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What is Litmus Email Testing and What are the Alternatives?

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This article was last updated on September 14, 2018

No matter if you are an email developer, a marketer, a business owner, or an enthusiast who has ever heard of email testing, you’ve probably heard of Litmus – the leader among email testing software. Before stepping into what Litmus email testing is, let’s cover the basics first.

Why is email testing important?

Email coding is very different from HTML for web in more than one or two ways. Unlike web development, there are not universal standards among email clients. Here are 19 big differences between email and web HTML if you’d like to learn more. These specifications makes the email coders’ job even harder. When coding, developers have to abide by the rules of different email clients in order to make your template look and work the way it’s supposed to.

This makes email testing an inevitable part of email coding. Think of this as the necessary process of checking how your coded email template is displayed on different clients and devices. Skipping testing basically means you wave goodbye to your high conversion rates. So much for spending time to craft the perfect subject line if your email template appears broken or weird after the recipient opens your message.

What is Litmus email testing and how does it work?

This is a brand for a web service that lets you test your template on 70+ email clients and devices in the matter of seconds. In short, an automated email testing. Such service allows you to quickly identify broken links, images, or other bugs. This is how Litmus email testing works:

  1. You send a test email.
  2. The software makes email clients open it.
  3. Litmus makes screenshots of how your email looks on email clients and devices.
  4. You get these screenshots in a matter of seconds.

Yes, you could do this by hand but first of all, you will need to have accounts in (at least) the major email platforms. Then, you will need an arsenal of the most popular devices to test how your email template will behave in a live environment. And finally – a significant amount of time to go through all of these clients and devices.

What are the Litmus email testing alternatives?

While Litmus is the most popular name among automated email testing services, there are alternatives to this service, either paid or free.

Here are some of them:

  1. Email on Acid

    Similar to Litmus, this web service offers automated testing on 59 email clients and devices. It is paid with pricing currently starting from $31.50 and a free trial of 7 days. Check out the list of the email clients this web service supports on its official website.

  2. EmailReach

    A complex service testing email rendering, deliverability, blacklist checking, HTML bug checking, etc. This service pricing starts from $125 and additional $39 for signup. You’ve got 24 hours of free trial.

  3. PreviewMyEmail

    An email testing service providing real screenshots from all devices and email apps they support. The brand promises no emulations, only real devices. The pricing starts from $49 per month.

  4. InboxInspector

    A free web service that will test your email template on more than 25 most popular email clients. This web service will show you how your message would look like even the images get blocked.

  5. PutsMail

    An email testing service by Litmus that lets you send your HTML email up to 10 emails for testing and bug identifying. Originally built by a software developer but later bought by Litmus, this service remains free.

  6. Inbox Preview

    A paid service by MailChimp that lets you check how you email template will look on more than 40 email clients. The cool thing about it is that it lets you check which are the most popular email clients among your subscribers. This way you’ll know what to pay special attention to.

  7. MailTrap

    A service that simulates an SMTP server and helps you test emails from development and staging environment. Free and premium plans are offered. Moreover, open source and non-profit organizations can take advantage of special pricing benefits.

  8. Testi@

    Supporting 27 email clients, this service offers free and premium email testing starting from £5. You can check out the list of supported email clients on the official website and try this service tools for free.


Litmus testing or some of its alternatives are still a must-have step in the process of coding HTML email templates. The lack of universal rules among email clients make email testing inevitable.

Together with other popular email marketing trends 2017 that didn’t come true, everyone secretly crossed their fingers that 2017 would be revolutionary for accepting official and universal standards among email platforms. Still not the case. Specialists in the field predict that this day will eventually come but until then there’s nothing left for all of us but to have a happy testing!