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Thunderbird vs Outlook: Complete Comparison

Thunderbird vs Outlook: Complete Comparison

Whether you’re a business looking to streamline your incoming emails or an individual looking for the right system, there are a lot of email platforms out there on the market. It can be hard to know which one is truly right for you.

You’ve likely heard of two of the most popular options: Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook. Before you install a system you’re not happy with, here’s your complete comprehensive guide of these two systems, a full Mozilla Thunderbird- Outlook comparison, and a few alternates so you can best decide which platform is the one for your needs.

Thunderbird Overview

Mozilla Thunderbird is a popular email client that offers a lot of useful features for its users. It’s very similar to its internet browsing sister, Firefox, and shares similar qualities. For starters, they have search tools and in Thunderbird’s case, you can use the search bar to find previous emails more effortlessly.

Along with its search bar, Mozilla Thunderbird also has a filter feature that allows users to filter emails based on email newness, tags, and senders. This email client also has tremendous security against firewalls, spam, and antivirus.

Thnderbird Start Page

Pricing

Unfortunately, Microsoft Outlook is not free. To use this email client, you have to purchase a Microsoft 365 plan. There is some flexibility in plan options as you can choose from a personal or business plan that best fits your needs.

However, you should note that the plans will need to be renewed every year, so it’s also not a one-time purchase.

Advantages

Here are some advantages to using Microsoft Outlook email:

  •     High organization features
  •     Team collaboration
  •     Integration accessible
  •     Theme customization
  •     Supports IMAP, POP3, MSN, and HotMail
  •     Can use the search engine “Bing”
  •     Spam and phishing protection
  •     “Clutter” feature
  •     Used with Microsoft 365

Disadvantages

Here are some disadvantages to using Microsoft Outlook email:

  •     Must purchase and renew Microsoft 365 plan to use
  •     Does not allow flags or folders
  •     The system can crash when the inbox gets flooded
  •     Not as easy to set up as Thunderbird
  •     Starts off with 5GB of storage and will need to purchase more

Microsoft Outlook Overview

Microsoft Outlook is another popular email client you might know of and have available if you use Microsoft Office (now 365) products. This particular email platform is more organizational and users can use the software for more than just email.

While email is its primary feature, this system offers features such as a calendar, reminders, and notes to keep in one place. You can also share calendar information with other Microsoft Outlook users, making it really business-friendly. It can integrate with SharePoint where several users can exchange information on the platform.

Pricing

Unfortunately, Microsoft Outlook is not free. To use this email client, you have to purchase a Microsoft 365 plan. There is some flexibility in plan options as you can choose from a personal or business plan that best fits your needs.

However, you should note that the plans will need to be renewed every year, so it’s also not a one-time purchase.

Advantages

Here are some advantages to using Microsoft Outlook email:

  •     High organization features
  •     Team collaboration
  •     Integration accessible
  •     Theme customization
  •     Supports IMAP, POP3, MSN, and HotMail
  •     Can use the search engine “Bing”
  •     Spam and phishing protection
  •     “Clutter” feature
  •     Used with Microsoft 365

Disadvantages

Here are some disadvantages to using Microsoft Outlook email:

  •     Must purchase and renew Microsoft 365 plan to use
  •     Does not allow flags or folders
  •     The system can crash when the inbox gets flooded
  •     Not as easy to set up as Thunderbird
  •     Starts off with 5GB of storage and will need to purchase more.

Outlook vs Thunderbird Comparison

Those are some of the basic features of the two email clients you will see if you were to download and use that software. But what about everyday usage?

Both platforms are distinct in their creation and are slightly different when it comes to fulfilling the same purpose. Let’s put it in perspective if you were to begin using these email clients every day.

User Experience

You will start to tell if you love your email system or hate it the more you use it. Before you waste time downloading and setting up your account, let’s look at the user experience of Mozilla Thunderbird vs Outlook so you know what to expect.

Thunderbird

Thunderbird logo If you were looking at the open Thunderbird application, you might notice that its appearance is behind on updates. While the system is functional and easy to use, it is rather slow at updating from time to time.

Advantages

If you need to search on the app, you can use tab navigation to have multiple tabs open without losing sight of your inbox. This is very beneficial if you need to look for multiple messages and cross-check yourself in the process.

Mozilla Thunderbird also allows for cross-platform access. You can download this email client on all computer systems, though its primary system is Linux.

Disadvantages

Other being late to the party with its design and updates, Thunderbird’s biggest user-experience drawback is its lack of mobile access.

To view your emails or send a message, you have to have a desktop. This can be a turn-off for businesses who need their email on the go.

Outlook

Outlook

While Outlook looks nice and offers a lot of excellent features, it’s not as easy to use as Thunderbird. However, it does offer more customizable features and the app has had several upgrades over the years as opposed to its competitor. If you’re able to spend some time adjusting to the platform, you might come to find its features fit your needs better.

Advantages

Outlook has more advantages than it does disadvantages. For starters, you can use this email client on your phone on the go as well as on your desktop. To have the running app, you will need to download it on your phone and sign in with your Microsoft account.

Microsoft Outlook also has a sleek design and is very appealing to the eye while still giving its users the freedom to customize the app. Along with its high-quality features, users can really benefit from this email client.

Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage Outlook has compared to Thunderbird is no tab navigation. If you were to start searching in your email, you will lose your place on the original screen. This might pose some annoyance for someone trying to heavily search a previous message.

Feature Thunderbird Outlook
Appearance/Interface Outdated Modern
Design Simple/Customizable Complex/Customizable
Cross-Platform Compatibility Just desktop

Windows, macOS, Linux

Desktop and mobile

Windows, macOS, Android, iOS

Multiple-Tab Navigation Yes No
User-Friendly Yes Yes

Email Account Management

If you are trying to balance having more than one email, then the email client of your choosing must have the functionality to manage those separate accounts.

Having the ability to host your accounts in one place makes it easy to serve as a one-stop shop for switching back and forth between those email addresses instead of having to open up endless web tabs.

Here’s how email account management is set up in Thunderbird vs Outlook 2017.

Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird has several beneficial features for hosting and viewing your several email accounts. The good news is that you have unlimited accounts through this email client and there’s a unified inbox feature that will display all messages from all accounts.

Some functionality purposes for email management can be added on through installing plugins if your needs are not met as is.

Advantages

Apart from its capability to view a unified inbox, the add-ons you can install for your email account can enhance Thunderbird’s existing features by allowing you to merge emails, select conversation viewing, and postpone sending mail.

Disadvantages

While Thunderbird can show a unified inbox, it’s very selective in the accounts that will be a part of the unified viewing. Plus, the need for add-ons to achieve your goals can feel annoying to have to go out of your way to install them and become acquainted with how to use them.

Outlook

When it comes to email account management, Outlook does not offer some features that Thunderbird does, but then again, Outlook offers features that Thunderbird doesn’t.

Advantages

Outlook shares the postponed email send as Thunderbird does, but with Outlook, you don’t need an add-on to access this feature. One of the advantages Outlook has in this area as opposed to Thunderbird is read receipts, which will let you know if your email has been opened and read.

Disadvantages

Unlike Thunderbird, there is no unified viewing in Outlook. While Outlook does offer the feature to have other accounts, you can only have up to 20 different addresses whereas Thunderbird offers unlimited accounts.

Feature Thunderbird Outlook
Unified Inbox Yes No
Email Filtering Yes Yes
Postpone Send Add-on only Yes
Read Receipts No Yes
Conversation View Add-on only Yes
Email Account Creation Unlimited Limited

App Setup

There is always a process to set up your email. First, you have to download the application then you run into the process of creating your account.

Creating your email house should be simple, easy, and quick with excellent troubleshooting if you run into any issues. Here’s how both email clients configure their app setup.

Thunderbird

The Mozilla Thunderbird installation process is quick and easy. Some settings are automatically adjusted, but you can change them to your liking within the system.

Advantages

One highlight of Thunderbird’s app setup is its USB compatibility feature. As long as you install the ZIP file to your portable USB, you can use the email client on any device without having to install the program.

On top of its easy configuration, there are over 1,200 add-ons you can add to your Thunderbird email to enhance its features to your customization needs.

Disadvantages

The only downfall this app set up has is its lack to allow the generation of email scripts.

Outlook

Whereas Thunderbird is simple and easy, Outlook is more detailed when it comes to its app setup. Once you’ve downloaded the system, you will need to login and verify your Microsoft 365 account before you’re able to do anything else.

Advantages

Microsoft Outlook does allow users to write elaborate scripts and it is very simple to set up if you know your subscription username and password.

Disadvantages

Outlook offers add-ons as well that are higher quality than the ones offered through Thunderbird, but their costs are higher as well. There is also no portable USB feature with this email client, so the only way you can take your emails on the go is with an app on your phone.

Feature Thunderbird Outlook
Portable USB Version Yes No
Add-ons/Extensions Yes Yes
Easy Setup/Configuration Yes Yes

Integrations

Depending on your need for your email client usage, having integrations with other apps can be very beneficial for production. Some Thunderbird and Outlook features allow for customizable third-party integrations to have everything you need in one place.

Thunderbird

Some selective apps and sites can serve as a third-party integration with Thunderbird. With its 1,200 add-ons to choose from, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for.

Advantages

Popular add-ons accessible with Thunderbird are Google and Dropbox. These add-ons can allow you to create scheduling and have extra storage for anything you need to download.

Disadvantages

The major disadvantage with Thunderbird is that it strictly allows for add-ons made specifically by their own community instead of allowing integrations. You also can only send messages on chat with this email client if you have your browser open.

Outlook

Outlook mostly reigns supreme in this section. This service offers add-ons and beneficial integrations for its users.

Advantages

You can integrate Microsoft Office systems with Outlook as well as Google products and social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Disadvantages

However, depending on how many extensions and add-ons you have installed and running in your email software, it could slow down the speed of the system.

Feature Thunderbird Outlook
Google Products Only by add-on Yes
MS Office Products No Yes
Social Media Compatibility No Yes
Cloud Services Yes Yes

Support

Every app will have its issues that will require you to seek additional troubleshooting support via customer service. Here’s the kind of tech support you can expect to have Thunderbird vs Outlook.

Thunderbird

It used to be that Thunderbird had no live chat or support, but luckily, this is coming soon. If you need to contact customer support with Thunderbird, you will need to do so through their forum where other users or Thunderbird employees have answered questions that may be similar to your needs.

A forum indicates that you will need to read carefully and then perform the necessary steps to resolve the issue yourself before attempting to seek support elsewhere.

Outlook

Outlook offers a question forum for support, but there is also a live chatline you can access since it is a paid service.

Feature Thunderbird Outlook
Help Center Yes Yes
Chatline No Yes
FAQs/Forum Yes Yes

Mozilla Thunderbird Microsoft Outlook: Comparison Table

Here’s another way to quickly compare and contrast the features of the two systems to determine if Thunderbird or Outlook is the email client you need.

Feature Thunderbird Outlook
Open-Source Yes No
Portable USB Compatibility Yes No
Cross-Platform Compatibility Desktop only

Windows, macOS, Linux

Desktop and mobile

Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS

Add-ons/Extensions Yes Yes
Language Preferences 100 languages 96 languages

Here are some more differences and similarities to look at with Thunderbird vs Outlook email account management and other special features.

Feature Thunderbird Outlook
Unified Inbox Yes No
Google Products Only by add-on Yes
MS Office Products No Yes
Postpone Send Add-on only Yes
Add Contacts to Address Book Yes Add-on
Calendar, Reminders, Note No Yes

An Alternative to Thunderbird and Outlook? Outlook vs Thunderbird vs Gmail

Maybe you are still trying to decide which email client is right for you but so far you aren’t sold on Thunderbird or Outlook. In that case, you might want to consider Gmail.

Gmail is Google’s email client that offers a lot of features of both Thunderbird and Outlook. The system is a part of Google Workspace, but anyone can have a Gmail account without using the Google Workspace features.

Here’s more about this system.

Gmail Features

  •     Google panel (including Google docs, sheets, forms, and more)
  •     Youtube
  •     Calendar and Google Meet (can share meet and calendar invites with other Gmail users)
  •     Automatic email filters
  •     Search bar
  •     Much, much more

Gmail Integrations

Gmail offers special integrations that neither Outlook nor Thunderbird offer. For starters, this email client can integrate with Slack and Zoom as add-ons that help you to transport messages and streamline communication.

There are also other integrations with Gmail that could be extremely productive for the right client, especially if you were a part of a business. Google Workspace allows you to conduct other business management tasks under the same company to keep your information in the same place.

Gmail Pricing

If you are using Gmail for personal use, then the good news is that this email client is totally free! If you need to use Gmail for business, there are several cheap plans to get you started that can fit any business needs.

Conclusion

Thunderbird and Outlook are still widely used today and are great competitors for email. To determine which one is truly the best in the Thunderbird vs Outlook 2016 debate totally depends on user preference and user needs.

Overall, Outlook might offer slightly more for users in terms of organizational features, but Thunderbird’s easy usage might reign supreme among some users.

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions when it comes to Thunderbird vs Outlook.

Can Thunderbird replace Outlook?

Thunderbird can replace Outlook as a simple email platform, but users who are familiar with Outlook’s features should not expect the same integrations and bonus features they had with Microsoft Outlook.

Is Outlook a secure email provider?

Outlook is a secure email provider if both the sender and the emailer have encryption enabled.

Is Thunderbird safer than Outlook?

Thunderbird has slightly more security than Outlook does.

Is Outlook safer than Gmail?

Outlook has more options for email encryption while Gmail has more anti-virus technology to fight against spam, phishing, and viruses. Read more in our Outlook vs Gmail article.

Will Thunderbird Work with Windows 11?

Thunderbird does work with Windows 11 and allows for the integration of add-ons.

Is Thunderbird Better than Gmail?

Gmail offers a wide variety of other features than Thunderbird and is becoming the default of choice for email. While Thunderbird is still easy to use, Gmail’s features for personal and business usage far extend Thunderbird’s capabilities. Here is how to use Gmail in Thunderbird.

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This Outlook vs Thunderbird comparison guide will give you all the information you need to choose the right email client for your needs!  Mozilla Thunderbird vs. Microsoft Outlook: Complete Comparison | Outlooktransfer.com
 
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Thunderbird vs Outlook: Complete Comparison

time to read: 11 min