Gmail vs. Outlook—which email service should you choose?

Gmail vs. Outlook—which email service provider should you choose? We compared their crucial features to help you make an informed decision.
Despite the rise in popularity of many real-time messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, or Skype, email is still the primary medium for personal and work-related communication. Even though you can choose among various email service providers, the world seems to be divided into Gmail and Outlook users.In this article, we will make a Gmail vs. Outlook comparison and help you choose the option that will suit your needs the best. You will find out:
  • What are the main differences between these providers?
  • Is Outlook more secure than Gmail, or is it vice versa?
  • Which alternatives to these two email giants should you consider?
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Outlook Mail vs. Gmail—a comparison across five categories

The best way to decide between Gmail and Outlook is to compare the five categories that make or break the overall email experience. We will talk about the two providers’:
  1. Interface
  2. Features
  3. Storage and attachment limits
  4. Pricing
  5. Security

User Interface

Gmail focuses on simplicity. It features a straightforward and modern interface with all the essentials immediately visible. The platform is extremely easy to navigate, which is especially significant for new users.Additional options are hidden behind extra tabs, and the email is displayed prominently in the middle. This makes the interface look clean and spacious and ensures there are no distractions. The categories menu is placed on the left side of the inbox, allowing easy navigation among the main categories, while Calendar, Drive, and Tasks are easily accessible from the right-hand side menu.Outlook doesn’t have such a straightforward interface. You start with a default view in Mail, featuring three panes cluttered with buttons and icons, making it difficult to navigate the platform. Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, and Tasks features can be hard to locate due to a lack of compartmentalization.


Both services deliver in terms of features, making emailing effortless. We will analyze crucial categories of primary and secondary features to help you assess which provider meets your particular needs.


Outlook organizes emails into folders and subfolders according to Microsoft's proven formula. You can create a system of folders according to which you can sort your emails into different categories. The system allows you to flag specific emails or point them to the top of a chosen folder.Gmail allows you to organize emails within categories with labels and nested labels. You can mark your email as belonging to a specific category or subcategory, which is arguably a more versatile solution than folders and subfolders. Gmail further uses a system of marks and stars to designate emails as important or not important.

Time management and efficiency

Gmail provides a handy message alerts feature enabling you to set custom alerts for emails meeting specific criteria. Smart Reply allows you to compose your emails quickly by automatically filling in the usual phrases. Nudges and Snooze buttons work as reminders in case you forget to open or reply to emails.Outlook is a productivity suite, so its broad functionality might make it a significantly more powerful solution in terms of features than Gmail. With its advanced accessibility features, such as voice navigation and assistive device support, Outlook caters to users with disabilities. The built-in calendar enables you to effortlessly organize events and schedule appointments. Quick Parts feature allows you to save blocks of text and paste them to your emails, which is especially convenient for users who send the same sorts of emails regularly. Mentions enables you to add someone to the discussion promptly by typing in @ and the person’s name.


As expected from Google’s product, Gmail has a better built-in search function than Microsoft’s Outlook. The latter’s search functionality might be simpler—you merely have to type in your query in the search bar, while there’s a separate search for your contacts—but Gmail’s search is far more robust.With the basic search, you obtain fast and comprehensive results by typing in a simple phrase. The advanced search enables you to sort through different options based on categories, labels, subject lines, attachments, tags, and numerous other variables.

Storage and attachment limits

Gmail and Outlook offer 15 GB of storage within their free plans. However, Gmail users have 15 GB of shared storage across Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos. This means that if your photos take up 10 GB, you will only have 5 GB left for the email. Outlook offers 15 GB of free storage for emails and additional 5 GB for storing files on its OneDrive cloud product.If you need more storage, you can choose premium plans for both email services.When it comes to attachment sizes, Gmail allows you to send attachments of up to 25 MB, and Outlook has a maximum attachment size of 20 MB.


Both Gmail and Outlook offer free and various paid plans. The advanced versions of these platforms are provided in premium plans by their respective companies–Google Workspace (Gmail) and Microsoft 365 (Outlook).Google Workspace comes in four different plans:
Pricing planCost
Microsoft 365 offers two home plans and four business plans:
Pricing planCost
(Home) Personal$69.99/year
(Home) Family$99.99/year
(Business) Basic$6/month
(Business) Apps for business$8.25/month
(Business) Standard$12.50/month
(Business) Premium$22/month
Depending on the plan, users get more storage, customer support, tools for video conferencing, and access to different apps.Gmail’s plans have higher prices, but they include more storage—from 30 GB to 5 TB, while Outlook’s premium plan contains a maximum of 1 TB of additional storage.All of Gmail’s paid plans provide ad-free email, video and voice conferencing, support, and custom domains, which isn’t included in the free plan.Microsoft 365’s plans allow you to set up custom business email and host webinars or video conferences.
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Email security is the key factor to consider when choosing an email service provider. We often use emails to convey sensitive personal and business information that should remain private between the chosen recipient and us. The crucial measure that keeps messages secure from unauthorized access is email encryption. It entails turning email contents into cyphertext unreadable to anyone but the recipient with a decryption key.Gmail and Outlook implement the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol that protects your emails while they’re traveling across networks and servers before reaching the recipient. The mechanism behind TLS is:
  1. Data remains unprotected while resting on the provider's server
  2. Decryption key is owned and stored by the provider
This means that if someone infiltrates the provider’s servers, they can access plaintext copies of your emails. Also, as Gmail and Outlook have access to your keys, they can read your emails. Both companies are notorious for collecting user data and targeting users with personalized ads.A more reliable type of encryption is end-to-end encryption (E2EE) because it happens at the device level and ensures your data is fully protected all the way to the recipient. The decryption key is created by the user and stored on their device, meaning nobody—not even the email service provider—has access to it.Unlike Gmail, Outlook enables two in-house end-to-end encryption protocols—Office 365 Message Encryption and S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) Encryption. However, the first method is only available in paid business plans, and implementing the second one is a complicated process that requires advanced tech knowledge.Luckily, Gmail and Outlook are not the only email services worth considering. You can sign up for Skiff—a privacy-first email provider that checks all the boxes in terms of price, features, storage, security, and user interface.

Don’t settle for less—get the complete package with Skiff

Skiff Mail is the best alternative for users who want the benefits of popular solutions combined with fortified security measures. It implements advanced E2EE by using two separate keys to safeguard your emails:
  1. Public key, used for encryption and shared among users
  2. Private decryption key, created by the user and stored on their device
This guarantees that the only person who can see the message is the intended recipient.Skiff implements additional security measures that minimize the chances of email attacks such as hacking, phishing, and spamming. The platform supports two-factor authentication (2FA), adding another layer of protection to your account should someone get ahold of your password. It also implements zero-knowledge login, ensuring your private information never gets stored on the platform’s servers.Skiff features a highly intuitive, modern user interface that is easy to navigate even if you’re new to the platform. While it offers both free and paid services, a generous free plan with no time limit completely meets the needs of average users. Some of the numerous free-of-charge benefits are:
  • 10GB of storage
  • Email search function
  • 4 aliases
  • Crypto wallet integrations
  • Auto-replay, schedule and undo send, and signature options
  • 5 folders and labels
Once you sign up, you will also get access to three more end-to-end encrypted Skiff products that can take your workflow to the next level:
  • Skiff Pages–Create and edit documents and collaborate with your team in an end-to-end encrypted workspace
  • Skiff Drive–Upload all types of files and sort, preview, download, or share them securely
  • Skiff Calendar–Organize meetings, share invites, and keep track of your daily chores in a safe environment
Skiff is open source and committed to transparency. To learn more about the platform and its security policy, read the whitepaper.

Get started with Skiff Mail

Signing up for Skiff Mail takes only three steps:
  1. Go to the signup page
  2. Create your free account
  3. Start using Skiff Mail and other privacy-first products
If you want to expand your storage and gain access to more features, upgrade your account to Skiff’s affordable Essential, Pro, or Business paid plans. You’ll get up to:

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