(Credit: Yuriy Maksymiv, Shutterstock / Yuriy Maksymiv)

Microsoft Outlook (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS), part of the Microsoft Office suite, is a full-featured email app for Windows that includes many handy tools: calendar, task manager, contact manager, notes, and more. Microsoft Outlook can be used with various email services or can be tied to Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SharePoint Server for business users in an organization. Outlook is also available online as a Web app.

SEE: Best to-do list apps of 2018 for managing tasks on Windows

You have two options for getting Outlook for Windows: Subscribe to Office 365 ($6.99 to $9.99 per month or $69.99 to $99.99 per year) or use Outlook Online via your Web browser (free).

Deciding whether to subscribe or go free is dependent on your needs. If you plan to use Outlook regularly or as your chief email client, it's worth subscribing to Office 365. If you want to test Outlook before you subscribe, Office 365 has that option. But Office 365 may be too expensive and Microsoft Outlook too feature-rich for your needs. Here are the best free email alternatives to Microsoft Outlook for Windows.

1. Mail for Windows 10

The best email client for you may already be built into your PC running Windows 10, and it's called Mail (Windows). Add your, Live, Hotmail, MSN, Google, Yahoo, or other email account to the Mail app and start sending and receiving email.


2. Gmail

The Gmail (Web, Android, iOS) app is one of the best email apps around. It supports up to five accounts, organizes your mail by topic, and enables you to manage it in several ways, including archiving, labeling, starring, deleting, and reporting spam. And naturally it plays well with other Google apps, such as Drive, Photos, and Calendar.


3. Mozilla Thunderbird

From the creators of Firefox, Thunderbird (Windows, Mac) is an open-source, security-rich email, news, and instant-messaging client for all your accounts and identities. The easy-to-navigate app features a powerful address book and excellent mail-filtering and -management capabilities. Thunderbird can also function as an RSS reader and provides plenty of add-ons to extend its capabilities.


4. eM Client

eM Client (Windows, Mac) is a beautiful, modern, and feature-rich email client that integrates with your Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo accounts. It offers a built-in calendar, a contacts manager, and an instant-messaging client. You can tag, search, and easily filter messages; and the interface is easy to navigate. eM Client also supports Skype, provided you have that app installed.


5. Mailbird

The award-winning free Mailbird (Windows) desktop email client supports multiple email accounts including Outlook, Google, Yahoo, Exchange, and IMAP accounts and enables you to easily manage all of them as well as your email contacts from one unified Inbox. You can also customize Mailbird's layout design and connect a slew of calendar, task, and messaging apps, such as Google Calendar, WhatsApp, Dropbox, Twitter, Evernote, Facebook, Slack, and Google Docs, so you can work in these apps without ever having to leave your inbox.


6. Mailspring

Mailspring (Windows, Mac) is a robust email client that works with multiple email providers (Gmail, iCloud, Office 365,, Yahoo, and IMAP/SMTP) in a unified inbox, so everything is in one place and easy to get to. Mailspring can easily translate English messages for you as you're drafting them into foreign languages and spell check for any language you type in. Advanced search queries, touch and gesture support, read receipts, link tracking, and the ability to customize signatures and themes and layouts round out Mailspring's comprehensive features.


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Joshua is an editor for CNET's He covers the mobile tech and apps that power our lives and interviews celebrities about their favorite apps. Previously, he worked as an editor at Healthline and and as a contributing writer for Mac Directory, MacAddict, SF Weekly, SF Examiner, and SF Chronicle.