November 14, 2022

5 Best SendGrid Alternatives for Transactional Email (2023)

Reading time about 12 min
sendgrid alternative

If you’re looking for a SendGrid alternative, you’re probably in the market for a transactional email service. Although it offers other core email features as well, it’s what it’s best known for. 

Transactional emails are very different from marketing ones. Not only can any website or application make use of them, but they also need to be personalized with dynamic contact information to deliver registration info, order details, and password resets. That’s why speed, deliverability, and security are top priorities when choosing an email service provider. 

Let’s look at the SendGrid offering and how SendGrid competitors stack up. 

What SendGrid Offers

SendGrid is a large-scale email solution, providing email automation, signup forms, and list management. It’s used by big name clients like Uber and Airbnb. However, it’s best known as a leading transactional email platform offering email Rest API and SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). 

SendGrid is developer-oriented and usually integrated into stand-alone applications, rather than used as a SaaS.

Pros

  • Email templates with conditional formatting available 
  • Advanced testing options (inbox look, links, spam filter risk)
  • Email validation API available to check email addresses before emails are sent and bounce.
  • Good email delivery rates
  • Monitoring and tools for sender reputation management 
  • Paying customers get chat, ticket, or phone (on higher plans) support
  • Scalable for large-volume operations 

Cons

  • They sign you up for ISP feedback so you can remove contacts who complain about your emails from your list. Other solutions save time by automatically removing them for you.
  • Only 3 days of transactional messages history included, 30-day email activity history is a paid add-on.
  • You need other Twilio add-ons for chat, SMS, and push notifications.
  • You need a separate email marketing plan to be able to send other kinds of emails apart from transactional. Charges for it are based on contact list size.
  • You also need this other plan to use a drag-and-drop email editor if you don’t want to code your emails.

SendGrid Pricing

There’s a free forever plan, 100 transactional emails a day. Plans start at $19.95/month. Dedicated IPs are available on Pro plan or higher, starting at $89.95/month. Marketing Campaigns plans also offer a free plan (2,000 contacts, 6,000 emails/month) and start from there at $15/month.

Sendgrid Alternatives Compared

Here’s an overview of the prices and main features SendGrid and its competitors offer as transactional email solutions.

Read more: The Best Transactional Email Services

Sendinblue

sendinblue transactional platform

Sendinblue is the most cost-effective SendGrid alternative. Let’s explain why.

API, SMTP, and more

As a SendGrid competitor, Sendinblue offers transactional emails via email marketing API, and SMTP relay. But that’s not all! You can also connect it to all major ecommerce platforms (Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, PrestaShop) via plugins. Or set up automations to trigger transactional emails when certain events occur. Our SMTP server lets you set up webhooks and track events.

We understand performance is essential for this type of communication. That’s why Sendinblue offers detailed email analytics on all key metrics. Plus, it offers the advantage over other email delivery services of keeping unlimited logs (i.e. the history of individual emails sent to each recipient).

Premium deliverability

We have a dedicated team of email deliverability experts who monitor sender reputations on our shared IPs to make sure your emails reach the inbox. We also have a strict vetting process to keep spammers out and protect your sending and open rates. 99.98% of emails are delivered by Sendinblue in less than 20 seconds.

All-in-one marketing platform

Sendinblue’s more than a SendGrid alternative for transactional emails. It covers the full range of email marketing services on one platform. Only pay for the features you need, when you need them.

The Marketing Platform lets you run email, SMS, and WhatsApp campaigns. Need more credits? Sendinblue pay-as-you-go option lets you add credits to any plan.

Grow your list first with signup forms and start sending a newsletter. Then, run a promotional campaign. Confirm each individual order that comes in. After that, automate engagement with tailored offers based on the products purchased. And maybe send a mass email to announce a new product range. Send all your transactional, marketing, and automated emails from one place. 

Sendinblue also works as a bulk email service. You can use the email API or SMTP to send large volume marketing campaigns faster and with better results.

For even more features, go beyond the Marketing Platform. Try Sendinblue’s other plans, including Chat and Sales CRM.

GDPR

Sendinblue is one SendGrid alternative that takes GDPR very seriously. 

It offers signup forms that make collecting consent legal and managing subscribers preferences easy. If someone one accepts transactional but not promotional emails, you won’t be able to email them by mistake and annoy them. This protects your sender reputation as you won’t get marked as spam for unwanted communications.

Also, the API syncs contact activity with the CRM in real time. So hard bounces, unsubscribes, and spam complainers from transactional emails are automatically blacklisted in your CRM so promotional emails are not sent to those addresses either. And unsubscribe links are automatically inserted in all email templates to take one more thing off your plate to remember. 

Read more: 11 Easy Ways to Decrease Your Email Bounce Rate

For developers AND marketers alike

Sendinblue as a SendGrid alternative makes transactional email (and not only) accessible to users who are not as tech savvy as a developer. Here are our developer resources but if you’re not one, you can still make full use of the marketing platform. 

First, you don’t have to code your transactional emails. The user-friendly drag and drop email builder lets you create any type of email you want from scratch or customizing one of the ready templates available. This way, your transactional emails can be branded and look just as good as the marketing ones. 

With Sendinblue, customizing your transactional emails with individual information like order status is also easy. Ready-made elements for dynamic content personalization are available in the email editor. 

There’s no need to code your marketing automations either. Just add the steps you want in the visual workflow builder. You can even add transactional SMS or rules to manage the contact based on their behavior, too.

Sendinblue vs SendGrid

  • All email marketing needs taken care of in one place: bulk email, newsletters, marketing emails, automated campaigns, and every other email marketing use case
  • Not just 2, but 4 options for sending transactional emails
  • Ready-to-use ecommerce plugins for quick and easy integration
  • Unlimited send logs
  • No charge for contact list size
  • User-friendly email design tool and templates for marketers who don’t have coding skills
  • Easy use of dynamic content for personalization
  • Preview on different email clients and devices
  • Customer support in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese

Overall, Sendinblue is a SendGrid alternative for small businesses when you don’t know how to write code for transactional emails and want to send everything from one platform.

Pricing

You can activate API or SMTP service even on Sendinblue’s free account (300 emails/day). For small business, that means Sendinblue’s essentially a free bulk email sender. Paid plans begin at $15/month/10,000 transactional emails only or $25/month/10,000 emails with automation, signup forms, templates, A/B testing, SMS, CRM, and no daily sending limit.

Mailchimp Transactional Email (formerly Mandrill)

mandrill dashboard

Mailchimp Transactional Email (formerly Mandrill) is another SendGrid alternative for transactional email. It offers a full range of features: dynamic content (merge tags), conditional rules and webhooks to react to specific behaviors, click tracking, A/B testing. 

However, transactional email is only available as an add-on to Mailchimp’s paid plans.

Related: 10 Best Mailchimp Alternatives Compared by Price

Pricing

Sign up for the Mailchimp Transactional Email Demo to get 500 emails to test for free. After that, you need a Mailchimp Standard or Premium plan (from $17 for 500 contacts) and add blocks of 25,000 emails starting at $20/month. Price per block goes down as volume goes up but unused email quota doesn’t roll over to the next month. Dedicated IP add-on is $29.95/month.

Read more: 7 Best Mandrill Alternatives For Transactional Emails

Mailgun

mailgun dashboard

Mailgun is a close SendGrid competitor. It’s an API-first solution for developers or B2B and is often white labeled by other applications. It offers additional email deliverability services, inbox placement, email verification, and transactional SMS as well.

If you’re a marketer, though, Mailgun can be intimidating. 

You’ll probably need developer’s help for sending any email because it’s not done directly from the platform as with email marketing software. At least you have an alternative to creating the emails in HTML. Mailgun acquired Mailjet for email marketing (promotional emails, newsletters, drip campaigns). Now, you can use Mailjet’s drag and drop email builder to create transactional emails as well.

Pricing

Mailgun offers a trial period of 1 month with 5,000 emails. Then, it’s $1/1,000 emails. Marketing campaigns are paid on separate plans starting at $35/mo.

Dedicated IPs are available on the Foundation 100k plan and up. Validations are an add-on, from $1.20 / 100.

Related: Mailgun alternatives

Postmark

postmark dashboard

Postmark is another SendGrid competitor on the transactional side. It’s built as a transactional email service provider for applications so it’s perfect for SaaS, apps, etc. It’s a robust solution for the tech savvy with detailed reporting and 45 days log retention, boasting superior customer support.

But it lacks campaign building capabilities such as list management, contact segmentation, or a user-friendly design tool needed for ecommerce marketing, for example. Only pre-built transactional email templates are available or alternatively you can use their open-source toolset MailMaison with CSS.

Pricing

Postmark’s pricing starts at $10 per 10,000 emails a month, and you can top up with additional blocks of 1,000 for $1.25 each. Dedicated IP addresses cost $50/month.

Amazon SES

amazon ses

Amazon SES can be counted as a SendGrid alternative as it’s the most basic solution for service emails. The name literally stands for Simple Email Service. It offers APIs and SMTP, core metrics, and a focus on the tech side as it’s a part of the AWS suite for enterprise. Prominent users are Reddit, Netflix, and Duolingo.

It’s a developer tool, usually integrated into stand-alone applications. And so you can’t log in and simply send your emails from its platform. It doesn’t offer a user-friendly interface or email marketing functionality. It works best if you’re hosted on Amazon too.

Pricing

Amazon SES is often cited as the cheapest SendGrid alternative. This can be true, but keep in mind that price depends on your location, your setup, and hosting. There are no set fees, it’s $0.10 / 1000 emails charged on a pay-as-you-go basis. Dedicated IPs are $24.95/ month.

Choosing a SendGrid Alternative

All of the listed SendGrid competitors offer the basic functionality for sending transactional emails. From there, your decision depends on what additional features you need in one email service provider. It’s a good idea for small businesses to try a few SendGrid alternatives for free and see which one’s easiest to use.

Start sending transactional emails with Sendinblue

Free plan includes access to API & SMTP, 300 emails/day, 40+ email templates, no coding required, and unlimited contacts list.

Open my free Sendinblue account now >>

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