An email service is a tool that has long since stopped needing to be paid for. For many users, free email accounts and service providers will fulfill all their needs. From mobile applications and ease of use to security and name recognition, there are many factors at play. Understanding what your specific needs are and how they relate to the plethora of options will help you choose the right email provider.
The software covered in this article are:
Gmail – Best Email Account for General Utility
There are few better choices than Gmail when it comes to individual utility and a broader range of software integration. The software balances a broad, inclusive feature set with access to the Google family of products to make a powerful email tool. Gmail is a webmail jack-of-all-trades and will do most things better than its competitors for personal use.
To start with its convenience features, Google makes full use of its status as a software and search engine juggernaut. For those using Google Chrome, you are never more than two clicks away from your inbox. The Gmail account will also serve as the base for Gsuite. This software family includes Google Calendar, Docs, Sheets, and much more. As you would expect, all of these integrate flawlessly with Gmail.
The inbox system is intuitive. You can send up to 500 emails a day, more than enough for most people. 15 GB of storage space is included for free, and attachments are limited to 25 MB total. This means if you have multiple attachments, they can not add up to greater than that amount. These sizes are small, but will be suitable for most personal people.
For those sharing many images or videos, the email system of Gmail is not perfect. While extremely easy to use for a few pictures, bulk sending would be exhausting. The workaround for this is to make use of the integrations mentioned before. You can share a Google Drive folder, where others can directly access larger files from the cloud.
On mobile devices, Gmail works very well. iOS, Android, and Windows OS all support the Gmail app. The Gmail mobile app is easy to use and scales well to different screen sizes. The interface is clean, and the other Google products work well for mobile too. Adding events from email to Google Calendar is easy, on mobile or PC.
Users can create folders and subfolders in addition to those made by default. Google will automatically sort content from social media sites and Ads that it detects. This will keep your inbox size down if you use one email for all your subscriptions and accounts. These spam filters work well, and you can set filters of your own design should you feel the need.
As free email service providers, other vendors will struggle to beat Gmail in most categories. The ease of use, integrations, and array of features makes this an accessible and powerful tool. This tool is less suited in its free version to businesses, as Google Workplace is made for that. Custom domains and higher storage are offered in this professional tier. For many individuals, this will be one of the best email service providers out there.
Outlook – Best Email for Integrations on Desktop
Outlook is a Microsoft product that will work for those who have PC’s and want a strong desktop-based email system. Outlook does have a web browser but is most well known for its desktop version. This is known as an email client, rather than a web application.
This Microsoft product has been around in some form for a long time. If you ever see an address with hotmail.com, this is a vestigial structure of the previous versions. It has since been updated to the more professional outlook.com.
The big benefit of this service is its ease of use directly from desktop and its integration with Microsoft products. If you are using software like Teams or anything in the Office 365 family, this will be a good choice for you. Integrations go beyond these productivity tools.
You can also connect with Skype, another Microsoft product. Through Zapier, Outlook works with Trello, Slack, and hundreds of other tools. Liike Gmail, you will feel the benefit of the size of Microsoft. There is a strong mobile app that works for Android and Apple devices
Microsoft Outlook is as clean and professional-looking as it gets. Its longevity means it will be used by many organizations, and many people will already have experience with it. If not, you will likely find that many email providers look a lot like this software.
The widespread adoption of Microsoft tools and Outlook specifically gives other benefits to this choice. The domain name will command trust in a security-conscious world. Few people will hesitate to click on such a trusted name. Gmail will also have this benefit. The attachment and storage limits are the same as Gmail, with 25 MB and 15 GB respectively. You can use OneDrive, DropBox, or other cloud storage and sharing to get around these limitations.
Mail.com – Best Email for Free Custom Domains
This is a fantastic service for freelancers and small businesses looking to add professionalism to their email experience. Offering over 200 domains for free, this software allows for customization to your industry. These custom domain names include examples like @engineer.com or @consultant.com to quickly tell your clients what your industry is.
Mail.com also offers up to 65 GB of storage, a huge markup from other competitors. The attachment size is 30 MB, another step up from the previous one on this list.
If you want to add the appearance of more employees, services, or simply have more domains, this is a great choice. You can create up to 10 aliases that all deliver to the same inbox. You can set custom rules and inboxes, and install a browser extension for easier access.
This software even offers its own kind of document processing. The tool’s biggest drawbacks are a result of not being as large a company as its competitors. While very popular, it does not have the same polish as Gmail or Outlook.
The custom domains are useful but can appear like spam in some instances. This would be great for smaller companies that do not have their own domain to use and do not want to pay for it.
Mail.com is a feature-rich, extensive free email option. It lacks some of the software support and integrations of the larger vendors’ products on this list. Whether this will be an issue will depend on what you need the email for. For those with higher storage needs, who want to send email blasts from various aliases, this can work. Mail.com will be best suited to the slightly more experienced users, who either don’t need or use another tool for their other software needs. If you plan on using the document and spreadsheets, Gmail may be more suitable.
Yahoo – Best Email for Huge Storage Needs
Once the biggest name in email, some may think Yahoo’s time has passed in this software category. While it may not have the market dominance it once had, it still offers fantastic utility for those looking for free email accounts.
The major benefit of this vendor is the full 1 TB, or 1,000 GB of free storage offered. This blows the other tools on this list out of the water. For those with a huge volume of emails expected, this ensures you will likely never have to delete in the foreseeable future.
In other areas, Yahoo offers competitive features. It does not have directly integrated software like Gmail, Outlook. Attachment limits are a common 25 MB. The user interface is clean, friendly, and easy to learn. It is one of the most attractive UIs you will find in free email software.
Yahoo does have its own calendar to integrate directly with. For those interested, you could set Yahoo as the homepage for quick access to news. This could be useful for those with more limited experience navigating the internet.
With its age does come some professional limitations. Yahoo as a domain is somewhat dated. If you are planning to use this for professional circles, this is a consideration worth having. It may be a strange sight for those in modern industries to receive professional content from a @yahoo.com address.
Yahoo mail is best suited for those who will be sending photos often. Users will use their email as a storage tool for such content. It’s integrations are simple, but strong in social tools. The Yahoo homepage is attractive and easy to use. In summary, this is great for people who never want to think about deleting their emails. Individuals sharing photos with family, or who have less experience will like this.
ProtonMail – Best Email for Secure, Encrypted Storage
For those whose primary concerns are privacy and security, ProtonMail is a strong contender. This software offers encrypted email in an accessible, cost-free option. This security goes beyond what you will find in most services.
With this, there are some limitations to the service. You are limited to sending 50 messages per hour, and 150 per day. While most people will not find this to be an issue, it can be for some. This is especially true for those planning to use it in a professional capacity.
Attachments are limited to 25 MB. Storage is capped at just 500 MB, so you will need to export or delete sensitive information. For those concerned with security, this may be the plan anyway.
The software does not include any of the other tools offered in Gmail, Outlook, etc. This is purely a secure email service.
If encryption protection for DDOS attacks and other security features are your main concern, this is the choice for you. For those not working with sensitive information, the convenience and storage of other options will probably be more appropriate
10minutemail – Email for Spam
The final software on this list is less of a free email provider and more of a convenience. Many people know the struggle of signing up for dozens of services. Often you will have no intention of ever accessing that account. If this happens to you, consider this service.
10minutemail is a way of keeping your primary inbox less cluttered. If you are signing up for a service, and do not need to access the account, use this. It will generate a fake email address for, as one would expect, 10 minutes. You can access this for that time to verify the address, should you need to. Be wary, not every service accepts these domains, as they have become aware of this and similar services.
This service is not for those who want a primary email system. You will not have access to this email, it is purely for spam. With that said, it is worth including. With the volume of emails we all receive, a way of reducing junk can be useful to many.
Getting the Most from your Email
Once you have chosen which provider to use, you will want to make the most out of it. The video below explains a few tips on how to write more effective emails. If you find yourself sending them for business, and want to automate the process, there are tools available. Check out our category page email marketing software.