What are the best email clients to use and how do they work?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An email client is a desktop program that can offer various features to enhance your email experience. The best email clients depend on the user's needs and the kinds of services they require when accessing, receiving and sending emails. Finding the best email client software that offers ease of access, extra encryption, live chat and address book features can be beneficial. In this article, we discuss what an email client is, review the features associated with email clients and learn about the best ones for you to use.

What are the best email clients?

The best email clients allow you to access emails on your computer via an application that doesn't require you to log in via the web. By linking your email account to the email client via either IMAP or POP3, you give access to the program to handle your email with non-webmail services and Internet service providers (ISPs). When you receive an email via the service provider, the mail transfer agent takes the email from the web-based platform and stores it on your desktop on the non-webmail platform.

When emailing from the mail client account, it's sent via the mail submission agent to the original service provider's mail servers. This is useful to back up emails and drafts and secure your data. One of the key features of an email client that attracts users is the benefit of extra encryption and security. Email is still a common form of communication for businesses, regardless of the software used. Features such as added security, ease of access and increased storage can help you enhance your productivity.

Related: How to manage emails effectively (plus additional tips)

What features can I look for in an email client?

Varying features contribute to the makeup of a great email client, and they also depend on the user's needs. Microsoft Outlook is a popular service provider that integrates with other Microsoft Office applications such as Powerpoint, Word and Excel. Features that may draw customers to use these applications include advanced live chat features, video conferencing, encryption, shared calendars, address books and others. Below are some of the key email client features and how they advance the user experience:

Non-webmail service

Using the best email client for you may be a more secure way of accessing and sending emails. Accessing your email from a webmail account on a public computer or device could compromise the security of your account. Having trusted non-webmail access on a secure device may lessen the risks of someone being able to sign into your email account from a public computer.

Related: What is security for email and why is it important?

Back-up

Any emails accessed via a webmail account are stored on a server and can be difficult to retrieve. An email client stores emails and draft messages on the computer's local server, meaning that recovering lost or inaccessible emails doesn't require the help of the webmail provider. Webmail accounts have lower storage capacity as they're stored on the email provider's server, meaning that email clients are often preferred among businesses that send large attachments or hold large amounts of mail data on their desktops.

Related: What is an email service provider and how do you choose one?

Address book

Organisations may use email as the dominant way of communication, meaning that an email address book can be a useful feature. Email clients can remove the burden of having to remember the full email address each time they need to contact somebody. The address book makes it easier to manage large quantities of contacts and enables you to create a mailing list so you can send emails to multiple relevant groups at one time.

Video conferencing

Email clients continue to upgrade and improve their features to enhance the user email experience. Video conferencing is an integral part of an organisation's communication medium. Having an integrated video conferencing channel linked to you and your contact's email account can be a seamless way to set up virtual meetings. Platforms such as Microsoft Teams integrate with applications such as Microsoft Outlook and the calendar feature to enable users access to video conferencing tools.

Related: A guide: how to use Microsoft Teams (with functions)

Chat features

Instant messenger features integrated with your chosen email client can be an efficient way of communicating with your team on high-priority topics. It is unusual for webmail accounts to have live chat capabilities, hence why email clients can be beneficial for businesses. For companies with large amounts of staff and teams working in a fast-paced fashion, the ability to use live chat to see whether your colleague is online gets immediate answers to questions, and converse quickly instead of adding to someone's inbox is useful.

Encryption

Using an email client can give the added benefit of encryption and more advanced security. Various software plug-ins and email clients offer email encryption services to allow users to encrypt their messages using the recipient's public key before sending. This is useful for public bodies and businesses that share sensitive information.

Related: What is encryption and what are some encryption types?

Adverts

With many free webmail services, you may receive adverts on your screen when accessing emails. Using an email client may help you remove the distraction of advertisements when checking your inbox. This can result in a nicer user experience without adverts compromising the screen view. You can also format emails with better clarity and a more professional user experience and display.

Which email client is best for me?

There are many email client service providers on the market offering free and paid services dependent on your needs. Paid-for services may offer more products or better services to suit your needs. You may consider how often you use your email account, the kinds of content in your emails and whether it is for personal or professional use when deciding which email client software to choose. Here are some of the best email client providers that you may consider:

Zoho

Zoho is a business-focused email client service that enables document management and many collaboration tools, including a word processor, spreadsheets templates and presentation tools. This service has a free plan that enables up to 25 users. Zoho also provides easy-to-use folders, tagging and smart search filters. The paid service uses IMAP to sync with your webmail account.

Yahoo mail

Yahoo mail offers users professional mail settings with a clear and large view of their inbox and messaging filtering for common emails and content. This service also enables you to organise mail into custom folders and preview preferences, meaning you can get the content of a message without opening it. Additional features when accessing mail on a mobile device include one-click unsubscribing from spam and newsletters without having to leave your inbox. For users who need large storage and integration with other social media platforms, this could be a useful choice.

Related: What is email whitelisting? (Definition plus benefits)

Outlook

Microsoft Outlook offers a simplistic, familiar interface on both desktop and mobile devices. The folders and organisational tools sit on the right-hand side and offer an easy-to-use experience. It includes a focused folder that detects important emails and filters them into a separate inbox, enabling you to detect and respond accordingly without having to filter through junk or low-priority mail. Out of the many email clients available, Outlook offers seamless integration with calendars and other Office apps such as Teams where users can easily plan virtual meetings. This email client software also includes generous storage capabilities.

Related: 7 free email accounts for business and when to use them

Spike

Spike is the best choice for those who want their inbox to look more casual and less like traditional email servers. This client uses a design that allows users to respond to emails in a way that makes them feel as if they are messaging someone in a conversation instead of sending a formal email. It also offers a built-in notes app, that allows users to take notes directly in their email client without switching to a different application or service.

ProtonMail

ProtonMail is a security-conscious platform where you can sign up anonymously. Emails have the added protection of end-to-end encryption, and it doesn't log your IP address. This limits the traceability and risk of emails being intercepted, and ProtonMail cannot read the contents of emails. Professional plans enable larger storage capabilities and custom domains. As a free service, ProtonMail offers useful features, and the paid-for service enables you to download messages to your device or between accounts and higher storage quantities.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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