5 Of The Best Desktop Email Clients That Don’t Cost a Dime [Windows]

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desktop email clientSpecialization is the key to efficiency, especially in the realm of software. Programs that try to “do it all” end up becoming bloated, messy, and subpar in most of what they do. On the other hand, programs that have a specific focus tend to excel. Email clients are no different.

Having a specialized desktop email client that handles your email for you is a great way to stay organized and free up time. There’s nothing wrong with using the actual web interface provided by most email services like Gmail and Hotmail, but having a dedicated desktop client is great when you don’t want to keep your browser open 24/7 with a permanent email tab.

Personally, I use Postbox for my emailing needs, but it’ll set you back around $10. Fortunately, there are plenty of free email clients available – you just need to look in the right places.

Thunderbird

desktop email client

When Mozilla Firefox came onto the scene in 2004 (known as Firebird back then), it gave Microsoft’s Internet Explorer a run for its money. In the same year, Mozilla released Thunderbird which became a big contender to Microsoft’s Outlook. Since then, Thunderbird has maintained its popularity even until now.

Thunderbird is packed full of features without being slowed down by excess. It can handle multiple email accounts, POP and IMAP, message filtering, folder organization, email labels and priorities, themes, and RSS/Atom feeds. In addition, it has a plugin system that allows new features to be added at your discretion. The only thing about Thunderbird is that, despite its pervasive popularity, it will not be getting any new features from here on out.

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Thunderbird is open source and cross platform. Use it on Windows, Linux, or even Mac if you so choose.

eM Client

desktop email client windows

Though Thunderbird is the most popular free client on Windows, eM Client may have a better feature set. It synchronizes flawlessly with any Gmail account, including emails, calendar dates, contact lists, tasks, and even GTalk. If you’re switching over from Outlook, eM Client has an easy import tool. On top of that, it looks polished and clean.

eM Client is fully secure and encrypts everything it sends out. It even has a widgeting feature that allows you to create custom widgets. PC Magazine included eM Client in its list of best free software for 3 years running–2010, 2011, and 2012. Once you’ve used it, it’s not hard to see why.

eM Client is available in Free and Pro versions. The Pro version costs $50 and grants you a commercial license for commercial use as well as VIP support priority. The Pro version also lets you create an unlimited number of email accounts.

Windows Live Mail

desktop email client windows

If you’re using a genuine version of Windows, you can install Windows Essentials and get a great free email client called Windows Live Mail. It handles all of your email accounts and is very easy to set up. If you use SkyDrive, even better! Windows Live Mail synchronizes with SkyDrive on the fly.

Windows Live Mail is available for Windows Vista, 7, and 8. If you use an earlier version, like XP, then you’re unfortunately out of luck here.

Zimbra Desktop

desktop email client windows

Zimbra Desktop was a top-notch email client for a while but it’s since fallen off the radar – and I’m not sure why. Its main distinguishing features are that it synchronizes locally so you can read all of your email while you’re offline and it aggregates all of your accounts in one place, whether those accounts are for email or social networks.

Basically, you can use Zimbra Desktop as a place to consolidate all of your communication needs. And contrary to what I said before, Zimbra Desktop doesn’t feel bloated. Even with so many features, it works fast and looks great. I can barely summarize all of its awesome features because there are so many.

Zimbra Desktop is free for all and available on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Claws Mail

desktop email client

Claws Mail is a desktop email client built on a GTK+ foundation. Because of this, it has a clean and minimalistic layout with quick response times. Everything is intuitive in design and the preferences are easily configured. With that said, the program is robust and extensible with all the features you’d need in an email client.

Upon using Claws Mail, you’ll be able to import your settings and emails from other clients like Outlook and Thunderbird. If you ever feel the need to switch away, everything can be exported just as easily. With plugins, you can install extra functionality – like reading RSS feeds, event calendars, and more.

Claws Mail is available for Windows and Linux.

Which desktop email client do you prefer?

Image Credit: Email Computer Via Shutterstock

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Comments (42)
  • Andrea Loubier

    Hi guys! We are pumped for W10’s public release soon.

    I wanted to share with those of you ready for the W10 update to try Mailbird and you’ll see our new little friend in the top left corner. Say hello to the hexagon :)

    We just released Unified Inbox Plus – so if you have several email accounts they are all unified into one simple and beautiful account. Mailbird will also be W10 ready with touch support :D

    BLOG: http://www.getmailbird.com/mailbird-introduces-unified-inbox/?

    Also just as a reminder – check out all the apps baked in for email, messaging, productivity, calendars and secure video meetings. You’ll see that Mailbird is all you’ll soon need for all communication and productivity needs.

  • Danny

    I think that Eudora still deserves consideration as a Windows e-mail client, and perhaps even for a Mac although I cannot comment on that directly.

    Yes, that Eudora, the e-mail client that was once almost standard issue with any new ISP sign up package. It is still used, it still works, and while no longer sold it can still be found on the web along with registration codes that Qualcomm posted for general use when they discontinued sales of version 7.x

    Compared with the other clients mentioned above, Eudora stands up very well and, I think, is better in most ways. Eudora remains competitive in terms of features and performance. It is also very easy to implement a backup routine for Eudora and the plain text file handling and storage contributes to the program’s relatively immunity to virus issues.

    Eudora also works on almost any version of Windows, certainly any, I believe, from Windows 2000 and up, and there is still a MAC version available on the same basis as the Windows one, mentioned above.

    -Danny.

  • Rosey Dee

    Lifesaver! WLM has suddenly stopped working. I have spent all day trying to fix it and finally decided to search for another client. Installed Thunderbird – took 5 minutes and all my emails have been retrieved.

  • Woody

    The only client I have ever used is T-Bird. I am now changing. T-Bird has suddenly stopped me from sending messages, everything else is fine. In the forums etc, I have seen no help on this. In the past the only cure was reinstall. thanks for this article, it has helped.

  • lior

    without downloadin all…
    do you know if one of these programs enable to send an scheduled email message -that will be sent (after) even when i’m offline

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.