equal, and the sheer number of different products available and can make choosing the right email app for your needs a complicated process.
So, what exactly makes a great email app? Well, there are some functionalities that are more important than others, in fact, they’re must-haves when it comes to efficient communication. Check out the following features that all of the best email apps offer:
- Easy-to-navigate user interface
- Customization options including signatures and logos
- Spam filtering and logical organization/sorting
- Autoreply, auto-forward, and redirection
- Easy access from your chosen device
However, there’s plenty more that goes into the best email apps, and you should definitely look for the following features when making your decision.
- Manage multiple email address from one account/screen
- CC and BCC functions
- Auto-archiving and sorting
- Easy attachment management and file storage
- Schedule send messages
- Multiple access options (web-based, desktop, mobile)
- Contact and address integration
- Calendar integration
- Other productivity tools such as cloud storage, online notes, and to-do lists
How to Choose the Best Email App for your Needs
Choosing the best email app for your needs will depend very much on how you intend to use it. Will it mainly be for work or for your personal communication? Do you regularly communicate with many people or just a few? Is it important to have advanced functionality or productivity tools or do you simply use it for messaging Amazon when your package hasn’t arrived?
One of the most important considerations when choosing an app is how you connect to the internet and whether you require offline access to your messages. Some of the biggest email providers such as Google, Yahoo, and Hotmail offer their own email apps for free. Many of these will be web-based, however, and accessing them offline is usually impossible.
Other companies such as Apple (Mail), Microsoft (Outlook), and Mozilla (Thunderbird) offer standalone email apps that work together with your email provider. These allow you to access your messages and other functionalities while offline, allowing you to manage, compose, and organize your email even when you don’t have an internet connection.
All of these questions will help you choose the right email app for your particular use-case. However, it is also worth remembering that, in most cases, even if you don’t use all the features of your email app right away, they may come in useful later on. In truth, it’s probably best to install an email app and explore the options available to see which works for you.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Email
Email offers a number of advantages and disadvantages when compared to other communication methods such as instant messaging or chat apps.
It’s free for personal use when signing up with providers such as Google.
Setting up an email with your own domain name may cost money.
Email can be accessed anywhere, anytime with an internet connection.
“Always-on” access can interrupt your workflow and be distracting.
It’s fast, easy to use, and secure.
Spam mail is a constant problem.
It allows for easy referencing and archiving.
Searching for messages or threads in your archive is not always simple.
Email is asynchronous—meaning you don’t have to be sat at your computer to receive a message.
Email still requires constant management and you need to reply to emails relatively quickly.
Well, we couldn’t very well have a best email app list of 2021 without putting Spike on the top of the pile! And in fact, when we talk about the exciting new ways that email is evolving, we’re really thinking about Spike’s 21st-century approach to communications. Spike combines the open-silo communication power of email with the simplicity, convenience, and speed of chat.
Offering a more responsive and progressive way to stay in touch, Spike rejuvenates the tired features seen in standard email services by eliminating dizzying headers and signatures so threads appear in chat-like form. It’s called Conversational Email and changes the way you view your email – literally!
Spike integrates a host of useful features directly into the app, providing the ultimate, unified workspace. Priority Inbox keeps all conversations with your most important contacts front and center, and an all-knowing calendar is easily accessible on the same screen as your inbox – so you never miss an appointment and can reference it without switching screens or apps. Encrypted Email Messaging ensures the integrity of your inbox remains top-notch, and you can easily manage attachments with Advanced Search.
Shared online Notes and Tasks bring your team together in a single, centralized space so you can thrash out concepts and brainstorm ideas without ever leaving your inbox. It’s so simple to set up and collaborate with any of your contacts, boosting teamwork and productivity to above and beyond. Need to share a file? Easy. Drop it in the Note. Finished a to-do on the Task list. Simple. Mark it as done. Worried about knowing when changes or edits are made? No problem. Every time a Note or Task is updated by a collaborator, it pops straight to the top of your Inbox so you don’t miss a thing.
Practical features such as File Manager allow you to preview your files directly in line with your message, meaning you never have to download anything you don’t need. It even boasts seamless integration with the Cloud, so you can send large files in seconds.
Additionally, Spike’s Undo Send feature allows users to stop an email before it reaches the recipient’s inbox so you can save face in the event of spelling mistakes or wrong attachments. Spike also integrates a Send Later feature to allow simple scheduling of your messages at a more convenient time – perfect for those who work with teams spread across different time zones. Finally, Spike is truly cross-platform, and is supported on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and web browsers – so you can use it from any device, anywhere!
The old workhorse of the email world, MS Outlook has been around since 1997 – that’s a long time in the fast-paced world of tech. It is perhaps the most widely used email client in business, with many companies trusting the Microsoft name to provide a solid and dependable email client that won’t let them down.
Unsurprisingly, this is reflected in its price, and many individual users balk at the idea of shelling out their hard-earned cash when there are perfectly serviceable free options on the market.
Outlook still has a few tricks up its sleeve, however, and anyone using Microsoft 365 on a regular basis will love the seamless integration with the company’s wider suite of tools. This includes MS Calendar and popular apps such as Excel and Word. Additionally, both Windows and Mac are fully supported with additional mobile apps for iOS and Android.
Naturally, such a heavy hitter couldn’t be left off the list of best email apps of 2021, and its worldwide reputation is still winning over fans today. The latest developments integrating Microsoft’s OneDrive are also helping to push the app into the future, with seamless cloud connectivity streamlining a host of everyday tasks.
Apple Mail first hit the scene in 2004, and it’s been installed on every Mac since then, making it a favorite of busy (lazy?) Mac users by default. Of course, it’s still got plenty going for it as a standalone email app, and its integration with OSX’s suite of tools makes it a great all-rounder. However, that great all-rounder is only available on Mac and iOS, so Windows and Android users will have to look elsewhere.
Again, full support for Apple’s iCloud storage brings this older statesman into the modern era and you can easily send files of up to 5 GB. Another plus point is the simple search feature that lets users navigate multiple POP, IMAP, Exchange, and iCloud accounts all together in the same place, helping you to find specific emails even if your inbox is overflowing.
Put simply, if you own a Mac of any kind, Apple Mail is an easy choice. While there may be more advanced email apps in 2021, for individual users, freelancers, and digital nomads who love the intuitive nature of Apple products, Apple Mail is often enough for their requirements.
Ahh. What hasn’t already been said about Google’s foray into the world of email. Well, actually domination might be a better word! For huge numbers of people, it’s quite literally the home of email – the service you use to register your address so you can start sending messages. So, using the Gmail email app in 2021 seems like a real no-brainer
The app itself supports all the major email accounts and can consolidate all your emails in one place. However, the web version is limited to managing a single email per tab and switching between different emails can be a bit of a nightmare, so anyone with multiple addresses may find this a little awkward. Notifications and reminders can be customized to keep you in the loop, and there’s also a handy Undo Send feature if you’re the type who doesn’t proofread before hitting send.
Thunderbird’s recent history has been a little rocky, and there was some confusion as to whether Mozilla would continue to support the little email app that’s won over a lot of fans. Its open-source nature makes it a favorite of many tech-heads, and the support for Linux operating systems, alongside Windows and Mac make it extremely versatile. Unfortunately, however, mobile support is very limited, so anyone who regularly emails from there smartphone may run into difficulties.
What helps Thunderbird poke its head above the crowd is its add-on features that help you to personalize your email experience. These third-party extensions can increase functionality in countless ways, and you’ll find features such as send later, address book integration, and a grammar check tool alongside plenty more. However, since they’re designed and built by independent developers, some may work better than others
Apart from these attractive little add-ons, you’ll find all of the usual functionality you’ve come to expect from one of the best email apps of 2021. You can easily manage multiple email addresses and Thunderbird’s inbox functions in much the same way as many other email apps on our list.
Again, Newton has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the years, but its acquisition by Essential in 2018 has given it a new lease on life, making it onto our list of best email apps for 2021. A long-term favorite of Mac users, Newton has always done things a little differently, and its intuitive approach to email management has convinced many people to cough up the cash—even if it’s a bit expensive for individual users.
The app’s most celebrated features include a Tidy Inbox that intuitively organizes your email and useful snooze, send later, and read receipt functionality. It’s also suitable for Windows and Mac users, with full support for iOS and Android—making it a great cross-platform email app.
Security could be better with Newton, and only HTTP is supported for message encryption, but as an alternative to the heavy hitters above, this lesser-known email app is a good choice for anyone who wants a break from the norm.
Mailbird looks remarkably familiar, and anyone who has used Microsoft Outlook over long periods will instantly recognize the apps default theme. However, Mailbird has a clever little trick up its sleeve that allows you to change the way the app looks to suit your particular taste. Themes are completely free, so you can swap and change as often as you like.
Another useful feature of Mailbird is its seamless integration with a host of useful third-party apps such as WhatsApp, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Facebook, Twitter, Asana ,and Slack, making it a practical email app for 2021 that doesn’t ignore the myriad other ways we communicate today (instant messenger, social media etc.).
Other standard features include a unified inbox and unlimited email accounts, however, the app is only available on Windows, so it can be a little constrictive for either mobile users or Mac users. Additionally, Mailbird comes at a price, although the lifetime subscription fee won’t break the bank, so even individual users can get on board.
ProtonMail’s USP is a little different from most email apps in 2021, and for anyone worried about security, it might be just the thing you’re looking for. Spam, phishing, and other malware threats remain a huge issue in the online world, and ProtonMail’s raison d’etre is to bring increased security to your everyday communications.
End-to-end email encryption provides the very highest levels of security; however, this doesn’t compromise the overall functionality of the app, and its intuitive interface makes managing secure email much easier than on many “standard” email apps in 2021. ProtonMail is also open source and completely free to use.
Unfortunately, however, it’s only available on iOS and Android, with a web-browser version for use on desktop. For many users, this may be sufficient, but for heavy email users who need advanced access to email when offline, it’s likely to be a little restrictive.
Taking a step back from the style of email management interfaces we’re familiar with, TouchMail has looked at the problem and decided that users require a more visual and tactile approach to communications. Originally designed for touch screens, the app bundles your messages into visual blocks and allows you to color code by sender. This novel approach is designed to save you time and works particularly well on large screen tablets—a true mark of a top email app in 2021.
Naturally, you can manage multiple accounts from TouchMail interface and full support comes for most IMAP and POP email accounts. However, apart from the practical visualization features, most others come pretty standard. Additionally, TouchMail is only available on Windows 10, so anyone using iOS or even Android will have to look elsewhere.
As email continues to evolve over the next decade, the best email apps of 2021 might begin to look a little like those early Windows 1.0 attempts at digital communication management. However, Spike is committed to keeping pace with the latest technologies to ensure you’re always ahead of the curve. Download the app today and check it out for yourself. It’s nothing less than the future of email—and it’s only getting better!