You don’t have to spend too much time online before you’re greeted with a sign-in page or a big box asking for your email. Nearly every website you log in to will require your email address at signup.
Email is also how businesses, friends, schools and workplaces contact you. Although there are a lot of options, getting an email service with good inbox security and management can be difficult.
With all of the information that passes through your inbox in a day, it’s important that you have the best security and that your inbox is easy to navigate. Although security and navigation are important, we also looked at expandable storage options so you have room to grow, if you need it. We also looked at any features that added to the overall experience.
In this guide, we will cover the top email services. At the end, we will also cover some options to avoid and why.
Best Email Service: Tutanota
Tutanota takes the number-one place as our favorite email service. It’s simple to use, includes a free search function and has room for expansion. What features it does have work well, though we do wish that Tutanota included something like Gmail’s add-ons. However, given the secure nature of Tutanota, we can understand why it didn’t go that route.
Emails between Tutanota accounts are automatically encrypted via a key that is created locally on your device, so not even Tutanota — much less anyone else — has access to your emails in transit.
Your inbox itself uses several different kinds of security to protect your information, including two-factor authentication. You can read more about Tutanota’s security here.
Aside from its free email plan, Tutanota is the best paid email service with two options: premium and pro. The “premium” plan lets you use custom domains, inbox rules, expanded search and email support.
It also lets you create up to five email aliases, which are temporary email addresses that you can turn on and off. If you sign up for something that you don’t want spam from, an alias will keep companies from having your real information.
The “pro” plan offers everything included in the “premium” plan, plus priority support, custom colors and logos, custom domain login and contact forms. You are also bumped from five aliases to 20, all for $75.60 per year.
Between the two, we recommend the “premium” plan because, at $15 per year, it offers a better value, with the five alias and custom domain features.
There are two additional plans that Tutanota says are aimed at business customers. These plans have the same cost and features as the “premium” and “pro” plans for general users.
|Price:||Free||$15 per year||$75.60 per year|
You can read more about Tutanota and see how it stacks up against other providers in our most secure email guide.
Best Free Email: Gmail
Gmail is Google’s email client. Coming in at a close second to Tutanota, Gmail offers several features that allow you to customize your inbox in any way that you want. Our favorite feature is the option to install add-ons that change how your inbox functions.
Add-ons are plug-ins that allow you to incorporate features that aren’t included natively within your Gmail inbox. There are dozens of add-ons within Gmail that can add extra security, business features and more. You can also link popular services with Gmail, such as Evernote and Dropbox.
Gmail has some pros and cons concerning security. Google admits that it collects information from the emails you send and receive, which is the reason we didn’t place Gmail in the top spot. Google also has no native option for end-to-end encryption between Gmail users, though it does have two-factor authentication.
Gmail is free with a Google account and gives you 15GB of storage to share between your Google services. However, if that fills up, there are five additional plans available, ranging from 100GB for $1.99 per month to 20TB for $199.99 per month. You can read more about Google’s additional plans and your Google account in our Google Drive review. Also, read our guide on how to make Gmail your default email client.
Zoho, like Google, offers a whole suite of apps that serve businesses and individual users alike. Creating an account gives you limited access to its apps, including Zoho Writer, its document editor, Zoho Books, its accounting software, and Zoho Cliq, its instant messaging app.
Zoho’s inbox is easy to navigate. It is split into three sections to display the sidebar, inbox and an open email. Zoho also supports extensions within your inbox for things like invoices, notes and subscriptions for “premium” users. Night mode also helps if you are looking at your screen for long periods of time in the evening.
Zoho uses several security measures to keep your emails and other information safe. Your inbox is encrypted so only you have access to it.
When mail is sent between its servers, Zoho uses end-to-end encryption, and it even tells you if your sent email won’t be encrypted. Not all of Zoho’s plans come with all of its security measures, so be sure that you are comfortable with your plan.
The free email account comes with web-only access to your inbox, as well as 5GB per user and a 25MB attachment limit. You can also create up to five users, and Zoho will host one custom domain, as well. For additional features and security, you should check out Zoho’s two paid individual mail plans: lite and premium.
Mail Lite is just $1 per month and, like the free plan, comes with 5GB of storage, as well as a 25MB attachment limit. It also gives you access to email aliases and IMAP/POP access in third-party email clients. All “premium” plans also come with access to the iOS and Android apps.
Mail Premium is just $4 per month and comes with all of the same benefits as the “lite” version, plus 50GB of storage, attachment sizes up to 250MB and enhanced security, as well as the ability to backup and restore your emails. You can review all of Zoho’s plans in detail here.
|Plan:||Mail Lite||Mail Premium||Standard (Business)||Professional (Business)|
|Price:||$1 per month (billed annually)||$4 per month (billed annually)||$3 per month (billed annually)||$6 per month (billed annually)|
|Attachment Size:||25MB||40MB to 250MB||30MB||40MB to 250MB|
There are two additional plans that add expanded business features, which you can check out here. These plans give you extended or full access to the Zoho suite of apps, as well as file recovery and the ability to search for files and documents across your entire organization.
iCloud is the suite of apps and features that power your Apple products. One service provided is iCloud Mail, which has an interface that is very easy to navigate, thanks to its clean sidebar and the fact that you always have immediate access to everything. Simple as it is, iCloud Mail has some surprising features.
Similar to Tutanota and Zoho, iCloud Mail uses the three-way partition to display your sidebar, inbox and an open email. On a desktop, this means that you don’t have to leave the main page to read your emails.
iCloud Mail includes the ability to create up to three aliases for free. This allows you to have more control over your inbox, making it so that websites that you sign up for don’t have access to your real email address.
You can also create inbox rules so if you go on vacation, for example, you can automatically respond with a message that stops sending when your vacation is over.
Security with iCloud has been rocky in the past. In 2014, nude images of several celebrities were leaked to the public. It seems that hackers were able to access specific iCloud accounts through the users’ connected Find My iPhone service, which didn’t have a limit to password queries.
This essentially let attackers run a program to guess passwords until it found the correct one. As a result, Apple implemented several security measures, including adding two-factor authentication. You can read more about the leak and iCloud’s security in our overview of Apple’s cloud and security.
iCloud comes with 5GB of storage for free, which you can use for backups, mail, photos and iCloud Drive, among other things. If you notice that your 5GB is filling up, you can upgrade to 50GB, 200GB or 2TB for $0.99, $2.99 and $9.99, respectively. For more about the other features of iCloud check out our iCloud Drive review.
Mail.com is a simple email and cloud storage service that is easy to learn and comes with some unique features and security. Our favorite feature is Mail Collector, which lets you manage multiple email addresses. You also have 2GB of cloud storage for uploading files and documents, which can be upgraded.
Mail.com uses the same three-way partition that several other email services use. Its free version displays email-style ads in your inbox, as well as a larger ad that takes up the right side of the display, leaving less room to read your email. The ads can be removed with a “premium” account.
Mail.com includes Mail Collector in its free plan, allowing you to log in to your alternate email accounts so you can read, respond to and delete emails from your other inboxes without ever having to leave Mail.com. It accesses your other inboxes with the SSL security protocol.
Another great feature of Mail.com is the ability to create up to 10 email aliases for free. You can also choose which address to send email from by default, so if you want to send most of your emails from your alias, you can easily set that up.
For security, Mail.com uses a combination of the SSL protocol and its own antivirus that scans your incoming emails for viruses, which will help protect you from accidentally installing something that might harm your device.
Mail.com is free to use, but if you find yourself wanting more, you can opt for one of their two “premium” plans or their upgraded storage plan.
For $29.99 per year, the “premium” plan removes ads, gives you 10GB of storage and lets you access your emails from multiple devices, as well as forward and schedule emails. You can also call their phone support for help.
If you want more than 10GB of storage, you can upgrade your “premium” plan to include 100GB for $47.87 per year, though this combo doesn’t give you any additional features.
|Price:||$29.99 per year||$47.87 per year|
There are a lot of good email services out there that value your security and give you many great features. Unfortunately, there are a few email services that have been in hot water in the past, either for massive security breaches or for causing a lot of small issues, like emails disappearing.
Outlook.com — formerly Live.com, formerly Hotmail.com — is Microsoft’s email service. Additionally, complains of emails disappearing, sent mail automatically being filtered as junk and more make Outlook something to steer clear of — though we do have a guide on how to backup your Outlook emails if you do decide to use it.
Yahoo is another email service that we can’t recommend because of its lack of security. Back in 2013, Yahoo was also the victim of a pretty serious hack.
While iCloud users were the victims of targeted phishing, the reason that we are leaving Yahoo off of this list is that the hack affected potentially all of its accounts. That and the uncertain future of Yahoo makes it something that we can’t recommend.
Although any of the email services on this list will allow you to send and receive email, Tutanota takes the top spot because of its commitment to security, as well as its useful features. Tutanota is easy to navigate and provides affordable premium plans, so that you have room to grow.
Now that you know the service to use to send and receive emails, read our guide on the best email backup service to keep your emails safe.
Are you using any of the email services on this list? We’d love to hear from you, and you can share your experiences with us in the comments below. Thank you for reading.