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10 min read

The best email newsletter platforms and software

Build subscriber lists, customize emails, and send newsletters with these email newsletter platforms for your business.

By Kiera Abbamonte · August 10, 2022
Hero image with the logos of the best email newsletter software

Changes happening across search algorithms and social media feeds make one thing crystal clear: it's never been more important for businesses to own the channels where they communicate with customers. Email is one such channel—and it's stood the test of time.

Today, email newsletters run the gamut from small-scale personal notes to massive automated campaigns—and so does newsletter software. No matter where on the spectrum your email marketing operation falls, the best email newsletter software makes it quick and easy to send professional-looking emails to hundreds or thousands of subscribers.

The thing is, there are so many email newsletter tools out there. In nearly a decade of working in marketing, I've used my fair share of them, and I know it can feel overwhelming to choose the right one for you. To help, I considered more than 60 different apps and tested dozens of them to help you find the best email newsletter platform.

The 5 best email newsletter platforms

  • Benchmark for a full-featured email marketing app

  • Mailchimp for the most generous free plan

  • ConvertKit for paid newsletters

  • Omnisend for eCommerce newsletters and campaigns

  • Campaign Monitor for agencies who handle email marketing for multiple clients

What to look for in an email newsletter platform

How we evaluate and test apps

All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

Email newsletter platforms are the tools that power the bulk emails you receive from businesses every day. They're a great way to share news, announce new promotions, show off new product features, promote your new blog posts, and curate content for your subscribers.

I focused my testing on apps primarily used to send email newsletters. There are plenty of options out there that provide a full suite of marketing automation features, but those may be intimidating for folks solely looking for a way to send out emails en masse. I've mostly avoided anything too complex and focused on the core aim: being able to get the word out to your customers or clients in a simple and concise manner.

While some of the apps in this list offer additional advanced features like transactional emails, drip marketing campaigns, and A/B testing, each featured app makes it easy to send email newsletters. After all, even the best email marketing service shouldn't skimp on newsletter features.

The best software for newsletter sending always includes the following key features, which are what I focused on in my testing:

  • Strong template choices. You don't want to waste time creating email newsletter templates from scratch every time. Each newsletter platform on this list includes great template options, so you can focus on the content of your message.

  • Segmentation options. If you have a large mailing list, it's useful to be able to divide up how you email people according to their demographic details and their behaviors. All the apps included here have appropriate segmentation options for doing exactly that.

  • Affordability. It's possible to spend a lot of money on newsletter email services. I've focused on apps and tools that are affordable, even for smaller businesses with tight budgets.

  • Usability. Creating and sending an email newsletter should be a simple process, so I excluded any tools that were so complex that I spent more time searching Google than actually testing and using the tool. (I also only tested software with a full feature set, meaning you can both design and send newsletters in one tool.)

  • Analytics and reporting. Whether you're planning to monetize your newsletter or not, it's important a tool can help you understand how your email campaigns perform.

Once I narrowed down my list based on those criteria, I dove into testing. I followed a similar testing protocol for each, so I could compare key features across the board and find uniquely valuable ones, too. Here's what my testing workflow looked like:

  • First, I created an account and went through any onboarding provided by the app.

  • I tested the core features first, creating a new campaign, choosing from the library of templates, editing the design, and completing the scheduling flow.

  • From there, I looked into more advanced features like segmentation and automation.

  • After my scheduled newsletter went out, I viewed the email from the recipient side, then checked out any reports and analytics provided.

  • Where applicable, I tested out features for creating a digital product or paid subscription to the newsletter—plus any other niche features like those designed for curated newsletters, eCommerce, or marketing agencies.

Throughout this workflow, I rigorously tested for ease of use—because your newsletter software shouldn't come with a steep learning curve or add frustration to your day. I've used email marketing apps extensively over the last decade, so if it was hard or time-consuming for me to figure out, it didn't make the cut.

After spending about a week testing nearly 40 email newsletter tools, I landed on the top five you see below.

The best email newsletter platforms: at a glance

Free plan


Best for


Yes, up to 500 contacts, 3,500 emails/month, and basic features

Paid plans start at $13/month for unlimited emails and advanced features

Full-featured email newsletter software


Yes, up to 2,000 contacts and 10k sends/month

Paid plans start at $11/month for advanced features

A free solution


Yes, up to 300 subscribers and limited features

Paid plans start at $9/month for additional features

Paid newsletters


Yes, up to 250 contacts, 500 monthly sends, and most features

Paid plans start at $16/month for more contacts and sends


Campaign Monitor


Paid plans start at $9/month for 500 contacts and 2,500 emails

Agencies who handle email marketing for multiple clients

Best full-featured email newsletter software

Benchmark Email (Web)

Benchmark Email, our pick for the best full-featured email newsletter software

Benchmark pros:

  • Over 200 beautiful templates

  • Full email marketing features

  • Generous free plan

Benchmark cons:

  • More than some newsletter senders may need

If you're looking for a capable email marketing tool to power your newsletters and other campaigns, you can't go wrong with Benchmark. From powerful but easy-to-use automation and segmentation to the supremely intuitive editor, Benchmark was my favorite app of the bunch.

To start, you can choose to send a regular campaign or RSS, then select the standard drag-and-drop editor (which I tested), HTML code editor, or plain text editor. You choose your editor at the start of every new campaign, making it a great option if you have multiple team members building emails.

Choose from over 200 well-designed email templates, start from scratch with a blank layout, or pull in any of your past emails to edit. When you're ready to design and customize your email, the menu is off to the left, so your design takes center stage. You can also build landing pages to help grow your subscribers, and the landing page editor is nearly identical to the email drag-and-drop.

Head over to Automations in the left-hand menu to create or edit automated flows. To create a new flow, you can choose from nine pre-built flows for things like welcoming new subscribers, requesting feedback, Facebook ad retargeting, and more.

Segment your subscribers by a number of basic criteria, or add your own custom dimensions to get more in-depth. Benchmark segments are dynamic and update automatically. And after you send your first email newsletter, you'll see robust analytics that include the basics—like opens, clicks, bounces, and unsubscribes—then go a step deeper with a click map of your email content and subscriber-level activity data.

Connect Benchmark with Zapier to power automated tasks like adding new subscribers to your email list, validating email addresses, and more. Here are a couple of examples, but you can connect Benchmark to thousands of other apps.

Add new Facebook Lead Ads leads as contacts to Benchmark Email

Add new Facebook Lead Ads leads as contacts to Benchmark Email
  • Facebook Lead Ads logo
  • Benchmark Email logo
Facebook Lead Ads + Benchmark Email

Benchmark price: Free for up to 500 contacts, 3,500 emails/month, and basic features; Pro plans start at $13/month for up to 500 contacts, unlimited emails, and more advanced versions of core features like automation, lead generation, and reporting.

Best free email newsletter platform

Mailchimp (Web)

Mailchimp, our pick for the best free email newsletter platform

Mailchimp pros:

  • All-in-one marketing automation platform

  • Easy-to-use advanced features

  • Super reasonable costs as you scale

Mailchimp cons:

  • Free plan is more limited than it once was

Mailchimp prides itself on being an all-in-one marketing platform for small businesses. That can sound intimidating if you simply want a good way of formulating email newsletters. But because it started out as an email newsletter platform, it offers a lot of simple functionality for when you're starting out—along with the opportunity to upscale your campaigns as your business develops.

Its templates are more blank canvas than some other apps' polished choices, but that gives you a lot of flexibility. However, with the app's extensive library of polished themes, you can always buy a great template a la carte. Segmentation options are easy to manage, but expect to upgrade to a premium plan if you want in-depth statistical analysis and performance reports.

Overall, Mailchimp is intuitive and welcoming, and you'll appreciate how it grows alongside your business. But the best part is how generous the free plan is. It's free to sign up, and you can grow your newsletter to up to 2,000 subscribers and 10,000 monthly emails before you have to upgrade.

Plus, Mailchimp's Zapier integration allows you to extend its value even further, automatically adding your leads to Mailchimp and sharing contacts across contact databases. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Mailchimp price: Free for up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 sends/month with limited features; from $11/ month for an Essentials package that includes access to all email templates, custom branding, expanded automation features, and A/B testing functionality.

Best email newsletter platform for paid newsletters

ConvertKit (Web)

ConvertKit, our pick for the best email newsletter platform for paid newsletters

ConvertKit pros:

  • Designed for creators and paid newsletters

  • Intuitive email editor that works like a web builder

  • Create digital products, sell to your list, and collect payments with one tool

ConvertKit cons:

  • No templates

  • Emphasis on minimal, text-forward newsletters can be limiting

  • One of the more expensive options

ConvertKit is built for creators. The app goes beyond email to include landing pages and digital products, but newsletters (called "broadcasts") are at the heart of it all.

The email editor in ConvertKit functions a lot like a website builder. Instead of the drag-and-drop you'll find in most email newsletter tools, you click the + button on the left and choose the element you want to add.

There aren't any pre-designed templates on offer—largely because the tool emphasizes a minimal, text-forward design for broadcasts—but you can create and save your own templates for reuse.

If you're sending a paid newsletter or other digital product, ConvertKit makes it easy to sell to your list, collect payments, and segment paid subscribers. Payments are powered by Stripe, but you can set them up without leaving ConvertKit's app. Once you're set up to collect payments, simply add a product, set the price, and you're in business.

You can start using ConvertKit—and even selling digital products—for free. If you sign up for a paid plan, ConvertKit includes free, done-for-you migration from your current email provider. Plus, ConvertKit integrates with Zapier, so you can do things like add event attendees as new subscribers and tag survey respondents automatically.

ConvertKit price: Free for up to 300 subscribers and limited features; the Creator package starts at $9/month for up to 300 subscribers and additional features like automation and free migration from other email tools.

Best email newsletter platform for eCommerce

Omnisend (Web)

Omnisend, our pick for the best email newsletter platform for eCommerce

Omnisend pros:

  • All-in-one transactional emails, newsletters, and automated campaigns for eCommerce

  • Robust integrations with eCommerce platforms

  • Thoughtful pre-built audience segments

Omnisend cons:

  • Limited free plan and pricey to scale subscribers

  • Fewer template options

Omnisend is email marketing built for eCommerce, allowing you to build and manage everything from transactional emails to newsletters and automated email flows.

The app integrates with popular eCommerce platforms, including Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce, Wix, and more. Once you connect your store, Omnisend pulls in key data on your customers and their behavior to help power robust customer segmentation, email automation, and detailed reporting.

You can choose from more than 20 pre-built segments designed for eCommerce—like "high potential buyers," "clicked on promotional messages," and "frequent store visitors"—to make quick work of powerful segmentation.

Omnisend offers a smaller number of email templates, but they're designed to be versatile. The intuitive editor makes it easy to customize your newsletter with pre-built layout blocks for product listings, recommendations, discounts, and more. And if you use SMS campaigns or push notifications in addition to email, you can build and send these with Omnisend, too.

Plus, you can connect Omnisend with Zapier to open up a whole world of automation, from adding new contacts from your CRM or website form to syncing Google Ads events and more. Here are a few examples, but you can connect Omnisend to any of thousands of apps on Zapier.

Omnisend price: Free for up to 250 contacts, 500 monthly sends, and access to most features; the Standard plan starts at $16/month for 500 contacts, 6,000 monthly emails, and upgraded support options.

Best email newsletter software for agencies who handle email marketing for multiple clients

Campaign Monitor (Web, iOS)

Campaign Monitor, our pick for the best email newsletter software for agencies who handle email marketing for multiple clients

Campaign Monitor pros:

  • Strong client management features

  • Expansive reporting features

  • Transactional email and SMS

Campaign Monitor cons:

  • Less user-friendly interface

  • Costs can jump quickly

If you manage email marketing for multiple clients, Campaign Monitor makes that process simple. You can add as many clients as you want; create custom templates, emails, and automations for each client; allow clients to access their campaigns through a white-label version of the tool; and lock specific sections of emails and templates so they can't be edited.

Then, either have clients pay for their usage themselves by reselling the product to them, or you can pay for all of your clients yourself as part of a single package. You can even pay individually for a specific campaign if you have a client who only wants to send emails occasionally to a large list of contacts. Such flexibility is great if you're on a tight budget and need to plan accordingly.

Campaign Monitor's email editor initially encourages you to create a branded template based on the color scheme of your website. The whole interface isn't quite as user-friendly as some options here, but it's still a fast way to customize your messages with drag-and-drop functionality included. On the Unlimited plan, you can even preview what your email will look like in 20 different inboxes, helping you ensure that your emails look great for everyone.

Campaign Monitor offers Zapier integrations, so you can automatically add new Campaign Monitor subscribers based on purchases, event registrations, and more.

Campaign Monitor price: From $9/month for the Basic plan to send up to 2,500 emails/month to 500 contacts; from $29/month for the Unlimited plan that includes 500 contacts, unlimited monthly sends, and time zone delivery.

How to choose the right email newsletter platform

If you send similar emails to groups of people regularly, you need an email newsletter platform. You might not need all the features of advanced email marketing platforms, with automated sending schedules and landing page builders and personalization tools. Not yet, anyhow. But as your lists and marketing ambitions grow, you might.

That's the great thing about the wide variety of online newsletter platforms available. Whether you want to send a curated set of articles weekly to build a following around a topic or need to send thousands of personalized messages for your multinational corporation daily, there are email apps to fit your needs.

You can start simple—even with a free email marketing app—then grow into the advanced email marketing features the top newsletter platforms offer.

Start with the email newsletter software that feels most like it fits your needs today. Don't worry: when you need more features, you can always upgrade your plan, switch to another app, or keep your original, email newsletter platform alongside a more advanced marketing automation tool.

If you're sending links to your audience, try using a URL shortener. You can automate the process with these 4 URL shortener workflows.

This article was originally published in June 2018 by Jessica Greene and has also had contributions from Jennifer Allen. The most recent update was in August 2022.

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