If you’re not already familiar with Thunderbird, we bet you know about its sibling: it’s part of the same project that created the Firefox web browser, and Thunderbird uses Firefox to render content.
But where Firefox is all about websites, Thunderbird is all about email and newsgroups. It’s overkill for the occasional Gmail or Outlook.com user, but it’s a really useful tool for anybody whose email inbox feels like a never-ending avalanche.
Why you need it
Not everybody is happy with plain old webmail, especially if they’re dealing with huge numbers of incoming messages or want to be able to access their email archive when they can’t get an internet connection.
Thunderbird is designed for those more demanding users, and it’s packed with features including rules-based mail filtering, a tabbed interface, reminders if you forget to attach a file you mention in a mail, support for all kinds of plugins to add new features and both encryption and digital signatures.
It works across multiple accounts and also enables you to pull content from RSS feeds, which are published by stacks of websites and blogs. It may look a little dated but it’s an exceptionally flexible and powerful email organiser.
The best free email client 2016
As well as aggregating all your messages, a good email client can add features like encryption and integration with calendars, RSS feeds and VoIP apps. Desktop clients can also store your mail locally, giving you access to archived messages when you're offline and providing a valuable backup. These are our three favorite email clients.
1. eM Client
The best email client around today, eM Client offers support for a range of providers and integrated chat.
2. Mailbird Lite
A great-looking email client, Mailbird Lite is packed with features to supplement your messages.
3. Claws Mail
Claws Mail's simple interface belies a powerful email tool that's well suited to more confident users