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.


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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.

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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
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.


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

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