Folderly vs Smartlead: Which Email Deliverability Software is Better?

Folderly vs Smartlead: Which Email Deliverability Software is Better?

Dariia Leshchenko
Feb 15, 2024
Reading duration
16 Min

Smartlead is multi-channel cold outreach software, offering convenient tools for campaign management, monitoring, and optimization. Although its primary focus is on campaign management, Smartlead also offers auto-rotation for email accounts and IP-level warmups.

Tools like Smartlead promise to help you reach more customers with each email. However, each has a slightly different value proposition, so it is difficult to choose the perfect fit. 

That’s why we’ve put together this article with a detailed overview of Smartlead, and its alternative Folderly.

Folderly vs Smartlead: Comparison Table 

   Folderly Smartlead

Real-time email deliverability score


Precice 0 to 100 score for each connected inbox based on inbox rate, spam triggers, and compliance with best practices over the past 30 days.


✔️ Basic

A score range, based on the past 7 days of inbox placement data only. 


Sender reputation management


✔️ Advanced 

Comprehensive approach to email deliverability, covering IP and domain reputation, email infrastructure, and content. 

Full toolkit for email infrastructure setup (SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and BIMI). Programmatic suggestions of optimal configurations and ongoing monitoring. 

✔️ Basic

Improves email deliverability only through auto-set warmup activity, activated every two weeks. 

Doesn’t offer any tools for email infrastructure configuration and monitoring. 

Doesn’t have extra tools to detect spam triggers in email content or HTML design. 

Inbox placement analytics

✔️ Advanced 

Accurate stats on spam rates on every ESP over the past 30 days. 

Historic trend comparison over any custom period, with segmentation by ESP/template. 

✔️ Basic

Daily snapshot of inbox performance, showing the percentage of emails landing in the inbox vs spam. 

No extra filters are available to dissect data.

Spam trap monitoring


Automatic monitoring of popular blacklists and spam trap box addresses.



Monitors global block lists on higher account tiers. 

Content & template spam checks



Real-time spam word detection and content fix suggestions. 

Recommendations on email design for different campaign types. 

Not available at present.

Email deliverability consulting 



Receive personalized best practices via an in-app dashboard. 

Email and chat-based support from the Customer Success team.

On-demand deliverability consulting and audits are available.

Free audit session for users who sign up for a demo. 

Self-help resources and demo videos are available.

Customer support can help troubleshoot technical product issues.

No dedicated consulting offering. 



IP rotation for connected inboxes 


Doesn’t provide IP rotation as it’s considered a problematic technique. 


Dynamically rotates IP addresses for each warm-up campaign. 


With 50+ popular ESPs on every plan via API and SMTP. 

Gmail, Outlook, Zoho, or other providers via SMTP 


Real-time alerts 



Instant notifications about account issues, requiring manual input. 

Not available at present. 

Deliverability analytics



Real-time and historical trends on email deliverability rates for every linked account. 

Segment inbox placement data by ESP or template. 

Review real-time alerts and best practices for addressing potential issues. 


Has a greater focus on leads analytics, than deliverability metrics. 

Provides consolidated stats on inbox placement rates over the past 7 days. 


From $120
per mailbox/ month with no usage caps.

From $34/mo for an unlimited number of inboxes. 


Free trial


✔️7 days


✔️30 days


G2 rating 


4.9 out of 5.0


4.8 out of 5.0


Smartlead vs Folderly: Core Features Compared 

When you shop around for email deliverability software, you’d want to have two features: Reliable analytics and effective optimization tools.

Here’s how Folderly stacks again Smartlead in both departments. 

Real-Time Deliverability Analytics

Knowing your baselines is key to start optimizing.  Smartlead focuses more on leads analytics — Folderly drills down into deliverability stats. 

What Deliverability Analytics You Get with Folderly 

Folderly gives you full visibility into your inbox health. Our platform generates a score for each inbox, based on the real-time data on inbox placement rates, detected spam triggers, and infrastructure issues. 

Folderly main dashboard screenshot

For each inbox, you can also see current placement rates — main inbox, spam, and other (e.g., Promotions tab in Gmail). Low score? You don’t have to wonder why since our tool provides contextual alerts. 

In the Spam Trigger tab, you can learn why your new template landed in junk, plus get step-by-step instructions to fix the problem — and increase your email deliverability rates. And in the Deliverability Alerts tab, you’ll find similar notifications and guidelines for fixing any technical issues (e.g., incorrect DNS settings).

Spam Triggers dahsboard

Lastly, you can put your email deliverability rates under the magnifying glass using the Deliverability Report dashboard. Review deliverability trends for any selected period — last week, last month, or whenever it is that you’ve started testing a new template. You can also segment results by ESP or used template to get more insights for your outreach campaigns.  

Deliverability Report Dashboard

What Deliverability Analytics You Get with Smartlead 

The primary dashboard, Global Analytics, showcases all the latest stats on your cold outreach campaigns. You can monitor total reach versus open, read, reply, and bounce rates. That’s handy. 

Although sales engagement platforms (e.g., Salesloft or HubSpot Sales Hub) offer more in-depth analytics, plus extra tools for lead management.  So if you’re already using another tool, this analytics may be redundant. 

Smartlead main dashboard screenshot

Smartlead dashboard statistics screenshot

At the bottom of the Global Analytics view, you can also find your Sender Email Health Breakdown. Each connected inbox gets a custom range: green (90-100 score), yellow (70-90), and red (0 to 70). 

The score is based on the inbox placement data from the past (not 30 days like with Folderly). Smartlead also doesn’t incorporate other email deliverability factors like your domain reputation, infrastructure setup, or content quality. 

You can get more data on email deliverability from the Overview tab in your account. Here you’ll find a summary of the recent warmup activity — total number of emails sent and replied, plus inbox vs spam rates. You can also view a 7-day report on the total number of warmup emails sent and replied. 

However, Smartlead doesn’t let you segment the reports by ESP or template. You also cannot choose a custom reporting period or view data, older than a week. 

Smartlead overview deliverability

Image Source 

Deliverability Optimization

Folderly provides a swiss-army-knife toolkit to enhance your IP reputation, mail delivery infrastructure configuration, and email content.

Smartlead only does IP-level email warmups, which temporarily increase sender limits per account. The platform also touts a robust IP rotating infrastructure that dynamically assigns pre-warmed-up IPs or fresh IPs for every campaign. That's a practice you should use with caution.

Folderly Optimization Features 

Between Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and email service providers (ESPs), there are a lot of best practices you should follow to ensure high inbox placement rates. 

Folderly takes the guesswork out of those with our pre-programmed inbox optimization algorithm, based on email compliance rules and industry best practices.  Based on the analysis of each connected inbox, our platform suggests the optimal optimization cadence, activated in one click. 

Folderly running monitoring screenshot

As part of our optimization process, we’ll also notify you about any detected spam triggers. Triggers cover everything from wonky DMARC record configurations to problematic wording in your recent template. In each case, you’ll get a clear summary of the issue, plus recommended steps to fix the problem. We detect all issues in real time, meaning you’ll never waste time on sending outreach emails that are destined for the spam folder. 

Folderly Best Practices

Smartlead Optimization Features 

Warmup tools like Smartlead help you gradually build up your reputation with an ISP by sending emails to seed addresses. That’s what Smartlead does. Your email and IP addresses get added to its sender pool (which includes other users). 

Smartlead will then auto-send seed emails to other addresses, which then get opened, read, and replied to. The platform has a pre-programmed warmup schedule, activated every two weeks. Users can adjust daily send volume and reply rate.  

The team says they also automatically recover emails from the ‘spam folder’ but we couldn’t 

test this feature with a new account or find any analytics, showing this. Unlike other tools, Smartlead doesn’t mark emails as important. 

Smartlead Optimization Features Demo

Image Source 

With several warmup parameters, you can adjust the schedule according to your reputation. The problem? Smartlead doesn’t provide precise data. 

Unlike Folderly, its inbox health score is solely based on the inbox placement data. The platform doesn’t evaluate other important factors like your email content quality, domain reputation, DNS settings, or email list health.

You’re left to your own devices to figure out the optimal settings. Folderly offers a more tailored approach based on an aggregated score, which takes into account all of these factors.

Another optimization feature, advertised by Smartlead, is IP address rotation. The platform will dynamically select a pre-warmed-up IP address for your scheduled outreach campaign. But here lies the problem: ISPs are not keen on this practice. Your entire IP range can be blocked if the ISPs discover that you engage in this practice (also known as snowshoeing in the darker corners of the Internet).

Likewise, if you rely on Smartlead’s “exclusively supplied IP addresses” for all your campaigns, you're not improving your reputation. Once you stop relying on Smartlead and switch to a dedicated IP, your deliverability rates may plummet. 

What Makes Folderly a Better Alternative to Smartlead 

Smartlead excels in cold email campaign management. The platform has a great interface for programming cold email sequences (and LinkedIn sequences too). You can also conveniently organize multiple sub-campaigns based on lead categories to automate reply sequences and track your success rates. 

But Smarltead’s email deliverability features are on the less developed side. While things are the opposite with Folderly — our core business is finding and fixing deliverability woes. 

Email Delivery Infrastructure Assessments 

Your sender reputation is like a credit score. It’s a sum of all positive (and not-so) decisions you take when it comes to your infrastructure settings, email list quality, and email-sending patterns. High spam and bounce rates obviously affect your reputation. But so do incorrect domain-level settings such as DKIM, SPF, DMARC, and BIMI. Or worse — a recent hit of a known spam trap box, resulting in domain blacklisting. 

Folderly automatically scans for all of the above and issues an alert with step-by-step instructions for resolving the problem. If you’re not sure how to proceed, our Customer Success team is one message away or you can book a consulting session with our domain experts for a more hands-on intervention. 

Smartlead doesn’t offer much help in the infrastructure department. The official help page directs you toward third-party resources for DNS setup for ESPs like Gmail, Zoho, and Outlook (but not others). They also don’t address Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) configurations — another powerful trust signal. 

Content Fixes 

Smartlead doesn’t factor in the impact of email content on deliverability rates. But that’s another element you should optimize. Fewer spam words = more emails, reaching your prospects. 

Folderly automatically scans every outreach template for spam trigger words and suggests better phrasing.  Likewise, we also ensure you’re using the optimal email template designs — and alert you about HTML-level issues. Smartlead doesn’t offer any email optimization tools at present. 

Folderly Content Template Editor

Proven Client Results 

Folderly not just talks the talk, but walks the walk. We’ve helped clients of every size and industry recover their sender reputation and improve deliverability scores by 2-3X. 🚀

Slash, a venture studio, went from a meager 15% email deliverability rate to 98% for their pre-sales campaigns. BeforeHello, a business process outsourcing company, reached a 100% score and a 50% open rate for its personalized lead campaigns. And we helped SockFancy, an ecommerce vendor, remove its domain name from the blacklist and fully recover its sender reputation, leading to 98% deliverability and a ton of new business. 

Smartlead also has a great collection of public customer testimonials, praising the product’s intuitive interface for campaign management and powerful automation tools. What we couldn’t find, however, were the client’s results on email deliverability. Increasing sender limits for a brand new domain via warmup may lead to good initial results, but these may not last unless you also optimize other pillars: domain reputation, infrastructure, email content, and list quality. 

Final Thoughts 

If you’re looking for a could outreach platform, Smartlead is a solid product and comes at a great price point. However, if you’re team already uses another tool and wants to zoom in on deliverability, Foldely is a better choice. 

We help you hit the inbox every time, while your competitors get stuck in the spam folder. Verify all our claims yourself during a free 7-day trial!

Dariia Leshchenko
Dariia Leshchenko
Head of Customer Success
Dariia is the Head of Customer Success at Folderly, bringing over 3+ years of successful client management. Her dedicated approach to every customer proves that no issue is impossible to fix. Dariia advocates for the synergy of new-level email analysis technology and a human approach to improving email performance.

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