Hunter.io is a tool for finding and verifying emails, specifically business email addresses for use in B2B email campaigns. If you’re looking to reach out to business owners, webmasters or even employees at a certain company, Hunter.io may be helpful for you. It is not at all designed for scraping as many emails as possible for the purpose of mass-email campaigns.
In this review, I’ll test out Hunter.io with some different websites and give my honest feedback on it.
How does Hunter.io find emails?
Per their data page, Hunter.io basically scrapes the entire internet for emails, claiming to crawl 210,000 web pages every minute and have over 100 million professional email addresses indexed. When you search for emails for a certain website, Hunter.io won’t check that website for emails in real-time. Instead, it’ll look into its database of emails that it’s previously scraped, and see if there are any emails that match that website (easily identified by seeing if an email is @theactualwebsite.com).
How well does the Hunter.io Chrome extension work?
Hunter.io’s Chrome extension works just fine. It doesn’t come with any extra functionality over what you can do on the Hunter.io website — all you use it for is quickly seeing if Hunter.io has any emails for whatever website you’re on. For example, I clicked on the Hunter.io Chrome extension while on a website called packhacker.com and it came back with this:
Can you use Hunter.io with LinkedIn?
No. As of 2017, Hunter.io no longer works with LinkedIn, as LinkedIn prohibits scraping tools and that has to be respected. But LinkedIn is just one source of emails: for any given person, if their email is on their LinkedIn page, there’s a good chance it’s listed somewhere else on the internet, and a good chance that Hunter.io will be able to find it.
What does Hunter.io cost?
Here is Hunter.io’s pricing at the time of writing:
This is not cheap if you’re doing outreach to a lot of different websites.
Are there any discount codes for Hunter.io?
Not at the time of writing. When you upgrade to a paid plan on Hunter.io, there’s no option to enter a coupon or discount code. I tried searching for any way of getting a discount, landing on many spammy coupon sites, but couldn’t find one anywhere.
What are the alternatives to Hunter.io?
There are many tools that compete with Hunter.io to find emails for B2B email marketing:
- Aeroleads (Like Hunter.io, but searches in real-time)
- Snov.io (Perhaps Hunter.io’s biggest competitor. A little cheaper if you’re searching for a lot of emails, and also still works on LinkedIn. See my Snov.io review for more information on it)
- Prospect.io (A platform not just for finding emails, but sending emails. Significantly more expensive to start with at $89/month)
- Anymail finder (A bit cheaper than Hunter.io, especially since it only deducts a credit if it also verifies that an email it finds is legitimate. Also rolls-over credits month to month which is nice)
- Skrapp (Appears to have the exact same core functionality as Hunter.io, but marginally cheaper)
- Lusha (Even more expensive than Hunter.io)
- GetProspect (Allows for more advanced searching by things like company size, country, positions and more)
- RocketReach (Perhaps the biggest database of contact information on the internet, with over 450 million professionals — over 4x as much as emails claimed to be found by Hunter.io. However, it’s far more expensive than Hunter.io and deducts a credit even if no email is found if it finds a phone number)
- LeadGibbon (See our LeadGibbon review)
These email-finding tools tend to be mostly similar, but have some minor differences as I’ve outlined above. If I have time, I hope to test and review all of them.
NB: As mentioned at the start of this review, Hunter.io (and its competitors I’ve listed above) are designed for targeted B2B email marketing campaigns, so they only return emails that definitely belong to people of a given company or website. If you’re looking to run a mass mailing campaign where you email anyone and everyone you possibly can (not something I recommend), it’s definitely not the right tool for you, and you’ll want to instead use a desktop-based email finding tool like Scrapebox or Atomic Email Hunter (see my Atomic Email Hunter review). These tools can also work for finding emails for targeted B2B email campaigns, as while they aren’t as sophisticated as something like Hunter.io, they’re much cheaper (having just a one-time fee) and have options to only return emails from @theactualwebsite.com emails.
What’s GOOD about Hunter.io 🙂
- The email verifier in Hunter.io is excellent
Hunter.io tries to verify emails, and during my testing of it where I put in a lot of both valid and invalid emails, it functioned very well:
Hunter.io is just as good at verifying emails as paid services like Mailboxlayer (see my Mailboxlayer review) in my opinion.
- Comes with a free cold email campaign manager (https://hunter.io/cold-email-campaigns)
In 2020 Hunter.io started to offer a free platform for sending cold email campaigns, which offers a significant amount of value. Normally something like this would only be available with a paid tool like Mailshake. I have tested this and it doesn’t quite have the functionality of Mailshake (lacking features such as A/B testing) and only allows you to send a maximum of 100 emails a day, but it’s great for a free tool.
- Fantastic performance if you’re using it to find leads for big companies
If you’re looking to find someone to contact from a big company, Hunter.io will definitely have results for you. Here’s an example if you try to use it to find emails for people who work at Microsoft:
34,808 results organized into different departments. These are the situations where Hunter.io really shines.
- Picks up emails all over the internet, and tells you where it found them
The reason Hunter.io is so great at identifying a lot of emails for big companies is it goes far beyond just searching the company website for emails. As Hunter.io scrapes the whole internet for emails, it’s able to pick up email addresses even from relatively obscure pages, and it’s very useful that it tells you the URL where it found each email. Here’s an example:
- Can often return full names and other information about the person behind each email
Hunter.io often knows the full name of the owner of an email address it finds (as in the screenshot above), and even the department they work in and a social media profile (though in my testing this was only for a minority of emails). This will make your outreach much more effective.
What’s BAD about Hunter.io 🙁
- Won’t search specific pages for emails, only emails belonging to a whole domain
If you have a list of specific webpages and you want to find emails only on those pages (not the entire whateverwebsite.com domain), Hunter.io won’t be able to help you. For example, suppose you have this URL in your list of webpages you want to get emails for:
On this webpage there are a couple of emails listed, and they’re relevant and specific to this exact page — if you want to contact the person behind this page you definitely need these emails. But if you try to get Hunter.io to return emails for this page, it won’t. Instead it’ll just return all emails it has for the whole carthage.edu website (1,216 results).
- Doesn’t work for reaching out to people on sites where anyone can publish
Similar to the above, if you want to find emails for people who have published on sites like medium.com or blogspot.com, Hunter.io will be useless to you. Take this page for example:
This is the profile page of someone who publishes articles on medium.com, as anyone can do. Their email is listed right at the top. But you won’t be able to get it with Hunter.io, because it can’t search emails for specific pages and would only be able to return an @medium.com email.
- Does not find free email addresses like [email protected]
Many website owners do not have an @theactualwebsite.com email address, as that may take some time or money to set up. Unfortunately, in cases where the email address of a webmaster is on a free service like Gmail, Hunter.io won’t return it. This will lose you a lot of leads if you’re just reaching out to ordinary people.
- Doesn’t search for emails in real-time
One of my biggest gripes with Hunter.io. Hunter.io has a huge email database from its time scraping the internet, but if an email was only recently published somewhere, there’s a good chance Hunter.io won’t have found it yet, and it won’t return it to you. It would be much better if Hunter.io searched a given website again each time you ask it to return emails for it.
Here’s a simple test:
With this up, you would expect that when you ask Hunter.io to return emails on the domain “outwittrade.press”, it would return “[email protected]”. But it didn’t, simply because Hunter.io hadn’t looked at this website before and it doesn’t search a website in real-time when you search for emails on it:
The bottom line
Hunter.io is excellent for finding a lot of email leads if you’re hoping to reach out to people from big companies. However, it has major drawbacks if you’re using it to try to find emails belonging to ordinary people from relatively small websites.