Best Email Service | 2021

by Elma Mrkonjić

Email is still the most-used channel in our digital world, whether for business or personal use. This channel’s popularity comes from its simplicity and versatility — you can easily manage your inbox, send and receive emails, sign up for newsletters, and so much more. 

However, choosing the best email service provider can be more complicated than you think, as there’s a lot to consider.

The following list of email service providers will highlight the key features, pricing plans, customer support, and strengths and weaknesses for each.

Five Best Email Services

Gmail-logo

Gmail

Google developed and launched Gmail as a limited beta version in April 2004. Moreover, it ended its testing phase in July 2009. Today, Gmail is widely considered the best email service, with a staggering 1.8 billion active users.

outlook-logo

Outlook

Outlook is a Microsoft web app that provides functionalities such as webmail, calendar, contacts, and tasks. It is one of the top email providers, offering easy navigation and intuitive folder support. What’s more, Outlook has one of the best mobile apps out there, and it works well with other providers.

protonmail-logo

ProtonMail

ProtonMail is the best encrypted email service developed by CERN and MIT scientists in Switzerland. ProtonMail’s email service is different from any other provider — it has a small inbox with a limit of about 1,200 messages, all encrypted.

yahoo-mail-logo

Yahoo! Mail

Yahoo! Mail is one of the oldest and most reliable email providers that started more than 20 years ago. This provider offers four different types of email accounts — three plans are for personal use, and one is for business. As of 2020, Yahoo! Mail has had around 225 million monthly active users.

zoho-mail-logo

Zoho

Zoho Corporation is the Indian-based company responsible for creating Zoho. Besides being one of the best email service providers, Zoho involves many office tools such as word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, web conferencing, CRM, invoicing, and so much more.

Top Email Service Reviews

1. Gmail

Essential Features
  • Automatic email filtering
  • Email nudges
  • Intelligent writing suggestions
Additional Features
  • Creating calendar entries
  • Smart composing and replying

Overview

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Gmail is among the most popular email providers, if not the most famous one. And for a valid reason—this email service can offer everything you are looking for in a provider.

Pricing Plans

Unlike the personal plan, Gmail for business is not free. It is just one of the tools included in Google Workspace (formerly G Suite)—a collection of office tools designed solely for businesses. Here are Google’s best deals:

Business Starter — a monthly subscription of $6

  • Video meetings with 100 participants
  • Safe business emails
  • Security and management checks
  • 30 GB of cloud storage
  • Standard support

Business Standard — a monthly subscription of $12

  • Secure business emails
  • Video meetings with 150 participants + recording
  • 2 TB of cloud storage
  • The control of security and management
  • Standard support (can be upgraded to Enhanced Support)
  • Best email provider for small businesses

Business Plus — a monthly subscription of $18

  • Secure business emails + retention and eDiscovery
  • Video meetings with 250 participants + attendance tracking, recording
  • 5 TB of cloud storage
  • The enhanced control of security and management, including Vault and advanced management
  • Standard Support (can be upgraded to Enhanced Support)

Enterprise — the price is variable

  • Secure business email + retention, eDiscovery, and S/MIME encryption
  • Video meetings with 250 participants + recording, noise cancellation, attendance tracking, in-domain live streaming
  • Unlimited storage
  • Advanced security, management, and compliance checks, including Vault, DLP, data regions, and enterprise management
  • Enhanced support (paid upgrade to premium support)

Features

Here are some of the best features of the most used email service worldwide.

Easy Email Filtering

Gmail helps its users manage their inboxes better by setting up filters.

Multiple Accounts Use by Providing Access

Companies can grant their employees access to business accounts without having to log out from their personal ones.

Mute Conversations

Gmail allows its users to mute a conversation they are not interested in, so the thread won’t bounce back to their inbox whenever they receive new messages.

Use Gmail Offline

Users can check their email updates, even without Wi-Fi access.

Advanced Search

Gmail advanced search is one of the most valuable features. It helps users look for messages sent or received a long time ago by inserting dates or specific keywords.

Schedule Emails

Thanks to this feature, users can schedule emails to be sent at their preferred time.

Smart Compose

When composing an email, the popular email provider will automatically write suggestions to optimize messages.

Customer Support

Gmail customer support is open and enthusiastic to help its users. By clicking on Contact Us on its support page, a customer support executive will contact the user as soon as possible.

Strengths and Weaknesses—The Verdict

There’s a reason Gmail is considered the best free email service — it’s quick, intuitive, and offers plenty of features.

Stable backing from Google is among Gmail’s main advantages — it helps manage documents and files and uses Google Drive to send attachments larger than 25 MB. However, many people believe that email’s importance has decreased due to the introduction of new technologies, such as cloud computing and advertising. Another common issue is that the email provider produces plenty of information daily, which may be challenging to manage in the long run.

If you’re looking for a straightforward, flexible, and efficient email service provider, then Gmail is your best shot.

2. Outlook

Essential Features
  • Contact management
  • Excellent calendar features
  • Good security
Additional Features
  • A keywords command to perform tasks
  • An excellent folder system

Overview

When you think of the best free email provider, Outlook comes right to your mind. The mobile app is way more accessible and easy to use than the desktop version you might be used to. Although Gmail is a giant in the email service providers market, Outlook is one of its fiercest competitors.

Pricing Plans

Regarding personal use, here are the two memberships users can choose from:

Microsoft 365 Personal — a monthly subscription of $6.99

  • For one user only
  • 1 TB of inbox storage

Microsoft 365 Family — a monthly subscription of $9.99

  • Perfect for up to six people
  • Up to 6 TB of cloud storage (1 TB for each person)
  • Premium safety features in a mobile app

When it comes to Outlook business email pricing, users can pick one of the four different monthly memberships:

Microsoft 365 Business Basic — a monthly subscription of $5.00

  • Collaboration tools
  • Web and mobile versions of Office apps 
  • Email and calendaring
  • File storage and sharing
  • Security and compliance
  • Support and deployment
  • Tools for building and managing your business

Microsoft 365 Business Standard — a monthly subscription of $12.50 

  • Same as in Microsoft 365 Business Basic 
  • + Desktop versions of Office apps

Microsoft 365 Business Premium — a monthly subscription of $20.00

  • Same as in Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • + An advanced threat protection
  • + PC and mobile device management

Microsoft 365 Apps — a monthly subscription of $8.25

  • Includes only Office apps
Like other email providers, Outlook offers a free 30-day trial.

Features

Email Flagging

A user can pin the most important emails on top of the inbox by clicking on the flag.

Spam Filter and Folder System

Outlook comes with effective spam, junk filtering features, and a folder system. Users can move emails from a specific recipient or date to a particular folder with just one click.

Calendars and Task Management 

The calendar feature makes it easy to schedule appointments, events, and daily tasks.

Multiple Accounts

The popular email provider lets its users manage multiple accounts. IMAP, POP3, Exchange, and MSN are some of the most popular Microsoft products.

Easy Collaboration

Business managers and employees can easily share files with their work team and use collaboration tools such as OneNote, PowerPoint, SharePoint, and more.

Customer Support

Outlook offers free and fast customer support by downloading the Get Help app. The app is intended to provide the most reliable and efficient assistance for its users. Customer support is also available on the following number: 1 (800) 642-7676.

Strengths and Weaknesses—The Verdict

If you haven’t already, you might want to consider signing up for one of the top free email services — Microsoft Outlook.

Additionally, Microsoft offers improved connectivity with your team members and clients, encryption for your emails, and easy contacts search. On the other hand, updates are impossible to delay, and the service won’t be available if the internet connection is unstable.

Overall, Outlook is like a Swiss-army knife of productivity — it has smart and intuitive functionalities, an organized calendar for your work events, and a simple interface for users to navigate. So, it’s not surprising that Outlook is still a fierce competitor in this market.

If budget is not a significant issue for your business, this email provider might be right for you.

3. ProtonMail

Essential Features
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Confidential emails
  • An open-source cryptography
Additional Features
  • Custom domains
  • Self-destructing messages

Overview

When it comes to security, ProtonMail is the best email service out there — it protects your archive and provides encryption for all sent and received messages. ProtonMail is as simple to use as the email providers listed before.

Pricing Plans

ProtonMail offers the best free email service for privacy protection. However, it also provides three different paid memberships:

ProtonMail Free

  • 500 MB of inbox storage
  • 150 daily messages
  • Three folders
  • Limited support
  • A free personalized email address

ProtonMail Plus — a monthly subscription of $4

  • 5 GB of inbox storage
  • 1,000 daily messages
  • 200 folders
  • Standard support
  • Only one custom domain
  • Email filtering
  • Autoresponder

ProtonMail Professional — a monthly subscription of $6.25

  • 5 GB of inbox storage
  • Unlimited daily messages 
  • Unlimited folders
  • Priority support
  • Two custom domains
  • Email filtering
  • Autoresponder
  • Catch-all email
  • Multi-user support

ProtonMail Visionary — a monthly subscription of $24

  • 20 GB of inbox storage
  • Unlimited daily messages
  • Unlimited folders
  • Priority support
  • Ten custom domains
  • Email filtering
  • Autoresponder
  • Catch-all email
  • Multi-user support
  • ProtonVPN

You can pay more money to add extra storage, domains, and addresses if needed.

Features

End-to-End Encryption

ProtonMail is the best free encrypted email service, and for a good reason. It stores messages in an encrypted format, reducing or eliminating the possibility of intercepting conversations.

No Access to User Information

The encryption doesn’t allow ProtonMail or third parties to access personal user data.

Self-Destructing Messages

Once emails reach their expiration date, ProtonMail will automatically eliminate them from the inbox.

Domain Email Addresses for Business

Businesses can get custom domain email addresses for all employees.

Customer Support

ProtonMail has well-organized customer support that enables its users to reach the company by submitting a request via a form. The customer support will reply as soon as possible. If you need an immediate response, email support is available 24/7.

Strengths and Weaknesses—The Verdict

Unlike other independent email providers, ProtonMail uses end-to-end encryption on all conversations and has a strong authentication to prevent potential hackers from attacking the user’s inbox. What’s more, the provider doesn’t track IP addresses and web searches.

While all conversions are encrypted and secured, subject lines are not. This can become a problem if a user violates Swiss laws. In this case, the company will have to hand over the user’s data to the Swiss authorities.

For the most part, ProtonMail is the best email service for your privacy. If you are a company that needs to store plenty of sensitive data and emails, you might want to give this provider a try.

4. Yahoo! Mail

Essential Features
  • Great spam filtering
  • Spacious storage
  • Phishing alerts
Additional Features
  • Disposable email addresses for business
  • A good folder system

Overview

Although Yahoo! Mail is still broadly considered the best email service, it doesn’t grab so much attention anymore.

Nevertheless, there’s a valid reason users still adopt Yahoo! Mail today —  the highly professional service makes this email provider a formidable competitor against giants like Gmail and Outlook.

Pricing Plans

Users can pick one of the two different plans to manage their personal or business emails.

Yahoo! Mail Pro

Yahoo! Mail Pro’s cost is only $3.49 per month.

  • No ads
  • Priority customer support
  • Fast performance
  • Keeps email records
  • Auto forwarding

Yahoo Business Email

  • One mailbox for $3.19 per month
  • Five mailboxes for $1.59 per month
  • Ten mailboxes for $1.19 per month
  • 20+ mailboxes for larger businesses. The price is variable.

Taxes and fees will apply for annual prepaid subscriptions.

Features

Spam Filtering

Yahoo! Mail recognizes spam messages and automatically highlights them in the inbox.

Capacious Storage

The provider offers a whopping 1 TB of storage — an enormous capacity that most computers don’t possess. According to the company, this inbox can cover the average email user’s needs for about 6,000 years.

Phishing Alerts

Yahoo! Mail detects and marks email addresses that look fishy.

Unsubscription from Newsletters

It’s simple to unsubscribe from an unwanted mailing list or newsletter.

No Ads for Pro

One of the main Yahoo! Mail Pro features involves the absence of ads in the inbox.

Customer Support

Yahoo doesn’t offer bots like many other email service providers out there. Users can benefit from a helpful team of live agents, available at any time of the day. Yahoo! customer support is committed to helping their customers with their account issues.

Strengths and Weaknesses—The Verdict

Yahoo! Mail is the pioneer of the early Internet age and still the best email service for many users.

As mentioned earlier, Yahoo! Mail’s main advantages involve heavy online storage, intuitive keyboard shortcuts, email integration, SMS text messaging, instant messaging, and social networks. On the other hand, inflexible manual rules and no IMAP access for desktop email programs make it challenging for users to navigate the service.

Yahoo! Mail is a great service with dazzling themes, plenty of helpful features, and an affordable price for Yahoo! Mail Pro. But is Yahoo! Mail Pro worth it? Is it a better deal than other service providers? We can say that it’s a good choice for businesses looking for fast performance and excellent customer support at a low price.

5. Zoho

Essential Features
  • Guaranteed privacy
  • Struggle-free migration
  • Good filtering
Additional Features
  • Advanced search
  • Keyboard shortcuts

Overview

Zoho is widely recognized as the best email service for business. This business-oriented provider includes Zoho Mail and other valuable tools such as document management and collaboration services. Nowadays, Zoho is as competitive as more famous names like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo! Mail.

Pricing Plans

Zoho offers three eye-catching and affordable paid memberships for businesses, making it the best paid email service out there.

Mail Lite — a monthly subscription of $1 (billed annually)

  • 10 GB per user
  • Email hosting for multiple domains
  • Email and folder sharing
  • Offline access
  • Tasks, notes, and bookmarks
  • IMAP/ POP access
  • Attachments of up to 250 MB
  • Group calendars
  • Appointment scheduling

Mail Premium — a monthly subscription of $4 (billed annually)

Same as in Mail Lite plus:

  • 50 GB per user
  • Attachments up to 1 GB
  • Archival and eDiscovery
  • Email backup
  • White labeling
  • S-MIME
  • Resource booking

Workplace — a monthly subscription of $3 (billed annually)

  • A secure business email
  • An online file manager
  • An online word processor
  • An online spreadsheet
  • Presentation software
  • An instant chat communication
  • Online meeting software
  • Intranet and collaboration
  • Online training software

Mail Premium is probably the best paid email service out of mentioned here, as it offers a 15-day free trial without entering any credit card data.

Features

Excellent Filtering

Users can create rules to move emails to specific folders, highlight particular emails, and automate irksome tasks.

Night Mode

Tired eyes are not an issue anymore with Zoho’s “Night Mode” feature. Users can scroll their emails at night without hurting their eyes.

Advanced Search

Looking for an email in an overflowing inbox can be a tiresome and time-wasting task, but Zoho Mail’s advanced search feature makes this much easier. Users can personalize their search, narrowing it down to folders, dates, and even attachments.

Scrub

Thanks to the Scrub feature, users can bulk delete or archive emails.

Folder Notifications

Zoho helps reduce the number of notifications by selecting only the most important folders. 

Global Search

Global Search helps find out a client’s name across all Zoho products — Zoho CRM, Zoho Mail, Zoho Docs, Zoho Chat, and Zoho People.

Out of Office

When on vacation, users can set up automatic responses to notify other people that they won’t be able to get back to them right away.

Customer Support

Zoho is dedicated to helping its users as the company offers 24/7 assistance. Depending on their urgency, users can reach customer service by submitting a form, writing an email, or directly calling the service.

Strengths and Weaknesses—The Verdict

Zoho Mail is the best business email service for small and medium companies — it offers plenty of functionalities at a low cost, fast and efficient customer support, and a clean interface. However, most sites and companies do not consider Zoho a legit provider. Optimization, app crashing, and spam filtering are among the most common issues with this email service.

Zoho Mail is one of the best email service providers you can come across. The free version offers plenty of features, but the paid memberships are even better. Despite being cheaper than most email service providers, Zoho ensures great quality, helpful collaboration tools, and excellent performance. For this reason, this provider has gained a lot of attention.

Buyer’s Guide | Tips for Selecting the Best Email Service in 2021

The following buyer’s guide will help you choose the email service that fits your personal and business needs.

Cost

Small and medium businesses do not want to invest a large amount of money in email services. Finding an affordable provider is not the most challenging part, yet looking for the most convenient features is.

So, we have selected the best providers for your needs — while some offer priority customer support and more inbox storage, others focus on enhanced security and end-to-end encryption. Moreover, some providers even offer free unlimited email accounts.

Usability

In today’s digital era, all email service providers must have an intuitive mobile app and a cloud-based platform that makes a copy of your data.

The most trusted email services such as Gmail and Outlook have strong backing from their creators, easy-to-use navigation on mobile, and a practical and spacious cloud platform.

Customer Support

Customer support is a critical factor for avoiding the worst email providers. People easily get stressed out over account and email security issues, expecting customer service to be effective, fast, and helpful. Every user is entitled to know there’s someone ready and capable of fixing their problems any time they need.

Features

From an operational standpoint, features are the most crucial consideration for any business. Besides large storage, intuitive navigation, and standard limitations regarding file size, many other features are worth considering. Spam filters, integration with other products, and excellent security are some of the most remarkable features all email providers should have.

Best Free Email Service | The Takeaway

Despite being one of the oldest channels, email is still widely used. Businesses value this type of communication more than any other. That’s why choosing the most convenient email service for your business is not an easy task.

The best email service should make your work and life way easier — excellent spam filters, end-to-end encryption, spacious internal storage, cloud-based platform, and efficient collaboration tools are some of the most remarkable features listed above.

Since we have listed the most trusted email services, you should consider your priorities to get the best experience from the product you’ll pick.

Frequently Asked Questions | FAQ

Defining the best email service is not as easy as it seems. However, Gmail is the most trusted email service out there — the provider counts 1.8 billion active users, including personal users and businesses.

The second most used email product that comes immediately to mind is Outlook, with 400 million active users.

Many consider ProtonMail the best secure email service for free as it ensures fully encrypted messages to its users. Thanks to end-to-end encryption, no third parties, including ProtonMail itself, can break into your inbox.

Unlike other email providers, ProtonMail does not share your information on the internet, making it one of the safest providers in 2021.

Although Gmail holds the title of the most popular email provider worldwide, others have not been resting on their laurels either.

When it comes to unlimited storage, seamless integration with other accounts, and productivity tools, Outlook is arguably the best alternative to Gmail. Regarding business, another valid alternative is Zoho that offers a well-organized calendar system, tasks, notes, and bookmarks to both individual users and teams.

Even though nothing is 100% safe, Gmail uses TLS encryption while transferring data. It makes sure that personal data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. However, hackers are not the only thing you should worry about. Even your email provider might be secretly reading your emails, and this best email service has done that in the past. Now, it is possible to enhance your Gmail security by using the two-factor authentication feature.