For several reasons it is useful to have more than one email address. Recalling several different passwords is only a small part of the problem of multiple email accounts, and is solved by a password manager. A greater burden I have found is the inconvenience of having to log in and out individually for multiple accounts several times a day. A desktop email client can bring all mail into one place, removing the need to use different web browser sessions for each email address, and allow you to manage mail locally. A good desktop email client will be a boost for productivity.
I believe I have tested nearly every free and paid option that exists. I did pay for a license for each one of the paid options discussed and so the knowledge outlined in this review did come at a cost.
Some of these programs were are dead right out of the gate, in my opinion due compatibility only with Gmail accounts – for example Hiri. Others like ClawsMail showed potential but were of limited usefulness due to frequent crashes. Some others were for use only on Mac or on smartphones. I will not waste any time on any of these here.
My Pick for Best Free Email Desktop Client Thunderbird from Mozilla is a godsend, ranking high in efficiency with the added bonus that it is free. Setting up Thunderbird is not intuitive and does require some familiarity with email terms. However most of the knowledge required is available online and I believe even a novice can get through set up in under half an hour. The main drawback for me in the use of Thunderbird has been its unattractive interface. That being said this is hands down the best free option and also beats some paid options as well. While I have had problems sending emails using other desk mail clients, I have not had one problem sending or receiving email using Thunderbird.
SeaMonkey is more than an email client. It is also a contact manager and organizer and comes with a browser because the email portion is just part of a wider range of tools in this program. It is not attractive but is closest to Thunderbird in ease of setup and success in sending and receiving emails.
Zimbra desktop is another solid option with a terrible interface. In the main pane where Email accounts, and inbox messages are listed prior to opening, the font is too small and that cannot be changed in the settings. Font settings address only the display font of the opened email. As a result, quickly scanning several inboxes becomes quite the task for tired eyes late at night.
Liked, Paid For, but Didn`t Work Well for Me
Postbox! The best thing until it didn`t consistently work with my company IMAP account. I would never have searched for an alternative. This did everything when all my accounts were at Gmail. I paid for updates yearly for 5 years so loyal was I to Postbox. Mailbird is a paid option. I thought it would rank up there with Postbox in my preferences for a fully functional desktop client with sleek good-looking interface, and a number of extra features like speed reading of email, labeling, and integration with other apps such as Google Calendar. However just like Postbox I encountered problems with the IMAP account—mainly in sending email. I am not a novice but my attempts to remedy these problems failed and in fact the problem would occur not consistently but somehow with crucial emails. This never happens with gmail accounts and as a matter of fact most of the programs tested appeared to have the easiest integration with Gmail. Mailbird specifically is really configured for use with Gmail accounts. I must include here also eM Client which had a feel similar to Postbox, and Mailbird and also has a ton of features but I again encountered the same problems with sending email from the IMAP account. As I mentioned before I am not a novice and therefore even if I chalk up this problem of sending email to some mistake I consistently made in set up, it just demonstrates that the easy setup could be deceptive and that more than average knowledge is needed to make these three function seamlessly with non Gmail IMAP accounts. If after some trouble with setup Thunderbird can complete all my email tasks why should I tolerate any less from a paid client?
The Next Big Hope: MailSpring MailSpring was apparently born out of Nylas Mail which was a web based client, but for which support ceased in August 2017.
Useful features: Snooze mail, keyboard shortcuts, and most of all silent importation of all addresses I interacted with on each account in the past. This is huge! It means I can start composing a new mail to any previous sender (without needing to hit ‘Reply’ after searching for some old unrelated correspondence.) As I begin to type their name or email address the address bar auto fills with choices from my previous correspondences. Note that I have not attempted any contact list management which is quite frankly very time-consuming when using several different email accounts.
Notables I Have not Tried
Windows 10 Mail