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The 12 best newsletter tools for 2021 in a comparison test
I've been in email marketing for 12 years now. First for an online marketing agency in Frankfurt, then I launched the EmailToolTester website. So I wanted to make this effective technology accessible to small and medium-sized companies that don't want to spend days scouring the many newsletter services.
Countless tariff options, complex e-mail automation, different deliverability rates - it can be really difficult to find the best newsletter software. Because of this, our team has one Selection of the best currently available newsletter solutions compiled. Carefully assessed and clearly structured.
Hopefully you will know exactly which provider to choose next!
Isn't email marketing out of date?
The marketing tool actually has been around for a few years, but that doesn't mean it isn't effective. The long existence of this technology may even mean that it will be around for a long time to come. It has the following advantages:
- lifespan: Think of studiVZ, Myspace or Google+. Social networks come and go. What about email addresses? There is even a tendency here for many to use the same address for an average of around 10 years.
- Data sovereignty: Facebook and other social media are primarily advertising platforms. The data about their users is a veritable goldmine and they don't want to share it with anyone. Email marketing puts you in control of everything you learn about your users.
- flexibility: Once you have your recipient list, it is easy to switch providers. All you have to do is export the list as a CSV file.
- user friendliness: Ten years ago these systems were complex monsters. Today you can include a registration form, create a template and finally send a newsletter to your entire contact base in just a few minutes. In fact, I dare say that sending out your first newsletter is faster than starting an advertising campaign on Facebook or Twitter.
As you can see, email marketing is still a proven and reliable method. And as we mentioned above, the platforms are getting easier and easier to use for absolute beginners. The best part is that many tools offer a free plan, so you can try the solution out first before you spend any money on it.
Tip # 1: Would you like to find the right email marketing service for your projects as quickly as possible? Test our Smart Finder - you will receive a suitable recommendation for you in less than a minute!
So what are the best email marketing services? Take a look at our ranking table below.
The best newsletter software in the ranking
Try Sendinblue (formerly Newsletter2Go)
Broad range of functions
|Free tariff: 0 € / mo|
10,000: 19 € / month
20,000: 29 € / month
40,000: € 39 / month
60,000: 49 € / month
100000: € 69 / month
|+ Solid email automation|
+ Landing page editor
+ Unlimited contacts in CRM
- Advertising in the Lite tariff
- No flat rate tariffs
|250 contacts: 0 € / mo|
1000: € 20 / month
2500: 35 € / month
5000: € 55 / month
10,000: 100 € / month
20,000: 140 € / month
50,000: 400 € / month
75,000: € 640 / month
More price information
|+ Large range of functions|
+ Email automation
+ Free tariff
- Prices are comparatively high
|500 contacts: 9 € / month|
1000: € 12.80 / month
2500: € 24.20 / month
5000: € 39.40 / month
10,000: € 58.40 / month
25,000: € 119.80 / month
50,000: € 227.80 / month
100,000: € 429.80 / month
|+ Good template editor, easy to use|
+ Quite inexpensive
+ Server in Germany
- Functionality partially limited
- List management
The reference for automation
|500 contacts: $ 15 / mo|
1000 .: $ 29 / mo
2500: $ 55 / mo
5000: $ 99 / mo
10,000: $ 155 / mo
50,000: $ 345 / mo
100,000: $ 505 / mo
|+ Very good automation|
+ Excellent deliverability
- Some of the functions are overwhelming
- No German support
- Data in the USA
The multifunctional tool
|1,000 contacts: € 13 / mo|
2500: € 22 / month
5000: 40 € / month
10,000: 59 € / month
25,000: € 129 / month
50,000: € 220 / month
100,000: € 400 / month
|+ Intelligent automation|
+ Good selection of templates
+ Auto tunnel function
- Weaknesses in delivery
- German support could be better
Try the click tip
For online marketers
|Standard: € 27 / month|
Premium: € 47 / mo
Deluxe: € 67 / mo
Enterprise 10,000: € 149 / mo
Enterprise 25,000: 290 € / month
Enterprise 100,000: € 750 / month
|+ Very good autoresponders|
+ Tagging function
+ Good split testing
- user interface
- Test only possible after payment
The giant from the USA
|2,000 contacts: $ 0 / mo|
2500: $ 30.99 / mo
10,000: $ 78.99 / mo
20,000: $ 170 / mo
30,000: $ 230 / mo
50,000: $ 270 / mo
|+ Sophisticated editor|
+ Good free plan
+ Great templates
- No German localization
- Comparatively expensive
Transactional email specialist
|6,000 emails: € 0 / mo|
30,000: € 7.16 / month
60,000: € 15.26 / month
150,000: € 49.46 / month
|+ Free plan|
+ Transactional emails
+ Good editor
- No free trial for premium features
Try the benchmark
Light and shadow
|Up to 250 emails: $ 0|
3,500: $ 43.99 / mo
7,500: $ 65.99 / mo
15,000: $ 106.99 / mo
50,000: $ 254.99 / mo
|+ Easy to use|
+ Flexible templates
+ Marketing automation
- Significant deficiencies in deliverability
Even without the cloud
|5,000 emails: € 69 / month|
10,000: 99 € / month
25,000: € 139 / month
50,000: 179 € / month
+ Local data storage too
- High prices
Try out the flat rate newsletter
A little getting on in years
|10,000 contacts: € 29.90 / month|
20,000: 49.80 / Mon
30,000: 69.70 / Mon
|+ Quite inexpensive|
+ Autoresponder function
- No template system
- Outdated interface
Read the test report
Try out Clever Elements
|100 contacts: € 2 / mo|
1,000: 10 € / month
2,500: € 20 / month
5,000: € 35 / month
50,000: 170 € / month
|+ Easy to use|
+ Server in Germany
- Few functions
Read the test report
Tip # 2: Would you like a head-to-head comparison between two or more email marketing services? Use our side-by-side comparison tool for this.
How do I choose the best newsletter software?
Today, most email marketing software solutions are designed to perform a whole host of other functions besides just sending out emails and newsletters. Which features are an absolute must? Here is our list of things that we think are most important:
- Editor with drag-and-drop function: With an easy-to-use visual editor that allows you to personalize your email templates (without any programming), the chances are the best that your campaigns will be sent quickly and efficiently
- Different types of campaigns: Your software should support several types of email, including regular newsletters, A / B tests, and autoresponders
- Marketing automation: Regardless of whether you just need simple autoresponders or automated, targeted campaigns: You should make sure that your software can do what you expect from automation
- Registration forms: A good newsletter tool allows you to create your own form for future subscribers that you can either embed on your page or host on a separate landing page
- Interfaces: Your email software needs to be able to link to your other important applications, such as: B. to your blog, online shop, CRM and analysis tool
- Deliverability: What use is a newsletter service to you if your e-mails can't get past the spam filters?
- Support: A comprehensive knowledge database as well as support via e-mail and live chat or telephone are ideal. However, not all tools offer these channels
Still unsure? Check out our short video below. This is how these features should work in your email marketing software.
Tip # 3: You can also compare the prices of various email marketing services with our newsletter cost calculator.
frequently asked Questions
Cloud-based newsletter tools vs. newsletter software: which is better?
Unfortunately, the two terms are often used interchangeably (also by ourselves). At EmailToolTester, we only test cloud-based newsletter tools. In contrast to software that you install locally on your computer, this has several advantages:
- You can access the newsletter tool from any computer.
- Software updates are installed automatically in the background, you don't have to update anything yourself.
- The newsletter editor, the e-mail dispatch server and all web space come directly from one provider.
- The mail server is designed for mass sending of e-mails and has corresponding whitelistings and certifications - this increases deliverability.
- In contrast to open source software, you can use manufacturer support.
But there are also a few disadvantages:
- You store the recipient lists on a server outside of your company.
- A cloud-based tool is usually more expensive than email marketing software that you buy once.
Overall, we have found that cloud-based newsletter services are becoming more and more popular. Especially for small and medium-sized companies, the entire maintenance aspect of the IT infrastructure for sending newsletters is no longer necessary. This effort should not be underestimated: For smaller businesses it is almost impossible to operate your own e-mail server whose newsletter would not be blocked to a large extent by e-mail services such as GMX and Gmail.
The security aspect remains: Many companies are reluctant to give the mailing lists out. Out of their own interest, the newsletter tools of course meticulously ensure that security gaps are closed immediately, as the reputation is at stake. Of course, there is still a certain residual risk.
What is included in the price of cloud-based software?
Typically, cloud-based tools are available for a monthly subscription fee. There are no upfront costs, and you often have the option of choosing between monthly payments and annual tariffs with a discount. You can expect the following features to be available for your monthly fee:
- A maximum number of subscribers or emails that can be sent (you can switch to higher tariffs to increase this number)
- Email templates and editor
- Autoresponder / automation
- Registration forms
- Reporting function
- Storage space for emails and files (e.g. pictures)
- Email deliverability and technical management
- Some level of support
Tip # 4: We often hear from users who worry because they don't have many contacts to email. If that applies to you too, you should consider setting up a welcome series via an autoresponder. In this way, anyone who signs up will receive emails from you immediately, without you being forced to send out anything on a regular basis.
Great ways to entice your readers to sign up are a free checklist, e-book, or other free content.
The best newsletter software in detail
Now let's take a closer look at the email marketing services from our ranking table. For each tool, there is a link to the full test report in case you want to find out more.
1. Sendinblue - emails, chat, CRM, SMS and, and, and
Sendinblue was launched in 2012 and, as a young platform from Paris, initially specialized in transactional emails (for invoices, subscriptions, etc.). In the meantime, the provider has not only taken over and integrated Newsletter2Go, but has also continuously expanded its range of functions. That seems to have paid off. Sendinblue now sends around 30 million e-mails and SMS to over 14 countries for its customers every day.
What we like: Ease of use, the list management, the automation and the reporting function are all quite sophisticated. In addition, new features are constantly being added, such as a CRM system and the live chat function and the landing page editor.
What could be improved: The user interface serves its purpose, but the design could be more appealing. Deliverability has been a problem in the past, but the provider has improved quite a bit on this point.
Who is Sendinblue for?: Users who are looking for an inexpensive solution with decent functionality and who have many customer contacts (you can load as many contacts into the CRM as you want).
Try Sendinblue for free
2. CleverReach - solid email marketing for frequent senders
The company from Oldenburg has almost 250,000 customers worldwide. Thanks to “flat rate” tariffs that allow you to send unlimited emails to your contacts, CleverReach is a very good choice for frequent senders. The first 250 subscribers are free of charge and after that it continues from 15 € per month for up to 500 contacts. Certainly not the cheapest option, but features are offered that not every newsletter software has on offer. First and foremost: Email automation via workflow view.
What we like: Decent free plan. CleverReach offers many professional functions such as autoresponders and completely automated e-mails. A lot of useful data can be found in the various reporting views.
What could be improved: The price is comparatively high, in particular the premium (telephone) support costs a further € 22.95 per month.
Who is CleverReach for?: Frequent senders who use or want to use e-mail automation in the future.
Try CleverReach for free
3. rapidmail - simple, but powerful!
The Freiburg-based company is another provider from Germany. rapidmail recently gave its newsletter tool a design update that not only looks good but also improves its usability. rapidmail has always offered very good support, including by telephone and at no additional cost.
The prices are fair and always include all functions. You can't expect the full range of automation features here, but at least there are autoresponders. We really like the excellent results in terms of deliverability - in German-speaking countries rapidmail is always among the front runners.
What we like: The very good support and the flexible pricing models. The deliverability is excellent and the editor is very easy to use, as the tool is not that overloaded with functions. It is also gratifying that the servers are in Germany.
What could be improved: There is a lot of catching up to do in the area of automation. The possibilities of data entry are also somewhat limited, as there are only free text fields (and no dropdown etc.).
For whom is rapidmail suitable: For everyone who values good deliverability, flexible price models and intuitive operation.
Try rapidmail for free
4. ActiveCampaign - The automation professionals
The provider ActiveCampaign, which describes itself as an all-in-one marketing platform, wants to help its users to send fewer emails with better results. To this end, the Americans are clearly focusing on automation. None of the other tools we tested come close to them on this point. With ActiveCampaign, you can automate all of your email communication based on the behavior of your website visitors (e.g. using if / then / else logic). Thanks to the CRM system, it is also easy to manage sales directly from the backend.
What we like: Great designs with modern, responsive templates. As mentioned earlier, the automation is definitely one of the best out there. The prices are reasonable and the support, which is also available via email or live chat, is excellent. In addition, the deliverability rates are very good.
What could be improved: The amount and complexity of features can be a bit overwhelming for absolute beginners. And even if there is a German user interface, you notice here and there that you are dealing with an American provider. The email editor is solid, but there are more user-friendly ones.
Who is ActiveCampaign for?: Power users who want to automate their sales processes as much as possible.
Try ActiveCampaign for free
5. GetResponse - The Swiss Army Knife
With 350,000 customers in 183 countries and over a billion messages sent per month, GetResponse is doing pretty well. We particularly like two unique features: a landing page editor and the ability to create webinars. GetResponse also offers excellent automation functions, and the free access to 1000 iStock photos is not bad either.
What we like: The ability to easily create landing pages, the automation tools, responsive templates and the webinar function for the PRO plan (up to 500 emails).
What could be improved: The deliverability could be better. Some of the templates look a bit old-fashioned. The German translation can also be a bit confusing in places.
Who is GetResponse for?: Marketers looking for a reliable, versatile tool with the latest features.
Try GetResponse for free
6. Click tip - Much hype about nothing?
Klick-Tipp is a little different. The company is registered in England, but has its headquarters in Bulgaria. However, the founder Mario Wolosz is German and you come into contact with him quite often as a user, mostly in the form of videos. Klick-Tipp has traditionally always been aimed at online marketers who earn their money, for example, through information products or digital services. In the meantime, however, many classic service providers and companies also use Klick-Tipp for their email marketing.
There are a lot of interesting functions and the tagging feature in particular stands out. This allows you to “label” your contacts and thus segment your contacts very well. In addition, the automations are very well developed.
What we like: The deliverability is excellent and Klick-Tipp has repeatedly achieved the top position in our deliverability comparisons. The automation functions as well as split testing are very powerful.
What could be improved: Unfortunately, the user interface does not necessarily encourage experimentation - it is not always clear what is hidden behind each menu item. Another point of criticism is that you can only test Klick-Tipp after paying the first monthly fee.
Who is Klick-Tipp for?: Online and affiliate marketers who can benefit from the webinars and events on offer. Classic service providers such as consultants and event organizers who rely on automation.
Try the click tip
7. Mailchimp - The global platform from the USA
Mailchimp is now one of the world's leading email marketing solutions. This may be due to the generous offer of the provider: You can send up to 10,000 e-mails to 2,000 subscribers a month, with just a small advertising banner in the footer. In comparison, professional marketing functions are available for the paid tariffs, for example automation.
What we like: Mailchimp regularly expands the platform with new features. The social media features are great, as is the quality of the support (for paid subscriptions). You can also easily customize the email templates and subscription forms.
What could be improved: The user interface is sometimes a bit difficult because certain functions are rather hidden (e.g. registration forms). Even if the free option is very generous, the prices for the paid plans rise quite steeply compared to the competition. Unfortunately there are no German interfaces at all.
Who is Mailchimp for?: Users who want a very good, free and simple email marketing service.
8. Mailjet - transactional emails and more
Just like the French Sendinblue solution presented above, Mailjet also comes from Paris and initially also focused on transactional emails. It seems a logical step that the provider recently entered the newsletter business. The editor actually works very well for such a relatively new product. Of course, you can still send transactional emails and SMS. There are also some surprisingly advanced features such as automations, A / B tests, sub-accounts (e.g. for agencies) and team collaboration.
What we like: Very affordable tariffs and the free version is also generous. The drag-and-drop editor works fine, as does the automations.
What should be improved: It's really a shame that you can't try out features like automation, segmentation or A / B testing with the free plan. For these functions you have to switch directly to one of the higher tariffs (PRO or Enterprise).
Who is Mailjet for?: For beginners who would like to work with a simple and inexpensive tool. The ability to manage multiple sub-accounts also makes Mailjet an interesting solution for agencies.
Try Mailjet for free
Read the review
9. Benchmark - Lots of light and lots of shadow
With locations in 15 countries around the world, Benchmark prides itself on its international service. We spoke to numerous members of the support team (in different languages) and the customer service was friendly, quick to respond and good answers.
We were also pleasantly surprised by how easy and intuitive the platform is to use with its powerful tools. This is particularly impressive as you can use many of the features without having to spend a penny.
What we like: Intuitive editor. A large selection of flexible and versatile templates. The support is top notch.
What could be improved: There are shortcomings in the automation. The storage space is limited and you have to pay more if you need more. We also encountered significant deliverability issues.
For who benchmark is suitable: Everyone who is looking for a cheap and intuitive tool with a generous free plan.
Test benchmark for free
10. Mailify - can also be used without the cloud
This email marketing service from France recently redesigned its desktop software. Now it presents itself in a chic new design and with a web-based version. Mailify is packed with new features, including automations, landing pages and sending SMS. You have a large selection of modern e-mail templates and can use the user-friendly e-mail editor.
Bonus function: If you prefer not to leave your data on the Internet, you have the option of hosting it locally with the desktop version of Mailify.
What us like: Great interface and some vivid email designs. The editor is fast and easy to use, giving you the flexibility to customize your emails.
What could be improved: The list management and automation are kept quite simple. It would be great here if there were more options. Unfortunately, since the cost depends on the number of emails sent, the service can also be a bit expensive. Also, the deliverability rates could be better. Recently, however, there has been a positive development.
Who is Mailify for?: If ease of use and beautiful email designs are important to you, Mailify could be a good match for your needs. We also recommend the tool to anyone who wants to keep their data offline.
Test Mailify free of charge for 30 days
Tip # 5: With most newsletter tools you have the option of analyzing your subject lines using A / B testing. If you have a large number of subscribers (2000 and more), then you should run regular tests to get a feel for what is going down well with your subscribers.
Brief overview of functions and terms from email marketing
Before we get to the end, let's briefly recap the basic aspects of email marketing.
Autoresponder: A series of automated emails that are sent in sequence. The email sequence usually starts as soon as a user has registered using one of your forms. As sales funnels, autoresponders can map the different levels of the customer relationship and thus convert clicks into sales. Find out more here.
Email automations: These are a little more complex and flexible than autoresponders because they don't have to be done on a specific schedule. You can tag users based on the page they visited on your website and then send them personalized automatic emails. Or you can trigger an email to be sent based on user behavior (for example, when a link is clicked). Some of these automations can be very extensive and include page tracking and complex decision trees.
Template: A ready-made style for your newsletter. The designs can be simple or very elegant and include different fonts, colors and buttons. If you use the built-in template editors, you can easily create beautiful e-mails with images and extensive formatting. We have made a list of free responsive templates that you can download and use with any newsletter tool.
Responsive emails: Just like a website, e-mails adapt to the screen size. Responsive means that your newsletter is presented equally well on desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Email bounces: Undeliverable emails due to invalid or deleted addresses. Typically, email marketing providers disable these users for you.
Prepaid and subscription models: Pretty self-explanatory. The whole thing works like a cell phone tariff. You can transfer credit to your account for a certain number of emails. Alternatively, you can opt for monthly payments, which seems to be the most popular option, especially for businesses. This usually means unlimited campaigns, with prices varying depending on the number of subscribers you have. Try our newsletter cost calculator to compare the prices of the individual providers.
Deliverability: Not all emails reach users' inboxes. There are several reasons for this. The success rate is known as deliverability, and this should be taken into account when choosing a provider.
Transactional emails: Some providers also offer the option of sending business-related e-mails triggered by an event, e.g. B. Order confirmations, password resets and renewal reminders.
Tip # 6: If this whole topic is new to you, why not take a look at our email marketing crash course. This is a compact (and free!) E-book for beginners that will keep you up to date in no time: Download here.
Newsletter software: a few last words
The tariff models of the e-mail platforms are sometimes very different. Before choosing your newsletter tool, you should think about how often you want to send e-mails. Sendinblue, for example, is a very good choice for a monthly dispatch cycle. CleverReach, on the other hand, lets you send unlimited e-mails, since it only depends on the number of contacts in your database.
Are you looking for a more powerful tool, e.g. B. with complex automation functions or even CRM software, then you should take a look at GetResponse or ActiveCampaign (nowhere are the automations better than ActiveCampaign).
If you choose a free plan to start with, you're not taking any chances. Remember, however, that a (very) small advertising banner will appear under your e-mails and that support is sometimes limited.
In any case, we hope that this guide has given you a good overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the individual services and that you can now make a decision.
Ask? Feedback? Below we answer all comments.
March 26th, 2021 - Updates at CleverReach
01/15/2021 - Update at Klick-Tipp
05/11/2020 - Price change at Sendinblue
April 15, 2020 - Newsletter2go has been integrated into Sendinblue.
02/04/2020 - Results of the most recent delivery test taken into account.
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