Best Spam Filters of 2018

Renee Shipley ·
Updated
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Recently, we spent 24 hours gathering information about spam filters and drew on our experience testing spam filter components in antivirus software to help us determine which standalone program is best for blocking unwanted email. We believe SPAMfighter is the best spam filtering program. It has a paid version and free version, and both are great options for filtering unwanted messages. However, unlike the free version, SPAMfighter Pro is compatible with all email services, blocks messages by language and has a movable toolbar. You can also purchase a Mac version of the program.     

Best Overall

SPAMfighter

SPAMfighter Pro is easy to use, works with every email service and automatically creates a whitelist from your current contacts. It also has free and Mac-compatible versions.
Best Value

SpamEater Pro

SpamEater Pro is very basic, but it filters unwanted messages and is compatible with popular email services, including Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo. It’s free to use and highly customizable.
Best for Mobile Email

MailWasher Pro

MailWasher Pro is compatible with all versions of Windows, including XP and Vista, and it’s very effective at filtering email on iOS and Android cell phones.

Our Test Results

Product
Price
Overall Rating
10
9.9
9.3
9
8.9
8.1
Blocking/Filtering
10
9.9
9
9.3
9.3
8.8
Protection
10
9.9
9.2
8.9
8.8
7.5
Rules
10
9.9
9.3
8.8
8.8
8.8
Compatibility
10
10
10
8.8
8.8
7.5
Pre-defined Rules
N/A
Custom Rules
Multiple Rule Selection
N/A
Discount Coupons
20% off|http://purchmarketplace.com/security-privacy-spamfighter-pro-download-only?&ICID=ttr-cid|139|pid|1764|pos|
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Country Code Filtering
N/A
N/A
Automatic Filtering
Bayesian Filter
N/A
N/A
N/A
Attachments
N/A
N/A
N/A
Quarantine Area
N/A
Image Blocking
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Sensitivity Settings
N/A
Block/Allow by Email Address
Block/Allow by IP Address
Black/White List
Public Black List
N/A
Permission-based Filtering
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Automatic Deletion
Block/Allow by Server
Challenge/Response
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Community-based Filtering
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Malware/Spyware
Identity Theft
N/A
Viruses
N/A
Microsoft Windows XP
Microsoft Windows 7
Microsoft Windows 8
N/A
N/A
N/A
Microsoft Windows Vista
Outlook
Hotmail
N/A
N/A
Windows Mail
AOL
N/A
N/A
N/A
Thunderbird
Yahoo
N/A
N/A
POP3
Outlook Express
IMAP
N/A
N/A
Gmail
N/A
N/A
N/A
Support Forum
N/A
N/A
N/A
FAQ/Knowledgebase
Telephone Support
N/A
N/A
Contact Form/Email
Support Ticket System
N/A
N/A
N/A
Anti-Phising
Best Overall

SPAMfighter

SPAMfighter is easy to install and works seamlessly with any email program – it simply adds a toolbar to your email account. In the Pro version, you can move the toolbar and customize the tools on it, making it more convenient to use. SPAMfighter has a free version that doesn’t have as many features but is still a powerful tool for filtering email messages. There is also a Mac version of the program.
The software has important features that automatically block and delete messages sent from blacklisted addresses, check images and attachments for threats and let you set your own rules for how spam messages are filtered. SPAMfighter also checks each message you receive for security threats, such as viruses, worms, keyloggers and Trojans, and it blocks phishing scheme emails. The software recognizes your email contacts and automatically places them on the whitelist so their messages are never blocked. SPAMfighter offers both telephone and email support, in case you have problems installing or using the program. It also has a good knowledgebase on its website that includes FAQs, as well as a support forum that connects you with other users.
Pros
  • Compatible with all email programs
  • Includes virus protection
  • Has a free version
Cons
  • Doesn’t include Bayesian filter
  • Missing permission-based filtering
  • Not compatible with IMAP delivery
Best Value

SpamEater Pro

SpamEater Pro is a free program that keeps unwanted email from landing in your inbox. It’s compatible with most email services, including Gmail and Outlook, and it lets you set individual spam filters for each account, rather than applying the same ones across all your email addresses.
This program shares information about new spam threats with other web servers using SPF, so everyone learns about them quickly. And SpamEater uses this same technology to learn about, and stay on top of, new spam found by other programs. This software comes with eight presets that can filter and block spam messages based on criteria like message subject and country code. You can choose to bypass these presets or add your own, custom rules about what SpamEater should look for in email messages before blocking them. You can also designate what happens to filtered messages. For example, you can set the program to quarantine them or delete them completely. Support is limited to the online knowledgebase, which includes FAQs. You can contact SpamEater Pro directly through email for additional help.
Pros
  • Free
  • Automatically deletes blocked messages
  • Filters by country
Cons
  • Doesn’t filter attachments
  • Isn’t compatible with AOL Mail
  • Looks dated
Best for Mobile Email

MailWasher Pro

MailWasher Pro is one of the easiest programs to use, and it is just as effective at blocking spam on mobile email apps as it is on desktop accounts. It has a Bayesian filter that learns to recognize patterns in spam messages and blocks new threats based on the patterns it detects. MailWasher works with every popular email service, including AOL Mail, as well as with free and standalone email programs.
You can change filter settings and make custom rules about which messages to check, block and delete, or you can keep the default settings, which are just as effective at filtering spam. MailWasher Pro searches all incoming email messages, including attachments, for malware such as viruses, keyloggers and phishing schemes. For technical support, you can contact representatives directly via telephone or email, and the MailWasher knowledgebase has FAQs and online user guides. There is also an online community forum where you can connect with other users for help.
Pros
  • Compatible with iOS and Android cell phones
  • Imports contact lists
  • Checks email images and attachments
Cons
  • Doesn’t filter by country
  • No permission-based filtering
  • Doesn’t generate challenge responses

Why Trust Us

Top Ten Reviews has researched, evaluated and tested internet security software, including spam filters, for the last 15 years. We subscribe to news outlets and internet security blogs as well as attend security conferences and trade shows to learn about how these programs work, changes in the industry and current threats. We also develop and foster relationships with other internet security experts to help us fully understand consumers’ needs.

How We Tested

While we didn’t physically test standalone spam filter programs this time around, we did spend several days testing antivirus programs, all of which include spam filters. We spent an additional 120 hours physically testing free email services, which also include some form of spam blocking tools, so we understand how spam filters work and what features are important.

We spent 24 hours collecting information about each of the spam filter programs we reviewed and considered the results we gathered last time we physically tested them. We chose the best spam filters based on their feature sets and user feedback, as well as the support resources provided by their developers.

What to Look for in Spam Filter Software

The best spam filters are easy to customize and effectively block spam. They also work with multiple email programs and include tools that detect and protect against internet threats such as viruses, worms and Trojans.

Blocking & Filtering
Look spam filtering software that has a blacklist and a whitelist, sensitivity settings, and a quarantine option. Community-based filtering and challenge response messages are also good features to have, as is the ability to block messages by IP address, server, email address and country code.

Rules & Customization
Programs with predefined rules don’t let you choose what happens to blocked messages. The best spam filtering applications let you decide which email messages to block, which to let through to your inbox, and whether to delete or quarantine filtered messages.

Protection
The best spam blocker apps can protect all your email accounts at the same time, usually by adding all your email addresses into a single user portal. Also, look for a program that scans incoming messages for worms, viruses, Trojans, attachments with embedded keyloggers, and other malware. Good spam filters also identify emails that contain phishing attacks designed to swipe your personal information.

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