Until a few years ago there was Outlook Express, a very basic but free mail client, which however is no longer developed and distributed by Microsoft (also Windows Live Mail which had taken its place since 2016 is no longer supported).
The function that makes Microsoft Outlook unique and important is that of the calendar and the task management to be assigned to people (Task and Event Management) is also used in 90% of companies because integrates with the e-mail server Microsoft Exchange (if you work in the company you will notice that the internal contacts are shared by everyone). Also there are several extensions and plugins for Microsoft Outlook that expand the possibilities of use.
All these qualities are very difficult to replicate on another program, but fortunately there are plenty of free alternatives: in this guide in fact we will show you the best alternative mail clients to Outlook that we can use for free and without limits, in one case without even installing nothing on the computer (in case we had the Windows 10 operating system).
READ ALSO: Send and Receive Email on PC: Better Free Email Programs
Best alternatives to Microsoft Outlook
Below we can analyze and evaluate the free alternatives to use instead of Microsoft Outlook. We are talking about alternative clients to download, install on the PC and use for free to manage e-mail and e-mails, without necessarily having to buy the Microsoft Office suite to get office programs and to get Outlook (which is still the best program to use).
Windows 10 Mail app
As mentioned in the introduction, if we own a PC with Windows 10 we don’t have to install any additional mail programs, since it is possible use the Integrated Mail app.
If we don’t find its icon in the system tray, just open the Start menu and search Mail, so you can start the app of the same name. Once inside, you will automatically be logged into the Microsoft account used on the operating system, so you can comfortably read Outlook mail from the app’s interface, modern and simple to use. Once opened, the app remains in memory and will show the arrival of new messages such as system notifications, so as not to miss any incoming e-mail messages.
To add other mail accounts (such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail) we will only have to open the app, expand the left side menu by pressing the icon with the three horizontal lines at the top left, click on the item Account and finally press on the item Add account, present in the right sidebar.
To learn more about how to use the Windows Mail app to manage, send and receive emails, we recommend you read our guide Use Mail in Windows 10 as an Email app.
If we are looking for an alternative free program to install on our computer, the best currently is without a doubt Thunderbird.
Thunderbird is an e-mail client to be installed on the PC, developed by MZLA Technologies Corporation, a subsidiary company entirely controlled by the Mozilla Foundation, which also manages the famous Mozilla Firefox browser, among other things.
It is therefore a software open source very flexible and customizable, since it is possible to install extensions and additional components.
How Outlook Thunderbird supports POP, IMAP and SMTP, using a wizard to create mail accounts for all popular Web Mail services, including Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail.
Among the other features worthy of mention are: support for RSS feeds of news sites and blogs, management of newsgroups and integration with online calendars of Gmail, Outlook and other business synchronization services. The main advantage of Thunderbird is that the version can be downloaded for Windows, for Mac OS X and GNU / Linux. The numerous extensions for Thunderbird make this email client extremely customizable and full of features
Thunderbird becomes perfect in the home environment where it is absolutely up to Microsoft Outlook and certainly superior to the Windows 10 Mail app (in some respects too simple and not very configurable).
The problem, however, is in the corporate or corporate environment because, in offices, using Thunderbird requires a configuration that is not easy and where the intervention of the system administrator is often necessary to be able to configure it correctly.
If we want to deepen the discussion on this e-mail client, we invite you to read our guide Thunderbird, the most used and free email program on PC.
eM Client is a little known program but it is absolutely capable of competing with Outlook and Thunderbird in the management of email accounts and in the management of synchronized calendars.
This software has an interface very similar to Outlook, so it will certainly be opened by all users who are looking for a valid alternative to Microsoft’s paid program without renouncing its conveniences and the simple and clean interface typical of the latest Office products.
Among the main features there is the possibility to customize the graphic theme of the client and the support for POP and IMAP protocols, so that we can add all our mail accounts without too many problems, also considering the automatic recovery of the configuration parameters for the vast majority of online mail services.
Among the other more interesting functions we find synchronization with Google Calendar, integration with some of the most famous social networks and the ability to import e-mail messages from Thunderbird or from another e-mail client present on the computer.
Although less known, we advise you to give it a chance, given that on computers we will hardly find such curated, simple to use and powerful programs.
Other free email clients
The ones we have listed so far are the best alternative email clients to Microsoft Outlook for reading mail from your PC: let’s try them all until we find the one that suits our needs. In the unfortunate event that we did not like any of the programs already mentioned, we can try one of the free clients listed below:
- MailBird is an excellent e-mail client described in detail in another article, very modern, light and clean, which works with all major mail providers and supports IMAP.
- IncrediMail is the e-mail client of the youngest ones who love this program because it sends colorful, animated messages, full of emoticons and smileys and full of themes and graphic extensions.
- ClawMail is another valid mail client that allows you to import messages and contacts from Outlook and from any online mail service, also available in a portable version.
- Pegasus Mail, celebrated and historic PC mail client that supports multiple accounts and notifies you of new messages on the desktop.
- Sylpheed is a small open source email client with support for IMAP and POP, with the ability to manage multiple accounts in a single interface simultaneously.
If we only use Gmail
If we only use Gmail accounts, instead of installing or configuring a thousand programs we can simply use the Gmail website.
Although it is not a client to be installed on the PC but only a web application accessible via an internet browser, Gmail is so full of features that it competes easily with any client. Gmail supports POP and IMAP and is fully integrated with the Google Apps suite.
What makes it better than Outlook is the clear advantage of an e-mail web client or its worldwide availability: wherever you go, whatever computer you use, you can receive and write Email from your Gmail account.
Maybe many ignore that on Gmail there are a lot of settings and functions among which, one of the main ones is the ability to group conversations (hits and replies) and multiple replies to emails.
Those who use multiple Gmail accounts can use one program to have GMail on PC, so that we can turn it into a real program.
On Gmail we can deepen the topic by reading one of my guides below:
- Import and manage other Email accounts in Gmail with multiple boxes
- How to download messages and read them offline on your computer
- Extensions to improve Gmail on Chrome and Firefox
Ultimately, if you do not have Office at home and you do not have Microsoft Outlook and if you want a nice complete program to manage emails from accounts such as Yahoo, Hotmail, Libero, Virgilio, Alice, Tiscalinet or other, we can install one of the programs seen in the guide, sure of the final result (you will hardly regret Outlook, especially in the home). In the business environment, however, these alternatives are probably not good or can be used only under certain conditions.
In another article we told you about the programs for receive notifications and alerts, on your computer, when new emails arrive.
If we want to receive notifications from Gmail when we use the web browser, we recommend reading our article Gmail desktop notification to receive email on PC.