We all have email accounts these days... it’s just as essential to daily life as the air we breathe but are you thinking about switching? There have been so big players in the email market for some time although some of them are now fading away- classic example... Hotmail. 

Other big boys include Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, iCloud and Outlook so ITbuilder takes a look at the pros and cons of each service and what they can offer you.


Microsoft Outlook.com

Best For Office Workers

Worst For Over complicating Commands

ITbuilder Rating: 4/5

Microsoft’s interface is globally recognised and is second nature to most office workers. We are all accustomed to the handy folder list on the left, the ability to drag and drop plus the ability to organise your files and view mail. Its popularity also means it is easy to schedule Outlook calendar meetings with contacts in other firms without the need to use an external software program or a PA!  It is also possible to add other POP3 mail accounts and import contacts although at times with POP3 mail connection, out of office and other commands it can be unnecessarily complicated. System administrators are often called to desks to help set up routine commands as workers find them too difficult to execute themselves.

Yahoo! Mail

Best For Flexibility

Worst For Ad Interference

ITbuilder Rating 3/5

Yahoo! has been around a while and has evolved over time to its current modern feel. Like Gmail it offers numerous options for filing emails, starring important emails and allowing you to easily browse folders and flick between open panels.  Other email accounts can be added so you can see all your messages in one place and out of office is simpler than Outlook. and it is easy to add extra email accounts The downside is that the interface is spoilt by an advert giving users the option to pay £30 a year to go ad free.

Yahoo! Supporters state that they would prefer to pay £30 a year to ensure their data remains private as opposed to Gmail but it is of course your choice.


Apple iCloud

Best For Simplicity on iPhone & iPad

Worst For Customisation

ITbuilder Rating: 3/5

Owners of devices such as an iPhone or an iPad, automatically get an iCloud account and email service and can set up their mail system to access Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo! although via the website it’s only iCloud email.

In usual Apple style the service looks attractive but there are no options to customise it so in the same way users find more flexibility with Android then with iPhones this service is not for those who like to make adjustments. Overall it is fine for undemanding users, but less useful if you have lots of emails to manage and higher expectations.


AOL Mail

Best For Familiarity

Worst For News Distractions

ITbuilder Rating: 2/5

Prior to broadband everyone had AOL but its main users now are the light internet users who didn’t bother to swap once dial up became extinct. It has struggled since, but it’s still around and it still provides a free email service. AOL used to be a content provider and email users are reminded of this each time they log in and see their screens taken up by a somewhat distracting news feed showing the latest headlines. The news feed is distracting for those who just want to deal with their mail but might also explain why it is popular with retirees! AOL is probably similar to iCloud Mail as it includes basic features such as spam settings and holiday messages but its folder options and drag and drop limitations make it difficult to organise very much. Its wallpapers are not professional and add to the overall distraction that the service seems to offer.


Best for Free Services

Worst For Privacy

ITbuilder Rating: 5/5

Gmail, just as Google before it, has actually become an adjective... I Googled it and then I Gmailed the data to my friends. Gmail has evolved over the years into a user friendly, speedy service which has made organisation very simple for users. Gmail is intuitive and learns your labelling if you set up folder categories. It’s spam filter is very effective and it seems to be subject to routine hacks a lot less than its competitors (touch wood!). The other advantage of G+ is that it enables you to access Google Plus (G+), Google’s up and coming social media equivalent, Picassa photo albums and many more Google features.  The downside for Gmail users is the knowledge that Google is using your private data to provide advertising solutions tailored to you- in other words if you frequently mention vacations to France in your emails then you will be seeing plenty of adverts matching your discussions. This is why it is free but this does not take away from the fact that it’s a great service. Advertisement



Gmail and Outlook have cornered the email market in terms of familiarity and compatibility. Offices who choose to break away from Outlook are often left struggling with compatibility issues whilst non Gmail users find themselves left out when it comes to other Google features such as YouTube. At ITbuilder we still believe that Outlook is best for work purposes and Gmail is best for home use if you can come to terms with the privacy issues relating to the latter.

Which email service do you use? Tweet us @ITbuilder and let us know!