What is a Gmail client and why should you use one? (2023)

Gmail is one of the most popular email platforms in the world for a reason. But it's far from a perfect tool. Using Gmail as webmail can be distracting (like every time your open Gmail tab shows a notification that pulls you out of flow). Luckily, there are ways to improve upon what Gmail already offers: Gmail clients.

Gmail clients allow users to customize their Gmail experience in a number of ways. When used correctly, a Gmail client can turn your inbox into what it should have been all along: a hub for efficient, productive communication.

Webmail vs email client

Before diving into Gmail clients, it helps to understand all the different ways people access their email providers, how they're different from one another, and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Webmail is the email service most users are likely familiar with: the version of your inbox that you access from a web browser. Webmail is convenient because it isn't device-specific — whether you use Windows or Mac, desktop or mobile, you can access webmail from any device that has a web browser.

But webmail is also limited — you can't access multiple mail accounts from any single touchpoint (for example, you can't check your iCloud or Yahoo email from the Gmail website).

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Think of an email client like an add-on or a plugin for your email that you can use as a mobile app, desktop, or web-based experience. It provides extra features, customization, and tools that build upon what your email provider already offers.

Email clients can have many benefits — as well as some limitations and drawbacks — but they largely depend on which email client you're talking about. There are many different email clients to solve different problems and enhance email in different ways.

What is a Gmail client and why should you use one? (1)

What is a Gmail client?

A Gmail client is an email client specifically for Gmail users.

You likely already use at least one Gmail client — if you use IMAP to read your Gmail messages via the email app on your Android, iPhone, or other mobile device, you're already using a Gmail client.

The same applies if you have connected your Gmail account to Microsoft Outlook, or another desktop email client. As soon as you click "add account", you're using a Gmail client.

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But allowing you to access your Gmail inbox outside of a web browser is just one of many tasks you can accomplish with a Gmail client. Many other clients exist, and they offer a much broader range of email management features.

Why use a Gmail client?

The main reason for using a Gmail client is that, as popular as Gmail is, it is far from perfect.

Gmail as a webmail client is simply not as efficient or as effective as it could be. For those who want to get the most out of their email while saving as much time as possible, there are real benefits to using a Gmail client to customize your email experience. Benefits like these...

Limiting distractions

When you use Gmail in a web browser, you need to keep your inbox open in a tab or window. This means more tabs to clutter up your browser, plus distracting notifications in full view whenever you get a new email.

Using a Gmail client can mean moving away from having an inbox open in your browser all the time, which cuts down on distractions that get in the way of being your most productive self.

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Accessing email while offline

Gmail's webmail client only works when you have an internet connection. A number of Gmail clients allow you to access your Gmail account and perform some tasks (such as drafting and saving emails to send later) while offline. That means you can work anywhere and at any time, regardless of whether you have wifi.

Personalizing your email experience

What is a Gmail client and why should you use one? (2)

When you use Gmail in your web browser, your ability to customize and personalize your inbox is limited. Sure, Google offers some templates and color choices — and using the Gmail app or a desktop app can offer more ways to customize the look and feel of your inbox — but there are much better options for this. Some Gmail clients allow you to create a more appealing layout, add colors and images, or even gamify your inbox with stunning imagery you can only unlock by achieving Inbox Zero (more on that below).

Integrating with other productivity tools

Google Workspace offers a powerful suite of productivity tools, from Docs to Sheets and other Google apps. Gmail integrates automatically with those — but what about all the other productivity tools you use and love? Gmail clients can help create a seamless integration between different tools that will help you get through both your inbox and your to-do list faster and more efficiently.

Managing your inbox

Gmail already has some handy inbox management tools built in. But a great Gmail client will build upon that foundation, offering even more powerful tools that make inbox management into the fast, easy, delightful experience it can (and should!) be.

Why Superhuman is the only Gmail client you need

What is a Gmail client and why should you use one? (3)

There are a lot of Gmail clients out there, and some of them are pretty helpful! But if elevating your productivity is your goal, Superhuman is the email client for you.

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Get started with Superhuman

Superhuman limits distractions by helping you get through your unread email twice as fast, achieving Inbox Zero and staying there. It also embraces a minimal interface that's not only less distracting, but is beautiful to look at.

Superhuman works offline — you can search, reply, snooze, archive, and more without network access.

Superhuman allows you to fully customize your inbox, with features like Split Inbox that help ensure you get to your most important email faster.

Here are some other top features Superhuman brings to your Gmail experience:

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  • Superhuman can save you at least 3 hours per week that you would otherwise spend on email.
  • It turns your inbox into something beautiful and delightful that you'll actually look forward to seeing each day.
  • It weaves social insights into your workflow, allowing you to send more personalized emails without spending a lot of time researching.
  • It uses AI to automatically detect and highlight your most important email, guaranteeing you see it first.
  • Its Command Palette, a menu of keyboard shortcuts, makes it easy to move through your inbox using hotkeys — and without ever touching your mouse, something that research shows can save you up to 64 hours of productive time each year.

Superhuman is built to take managing your inbox from a chore, to a blazingly fast email experience.

Superhuman is the Gmail client that will make you more productive

Superhuman is the only Gmail client you need. Available as a web app, or for Apple on MacOS and iOS on the App Store — join Superhuman here.

Get started with Superhuman


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