Deciding which email platform to use can be frustrating. Depending on your primary usage, different platforms can offer different things and each comes with its own advantages and drawbacks. Having a reliable email service provider is a necessity, but which is the right one for you? Here we compare Outlook vs. Gmail to help you make the right decision.

What Are Outlook & Gmail?

Both Outlook and Gmail are email service providers but in completely different formats. The biggest difference between the two is that Outlook is an email client while Gmail is essentially webmail – which means it can be accessed via web browsers and apps only.

An email client is a program that downloads emails from the server to your computer to read and reply to messages, which means you can review emails without access to the internet. Whereas, webmail is an interface provided by a custom domain or an Internet Service Provider (ISP) where all parts are accessed through the browser.


Outlook is an email client and webmail service run by Microsoft – and is currently a part of the Microsoft 365 suite. It allows you to send and receive emails, but it’s also great at letting you manage your calendar to schedule meetings or appointments. Outlook also allows you to share files from the cloud or other remote file servers, so all users have the most up to date version. 

It is available as both a desktop application (email client version) and in a web browser (webmail version).


Gmail is a webmail service run by Google. It’s connected to a few other Google programs, such as Google Calendar, Drive, Meet, Photos and Chat. It is also linked with the same connection as G Suite services like Docs, Sheets and Forms. However, it is available only as a web browser service and does not have a dedicated client.

If you’re looking for more insight on which office software is better, check out our article comparing G Suite vs Office 365.

What Is The Difference Between Outlook and Gmail?

When comparing Gmail v Outlook, there are many similarities between these two products. Unless you use both to get a feel for what each one offers, it can be difficult to pinpoint the important differences between them and therefore it can be hard to know which one is right for you.

Below are some of the most important comparisons we could find to make the decision easier.


Outlook allows you to create up to 20 email accounts, while Gmail does not limit the number of accounts you can create.

Since Gmail is a webmail service, all you need to access your email is to be connected to the internet. If you can’t always rely on the internet, Outlook offers an email client, meaning you’ll be able to access emails even without a connection. If you need to manage multiple email accounts for yourself or clients and access that email anywhere with a simple internet connection, Gmail could be the better option.


The option to flag items for follow up or to mark them as important, snooze emails to come to the top of your inbox at a later date and time and add labels to items are all available from both providers. In addition, Outlook allows you to pin emails to the top of your inbox, while Gmail allows you to star or favourite items. 

One win for Outlook is that it has a feature that allows you to password-protect your folders for extra security.

Safety & Security

Outlook and Gmail are mostly on equal footing when it comes to keeping your information secure. Where one falls short in an area, it excels in another. Outlook has weaker spam protection, where Gmail has strong phishing and malware detection. Gmail has had leaks and compromised accounts in the past, while Outlook can connect to an additional server to strengthen security.

Both services do a good job protecting your information from hackers, but the best way to keep your email safe is to protect your information. First, come up with a strong password that you only use for that service and don’t share with anyone else. Then, enable two-factor authentication for your accounts. Finally, be aware of phishing so you can spot any ill-intentioned attempts to gain access to your account. Check out our list of password protection apps here.

Mobile Apps

Outlook has two sections for email organisation: Focused and Other, which means the algorithm pushes the most important emails to the Focused tab. In contrast, less important emails live in the Other tab. On the other hand, Gmail sorts incoming webmail as Primary, Social, Promotions and Updates, where emails get defaulted to Primary unless Gmail detects that it’s social-media related, an advertisement or an update. 

Outlook has the calendar built-in, whereas Gmail has a shortcut link to a separate Google Calendar app. Composing an email with the Gmail app is very similar to the web browser version, while the Outlook app offers a simplified version.

With so many more people working from their phones or tablets, a good mobile application is important. In addition, you can customise many settings in both apps to suit your habits and needs.


Gmail has more than 1.8 billion global active users compared to Outlook’s 400 million. At the end of 2020, Gmail owned 43% of the market share for email service providers. At approximately 450x the number of active users, Gmail wins the popularity contest. 


Both Outlook and Gmail give users the same amount of free storage: 15GB. If you use this storage only for emails, it could hold about 3 million of them. 

The good news for Outlook users is that the 15GB is devoted to the email client, so it could take a while to outgrow that amount of space. The bad news for Gmail users is that the 15GB is being shared with other Google programs, like Drive and Photos, which means if you’re using Google to house a lot of documents or images, you’re most likely to run out of storage space much sooner.


Both are free to start, but if you do run out of the initial storage, both providers have many options to obtain more. As of 2021, upgrades start at about $2.00 per month. Outlook offers 200GB of storage with their OneDrive cloud-based storage for $2.00 per month and Gmail offers 100GB for $1.99 with a Google One subscription. 

Prices often depend on if the accounts are personal vs business and how much extra storage you’re tacking on, but they are comparable.

Which Is Best for You: Outlook or Gmail?

Deciding which email service provider will work best for you boils down to your needs. If you prefer a streamlined experience with interconnected parts and a clean interface, Gmail is the best option for you. On the other hand, if you’re willing to spend more time learning and navigating the additional features it has to offer, Outlook may be the best fit. 

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No matter which email service provider you go with, Switch helps you manage your tabs, accounts and projects all in one place. In addition, because it’s built directly into the browser you use day-to-day, Switch helps streamline your process and makes you ultra-productive by keeping track of all the small moving pieces that might otherwise slip through the cracks.

Download Switch today and see how much easier your web life can be!