The best disposable email services
We live in an era of reusability and upcycling, so why would you need anything disposable in 2023? A temporary email address is one of the few disposable things that actually make sense. If you don’t know why you might need one, scroll down to the end of the article. For the pick of the best temporary email services, let’s jump straight in.
How we created our list of best temporary email services
We need evaluation criteria to make it fair. Here are the things that matter when choosing a disposable email service.
- Security features
- Custom-made email addresses
- Doesn’t get blocked on websites
- Number of email addresses you can create + storage
- Additional features.
As a rule of thumb, you can assume that free temporary email services will collect and share more of your personal info than the paid ones. Having checked the privacy policies of all services listed here, we recommend you always go with the latter.
The internet is flooded with disposable email services, many of which are free at the expense of data collection and intrusive tracking techniques. In this selection of the best temporary email services, we focused on four that we can recommend and added three more that will give you a disposable email address for free if you don’t want to sign up anywhere. However, be extra cautious when using these.
Proton Pass is a password manager from ProtonMail and deserves to open our best disposable email services list. That said, it comes with limitations. More about these later.
Proton Pass is a browser extension compatible with Chrome, Brave, Firefox, and Edge. You can also download it from your application store on iOS and Android. Proton Pass does not require a ProtonMail account; you can use it independently and with any mailbox. The password manager part of the app is free, but the temporary email service bit is limited to ten “hide-my-email” aliases. To get an unlimited number of these, you need to upgrade to Pass Plus, which is $2.99 per month.
Proton Pass is very convenient as it serves both a disposable email address and a secure, randomly generated password whenever it detects an email field on a page. There is also an option to enable 2FA for each alias-password pair saved. Messages sent to the email alias are forwarded to your actual email. Whenever you start receiving spam, you can easily filter for the alias or simply destroy it.
- End-to-end encryption and 2FA options ensure data security.
- Easy to use with auto-filled aliases and strong passwords.
- Information about when and where an alias has been used.
- Affordable access to unlimited aliases and premium features at $2.99 per month.
- It can be used with any personal email address.
- It’s an open-source project, so you can view the code and check if they deliver on their promises.
- The Proton Pass extension requires you to give permission to “read and change all of your data on all websites.”
- The free version allows the creation of ten aliases.
- Some users complain that the automatic fill-out option doesn’t always work, but we didn’t encounter this problem during our test.
Mozilla’s temporary email service offers five email “masks” and supports forwarding of emails of up to 10MB in size as part of its free subscription. You need to upgrade to premium for unlimited masks and customizable domains, which will set you back $11.88 a year. The premium version also gives you access to a more granular filter to block promotional emails. Otherwise, the options are either to forward all or none of the emails to your primary email account.
The service does not let you reply to or forward emails you receive manually. The only available option is to delete your disposable email address.
Mozilla creates its products with privacy in mind, and this one is no exception. Firefox Relay does not read or store messages and has access only to the email you used to sign up and your disposable masks so that you can receive messages. Mozilla also logs where you used each mask, but you can turn this off in the settings. Your data is shared with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is used to provide the forwarding service. That said, Mozilla claims that AWS does not know the connection between your actual email address and your disposable emails.
- Easy-to-use service with a clear interface.
- Affordable premium plan.
- The free plan with five masks and no advanced filter is a bare minimum that won’t last long.
- It’ll work fine if you need a disposable email address occasionally, but it offers none of the extra features that other paid services do.
StarMail is a private email service provider developed by the team behind StartPage, the privacy-focused search engine. It provides a secure mailbox for everyday use and allows the creation of an unlimited number of custom aliases. Basic throwaway email addresses disappear after one hour. When setting up custom aliases, you can decide how long they last, whether for an hour, a day, a week, a month, or indefinitely.
As this is more than just a basic temporary email address service, it comes with additional options like the encryption of all outgoing and incoming emails (including custom encryption keys), a migration service to import your emails from Gmail or Outlook, notifications, filters, and contact management.
StartMail collects the usual usage data: your IP address, browser settings, language, location, the URL you are coming from, and what you click when using the service. The data is stored in encrypted vaults in the Netherlands. StartMail claims that all data is used for diagnostics and service improvement. None of it is shared with third parties as part of their strict no-ad policy.
Unsurprisingly, the service is not free. After the initial seven-day trial period, you are charged $6 monthly or $59.95, billed annually. A custom domain account is more expensive; it’s $7 and $69.95 respectively.
- Easy to use with a clear layout.
- Email encryption for extra security.
- Options to manage emails, including your temporary email addresses.
- You have to create a new mailbox to access StartMail disposable emails.
- It’s pricey as you pay for all the other features related to email services.
Burner Mail is a paid disposable email service, but you can access some of its features for free. In the free version, you get five disposable email addresses for sending only. Each is an automatically generated email address (you can customize these in the paid version). You can also add one throwaway email in the “mailbox” tab for sending and receiving mails for free. The service offers two-factor authentication, which you can enable in “settings.” Finally, the service comes with extensions for Chrome and Firefox. However, like most extensions, they require extensive permissions to “read and change all of your data on all websites.”
The premium version of Burner Mail comes in at $4.49 per month, and the monthly price decreases if you opt for a yearly or three-year subscription. The paid version gives you more of the same, plus customization and priority access to customer service.
Burner Mail collects and stores usage data (location, browser, device, language, timestamps, unique views, and referring pages) but claims the IP address is fully anonymized.
- Five disposable email addresses for sending and one personal inbox for free.
- It has a clean interface and is easy to use.
- No ads.
- Two-factor authentication is available for added security.
- Extensions for Chrome and Firefox that require extensive permissions.
- Collects and stores data but less than other free burner email services.
- Not available on mobile.
Free temporary email services that work
Far from being the best temporary email services in terms of privacy, these online services do the trick and provide temporary burner emails that do not get blocked. But a quick look at their privacy policies will confirm that these are far from charities. Use occasionally with extra caution.
ManyMe offers a different approach to temporary email addresses. Once you sign up using your actual address, you can start creating as many disposable email addresses as you need. ManyMe allows you to create labels for each, ideally something that will remind you of the website for which you created the address. For example, username.leggings@ or username.toys@. These are called FlyBys. Spam or verification emails get forwarded to your actual mailbox, but replies appear as if they were coming from ManyMe.
- An unlimited number of email addresses.
- Temporary emails that do not get blocked.
- No user onboarding. It’s hard to understand how to use it at first.
- Copious amounts of user data are collected.
- No multi-factor identification during sign-up.
- Extension for Chrome only.
This page offers precisely what its name suggests: a temporary email service with email addresses valid for 10 minutes. The format of this temporary email is a string of random letters, which could get blocked by platforms sensitive to these types of email addresses. However, for the two online shops we signed up for, this email did the trick, and we immediately received three spam emails in our inbox.
You can read and reply to or forward these emails to your actual email address. If you need your throwaway email address to live longer, click “get 10 more minutes.” You will not be charged.
- No need to sign up.
- Free and easy to use.
- You can forward and reply to emails.
- Collects, stores, shares, and likely sells a lot of data.
- The email format gives away that it’s a disposable address and may be blocked by some websites.
- No extensions.
- No security features.
TempMail is a free, disposable email service that does not require users to log in. When you access the page, a disposable email address is displayed. You can simply copy and use it immediately. To access the temporary inbox, click “email generator,” which you will find buried at the bottom of the page under a wall of moderately aggressive ads.
When you click on the 10-minute email at the bottom of the page, the page will generate a disposable email that will self-destruct after 10 minutes.
To change or delete your temporary email address, click the button underneath.
For the purpose of this test, we used the automatically generated email address on two e-commerce websites and did not get blocked. We also never received any welcome or verification emails following these two registrations.
Someone has to pay for TempMail to be free—the site serves so many ads that it’s hard to navigate.
- The email is not a random combination of characters. It could pass for a professional email address.
- Does not get blocked by websites.
- The page does not require any credentials.
- It’s free.
- TempMail claims that it does not store the IP address.
- Collects a substantial number of data points.
- TempMail claims not to sell, share, or transfer personally identifiable information except with trusted partners.
- You cannot reply to or forward emails you receive in your disposable inbox.
- Ads plaster the page and make it hard to navigate.
- No extensions.
What is a disposable email address?
A disposable email address is an email address you use once or for a limited time. Its purpose is to keep your actual email address private when signing up to websites to avoid spam and marketing emails. It becomes automatically inactive after a set amount of time or usage.
What do I need disposable email addresses for?
Disposable email accounts are a great way to keep your details confidential when filling in web forms and shopping, especially when it’s a one-time purchase. Temporary email addresses can fill up with promotional emails and welcome all the messages you don’t want to see in your primary account.
Keeping your personal email address safe
Using disposable emails is a great way to reduce the risk of your personal information being breached. If a website or app you signed up for is breached, your email address could be part of the leaked data. You don’t have to worry about this if you use temporary email addresses.
A great way to avoid spam
Disposable email addresses can also help reduce spam messages. Most disposable email services have spam filters in place, which can help prevent unwanted spam from cluttering your regular inbox. If you start receiving spam emails from temporary inboxes, you can delete and replace the temporary address in question with a new account.
How can I get a temporary email address?
Are temporary emails legal?
Yes, using temporary emails is legal. Disposable emails are designed to provide anonymity, protect privacy, and keep your personal information safe while online.
Which temp mail is the best?
If you’re looking for a temporary email address that is secure and respects your privacy, we recommend paid services with solid privacy protections, such as Proton Pass, StartMail, or Firefox Relay. If you care about your data, avoid free temporary email services.
How long does a temp mail address last?
Depending on the temporary email service you use, a temporary email address can last from 10 minutes to 10 months or have no expiry date. Some temporary email services allow you to adjust the lifespan of disposable or fake email addresses, and some terminate them automatically.