This article was last updated in February 2023.
When was the last time you had to send a bunch of cold emails as a part of some marketing campaign? Did you have trouble finding the right contact information?
If you didn’t, well, you are one lucky guy – and you are probably not reading this post right now.
Most of us are not that fortunate so we know the struggle of finding reliable contact information. After all, you didn’t just spend an hour writing a perfect pitch, just to be forced to send it to a “support” account because you couldn’t find the editor’s email.
But whenever there is a problem – there is a 99% chance that there is some app out there that is trying to help you solve it – enter free email finder tools.
Why free? We found that there are some free tools that do this job pretty well so we decided to focus only on them.
If you are interested in knowing how these email finding tools work and how well did they perform in our test, stick around and your curiosity shall be rewarded.
How did we choose the tools for this test?
Now that we are in the same boat, there is one small confession we have to make: these tools are not completely free. If you are doing a mass outreach and need to crank out 500 emails in one month, you will hit some limitations.
For everyone else that is doing a reasonable outreach, these tools should be more than enough. And you can always opt for a paid version if you need to scale.
These were the requirements:
- a renewable plan with a minimum of 50 free contacts you could search for each month
- the ability to search by domain
NOTE: Since this article was initially written, some tools have dismissed free plans or significantly reduced the number of free credits.
We did internally try out a bunch of additional tools that met these requirements but their performance was subpar – so there was no point including them in this test and review.
Clearbit Connect review
Clearbit Connect is a Chrome extension that provides you with contacts inside Gmail. It’s one small feature of a bigger tool called Clearbit — a marketing data engine for all customer interactions.
The number of free monthly search credits: 100 credits per month
How does it work?
Do you have Gmail? If the answer is yes, PERFECT! You can start using Clearbit Connect immediately (well, you need to take a minute or two to install the plug-in).
You don’t have to have a business email address to use it as Clearbit Connect works with any email account. When you’re done with the installation, you can start searching for the contacts. Just log in to your Gmail account and click on its icon which can be found in the right sidebar.
The first step to finding contacts in Gmail is to copy the domain in the search area. You will need to copy only the second-level domain name, without HTTP, HTTPS, or even www. That means if you copy the whole domain in the search area you probably won’t get any contacts at all.
For example, if you are searching for our contact information, you should copy only the “pointvisible.com” part, and avoid pasting the “https://www” because Clearbit Connect doesn’t always recognize the domain if you use the full URL.
After opening the results by clicking on the icon of the domain, you get a list of found contacts for that domain that are presumably working for the company.
One awesome thing that Clearbit Connect has is the Role and Seniority categories. With this, you can search and filter the results by their title/job.
By clicking on a person, you will get their name, photo, title, URL, and social accounts.
A much faster way to acquire contacts through Clearbit is to use a Chrome extension. Just go on a website and click the Clearbit icon on the right side.
After you click on the icon, you’ll get the list of the people along with their roles.
By clicking on the arrow beside the contact, you’ll be able to get its email address.
As we already mentioned, this email finding tool will give you 100 credits per month for free — this is the only option they offer currently. If you’re in need of more than 100 credits per month, you’ll need to create a new account or invite someone else to start using the tool — for each person you invite, you’ll get a permanent bonus of 10 monthly credits.
Every found contact will cost you one credit which is spent by clicking on the contact and revealing its email address.
The credits won’t be spent by simply searching for the domain. It will be spent only when you click on the person you want to reach out to; when Clearbit Connect shows you this person’s contact information. If you, for example, click and reveal 3 contacts from the same domain, that will use 3 of your credits.
Hunter is an email finder tool that can help you find relevant contact information for your outreach campaigns. A few different ways of searching email addresses aside, Hunter also offers an additional feature called Mailtracker — a simple and free email tracker for Gmail.
The number of free monthly search credits: 25 search credits per month (and 50 credits to verify the email addresses).
How does it work?
Hunter features that will ease your process of finding email addresses are as follows:
- Domain search — find email addresses associated with the chosen domain.
- Email finder — find the email addresses with the combination of “full name + domain”.
- Email verifier — verify the deliverability of the wanted email address.
- Bulk tasks — search or verify lists of email addresses.
If you want to use Hunter for searching your contacts, you’ll have to create an account. There are two options – using your company email or signing up with your Google account.
Using Chrome extension
In case you want to speed up the process of searching contacts, we recommend you to add Chrome extension.
In the photo above, you can see all of the contacts Hunter has found for our domain. A little green dot with a ‘check’ sign next to the email means that Hunter was able to verify the email address.
Additionally, the little ‘plus’ sign offers you the possibility to save the contact to your Lead list — the place where you can save your contacts in case you’ll need them in the future. This list can be found inside the Hunter web app.
This is helpful when you work on different projects because you can create a list of contacts for each of them and save some time by sending emails directly from the web app. Before that, however, you will need to connect it to your Gmail account. (see the photo below).
Using the Web app for Domain Search
The process is really simple — go to the Domain search feature, paste the URL of the wanted domain, and your results will appear in a second. Here’s how it looks:
Sometimes, especially when you have a bigger list, contacts are grouped by departments (see the photo above) — marketing, management, communication, executive, sales, etc.
Except for the name and the email address Hunter will, often, show you the job position/role of the contacts and link to their social networks like LinkedIn or Twitter.
In most cases, you’ll see 3 types of icons beside the email addresses themselves:
- green/yellow/red dots — show the email address confidence score (how certain Hunter is that the email works)
- a green shield with a ‘check’ sign inside it — it means this is a verified email (some emails are already verified at no additional cost)
- yellow shield without ‘check’ sign — an email address is not verified and has lower confidence score — the email may bounce
To verify the email address, you’ll have to click the “Verify email” button that’s usually placed by the confidence score. Or, you can go to the “Verifier feature” Hunter offers (check the photo below). After verification is done, you’ll get the deliverability results.
Emails with a high confidence score (above 90%) have a higher chance of being fully deliverable but that’s not always the case. It’s important to note that Hunter is updating the confidence score on a regular basis.
How are the credits spent?
We have already mentioned that Hunter offers 25 monthly credits for free which won’t be sufficient for regular outreach projects. You can either combine multiple accounts or upgrade your plan.
The pricing plan scales from 49€ per month for 500 credits to 399€ per month for 30,000 credits.
The formula for spending credits is very simple. It doesn’t matter if you are…
- searching by domain
- trying to find a contact through a combination of “full name + domain”
- verifying emails
…you’ll lose one credit for each of the mentioned actions. If you search the same site more than once, you won’t lose any additional credits.
You’ll get charged with one additional credit when you click to filter the results by wanted department (e.g. marketing, management…).
In case you want to see full search results, you’ll have to upgrade your plan — there’s a button at the end of the page.
Snov.io is a platform used by marketers, startups, recruiters, and others working with email outreach or outbound research. It offers a lot of different options, from simple domain searches to creating and managing a whole outreach campaign.
In this article, we’ll focus on a few selected features that can help you find the right email addresses.
The number of free monthly search credits: 150 search credits per month
Available: Web App, Chrome Extension
How does it work?
Snov.io has a few different features you can use for finding email addresses:
- Domain search — find all email addresses associated with the selected domain
- Bulk domain search — find emails from a list of different domains
- Company profile search — find companies by name, location, industry, size, and more
- Social URL search — find emails by browsing social network profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook)
- Email search — find an email of your contact when you know their name and company
- Bulk email search — find emails when you have a list of contacts with their names and the company they work for
The first thing you’ll have to do if you want to try one of these is to create your account — nothing special, choose your email and password and you’re ready to go. Alternatively, you can just sign in with your Google account.
Using Chrome extension
Our advice is to add their Chrome extension as that speeds things up. You won’t have to go to the Snov.io web app instead, you’ll just click on the Snov.io icon on your taskbar and the results will appear in a second.
As you can see in the photo above, some emails are faded out which means that they are already inside your People List (you can name your list whatever you want) — a place where you can save your contacts in case you think you’ll need to use them again at some point in the future.
Here is how a list looks.
As you can see in the picture above, some of the emails have a green dot which means that they are valid. On some occasions, you’ll stumble upon yellow and red dots — the yellow dot means that the address is unverifiable and risky, while the red means the address is not valid at all.
Using the Web app for Domain Search
In case you don’t want to use the Chrome extension, you can always go to the web app, choose the Domain search feature and paste the URL of the domain you want to find email contacts for.
Once you save the prospect to your list, you’ll get the email address for which you’ll be charged with one additional credit.
Find contact info through social networks
The last feature we want to show you (but not the last that Snov.io offers) is in relation to social networks.
The first step is to install LI prospect finder extension for Chrome. Once the extension is installed, you should have Snov.io icon on the extension bar (check the photo below).
Now you can start looking for your prospects.
Let’s say that you have a project where you want to get in touch with editors from the US.
Instead of searching for and inspecting relevant websites, go to your LinkedIn profile, type “editor” in a search engine, and add a location.
After that, LinkedIn will give you the list of editors. All you have to do to get their emails is click on the Snov.io icon in your taskbar after which you can easily save found contacts to one of your lists.
One thing to have in mind is that 1 credit will be taken for each contact you select to save.
How are the credits spent?
As we’ve mentioned, Snov.io offers 150 monthly credits for free.
In case you are in charge of big outreach projects and have to go over this limit, you can purchase a plan that is the best fit for you. There are different pricing plans you can choose from
- Starter plan — $39 per month for 1,000 credits
- Pro plan — offers 4 different options (from $99 for 5,000 credits to $738 for 100,000 per month)
- Custom plan — starts at $999 but for more details, you’ll have to contact Snovio sales team.
As you can imagine, every feature that helps you find contact information spends some of your credits in one way or another. If we focus on the Domain Search feature, there are three choices:
- Simple domain search – you’ll lose 1 credit per search (no matter how many prospects you’ll get, except if it doesn’t find any prospect — then you won’t lose any credits)
- Personal Contacts – in order to get the mail address, you have to save the prospect to your personal list and for that, you’ll lose 1 additional credit
- Email verification – for every unverified email that you decide to verify you’ll lose 0,5 credits. One thing to note, Snov.io won’t deduct credits for emails that have an uncertain status.
All features that Snov.io offers are unlocked for every plan (paid and freemium) and you have free hands to decide the way you want to spend your credits.
One thing we learned the hard way is that Snov.io doesn’t like when you have multiple free accounts on the same domain. We had multiple team members using it and they canceled all of them at once — this is how we learned about this restriction in the first place.
NOTE: This article was initially written at the beginning of 2019. Since then, Find That Lead changed its policy and it’s not offering a free package anymore — only a free trial period that is not renewable.
FindThatLead is a tool that is designed to automate the sales process and help you find relevant leads. It is mainly created for B2B but it can be used also for B2C. This tool has a few different features you can use to manage leads but in this review, we will focus only on the ones that help you find contact info for a standard outreach campaign.
The number of free monthly search credits: A couple of years back FindThatLead offered 150 free searches/month, today they only offer a free trial period.
Available: Chrome extension, Web app
How does it work?
IFindThatLead allows you to create an account using either business or personal email address.
It has a few different features which will help you to find relevant emails:
- Search by name — this feature will help you find an email based on the combination of “name + domain”
- Search by domain — all you need to do is to input the domain of any company and find a list of associated emails
- Email Verifier — once you have found some emails, you can verify and check if an email address is usable
- Social URL Search — search for emails through social media profiles (LinkedIn or Twitter).
Let’s explain how Chrome extension, Web app, and social URL search work as you are going to use them the most.
Finding emails by using Chrome extension
As with other email finder tools on this list, if you want to make your life easier and workflow faster, you should use their Chrome extension.
When you are on the domain you want to find contacts for, simply click on the icon on your taskbar and it will show you its findings (as you can see in the picture below).
The list of found emails will not be verified. You can verify each listed email by clicking on the verify button next to the email.
Finding emails by using the Web app
Go to the web app, choose Search by domain, and paste the URL of the domain in the search area.
By doing that, you will get a list of 10 contacts which you will then need to verify one by one (if you’re lucky, some of them will already be verified).
Again, you can choose to export these contacts to your Drive or download a CSV file.
To load more emails you will need to upgrade your trial period. That will cost you $49 for which you will get 5000 monthly credits in return. If you need a bigger package you can choose between the Startup plan for $125 per month (18K monthly credits) and the Suite plan for $339 per month (30K monthly credits).
If you are looking for a specific person, go to Search by name, and type their and domain name in the search area. Sometimes, you will be able to find people which the tool has not listed initially.
For example, the FindThatLead has found 14 contacts for Point Visible. However, our company has more than 14 relevant email addresses. We tried to find Petra (as her email wasn’t on the initial list) — and we were able to find her, as you can see in the picture below.
This shows you that you shouldn’t rely just on the initial search if you know the name of the person you are reaching out to. That goes for all other email finder tools tested too.
Lastly, if you want to save your contacts in a spreadsheet for whatever reason, you can do that by clicking on the ‘’Export CSV’’ icon.
Finding email using Social URL Search
This feature currently works only with LinkedIn, and only when you’re using a personal social media profile URL.
The process is pretty straightforward — just copy-paste the LinkedIn URL and the tool will find you the contact you’re looking for.
How are the credits spent?
Every feature that you will use to find an email is going to spend some of your credits. Here are a few ways how your credits can be spent:
- Email verifier — for each verification you will spend 1 credit.
- Social URL Search — if the tool finds the lead profile, it will generate the email address for which you’ll be charged one credit. The email comes verified, so you won’t need to spend an extra credit for verification.
- Domain Search — this one is a bit complicated. Every 10 results will cost you 1 credit. It means that the tool will display a max of 10 emails for the searched domain in exchange for 1 credit. Note that those listed emails will not be verified which means you will spend 1 additional credit for each verification.
How did we test these free email finder tools?
Since we are running blogger outreach and custom link building campaigns for a few years now, we already had a huge internal list of sites and editor’s contacts.
We wanted to check how many contacts can these free email tools find in general, as well as if they can find the email from the person that has the authority to give you an answer to your pitch, which are in most cases editors and content managers themselves.
We also used this chance to see if there is some variation depending on the “size” of the website you might be checking. So we ran a test on 100 websites where:
- 20 of them were between 20 and 30 DA
- 60 of them between 31 and 60 DA
- 20 with DA 61+
Clearbit Connect vs Hunter vs FindThatLead vs Snov.io test results
As you will see in the pictures below, we checked 2 different things:
- A total number of found contacts for every tested domain
- Looking for a specific person (which exact name and email we already had) that we were in touch with and know for sure they are in charge of content for their respective sites
One thing that is important to mention is to take the total number of contacts found with a truckload of salt. Snov.io found north of 5k contacts on 2 domains and over 14k on one other domain, which obviously isn’t correct as many of those emails are not usable (e.g. [email protected]).
Additionally, Find That Lead actually found more contacts than it’s written in the report below but this tool shows max 10 contacts and you have to spend additional credits to discover more which would burn through your credits really fast. In the same fashion, Clearbit Connect lists max 20 contacts per domain search.
We were considering removing this from the report but decided to leave it in as we actually spend a decent amount of time testing it.
Here you can see a snapshot of our test setup:
And here you can see the final test results:
As you can see, Snov.io was a clear winner while the other 3 tools were basically even.
What you should really focus on are the percentages in the “Summed up” row. They show that for the 100 contacts we tested by using the “name + domain” features, Snov.io was able to find 65 of them, winning this test by a substantial margin.
Which free email finder tools should you use? Well, Snov.io seems like an obvious choice to start with. That being said, Snov.io doesn’t allow multiple free accounts associated with the same domain so if you are an agency or have multiple people doing outreach at the same time, you need to look at other tools on this list too.
Do we have a personal favorite?
Well, every tool has its advantages and disadvantages. In our office, Clearbit Connect has been used the most before this test, mainly because it is really simple to use overall. It doesn’t give you an extraordinary number of contacts, but those that you get are often correct.
A similar thing is with Hunter, even though it seems slightly less reliable than Clearbit and you can burn through the credits really fast if you are not careful.
FindThatLead was at a slight disadvantage here as it is not really suited for your standard outreach because the way you spend credits will make you run out of them really fast. As its name suggests, it is a great choice for sales people as it has some great features designed for lead generation.
That being said, nothing is stopping you from using multiple tools. If you install their Chrome extensions, you could probably run a domain through all of these tools in under a minute. Moreover, there are other ways to find contact information you can try out if the tools don’t provide you with the desired results.