If you’re like most people, you often give out your email address on a whim and then wonder why your inboxes practically overflow when ignored for more than a few hours. Your inbox doesn’t have to be open to everyone; you can keep the clutter away by using a temporary email account.
Having a throw-away email at your disposal (literally) is perfect for scoring quick offers and coupons without getting sucked into repeated sales spam; doing dealings on Craigslist and other online sales sites; and, if you’re entirely shameless, maintaining a never-ending stream of trials for services.
For those times you’d rather avoid exposing your inbox to ongoing spam, there are great options for temporary, disposable accounts that are a breeze to create and discard when you’re no longer using them.
If you find yourself in need of a bit more time than 10 minutes, Lazy Mail is a great option. You can set the period of time that the address will exist for 24 hours. Once you’ve decided how long your MeltMail account will function, it will generate a temporary address for you.
It doesn’t get any quicker or dirtier than 10 Minute Mail. As the name implies, the site gives you an email address that expires in 10 minutes—just long enough to get that confirmation email or whatever it may be that you need.
The accounts are randomly generated. There is no custom address creation, so you can copy and paste the address into whatever field you need to use it for. Emails automatically appear and the inbox remains active for the full 10 minutes, even if you close the tab; just revisit the site and your account should still be available. If you happen to require more than 10 minutes, you can extend your account’s life by 10 more.
TrashMail operates similarly to MeltMail, though with options for accounts that last for more than one day. Emails are forwarded from a temporary account to your primary inbox, and you can set a limit on the number of forwards—up to 10—or how long it will continue forwarding—up to one month. If you have a hard time keeping track of the disposable account for that long, you can install the Google Chrome extension that will remember and paste the address for you.
The service is capped if you use the free version, but you can unlock unlimited forwarding for as long as you’d like by paying for a premium account. It costs $12.99 per year and allows subscribers to create as many as 2,500 temporary accounts. It also axes ads on the site and gives users the option to send mail directly through the TrashMail web interface.