In business and at home, email is still a must for communication. But which email client is the best? You will be surprised that it is not Microsoft Outlook.
I rely on email. In fact, it is my primary method of communicating with the outside world. While most people are busy with Slack and other chat platforms, I still prefer email. Why? On the one hand, I keep a digital trace of my communication. I can search email threads to easily keep track of conversations with a single person (or multiple people). Another reason is that I’ve been using email since the late 90s, so it’s a very comfortable and familiar format.
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Does this mean that I am ignoring chat and other types of communication platforms? Not at all. But for my main method of communication with clients, editors, and publishers, it’s email. It’s easy, quick and always with you. I don’t have to worry about whether a recipient is online or not. they’ll get the communication either way.
But there is a little problem. Which email client should I use? There are quite a large number of apps on every platform, and not every app is available for every operating system. You have Apple Mail for macOS, Outlook for Windows and macOS, Evolution for Linux, and many other options. And for a long time everyone just thought that Microsoft Outlook was the best email client in the world.
For anyone who’s had to fix Outlook issues, you know how bad a client can get when they’re in a picky mood. I have seen Outlook problems so bad that the only way to solve the problem was to completely reinstall the operating system. Granted, this situation wasn’t normal, but it is an indication of what can go wrong with that particular email client. And while Apple Mail is a very good email application, its limitation to macOS is only problematic. I’ll go as far as to say that if Apple Mail were available for Linux, macOS, and Windows, it would likely end up at the top of this list.
SEE: The best browser for Linux, Windows, and Mac isn’t Google Chrome in 2021 (TechRepublic)
However, this is not the case.
With that in mind, is there a single email application that can claim the best email client for all three major desktop operating systems? There are, and you will be surprised by which customer rose to the top. Why the surprise? Mainly because everyone had as good as written off this application when the founding company wanted to throw the software overboard. That didn’t happen, and the email client was experiencing a bit of a renaissance that made it one of the cleanest, most reliable email clients out there. That client is Thunderbird.
Whoa! What about the cloud
I understand a lot of you are choosing the cloud or SaaS route for email. You have Gmail, Microsoft 365, and many other cloud or SaaS based email services, and you can view content through a web browser. This is the route so many people take. It can get a little unwieldy, however – especially if you already tend to have too many tabs open in your browser. Good news: Thunderbird can handle Gmail and Office 365.
And that’s just one of the reasons Thunderbird receives this award: Because of its flexibility and expandability. You see, Thunderbird isn’t just limited to POP and IMAP. With this open source email client you can connect to:
- Office 365
- and more
These services alone cover a very broad spectrum. Of course, some of the points above require you to go through certain areas for it to work (like enabling IMAP or using app passwords), but the point is, it works. And works quite well.
But why switch?
You have probably already invested heavily in your current email application. You have been using it for years and it serves you well (for the most part). Or you see your email mostly in a web browser. But if you’re like me, you’ve got loads of email accounts all day. I have four primary email accounts to keep track of, and the idea of switching between browser tabs to see them all makes me want to switch off and turn my back on communication. To do this, I rely on Thunderbird to bring these email accounts together into a single, easy-to-use interface.
But what about the calendar?
Outlook is an all-in-one groupware suite. It’s Email, Calendar, Contacts, Todo, Coffee Maker, Toothbrush, and Vegetable Chips. But let’s face it, most people use Outlook for two things: email and calendar. And the majority of home users likely only use Outlook for email.
Guess what? Thunderbird has a built-in calendar function that can be linked to your calendar of choice. Even better, Thunderbird has almost every feature you can think of:
- Tabbed interface.
- Built-in encryption.
- Highly customizable.
- Track and block content remotely.
- Powerful add-ons.
- Address book with one click.
- Appendix reminder.
- Quick filter toolbar.
- Powerful search.
- Message archiving.
- Large file management.
- Smart folders.
- Remote image blocking.
- Phishing protection.
- Updated automatically.
- Built-in junk filter.
It’s about performance and efficiency
The two main reasons I list Thunderbird as the best email client for all platforms are performance and efficiency. Of all the email clients I’ve ever used (and I’ve used a ton of them), Thunderbird offers the best mix of performance, efficiency, and features. And given the hectic pace of everyday life, performance and efficiency are crucial.
Thunderbird’s basic layout removes any confusion and makes it incredibly easy to read, compose, and manage email. There is no learning curve for this client and it is as easy to use as it gets. In addition, Thunderbird works incredibly well even with a huge amount of email in your account. I’ve seen Outlook choke on what Thunderbird easily manages. My current Thunderbird client (which runs on both Pop! _OS and macOS) has archives from 2009 and shows no signs of slowing down or hesitation. I can’t remember the last time I had a problem with Thunderbird.
On the contrary, the last time I worked with Outlook, I had to deal with PST and OST files a lot. If these files were not cared for, well fed, and burped frequently, Outlook would become fussy and refuse to do what it was told. Meanwhile, Thunderbird chugs on.
My day has become insanely busy. The tools I use have to work and work well. Between web browsers and email clients, I don’t have time to deal with glitches and corrupted files. That’s why Thunderbird is the email client that I think is best for Linux, macOS, and Windows. It’s not perfect, but between it and the competition picking Thunderbird as the default is a breeze.
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