Yeah, Sendgrid is among the most popular email platforms, but it’s not without its limitations.
In this article, I aim to provide you with the best options to switch while making sure you get a SendGrid equivalent without losing any of the functionalities. If you’d like to know how I came up with the list, jump to the end of the article to check the selection criteria.
Whatever the reason to look for a Sendgrid alternative, here are my top pics.
|Mailtrap Email Delivery Platform
|Email sending: $10
Email testing: $14.99
|– Straightforward integration
– Sandbox testing
– Email API and SMTP
– Bulk and transactional stream
– In-depth analytics and reporting
|– Ease of integration
– Customer support
– Data centers in 3 regions
|– Drag and drop email editor
– Marketing automation
– Transactional emails
|Email Marketing $9
Email API $9
|– Ease of use
– Email design tool
– API and SMTP integration
|– Email marketing and automation
– API and SMTP
Disclaimer: The article contains SendGrid competitor pricing, feature lists, and references to product catalog ratings. These were valid at the time of writing but could be subject to change by the time you’re reading the article.
Mailtrap Email Delivery Platform
Free trial: Available
Pricing from: Email sending: $10 | Email testing: $14.99
Captera: 4.9 ⭐ G2: 4.8 ⭐
Mailtrap is an email delivery platform for businesses and individuals to Test, Send, and Control their email infrastructure in one place. It’s like an all-in-one tool consisting of Mailtrap Email Testing and Mailtrap Sending, and we will soon release Mailtrap Email Campaigns.
So, you’re getting everything you have with SendGrid, only it’s more affordable. Also, many Sendgrid users mentioned they had to wait quite a bit to get their support ticket answered. You won’t have this problem with Mailtrap. Plus, there’s a sandbox to test your emails, thus improving their deliverability.
Mailtrap Email Testing gives you a chance to inspect and debug emails in staging, development, and QA environments. That’s without spamming recipients since you’re on a fake SMTP server.
And you can automate the workflow of tedious tests with our REST API.
Add video: How Mailtrap Testing Works
The features you get include:
- HTML and CSS support for your template with the most popular mailbox providers.
- Spam score analysis and IP address blacklist reports.
You can send emails with Mailtrap’s Email API or SMTP service. The platform offers a smooth and secure setup where you don’t need to fill out lengthy forms or provide a lot of validation credentials. Mailtrap email delivery time averages about ~1 second.
Add video: How Mailtrap Email Sending Works
More importantly, you get unique monitoring capabilities to control email infrastructure performance. That includes
- Helicopter-view dashboard and email analytics (open rates, bounce rate, spam, etc.)
- Mailbox providers report (Google Workspace, Gmail Office 365, Outlook, and more)
- Email category reports (stats for each email category you set)
- Email body preview (check email content after it’s sent)
- Deliverability alerts
- Weekly reports
- Critical alerts
- Dedicated IP (if you send 200K+ emails per month)
Also, Mailtrap offers a bulk stream that allows you to send bulk (marketing) emails at the price of transactional. Note that Mailtrap Email Campaigns are currently in Beta.
I have to stress that we separate the bulk email stream from transactional (they use different endpoints). So, your deliverability won’t suffer in any way and you can be sure that your transactional emails always land in the right place.
Wonder how easy it is to switch?
It’s not that difficult, and there’s also an option to add Mailtrap as a secondary service. Check the guides below:
Free trial: Available
Pricing from: $10
Captera: 4.9 ⭐ G2: 4.7 ⭐
SMTP2GO is a straightforward email delivery service with a strong focus on email infrastructure and customer support. And they have a transactional email service via API
In my experience, they’re much more responsive compared to SendGrid, and the integration is easier.
The service is reliable, but their testing feature isn’t as comprehensive as Mailtrap’s. You can preview the emails and run a spam test, but not much more than that. Also, more comprehensive error logs and debugging tips would be a plus.
Note that you need to add your email template since there’s no visual email builder. Though editing options are satisfactory if you’re good at HTML.
- Ease of integration
- Customer support
- Data centers in three regions
- Automatic DKIM and SPF handling
- Real-time reports via webhooks (also available with Mailtrap)
Bonus tip: If you’re only looking for a transactional service, read our Choosing the Best Transactional Email Provider article.
Free trial: Not available
Pricing from: $11
Captera: 4.5 G2: 4.1
Campaign Monitor is a tool for marketers but it also provides transactional email sending that’s not hard to use. They also offer a bunch of different features including an AI writing tool. And indeed, it makes you faster, but it’s really questionable whether it nails the messaging.
On a more positive note, I really like the drag-and-drop email builder. Also, the tool is easy to integrate and all the features are well documented.
Nevertheless, I feel Campaign Monitor would benefit from more granular analytics reporting. But if you’re just looking for basics like open, click, unsubscribe, delivery, and other rates, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Campaign Monitor’s s strengths:
- Drag and drop email editor (+ set of free templates)
- Marketing automation (trigger-based drip campaigns)
- SMS services
- Transactional emails with templates (also available with Mailtrap)
Free trial: Available
Pricing from: Email Marketing $9 | Email API $9
Captera: 3.6 ⭐ G2: 4.3 ⭐
Elastic Email provides a simple email service and email marketing platform along with an email API for handling transactional emails. These are separate products, billed separately.
Overall, I feel simplicity is a major selling point of Elastic Email, but don’t get me wrong.
This tool is great for those who have little experience and don’t demand robust analytics and integrations. What the tool lacks there, it compensates with straightforward email marketing automation, email templates, and proprietary forms features.
Also, you get add-on options to include different widgets with your emails, and there’s a dedicated menu to preview and segment your subscribers.
So, this tool could be a good choice for startups, small businesses, and ecommerce websites.
Elastic Email’s strengths:
- Email design tool
- Automation (on the advanced subscription plan)
- API and SMTP integration (also available with Mailtrap)
- Webhooks (also available with Mailtrap)
Free trial: Not available
Pricing from: $29 (Email & Marketing Automation)
Captera: 4.6 ⭐ G2: 4.5 ⭐
ActiveCampaign is an email marketing, marketing automation, and CRM software product. But here, I’ll be focusing on ActiveCampaign for Marketing since it offers the closest comparison to SendGrid and Mailtrap.
The marketing solution offers transactional emails via Postmark and, of course, that’s billed separately. Anyway, ActiveCampaign is among the most robust services in the market, with all the features you might need. So it’s very hard to find something to complain about.
However, it’s also among the most expensive (without a free trial). And there’s a bit of a learning curve to integrate and set up everything.
Though, ActiveCampaign has a few helpful free tools including subject line generator, card abandonment calculator, buyer persona templates, etc. And it allows you to create landing pages (faster compared to WordPress), do A/B testing, and have very granular recipient segmentation.
- Email marketing and automation
- API and SMTP
- Extensive integrations (available on paid plans)
- Conversions and attribution reporting (available on premium plan)
- Dedicated IP addresses (for high-volume senders)
SendGrid alternatives: Criteria
In the email-sending space, reliability = exceptional deliverability. In this post, I listed only the tools that offer reliable, predictable deliverability even if you’re on a shared IP. They showed consistent test results without any sudden spikes in bounces, spam complaints, or any other email deliverability data.
But keep in mind that a huge chunk of deliverability performance is in your hands. If you want to learn more about it, check the Deliverability Guide linked here ⬅️.
Functionality and features
SendGrid is used both for sending marketing email campaigns (such as newsletters or bulk promotional messages) and transactional emails (such as user notifications, account confirmations, etc.).
The majority of businesses need to send both; for this reason, all the email-sending tools here provide email API along with the user interface and template constructor.
Only note that, unlike Mailtrap, most other tools have transactional emails as a separate tool, billed separately.
Finally, when choosing alternatives to SendGrid, I focused strongly on software that allows for quick campaign optimization. This means you get plenty of data and testing options to improve your emails
Ease of integration
User-friendly interface and clear documentation are a must. And take this as a general tip when choosing email marketing services or any other cloud-based tool.
All the tools listed above are well-documented and easy to use. I’d also argue that most are pretty straightforward even if you’re a novice.
For example, assuming you verified your domain, and have proper authentication, it takes just a few steps to set up email marketing campaigns with these tools.
Pricing and scalability
In a perfect world, we would choose a tool that does everything, is reliable, has all possible features, and is super cheap.
In reality, define your budget based on how many emails you want to send and prioritize the features you need. And I’d advise you to look for something that’s cost-effective, but not necessarily cheap. Also, if you’re in the growth stage, the pay as you go model may work well for you.
If something goes wrong, you shouldn’t wait days for your support ticket to be answered. Understandably, higher-tier plans may get priority support. However, I focused on choosing the services that answer your ticket within a reasonable timeframe even if you’re on a free plan.
Tiny trick: Checking how responsive a service is on social media, may hint at how responsive their support team is. But don’t take this as a given.
What’s your alternative?
I hope you’ll test Mailtrap as a SendGrid alternative, it’s reliable, there’s a free plan, and you get bulk emails for the price of transactional. But, honestly, you won’t go wrong with any other tool you might pick from the list.
As for the tools that didn’t make the cut, but are generally a good email service provider, and are very similar to Sendgrid they include:
- Mandrill (now part of Mailchimp)
- Brevo (formerly Sendinblue)
- Amazon SES
- Constant Contact
- Pepipost (by Netcore)