Question

What is the best email app?

Email apps come and go so fast—which one has kept you using it the longest, and why?

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abouelatta_ali's avatar
11 months ago
Superhuman

This is coming from someone who started with gmail, then migrated to outlook, then migrated to Inbox by Gmail then migrated to Astro (acquired by slack) and now Superhuman user and fan. Besides the ones I mentioned I think I tried all available products (paid and free) including airmail and others.

Superhuman's magic comes from the fact that they actually train you to use email better. Its weird but the app always has subtle suggestions on how to do things faster and more efficiently . It took me 2-4 weeks to get the hang of it but once you do, gmail feels like it was built in the 1990s. I got so good at their shortcuts that I find myself using them in other apps as airtable and notion.

It is the most expensive email client for sure but if you get more than 50 emails/day..it is TOTALLY WORTH IT

10 points
awwstn's avatar
@awwstn (replying to @abouelatta_ali )
11 months ago

Gotta agree here. Once I started using Superhuman I've never looked back.

2 points
codesushi_co's avatar
10 months ago
Inbox by google but they killed it!

now Spark instead of Inbox but I still want Inbox back!!!

10 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @codesushi_co )
10 months ago

Inbox really built a loyal following! What was your favorite Inbox feature that you can't find in other apps?

2 points
codesushi_co's avatar
@codesushi_co (replying to @maguay )
10 months ago

the interface mostly, I liked their iPad app and desktop versions

4 points
mitchellreynolds's avatar
2 months ago
  • Interface was super clean. I loved the expand feature for each folder.
  • My personal favorite feature was how they organized emails into pre-built & custom folders.

For example, you get an email from an airline about your upcoming trip. A couple days later you book a hotel but you used a different email and have to fwd that. Then your friend emails you the car details from Turo. Inbox would automagically put all that into a trip folder.
I think they're doing this now but the features were available years ago in Inbox.

But wait! There's more: It also auto-grouped all things Finance related (and other themes). Student loans, Credit cards, Bank statements, Investments etc were all in 1 place.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @mitchellreynolds )
2 months ago

It's incredible Google hasn't brought that bundling into real Gmail yet—seems a perfect fit, and if Inbox was testing grounds for new email ideas, why not bring them into Gmail?

2 points
mitchellreynolds's avatar
@mitchellreynolds (replying to @maguay )
2 months ago

Living in the Bay, I've heard through the grapevine that Inbox users could easily avoid ads in Inbox. Ads were bundled all in 1 place, & I'd honestly never open that section.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @mitchellreynolds )
a month ago

You do have to wonder if sometimes the greatest appeal of alternative versions of popular apps (Inbox for Gmail, Paper for Facebook, among others) is that they didn't include ads.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @codesushi_co )
10 months ago

Gottcha. That's tough, as you might be able to find specific Inbox-style features in other apps, but the interface can't be replaced!

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @codesushi_co )
10 months ago

This won't entirely bring back Inbox—and would only help on desktop—but @JW_15 had mentioned Simplify Gmail in a discussion about favorite Gmail add-ons. That might bring back a bit of Google Inbox style for you!

1 point
jamoses92's avatar
@jamoses92 (replying to @maguay )
9 months ago

Google should really listen to this customer feedback. Seems like they had a killer product, but timing may have been off. Time for a new GTM!

5 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @jamoses92 )
9 months ago

It's wild how many products have been killed by Google—Killed by Google lists 194 so far. Google Reader and Inbox have perhaps been the most missed so far. Though in Reader's case, it did seem to re-energize the market for other RSS readers (though at the same time likely made many people simply quit using RSS readers altogether).

4 points
thatbberg's avatar
10 months ago
Spark

I love Spark. I'm someone who rarely ever hesitates to spend money on software - anything that saves me time is worth my money. But almost every paid email client I've tried had huge gaps in features important to me or had a difficult experience. Their free apps keep me happier than any of the paid apps I've tried.

9 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @thatbberg )
5 months ago

Spark's what I used before Superhuman, and would still likely be my next choice. Did you ever use Sparrow? That was one really nicely designed email app.

Have you ever used Spark with a team? Curious how its collaborative tools stack up to Front.

1 point
revitup's avatar
10 months ago
Still hanging with gmail.

I’ve got a lot of time invested in gmail and appreciate the upgrades and extensions that have been added. I ‘ve started using shift on my laptop, but that incorporates gmail, so I’m still using gmail.

8 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @revitup )
10 months ago

So Shift is basically a dedicated browser for Gmail's web interface? Looks nice!

3 points
awwstn's avatar
@awwstn (replying to @revitup )
10 months ago

Makes sense! What extensions are you currently using in Gmail?

1 point
maguay's avatar
11 months ago
Gmail

It's hard to imagine email without Gmail's innovations. When it launched in 2004, its generous gigabytes of free storage, email tagging, and lightening-fast web app felt revolutionary. And over time, @gmail.com email addresses and G Suite-powered business emails became the new standard.

And for a free default app, it's pretty great. It's still fast, still built around email tagging, and still has enough free storage that you can archive all your emails without worrying about running out of space. Gmail includes handy features like recognizing dates in ticket emails and appointment invites, adding them to your calendar so you won't forget. It can smartly sort your inbox to prioritize personal emails, and move newsletters and promotions away for later.

It's the app that defines email today. Even if you use a 3rd party email app, many of the most popular (including Superhuman and Spark, and the now-defunct Sparrow) are built around Gmail's service.

You do need to take time to learn, though, to get the most out of Gmail. It includes a wide variety of settings and optional features that can make Gmail more productive, but you need to enable them first. Gmail has keyboard shortcuts for almost action, but you'd need to take time to memorize them. And when many of us use Gmail in 3rd party apps, it's easy to miss out on the good things in Gmail's web app even while relying on its web service.

Gmail has downsides. It's a web app and doesn't work offline except in Chrome. You can't view multiple email accounts together, without importing everything into one account. And while it's still fast, it's not as fast as many native email apps, especially if your internet's slow. But Gmail recently added better multi-account features to its mobile apps, and if your internet is fast its search still feels faster and more accurate than most others.

Gmail is the email app that's best for most people. Power users may need something more, but there's a lot right in Gmail for almost everyone.

7 points
dharmesh's avatar
9 months ago
Superhuman

Superhuman, hands-down.

  1. Keyboard shortcuts are great.
  2. Offline mode actually works.
  3. Blazingly fast.
  4. A UI that brings joy.

Disclosure: I'm an investor in Superhuman, but that's not the reason I love it.

7 points
max_hodges's avatar
10 months ago
Gmail, SendGrid, Mailchimp, Outlook on iPhone

I've tried multiple iOS mail apps (Spark, Gmail, Apple Mail) but prefer Outlook (I know, the irony of running a Microsoft app on an Apple device, but it's quite well done.)

We use GSuite for business email. SendGrid for Transaction email, and MailChimp for marketing email.

6 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @max_hodges )
10 months ago

I've heard really good things about the Outlook iOS app, even from people who otherwise don't use Microsoft products. Seems to be one acquired-then-rebranded app they did well.

1 point
bshyong's avatar
10 months ago
Microsoft Outlook (Mobile)

Cannot live without their built-in multi-account (Gmail, Outlook) calendar support and I haven't seen other clients with this feature yet. This may be not be a common use case, but I have work, personal, and cross-team/external email accounts/calendars, so without this feature I'd have to open Google Calendar constantly in addition to the email client.

6 points
max_hodges's avatar
@max_hodges (replying to @bshyong )
10 months ago

Spark also integrates seamlessly with Google Calendar, I've also switched to Outlook (iOS)

1 point
nathansnelgrove's avatar
10 months ago
Spark

Spark is a Mac / iOS joint that blows away the competition. It's fast, feature-rich, and it's not creepy. It handles aliases, it works with every email provider I've thrown at it, and the customer support is pretty good (if you need it).

Finally: they've got a really nice way of splitting up your inbox (which they call the "Smart Inbox") and a bunch of features for dealing with email as part of a team. Plus, their pricing model is fair.

(Barring that, I also stick with the default mail.app. It's reliable and it just works.)

6 points
faruque's avatar
10 months ago
Microsoft Outlook

If you work within the Microsoft ecosystem, then hands down, Outlook is the best choice.

5 points
weizhuxiaona's avatar
10 months ago
Mail, Spark (Front?)

For personal use: Mail
It's good enough, fast, easy to access (always there on the dock)
I'm lazy, I chose the default if the default is good enough.

For team: Spark, maybe Front also, haven't tried
The collaboration is amazing. Solved quite a few of our pain points. Make team productivity much higher.

5 points
awwstn's avatar
@awwstn (replying to @weizhuxiaona )
10 months ago

Hadn't heard of Spark but seeing two people suggest on here makes me think I should check it out!

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @awwstn )
10 months ago

It's what I used prior to Superhuman—next closest thing to Sparrow, if you ever used that.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @weizhuxiaona )
5 months ago

Did you end up trying Front? Wondering how Spark's collaboration tools compare to Front.

1 point
andrelimahere's avatar
10 months ago
Spark, Gmail / G Suite, Sendfox, Amazon SES

Email client: Spark, both for desktop and mobile (iOS / Android).

Email provider: GMail / G Suite. With G Suite you get a lot of other services / apps as well — for a pretty low price per user.

For email newsletters and funnels: I'm trying Sendfox — liking it for its simplicity. I've used MailChimp in the past — way too much complexity for my taste.

For transactional email: Sparkpost. Easy to use, great deliverability, and low cost.

5 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @andrelimahere )
10 months ago

Isn't it wild how many email tools we need nowadays? There's not just an email app, you need all of them.

Hadn't heard of Sendfox yet—is that built around subscription newsletters like Substack?

5 points
andrelimahere's avatar
@andrelimahere (replying to @maguay )
10 months ago

I didn't know about Substack — interesting — it's for paid email newsletters. That's a nice niche. 🙂

Sendfox is basically a simpler Mailchimp — it's for regular email newsletters and offers email automation based on simple triggers (eg: send a specific email one day after user subscribes).

6 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @andrelimahere )
10 months ago

Yup there's a growing category built around subscription emails. Not sure how many will last long-term but interesting seeing them all pop up.

5 points
andrelimahere's avatar
10 months ago

…Sparkpost I've used before and can personally recommend. Amazon SES (from the research I've done) seems to be a great choice as well.

4 points
awwstn's avatar
@awwstn (replying to @andrelimahere )
10 months ago

@andrelimahere have you compared Sparkpost to Sendgrid, Mailgun, and Amazon SES at all? Curious how they stack up. I've had the best experience with Sendgrid on deliverability, though I think they're a bit pricier than some of the alternatives.

1 point
Riley_S_Rodgers's avatar
10 months ago
Outlook

I spend most of my day in email, and love the dedicated outlook app.

5 points
preshdkumar's avatar
10 months ago
Superhuman

product is engineered to get users through their email quicker

5 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @preshdkumar )
5 months ago

Which Superhuman feature or shortcut do you use the most to get through email quickly?

2 points
preshdkumar's avatar
@preshdkumar (replying to @maguay )
5 months ago

I mainly use remind me later 😂

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @preshdkumar )
5 months ago

Haha nice, it really is a handy way to push stuff out of the inbox but still ensure you don't forget it.

The notifications do trip me up a bit sometimes, though, where I at first thing "oh that person emailed again this is urgent" and then remember I'd snoozed the email and it's just Superhuman bringing it back!

1 point
bysrikanth's avatar
10 months ago
Spark

I have been using Spark on Mac for some time now. While you can use GMail-style shortcuts (C for compose, etc), its good on its own. However the last few updates have been a disaster, and I see it hogging 800MB-1GB of memory consistently.

But for a free client, its much better than its competitors, like AppleMail or Astro.

I use native GMail app on my Android phone though, I have tried Outlook, Boomerang, Spark, etc, but always went back to the default.

5 points
kil0ran's avatar
10 months ago
Spark

Spark with a GMail backend is by far and away the best email client I've ever used - and that's from a former email sysadmin who sent his first email in 1994. So quick to process emails now, and build quick to-do lists. Calendaring is reasonably functional and good enough for most users.

5 points
awwstn's avatar
@awwstn (replying to @kil0ran )
10 months ago

What makes it so quick to process emails? The speed of the app itself or something in the UX?

1 point
zachshakked's avatar
10 months ago
Superhuman

It's insanely powerful. The keyboard shortcuts let you go through your email WAY faster than gmail.

4 points
krogothyale's avatar
10 months ago
Gmail

Still Gmail for personal. Team: ZenDesk. Easiest way to get work done!

4 points
avatar
anonymous (replying to @krogothyale )
10 months ago

I've heard good things about ZenDesk's product portfolio and know people who swear by it. They've certainly nailed UX.

3 points
awwstn's avatar
@awwstn (replying to anonymous )
10 months ago

I've used both Zendesk and Front and prefer Front for ease of use, but I think both are solid.

1 point
tdalene's avatar
10 months ago
Superhuman

Big Fan.. gmail became so clunky and overwhelming. Superhuman stripped it down, made it fast & added an offline feature. Also helps stay organized when having a lot of inbound flow. Paying monthly, but worth it.

4 points
nvs's avatar
10 months ago
Superhuman

I don't really trust any other app with OAuth access to my personal gmail account. The utility of Superhuman supersedes my desire to keep my data private – it also helped that stores all your files locally (great for performance and security).

4 points
avatar
anonymous
10 months ago
Gmail

Gmail. Hands down. Can't imagine paying for a commoditized service. Then again, everyone has his/her preferences, so can't criticize anyone shelling out cash for a different UX.

4 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to anonymous )
10 months ago

Curious, do you use multiple Gmail accounts, and if so, do you find it frustrating to switch back and forth between them? The main reason I've always used native email apps is for a combined inbox.

1 point
avatar
anonymous (replying to @maguay )
10 months ago

I do have numerous gmail accounts. The Gmail iOS app has a great feature that allows users to easily switch between accounts and/or view all inboxes on a single screen. Combined with labels/filters, I don't see the need to spend money on email platforms. However, as I mentioned earlier, everyone has their own unique workflow, so can't judge :)

Oddly enough, now that you raise this point, I haven't experienced an easy way to do this on Gmail's desktop dashboard. Maybe I'm missing something? Or perhaps this is a good feature request.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to anonymous )
10 months ago

Yeah, on the Gmail desktop web app, you have to click your account avatar or company logo in the top right corner of Gmail, then select the other G Suite account you want to use, and that loads a new Gmail instance in another tab. It works, but takes more clicks and feels clunky as it takes a few seconds to load.

5 points
rarjunpillai's avatar
10 months ago
Polymail

I have been a paid member for almost year now. Super smooth Mac app with all capabilities. Though I miss some Chrome plugins, the client is rich with features like snooze, send later, tracking, sequences, sharing of emails, etc etc.

Ipad, Iphone apps also work well. Support is also prompt.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @rarjunpillai )
10 months ago

Are sequences automated workflows? What do you use them for?

I'd tried Polymail way back—sounds like it's gained a lot of features!

1 point
rarjunpillai's avatar
@rarjunpillai (replying to @maguay )
10 months ago

Yes @maguay. Sequences are automated email followups (also called drips).

I do sales at my startup. So, I need sequences from time to time for followups.

Polymail is suited for such usecases where you get a lot of your work done via emails. Here is a referral code if you'd like to use - https://ply.to/MHJRWX ($10 for both of us)

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @rarjunpillai )
10 months ago

Oh that's super cool. Right now, we build drips in Customer.io, separate from our standard email inboxes. Neat to see they're built into Polymail!

3 points
RobinMonks's avatar
10 months ago
Postbox

It has good roots and a nice UI, I found it an excellent tool belt app.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @RobinMonks )
10 months ago

Ohh I used Postbox years ago, but haven't tried it again recently. Looks like it's gotten quite a redesign since I last used it.

What's your favorite thing about Postbox?

3 points
esoneill's avatar
8 months ago
It is VERY dependent on your back-end.

So, this question is interesting...a ton of the answers seem to assume we're using Google for email and calendar. We aren't, and O365 is gaining market share. Superhuman doesn't support O365, and many other 3rd party apps (like Spark) don't support full calendar integration.

For O365 users, i overwhelmingly prefer the Office Web app that Microsoft provides. It's fast, intelligent, and integrated with the calendar - i don't need a separate app to accept meeting invites, for example. I've tried everything else, but nothing comes close.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @esoneill )
8 months ago

That's a really good point—so many new desktop + mobile email apps are built around G Suite/Gmail.

1 point
goleary's avatar
3 months ago

I don't have much to add because I'm currently looking for an email client that is not Superhuman ($30/month is a bit too steep for me) or Hey (I didn't love it during my trial).

That said it would be awesome if you could attach polls to post like this so we can see how the community ranks what's out there. It seems like Spark would be winning that battle, but they have no web app or windows app so I'm SOL for now I guess...

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @goleary )
3 months ago

Great idea on adding a poll—that'd be a great way to summarize the suggestions in the future. For now, I'm going to update this discussion with a summary of the top recommendations in the description.

I'd absolutely recommend Spark—though as you mentioned, that won't work on Windows for now (though their team says they're working on a Windows version). It's been a while since I've directly compared Windows email apps, but the closest to Spark on Windows is likely Mailbird. It's got a fairly simple, focused interface. em Client is another option with a newer design—though it's a more full-feature, Outlook/Thunderbird-type email app.

2 points
goleary's avatar
@goleary (replying to @maguay )
3 months ago

Sweet, thanks for the recommendations. I'll check them out!

1 point
ChucKN0risK's avatar
6 months ago

I've been using Tempo for a year now and I'm totally satisfied. Very clean product. I'm surprised no one mentioned it before.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @ChucKN0risK )
6 months ago

Wow never heard of it before—looks beautiful, and reminds me of a short-lived app I worked on with a friend, Let.ter, that was super basic designed simply for sending email messages.

What's your favorite feature, and do you think you'll pay for it post-beta?

1 point
ChucKN0risK's avatar
@ChucKN0risK (replying to @maguay )
6 months ago

I could tell you that it provide you a better and smarter email environment: Markdown, email priorisation, focus mode... But the the best feature is actually its overall smart design. You have the feeling that every decisions they take is well-thought-out.

This product makes me happy to read and write email on a daily basis. Which is huge to my eyes. I think I would pay for it yes. As a co-founder myself, I can relate to what they are trying to achieve. They are a small team, with human core values (just look at their about page and they are tackling an old market waiting to be revamped. They deserve my money even if I only spend daily 1h maximum managing email 😉

1 point
sahanlak's avatar
2 months ago

Big fan of Newton. I originally got it since it was lightweight but stayed cause of the simplicity and added features. Tried popular ones at the time, AirMaill, Spark, Postbox. All of them were hogging the RAM.

1 point
Thirstylizard's avatar
@Thirstylizard (replying to @sahanlak )
2 months ago

I think the question is very broad, each user has different set of criteria. If cross platform (IOS, Mac, Windows, Andriod, etc) then gmail and outlook could be the winner. I am mainly on Apple ecology, have tried gmail, outlook, spark, airmail (which is the one I am using currently) but I have not found one which I have to stick around for long term. I have not tried Superhuman, not sure I need all the features to justify the cost for my use case

1 point
Thirstylizard's avatar
2 months ago

sorry , new to this forum, may have posted wrong, here is my posting as a reply


I think the question is very broad, each user has different set of criteria. If cross platform (IOS, Mac, Windows, Android, etc) then gmail and outlook could be the winner. I am mainly on Apple ecology, have tried gmail, outlook, spark, airmail (which is the one I am using currently) but I have not found one which I have to stick around for long term. I have not tried Superhuman, not sure I need all the features to justify the cost for my use case

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @Thirstylizard )
2 months ago

@Thirstylizard Welcome to Capiche!

This is great—love hearing your thoughts about what you've tried. Which app has come the closest to fitting your needs so far, and what made Airmail better than the others for you? Any specific thing you're looking for in an email app?

1 point
Thirstylizard's avatar
@Thirstylizard (replying to @maguay )
2 months ago

I am currently using Airmail the following reasons :

  • very similar user experience and interface from Mac to IOS
  • can link to work with many MAC and IOS apps like cloud storage, things, fantastical, evernote, etc
  • quite customizable, including shortcuts, actions, etc

Love to hear from others, I am sure there are a lot I have missed.

2 points
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