The 10 Best Linux Email Clients

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The 10 Best Linux Email Clients

For the most part, we check email on a browser or on our phones. However, there is utility in having a separate desktop program for handling our email. This program loads our email quicker than a browser and has more features than our phones.

The Linux world is plenty of variety, which is evident when it comes to email clients. Which Linux email client is best for you? That depends on what you desire and what you want to accomplish. Here are ten alternatives.

Thunderbird is produced by Mozilla, the non-profit organization that also produces Firefox. For good reason, Thunderbird is the most popular Linux mail client. Thunderbird has many of the same benefits as Firefox. It is platform independent. It accepts add-ons. It has a pretty high level of brand recognition.

The setup experience simplifies the process of configuring a desktop email client by guessing the necessary settings based on your email address and password. If this is your first time using specialized email software, Thunderbird makes it simple to get started.

This email client is also sufficiently strong for power users. Thunderbird is one of the few clients that supports GPG/PGP encryption if you wish to encrypt your email. While there are encrypted webmail providers, a desktop client such as Thunderbird enables you to encrypt email sent via services such as Gmail or Yahoo.

Thunderbird also supports Microsoft Exchange with the appropriate add-on. As a result, this client is appropriate for business usage. These days, the client also has calendar functions.

Evolution is the GNOME desktop environment’s most mature email client. It’s a significant Microsoft Outlook competitor that adds extra features including a calendar, a note section, and a to-do list.

Evolution has compatibility for Microsoft Exchange out of the box, making it more accessible to business users. This is the primary reason why many people prefer Evolution over most other Linux email applications.

Evolution is one of the heaviest alternatives on our list due to the inclusion of all of these features. That may be a significant advantage for some. A single piece of software may handle most of your communication and organizing. If you want to change anything, chances are you can.

On the other hand, Evolution may be a little overwhelming. With this many functions, there will be extra clutter. However, if you want something similar to Microsoft Outlook, it comes with the territory.

While Evolution has long been the official GNOME email client, the app’s UI does not conform to the design language of GNOME 3. This is where Geary comes in. Geary is a lightweight mail client that looks and feels like at home on a current GNOME desktop.

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Geary only works with email. POP3 and IMAP capabilities are present, however Exchange is not. Geary makes up for its shortcomings with one of the most basic and clean interfaces among Linux email applications.

Geary is my personal preferred Linux email client. No, it is neither the most feature-rich, nor is it the most performant. However, having an app that interacts so nicely with the rest of the desktop makes email seem lot more accessible to me.

However, since it does not yet support encrypted email, I no longer use this client. Fortunately, engineers are working on this feature, although it may not be available anytime soon.

Mail email client for elementary OS
Image Credit: elementary

Elementary Mail (formerly Pantheon Mail) is a Geary branch that emerged after work on the latter ceased. Geary would be restarted a few years later by a different developer, while Elementary Mail would remain a distinct project.

Aside than that, Elementary Mail and Geary are both extremely comparable email applications. Elementary Mail is a program for elementary OS, which is a customized version of Linux with its own appearance and feel.

While the difference may seem modest, you may find that Elementary Mail’s design makes email feel more accessible. The icons are simple to identify and comprehend, the interface is clutter-free, and any excess has been removed. Elementary Mail is ideal if you want a simple and uncluttered approach to manage your mailbox without having to have a tab open all the time.

KDE KMail email client on Linux
Image Credit: KDE

Most Linux email clients for GTK-based desktops are created by developers. KMail is the most notable exception. KMail is a desktop application for the KDE Plasma desktop environment that utilizes Qt rather than GTK+.

KMail comes with a number of functions and may be used as part of the Kontact personal information management. Kontact, like Evolution, has a calendar, notes, a to-do list, and other features. This method appeals to me. If you merely want email, you don’t need to download and load all of those additional components, which can slow down your experience.

When deciding between KMail and Thunderbird or Evolution, keep in mind that KMail does not support Microsoft Exchange. It does, however, support encryption.

KMail’s UI, as is frequently the case with KDE applications, is more difficult for me to grasp. The interface seems tailored to power users, but it’s simple to grasp if you’re familiar with KDE Plasma in general.

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Mailspring email client on Linux
Image Credit: Mailspring

Mailspring is a Nylas Mail branch. Although the app’s UI is open source, the sync engine is not. In the future, the business intends to open source the latter.

Mailspring has a pro membership that includes features suited to folks who send a lot of email. You’ll receive read receipts, link tracking, and rapid reply templates. Contact or corporate profiles, replete with links to websites and social media accounts, may also show next to messages.

While many Linux email applications might seem dated, Mailspring is more in line with what users have come to expect from a contemporary commercial tool. This is due to the fact that Mailspring is the sole commercial software on this list. Hiri, the finest Microsoft Exchange client for Linux, is another commercial Linux email client.

Sylpheed, which has been operating since 2000, is one of the oldest email programs available for Linux. The software seems to be out of date, but that adds to its appeal. Sylpheed is light and familiar for those who want it that way. It can also handle folders with tens of thousands of emails without breaking a sweat, making it a good choice for users whose email causes other clients to stutter.

Slypheed supports plugins as well as sophisticated features like PGP encryption. However, certain functionalities are purposefully omitted. The app, for example, cannot send HTML mail, but it can receive it. Sylpheed may be appropriate for a specific kind of technically savvy and security-conscious user.

Having saying that, Slypheed is still quite simple to set up and use. While there are several choices to setup, they are simple to explore. Slypheed also allows you to import and export your mailbox in MBOX, EML, and MH formats.

Claws Mail originated in 2001 as the development version of Sylpheed. It split off into its own project in 2005. Both projects are still active, and certain design choices are shared across them (such as the inability to send HTML mail).

Claws Mail can be navigated exclusively using your keyboard, but that’s not the only advantage for power users. There are plugins available that allow you to increase the functionality. Claws Mail may be your calendar or RSS reader if you choose the proper one.

Claws Mail is more harder to navigate than Sylpheed in my opinion. Furthermore, establishing an account requires knowledge of all setup parameters, since the program does not guess for you. Claws only supports the MBOX format for importing and exporting your mailbox. On the other hand, I enjoy how Claws lets you simply conceal the menubar. I wouldn’t argue one app is necessarily superior than another.

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SeaMonkey on Linux
Image Credit: SeaMonkey

Prior to Firefox, Mozilla was the custodian for Netscape’s open-source Netscape Communicator suite, which evolved into the Mozilla Application Suite. SeaMonkey was established when Mozilla chose to divide the functionality into different programs, particularly Firefox and Thunderbird. SeaMonkey is a fork of the Mozilla Application Suite that is maintained by the community.

SeaMonkey resembles Netscape and uses the XUL framework. This allowed SeaMonkey to work with modified Firefox and Thunderbird extensions until both projects migrated to the WebExtension standard. SeaMonkey is not only a web browser and an RSS reader, but it is also an email client. As an all-in-one personal information manager for Linux, SeaMonkey joins Evolution and Kontact.

SeaMonkey is mostly kept alive because it is free source and people still enjoy it. This is not an email client that is actively being developed or receiving new features on a regular basis. However, if you like your email and browser to be integrated, SeaMonkey is worth a look.

Trojitá emal client on Linux
Image Credit: Trojitá

Looking for another email client that runs on Qt? Trojitá is a KDE community-supported solution, like KMail. It’s a stand-alone solution meant to be lightweight and economical with system resources.

Trojitá requires IMAP or SMTP to transmit email, making it the most restricted choice on our list. However, for many others, this isn’t a big deal.

Trojitá isn’t the most visually appealing or powerful client available, but it can work on older or underpowered PCs. Canonical cloned Trojitá to provide the default email client for Ubuntu Touch. That is evidence in and of itself.

Do You Use a Linux Email Client?

Most email users, whether on Linux or elsewhere, do not install a specialized email client. Webmail allows us to check email from any contemporary gadget that has a web browser. Smartphones have applications that make the work even easier.

My colleague has suggested that we avoid using dedicated email clients entirely. What are your thoughts?

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