Gmail vs Outlook: Which to Use for Business in 2023
This article is part of a larger series on Business Email.
Choosing between Gmail vs Outlook for business email depends on the size and work style of your team, the features you want, and how much storage you need. While they cost about the same, Gmail is best for collaborative teams and those using Google Workspace apps whereas those wanting advanced features and time-saving automations will find them in Outlook (and Microsoft 365). Keep reading to see how these software titans stack up in our detailed breakdown.
- Gmail (and Google Workspace): Best for businesses wanting a commitment-free email host with modern, intuitive productivity and collaboration tools
- Outlook (and Microsoft 365): Best for businesses that use email heavily, want advanced tools, organization, and automation capabilities, and don’t mind an annual commitment
Gmail vs Outlook Compared at a Glance
Cost for Personal Use
Starting Monthly Cost of Plans
$6 per month
$6 per month
(Outlook with Microsoft 365)
To receive: 50MB
To send: 25MB
Email on Your Domain With Paid Plans
With paid plans
With paid plans
When to Choose Gmail vs Outlook for Business Email
For us, choosing between Gmail vs Outlook for business email is like having to choose between our two favorite candy bars. You can’t go wrong with either business email or productivity software. With that said, some things clearly distinguish each provider, so to make your choice easier, we offer the following recommendations:
When to Choose Gmail
Gmail for business email (and Google Workspace) is the best choice for collaborative teams. It’s not only easy to share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, your team can even work on them simultaneously, which isn’t currently possible with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or Excel files.
It’s also ideal for international businesses as native translation capabilities allow sending and receiving emails in multiple languages. And for any business, one of the top Gmail tips and tricks is the ability to send and receive money via email.
|Modern interface with intuitive collaboration and productivity tools||Lacks administrative features like the ability to manage multiple calendars|
|Multiple team members can work simultaneously on Docs, Sheets, and Slides||No built-in appointment booking tools and fewer features overall|
|Desktop apps come with all paid plans; Outlook users have to upgrade||Lacks the advanced organization and automation tools of Outlook|
Gmail’s interface is cleaner and more modern than Outlook, making it an excellent choice for those who want the most beginner-friendly software. Read our article showing how to set up Gmail for business email in four easy steps.
When to Choose Outlook
Microsoft 365 (for business email via Outlook) is best if you need advanced productivity apps. It’s also suitable for heavy email users and those wanting to manage other users’ inboxes, calendars, meeting rooms, and booking appointments. Higher-tier plans also offer the ability to encrypt emails, which could be the deciding factor for businesses that handle sensitive or confidential information, documents, or data.
Being the business go-to for many years, Outlook’s familiar email interface also means a low learning curve and gives users many customization options. Learn more about the business-friendly features of this software in our list of top Outlook features for small businesses.
|Far higher storage in first two plan tiers||Downloadable desktop apps and some advanced features require a subscription to the second paid tier|
|In business plans, Outlook’s security is slightly better than Gmail as messages can be encrypted end-to-end||Plans require an annual commitment, unlike Google Workspace (but are billed monthly)|
|More advanced features than Gmail: manage other users inboxes and calendars, schedule emails, automate email management, set complex rules, and get built-in appointment booking tools||Not as friendly for collaborative teams as Gmail, which provides automatic email notifications when tagged in a Google document, spreadsheet, or presentation|
While Outlook has more tools and features, it’s still beginner-friendly to set up and use. Read our step-by-step instructions on how to set up Microsoft Outlook email.
Keep reading to learn how Outlook vs Gmail for business compare head-to-head in specific categories that impact small businesses:
Cost Winner: Edge to Gmail (& Google Workspace)
Price per User/Month
Use With Your Domain
Web, Mobile & Desktop Apps
Web and mobile only
Web and mobile only
*Free plans are not appropriate for business use as they use @gmail.com or @outlook.com for domains
**Workspace doesn’t provide installable desktop apps, but users can continue using web-based apps while offline and changes will sync when the connection is restored
Both options are free and have comparably priced business plans, but Outlook users get more storage in Microsoft 365’s Business Basic plan. Even with that advantage, however, we give the edge regarding cost to Google Workspace and Gmail.
Gmail business plans include all features for desktop as well as mobile versions of software in the first paid plan. By comparison, Outlook’s premium plans lock Microsoft 365 desktop software downloads (and with that, some advanced features) behind the second paid tier. This is more than twice the cost of Google Workspace’s base plan. However, keep in mind that Outlook business email is more full-featured overall—on any plan.
If you don’t want a 12-month commitment, using Gmail for business email with Google Workspace also has month-to-month plans. Paid plans for Microsoft Office 365 and Outlook require a one-year commitment even though the plan is billed monthly. Both are affordable for entrepreneurs and small businesses that need professional, highly secure business email backed up with 24/7 customer support.
While Gmail and Outlook are two of the top business email providers, they’re not the cheapest. Those looking to get business email addresses at the lowest price should check out our article on the best cheap email hosting providers.
Email Features Winner: It Depends
While Gmail and Outlook offer some of the same email features (e.g., email scheduling, sorting, searching, and missing attachment notifications), there are also distinct differences. Gmail has unique features like Smart Compose (intuitively completes your sentences), automatic language translation, and built-in follow-up reminders. It also sends automatic email notifications when you’re tagged in a Workspace app, making it easy for teams to work collaboratively on things like projects, documents, and presentations.
Outlook, on the other hand, has advanced features to automate email management, more customizations, and built-in appointment booking. It also has the ability to manage multiple calendars and set up time-saving automations and templates. Outlook also offers more advanced security and cyberthreat protection in the highest-plan tier.
Meetings and tasks are also a bit more straightforward, as you can create them right from the email interface. There are also more ways to filter emails and set rules for email management—plus Outlook offers more third-party integrations.
Gmail is best if you want collaborative work notifications and modern productivity tools like the ability to send and receive money via email, built-in language translation, and setting expiration dates on emails. Outlook is better for email users needing a lot of storage and companies with staff members managing other users’ inboxes and calendars, and users with disabilities. It also suits those wanting more customization options, sales and billing email automations, and built-in appointment booking tools.
To use either Gmail or Outlook with your business domain name requires a paid subscription to either Google Workspace or Microsoft 365. As such, we include a brief overview of each provider in the drop-down below. For a more complete analysis, read our detailed breakdown of Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365.
Additional Features in Productivity Software Suites
Best for beginners & most collaborative tools
More features & most advanced tools
Business Email Interface
More user-friendly and modern, minimal customization options
Many customization options, advanced tools, and automation options
Collaboration & Productivity Tools
Google Docs, Sheets, Presentations, Calendar, Chat, and more
Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Microsoft Bookings, Publisher, and more
Google Hangouts, Google Drive, Keep, Sites, form builder, employee engagement tools, and more
Skype, MileIQ for mileage tracking, and more
Availability of Third-party Integrations
Tons of third-party integrations and one-click integrations via Google Workspace Marketplace
Countless third-party integrations and one-click integrations via Microsoft Outlook Marketplace
Easy to use and intuitive
Easy to use and intuitive
As with email, these two business software titans have a lot of comparable tools. Whether you opt for Outlook vs Gmail (and thus, Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace) will depend heavily on which software apps you prefer to use. Google Workspace’s value for teams that work collaboratively is unmatched. However, Microsoft 365 includes tools for administrative management that you won’t find in Workspace.
Both have comparable world-class tools for email, documents, presentations, and spreadsheets, but Workspace is better for businesses with collaborative teams. With that said, a lot of what you get with Outlook business email isn’t matched by Gmail except through integrations. Microsoft 365 productivity tools (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) are also more advanced, and with Microsoft 365, you get business tools like Bookings to streamline meeting setup and MileIQ for mileage tracking.
Both have team apps for collaboration, including robust video conferencing, chat, and messaging capabilities, but Microsoft users get higher participant caps in lower-priced tiers. Workspace users get the highest video meeting attendee cap, at 500, but only in the highest-tier plans. Learn more in our write-up of Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams.
Integrations Winner: It’s a Tie
Both providers boast a huge integration ecosystem built on their library of Marketplace applications, third-party integrations, and through apps like Zapier. Users can embed almost any functional app to improve their overall online experience, and chances are both will integrate easily with any other business tools your company uses. For this reason, there’s no clear winner (or loser).
Security Winner: Edge to Outlook
Both Microsoft Outlook and Gmail offer secure, business-class email. For most businesses, either choice would be fine. In fact, Gmail could be the better option for the average small business as it’s known to be proactive in the ability to protect from emails with malware, especially in lower-tier plans.
However, for medical practices needing compliance-meeting software and other organizations that regularly send or receive emails with confidential or sensitive information, Outlook is the best choice. In addition to message encryption capabilities, it simply has more security features to offer, like filtering attachments by file types, multi-layered email handling rules, and customizing protection controls for groups as well as for individual inboxes.
Gmail vs Outlook for Customer Support: It’s a Tie
Anytime (24/7) phone and web-based support, including a library of self-serve help articles and step-by-step instructions. Plus, it has 1:1 consultation for tech stack integration.
Anytime (24/7) phone and web-based support, with a library of self-serve help articles, step-by-step instructions, and a community forum.
Microsoft Outlook previously held the edge in this category because Google Workspace didn’t offer 24/7 customer support, but that’s no longer the case. Both providers offer 24/7 phone support and provide a bevy of articles and instructions (and help from other users) to help you set up your business email and get the most value from your email app.
Did you know?
For a limited time, Microsoft Outlook is offering free support for new customers with assistance to integrate Microsoft 365 and Outlook into tech stacks.
Best Alternatives to Gmail & Outlook
There’s no question that Gmail vs Outlook is the undisputed world heavyweight champ battle of business email and productivity software. As such, it’s difficult to identify apples-to-apples alternatives, but there are a few.
Here are our top picks if you aren’t sold on Outlook or Gmail, or want to make sure you’re getting the absolute best software for your small business:
Free Domain & SSL
Starting Monthly Cost of Paid Plans
For more options as well as more details about all of the providers above, read our list of the best business email providers for small businesses. Alternatively, if you’re on a super-tight budget, check out our recommendations for the best cheap email hosting options.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which are the best business email providers?
The best business email providers offer custom email addresses and are affordable, secure, and reliable. Besides leading competitors Google Workspace (Gmail business email) and Microsoft 365 (Outlook business email), top options include Zoho Mail, IONOS, and Bluehost. Which is right for your business depends on your budget and the features you want. Learn more about the best business email providers to find out which is right for you.
How do I get a free business email address?
There are several ways to get a free business email address at no cost through providers you’re likely already using. For example, Bluehost and DreamHost include unlimited free business email in web hosting plans. Top website builder Squarespace includes a free Google Workspace account for one year with some plans. Alternatively, IONOS includes free business email with the purchase of a domain, or you can purchase email hosting through them and get a free domain to use with it.
How do I create a business email address?
Creating a business email address is easy: choose which email platform you want to use (e.g., Gmail or Outlook), create an email account, set up your business email address, and connect your domain to your preferred email provider. If you choose Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, you can even purchase a domain for business email during setup.
Alternatively, find and register a domain name through a domain name registrar like domain.com first, or get one free in web or email hosting plans with IONOS or Bluehost. If you need more help, follow our step-by-step instructions on how to create a custom email address.
Gmail and Outlook are the world’s top business email apps, and they come with leading productivity and collaboration tools to power your business operations. For collaborative teams, Google Workspace is best thanks to multi-user access to shared documents, automatic notifications, and its clean, modern interface. Microsoft 365 is better for large operations needing administrative management tools and those wanting the most advanced business email and productivity software.
When in doubt, go with the world’s most popular business email host: Gmail and Google Workspace. It’s our top-recommend choice for business email and there’s little risk to trying it as all plans are billed month-to-month.