My personal review of the 2 best free email clients for OS X.
I’ve used Mailspring for nearly 2 years. And Spark for a few months. Spark is the easy winner for me. You can stop reading this guide, stop wasting your life, and just get Spark right now.
Still don’t believe me?! Fine, then continue wasting your life and read more…
NOTE: I’m only comparing their free versions!
Similarities between Spark Mail & Mailspring
- Both are free, full-featured email clients.
- Both are easy to use, have clean minimal interface.
- Both feel lightweight and fast.
- Both are good enough for you to not need a paid email app.
- Both are popular and well-liked.
- Both put all your replies into email threads, reducing inbox clutter.
- Both offer a message undo/unsend option for 5 seconds.
Differences between Spark Mail & Mailspring
- Nags you so annoyingly to try their paid version. No matter how many times you dismiss it (per day), it keeps coming back. This alone was what made me look for another email client.
- Cannot reply to emails from a different email than the one it was sent to.
- Has similar better signature layout possibilities. (Although not really a deal-maker for me.)
- Has a better “smart inbox” that combines incoming emails from all your accounts. More intelligently shows you what you usually like to see and avoids the ones you usually skip.
- BUT…very often deletes email threads without you telling it to. I’ll be chatting back and forth with a client and before I know it, I can’t find the thread anywhere. I check the trash and sure enough it’s there. (The search doesn’t include the “trash” either, btw.)
- Easily tells you if your emails been OPENED and SEEN by the recipient.
- Can feel slow or even freeze in long email threads.
- Has a nicer UI and more polished…but I think also eats up more memory.
- I believe Mailspring has more features (and sub-features) out there box.
- Doesn’t nag you to buy the paid version.
- Can reply to emails from a different email from the one it was sent to.
- The “smart inbox” doesn’t feel as smart as Mailspring…which may or may not fit your workflow better. The “classic inbox” is nice though if you just like to see everything in usual chronological order.
- UI feels simpler and less polished making it slightly hard to distinguish certain areas. You end up scrolling just a tad more to figure out the difference between places.
- Seems to load faster as it’s a simpler app. Won’t hang when you have email threads above 30 replies.
- Has a mobile app!
- I believe Spark is rated higher than Mailspring in most lists.
I would say Spark Mail should be first choice for being simpler, faster, and less annoying (paid upgrade nags). Being able to reply to emails from a different email was a huge dealmaker for me.
I did appreciate Mailspring’s feature to check if recipients saw my email but that doesn’t make up for all the times Mailspring deleted my email threads. ARGH!!!
Mailspring also has a cleaner UI that can help differentiate different emails and areas of the application faster. The smart inbox is also better. But these benefits are offset by the time you lose searching for emails in trash.
Also…Spark has a mobile app. So it’s nice to have a uniform app between desktop and mobile devices. Anyway….I’m just gonna call it for Spark!
I am using Spark for one of my strictly business emails. I like their collaboration feature. Helps to work on emails with your team. However, it lacks Rules. And something keeps preventing me from switching to it completely from AirMail. AirMail is a bit clunkier but I found it has more features to tune in and automate your everyday email routine.
I hear what you’re saying and even though I manage around 8-12 email accounts, I found out I don’t need rules so much. But yeah…rules can be really nice for granular organization/management.
I mostly use Rules for keeping my inbox from exploding. E.g. Delete old unread emails, delete older that one-year emails and delete news/promotions older that one month etc
I am using Spark too, only missing 2 things:
– read notice (as spike or canary mail does)
– still waiting for a windows client
From a security perspective, a bit worrisome for me is, that the mobile app (android) is requesting the primary password of an account (e.g. from my gmail account), instead of offering just to put a generated app id/password (e.g. from my gmail mail account), or is there any way to do so?
Hmmm…I have no idea but also not worried. If anybody stole my Gmail pass and tried to use Google locks and requires additional verification.
Herbert, that’s because they parse your email inbox on their servers. They literally programmatically login into your account and send commands back and forth between your email provider, their server and the email client.
I think i’ve probably tried every mail app out there.
I had spark for a bit. Used boxy, mac app, then a few others.
Had airmail too. I switched to airmail from spark.
I always find myself going back to using just gmail in the browser.
Over the past year i’ve been using simplify extension with gmail, which works nicely.
Cleans up the gmail interface. Still gotta switch between accounts, but it’s nice.
Yeah, Airmail works well for my clients. I just didn’t want to pay for it when a free client is suitable for me. I’ve streamlined my businesses so much more now and don’t need those extra features so much.
For the life of me I can’t get Spark to connect to my email server (Time Warner/roadrunner), but Mailspring connected right up (what the heck). I used these settings for MailSpring:
And this produces a Spark Error: “Error – A Stable connection to the server could not be established”
Incoming Mail (IMAP)
Outgoing Mail (SMTP)