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Best Free Spam Filter for the Average User


The aim of a spam filter is to reduce the appearance of junk and spam emails. This makes the inbox cleaner and thus, it is easier to check email. The productivity time savings with the addition of spam filters is significant.

While many spam filter products are readily available, most free spam filters are much too complex to set up and use or in fact, the better products in this class are not free. That said, I have reviewed some free options here that are good and suitable for average users.

If you find no joy with any of these or seek advanced features then have a look at software mentioned in our Best Free Spam Filter for Experienced Users.


NOTE: The Comments section of this category is for brief feedback and input.  For more detailed discussions, please submit those comments in the Forums section.

NOTE:  Web of Trust - WOT ( is the world's leading community-based surfing tool that helps web users' stay safe when searching and shopping online.

NOTE:  Email spam pertains to unsolicited commercial messages sent in bulk by people you don't know. Messages sent in bulk are sent 200 times or more each day. These messages are typically sent by people such as those in marketing, advertising, really any one with a direct monetary gain to be had by sending spam.

In a Hurry?

Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide


MailWasherMailWasher Free is the best free option for most users. The program is an email preview utility that allows you to check your email on your mail server before you download it to your PC. The advantage of this approach is that you can kill unwanted messages, including spam, viruses and large attachments before they get anywhere near your computer. MailWasher flags those messages which it assesses as questionable (e.g. may contain possible spam and viruses) for you to quickly check. It's a simple idea, but quite effective and one which average users find easy to understand.

At the Mailwasher site you can download a free or commercial Pro version. The former lacks quite a few of the features of its commercial cousin, the most limiting of which is the ability to access multiple accounts. However, the last free version of MailWasher (before it became a commercial product) is still floating around the web, and it will handle multiple accounts. It also lacks many of the advanced spam-detection features of the current commercial version, but is still very effective.


SPAMfighterIf you use Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird for your email then you have another choice, if you are willing to have a small advertisement appended to the end of your outbound email. SPAMfighter Standard is a network-based spam-filtering system that uses the opinions of over two million users' worldwide to help classify what is spam and what is not.

Like all network-based spam filters, it requires no training; it's ready to go the minute you install it. Each email is checked after retrieval. If the email has been classified as spam by a lot of other users on the network, then it's deleted from your in-box and placed in a spam mail folder. It works like a charm and is a commanding choice for Outlook users. If you can't tolerate the ads in your email, you can have them removed for $29.00 for one year.


Alternatively, try xTerminator, which works in much the same way as MailWasher, and is totally free. I must say, though, that I prefer MailWasher's user interface. It uses a built-in Challenge-Response System that allows you to send people a question, which if correctly answered, will provide them with a password. In the future, their messages will not be deleted again or can be automatically added to a Friendly Content list. Further, this program is no longer supported by the developer, but the program can be downloaded from other websites.

Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

Quick Selection Guide

MailWasher Free
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Kill unwanted messages, including spam, viruses and large attachments, flags questionable messages, effective and easy to use.
Some advance features, such as access to multiple accounts, are only available to commercial version.
9.26 MB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7

The last free version of MailWasher (before it became commercial) able to handle multiple accounts is available for download here. (Version 1.33, Size: 1.56 MB).

SPAMfighter Standard
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Network-based spam-filtering system, spams auto deleted from in-box and placed in a spam mail folder, requires no training, ready to go the minute you install it.
Requires Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird.
2.41 MB, 10 MB installed
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Free for private use only
There is no portable version of this product available.
2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Works in much the same way as MailWasher.
User interface is not ideal. No longer supported by the developer.
1.61 MB
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, Vista

Can be used from USB key or memory card.
v5.0 released 30 July, 2008


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mail filter, spam mail filter, free spam filter, free spam filter program, freeware, spam blocker, spam definition

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Average: 4.7 (95 votes)
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by chrisvw on 9. May 2012 - 12:55  (93258)

I still have to find a better anti-spam filter than the one in Gmail. Here's one way to exploit Gmail's anti-spam filter:

Most email accounts have a way to forward emails to another account (usually via a setting in its web mail). Use that to forward all your emails to your Gmail account. Only read your emails in Gmail. Viola! Spam-free emails.

In Gmail, set your Send Mail As option to your first address.

An even simpler way is to dump your spammy email account and switch to Gmail only :-p

by Zoom (not verified) on 30. March 2012 - 15:49  (91432)

Spamihilator is the best spam filter I've ever used. It's available in both 32 and 64 bit binaries.

by dragonslayer (not verified) on 24. December 2011 - 5:43  (85856)

How do the spamfighter recommended program compare to my outlook anti spam from microsoft update and install?

by Chucks (not verified) on 19. November 2011 - 19:51  (83564)

My vote goes to Mailwasher.

by Curtis M (not verified) on 17. October 2011 - 22:12  (81626)

Good and informative review!

by john deshazo (not verified) on 15. July 2011 - 22:26  (75573)

I agree with what is listed as meaning of email spam in NOTE.

My company uses spam software, and I find it good overall. But on more than occassion, messages that should not be considered spam are in the spam folder.

Is there anything that detects only spam?

by wesman on 26. July 2011 - 16:05  (76261)

At this time, it is hard to find a spam software that will detect 100% spam. Of course, that is not to say there are not any that come close. But by and by, some messages may slip to the other side of the inbox, and some that should not be on the other side. The day of the spam software of 100% detection remains to be seen.


by J_L on 4. July 2011 - 20:11  (74750)

How is xTerminator free? It looks like a trial to me.

by MidnightCowboy on 5. July 2011 - 7:16  (74771)

Link to freeware version.

I've changed the link above to reflect this. Thanks for pointing it out.

by Chandra M (not verified) on 15. May 2011 - 16:41  (71943)

What is spam?

by wesman on 15. May 2011 - 16:49  (71944)

There are different types of spam - search engine, email etc.

As it relates to email spam, there is a consensus that spam of this nature is the following:

Email spam pertains to unsolicited commercial messages sent in bulk by people you don't know; typically these messages are sent by those in marketing, advertising, any one with a monetary gain to be had by sending spam.

I had thought spam is a widely known term, but maybe not. I will make note of it in this category.


by linda k (not verified) on 30. August 2011 - 14:18  (78646)

After reading the comment, I agree. There is definitely what spam is. Not email that are job inquiries.

by nancyr (not verified) on 30. August 2011 - 14:25  (78648)

I agree too. I remember that when I was searching for work, once I found out that my email never was even seen, cause it got routed to their "Spam" folder.


by Chuck D (not verified) on 12. May 2011 - 19:26  (71830)

I tried Spamfighter and like it a lot. Until I noticed the footer on messages. But ya know, its OK. Who cares if someone knows you're protected by Spamfighter?

by wesman on 14. May 2011 - 19:02  (71902)

There are some that find the addition of the footer to be distracting. But you've made a valid point. After all, all in all, the footer is a small price to pay.


by William W. (not verified) on 25. April 2011 - 15:42  (70882)

What is WOT?

by mr6n8 on 25. April 2011 - 16:21  (70884)

WOT is short for Web of Trust.

A browser addon that has ratings for websites.

It can be useful in avoiding dangerous sites.

More info here:

by Kate M. (not verified) on 25. April 2011 - 15:09  (70878)

I have tried Mailwasher and find it quite good. I agree with the reviewer.

by wesman on 25. April 2011 - 15:26  (70880)

Well, it is jolly good that you found your cup of tea!


by David N (not verified) on 15. April 2011 - 15:33  (70253)

I think I know what Paul from Jacobs means. I run a business, and I many resumes. A couple of times resumes got identified as spam! Not good for my business!

by Linda K. (not verified) on 5. April 2011 - 15:41  (69517)

I haven't tried these, but they look promising! Nice finds!

by Lucy H (not verified) on 30. March 2011 - 16:04  (68841)

going to try out mailwasher

by Paul from Jacobs (not verified) on 24. March 2011 - 21:37  (68514)

The thing about these filters is that sometimes things get filtered as spam, but it isn't! In my experience anyways...

by wesman on 25. March 2011 - 18:40  (68556)

Which of the mentioned filters caused your experience?


by Anonymous on 30. October 2009 - 15:54  (35492)

Hi everyone,

I have been using Mailwasher 2.0.28 beta for years and did not have any problem with it
It manages multiple accounts (I have 8 of them on 4 different suppliers) even web mail like yahoo, but I did not succeed in accessing my Gmail account.
Sometimes (once every 3 months or so) it suddenly freezes, I just terminate it thru task manager and restart it from my quick launch bar, and this is it, no data is lost.

I suppose I'm a bit late here, but i'd like to answer to Denis ("If you use a free web mail account like hotmail or yahoo mail you cannot use them with an email client such as outlook or thunderbird").
Denis, you have been mistaken, my Outlook (2002) is capable or managing yahoo mail and Gmail (hotmail also I think), incoming and outgoing (you send your mail in Outlook using your Gmail account) BUT for this to work you have to change the settings in the web mail account. there you will find the needed settings for Outlook/Outlook express/etc.

hope this helps

by Anonymous on 6. September 2009 - 10:27  (32222)

I have used MailWasher Free for many months, its great whilst it works. I find that I am just getting a good lot of statistic when it stops functioning. When I re-install the program the statistic have all reverted to zero and I start to await the next "forced to " re-install. Any similar experiences? Any recommendations for a similar program that will continue to perform?

by wesman on 4. August 2010 - 17:31  (55457)

Give SpamFighter a try. See if it is your cup of tea.


by Anonymous on 18. May 2009 - 16:23  (21796)

I had used free Mailwasher for years, accepting that it crashing and burned for various reasons. I've finally found a great free solution PopPeeper. A funky name but it works great So good, I was happy to donate to the cause.

by doublewitt on 6. May 2009 - 18:33  (21156)

I think I have tried so many anti-spam software to literally become dizzy. But finally, I settled on this one as it has proved to be solid and reliable. I always run it before running my main email client and so only the good stuff is downloaded. No more waste of time downloading junk. This freeware lets me conveniantly delete spam emails ON THE SERVER and so nothing is downloaded to my mail client without a first "pass" with Junkanoo. You can configure multiple accounts including gMail accounts. Works like a charm!


by wesman on 5. April 2011 - 15:50  (69518)

This software has not been rated by WOT.

You mention that it deletes email on the server as well. Though that is admirable, a word of caution, whilst many anti-spam software have evolved quite a bit compared to their first appearance, very few have been able to achieve a 100% detection accuracy.