Most email service providers on the market today will have an email editor for creating email campaigns but few offer what an email marketer truly needs.
You should pick your email editing tool carefully. A drag and drop email editor is definitely your best option. Here is what you should be looking for when choosing the best responsive email editor.
A drag-and-drop email editor itself is a big improvement over basic WYSIWYG editors or direct coding. The success of online drag-and-drop editor compared the “old ways” of something like ThemeForest – is the combination of tons of beautiful templates AND the easy, drag-n-drop editor to customize them right away. You can pick a template & edit within seconds.
11 Drag-and-drop responsive email editors reviewed
Here is a list of email editors we reviewed:
1. BEE Free Responsive email editor to create beautiful emails, fast
2. Chamaileon Collaborative email builder and content management for Businesses, Agencies, Enterprises
3. Moosend Email Editor Free and user-friendly email editor that also allows you to send
4. Coffeecup Downloadable Responsive Email Designer software for Desktop and Mac
5. Postcards Limited online email template builder, with free demo licence
6. MailChimp Editor of the popular Email marketing platform
7. Mail Designer 365 Email marketing template and campaign designer for Mac
8. Mail Styler 2 Email newsletter builder software for Windows
9. Mosaico Limited open source email template builder
10. Stripo Drag & Drop email template builder with HTML editor for custom emails
11. Topol Free html email template builder with drag & drop
What is the best Drag-and-drop email editor?
In picking the best Email Editor for Designing Responsive Emails, price shouldn’t be your main concern. Most email editors are either free or very cheap compared to the value they provide.
High-quality responsive email output and a convenient user interface are the most crucial requirements for drag-and-drop email editor nowadays. In a modern email editor, you are able to do most of the work in one place, without writing any HTML code.
But there are additional functions to improve the whole email template creation. Make a list of the functions that are vital for you, and try the different email editors. Each of them has different strengths. Here are the main functions that your email editor should have :
- Email template library
- High-quality responsive email output
- Convenient user interface
- Built-in image editing
- Quick preview / rendering preview option
- Collaboration features
- Compatibility with Email Clients
- Integration with Email Service Providers
Drag-and-drop responsive email editor reviews
We have done our research and prepared an honest review of different email builder applications and software programs that can help you build responsive emails, with or without coding knowledge.
“Responsive email editor to create beautiful emails, fast.”
BEE stands for “Best Email Editor”. The editor originated from MailUp, a popular Italian ESP.
BEE is a handy email editor, where users can use pre-built email templates. You can create your own look and feel using the built-in content and structural email blocks and elements.
BEE’s application allows users to choose the width of column structures from a specific selection, which is handy and efficient. You can’t nest columns into each other, which keeps you from doing very complex layouts.
BEE Free is completely free to use. The Free email editor saves the current project in the browser’s storage. So when you come back you can directly resume editing again or start a new one. You can export in a ZIP file that contains the HTML + images and use it in your own email marketing software.
You can easily upgrade to their BEE Pro package, which gives you more templates, a “review, comment & approve” functionality, multi-user support with permission controls, brand styles & settings in an “Agency” plan.
You also get a login where you can save multiple email projects for future use, using BEE Pro. They have plugins there that connect directly with the email marketing software like MailChimp, HubSpot, SendGrid, etc.
“Collaborative email builder and content management platform for Businesses, Agencies, Enterprises”
Chamaileon is a free, responsive email template builder and editor, created to help businesses design beautiful, responsive and high-quality emails.
Chamaileon is a tool that was built for flexibility and customization. The editor offers a mixture of structure and content elements. With advanced styling options most email designs can be built.
You can find hundreds of different email templates pre-designed and ready to use.
Structure elements can be nested into each other, so you can add any number of columns in the editor, and you can individually adjust the size of every column by pixels.
In the email editor, you have options to add borders, paddings, margins and each of these can be changed by pixels.
Chamaileon offers two main features, that are not available in most other email builder platforms:
The “Show on Mobile / Show on Desktop” feature: With the combination of these features, you can create different versions of your email for mobile and desktop.
The Block saving function: You can save your very own drag and drop element groups, so you don’t need to recreate those blocks in future projects. This way you can save for example certain headers, footers or any product block to your workspace or specific folders. This way your teammates will be able to reuse them any time.
Chamaileon created a responsive email generator engine so that any email template you create will look great in most email clients. It supports all Apple and Android devices and works on all versions of Outlook. It will significantly reduce the time spent with email testing and fixing.
Chamaileon also allows team members to share the same workspace when designing an email marketing campaign. With their collaboration feature, each member of the marketing team can access the template that is being designed and edit according to their customized account.
3. Moosend Email Editor
“Free and user-friendly email editor with the option to send as part of their Email and Automation Platform”
Moosend free email editor platform that allows users to create beautiful email campaigns: You have the option of editing one of the preexisting email templates from the template library or design your own email from scratch with drag-n-drop columns and structural elements.
Moosend has a useful “Save” feature that allows you to preserve your edited email template for future use. You only need to design your newsletter once and use it again every month. Simply register and log in.
For the tech-savvy bunch of you, you can look at the HTML code, while you’re editing your email template, thanks to Moosend’s split view feature: You can make adjustments in style via inline CSS. You have to press “Apply Changes” to see the updated HTML.
Moosend automatically makes email designs responsive and compatible with mobile devices.
Moosend’s email editor tool is completely free to use, and you can save (and send) your newsletters by creating a login.
4. Coffeecup Responsive Email Designer
“Downloadable Responsive Email Designer software for Desktop and Mac”
Coffeecup is an email builder software that can be downloaded on both Mac and Windows.
Before you pay the $129 annual fee, you can test out the email builder software, thanks to their free trial version during which you are allowed 3 design exports and test emails.
The software is not very intuitive. Even though you can select a pre-designed template and edit it to fit your needs, the actual process isn’t very smooth and takes a few minutes to really get a grip on how to navigate in the email builder.
5. Designmodo: Postcards
“Limited online email template builder, with free demo licence ”
Postcards is actually one of the online products that Designmodo has launched. It’s an email builder platform that is easy to use. You don’t even need to sign up to create your first email design.
With a free account, you have an unlimited number of exports. However, you can only use one free block for each email element (header, content, call to action, footer, etc). This can be an obstacle for any marketer who wants to enhance their email design game.
The free email editor is what they call a “demo license”. You can use it to create email templates for yourself and for non-commercial purposes. Meaning if you want use it for business purposes, strictly speaking, you’d need the business license which is $15 / month.
6. MailChimp’s Email Editor
Mailchimp is the world’s most famous email marketing automation platform today. It’s an online platform founded in 2001 by Ben Chestnut and Mark Armstrong with Dan Kurzius.
Mailchimp is an ESP, however, they have a built-in email template builder.
Although it’s not very flexible in terms of elements and blocks, Mailchimp allows users to create nice responsive emails.
Mailchimp mainly targets small and medium businesses who want to grow. You can either select a precoded email template or create an email template from scratch, however, in the free version it is no longer possible to import your own HTML.
It is best as an alternative if you have basic requirements and are looking for an easy and fast way to create a simple template, without thinking too much about integration and compatibility features.
There are many other email editors built into other email marketing tools, but in a few cases, you cannot export the HTML code from them, or the email code is a question mark – so you have to test each and every mail to make sure it is compatible.
The downside of using the ESP’s built-in email editor is that you are locked to that service. The upside is that you don’t need to go to another provider to deal with email design.
If you are starting out with a “free” package of an ESP, and get used to their email editor and everything else, you will be unlikely to move to another provider. If you want to move for some reason, you will often have to rebuild your email templates.
7. Mail Designer 365
“Email marketing template and campaign designer for Mac.”
Mail Designer 365 is an email builder software that can only be downloaded on Mac. The email editor is optimized to use on mobile devices which can be practical for some users.
The software is moderately easy to use. It’s a standard drag and drop email editor tool, where you can customize and save your elements and blocks for future use.
Mail Designer 365 has a built-in gallery of free Unsplash photos that you can use to spice up your email design. The software also provides its users with a selection of ready to use GIFs.
You can download Mail Designer 365 if you have a Mac and try it out for a free 7 day demo period. After that, you would need to choose one of their packages starting from 16€/month. It’s worth to note that they only accept annual billing.
8. Mail Styler 2
“Email newsletter builder software for Windows”
Mail Styler is an email builder software for Windows. The software allows you to create email templates by editing one of the predesigned email templates or by designing one from scratch.
Once you download Mail Styler on your computer, you only have access to a limited number of free email templates, while all the other options (labeled new or PRO) are exclusive to paying users.
The software is relatively easy to use, though quite rigid. It doesn’t leave much room for creativity and customization. For example, you can only choose from a restricted number of fonts and a few predetermined color palettes.
However, Mail Styler has a cool feature that lets you preview the subject and preheader of your email on both desktop and mobile before you send it out.
“Open Source Email Template Builder”
Mosaico is an open source email template builder. The online email platform is built to help users create email templates quickly and effectively. But it has no customization options.
Mosaico doesn’t provide any predesigned templates on their platform. Instead, you can choose between two layouts: versafix-1 and versafluid.
Once you choose between the two, you can add or remove blocks, export your own pictures as they are (there is no photo editor embedded) and edit your content.
You can then preview your email, send a test email or simply save your template.
Mosaico is a basic free responsive email editor tool that works well for people who need a quick fix. But there are more interesting options in this list if you are seriously doing email marketing.
“Create responsive email templates fast without any HTML skills.”
Stripo is a free online email builder with drag-n-drop and HTML editor modes. Stripo provides its users with library of content modules for storing the most frequently used email elements, and embedded photo editor for building email banners.
There are up to 300 free HTML templates. Their selection of email templates can be sorted by type, industry or season, which makes choosing a template easier.
With Stripo, you can build interactive email elements, such as image rollover effect, CSS-animated buttons and countdown timers from inside the editor.
There are some cases when a custom email template is best. Besides their ready to use email templates, Stripo also provides custom email templates. Based on your information and requests, Stripo’s developers produce the email template for $75 (Corrections and email test reposts are not included).
Stripo says on their website that their email templates can be exported to more than 30 ESPs. You can obviously export the template design to HTML and use it to send your email campaign from the ESP of your choice.
You can choose to change the language of this service from English to any of their 7 other language choices (Deutsch, Spanish, French, etc.).
“Beautiful emails easy”
Topol is also an email builder platform that we chose to include in this list because of how easy it is to use.
In the free version, you can choose one of the seven email templates. You can also design a brand new template from scratch.
Topol’s main features include:
Importing your custom HTML to the email editor
Saving custom blocks and elements for future use
Topol’s low price compensate for the initial limited selection of templates. In fact, you can start out with a 14-Day free trial period and upgrade to their monthly plan with 7$ per month.
Stamplia (no longer available)
Stamplia was originally an email template marketplace, but afterward released an “email builder” which offers limited customization options for the templates you can purchase from them. Stamplia’s builder was for those who don’t want to bother too much with the design part and found an email template on their site, which exactly fits their needs. The Stampalia email builder is retired now.
How to choose the best Email Editor for Designing Responsive Emails?
The best way is to make a list of the functions that are vital for you and try the different email editors out there. Price shouldn’t be the main concern – since most email editors are either free or very cheap compared to the value they provide. The HTML quality and functions will make a real difference.
(here is a list of the features you might want). Each of them has different strengths. Here are the main functions that your email editor should have:
1. Email template library
A good email editor will offer you the chance to use default templates as a base. This is great if you are new to email marketing if you have little time to design a new email template from scratch, or just looking for inspiration.
You should also be able to create your own email templates inside the application and build on your previous work. Of course, you should get a user-friendly, cloud-based file manager too, to save your templates, images, etc.
2. High-quality responsive HTML email output
A responsive email is an optimized method to increase open and click rates by ensuring that your email looks good on every device. The email builder platform of your choice should allow you to send your email seamlessly and without errors. Otherwise, you run the risk of leaving a bad impression on your subscribers.
3. Convenient user interface
User experience is quite subjective. However, there are a couple of User Interface design basics that every application should respect. A simple and clean interface, a structured page layout, strategic use of colors, fonts and typography to create hierarchy, consistent system communication with the user, etc. No need to over-analyze it, by trying out the emails editors will experience the user experience.
3. Built-in image editing
Built-in image editing is one of the features that can come in handy. Of course, we are not talking about Photoshop-level capabilities but basic image editing functions like resizing, cropping and some image modifications come in very handy.
5. Quick email preview option
A quick preview will show you how your email looks on tablet, mobile, and desktop. If you want to go deeper, a Litmus or Email on Acid driven email preview function will save you significant time.
6. Collaboration features
Designing email campaigns often needs a lot of back and forth between the design team, email copywriters, marketing team and sometimes even partners/customers. In order to make that process easier, some email builder platforms allow multiple users to collaborate in designing an email marketing campaign.
Users with different accounts can log in to the common workspace and provide their input, comments, and edits.
7. Compatibility with Email Clients
Your email builder platform should produce responsive HTML codes that work on most email clients (different versions of Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo!Mail, etc.).
8. Integration with Email Service Providers
Once you create your email template, you should be able to integrate it in your ESP. Before you choose which email builder platform to work with, make sure it has built-in integration with your email service provider.
There are tons of advanced functions in the different email editors, that some users will need, while others will never use. Personalization, automation, and dynamic content rules are generally available in advanced ESPs and marketing automation tools.
An extra advanced function you can look for in an email editor is a switch that lets you edit your email content according to your user’s device. This feature basically allows you to choose which content blocks to show or hide on mobile or desktop. That way you can fine-tune the mobile responsive version of your email.
What’s the difference between a drag-and-drop and WYSIWYG HTML email editor?
The term WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get – was well beyond its time, when it was first used in computing in the ’70s and ’80s. It is supposed to mean that what you are editing on the screen will appear in the same way (or very similar way) in print or as a finished digital product – email newsletters in this case.
WYSIWYG editors are MS Word like text editors, which were created for general web content management. Mostly for writing text and adding some basic visuals to them.
Normal WYSIWYG editors are not optimized for email, but you can create email templates with them if you know how to code HTML or if you are a very advanced user and can embed tables easily with these tools (this is a really challenging task to do though).
Inside an email marketing platform, you might find such a WYSIWYG editor as shown above for editing (parts of) the email content. That is then placed in a template after you press save. Or you will be able to edit the email in place, clicking on elements.
Many call their email editor “drag-and-drop”, but are they really?
The meaning of drag and drop can hardly be simpler, it is exactly what it sounds. You can drag the items you need from one part of the user interface to another and simply drop it in the desired place. Just like moving icons around on a desktop.
But that is not completely true today. Drag-and-drop became a synonym of an easy to use interface. Numerous tools, including email editors, are marketed as drag and drop, but that doesn’t always mean that you will get a sophisticated drag-and-drop capability.
In most email editors, you are limited by prebuilt content blocks (image + text, image group, social share buttons, etc.). You don’t have the flexibility to create your own blocks from the very basic building elements like text, image, box, and columns purely by using the drag-and-drop functionality.
They are still drag-and-drop email editors, but not every content element can be “dragged and dropped”. In many cases building blocks are enough, but for sophisticated designs… you will need more flexibility.
What shows that you are using a real responsive email editor?
Mostly, that you are not allowed to edit the HTML code at all, because the code itself is generated by the software. Although there are some email builders nowadays that enable users to edit the HTML code and will still produce responsive HTML – unless you broke it while editing the code.
Other than that, in most cases where you have the option to edit the HTML code, you are using a “pimped up” WYSIWYG, which will allow you to destroy the pre-built responsive HTML you are editing.
The downside of having an email generator engine is that you cannot simply copy-paste a random HTML to an email editor like this. Either you need to build up your template with the editor, a custom email specific descriptive language, or add certain HTML tags or ask the software provider to make the email editable for you in their editor.
Email Builder Frameworks (Coding Knowledge Needed)
Developers know what a hard and tedious task it is to code responsive emails. Here is a list of online email frameworks that make coding responsive emails easy.
“A few simple, but solid patterns for responsive HTML emails. Even in Outlook and Gmail.”
Cerberus is a set of precoded responsive email patterns. The patterns, or code blocks, can be mixed and combined to build a beautiful responsive email template that is optimized for all client devices.
Foundation For Emails 2 by Zurb
“Quickly create responsive HTML emails that work. Even on Outlook.”
Foundation for Emails, formally Ink by Zurb, is a collection of frameworks that provide developers with an easy CSS or Sass framework to build responsive emails. Each template starts with an already provided grid which can be enhanced by using different elements.
“Quickly craft clean, responsive emails“
HEML is an open source markup language for building a responsive email that looks good across different client devices. Coders who are familiar with HTML and CSS will feel right at home using HEML.
MJML Email Builder
“A framework that makes responsive email easy”
MJML is a markup language. They have an open source server that generates high-quality responsive HTML for emails.
You can write fully compliant HTML markup that can be used with different ESPs. You can try it live online and see if it fits your needs.
Finding the Best Email HTML Builder
There is a choice of multiple drag and drop email editors online. But you don’t have to try them all now that you know what to look for: high-quality responsive email templates, compatibility, usability and integration features.
If you are a total newbie in email marketing, you can pretty much start with any software from this list, to get a feel of what it’s actually like to use an email builder. And if you have knowledge in HTML, don’t be afraid to test out one of the email builders that supports HTML editing.
There’s always room for improvement and of course your email design and code quality are essential parts of your recipe for success.