There are two reigning champs in the email world: Gmail and Outlook. These behemoths are responsible for most email use, creating happy customers in every corner of the globe.
If you’re looking to create a new email account, you’re probably choosing between these two giants. If so, you’re headed in the right direction! Both options provide a comprehensive email platform that’s jam-packed with helpful features.
There’s just one problem: with so many customers on both sides, you’ll hear people gushing over either. That chorus of praise can make choosing difficult!
Lucky for you, we’re here to help. We’ll break down both options, comparing the strengths and weaknesses of each. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to make a confident choice based on your unique needs.
Gmail is an email platform operated by Google. With a whopping 1.8 billion users, they’re the most popular of our two choices.
People love Gmail for its ease of use, security, and integration with the larger Google ecosystem. It’s free to use, though you will see advertisements to cover its operating costs.
Gmail is available as part of Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) if you’re looking for a professional solution.
Outlook is Microsoft’s email service. However, it does so much more than just send and receive email. Extensive features such as calendar, appointment scheduling, contact management, and more make it a staple of the professional world.
While it’s free to use, a premium version exists within the broader 365 toolsets. That premium version offers personalized email addresses, advanced security, and more within an ad-free experience.
Gmail vs Outlook Comparison
With introductions out of the way, it’s time for our heavyweights to enter the ring. At one end is Gmail, serving a quarter of the world population with safe and secure emailing. On the other, we have Outlook, providing a comprehensive toolset for professionals worldwide.
The massive assortment of features on offer will make “Gmail vs Outlook” a headline contest. So grab your popcorn, strap in, and prepare for a full breakdown of each service. Here’s how they compare:
Gmail vs Outlook: Main Features
We expect plenty of excellent features from the two biggest email services globally. Luckily, neither one disappoints! Both Google and Outlook treat us to extensive functionality, making our emailing life a breeze.
To be clear, both services reliably send and receive emails. What sets them apart is their libraries of primary and secondary features. Below, we’ll evaluate the most notable features of each:
- Smart reply: Gmail leverages AI to autocomplete your responses, saving you loads of time. Over time, it will learn your cadence and usual phrases for even faster autocompletion
- Confidential mode: This allows you to set expiration dates on your most private emails, openable only with two-factor authentication. Recipients are also disallowed from forwarding, copying, printing, and downloading. You can even revoke access at any time!
- Nudges: If you’re a busy person, your inbox can quickly get crazy. Fortunately, Gmail automatically reminds you when you haven’t replied to or followed up on emails. You can also customize nudges extensively in your settings
- Undo send timer: Sometimes, you send an email and immediately regret it. Mistakes happen, whether it’s a typo, factual error, or the content itself! Luckily, Gmail has our back with a customizable “undo” countdown upon hitting send
- Snooze: Guilty of opening an email, drafting a reply, and forgetting about it entirely? Using Snooze, you can schedule the email to reappear at a convenient time
- Send huge attachments: Don’t sweat it if your attachments exceed the 25MB file limit. Integration with Google Drive allows you to send files up to 10 GB!
- Productivity ecosystem: It’s important to note that Outlook is not only an email platform. It’s a productivity suite featuring a host of other fantastic applications
- Built-in calendar: Organize events and schedule appointments without going anywhere
- Advanced accessibility: Outlook takes every measure to be accessible for users with disabilities. Voice navigation, assistive device support, and more make Outlook a top choice for impaired users
- Quick Parts: Do you send the same sorts of emails regularly? Quick Parts allows users to save blocks of text and paste them in at their leisure
- Custom message alerts: Worried about missing a specific message but don’t want to stare at Outlook all day? Outlook allows you to set custom alerts for emails meeting specific criteria
- Mentions: Type “@” followed by a colleague’s name to automatically add them to any email. They’ll see the @ symbol in their message list with their name highlighted in the text
Features Winner: Outlook
In terms of just Gmail versus Outlook, Outlook’s broad functionality wins the day for Microsoft. Simply put, Gmail by itself is a far cry from Outlook’s all-in-one powerhouse.
However, this victory comes with a caveat: users should evaluate Gmail within the broader Google ecosystem. Direct integration with Google Calendar, Meet, and more makes Gmail’s functionality comparable to Outlook’s.
Gmail vs Outlook: Design
Both applications present clean interfaces that anyone can navigate with ease.
This article will review the default settings for both platforms, which most people will use. Please note, however, that both applications are customizable.
Outlook sports a minimalist blue-tinted design with all essential functions in view.
The functional design of Outlook makes it easy for users to navigate. That said, it’s a little cramped compared to its Mountain View counterpart. In addition, its harsh corners and the sterile font may leave users feeling slightly uninspired.
Outlook looks better on mobile than it does on desktop. Every menu is straightforward and intuitive, so you can stay productive without distraction. Outlook even uses AI to anticipate your next move, making on-the-go task management more manageable.
Gmail’s design has improved significantly over the years. Formerly known as the ugly duckling of email, users now consider it among the most beautiful.
Gmail greets users with a comfortable, spacious interface with all essentials within view. In addition, Gmail cleverly hides additional options behind extra tabs, with emails appearing in a separate window. That compartmentalization contrasts with Outlook’s attempt to show everything at once.
You’ll also notice the categories menu strategically placed on top of the inbox. That organization makes for easy navigation between message categories.
Gmail’s mobile version preserves the beauty and simplicity of its desktop counterpart. Navigation is simple, quick, and accessible. Gmail mobile also integrates directly with Meet for convenient video calls.
Design Winner: Gmail
Gmail is the clear winner when it comes to design. While Outlook’s interface isn’t bad, it lacks the subtlety and intuition of Gmail. As a result, new users will take to Gmail more quickly than Outlook.
Gmail vs Outlook: Pricing Options
Both Gmail and Outlook offer free plans with a wide range of features. However, advanced versions of platforms are provided in premium plans by their respective companies:
- Google Workspace (Gmail)
- Microsoft 365 (Outlook)
We’ll compare each service’s premium plan below.
Gmail is part of Google Workspace, which comes in four plans:
- Starter ($6/month): Ad-free custom email, 30 GB cloud storage, 100-participant video meetings, standard support
- Standard ($12/month): Starter perks, plus 2 TB cloud storage, 150-participant meetings, calendar appointment booking, additional Meet features, and paid upgrade to enhanced support
- Plus ($18/month): Standard perks, plus 500-participant meetings, 5 TB storage, enhanced security options, and Meet attendance tracking
- Enterprise (custom): Plus perks, advanced security features, as-needed storage, in-domain Meet live streaming, AppSheet, and upgradeable enhanced support.
Google Workspace also offers additional add-ons, including Google Meet hardware, Jamboard digital whiteboard, Voice, and more.
Outlook is part of Microsoft 365, which is Microsoft’s productivity suite. 365 comes in two home plans and four business plans:
- Personal ($69.99/year): Outlook, Microsoft Office, and 1 TB OneDrive storage
- Family ($99.99/year): Same as the Personal plan but scaled up to six people. Each person receives 1 TB of OneDrive storage, plus access to the Family Safety app
- Basic ($6/month): Outlook, Office Suite, custom business email, standard security, video conferencing up to 300 attendees, and 24/7 support
- Apps for business ($8.25/month): While this includes Outlook, it doesn’t have business email as offered by the other premium plans. Therefore, we won’t consider this plan in our evaluation.
- Standard ($12.50/month): Basic perks, desktop Office apps, webinar hosting, attendee registration, and appointment settings
- Premium ($22/month): Standard perks, advanced security, and cyberthreat protection
Pricing Winner: Outlook
Outlook wins a close contest thanks to its better entry plan. 365 Basic includes professional email, Office, 1 TB of storage, and 300-participant video conferencing, all for six bucks a month.
That said, your best option will come down to your individual needs. For example, Workspace is better across the board if you need more cloud storage. The real winner is the plan that serves your requirements the best.
Gmail vs Outlook: Security
Both platforms offer state-of-the-art security. If you’re worried about a third party just popping in to look at your emails, don’t be. Both send emails encrypted end-to-end (unless indicated otherwise).
The real concern is whether or not you’ll make a mistake, be it setting a weak password or giving personal information to scammers. Both platforms protect you with features like two-factor authentication.
That said, Google takes proactive security a step further with features like:
- Phishing protection: Gmail blocks over 99.9% of malicious emails
- Safe browsing: Gmail detects dangerous links and warns users about them
- Proactive alerts: Google will block malicious attachments and warn you about them
Security Winner: Gmail
While Outlook has essential security features as part of its free plan, it locks many of them behind a 365-plan paywall. Users benefit from Gmail’s commitment to being the most secure email service with extensive coverage.
Gmail vs Outlook: Customer Support
Gmail offers an extensive knowledge base to free users, in addition to community forums where they can troubleshoot issues. However, there is no direct support line available for free users.
For direct customer support, you’ll need Google Workspace. Workspace users can contact Google’s customer support directly at any time.
On the other hand, Outlook support is available for free and paid customers. For example, you can access live chat at any time by simply signing into your Microsoft account. If that’s not enough, users with a 365 subscription receive a higher level of support.
Customer Support Winner: Outlook
While both platforms offer great customer support, only Outlook does for free users. Free Gmail users will need to rely on the community to solve problems. While that will probably be all you need, nothing beats direct support.
Gmail vs Outlook: Various Apps and Add-Ons
Both Gmail & Outlook have lots of native applications available to users. If that’s not enough, both applications offer extensive third-party support for all your favorite applications.
Zoom? Slack? Grammarly? Yes, yes, and yes! You’ll find every kind of extension you need on either platform.
Various Apps and Add-Ons Winner: Tie
Both Gmail and Outlook feature an extensive library of third-party applications. You’ll be hard-pressed to find one of your favorite apps not present on either one. Thus, they stand as equals in this category.
Gmail vs Outlook: Search
Both Gmail and Outlook have extension search functionality making it easy to find any email(s).
Enter your criteria into the filters, search for a specific text query, and you’ll find your target in no time.
Search Winner: Outlook
While both email services have excellent search capabilities, Outlook’s is better. Outlook has a several filters Gmail does not, such as:
- Read status
- CC Sensitivity
While most users won’t need these filters, they can make a huge difference for those who do.
Gmail vs Outlook: Contacts
Neither Gmail nor Outlook users will be disappointed by the lack of a contacts feature. Having said that, there’s one big difference between the two: Outlook’s contact app is integrated directly into the platform while Gmail’s is separate (Contacts is its own Google app).
Thanks to its handy sidebar, this isn’t much of an issue on Gmail’s desktop app. The sidebar enables you to bring up Contacts directly.
However, it can be a stinging issue on mobile devices where so such features is available. To make matters worse, Google doesn’t even have a contacts app for iOS, leaving many users in the wind.
Contacts Winner: Outlook
Outlook wins in the contact department thanks to Google’s shoddy mobile coverage. A lack of contacts integration on Gmail’s mobile app means users have to go back to their computer to access their contacts list.
Gmail vs Outlook: Storage and Attachment Limitations
First, let’s talk about storage.
Both Gmail and Outlook offer 15 GB of storage space for free users. So if you’re just looking for a free email account, both products will satisfy your storage needs equally.
In contrast, Gmail shares storage across all Google’s products, while Outlook does not. So if you get a premium Microsoft 365 plan, your Outlook storage won’t count against the 1 TB of OneDrive storage you receive.
Both Gmail and Outlook have a default attachment limit of 20 MB due to inherent limitations in email infrastructure. To get around this, both platforms let you upload bigger files to the cloud and link them to email messages. This allows for virtually limitless attachment size.
Storage and Attachment Limitations Winner: Outlook
Both platforms tie in terms of free storage, but Outlook wins thanks to not counting storage towards OneDrive in premium plans.
Gmail vs Outlook: Customizability
Gmail is extensively customizable, allowing users to customize almost every aspect of their viewing experience. For example, you can change inbox density, theme, inbox type, reading pane, and more. Plus, you can even switch between the classic and new Gmail experiences.
Outlook also has a respectable amount of customization. Still, it doesn’t offer as many options as Gmail.
Customizability Winner: Gmail
While Outlook offers plenty of customization options, it’s outmatched (no pun intended) by Gmail.
How to choose your email provider?
With many superb email providers on the market, picking the best one can be a tough choice. Ultimately, it’s not going to come down to which one is the coolest or has the most features; it’ll be the one that appeals most to your specific needs.
For example, maybe aesthetics and customizability are a top priority for you. In that case, you would choose Gmail. On the other hand, perhaps you’re looking for an all-in-one package that doesn’t require you to switch between apps. In that case, Outlook’s probably your best bet.
Both platforms are free. This means you can create an account on either one and decide which one you like best. The above analyses are important, but they don’t matter as much as your own experience.
Final Verdict: most important differences between Gmail & Outlook
To conclude our comparison, let’s compare Gmail and Outlook’s most significant differences:
- Main features: While Gmail is part of a larger ecosystem, Outlook is an integrated package. This means more features on Outlook without having to leave the app
- Design: People love Gmail for its visual comfort and intuitive design. While Outlook isn’t bad in this respect, it’s not quite as great as Gmail’s
- Pricing: Both pricing plans are competitive, but Outlook is overall more affordable thanks to a more comprehensive entry plan
- Security: While both platforms offer excellent security, Gmail is more proactive in protecting users from malicious emails
- Customer support: Only Outlook offers direct support for free users; Gmail users require a workspace account for it
- Search: Outlook lets you search through your emails with great precision than Gmail
- Contacts: Outlook has contacts integrated directly into the platform, while Gmail connects to Google
- Customization: Google offers a greater level of customization than Outlook, but not by too huge of a margin
A surface-level analysis might suggest Outlook is the superior choice, but it’s much more nuanced than that.
Outlook has more features but restricts you to the Microsoft ecosystem. That may be fine with you, but it can be a deal-breaker for others. Many prefer the Google ecosystem for its comprehensive library of applications and third-party integrations.
In the end, Gmail vs Outlook will come down to what works best for you and you alone.