Despite all the buzz about social networks and instant messengers, email remains the core of formal and business communication on the Internet. There are many excellent and reliable free email services to choose from.
Given the various features these free email services offer, one should know about other powerful email service options that offer so much more to its users.
We have considered the features, strengths, and drawbacks of all available free email services to help you make an informed choice about the best email service for you.
12 Best Free Email Services To Choose From
We have explored and used all the email services listed below to give thorough and specific information about them. All the services below offer a free email account that is either completely free, ad-supported or has a premium plan upgrade option.
Most free email accounts have limitations of some sort, and we have listed them as well. The table below should help you compare the email services by the numbers and based on the features offered.
1. Gmail – Market leader in free email services
Going by the numbers, Gmail is arguably the best free email service. It is simple to set up an email account, is user-friendly, reliable, and offers 15 GB of free inbox storage space.
Best features of Gmail
- Excellent spam filtering, which blocks any unwanted contacts.
- Supports built-in chat functionality that allows voice and video chat.
- Add color and personality to the inbox with Gmail background and themes.
- Configure the tabbed inbox and auto-classify emails into Primary, Updates, Promotions, Social, or Forums.
- With the latest update, you can set up and personalize the Inbox interface with a vertical or horizontal split view.
- The standalone Gmail compose window lets you write emails and also allows you to forward multiple emails.
- Undo send emails if you catch an error within a few seconds.
- Group email threads with relevant replies so that you can read messages in the proper context.
- Configure filtering rules to classify and tag emails with custom labels automatically.
- Gmail quick action buttons that help you get done more from the inbox.
- Users can access multiple email accounts within Gmail.
- Leverage an email archive where you can archive messages and later retrieve archived emails.
- Gmail allows you to access your email offline.
- Seamless integration with other Google services like Calendar and Google Drive (where you can save email attachments, photos, and files).
- Top-notch apps for iOS and Android devices.
What do we like about Gmail?
- Reliable and user-friendly email service with exceptional features.
- Excellent spam filters
- The search capability of Gmail works wonderfully and makes it very easy to find lost or old messages.
What can be better in Gmail?
- Gmail’s privacy practices have been suspect in the past. Every user should review and adjust the privacy settings as per their needs.
2. Zoho Mail – Business-class email service for individual use
Zoho Mail provides a free email service that is completely ad-free and comes with 5 GB storage. They do provide an option to pay for additional storage space at affordable rates if the storage is insufficient for your needs.
Best Zoho Mail features
- 5 GB free cloud storage capacity for free email accounts along with enhanced collaboration features.
- Users can customize the inbox, choose a horizontal or vertical email preview panel, and change the font settings.
- Access emails, tasks, calendars, notes, bookmarks, address books, and contact lists in a tabbed interface that avoids cluttering.
- Send and Undo Send in a click allowing you to cancel or edit up to 30 seconds after you hit the send button.
- Nicely classified and grouped settings that allow you to quickly navigate and find the configuration item you need.
- Tag and flag emails, and create custom filters for incoming as well as outgoing emails for easy sorting, and aid the spam filters by creating email blacklists.
- In-built integration with Zoho Docs, Zoho Sheets, and other free services makes it one of the best alternative email services to Gmail.
- Set up recurring or scheduled emails, custom reminder options, templates, multi-factor authentication, and get read receipts for your sent emails.
- Migrate email accounts from your previous email provider via IMAP/POP or Outlook Exchange server, and switch to Zoho Mail.
What do we like about Zoho?
- One distinct advantage individual users get with Zoho is that the email service is aimed at businesses – which means you get advanced features and top-class security even as a free, individual user.
- No ads, and no scanning of your emails for advertisement targeting.
- You can use your own domain for up to 5 email addresses for free.
What can be better in Zoho?
- The user interface is like a dashboard and can be overwhelming at times.
Zoho Mail offers a secure, free email account and is definitely one of the best free email services on this list.
Check out our detailed Zoho Mail review for more details about the service.
3. ProtonMail – Email focused on privacy
The pioneer in encrypted, private email services
Founded in Switzerland, ProtonMail is one of the best privacy-focused email providers. It has but one primary objective – private, secure, encrypted email. It is one of the safest email services as it does not collect and sell your data. It makes money from paid accounts, while also offering free email accounts so that everyone has access to the secure email service. The free account comes with limited support and is quite basic.
ProtonMail features for free users
- Ad-free, secure, encrypted service.
- Easy to use and simple user interface.
- 500 MB of free storage.
- Only one email address.
- Supports only 3 folders/labels.
- Send up to 150 messages per day.
- Send password-protected emails. Only the recipients who have the password can see the contents of the email.
- Custom domains are not supported.
- Send an expiring email, which can no longer be accessed once the timer runs out. It is extremely easy to configure these settings via the composer for any mail you send out.
- Set up two-factor authentication and manage active sessions.
Security features are not restricted to free email accounts. They get all the features that premium members get by option for one of their affordable pricing plans.
ProtonMail features for premium users
- Get access to ProtonMail Bridge, which supports IMAP and SMTP protocols, allowing you to use ProtonMail with desktop email clients while keeping the security intact.
- Enable autoresponders.
- Increased storage space with unlimited folders/filters and the option to have additional email addresses.
- Personalize the account interface, layout, composer view, button layout, and even switch the theme.
- Create spam filters and maintain a whitelist/blacklist of free email clients and addresses that helps to keep your inbox manageable.
- Get a custom domain for your email account.
What do we like about ProtonMail?
- End-to-end encryption. Send completely encrypted emails to other email addresses, including non-ProtonMail ones, and get secure replies.
- Best-in-the-industry security and privacy practices applied to your free email account.
- No personal information needed to create your account.
- Open-source apps which can be audited.
What can be better in ProtonMail?
- Limited search for free accounts.
- Email subject lines are not encrypted.
- IMAP and SMTP support is only available to premium accounts.
ProtonMail is one of the top email providers out there and has been the flag-bearer in the relatively new but fast-growing niche of secure, privacy-focused free email services.
Check out our detailed ProtonMail review for more information about the service.
4. Mailfence – Secure email service for individuals and businesses.
Mailfence is an email service that aims to provide a secure and encrypted service to individuals and corporations alike. Built with a focus on privacy, Mailfence leverages the best practices in the industry to keep your data private from any prying eyes – End-to-end encryption, digital signatures for identity verification and zero tracking.
Mailfence is secure, free email service that values your privacy. The free plan supports 500 MB storage for emails, 500 MB for documents and 1 group with support offered over email. Paid plans boost these limits while also offering aliases, custom domain, POP, IMAP and SMTP support and mobile apps.
Best features of Mailfence
- End-to-end encryption of you emails in-transit and at rest.
- Digital signature to avoid impersonation in digital communication
- No advertisements and no tracking
- Two-factor authentication and password-protected messages
- A calendar that supports internal and external calendars with SMS alerts support
- An integrated contacts list that can be exported and backed up
- Integrated document folder to upload and store documents
- Create a virtual drive that maps to your Mailfence documents
- Private groups to share documents with
- Extensive list of features to set up as you want
What do we like about Mailfence?
- Mailfence is based in Belgium that has strict privacy laws. They can and do provide necessary data when ordered by a Belgian court, as stated in the Mailfence transparency report.
- Complete security with end-to-end encryption
- Can pay with cryptocurrency
What can be better in Mailfence?
- Limits on free plan can be more generous.
- Shared files in groups can only be downloaded. No online usage or interactivity supported.
- IMAP, SMTP, POP or mobile devices support only available for premium accounts.
5. Outlook – Microsoft’s flagship email service
Microsoft’s Outlook email service is a reputed and well-known platform offering the best free email accounts for personal use. It is the reinvented Hotmail and Live.com email service that offers an advertisement-supported web client and excellent email clients for Windows, iOS, and Android platforms.
Best Outlook features
- Intuitive interface, with several common email-related actions available in the right-click menu.
- Comes with a “Focused Inbox” to let you focus on the important emails
- Integrate seamlessly with Office Online allowing you to work with documents, spreadsheets, notes, and other files.
- Free 15GB storage, along with email encryption that ensures your data safety.
- Add up to 20 other email accounts to your Outlook account. It is easy to set up Gmail in Outlook for easy access or even migrate your account from Gmail to Outlook.
- Ideal for heavy Skype users, as it integrates well and enhances Outlook with the chat functionality.
- An integrated search allows you to find whatever you are looking for.
- Use Outlook aliases to keep your personal email address more private.
- Effective phishing and spam filters to separate junk mail.
- Calendar and task management feature that allows you to plan your schedule accordingly.
- Customize the keyboard shortcut configuration to suit your style.
- Connect your social media accounts right in the inbox.
What do we like about Outlook?
- Outlook desktop client is very powerful.
- Outlook webmail allows you to connect 20 other email user accounts and check all of your emails right there in Outlook.
- Excellent integration with Office Online takes it beyond being an email service provider and makes it a complete productivity suite.
What can be better in Outlook?
- Focus Inbox and spam filters are not equally effective for all users. Custom filters and regular flagging may be required for better results.
- The experience of Outlook on the desktop and apps is very different and can be confusing for new users.
Though not perfect, the Outlook desktop client is one of the best free email clients. Outlook.com is one of the best email websites, while the Outlook mobile apps have also garnered rave reviews from users.
Overall, Microsoft’s Outlook email service is overall very good, always improving, and has the ability to be your default email hub.
6. Tutanota – Free and secure email accounts
Tutanota is an encrypted email service with a focus on security. As such, it competes with ProtonMail in the secure email service space.
Features for free Tutanota users
- Ad-free email service
- Only 1 user-supported
- 1 GB storage allocation
- Limited search capability
- No custom domain. Email address is restricted to the Tutanota domain only
- Sent end-to-end encrypted emails to other Tutanota users
- Send password-protected emails to other addresses
- External addresses can securely reply to the encrypted email without having to create an account on Tutanota.
- One calendar
Features for paid Tutanota users
- Option to add a user
- Set up Inbox rules
- Create up to 5 aliases
- Use a custom domain for your email address
- Unlimited search
- Multiple Calendars
- Option to add storage space, additional aliases, white-labeling, and secure contact form to your website.
What do we like about Tutanota?
- The end-to-end encryption including subject lines, content, and all attachments.
- It strips header information to protect your privacy.
- Gives options to expand your premium account as per your need.
What can be better in Tutanota?
- No IMAP/SMTP support, and so you cannot use third-party email clients
- Tutanota focuses on security and thus lacks some features that might be commonly seen across other best free email services.
7. Yahoo! Mail – Webmail with added benefits
Yahoo Mail has been around for over two decades now and the good thing is that they have evolved over this period of time to become one of the best email services. It is easy to sign up for and users get a free email service with massive 1 TB storage for all accounts (which is as good as unlimited storage for emails).
Yahoo Mail features
- Sleek and user-friendly interface on the web
- Choose a theme of your liking to customize the Inbox
- Add up to 10 send-only email addresses to your account.
- Connect up to 50 mailboxes (for email account) and use them through Yahoo Mail.
- Customize settings for writing and reading emails
- Create filters to manage the incoming emails.
- Yahoo Mail is ad-supported and the ads can even be suppressed for a while, making it a fair deal for the users and Yahoo as well!
- It has a ‘travel’ view that focuses on your travel plans and it can do that for all the connected mailboxes.
What do we like about Yahoo?
- The differentiating feature for Yahoo Mail from the other top email providers is the ability to create 500 disposable email addresses.
- Practically unlimited storage of 1 TB
- Though it has been around forever, Yahoo mail has evolved with the times and does not look dated like some other alternative email websites on this list.
What can be better in Yahoo?
- The disposable email addresses feature is nice but is not very easy to use.
- Yahoo’s services have had multiple security breaches over the last few years.
8. iCloud Mail – Trusted email service for Apple fans
iCloud Mail is an exclusive email service provider offering a free email account to Apple device users. You need to have an iOS or Mac device to enable the mail service for access via the browser. Once enabled, you can just log in to iCloud.com with your Apple ID and don’t need to create a separate account or credentials for it.
Best features of iCloud Mail
- Your Apple ID can be different from the iCloud email ID.
- 5 GB storage with the free email account that can be accessed online and can sync to your Apple devices.
- Completely ad-free.
- Set up email forwarding to some other personal email address
- Create folders and rules to filter emails and set up vacation responders.
- Have up to 3 aliases
- Share very large files via emails using the Mail Drop feature, where the file is kept on your iCloud and shared with the email recipient as a download link.
- Minimalistic design
What do we like about iCloud mail?
- Apple as a company has a growing focus on its customers’ privacy. As such, iCloud Mail has the promise of confidentiality that comes with Apple products.
- No advertisements
- No flashy features. Just pure, functional email.
What can be better in iCloud mail?
- Though the promise of privacy is a definite plus for iCloud Mail, it falls short compared to top email services like ProtonMail which are built from a privacy-first perspective.
- Advanced features offered by other top email services are missing.
iCloud Mail does not have any outstanding features compared to other email providers. But it is completely free, does not have any ads, and is very functional – making it a contender for the best email service provider in this list. (For Apple device owners only, obviously.)
9. AOL Mail – Email service with unlimited storage
AOL Mail was one of the first public email services. While it is a functional email service, it does not distinguish itself from other top email service providers at any point of comparison, except storage. The only feature that makes it stand out from the competition is unlimited storage that you get with your free email account.
Features of AOL Mail
- Unlimited storage with your free email account.
- General customization of the settings
- A variety of themes to choose from
- You can tweak the layout and composer
- Ability to add filters to manage your incoming emails.
- Integrated calendar for AOL Mail and you can easily add events to it.
- There is also a todo list that you can maintain alongside your inbox, but it is quite basic.
- There is a ‘Today on AOL’ section built into the email service that brings the latest news from AOL to your email.
- Optional subscription to go ad-free on the email website
- Mobile apps for email access on the go
What do we like about AOL Mail?
- Unlimited storage.
What can be better in AOL Mail?
- AOL Mail has been around forever, and it shows. The interface is quite dated.
- The service is heavily ad-driven. Ads are pushed into every empty folder, the sidebar, and every other place possible.
Unless you are already invested in the AOL ecosystem or are already a user of AOL or its related services, I would recommend that you choose some other service from this list for your new email account. I don’t believe there is anything exceptional offered by AOL Mail that warrants you to open a new account with AOL Mail, except for the need for unlimited storage with your email ID.
10. Yandex Mail – A powerful email service based in Russia
Yandex is the primary search engine service in Russia and Yandex Mail is the free email service offered by the company. Yandex Mail is a solid option for a free email account with no particular downside feature-wise when it comes to a comparison with other free email services.
Features of Yandex Mail
- Ad-free and gives the definite impression of a business that is not dependent on the email service for revenue streams.
- Nice, clean UI without clutter
- The free email account of Yandex Mail comes with 10 GB storage.
- Integrated calendar, and a linked account with Yandex Disk for storing your documents.
- Customize your inbox by applying themes
- Classify your emails as Conversation, Travel, Purchases, and Social.
- Enable a Task list from the settings that sit at the bottom right corner of your screen.
- Feature-rich email composer with thorough formatting options.
- Ability to attach files from Yandex Disk or your computer
- Option to save email templates.
- Leverage folders and labels to manage your incoming emails better and can create filters to automatically classify them.
- Spam protection is built-in, adding to the security of your inbox.
- Import emails from other accounts, primarily Gmail, Outlook, and Mail.ru accounts, and use Yandex as the hub for your email management.
- For access on the move, the email service provider offers a mobile app for iOS and Android platforms.
What do we like about Yandex Mail?
- The emails can be scheduled for a later time and you can set reminders to remind you to follow-up on your emails if no response is received.
- You can also request for a received-receipt for specific emails.
- If you want to import Yandex mail into third-party email sites, apps, or services, you can create app-specific passwords using Yandex Passport so that you don’t have to use your main password outside of Yandex. It is a nice feature to keep your primary password secure.
What can be better in Yandex Mail?
- Some users have shared apprehensions about using a service hosted in Russia.
If the service’s location does not bother you, Yandex Mail is definitely one of the best email service providers amongst the ones on this list. It’s a good idea not to have all your data in a single country anyway.
11. Mail.com – Custom email accounts
The main reason you might want to get a free email account with Mail.com is that you can choose from 200 free email domains to get various types of email accounts you desire. This can be based on your location, occupation, hobbies, spiritual interests, and more, allowing you to get email domains and email addresses like @nycmail.com, @artlover.com, or @techie.com.
It is definitely more fun to have an email ID that you can relate with, or you can pick one from the more popular free email domains like @mail.com, @email.com, @myself.com, @usa.com or @engineer.com amongst others.
The default type of email account is always email@example.com.
- Choose from over 200 email domains to get the perfect email ID for you
- Mandatory to set up an email account recovery option when you sign up
- Get 2 GB free storage and support for an online calendar.
- You can have file attachments up to 50 MB in size with your emails and have 10 aliases (types of email accounts) linked to it.
- The free email account also gives you access to online file storage and an online office to work with docs, spreadsheets, or presentations.
- Import contacts from other email services to get started quickly.
- Mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms.
What do we like about Mail.com?
- Extensive choice of email domains to choose from
- An option for a premium subscription that removes most pain-points from the service.
What can be better in Mail.com?
- The POP3 / IMAP feature is only available for premium users.
- This service has received some terrible reviews from users on TrustPilot along with complaints of their accounts being blocked without cause, and some users even reached out to us with these concerns.
- The service is heavily ad-driven which is not subtle and can be quite distracting.
Editor’s note: We have received emails from our readers complaining that their accounts on this service were blocked without cause. Though we have not experienced it ourselves, we thought our readers should be aware of it. We have also received communication from the service stating that these issues were being addressed and they are striving to improve their service infrastructure for better user experience.
The service does push you to go premium, it does a pretty poor job of informing you about the advantages of a premium account, which can make this service much more appealing.
12. GMX – Email accounts with generous storage
Mail.com’s Parent company 1&1 Mail & Media Inc. has another email service. GMX is almost the same in terms of features and web interface when you compare it with the above service.
Features of GMX
- Reliable email service that allows up to 50MB of attachment.
- Efficient spam and virus filters
- Manage all your email accounts using their email collector.
- Manage your emails on the web and mobile.
What do we like about GMX?
- GMX offers 65 GB storage with your email account.
- Higher than usual attachment size allowed.
What can be better in GMX?
- Compared to mail.com, your email domain options are restricted to gmx.com and gmx.us
By the Numbers: Comparison of Personal, Free Email Services
Scroll table to the left for more details on each email service <<<
|Service \ Attribute||Service Type||Advertising||Storage Space||Maximum Attachment size||Max Large File Attachment||Max Number of Contacts||CC and BCC limits||Outgoing Email Limit||Incoming Email Limit||POP support||IMAP support||Email Forwarding||Two Factor Auth||Labels|
There are plenty of good options for you to get your free email account and which one is most suited for you depends on your requirements.
When you make a choice, be sure to explore all the options available to you so that you can make full use of their functionality.
(Article updated on 17th September 2020)