12 Best Free and Open Source Console Email Clients

For the traditionalists, emails remains a fundamental part of the operating system. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of free email software available on the Linux platform which is stable, feature laden, and ideal for personal and business environments.

Command-Line InterfaceThe vast majority of Linux users would never be satisfied without access to a graphical user interface. However, even in 2021 there remain many reasons why console based applications can be extremely desirable.

Although console applications are very useful for updating, configuring, and repairing a system, their benefits are not only confined to system administration. Console based applications are light on system resources (very useful on low spec machines), can be faster and more efficient than their graphical counterparts, they do not stop working when X/Wayland needs to be restarted, and they are great for scripting purposes.

Given the volume of email sent and received and the importance of emails in our workflows, it’s imperative to process that email as efficiently as possible. While many of us use webmail for casual use, there’s nothing quite like using a console application.

Here are our recommendations. All of the programs are free and open source goodness. Many of the programs featured here delegate some tasks to other tools, so they can focus on being the best client possible.

Ratings chart for console based email clients

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 12 console email clients. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone who wants to efficiently manage their mailbox from the terminal.

Let’s explore the 12 console email clients. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

Console Email Clients
NeoMuttBrings together many patches to extend Mutt
mu4eAn extension of mu that runs a full-featured email client within Emacs
SupCurses threads-with tags style email client
MuttSmall but very powerful text based program
HimalayaCLI email client written in Rust
AlpineAlternatively Licensed Program for Internet News and Email
nmailUser interface similar to alpine / pine
alotLets notmuch handle your mailindex and uses a toolkit to render its display
WanderlustMail/news management system with IMAP4rev1 support for Emacs
aercBilled as a "pretty good email client"
VmailVim interface to Gmail
ConeCOnsole Newsreader And Emailer
Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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