Thunderbird vs. Outlook: A Detailed Comparison

Thunderbird Overview

About

Pricing

Advantages

  • Thunderbird supports IMAP, POP3, and SMTP protocols to accommodate multiple email clients;
  • It is reliable and has a substantial number of available extensions, add-ons, and plugins;
  • Integration with pCloud for Mozilla allows users to send large files;
  • Multi-tab navigation;
  • Fast-search, filters, tags, and email view for seamless email management;
  • Quick and easy archiving by clicking the “A” button; and
  • Spam filters, firewall, and antivirus for protection.

Disadvantages

  • Calendar and task-list functionality is not included (but can be added);
  • Old model user interface and outdated functionalities;
  • Updates and modernization are slow;
  • No drag-and-drop function; and
  • Occasional bugs (subject can disappear temporarily, clicking a subject line can open the wrong email).

Microsoft Outlook Overview

About

Pricing

Advantages

  • Supports IMAP, POP3, MSN, and Hotmail profiles;
  • It quickly adds different accounts and configures Gmail;
  • “Smart lookup” feature for automatic search with Bing (no external browser needed);
  • Integrated with cloud services to directly add email attachments;
  • Powerful spam filter and protection against phishing attacks;
  • Email filtering based on priority using the “Clutter” feature; and
  • Paired with MS Office productivity suite.

Disadvantages

  • More difficult to set up compared to Thunderbird;
  • Only supports Outlook aliases (no other email aliases);
  • Cannot create flags, folders, and rules;
  • Only paid, licensed versions are available; and
  • Prone to email crashing when mail folder size increases.

Thunderbird vs. Outlook Comparison

User Experience

Thunderbird — User Experience

  • Tab navigation. Settings and add-ons open in a new tab so you can always access your inbox.
  • Cross-platform access. Thunderbird is available as a desktop version for PC, Mac, and Linux systems.
  • No mobile access. Thunderbird is only available for the desktop, so you won’t be able to use it on the go.
  • No active sync. You need an add-on to actively sync your emails with the client.
  • Slow to update the design. Thunderbird experiences a few issues with the updates and modernization of the app due to internal troubles.

Outlook — User Experience

  • Cross-platform access. Outlook is available for desktop and mobile devices.
  • Modern interface. Compared to the eyesore of previous years, the current MS Outlook interface looks sleek and modern.
  • Highly customizable. Outlook has a lot of options for customizing the interface and even offers macros for the more tech-savvy crowd.
  • No tabs for navigation. Settings and features open in additional windows over your inbox, which might not be convenient.

Email Account Management

Thunderbird — Account Management

  • Unified inbox. Though not very robust, Thunderbird does have the functionality to view all your inboxes in a unified way.
  • Add-ons for enhancing account management. You can add features for merging emails, changing to conversation view, and postponing send.
  • Limited unified view. You can’t choose which accounts will be in the unified view.
  • Need for add-ons. If you’re missing some functionality, you need to search for add-ons. But you might not find what you need.
  • No read receipts. Thunderbird doesn’t show if your email has been read.

Microsoft Outlook — Account Management

  • Postponed send. This is Outlook’s version of scheduling an email, which is nice to have. Though the design of this feature could be a lot better.
  • Email rules. Outlook allows you to filter emails with some advanced rules.
  • Read receipts. You can see which emails have been read.

App Setup

Thunderbird — Setup

  • Portable version. You can run Thunderbird from a USB drive and access your emails on any device.
  • Feature-rich ecosystem. The app offers more than 1200 add-ons contributed by the community.
  • Easy configuration. Thunderbird is relatively easy to set up and start using.
  • No development environment. You won’t be able to set up scripts.

Microsoft Outlook — Setup

  • Development environment. Like Microsoft products, Outlook allows you to write scripts in a Visual Basic editor. This is additional to writing macros.
  • Quite easy to set up. If you have a Microsoft account, the setup process won’t take too long.
  • Proprietary add-ons. While paid features are usually higher quality, the costs do add up.
  • No portable version. You have to install the app.

Integrations

Thunderbird — App Integration

  • Google Calendar. You can manage your schedule on Google via an add-on.
  • Cloud services. You can send large files via Dropbox, for example.
  • Add-ons, not integrations. The biggest downside of Thunderbird is that it offers extensions developed by the community and not integrations.
  • No messengers. When using Thunderbird, you’ll still have to open your browser or desktop apps for chat.

Microsoft Outlook — Setup

  • Integration with Microsoft products. You can use the Office suite and Skype along with your email.
  • Google products. Outlook can easily integrate with Gmail, as well as Google Calendar and Drive.
  • Social networks. Outlook integrates with LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • Inbox speed. Depending on how many integrations you use, Outlook may slow down.

Support

Thunderbird — Support

Microsoft Outlook — Setup

Comparison Table: Microsoft Outlook vs. Mozilla Thunderbird

An Alternative to Thunderbird and Outlook? Try Mailbird

Features

  • Unified inbox;
  • Unified calendar;
  • Drag-and-drop contact manager;
  • Attachment search function;
  • Shortcut keys for email writing, replying, forwarding, etc.;
  • Snooze function for email productivity;
  • Customizable email signature; and
  • Folders to organize emails.

Integrations

Pricing

Conclusion

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The best Windows app to manage multiple email accounts