The Ultimate Guide to Free Email Lookup and Reverse Email Lookup Tools

reverse email lookup feature

There are dozens of free email lookup and reverse email lookup tools available online. Let’s see which ones really deliver results.

Are you part of the 51% of people who have kept the same email address for more than 10 years? Then it shouldn’t surprise you that there’s a significant data trail attached to it.

But the fact is, even fresh email addresses can reveal a ton about their users. Because you use them to sign up for everything online, they are the closest thing we have to a digital passport. 

This is precisely why free email lookup and reverse email lookup tools are becoming so popular these days.

The problem: not all of them are created equal, or even for the same purpose. 

So in this post, I wanted to help clarify which reverse email tool you should use, how they work, and actually compare some free email lookup services to see if they are as useful as they claim. But first:

What are Free Email Lookup Tools?

A free email lookup, or reverse email lookup tool, gathers information about someone based on their email address alone. It searches a variety of databases and online sources to reveal where the email address has been used before, and establishes links with its user.

Why Use These Free Email Lookup Tools?

I know it’s not the most intuitive question to put this high on the list, but understanding this point helps make sense of all the rest.

Basically, there are three main reasons to use a free email lookup tool:

  • Marketing purposes: for marketers or sales teams, it’s essential to check if the email address you’ve acquired is valid. Because you don’t want your email marketing newsletter to bounce, it’s wise to confirm you’re dealing with real people as soon as possible.
  • Background checks: usually performed by professionals who need more info about a potential hire, a prospect client, or a business contact. Some individuals request them too, for every reason you can imagine, including getting the full picture about a new romantic interest to, sadly, cyberstalking.
  • Risk analysis: small and large businesses use reverse email searches to learn more about their users in the context of fraud prevention, risk assessment, and cybersecurity. 

Now I wanted to establish these reasons early on because this means there are essentially three types of reverse email tools, each one tailored for these specific purposes. 

That means the technology and pricing will be different, and of course they will deliver very different results. Which brings us to our next question:

What Data Can You Get With Reverse Email Lookup Tools?

To answer that question, let’s break it down into our three categories once more:

  • Marketing: you will be able to see if the email address is valid or not, and whether it can receive your emails. This is done via a SMTP-MX check. You can also find other addresses on the same business domain, and that’s about it.
  • Background checks: on paper, these are more sophisticated. You can find basic social media information attached to the email, the person’s full name, and geo location info based on domain lookup. If you are in the US, they include a search through public files like bankruptcy reports or criminal records. The accuracy of these reports tends to be hit and miss. 
  • Risk Analysis: Serious tools with serious results. You get precise social media profiling (to see if the user is connected to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the email address). You can learn if the email was involved in a data breach, and get useful information about the domain, including whether it is free or paid, and how old the address is. You also get a risk score that helps you review if you should trust the user or not.

What Are the Limits of Free Email Lookup Tools?

“…the trick these companies use the most is that the search is free, but getting the results is not.”

The first limit obviously has to do with the “free” aspect. Companies offering a free service for individuals and businesses don’t do it out of the kindness of their own hearts: they usually operate under a freemium model. (Risk Analysis tools, however, usually charge a micro fee for each request). So you really get what you pay for in terms of the quality of the results.

Email lookup for:Marketing and salesBackground ChecksRisk Analysis
Results speedMediumSlowFast
Results qualityGoodMediumBest
Getting startedEasyEasyTechnical
Ease of useEasyEasyEasy
FeaturesLimitedLimitedFull
PaymentMonthly based on number of email checksMonthly, unlimited checks or per single requestMonthly payments based on email checks

In fact, the trick these companies use the most is that the search is free, but getting the results is not. 


This makes them completely useless as free tools. Been Verified, for instance, like many “free” tools, goes through a long search process (up to 5 minutes), and then redirects you towards their premium plans.

free reverse email lookup  been verified freemium
How Been Verified pushed you towards paid plans

Another annoying issue would be to think you’ve found a free service, only to find it sends you towards a paid one. This is what happens for instance if you use EmailSherlock.com, which must just act as an affiliate of InfoTracer.

Free reverse email lookup info tracer
Mixed results with InfoTracer’s data

Something else to consider, especially for marketers, is that verifying webmail addresses can be difficult, or unavailable. For instance, hunter.io lets you clearly know that it only works with professional domains.

free reverse email lookup hunter.io
Hunter.io won’t work with personal email domains

Then there are issues with speed. If you are, say, an ecommerce that needs to verify email for large amounts of users in real time, your only option is to plug in an email analysis API into your system. The results with Risk Analysis tools are near instant. With other services, you have to enter addresses one at a time, and wait upward of 5 minutes to get the results.

Finally, there’s of course the issue of data quality. Ideally you want data that’s fresh and up to date. But a quick test reveals that many free email lookup tools must go through very old databases to acquire their information, which defeats the purpose.

In fact, with background checkers, you can often get better results simply by typing the email address into a search engine yourself.

Are Email Lookup Tools Legal?

A good question, and the answer is generally yes. However there are some caveats. Digital data leaves a trace worldwide, but the services and users of the service themselves are restricted by their geo location.

For instance, Social Catfish is only available in the US because it doesn’t meet the GDPR requirements. Other services like InfoTracer, Spokeo and BeenVerified are also geo restricted to only operate in the US.

free reverse lookup social catfish gdpr
Social Catfish doesn’t work in the EU because of GDPR restrictions

So if you’re in the market for a free email lookup tool, do make sure it meets your local regulations, or you could put your business at risk. However, a number of tools like SEON or Snovio ensure they only collect data from public sources, making them GDPR compliant.

Can I Use An Email Lookup Tool to Find Someone’s Email Address?

Some services include it. If you know the domain and full name, for instance, Sellhack and Hunter.io can help.

Other companies that offer the feature include Anymail Finder, FindThatLead or Nymeria, amongst others. But the idea is the same: you type in someone’s name, and receive their real email address.

Most of these services also operate under a freemium model, so don’t expect them to really be free.

However, they can be worth paying for if you are a  marketer who needs to find leads and prospects, as you can often extract all email addresses associated with a business domain (e.g.: everyone with a tesla.com address.).

Comparison Table of Various Email Lookup Tools


Best forReally free?Best FeaturesPricing
QuickEmailVerificationMarketing and Sales100 credits free daily upon signup, no credit card requiredBulk email verification, Real-time verification, GDPR compliant$4/500 credits, $8/1,000 credits and so on. Monthly plans at US$25/500 daily credits
Snov.ioMarketing and salesNot bad: 2 free months if you purchase yearly plans.
Registered users get 100 verifications for free
Validating long lists of email addresses. 
Export results in any format.
Monthly price, based on number of checks
S $39
M $69
L $129 
XL $199
SellhackMarketing and salesSign up and get 10 credits a month for free (Browser extension)Bulk email verification.
Browser extension.
Monthly price, based on number of checks
Lite: $5
Basic: $19  Starter: $49
Pro: $99
Hunter.ioMarketing and salesYou can create a free account with 50 requests/monthEmail verifier,
domain search.
Monthly price, based on number of checks
Starter: 49€ Growth: 99€ 
Pro: 199€ 
Enterprise: 399€
TheCheckerMarketing and sales100 free validations when you sign upFlexible pricing,
syntax validation
1k emails: $4 10k emails: $19
25k emails: $49 
50k emails: $79 
100k emails: $139 
MyEmailVerifierMarketing and sales100 free validations for signing up
5K free credits for writing a review at G2Crowd
10K free credits for sharing a 1 min video testimonial
Flexible pricing,
syntax validation
500 credits: $1.44
1k credits: $2.88
2k credits: $5.04
5k credits: $12.6
10k credits: $21.6
20k credits: $43.2
50k credits: $60$
NeverBounceMarketing and salesNoEmail verification,
Bulk email list cleaning
Price per email up to 10k/$0.008
100k/$0.005
250k/$0.004
1,000k/$0.003
Been VerifiedBackground checksNoFind work history, consult public legal documents$22.86 a month
PeopleFindersBackground checksNoFull reports (minus social media),
work info
$25 per month
Universal Background ScreeningEmployee background check (US only)NoUS compliantNeed to contact for quote
Sterling Talent SolutionsEmployee background check (US only)NoSmall business
packages
Flat fee between $29.99 – $79.99 per check
EmailageRisk analysisDemo available after “discovery call”Email Risk Score, machine learningStarts at $499 per month
ArkowlRisk analysisNoEmail Risk score, unlimited usersFrom $0,04 per query
SEONRisk analysisFree demo, free trial availableChrome extension
Machine-learning engine,
Integration with other fraud prevention tools, most in-depth check and widest range of information available
Starts at
€100/month

Breaking down the Best Features for Marketers: Snovio.com

free reverse email lookup tools Snovio tools


Snovio has all the features you might need for validating email addresses, and it’s blazing fast, delivering results under 1 minute. Like many other tools, it uses an SMTP-MX check to verify the deliverability of the address.

You get 100 verifications for free, after that it works with a credit system. You can use each credit on email drip campaigns, email finding or email validation. It costs $39 a month for 1,000 credits, $69 for 5,000 credits, $129 for 20,000 and $199 a month for 50K credits.

You can upload bulk addresses and export the results. CSV, XLSX or Google Sheet formats, and the customer service gets loads of praise from users. Definitely worth checking out for free.

Best Features for Background Checks: Been Verified

free email lookup tools - been verified social media check
You get some social media checks, but only Twitter and Linkedin

Been Verified will give you email verification, in some cases person’s name from LinkedIn, and limited to two linked social media accounts (Twitter and Linkedin). It is for US use only, and will trawl through legal documents to get info on criminal records and bankruptcy reports. Each search takes between 2 – 10 minutes.

Registering with Been Verified costs $22.86 a month, even if you only need one report. 

Best Features for Risk Analysis: SEON

For the sake of transparency, I should say that I work at SEON. Because it’s the tool I know the most, I will use it as an example to explain the features of our Reverse Email lookup features. And yes it’s entirely aimed at businesses who need to reduce fraud like online stores, iGaming operators or online banks.

A good email analysis tool should work in real- time, fast, and at scale. This is primordial when hundreds or thousands of emails must be checked at once. So at SEON, we worked really hard to ensure the results come under 1 second.

reverse email tool

Flexibility is also important for fraud teams, so we allow companies to use our tool via API, with a dedicated GUI or via a Chrome plugin

Finally, it’s easy to fully integrate it with our other tools like Phone Analysis, Device Fingerprinting and IP Analysis, to get a complete 360 view of customers.

We charge a price per request, and our most affordable package starts at €100 per month. Here’s an example of what the kind of reports you get for each address:

free email lookup  SEON results

As you can imagine, each parameter lets you understand how risky a user is. For instance, we found that 76% of defaulting customers in the lending industry hadn’t registered their email with social media networks.

That kind of insight is what can really help you solve all your problems associated with bad users, from high chargeback rates to lost goods and a reduction in user trust. 

  • Great for: reducing fraud, flexibility of use, powerful integration with other fraud prevention tools
  • Closest competitors: Arkowl, Emailage…

Final Overview of the Best Reverse Email Lookup Tools


Snovio.comBeen VerifiedSEON
Check if the address is valid?YesYesYes
New or old address?NoNoYes
User full name?NoYesYes
Connected to social media?NoTwitter and Linkedin only20+ platforms, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram  
Domain related information (free, disposable, creation date etc.)?NoNoYes
Found in data breaches?NoYesYes
Risk scoreNoNoYes
Legal recordsNoYes (US only)No
Results speed>1 minute2-10 minutes<1 second
AvailabilityWorldwideUS onlyWorldwide
LegalWorldwide – GDPR compliantUS onlyWorldwide – GDPR compliant

Hopefully, this in-depth explanation of what email lookup tools are and why you should use them was helpful. At the very least, it should have cleared two misconceptions. First, free email lookup tools don’t really exist

Second, you need to segment your search for the best tool depending on whether it’s for marketing, background checks or risk analysis as the features and target users are vastly different. Hope this helps your search for the ideal email lookup solution!

Learn more about our products!
Products
Author avatar
Bence Jendruszak
COO

Bence is the co-founder and COO of SEON, built with a vision to create a safer online environment for merchants in high risk verticals.


SEON Resources

Sign up to our newsletter

Newsletter