• beehiiv Blog
  • Posts
  • A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Email Programs in 2024

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Email Programs in 2024

How To Choose the Right Email Client for You

Table of Contents

In my day-to-day life, I require constant access to three things: water, chapstick, and email. The moment that one of them isn’t instantly available, I get anxious and can think about little else. 

I’m not the only person for whom email is a basic essential. We live in a world of constant connection and communication.

Today's email programs also offer a wide range of features to boost productivity, streamline organization, and safeguard your privacy. The options are dizzying, making it more difficult to select the best email program.

This comprehensive guide should help you find the perfect email program for you. We'll cover the key differences to consider, core features, and popular choices. 

You’re on your own for the water and chapstick.

Introduction to Email Programs

Email programs, also known as email clients, provide a platform for sending, receiving, and organizing digital correspondence. They play a vital role in personal and professional communication.

The Evolution of Email Communication

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Email Programs in 2024

The history of email technology is short but dense. It's come a long way since its inception in the 1960s. Originally used by researchers, Ray Tomlinson invented the modern email system in 1971 by introducing the "@" sign to identify recipients.

Webmail services like Hotmail, Yahoo, and Gmail gained popularity in the late 90s, making email more accessible. The mobile revolution in 2003 also made it more convenient, allowing email to be accessed on the go.

By the 2010s, overflowing inboxes led to services to help manage subscriptions and spam. Security issues like phishing grew problematic.

Today, around 4.26 billion email users send more than 300 billion emails each day.

Defining the 'Best' in Email Programs

These days, your choice of email client has a major impact on your daily routine and productivity.

An email program stands out when it strikes the perfect balance between functionality and user-friendliness. It should offer robust features and security measures to protect your data.

Many email clients also have capabilities like multimedia support, integrated calendars, contact management, and advanced search options.

The number of options can be overwhelming (that's where this article aims to help), but that's only because the number of possibilities is exciting.

What Email Program Should I Use?

It depends on your specific needs. Factors to consider include the volume of emails you handle, the level of security you need, the devices you use, and the additional features you require.

Core Features of Top Email Programs

There are must-have features for an email program. These include reliable spam filtering, easy-to-use interfaces, ample storage, and ironclad security measures. These are non-negotiable.

Some email clients offer bonus features such as integrated calendars, advanced search options, and smart categorization. These are the bells and whistles that can turn a good email program into a great one, but they aren't essential for everyone.

User Interface and Experience

There's no benefit to having a powerful tool that's too unpleasant or complicated to use. The best email program for you will provide a strong user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).

The UI is the visual representation of an application, encompassing buttons, text, images, and more. In an email client, a good UI is intuitive and organized, enabling users to compose, search, and navigate effortlessly.

UX focuses on the interaction and experience users have with UI elements. You want quick load times, smooth transitions, and logical procedures. A good UX allows users to accomplish tasks efficiently and without unnecessary steps or complications.

Email Organization and Management

Emails tend to pile up. That's why the best email programs offer tools for sorting and categorizing emails, helping you keep your inbox tidy and your sanity intact.

Effective email management is like keeping your workspace clean. It boosts productivity and reduces stress.

Whether or not you're a fan of Inbox Zero — a rigorous approach to email management that aims to keep the inbox empty or almost empty,you'll need a strong partner in your email client to stay on top of the flow.

Integration and Compatibility

In this fast-paced digital world, you need to be able to access your emails across multiple devices and platforms. Make sure that your client plays well with the technology you use to access it.

You'll also want to consider which integrations are important to you. An email client that seamlessly integrates with your most-used apps streamlines your workflow, letting you switch between tasks and manage your responsibilities from one platform.

Common integrations include:

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Email Programs in 2024
  • Calendar app integration: Schedule meetings, set reminders, and manage your time directly from your email interface.

  • Productivity apps: Use to-do lists or project management tools to manage tasks and deadlines without switching contexts.

  • Cloud storage services: Effortlessly attach, store, and share files.

  • Social media integrations: Maintain professional relationships and networking by keeping all professional communications in one place.

Security and Privacy

Your email is like your digital home. It's where you store your legal documents, business discussions, and those precious family photos. You wouldn't leave your home unlocked, so you shouldn't leave your digital home insecure either.

As our digital footprint expands, so does the potential for cyber threats. Email clients are the first line of defense, protecting not only our conversations but also sensitive information like bank details and business contracts.

Understanding Email Encryption

Email encryption is like a secret language that only you and your intended recipient understand. It transforms your email into an unreadable format during transit, only to be deciphered by the rightful receiver.

Top email programs employ advanced encryption methods, ensuring that your emails remain unreadable to anyone who isn't supposed to see them.

Anti-Spam and Anti-Phishing Measures

The best email program will have a toolbox that includes sophisticated filters and warning systems.

Anti-spam filters identify and filter out spam emails before they reach the user's inbox, which reduces the chances that you'll open malicious email content.

Anti-phishing tools alert you to potentially fraudulent emails that try to trick users into revealing sensitive personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers.

Combined, these measures drastically increase your digital security.

Customization and Personalization

Imagine an email program that's designed just for you. It knows your preferences, adapts to your workflow, and even matches your aesthetic taste.

That's exactly what customization and personalization in email programs are all about — shaping your digital workspace to fit your unique needs.

Theme and Design Flexibility

Themes and designs aren't just about making your email look pretty. A clean and appealing design can make navigation easier and reduce eye strain.

Many email programs allow you to customize themes and designs according to your taste. You can choose between different layouts, fonts, colors, and background images.

Add-Ons and Extensions

Add-ons and extensions enhance the functionality of your email client, turning it into a multi-purpose tool suitable for a wide range of tasks.

Common add-ons include additional integration, security, and productivity features. For example, you could add additional anti-phishing tools or a different document editor.

Check out the top email client add-ons for your program such as:

Note: Extensions are great, but too many add-ons can slow down your email client. So it's important to choose wisely, prioritizing quality over quantity.

Efficiency and Productivity

Think of your email program as your personal assistant. It manages your messages, organizes your tasks, and even reminds you of important dates.

From smart categorization to automatic replies, email programs are armed with tools that can turn your inbox into a productivity powerhouse.

Email Automation Tools

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Email Programs in 2024

It isn't just marketing email automation that can make your life easier. Even in your general email account, email automation can handle mundane and repetitive tasks, allowing you to focus on crucial matters.

Common automation features include:

  • Auto-responder: Promptly acknowledge incoming messages, ensuring that no one is left hanging.

  • Scheduling: Prepare and send messages in advance, even when you're not available.

  • Rule-based sorting: Streamline your inbox by automatically organizing incoming emails into relevant folders.

Advanced Search and Filtering Options

Advanced search and filtering options help you find exactly what you need when digging through your email folders.

Email clients offer a broad range of search and filtering capabilities that save you time and effort when navigating your inbox.

Common options include:

  • Keyword Search

  • Date Range Filtering

  • Sender/Recipient Filtering

  • Attachment Filtering

  • Read/Unread Filtering

  • Label/Category Filtering

A variety of search functions comes in handy when you need to track down an old message.

Accessibility and Support

Constant access to your email is a basic requirement these days. The best email program will allow you to use email wherever and whenever you need it.

Cross-Platform Availability

You should be able to access your emails as you move between different devices and operating systems.

Cross-platform email programs provide users with flexibility and convenience. By syncing across multiple platforms, you can switch between your computer, smartphone, and tablet, ensuring constant connectivity and uninterrupted communication.

Customer Support Services

We all need a knight in shining armor sometimes — or, at least, helpful troubleshooting resources.

In addition to a dedicated helpline, many clients offer online forums, knowledge bases, troubleshooting guides, video tutorials, and live chat services.

Make sure that you have the support you need if something goes wrong or you want to try something new.

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Email Programs in 2024

What is the most used email program? Apple Mail. 

Between all Apple devices, Apple Mail accounts for almost 60% of all email opens worldwide.

Gmail comes in second with 27.6%, and Microsoft Outlook and Outlook.com take a distant third with almost 5%, but that doesn't mean that these are the only options worth considering.

Desktop vs. Web-Based Email Clients

In selecting the best email program, the first choice to make is whether you want a desktop vs. a web-based email client.

Web-Based Email Clients

Web-based email clients offer the convenience of accessing your emails from any device with an internet connection. They don't require installations and store your emails on the service provider's servers.

These clients usually come with automatic virus scanning and integrate well with other online services. However, a stable internet connection is necessary, and storage may be limited.

Popular web-based email clients include:

Desktop Email Clients

Is there a better email app than Gmail?

First of all, everything's a matter of personal preference. Second, you may want to consider a desktop email client instead.

Desktop email clients are applications installed directly onto your computer. They provide an interface to manage, view, and send your emails without needing a web browser.

These clients download your emails onto your system, allowing you to access them even when offline. They offer advanced features, often integrating seamlessly with other applications on your device, and give you more control over your data.

However, they require installation and updates, and your access is limited to the specific device on which the client is installed.

Popular desktop email clients include:

Choosing Between Desktop and Web-Based Email Clients

The choice between these two types of email clients largely depends on your specific needs.

If you value convenience, ease of use, and integration with other online services, a web-based client may be the way to go.

However, if you prefer more control over your data, advanced features, and the ability to access emails offline, a desktop client could be a better fit.

Free vs. Paid Email Services

Free email services, such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail, are easy to use and offer basic features that meet the needs of most users. They generate revenue through advertising, which means that users might see ads in their inbox.

Paid email services, like Microsoft 365 Business, tend to offer more features such as larger storage, advanced security options, and ad-free experiences. These premium features can provide a more streamlined and secure email experience.

The choice between the two largely depends on your specific needs and budget.

Top 10 Email Clients To Consider

When looking for the best email program, you may find yourself intrigued by one of these contenders:

  1. Gmail: Gmail offers a sleek interface, effective spam filtering, and a generous 15GB storage capacity. It also provides offline functionality, making it a dependable free option for both personal and professional purposes.

  2. Microsoft Outlook: As a component of Microsoft 365, Outlook seamlessly integrates with other Office applications. It's a trusted solution for businesses, offering robust features such as calendar and contacts integration.

  3. Mail (formerly Windows Mail): Mail provides a straightforward solution for your essential email requirements.

  4. iCloud Mail (Apple Mail): For Mac and iOS users who prioritize privacy, Apple Mail may be the best email program, offering robust privacy features such as the ability to block email tracking pixels.

  5. eM Client: This robust alternative offers extensive support for popular email services, along with built-in features like calendar, contacts, and chat functionality. It provides a cost-effective solution for users looking for a feature-rich experience.

  6. Mailbird: Mailbird has a highly customizable interface and integrates with popular apps such as WhatsApp and Dropbox. It also has affordable pricing.

  7. OnMail: OnMail's default setting ensures that only emails from contacts make it to your inbox, giving you the ultimate control over its contents.

  8. Thunderbird: With its assortment of privacy and security plugins, this customizable client is an excellent choice for individuals who prioritize these aspects. It's also completely free.

  9. Shortwave: If you appreciate Google Inbox's method of organizing emails, Shortwave serves as an excellent alternative.

  10. Canary Mail: Canary Mail not only integrates AI for email summarization and drafting responses, it also improves privacy through its encryption features.

The Future of Email Programs

My crystal ball is currently on the fritz, but certain trends are pretty well established.

Email programs are becoming more than just a tool for sending and receiving messages. They're evolving into comprehensive and collaborative hubs for communication.

AI and the Role of Machine Learning

Inboxes are crammed with too much information. The answer may be found in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

AI for your inbox can help automate repetitive tasks such as sorting emails into folders or flagging important messages. It can also provide smart reply suggestions based on the content of the received email, saving users valuable time.

Machine Learning, a subset of AI, can improve email management by learning from users' behaviors and preferences. For example, it can learn which emails a user tends to open first and prioritize similar emails in the future.

These tools will also help identify patterns in spam emails and use this knowledge to better filter out unwanted messages.

The Rise of Collaborative Email Suites

As workplaces become more collaborative and remote, email programs are following suit.

Many modern email programs are incorporated into all-in-one collaborative suites such as   Microsoft 365. They integrate features like shared calendars, project management tools, and instant messaging.

Is there a better email client than Outlook?

While Outlook is a stellar choice, there are other strong email suites such as Google Workspace.

There's also a growing trend toward specialty collaborative email tools. Email collaboration involves multiple team members working together from a shared inbox, such as [email protected]. This promotes seamless teamwork and efficient communication.

Major clients are increasingly incorporating this function. For example, it's now possible to make a Google Group a collaborative inbox.

Increased Security Measures

Major issues such as spam and privacy concerns related to email trackers aren't going anywhere. The big email clients continue to innovate, adopting measures such as Gmail's new security requirements.

Some analysts predict that passwords may become obsolete and replaced by biometric security and device authentication. Furthermore, encryption is expected to play an even larger role in bolstering privacy and security in email communication.

Making the Choice

Ultimately, the best email program for you is one that fits your specific needs and preferences. It should offer the right balance of features, security, and usability that aligns with your requirements.

Evaluating Your Needs

Before you can choose the right email program, you need to understand your specific needs.

Are you a business user who needs robust collaboration tools or a casual user who values ease of use? Do you often find yourself needing to access emails offline or do you prefer the convenience of accessing your emails from any device with an internet connection?

Once you've identified your needs, start comparing different email programs with them in mind.

Recommendations and User Reviews

Another useful resource when choosing an email program is user reviews and recommendations.

User reviews provide valuable insights into the pros and cons of different email programs. They highlight potential issues that you might not have considered and give you a sense of the program's overall quality and reliability.

There are several reliable sources for user reviews online. Websites like CNET, PCMag, and TechRadar often provide in-depth reviews of different email programs.

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Email Programs in 2024

You can also check out user reviews on app stores and social media platforms. Just remember to take individual reviews with a grain of salt, as they can sometimes be influenced by personal biases or unique experiences.

The Best Email Program for You

Choosing the best email program is a personal decision, influenced by your specific requirements and preferences, but these are the major distinctions to know, features to consider, and options to research.

Take some time to explore your options and see which program works best for you. Keep in mind that you can always switch to a different email program if your needs or preferences change in the future. With so many options available, there's no need to settle.

There's also a lot more that you can do with email beyond personal and business communication. Check out our list of the top email newsletter services.

Why Trust Us

As one of the top email marketing services, beehiiv stays current on the latest developments in email. I'm a digital marketer who specializes in long-form content and email marketing, working with small businesses to find the tools and strategies that work for them.

Join the conversation

or to participate.