Email client in 2021

Revisiting the neverending discussion, what’s everyone’s favorite email client these days?

My personal journey with dedicated apps (I also use Gmail web clients occasionally) is the following (in chronological order):

  • Airmail: back then, I liked the first power-user take on email, but the app became bloated with the size of my mailboxes and suffered bugs and slowness
  • Spark: it bundled the best assortment of extra-features for a non-native experience at a reasonable cost
  • Apple Mail: it got better in Big Sur. I love how it integrates with apps such as Houdahspot, Devonthink, and the experience is lightning-fast on my M1 mac. … Search is still subpar for Gmail, and the keyboard experience could be better. I may return to it as a client of choice, aiming to circumvent the limitations with a set of Bettertouchtool / keyboard maestro artisanal enhancements.
  • Mailplane: Just a fancy wrapper around Gmail web-interface, not convinced by the value
  • Superhuman: I loved the assortment of keyboard controls, natural language parsing, and overall swiftness of the interface but cannot for the life of me justify paying $30 a month for email. Furthermore, compared to something like Spark, it lacks a lot of features such as 3rd party integrations, the ability to share links to conversations, etc…

I am curious to find out about your experiences and potentially discover something I may have missed?


As for me, I want from my email app (rated according to my tests, :+1:best, :ok:workable, :x:buggy or absent):

  • To not be Gmail (because I don’t want to use Google)
  • Snoozing (Airmail :+1:, Spark :+1:, Mail :x:, Newton :ok:)
  • Task integration with cross-platform backlinks to individual conversations (Airmail :+1:, Spark :ok:, Mail :ok:, Newton :+1:)
  • Send Later (Airmail :x:, Spark :+1:, Mail :x:, Newton :ok:)
  • A reasonably native Apple feel (Airmail :+1:, Spark :+1:, Mail :+1:, Newton :x:)

Given all this, I’ve landed on Spark complemented by Sanebox. The task integration is very subpar but it can be made to work with undocumented AppleScript on the Mac. Other than that, it’s best in class for all my other needs, which makes it the “least worst” of all possibilities. But there is no app that does all that well.

My dream app would be Airmail that works, but I’ve definitely given hope of this after having been kicked out of their beta Slack for courteously asking for more polish and refinement of the current version instead of chasing always new features.

Avid Spark user here (although I do not use their Calendaring). I appreciate most the consistent experience across all devices. Look and feel come a close second (although I guess that’s part of the consistent experience). And Readdle’s support is also up there. There are some power-user features I wish Spark had (like looking at email source and handling of .eml attachments), but I jump into Apple Mail or Gmail when I need to access to these features (not often enough to make them my default client). And who can complain about the price?!? Amazing effort all around from Readdle.


I’ve used since switching to the Mac in ‘04, don’t see any reason to use anything else. Works with Exchange or Office365, I don’t have any privacy concerns, and the keyboard shortcuts work well with how I use mail.

I keep my inbox clean, go through it two or three times per day. Mail that needs dealt with I clip to Omnifocus, clutter gets deleted, everything else gets archived.

Honestly it would take something pretty special to move me away from Apple Mail.


@MarcMagn1 I have gone back and forth between Apple Mail and Spark. If I say so myself, I manage my email efficiently and much like @ibuys described for his. As I write this I have a grand total of three emails in my inbox even though I have 200 employees, 15 board members and literally thousands of parents, students, donors, international school partnerships, vendors, etc. On top of that I have the college administration and my graduate students for the college where I serve as an adjunct professor.

My problem isn’t so much the ability to manage my email as it is the desire for greater efficiency in connecting emails with projects, ensuring follow-up by me or by those reporting to me, and managing emails related to research and writing documents.

Apple Mail is a simple reliable app that “just works.” But, simple things like being able to create a hyperlink in an email message on iOS/iPadOS is missing. Who wants to send a professional email from the iPad with a three sentence long URL? Nearly every email client I’ve tried can create a hyperlink in iOS but not Apple Mail. Other missing features in Apple Mail such as snooze, reminder, and create PDFs keep pushing me back to Spark, where I have landed as my default client.

For now, I’ve concluded that Spark, while not perfect, is better than the other alternatives given my needs and workflow.


Reading @Bmosbacker reminds me that Spark’s customizable keyboard shortcuts, along with the Snooze, Send Later, Send Again, and occasionally creating a URL to a specific email, are also very useful… they help me be more efficient when going through my accounts.

Still can’t find anything that satisfies my requirements as well as MailMate.


I use Airmail, but I can’t say that I am really happy with it. I canonsidering moving to an alternative, or Apple Mail. What helps is that I have cut down my mail usage.

I’d like:

  • good encryption support (wonky on Airmail)
  • unified Inbox
  • app integration
  • great search

If you have Exchange email then I believe Outlook is by far the best app.

I actually use it for all my emails (I’m a madman who likes to read work and personal emails at the same time).


MailMate is probably the best client for power users and Preside is a splendid match for iOS since it can mirror lot of workflows. One app that does not get mentioned often is Missive. It mainly focuses on teams and is thus quite expensive ($10 or $15/month) but it is insanely good and powerful.

1 Like

Mozilla Thunderbird! :bird:


A happy Postbox user here.

Perhaps not as powerful as MailMate, nor as pretty/modern looking as Airmail or Spark, but it does it job without issues. And has some features that others don’t have (or only with a workaround).

It’s not perfect. But no mailclient is.


I have been using the “new” Outlook for Mac of late, with Sanebox… ever since Outlook decided to try a smoother integration with iCloud, I have all I need: Mail, Calendar, Contacts and Tasks in one application, along with add-ins like Sanebox and Mailbutler

1 Like

@vco1 If Postbox had iOS clients I think many many people would be there with bells on. Why they don’t do this is so beyond me…

I’ve been loving Airmail lately, but as others have noted the app’s reliability can be… seasonal. It has been at least a few seasons since I’ve had any issues, though, and it’s gotten slicker and more powerful since. If anyone hasn’t played with it in a few months, it might be worth checking out again.

Have you been able to send later emails using an alias on regular IMAP? Because it never worked for me.

Also, their new Smart Inbox screen is possibly one of the most obscure piece of UI/UX ever made.


MailMate and on iOS.


Fastmail with Fmail as the app on my Mac and the official Fastmail apps on iOS.


Mailplane for my Gmail account (mailing lists, forum notifications, etc. All the non-crucial stuff that I don’t want in my personal or work emails. (I use the Gmail app on iOS.)

I realize some people would hate using 3 different mail apps. It works great for me. On the Mac, I use Bumpr to redirect mailto links to the proper app.


I’m a Readdle fan so I’m on Spark. I like the integration it has with their PDF, scanning, and calendar apps.

1 Like

Shameless plug here for articles I wrote about MailMate and Preside (and the latter for exactly what you said, a superb iOS match for MailMate users):


Email - the topic that will never be put to rest.

I’m currently in what I anticipate will be a decade long transition from having many free email addresses to fewer paid ones. So besides email hosting, I’ve been looking at clients. A recent change in my computing (acquiring an M1 MBP) did change things as I no longer need mail on Windows while my wife used our only Mac at home. Here’s what I’ve settled on, but I’m open to suggestions if anyone has other ideas on what I need. (MacOS) - Mostly for filing mail locally(using rules), for email I don’t need, like coupons or bills. Since the M1 is always running, it continues to apply the rules even when the lid is closed. So I no longer need to rely on my Windows box acting as a mail server. It’s not always immediate, but it works. I wish you could use special characters in filters but that doesn’t seem to work. I also like color coding emails forwarded from older accounts.

Spark (macOS/iOS) - I love the swipe gestures and smart notifications. Signatures is done well, and I can’t believe it took me this long to use templates, that’s been incredibly helpful in my work. But there are no rules or local folders. I don’t use any snooze or send later. I hate when apps create their own folders on my IMAP email or when they point to the wrong one. I like that they collect emails from correspondents, but I also wish they used a true CardDAV.

Postbox (Windows) - I looked at many (when I didn’t have daytime access to a Mac) and settled on Postbox. Best UI for Windows, good local folders and rules. Again, they don’t sync with CardDAV.


Do any of the alternatives to (macOS) support the same universal message links that the native app does?