If you feel overwhelmed by your inbox, take a step back and look carefully at the emails. One of the best strategies for dealing with these messages is to turn them into email digests.
Social media updates, subscription newsletters, bookmarks, and updates are just a few examples of those non-urgent emails that come in all the time and distract you with a notification. Instead, using email digests can help you consolidate them into one email, and send it at a date and time of your choice. Setting them up is easy and you’ll probably check them more often to stay up to date.
1. Cortado (Web): Email summary of Twitter, Reddit, RSS, Wikipedia and newsletters
Cortado is perhaps the most comprehensive free tool for creating an email digest from any regularly updated online service you want to track. It’s really easy to use, but don’t expect a beautiful, well-formatted newsletter. The end result is a simple list of updates in the form of texts, links and sometimes images.
Once you’ve signed up to Cortado, you can add a variety of sources to pull information from, such as subreddits, Twitter users to follow their tweets, YouTube channels, Wikipedia article of the day , the XKCD comic of the day, the weather, the horoscope, the financial situation index, and technology news like Product Hunt or Hacker News. Of course, you can also add any RSS feed. Cortado also gives you a personalized email address to subscribe to the best newsletters you want to read, which will be included in the summary when you use this email.
Cortado includes customization options unique to each of these sources. For example, you can set how many posts you want to read from Hacker News, or whether you want to include images in the subreddit you follow and whether or not you want to allow retweets from a Twitter user. Shockingly, this is all free, with no hidden fees or ads.
2. RecapMail (Web): disposable inbox with daily email digest
One of the most common tips for avoiding email overload is to use a disposable email address when signing up for subscriptions or single-use accounts. Sometimes you want to read those subscriptions once in a while, but you don’t want them cluttering up your main inbox. This is where you need RecapMail.
RecapMail will give you a permanent email address for free and also ask for your preferred primary email address. Then start using the RecapMail email address to sign up for any service, and forget about it. Every day, RecapMail will send an email digest to your inbox with a summary of all messages received that day. It’s neatly formatted to give you a quick preview, and you can click to visit the original. It’s brilliant.
In your RecapMail account, you can also block subscriptions, set some as priority, archive old emails and delete subscriptions. In the default free plan, RecapMail will store all emails for 14 days, but you can upgrade to paid plans to store them for longer.
3. Mailist (Web, Chrome, Firefox, Safari): Email Digest of Bookmarks and Read-It-Later Links
Mailist is a surefire way to finally go through all those bookmarks and links you’ve saved to check them out later. At first glance, this is a fairly standard bookmarking service, but with a twist in the form of a weekly email digest. With this, you’ll get five random links from your saved collection instead of being overwhelmed with figuring out what to read.
You can choose the day of the week and set the number of links you want to receive in the digest. The email will be sent at 1300 UTC on that day of the week. Any link you click will be marked as read, while unclicked links will be recycled in future summaries for random choices.
Mailist also lets you manage your collection by adding tags to posts. In the newsletter settings, you can choose to include all links or point to specific tags.
With browser extensions or the handy bookmarklet for phones, you can continue to save links as you normally bookmark them. You can also import existing bookmarks from browsers or read-later apps like Pocket into Mailist. Clearly, this is one of the best apps to bookmark links for later.
To download: Mailist for Chrome | firefox | Safari (Free)
4. Unroll.Me (Web, Android, iOS): Custom digest for existing email subscriptions
Unroll.Me has been around for a long time and is best known as a service to unsubscribe from mailing lists you no longer want. But its unadvertised RollUp feature is a great email digest for sticking to existing subscriptions without them cluttering your inbox.
Once you sign up for Unroll.Me, it will scan your inbox to check all the subscriptions you have. Then you can choose to unsubscribe from any or add them to RollUp. RollUp will email a daily digest of all messages received in digest form, so you can check them at a glance and decide whether or not to take action.
Now, it is important to know that in the past, Unroll.Me has been caught selling data. After a case with the FTC, the company is now clarifying the privacy implications when you sign up. It’s completely free, but Unroll.Me will track your behavior and read non-personal emails, i.e. subscription services. If you prefer a paid service focused more on privacy, you’ll find similar features in Leave Me Alone.
To download: Unroll.Me for Android | iOS (Free)
5. Mailbrew (Web): Best Personalized Daily Email Digest For Everything
Unlike all of the free options on this list, Mailbrew is a paid app. But it is worth mentioning as it is the best of all personal email digest maker. Additionally, they offer a 3-week free trial period (without card details) before you decide to subscribe for $4.99 per month.
You are ready to start creating your beautiful personalized newsletter as soon as you sign up. You will add widgets for each type of service you want in a vertical daily email. At the top, you can add the date, weather, and today’s calendar. For sources, you can add RSS feeds, Newsletters, Twitter Digest or other custom Twitter feeds, Subreddits, YouTube Channels, Podcasts, Stocks, Crypto Exchanges, Google News, Hacker News, Product Hunt , read later listings, etc. You can also add text and dividers to customize the design to your liking.
Of course, you can decide when to email the summary and how often. You can also create multiple digests and set them for different days so you can always catch up on what you want without getting overwhelmed. It’s easy, it looks good, and several subscribers swear by its usefulness.
6. Taco (Web): Beautiful Daily Email Digest for Custom Updates
We’d say Taco is “Mailbrew Lite” for those who don’t want to pay. It’s beautiful like Mailbrew, but the free account lets you create an email digest with up to three sources. If that’s all you need to follow, skip Mailbrew and stick with Taco for a smooth inbox experience.
Taco currently supports Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, Hacker News, RSS feeds, weather updates, and currency exchange. Add them in any order you want and Taco will deliver a beautiful email digest to your inbox daily or on your preferred schedule. And if you fall in love with Taco, you can always get a paid plan for unlimited summaries and sources.
Free or Paid for Email Privacy
With the range of choices in email digest services, your decision will come down to which features and look are right for you. But you also need to consider whether you want a free or paid app.
As we saw with Unroll.Me, completely free messaging apps have been known to read your emails or sell user data to advertisers. That might not be a concern for some, because it’s no worse than what Google, Apple, or Microsoft are already putting in your inbox. But if you are concerned about privacy, paid apps pay more attention to it.