Currently, I have 3 different mails (2 private and 1 for work) and I have 3 browsers open at the same time to have access to all of them.

I am looking for a desktop application in which I can add my e-mail accounts and can receive there my e-mails. What I want as requirements:

  • Easily respond with the e-mail that I have received a message. For example I don't want to change all the time options with which e-mail I will respond to another one. If someone send me an e-mail to my Gmail, then I will respond with the Gmail account.*
  • Desktop notification for a new e-mail.
  • Free
  • Windows and/or Linux if it is a desktop application
  • User-friendly interface
  • Statistics with graphs for each account

*I removed the word "autorespond" to avoid any misunderstanding. I don't want to choose each time the account to respond to an e-mail, but I want to respond with the one they send me the e-mail.

  • 1
    This is an extremely broad question: most email clients will do. What features do you need? For example: how much support for HTML, support for signature and encryption, interoperability with Exchange and Outlook, search capabilities, dealing with huge mailboxes, … – Gilles Feb 13 '14 at 6:49
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    @Gilles I don't think that it is a broad question. For instance, did you see any suggestion with graphical statistics? I believe that it is a hardcore question with only few answers with all the requirements. As for the Windows/Linux, yes, 'and' means both of them, 'or' means only in one platform. – Tasos Feb 13 '14 at 7:20
  • @AnastasiosVentouris The graphical statistics requirement is the only one that is very restrictive (and it is indeed restrictive). Why not make it a mandatory requirement, then? Regarding and/or: I know what “and” and “or” mean, I'm asking you what you mean by “and/or”. – Gilles Feb 13 '14 at 7:24
  • @Gilles For the sake of beta, I will change it to mandatory. So we can have only hard questions at the moment. 'And/or' means that I will accept an app even if it is a cross platform, or it is only for one of them. I have a dual boot of Windows and Linux and I don't have a reason to search for only Windows apps. – Tasos Feb 13 '14 at 7:30
  • A couple of people have mentioned the "graphical" requirement, but what exactly is "Statistics with graphs for each account"? What information are you retrieving from your email data? Can the same information be pulled without explicitly showing a graph? (To be honest, I have never even heard of an "email client" with this ability.) – MrWhite Feb 13 '14 at 7:47
up vote 11 down vote accepted

How about the good old Mozilla Thunderbird? It's open-source, cross-platform and a lot of support is available online.

It covers all the features you need (except the optional one). Plus it has got full POP3/IMAP support and works well with all kinds of accounts. Here are some of the features I like:

  • Tabbed E-mail
  • Add-ons
  • Feature Requests
  • High Customizability
  • Awesome Search
  • Multiple Channel Chats

I've been using Thunderbird ever since I started using Linux (it comes integrated with Ubuntu). I haven't faced any issue so far.

  • 1
    @AnastasiosVentouris I've been using Thunderbird for several years with multiple e-mail accounts, and I can confirm that it handles replies the way you want: When you hit reply, Thunderbird sends your message from the account that received the message. – Ben Miller Feb 12 '14 at 21:00
  • What about the statistics with graphs for each account? (Yes, the requirement is listed as optional, but it's what makes the question unique and not “list just about any decent mail client”.) – Gilles Feb 13 '14 at 7:25
  • @Gilles I don't fully understand what the OP means by statistics with graph for each account. Does it mean a graphical representation of multiple inboxes? Whatever it is, I know of no such functionality present in any of the apps I have seen. But, I guess Google Apps Script might solve his purpose, for GMail at least. – Ranveer Feb 13 '14 at 7:40
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    Maybe Mail Summaries (or someother plugin) might help with the statistics side? (The OP gave an example in a comment above, "number of sent and received e-mails of each account") or can Thunderbird do this out of the box? – MrWhite Feb 13 '14 at 8:11
  • @w3d yup! Mail summaries looks good. There are infinite plugins for Mozilla Thunderbird and it's hard to find one. Even if there isn't one, making it isn't too hard a job. – Ranveer Feb 13 '14 at 8:17

I'll recommend Gmail (though actually I usually use Thunderbird and it would be my first rec but if you want a non desktop client or just to have another answer/option I'll add a GMail recommendation anyways).

  • You can create custom autoresponders.
  • AFAIK Gmail does NOT have any graph generation options
  • With Chrome (and I think Firefox as well now) you can configure Gmail to provide desktop notifications
  • I'd say it is a pretty friendly UI.
  • Pricing: Advertising (minimal text based) supported. (ie free to the end user like you but there are ads). 15GB (and increasing by around 130MB/year) is included for free (shared between Google Drive, GMail and Google Photos). If you need more storage you can purchase that - currently $4.99/month for 100GB or $9.99/month for 200GB.

You can check (via) POP3 external accounts and reply as them: Gmail settings page

  • 2
    I cant see how 15 GB is limited space... for web mail. – danijelc Feb 12 '14 at 19:12
  • @danijelc: You'd have to do some MAJOR stuff to hit that limit but it is possible - more with GoogleDrive than Gmail. – Nick Wilde Feb 12 '14 at 19:15
  • Yes its possible but I still don’t see how is that not enough for web mail. Anything you’ve made with Docs, Sheets, and Slides won’t count towards your storage limit. Photos up to 2048 x 2048 pixels and videos up to 15 minutes won't count towards your free storage. – danijelc Feb 12 '14 at 19:21

For a desktop solution, I use Gnome Evolution for several years now (cannot remember when I started, but it was named Ximian Evolution back then, was bought by Novell, and now is a Gnome project – so it must be a looong time). For people who never heard of it before, it can be rawly compared to MS Outlook.

First a reflection on the requirements asked for:

  • Account for responses: I would go crazy if I'd always have to select that (I am going crazy for that at work with Outlook). Of course, if you reply to a mail, it uses the account the mail was sent to. If the mail had an "RRQ flag" (response requested), that response will be sent by the correct account as well. That's a "matter of course" to me for a mail client.
  • option of statistics with graphs: No, I never saw that. But that was optional, right? :)
  • Desktop or browser notification for a new e-mail: Sure. It plugs into the desktop notifier (provides a special package for that)
  • User-friendly interface: It's friendly to me, most of the time (see below)
  • at least on Linux, it's free (and contained in the repos of most distros)
  • available for Linux definitely (that's where I use it). I've heard it's available for Windows as well. No Android, and iOS is unlikely as well.

Mail Calendar
Screenshots of the Mail and Calendar view (source: Wikipedia; click images for larger variants)

My personal points:

I tried a couple of clients, and finally stuck with Evolution. It nicely integrates mail, calendars, tasks, address books, and more. It allows for external sources (e.g. .ics/iCal/Google for calendars, LDAP for addresses), and I can even move mails between different accounts easily (drag-and-drop; I have 4 different accounts set up). It's customizable, and lets me even have "magic signatures" (a script chosing a quote from my collection, which often hits the nail on its head by matching the mail's content).

In short: I can recommend this by heart, as a daily user of this product.

Important note:

As pointed out on Wikipedia, Mac OSX and Windows ports are no longer maintained. It seems there's no working download for any MacOS/Windows version around anymore (according to that article); though the old download page mentions an experimental build of Evolution 3.0.2 (read details there).

I use Claws Mail. Its lightweight (in terms of memory usage) and after some getting-used-to very easy to use. Its gratis and open source runs on Linux and Windows (and many *nix see the downloads page).

It can connect to Pop3 and IMAP accounts and has build in SSL abilities to encrypt your connection to the server.

If you hit answer on an email it will respond with the corresponding email account. This means the "account where the mail came in" (instead of the "To" Field) so, if you are on mailing lists, this works as well.

It has no statistics plugin I know of. It has Desktop notification in multiple flavors.

The Interface is good, but at times you need some extra thinking until you got used to it. But it will warn you every time thats the case (and you do something you most likely don't want to). I felt very comfortable with it after about two weeks and in fact would love to see more tools using their approach by now.

It can also PGP, S-MIME has two spam filters you can chose from (Bogofilter and Spam Assassin. I use Bogofilter and am happy with it). You can have Filter rules to let your mail be automatically sorted. Of course it has multiple Address books, Color Labels and lots of other features (a full list has been composed here.)

I'd add a screenshot of my own, but thats too personal :) Have one from their site: screenshot of the main window

You can customize the looks of it either through options or themes. With a tool (csv2addressbook.pl from the Tools site) you can import your G-Mail address book (I haven't tried that myself).

I use Claws mail since 2007.

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