Top Free POP3 and IMAP Email Services

Get web-based email using your favorite program

Young businessman commuting with bicycle, emailing with cell phone

Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury / Getty Images

Free email sounds nice, but isn't that the deal where you get slow-loading pages and lots of ads?

No and no. Some free email services offer POP or IMAP access, which means you can download your messages to any email program (such as Mozilla Thunderbird, Mac OS X Mail or iOS Mail). And while you are on the road, you can still take advantage of the free web interface, which is often fast and slender.

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Gmail (Google Mail) - Free POP and IMAP

Google Gmail logo
Google Inc.
What We Like
  • Excellent malware and virus checks.

  • Very fast delivery time.

  • 15GB of free online storage space.

What We Don't Like
  • Uses labels instead of folders.

  • No undelete option.

  • No increase in free storage capacity since 2013.

Gmail is the Google approach to email and chat. Generous free online storage allows you to collect all your messages, and Gmail's simple but smart interface lets you find them precisely and see them in context without effort. POP and powerful IMAP access bring Gmail to any email program or device.

Gmail puts contextual advertising next to the emails you read.

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Zoho Workplace- Free POP and IMAP

Zoho logo
Zoho Corp.
What We Like
  • View attachments without downloading them.

  • Chat capability with other Workplace users.

  • No advertisements.

What We Don't Like
  • Web access only.

  • Free plan limited to five users.

  • Free account limited to 50 emails per day per user.

Zoho Workplace (formerly Zoho Mail) is a solid email service with ample storage, POP and IMAP access, some integration with instant messaging and online office suites.

Aimed at business users, Zoho Mail could be even more helpful organizing mail, identifying key messages and contacts, and sending oft-used replies. A free personal account is available.

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Outlook Mail - Free POP and IMAP

Outlook Mail on the Web
Microsoft, Inc.
What We Like
  • Integrates with social media contacts.

  • 1TB of inbox storage.

  • Blocks almost all spam.

  • Attachments up to 50MB.

What We Don't Like
  • 100-message daily limit.

  • No language translation capability.

  • Extra steps to add attachment to email.

Outlook Mail is not only a productive and capable email experience on the web, Microsoft's free email service can also be accessed via IMAP, POP.

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Yahoo Mail - Free IMAP and POP

Yahoo mail logo


What We Like
  • 1TB online storage.

  • Attach or share files saved to any cloud storage service.

  • Block messages from specific senders.

What We Don't Like
  • Way too many ads in the inbox.

Yahoo Mail offers plenty of online storage, which is perfect for flexible IMAP access, a solid spam filter that is handy for POP access, a capable web interface, and mobile apps.

While Yahoo! Mail is generally a joy to use, free-form labeling and smart folders would be nice.

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AOL Mail - Free POP and IMAP

AOL Mail
AOL Inc.
What We Like
  • Unlimited inbox storage.

  • Fast upload speed for large attachments up to 25MB.

  • Auto-reply feature.

  • Conversation view.

What We Don't Like
  • No way to create alias accounts.

  • Saving drafts is not automatic.

  • Can't import social media contacts.

AOL Mail is AOL's free web-based email service, shines with unlimited online storage, solid spam protection and a rich, easy to use interface. Unfortunately, AOL Mail lacks a bit in productivity (no labels, smart folders, and message threading), but makes up for some of that with very functional IMAP (as well as POP) access.

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iCloud Mail - Free IMAP

iCloud Logo

 Apple, Inc

What We Like
  • Accessible from Macs, iOS devices, Windows computers, and Android devices.

  • No advertisements.

  • Free email address.

What We Don't Like
  • Can't access other email accounts.

  • Lengthy account setup process.

  • Inbox storage only 5GB.

iCloud Mail is a free email service from Apple with ample storage, IMAP access, and an elegantly functional web application.

That interface at does not offer labels or other more advanced tools for productivity and for organizing mail, though, and does not support accessing other email accounts. POP access to iCloud Mail is missing, too.